My Experience at Villas Mastatal Eco Lodge
I spent 2 months volunteering at Villas Mastatal Eco Lodge last summer, a permaculture farm run by volunteers, in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. This was my first solo travel trip and my first time WWOOFing and I couldn't have asked for a better experience.
Tourists usually gravitate towards the coasts and beaches of Costa Rica, but the Central Valley is so beautiful and deserved to be explored. Villas Mastatal is located in the town of Mastatal, next to la Cangreja National Park. Mastatal and la Cangreja are truly magical and I loved being immersed and reconnected with nature.
The farm is owned and run by a Costa Rican family. Javi, Raquel, and their two children, Andres and Ainara, truly welcomed me into their family and created an incredible atmosphere and community at Villas Mastatal. Javi and Raquel are incredibly accommodating and I especially admired their openminded attitudes. Andres was 4 years old at the time and Ainara was just 2 months old. I loved getting to spend time with them and became especially close with Andres.
I learned SO much during my time there. I went to learn more about agriculture and fell in love with farming and reinvigorated my passion for environmentalism.
The location of the farm was so perfect and I have truly never been in such a beautiful place. It's located right next to La Cangreja Park and there are dozens of waterfalls in walking distance. The property has a yoga deck and countless hammocks for lounging.
Villas Mastatal also attracts incredible people. I made so many amazing friends and met such smart diverse people. We had so much fun together and I hold onto so many treasured memories.
The food was AMAZING; everyone who came through raved about it and I miss it so much. It was almost entirely vegan but if there was ever anything that wasn't vegan, Raquel would make me a vegan version and put it aside with my name on it which was so sweet of her to do.
The Villas Mastatal family is definitely what made it so special. Javi, Raqui, their family, and friends who helped run the farm were all so welcoming. Javi is a great leader and I respect him so much.
I do have to say that it wasn't all butterflies and sunshine and it was definitely challenging. But that's what made it so special. I was challenged in so many ways, and from that I learned so much about myself and grew a lot as a person.
I will definitely be back sometime in the future. Villas Mastatal will always have a special place in my heart and I think of it often. If you are looking for an incredible farm to volunteer on, I HIGHLY recommend this one!
I'm leaving this post kind of short because if I went into detail about everything at Villas and my time there, this would turn into a novel. But if you have any questions about it all don't hesitate to reach out to me, I would love to share more about my time here :)
If you want to get in touch with Javi and set up a time to volunteer, here is his contact info:
And here is my YouTube video highlighting some moments from my time there!
And here are some more photos from around the farm: