About the Living Forest

Lake Arenal Retreat center is a place for people to come to be inspired, to connect, to have fun and to love each other.
We like everyone to be real and true to themselves. There is no need to be spiritually “correct” following particular type of rules, dogma or image.

We welcome people from all walks of life. Yogis are most welcome. Artists, who wish to emerge themselves in creative projects, are very welcome. Travelers who simply need a bed for the night are very welcome. People who go deep into themselves transforming cell by cell into more love, are very welcome. People who are fascinated with the wonders of nature are very welcome. People who are at a cross roads in their lives and want to take some time out are very welcome.

You, dear visitors, are the most significant ingredient thriving this dream into full blossom. Whether you come for a special event or class, or come to stay for two nights or two months, you are welcome.

Johanna Harmala

slide4Johanna Harmala is the creator and manager of Living Forest – Lake Arenal Retreat Center. Johanna herself was born and grew up in Finland. She lived in Ireland for nearly 20 years.

Always a free spirit, Johanna travelled the world extensively. Now she is happy to put down roots in Costa Rica. Johanna has emerged herself in various life studies: occupational therapy, dance and movement, yoga, transformational cellular healing and many other types of healing and bodywork. She is also a qualified interior designer. She has worked as a creative dance instructor and massage therapist. She has had a furniture business and designed a collection of jewelry and bags.

Johanna’s favorite language in the world is the language of energy. Her focus in life is to live in the moment with an attitude of gratitude. Her dearest asset is her sense of humor.

Johanna visited Costa Rica to see if this could be her new home and an exciting place for a center. In other words, to see if Costa Rica could speak to her in her favorite language. It did.

When arriving to Lake Arenal, she was impressed with the beauty and magical energy of the area.

When stepping into a particular piece of land by the river Sabalito, that was it for her – a dream come true. The stunning nature, special nurturing energy, the sound of the river, howling of the monkeys, a colorful butterfly stopping by – this must be paradise!  She knew her search had ended. And a new adventure had begun!

Johanna moved to Costa Rica about a month later in May, 2012.

This magical piece of land, called Living Forest is also a home for dogs Nela and Blue, playful and loving companions for us all.