Worth the Retreat: One Week At Finca Luna Nueva

 Photo by  Compass Natural

Perspective by Steven Hoffman, Compass Natural Marketing

Eco-resort and certified Biodynamic farm Finca Luna Nueva, situated at the base of 250,000 acres of pristine rainforest surrounding the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica, provides visitors an ideal setting for corporate retreats, vacation, and reconnecting with the natural world.

San Isidro, Costa Rica (April 27, 2019) – Walking on a solo hike through the rainforest at Finca Luna Nueva, a magical, “rustic luxury” eco-resort and certified Biodynamic farm at the foot of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest near San Isidro, Costa Rica, listening to the primal scream of the Howler monkeys and the loud calls of the Oropendola birds in the tall trees above me, I am reminded of the innate intelligence of Mother Earth.

Of how everything is connected. The cycles of life, death, decay and rebirth and the abundance of nature – how it all works together to foster new life all around us. Nature is a community we are a part of, not just a commodity for us to selfishly exploit without any consideration for other life or the environment. All of this is clearly visible every which way you look in the lush rainforest surrounding the farm and resort.

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It can be seen in the tropical saplings growing quickly through the stumps of fallen trees that came before. In how the leaf cutter ants recycle organic matter and build soil fertility by harvesting bits of foliage throughout the jungle to feed a fungus they cultivate in their underground nests to farm their own food.

A delicate balance of natural resource and nutrient usage. Plants and animals taking advantage of a new niche when a giant tree falls, leaving a gap of light in the dense forest canopy that quickly fills in with eager new growth. The myriad, complex defense mechanisms the jungle’s living creatures create for survival. A mother three-toed sloth watching carefully as she begins to train her baby to fend for itself in a tree for a few moments before cradling it again in the comfort of her lap. How the tall Cecropia tree, with its dangling seed pods, draws different species of birds including colorful toucans at different times of day to eat and spread the tree’s seeds in the forest. How the tiny red poison dart frog has to eat certain species of ants that in turn have to eat certain species of plants in order for the frog to manufacture its particular brand of poison with which it defends itself.

You begin to see how it's all connected, and how life has evolved so that it's all dependent on each other and on the Earth itself. Mother Nature abhors a monoculture; that's evident in the cacophony of rich biodiversity represented at Finca Luna Nueva.

It’s all connected, and if you tug on one thread, like we humans are doing with the environment, there is a great risk that it all unravels.

  Three-toed sloth and baby, regular residents at Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica.

Three-toed sloth and baby, regular residents at Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica.

A Vortex of Biodiversity

Finca Luna Nueva is located at the base of 250,000 acres of primary and secondary rainforest, with the still-active Arenal Volcano looming over all. One of its owners, and my host for the week, Tom Newmark, Co-founder of the Carbon Underground and former Co-owner of New Chapter Vitamins, explains it like this:

“Here we are in the very middle of Central America, at the nexus point of a narrow land bridge connecting the immense continents of North America and South America. In addition, we are at a central location with the Atlantic Ocean immediately to the east, and the Pacific Ocean

immediately to the west. It is a critical corridor of biodiversity. This ‘vortex’ has created one of the most biodiverse regions in one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet – and Finca Luna Nueva, with its 224 acres of rainforest and regenerative “food forest,” is smack dab in the middle of all that. We’ve been told this is one of the most biodiverse farms on the planet!”

  Trail at Finca Luna Nueva.

Trail at Finca Luna Nueva.

"Rustic Luxury" Retreat Center

I came to Finca Luna Nueva as the guest of Tom and his wife Terry Newmark, and Co-founder and farm manager Steven Farrell, as Compass Natural has the great fortune of helping with marketing and PR for this incredible place. The resort’s mission is to raise awareness of environmental issues and regenerative and Biodynamic agriculture, and provide a memorable corporate retreat and conference center for mission-based companies and organizations in natural, organic, regenerative and related products and services.

With its open air meeting center, a soon to be completed poolside restaurant and bar constructed with bamboo and other natural building materials, spa, hot tub, rooms and individual cabins, organic food grown on the farm and served in its restaurant – and an amazingly kind, courteous and muy amable staff – I highly recommend Finca Luna Nueva to reconnect with your company’s mission, your people, Mother Nature ... and yourself.

Natural Building Highlighted

An unexpected highlight of my trip was arriving at Finca Luna Nueva right at the start of a natural building workshop that was being conducted on the farm by Dome Gaia, an organization founded by Hajjar Gibran, grand nephew of late author and poet Kahlil Gibran.

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Led by instructors Rafael “Rafa” Bravo and Gabriel De La Cruz, the workshop attracted nearly 30 people from all over the world to learn to build affordable, sustainable dome buildings made from “AirCrete.” Made with cement and the foam of dish detergent (the instructors specifically use Seventh Generation dish detergent, due to its particular formulation!), the lightweight AirCrete blocks are meant to help people the world over to build low-cost, eco-friendly dome buildings and homes. The group embraced me warmly into the fold and I witnessed and photographed the dome getting built in just 10 days. You never know when you’re going to learn something new ... and meet great people!

My journey to Finca Luna Nueva was a meaningful one for me, as it marked the 40th anniversary of my first entering the Peace Corps in 1978 at the age of 22 and a return to this rich Central American country. While I was eventually assigned to serve in Honduras, I lived for three months with a wonderful Costa Rican family while receiving immersive training in tropical agriculture and Spanish language and culture at the Peace Corps’ training center in La Guacima Alajuela, near the capital of San Jose.

Natural building, natural food, natural world. Thank you, Tom, Terry, Steven and everyone at Finca Luna Nueva. While I’ve returned to my home in beautiful Boulder, CO, a piece of mi corazón will always remain in Costa Rica, and, “si Dios quiere,” I look forward to a return visit to my beloved Finca Luna Nueva. As the Costa Ricans say, Pura Vida, everyone!

Corporate Retreats Available

If you’re interested in exploring corporate and organizational meetings, workshops and retreats at Finca Luna Nueva, contact us at Compass Natural and we’ll be pleased to share more information and connect you with the very professional team at Finca Luna Nueva. Our associate Evan Tompros will be pleased to be of assistance. Contact evan@compassnaturalmarketing.com.

Resources
Finca Luna Nueva
Brave Earth
Dome Gaia
Ecological Building Network
Tom Newmark’s vanilla blog

 From left: Terry and Tom Newmark, co-owners of Finca Luna Nueva.

From left: Terry and Tom Newmark, co-owners of Finca Luna Nueva.

Photos by Steven Hoffman