I’ve officially been a full time remote worker/ digital nomad for almost a month, although me and Dinah started our project 4 months ago I was still working as an English teacher in Barcelona. I took the leap, quit my job in January and started my journey as a remote worker in February.
When searching for the perfect destination to work remotely from there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. The most important thing for me was choosing a destination that would both soothe and relax my soul, as well as inspire and motivate me. Somewhere where I could immerse myself in pure nature and wash away the emptiness I felt living and working in a big city. The second most important thing of course was a good WIFI connection.
I had seen a Facebook post about Coco Vivo and watched the impressive drone footage on their website, 30 seconds into the video I was entirely convinced that THIS was the place I would start my remote work journey. I added it to our itinerary and to be honest it was the destination I was most looking forward to during our two-month trip through the Americas.
About Coco Vivo
The Paradise nestled in the tropical jungle on the southern tip of San Cristobal Island was easily the most magical place I’d ever been to, ever! 145 acres of wild jungle, crystal clear water, the coral reefs of Tierra Oscura Lagoon and dolphins all at your door step, literally.
San Cristobal Island is an island in Bocas del Toro, Panama – just south of Isla Colon and the perfect spot for real travelers to escape the groups of tourist that flock to party it up on Colon. The island possesses two of the best reefs, one on its northern side and one on its western side and is home to the indigenous Ngobe people.
The eco-friendly lodge is run by Belgium born Lazare and his charming Canadian wife Carmen. These warm hosts are committed to providing the best service to their guest, aiming to make Coco Vivo a home away from home, their awesome dogs Noosh and Capitan really add to the homely vibe. Well-informed and passionate about the local environment, Lazare and Carmen are happy to share their knowledge and stories about various animals and plants found in the beautiful surroundings.
Raw and rustic yet modern, Coco Vivo provides comfort while living as close to untamed nature as possible. Accommodating up to 15 people Coco Vivo is perfect for large groups, families, and friends. The entire property can be rented out for wellness and yoga retreats as well as co-working retreats.
The Hill House perched on top the mountain side with panoramic views of the Lagoon is the by far the most inspiring spot for creatives, entrepreneurs and digital nomads. It has its own private kitchen and boardroom space, and a great internet connection.
Coco Vivo is also the perfect honeymoon destination for adventurous couples seeking something different from the clichéd destinations like Mauritius or Seychelles. Their waterfront tree-house provides the most romantic ambiance, tucked away behind a screen on Mangroves with its own private water entrance.
There is also a diving board bed room where you can jump straight out of bed into the crystal clear lagoon from a 3 meter diving board. All cabins have high speed WIFI, running water and are all powered by solar energy.
Lazare and Carmen are passionate about sustainable living and implement a number of strategies to reduce the use of the earth’s natural resources. Solar power, rain water supply, recycling and composting toilets are some of the ways they maintain a natural balance and respect the symbiotic relationship with the earth.
Their website has detailed information on what guest need to be conscious about when coming here – like using bio degradable products when showering as the water eventually goes back into the ocean. Protecting their reefs and the variety of sea animals is a major priority.
One of the goals of the hosts are to reunite people with the magic of nature. ‘Coco Vivo is awe inspiring and magical if you stop to take a look, and we hope that our guests take that magic with them and look for it in new places and in their homes’, says Carmen.
Coco Vivo is a place you go to relax, loose yourself in nature, and that I did. Even though my visit was a remote working one it was so important for me to be in an environment that centered and calmed me, an environment that could hold the space for our creativity and allow us to push our project to new heights.
Nourish your body, nourish your mind
Coco Vivo provides a breakfast and dinner service to all guests. Seasonal high quality fresh food, thoughtfully prepared and served while enjoying the most breath taking views of the lagoon- heaven.
My favourite was the smoothie Lazare made every morning; ginger, lime, red beat, coconut water and… the other ingredients we had to guess in order to get the smoothie for free.
Jungle is massive
The highlight of my stay was the jungle hike the couple took us on the second day. We trudged through the thick jungle, climbing on buttress roots and walking through knee deep water – a safe zone from snakes. We spotted a number of sloths and got really close to a mother and her baby, the perfect photo opportunity (it blew up my Instagram account).
The walk took about two hours, Lazare heading the hike, looking like a jungle warrior with machete in hand, and Carmen at the back making sure we all were OK and taking the right steps as the terrain got tricky. They pointed out the different flora; West Indian elm, strangler figs and cecropia – sloths most preferred trees.
We picked fresh cacao, wild passion-fruit and cashew nut fruits. It was the first time I had ever tasted fresh cacao, it was sweet and fleshy in the middle and the seeds were bitter and tasted nothing like chocolate.
After the hike we all jumped into the Lagoon, I grabbed the snorkel gear and saw the biggest star fish I’ve ever seen in my life, it was easily 30 cm long. The crystal blue Caribbean waters were alive with bright coral reefs and so many sea creatures – snappers, angel fish, barracuda, puffer-fish, jellyfish, parrot fish.
Coco Vivo soothed my soul and allowed me to push beyond the creative limitations I felt while staring at the white four walls back home. During our stay our project reached new dimensions and I would recommend this place to any remote worker, entrepreneur or start-up who is looking for the perfect environment to inspire and push their productivity or project forward…just remember to bring your bug spray.
*Photos by Dinah Cook
Lover of music festivals, awkward situations and ice cream, Chanelle recently quit her PR and Communications job in Cape Town to live the intrepid life she had been yearning for. Since the age of 10, she knew the white picket fence and 2.5 children just wasn’t for her! Rather than being barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen she dreamed of being barefoot in the Amazon Jungle. This Digital Nomad and Reiki practitioner is currently based in Barcelona, trying to not take life too seriously.
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