FUN & FREEDOM
For many people it has been a tough couple of years. Often this has manifested in different ways for each of us so there is not even a sense of shared struggle to connect on. At Tula Vida we believe that we can shake off this stagnation, disconnection or struggle with some FUN and feelings of pure FREEDOM. Just like horses and other animals do all the time….
Play, from an early age, creates the impulses for learning, creativity, openness, connection, enthusiasm and much more. According to the National Institute of Play it “shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul.” As adults we can lose sight of our impulse to play and life becomes hard work, uphill with no sense of space or spontaneity.
Join us for this fun-filled week of play, open spaces and experiences aimed at re-introducing a sense of joy and balance for all of us.
Play With Us!
Tula Vida horses live in a state of relaxed alertness, fully connected to their herd, free to play, rest and be fully themselves. Imagine if we lived like this.
In this fun-filled workshop, you will join our extraordinary horses in their home - the spacious and vibrant green fields, rivers and rainforest near the Arenal volcano in Costa Rica – and experience becoming part of the herd, fully connected to yourself, the horses and the natural world, free to frolic and play like a puppy!
Join us and become part of the herd, feeling safe and accepted, allowing yourself to play in the lake, splash in the river and wander through the long grass with no expectations – creating an open space for joy to re-enter.
Explore creating relationship and connection with a sensitive being who is able to process and accept his emotions, release stress as it arises and get back into balance – true freedom arises when we can relax and let go.
Draw, paint and rediscover your inner creativity and child-like appreciation for hands-on crafts, and play with toys and sand in an Equine Facilitated Sand Play experience.
Learn tangible take-home tools to release stress and take this feeling back into your own life.
Cherish and nourish your body with healthy food, gentle movement designed to get your energy flowing, beautiful natural surroundings, restorative wood-fire sauna and healing massage.
Feel your energy and sense of self expand as you allow the feelings of fun and freedom to top up the well and bring you back into balance.
Our mission is to provide a deeper connection with self, through horses, nature and experience.
Date: Arrival 1 May, Departure 7 May 2022
(ask us if you would like to extend your stay or go to the beach afterwards)
Limited to 10 Participants to ensure a personal experience for each of you.
We want to look after you during your stay so you don’t have to worry about any of the details or extra costs – it’s all included and arranged for you, so all you have to do is show up and enjoy a multi-sensory experience, with the following highlights:
6 nights in a charming local guesthouse
All meals – delicious homecooked, farm fresh meals or meals out in stunning lake view restaurants
All transport to and from activities
60-minute relaxing massage
Daily mindful movement on the peaceful yoga deck overlooking the river (see below for details)
Daily Tula Vida horse experiences – includes all facilitation, materials & equipment - lots of fun involved
Offsite play adventure either paddleboarding on Lake Arenal or horseback riding to a private waterfall – visit a 500 year-old Ceiba Tree (the inspiration for the Avatar movie) on your way
Visit and soak in beautiful, natural local hot springs
Wood-fire sauna next to a jungle river – enjoy hot and cold therapy as you heat your body in the sauna then splash into the cool, refreshing water
ALL INCLUSIVE PRICE is $2,995 (includes 13% service tax)
If you would like to guarantee a single room, $500 supplement
Excluded: flights, airport transfer, tips, alcohol & soda
No prior horse experience required.
covid-19 doubts - flexibility
As travel opens up (albeit slowly), we are happy to be offering our retreat schedule for 2022. As the world continues to find its new normal, we need ways to find balance and restoration more than ever. It is easy to escape from all the stresses of Covid and society in Costa Rica, where nature carries on blooming and the vibe remains peaceful and positive.
We appreciate that travel will continue to involve an element of uncertainty in 2022 and we do our level best to make the process as smooth and stress free as possible for you, while staying flexible on changes.
We invite you to sign up and give yourself something to look forward to, even if it is not 100% certain to go ahead. Any deposit or booking you make with us that you cannot attend due to a Covid-related situation will be transferable to another group or private retreat or, if no other dates work, refundable minus a small booking fee.
We are looking forward to welcoming you onto a retreat soon.
What They Say
“As a non-horse person, it was so impactful to interact with these beautiful animals. Having a horse listen and feel your energy and respond is an experience I can't even explain in words. Awesome!”
Recover, Restore and Renew
In these reflective experiences, you will join our extraordinary horses in their home - the vibrant green fields, rivers and rainforest near the Arenal volcano in Costa Rica – and experience becoming part of the herd, tuned in to your own senses, safe and free to be yourself, connected to the great wisdom of Mother Earth for healing, balance and growth.
Let the horses show and teach you how to just “be” rather than doing or thinking. Take a dive into your own consciousness through the transformative modality of Equine Facilitated Sand Play Therapy and find healing at the deepest levels. Allow yourself to play in the bubbling, carefree streams. Cherish and nourish your body with healthy food, gentle movement designed to get your energy flowing, beautiful natural surroundings and healing massage. Feel held and supported by the natural world.
About Your Facilitators
Sally Nilsson is an expert facilitator, certified executive coach, experienced mentor and certified advanced instructor in Eponaquest Equine Facilitated Learning and Equine Facilitated Sand Play Therapy.
In 2019, Sally co-founded Tula Vida together with her partner Eric Kolesar to offer transformational experiences with the talented Tula Vida horse herd. Read more about Sally and the Tula Vida Team.
Eric Kolesar is a certified instructor in Eponaquest Equine Faciliated Learning and Equine Facilitated Sand Play Therapy, a 500 hour certified yoga instructor and expert in a multitude of energy modalities.
In 2019, Eric co-founded Tula Vida together with his partner Sally Nilsson to offer transformational experiences with the talented Tula Vida horse herd. Read more about Eric and the Tula Vida Team.
These Special Horses will:
Magnify the parts of you that are hidden inside, the tender and true parts. Through their innate horse communication skills and non-judgemental presence, they show us humans what is buried in our unconscious, beyond the mind chatter and busy brain: the non-verbal part, the intuition, the senses – our true authentic selves.
Sense and respond to subtle changes in our body language and energy. As highly sensitive animals, horses provide immediate, powerful and visual feedback on our presence in that moment so we get to practice and modulate how we want to come across, and how to find true internal peace and balance of the nervous system (self and co-regulation).
Welcome you as part of the herd. Horses are wired for connection and will actively work with you to allow your real and best self to be seen and accepted without words.
What They Say
“It helped me to truly understand the way of things in nature and how that can help us.”
Stay in the stunning local area
This part of Costa Rica is surrounded by lush pastures and rainforest overlooking the Arenal Volcano and Lake, Costa Rica, about an hour from Liberia airport (LIR).
You will have clean and comfortable accommodation run by friendly hosts in the small village of Sabalito, around the corner from Tula Vida and the horses.
This natural and tranquil experience has plenty of Pura Vida (the locally used expression for pretty much everything good, which translates as Pure Life!)
ENJOY DAILY Mindful Movement
We take a holistic approach in all our retreats, supporting mind, body and soul to feel nourished and restored. The pace of modern life, as well as the challenges of living through the pandemic, can be hard on our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
You will enjoy daily Mindful Movement with Eric Kolesar to rebalance your whole being and give you take-away tools manage life stress and live more mindfully – the essential ingredients in adapting to change and uncertainty, as well as keeping your own energy topped up.
“I feel more grounded and connected to myself, through mindful movement and interaction with the horses.” Angela, Therapist
What is Mindful Movement?
Eric started his movement expertise in martial arts, going on to become a 500 hour certified yoga instructor and energy practitioner. Through his lens as a life coach and equine facilitated learning facilitator, and hearing about intimidating experiences some people have had with “yoga”, Eric has combined the neuroscience, flow of energy, physical benefits of movement and natural rhythms to create what he calls “Mindful Movement”, a powerful and gentle blend of stretches and movements designed to calm and rebalance your body so the energy can flow freely again.
Imagine standing in a lush green space, birds singing in the background, horses grazing in the distance. Tune in to the rhythm of nature and breathe out. Let the tension melt away and experience feeling part of something whole. Start mindfully and gently moving with the rest of the group, in ways designed to get the energy flowing again through your whole body. You feel balanced, relaxed, alive.
“The mindful movement with Eric was by far the best yoga experience I have encountered as it was a spiritual and soul replenishing moving meditation not just a work out.” Jennifer, Real Estate Agent Owner
Additional Activities and Excursions
As well as sharing horse and Sand Play experiences and exploring the natural world with your horse, you will have the opportunity to see some of the local area and eat out at some local restaurants. Tula Vida is located next to the stunning Lake Arenal in the shadow of the Arenal volcano.
You will have the opportunity to either go paddleboarding with Eric on Lake Arenal itself, or go horseriding with Sally and our friend and expert naturalist guide, Enrique Molina, to a private waterfall near the Arenal volcano. Stand in the shadow of a giant 500 year old Ceiba Tree, the inspiration behind the Avatar movie and finish the day at paradise natural hot springs where you can soak your body and relax in the warm, healing waters.
What Will This Retreat REALLY Be Like?
Each day you will experience uniquely designed interaction with the horses on the ground, as well as Equine Facilitated Sand Play, nature, mindfulness and movement activities, and outside excursions. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be at Tula Vida or at a local restaurant.
There will be a mixture of group and individual exercises, with processing and down-time in restorative nature, together with healing massage and other natural experiences aimed at finding your inner joy, play and feelings of freedom again.
The vibrant colours and sounds of the rainforest as the sun rises and sets, and the clean, fresh oxygen and water, all support your body to get back in tune with its natural rhythm and find balance, peace and contentment at a deep level.
Who is it for?
Anyone who is looking for some fun, some feelings of freedom, who is drawn to nature or horses, is curious or who has read this far should take the plunge and give themselves this retreat! We are all unique and here at Tula Vida we don’t have a “type” of client - activities will be designed with the intention of creating a rich experience for all.
Participants for retreats (unless otherwise specified) should be 18 or over. Families or younger people looking for experiences, please check out our Group & Family Experiences page or get in touch to find out more.
No prior horse experience is necessary – all levels are welcome. Tula Vida horse activities will be mainly on the ground.
What is so exciting about this experience?
We are all in need of more fun and freedom after the last few years! Horses and the natural world, with a sense of space and lack of over-thinking or stress, model enjoyment of life so well and are just waiting for us humans to notice, inviting us to take part.
We have a beautiful corner of the world that we are keen to share with you - we really feel the benefits of living surrounded by beauty and a “pura vida” (pure life) attitude of the Costa Rica people, with the incredible support and wisdom of the Tula Vida horse herd. We want you to feel these too.
THE (NOT SO)
Cancellation Policy and Insurance
Cancellations more than 60 days before the start of retreat will receive a refund less a 20% processing fee. Cancellations 60 days or less before the start of retreat will not receive a refund. A deposit is required to secure your place. Payment in full is required 60 days before the event.
Travel insurance is required to attend all workshops and retreats. Travel insurance should cover changes in plans and emergency medical care and evacuation. Retreat organisers will not be liable for any injuries or illness.
Medical or Mobility Questions
We will do our best to accommodate all ADA or accommodation requests. However, participants should know that the retreat is located in a jungle in the northern part of Costa Rica. Please inform retreat organisers of any medical issues which may affect your participation in the retreat so that necessary adjustments can be made where possible. If you have medical/mobility concerns, please contact Sally to discuss modifications.
We have at-home testing kits which everyone will take upon arrival to reduce any concerns of transmission (although most people may already be vaccinated in any event). If tests are required to re-enter your home country, there are many testing facilities nearby (including at the airport) and we can help you arrange this.
For other questions, terms & conditions see Frequently Asked Questions in our FAQs
Explore our other options...
There are different options here at Tula Vida, tailored to suit your needs. We offer individual, group and family experiences with the horses. Perhaps you are looking to design your own experience, or would love an internship...we can help with that too. Take a look at the options below, and if you don't see what you are looking for just get in touch.
Design your own experience, our little slice of paradise in Cos