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I’m no stranger to solo travel. I spent a lot of time exploring the world on my own when I was single. I’ve always been a big fan of wellness retreat destinations like Miraval in Austin, Texas and Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires.  Even though I’m in a relationship now, I still recognize the value of traveling solo and set the intention to venture out alone at least once or twice a year.

When it came time to book my 2022 solo trip, Costa Rica appeared on my radar through the influence of trusted friends and founders of THE WELL — a modern wellness studio in the heart of NYC. As their company expanded, they began partnering with hotels across the globe, including my resort, Hacienda AltaGracia. One look at the itinerary and I knew I needed to go, but I could not have guessed the salubrious tranquility awaiting me.

2022 was a Marathon

I spent the first six months of 2022 in the depths of a transaction process to sell my company, Briogeo. As I actively oversaw the day-to-day business with my team, I was also running a sales process alongside bankers and lawyers. (It was an intense undertaking that required my full attention on both ends.)

Even when Briogeo was sold to Wella Company in April 2022, the air to breathe and relax evaded me as I stayed on as the founder and CEO with yet another major transition: Becoming acclimated with my new parent company, joining the Wella leadership team, and charging ahead with building strategies around Briogeo’s next set of growth initiatives. This, paired with life as a whole, made 2022 feel like a marathon. All I could do was pace myself and focus on the finish line.

“Not only did I have little space to unpack any hardships or difficulties, but I hadn’t made the space to celebrate my accomplishment fully.” – Nancy Twine

My Travel Intention

My trip to Costa Rica exemplified the spirit behind my propensity for solo travel: Bringing the focus back to myself. I really wanted this solo trip to be an opportunity to think and reflect because I hadn’t processed the year. Not only did I have little space to unpack any hardships or difficulties, but I hadn’t made the space to celebrate my accomplishment fully. I had sold my company—a long-time goal and marker of success for me. I wanted time to give attention to that win. I wanted to do absolutely nothing and just be by myself to rebalance and live in the moment.

My Itinerary

Every moment in Costa Rica was magical and necessary, but here are the highlights from my five-day getaway.


I spent the first 24 hours getting grounded, literally. As you fly into San José International Airport, you’re only halfway there. Hacienda AltaGracia is tucked away in the foothills of the Talamancas in Pérez Zeledón. You can reach this part of Costa Rica by a 30-minute charter flight from San José’s domestic airport, Juan Santamaría International Airport, or a three-to-five-hour drive through the mountains.

PRO TIP: Take the charter flight for sweeping views of the Pacific coast and save time.

A day bed at Hacienda AltaGracia

Once I landed on the private airstrip, I was warmly greeted by staff and taken to my suite. I spent my first day immersive in Los Tirráses — an exploratory hike through the primary forest of Cedral Valley. What made this easeful trek extraordinary was my ability to stay present.

Unlike hikes I’ve taken on my own, I wasn’t using my time on the trails to think through my to-do list. I was forced to be present by my guide, who called attention to hummingbirds buzzing above us and shared the rich history of their significance to the land. She’d stop to have me observe the odd-shaped mushrooms forming in the earth and comment on their significance to the thriving ecosystem. It was the first time in a long time that I was fully present in my body, curious about and connected to my environment.

A river bath in the center of a cloud forest


One of the most memorable wellness experiences I’ve ever had? A river bath in the center of a cloud forest. (Similar to a rainforest with a much higher altitude.) Let me set the scene for you:

You’re guided out into the middle of the forest with a robe draped on a tree. You change into this robe, and then you’re guided to a crystal-ladened area to set your intention for the experience. Once you’ve set your intention(s), you’re guided toward a woman waiting with a detoxifying scrub made of cacao to exfoliate your entire body. Last comes the exhilarating bath experience. 

One white robe hanging against a wall of bamboo

Situated in the center of trees and sky, the bath is carved from stone and filled with running river water. The cool waters are then heated by firewood as you’re shrouded in the peace and privacy of the nature around you.

I cannot begin to put into words how incredible it was. I just sat in the middle of the forest in this hot bath, looking at the trees, connecting with nature, breathing in the oxygen, and letting myself be.

It was like a moment to myself that I hadn’t had all year or, truthfully, for a long time before that. I had to ask myself: Is this even real? But it was real, and it was just for me.

Nancy Twine in a bath carved from stone, traveling solo in Costa Rica

“While it delivered on its promises, it took work. I say this without exaggeration: Roca de Nubes is the most intense hike I have ever done.” – Nancy Twine


As part of the trip, I really wanted to push and challenge myself. Bearing this in mind, I booked a second hike — a hike for “true explorers.” Roca de Nubes promised a high-altitude adventure where you’d walk among the clouds and be met with one of the most incredible views.

While it delivered on its promises, it took work. I say this without exaggeration: Roca de Nubes is the most intense hike I have ever done.

There are areas of the trail where it fully inclines, requiring you to pull yourself up with the support of branches for support. The rain that night made the path muddy and slippery. And then there were the flies — I called them angry flies — who were fearless. They followed and bit you, no matter how much you swatted them away. No human was left unscathed.

A bridge on a solo hike in Costa Rica

The combination of angry flies, mosquitoes, and slippery terrain made the trail almost unbearable. But just when I thought I had enough, we got up to the top—and it was all worth it.

The vista view stopped me in my literal tracks. As I took in the beautiful landscape, relief washed over me. This was my reward after trekking through the treacherous lands.

For me, it was symbolic of the year I had just had. As difficult as the journey was, I had finally reached a point where I could look back and reflect on the beauty of it all. Most of all, I could finally pause long enough to praise and appreciate my own tenacity and ability to take on challenges. 


After such a strenuous expedition, my body deserved some extra TLC. For my last full day, I enjoyed a selection of holistic body care, including Maderoterapia.

Maderoterapia is a wood therapy offered at Hacienda AltaGracia. It’s a massage technique practiced throughout Central America that uses a combination of wooden tools to balance energy, reduce stress and improve the flow of the lymphatic system. The massage is enhanced with THE WELL’s Reset Body Oil and Hacienda AltaGracia’s local coffee butter.

It was truly the perfect ending to my solo retreat, which gave me everything I needed to return renewed and ready for what’s to come.

The spa at Hacienda AltaGracia

Quick Facts:

Hacienda AltaGracia has 50 casitas across 150 bird-song filled acres of a coffee farm, equine stables, vegetable gardens, and untamed rainforest. This is a rural location! Shopping is limited, but the resort provides Wi-Fi, meals, and necessities. It’s family-friendly, but best for families with older children. (Preteens and teenagers.) The outdoor activities are endless — hikes, zip lining, high ropes, and horseback rides are just a few more options available for booking.

Nancy Twine's rating of her stay at Hacienda AltaGracia while traveling solo in Costa Rica

Is Costa Rica on your travel bucket list? Have you been? Share your experience with me.