Lush Living

Modern tropical architecture brings polish and contrast to a Costa Rican surf town.

Experimenting with architecture isn’t anything new, but when a bold and modern design is constructed outside its natural element and instead placed in a verdant tropical environment, the result is incredibly breathtaking. Costa Rica has long been a haven for those seeking natural beauty and peacefulness.

With more urban-centric travelers heading south, it’s only natural that new spaces for them to experience emerge—places that have a familiarity of home but that are surrounded by paradise.

Joya Villas consists of two extra-large vacation rental homes constructed with a blend of large steel frame I-beams and carefully crafted wooden screens and floors to create a new style of architecture that is especially different for its location. Set against a lush, steep hill backdrop, the villas come out from the ground and hang over open social spaces that are the epitome of indoor/outdoor. The stark and bold steel frames sit on top of retaining walls that evoke a tropical modernity that is all about lightness and openness—allowing the inhabitant to have a profound and direct connection to the natural landscape that surrounds the villas and the ocean beyond.

“Joya Villas is a clear reflection of a new wave of contextual contemporary tropical architecture that is born from and adapts to its precise location, land contours and climate,” shares architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe. “These ingredients are then brought to life through the careful balance of modern building techniques and touches of handcrafted natural materials. Everything we do at Studio Saxe is focused on trying to enhance the experience of the natural in the inhabitant of spaces and perhaps even create moments of relaxation and reflection. This train of thought and the architecture that is emerging could begin to be considered as the birth of an authentic Central American tropical architecture.”

Getting There

Upon arrival to San Jose International Airport, guests are greeted and escorted to a private terminal where Prestige Wings is located—a company created to effectively meet the needs of private Costa Rica. Flights are customized to the needs of each client, as they are all charter flights. The company is also one of the only companies in Latin America that is certified by ARUGUS International, with a platinum rating for their high safety standards.

The strategic location of the airline at San Jose allows access to most of the regional airports in Costa Rica. Someone from the company is by your side every step of the way upon arrival. From a personal driver who will take you through private security to expert pilots who take away any anxieties one may have from flying in smaller aircraft, Prestige Wings ensures that your trip to Santa Teresa starts and ends without a hitch.

The Town of Santa Teresa

The sleepy surfer town of Santa Teresa is poised to soon become the next go-to spot in Central America for those seeking a more down-to-earth getaway, where luxury accommodations are readily available but dirt roads and roadside taco shacks are still part of everyday life. Due to its remote location, Santa Teresa hasn’t yet been infiltrated by hoards of visitors—although the town does have a healthy expat community that continues to grow. This means that in addition to the friendly locals, there are approachable English-speaking foreigners roaming around town.

Every Sunday at the Rocamar Beach Club, locals and tourists all gather for a family “Sunday Funday” on the beach. It’s a healthy mix of families and adults, and the festivities start in the late afternoon and run late into the night around a bonfire, surrounded by artists and musicians. It’s a very sweet representation of what Santa Teresa is all about … at the end of the day, everyone is just there to be happy.


A Hotel Option

For those looking for some resort time, Florblanca is a luxury Costa Rican resort located on the shores of the Pacific coast. The award-winning destination is situated on the pristine beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula in an unspoiled tropical jungle overlooking the famous surf of Playa Santa Teresa. The spacious villas at Florblanca are situated among the diverse flora and fauna of the jungle and come with stunning outdoor bathrooms equipped with oversized soaking tubs. Monkeys also dominate the trees above, making for a truly unique experience.

Guests at Florblanca can enjoy locally grown food prepared by the chefs at Nectar, the signature restaurant. The resort will gladly arrange surfing, hiking, horseback riding or zip line excursions through their activity center. On property there are also professionally guided sessions of yoga and Pilates in an incredible indoor/outdoor studio space. Rejuvenating body treatments are available at Spa Bambu.


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