A Sneak Peek of Unsettled’s Costa Rican Paradise thanks to Zac Efron

By: The Unsettled Team

Header photo ℅ Punta Mona

“I’m not saying I’m gonna move into the middle of the Costa Rican jungle… but I might.”  

– Zac Efron 

Were you also living vicariously through Zac Efron this past weekend on his new Netflix show, Down to Earth with Zac Efron? If you’ve already binged through episode 3, you caught a glimpse of our favorite permaculture farm, eco-village, and rainforest oasis — and Unsettled’s Costa Rican home — Punta Mona. Back in October, while the world was still open, we spent one glorious week living in this special spot with a group of Unsettlers who wanted to escape the rat race and step back into nature. 

Nature we wanted and nature we got – it is something there is no shortage of at Punta Mona. We made our way there by a multi-hour hike through the surrounding jungle. There are no roads going into Punta Mona and so we put our trust in our guide who seems to know the path like the back of his hand. Along the way, he stopped from time to time to point out a sleeping sloth, a well-camouflaged but stunning bird, spiders the size of your face, and some surprisingly delicious termites. After he let us paint our faces with the red juice of a seed pod its fair to say we were hooked. 

Welcome to the Punta Mona approach to life – where nature is appreciated in all her glory.  Beyond the visuals of the lush green landscapes and epic cacao trees, you also get to meet Stephen Brooks, the founder of Punta Mona and a good friend of the Unsettled community. 

When he is not joining an Unsettled Speaker Series to share his ideas on resilience or hosting massive permaculture festivals, Stephen, like us, spends his time thinking about new ways we can live in (and with!) the world. For over 20 years he has been building his vision of Punta Mona, a fully off-grid retreat center on the southern coast of Costa Rica surrounded by untouched primary rainforest. If we weren’t reminiscing about our family dinners last October on this beachfront oasis, where we were able to simplify life to her bare beautiful essentials, we definitely are now. 

Cue memory montage of waking before dawn to take in the sunset, truly delicious home-cooked communal meals (yes we did hold hands!), undeveloped stretches of beach, the rare luxury back to basics living, and falling asleep to the sound of some pretty loud monkeys.  

Despite how important being connected is to living Unsettled (yes, there is solar wifi) we were right at home here – learning ferments in their herbal medicine lab, converting their yoga pavilion into a pop-up workshop space, and happily coworking in the family lounge. We left our week recharged and newly inspired about what living with intention could look like. 


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In episode 3 of Down to Earth with Zac Efron, Stephen speaks about how people can either be unfair and mistreat the earth, or treat it as an extension of their own human bodies…that our human nature and the natural world can be seen as two parts of a whole. It is this very notion that inspired Stephen to dream up Punta Mona and bring it to life. It was also this question of, “how can we live better and more sustainably” that inspired Hollywood actor Zac Efron to explore new ways of living, unusual approaches to solving universal problems, and more ways of treating the earth with the kindness it needs in his new Netflix show. These are questions worth asking and we encourage you to check it out – the kind of armchair travel we can get behind!

The Punta Mona family including Punta Mona founder Stephen Brooks, Darin Olien, & Zac Efron. Photo ℅ Punta Mona.

And, in case you can’t tell, Costa Rica is top of our list when we can travel again and we can’t wait to share more of the magic of Punta Mona with more Unsettlers. Until then, as Stephen would say love, light, and pura vida!

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