the team

Elizabeth Couse | @elizabethcouse_

Elizabeth is passionate about community, the environment, and social change. These passions manifest through her strong belief in the power of local food systems to build community and rehumanize society. She graduated from Cornell University in May with a bachelor's of science in International Agriculture & Rural Development and minors in Education and Community Food Systems.


Elizabeth has traveled to 14 different countries studying sustainable and regenerative living and is certified in permaculture design. She has extensive experience in community building as well as food justice and has been sharing her life online for the past 5 years.


She traveled to Costa Rica for the first time 4 years ago and it largely inspired her conscious living journey. She wants to share this alternative lifestyle to others. You can read more about the conception of this retreat here

Hanna Malzenski | @hannamalzenski

Hanna is a 200-hour certified yoga teacher and passionate environmentalist. Originally from Chicago, she graduated from the university of Iowa with a a degree in Journalism and Sustainability. Hanna has interned with The Nutrition Translator, Zero Emissions Byron, Sustain Cape Cod, and the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. Her experiences have focused on plant based nutrition, renewable energy, and local organic agriculture which have given her a well rounded understanding of the different aspects of sustainability. 


Additionally, Hanna studied with the School for International Training(SIT) to learn about environmental action and sustainability on all levels. 

Being a vegan for well over 3 years, Hanna has aligned her love for animals with her actions and tries to live a life of compassion. She truly believes that a sustainable world is the only world that is inclusive to all.


Kyle is a passionate vegan and environmentalist. He completed an Environmental Studies degree at Connecticut College in 2019. Kyle is deeply interested in health, diet, GMOs, and the connection between human health and environmental health. He has interned for I Feel Good Health Magazine and, the science-based public service run by renowned plant based doctor, Michael Greger M.D.


While living and working on a farm in Costa Rica for a month, he gained hands-on experience in organic farming and a connection to his food. Kyle also studied sustainability and environmental action at the School for International Training (SIT) where he learned about true sustainable living and how to positively impact the world at the individual, communal, and governmental levels.

kara folkerts | @karafolkerts

Kara is fuelled by her passions for outdoor movement, sustainable travel, holistic health, environmentalism and connecting with others.  Originally from Canada, Kara graduated from Mount Royal University with a bachelor’s degree in Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership giving her a holistic understanding on the many facets of sustainability found within travel, the environment, our communities and within ourselves. She is also a 200 hour certified yoga teacher and recently completed a certificate in Holistic Nutrition specializing in plant based nutrition.  


Within the past few years Kara has guided various international groups on outdoor adventures around the globe, walked solo across Iceland, cycled over 10,500 kilometres from her home in Canada through to China, and helped co-manage an ecolodge in the mountains of Bali. 


Through her education, travels, and experiences Kara continually looks at the world through eyes of curiosity, sustainability, mindful living, and with a heart full of joy and gratitude. She greatly desires and believes in a future of true health and well being for all humans and for the planet.

Javi & Raki | @Villasmastatal

Javier and Raquelle started Villas Mastatal in 2007 and have over a decade of experience in permaculture, off grid living, community building, and hosting international groups. They have transformed the 50 hectare property and inspired thousands all while raising two beautiful children, Andres (7) and Ayanara (2). 

They have deep roots in Mastatal with Raki's 9 siblings all owning property in town. Javi is a master permaculturist and Raki primarily runs the kitchen, with a decade of experience cooking farm to table meals for large groups. 

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