We developed a bit of an addiction while we were living and traveling in Asia for two years. And after talking with other travelers, apparently, we weren’t the only ones to unknowingly get hooked. The withdrawal symptoms include irritability, aching muscles, high-stress levels, and poor circulation. The main pro to kicking the habit is a bigger buffer in your travel budget.
Of course, we’re talking about massages and spa treatments.
They’re everywhere in Asia, and once you’ve had a few, you can’t help but succumb to more. Though we had some less-than-amazing massages thrown in there (I actually had masseuses fall asleep on two different occasions!), we never regretted any of our $10 splurges.
It’s a bit more difficult to fit a visit to the spa into our budget outside of Asia. But as they say, old habits die hard—especially when you stumble upon a venue like Pure Jungle Spa.
The Decadent Chocolate Treatment At Pure Jungle Spa | Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
We were in Puerto Viejo, innocently walking down the road so Dan could check out the surf conditions when a sign for a Total Body Chocolate Decadence Treatment intercepted our gaze. We’ve already admitted to our chocolate-loving ways, so you can believe us when we say that there was just no resisting the gravitational pull to find out more.
As we walked down the path, we entered a jungle oasis. Denise, the lovely owner of the spa, was quick to greet us and explained the all-natural, locally produced products and spa treatments they offer. We immediately made two appointments for the Total Body Chocolate Decadence the following afternoon.
Our decadent affair at Pure Jungle Spa did not disappoint. On the day of our treatment, we were greeted with a local specialty drink called Agua del Sapo, a fantastic blend of Caribbean ginger and fresh lime. We sat back on the comfortable couches, sipping on our elixir, our feet soaking in an aromatic infusion of flowers and botanicals. Only a minute in and we could already feel the stress streaming out of our bodies.
Once we had been given plenty of time to settle in, we were led to a private massage room looking out to the jungle. Even with our eyes closed, the faint sounds of howler monkeys and chirping birds made sure to remind us of our enchanting location in the rainforest.
For the Chocolate Decadence treatment, Pure Jungle Spa uses local, organic cacao beans, roasted over an open fire, and hand-grown into a course paste by a local indigenous family. There are no additives—it’s just dreamy, chocolaty goodness. The course texture makes it the perfect body scrub, while the cocoa butter seeps into the skin to promise a natural, silky finish. We opted for a one-hour treatment, which combined massaging and rubbing in the body scrub. The masseuses were clearly very skilled.
There are no additives—it’s just dreamy, chocolaty goodness. The course texture makes it the perfect body scrub, while the cocoa butter seeps into the skin to promise a natural, silky finish. We opted for a one-hour treatment, which combined massaging and rubbing in the body scrub. The masseuses were clearly very skilled. Having had so many massages, sometimes we can be a bit difficult to please, but the ladies at Pure Jungle Spa possessed a clear finesse.
After our body had nearly melted beneath the warm, chocolate paste, we were led to our private, outdoor garden to enjoy a rainforest shower. I spent a bit longer than was probably necessary, watching the sunset and listening to the birds and frogs playing in the trees. When Dan and I finally met once more in the Spa lounge, a few slices of organic dark chocolate were waiting for us—the perfect end to a perfect treatment.
In the tastes of the Agua del Sapo and dark chocolate dessert, in the natural sounds of the surrounding rainforest, in the sweet smell of the warm cacao scrub, in the artisan accents and attention to detail, and in the feel of the masseuse’s skilled hands, our treatment at Pure Jungle Spa was much more than just a massage; it was an indulgence for each and every one of our senses.
We were fortunate enough to talk to Denise a bit more about the origins of Pure Jungle Spa; it made us love the spa all the more. Around a decade ago, Denise was in search of cocoa butter. It led her to Petronilla and her daughters, members of a local Bri Bri Indigenous family. They were making chocolate on their small farm. A by-product of the cocoa butter making process was pure cacao paste. As Petronilla had no need for it, she was giving it away at her local church. After a few experiments,
After a few experiments, Denise discovered this pure cacao paste would make the perfect body scrub—and it’s now what is used in the Signature Ultimate Total Body Chocolate Decadence. After receiving the treatment, we can certainly attest to the wonderful properties of the scrub. Not only did we smell delicious, but our skin was also smooth and silky for days. Denise has also helped the indigenous family to create new flavors for their chocolate, utilizing natural ingredients already found in their garden, such as cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger.
While it might be their signature treatment, there are other non-chocolate experiences available, all utilizing local ingredients. A rose-infused volcanic clay cleanse, or a papaya and honey nectar body wrap are just a few of the tantalizing options.
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What do you splurge on during your travels? What’s the best massage you’ve ever received? Would you go for the Chocolate Decadence treatment at Pure Jungle Spa?