As a means of providing an enriching and transformative experience, Dr. Kristen Brendel facilities annual international mindfulness and yoga retreats. Research by Richard Davidson from Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin at Madison suggests that while taking part in daily yoga and meditation practices do have immediate and long term benefits, engaging in a retreat, where one is out of their routine, is more effective in facilitating change developing a deeper sense of contentment and commitment to goals. In 2017, retreats were held in Costa Rica and in Thailand. Dr. Brendel customized the retreats based on the needs of her participants and offered daily yoga, meditation, workshops, in addition to fun cultural activities.


Pura Vida Yoga and Mindfulness Retreat in Costa Rica Coming Soon, December 2018.
Check back for details


Pura Vida Yoga and Mindfulness Retreat in Costa Rica:

Engage the body, mind, and spirit in beautiful Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica




December 29-January 5, 2018


$2395.00 double occupancy




+ Manuel Antonio National Park Guided Hike

We will be hiking in the rainforest, adjacent to the sea, that has toucans, sloths, green tree frogs, blue morpho butterflies, and lots of monkeys!


The canopy tour has over 3.6 kilometers of total zip line length on 10 lines, 14 tree platforms, 3 nature walks, 6 hanging bridges, a rappel secured by a top and bottom belay and air stairs. Mountain, jungle, canopy, and ocean views.


Santuario Tours is passionate about offering truly unique educational opportunities. Not only will you take away memories that will last a lifetime – you will learn some history of the Quepos and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica areas. You will learn a little about the rainforest and the beautiful country that hosts over 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Santuario Tours is motivated to share and educate.


+ Night Jungle Hike: Discover Manuel Antonio’s Wildest Nightlife Destination

The Jungle Night Tour is a unique odyssey into the nocturnal world of the Pacific Tropical Wet Forest. Led by your Greentique Certified Guide through the complex ecosystem of the Refuge’s amphibian water gardens, you’ll be immersed in a symphony of the signature sounds of thousands of jungle residents, including more than a dozen species of native frogs, all engaged in the rituals of life in their natural habitat. An extraordinary photography and video opportunity, a monopole, light tripod, or selfie stick are helpful if you don’t want to use a flash. However, the guides are skilled at lighting the wildlife, making handheld night shooting easy for everyone. The Night Tour is the only opportunity to see local Manuel Antonio wildlife at night, as the National Park closes at sunset.


+ Horseback ride with spectacular waterfalls views and swimming!

We invite you to have the experience of this unique horseback ride through rainforest, ending in an swim under spectacular waterfalls. Feel the fresh air of the jungle. Take pictures of the wilde life. After picking you up at your hotel, your bilingual guide will take you to the Brisas del Nara Ranch, located in Londres de Quepos, where your horses will be waiting for you. It is a good opportunity to take pictures of the beautiful wildlife: Primary and secondary rainforest, toucans, butterflies and many other animals.


+ A catamaran snorkeling sunset cruise on the Pacific

The Ocean King is a 100 foot long catamaran style boat that is outfitted for some serious fun in the sun! The main area has space for up to 100 people and the second deck has room for another 150 people. The boat offers two huge trampolines, two Jacuzzis, two winding water slides, an enormous bar, living room, and four bathrooms and four showers.

The cruise will take you along the gorgeous Manuel Antonio coast. You will pass by rolling green jungle covered hillsides that disappear into the sea, tropical islands and all around beautiful scenery. Eventually you will reach Playa Biesanz where the boat will stop for a break. You will be able to swim and water slide off the boat. Snorkeling gear will be provided to those that wish to do so. Manuel Antonio is not the best place to snorkel, but you may be able to see some tropical fish. As the boat travels along, keep a lookout for marine life. During the green season you may be able to see whales or sea turtles. Dolphins are around most of the year and will often cruise along with the boat. While you may see some wildlife, the main attraction is fun and relaxation. The Ocean King provides a Costa Rican style lunch. You will also have access to fruits, snacks, and Costa Rican brand alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.




$500.00 deposit due by 10/9/2018, check or cash. If paying by credit card an additional $25.00 fee will be added. No refunds on deposit or credit card fees. $500.00 will be refunded by 10/20/18, if we don’t have the minimum, 8 participants, needed. Credit card fees are not refundable for any reason. Best if you use a check for the deposit, then I can return it to you, if we don’t reach the minimum number of participants by the end of the day on 10/11/18.

$1895.00 (final payment) due by October 23, 2018, check or cash. If paying by credit card, an additional 4% will be added to cover credit card fees. No refunds for any reason on final payment or credit card fees.

Must have a passport valid for at least 6 months post travel (January 2020) at the time of your final payment. Fees cover all meals while in Costa Rica, hotel, yoga classes, mindfulness workshops, excursions, transportation to excursions and hotel while in Costa Rica. Please message me here or email me at for a copy of the contract and to remit payment.

Fees DO NOT purchase your flights to Costa Rica’s San Jose Airport (SJO) (pick up and drop off location) until I know we have reached the minimum number of participants for the retreat. Fees also do not cover transportation to and from your airport of origin like O’Hare, tips to guides and drivers, alcohol, gear, travel insurance (highly recommended), souvenirs, etc.

**DO NOT purchase your flights until I let you know that we reached the minimum number of participants needed for this retreat to be a “go.” That will be by or before 10/11/18**

Illinois Social Work CEUs available for this retreat at no additional cost, per request. Yoga Alliance CEUs also available at no additional cost, per request. A contract must be signed at the time of making your deposit.




$500.00 non refundable deposit is required to hold your spot or $525.00, if using credit card. The final payment due after deposit and with a credit card, will be $2120.00.  Without a credit card the final payment due after $500 deposit is $1995.00.  A one-time payment option is available at $2495.00 if not using a credit card or $2620.00 if using a credit card.