Getting Back to Basics: Convenience Meets Coastal Charm

December 1, 2023

The Simple Life in Las Catalinas



Reconnecting with a simpler, more fulfilling lifestyle has the power to alleviate stress, foster tranquility, and instill a profound sense of contentment. But how does the place one calls home to contribute to embracing the art of slow living? Here, Las Catalinas steps into the spotlight, setting itself apart from its coastal counterparts with an extraordinary feature—the arrangement and design of every facet within this haven. Architects call this a “short urban transect,” where everything nestled within town's contours is effortlessly accessible on foot, eliminating the need for vehicles. For those unacquainted with the cadence of a car-free community, envision the liberation of hours once spent commuting from work or school or the supermarket. In Las Catalinas, this is not a concept—it is a daily reality where formerly lost moments metamorphose into precious time for leisure, connections, and well-being. It is an invitation to rediscover the joy of a lifestyle centered around simple reconnection. 


Reigniting Relationships with Those Who Matter Most 

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Living a simple life frees up time for the things that matter. Research underscores a universal truth – time is a more precious gift than wealth, and preferences lean toward spending time with those who matter most, our loved ones. In a thought-provoking paper published by the Association for Psychological Science by Cassie Mogilner of the Wharton School, she reminds us of a critical finding: older studies suggest a weak link between wealth and happiness, a notion perpetuated in cultural narratives with portrayals of the old, melancholic, affluent individual. Mogilner further sheds light on the paradox where, despite economic disparities, Europe consistently outperforms the United States in happiness surveys. Notably, Blue Zones, like the Nicoya Penninsula, of the Guanacaste region, also consistently rank higher on happiness surveys. What European lifestyle and Guanacaste traditions have in common is where the secret to a satisfied life lies; fostering connections – not only more vacation time, shorter work weeks, or higher salaries. One can integrate simple solutions to having more time with family, like eliminating the thirty-minute commute and using that time to enjoy breakfast with our spouse, or walking to school with our children, as exemplified in the lifestyle of Las Catalinas. A content life lies in meaningful connections and the gift of time, which is outwardly simple, and inwardly rich. 


Finding Mindfulness in Nature 


The media has brought the profound health benefits of mindfulness to light, emphasizing its role in enhancing physical and mental well-being, as well as overall happiness. One of the easiest ways for humans to be present is to immerse oneself in nature. While the idea of taking a moment to pause and reconnect in an outdoor space appears straightforward, it is an aspect easily overshadowed by the chaotic pace of modern life. 


The importance of incorporating the outdoors into our lifestyle becomes evident the moment you step into a green space, whether it is a forest, jungle, beach, or park. Enjoying nature triggers a noticeable transformation in the human body, diminishing anxiety, slowing heartbeats, and breathing, and reducing cortisol levels. Within a mere 15 to 20 minutes, attention spans expand, amplifying our capacity to engage in intricate cognitive tasks. Following three days of complete immersion in the natural world, the human prefrontal cortex undergoes a revitalizing reset, resulting in heightened creativity and productivity and leaving the body in a state of serene relaxation. Humans simply feel better and can be more present with those they care about after spending time in nature. 


A Journey of Awe and WONDER 


One way to effortlessly find yourself in moments of awe and inspiration is by physically placing yourself in a natural landscape like Las Catalinas. Town is a catalyst for immersing yourself in the present, fostering both awe and creativity. Architecturally, town captivates with stunning aesthetics, featuring meandering cobblestone streets that invite wonder and exploration. But, town also offers another sort of visual feast, with panoramic views overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the picturesque Playa Danta, while amidst the tropical dry forest. With trails, views, and plenty of outdoor spaces, encounters with wildlife and serene moments of connection with nature are encouraged. Mindfulness comes simply when spending time here, as we shed unnecessary complexities and walk out our doors into nature, and a better version of ourselves. 


Finding your Purpose and Passion 

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Simplicity is stepping out of your home and dipping into the ocean mere moments from your front door. Simplicity is joining in on a group stand-up paddle board session with other like-minded individuals in town, or walking minutes to a reserve for trail running or mountain bike trail. A short urban transect in town makes this possible, with walking circles to activities, or other daily necessities, of only five to ten minutes. 


Participating in simple, healthy habits reminds us of the behavior of residents of the Blue Zone in the Nicoya Peninsula. Daily movement and engaging in exercise for both enjoyment and socialization encourage a healthy heart, lowers stress levels, and improves overall well-being while filling humans with a sense of purpose. Town offers plenty of things to do with opportunities for group passions like hiking trails or pickle ball just steps away.  


There will never be enough hours in a day, but with a little thoughtfulness, the decisions we make shape how we use our time the most efficiently. Is a walk to the office, the supermarket, or to lunch instead of hopping into the car feasible? Is there another way that we can joyfully incorporate more physical activity into our daily routine and turn it into a ritual? Is there a way to share your favorite pastime with a loved one? Removing cars from day to day in Las Catalinas helps us integrate movement into daily routines in a simpler way, but wherever you are, choose to spend your time wisely.  



Las Catalinas: Because Life is Too Short for Long Drives 



Inspired by the charming seaside towns of the Mediterranean and paying homage to the vibrant architecture of Antigua, Guatemala, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Las Catalinas blends stunning architectural designs with awe-inspiring natural surroundings. Town offers a unique opportunity for residents to connect with nature and their community effortlessly. However, embracing a lifestyle change involves more than just relocating to a picturesque location. It requires a deliberate and gradual process of making decisions to reshape the patterns of our lives. This transformative journey is, at its core, a process of reconnection – to the world around us, the changing seasons, the natural environment, and the activities that bring us joy. Living in Las Catalinas facilitates this process, providing a supportive community of like-minded individuals who share a commitment to prioritizing activities that align with a simpler, more fulfilling lifestyle. 


In a recent Travel + Leisure article, Renae Johnson, the director of sales and marketing at Las Catalinas, highlighted the unique approach to town planning. By eliminating cars from the equation and designing the town in a way reminiscent of pre-automobile communities, Las Catalinas has cultivated an environment characterized by sociability, beauty, nature, movement, and enhanced safety. Johnson emphasizes, “Kids get more freedom this way, which often means adults do, too." This bold yet straightforward approach epitomizes the philosophy that life is simplified when unnecessary complexities, like long drives, are removed from the equation.