Founder and director of the Tanglewood Wellness Center in Costa Rica since 1996, Loren Lockman has been a student of health since 1977. After contracting chronic fatigue, irritable bowel, sinus infection, systemic candida and 57 allergies in 1984, Loren walked away from medicine three years later and hasn’t been sick a day since. He’s coached more than 12,000 clients and has taught many thousands more from over 110 countries how to achieve amazing levels of health, vitality, mental clarity and emotional poise. An original thinker; gifted speaker; frequent talk-show, podcast, and webinar guest; article author; reiki master; 29-year raw vegan; poet; certified permaculture instructor; author of the unconditionally guaranteed Creating Perfect Health System; and founder of the Academy for Vibrant Living, Loren Lockman can show you how to maximize your health—guaranteed!
The world is increasingly insane.
And in an increasingly crazy world, sometimes one longs for sanctuary.
As has become increasingly clear to me, what’s missing for many people isn’t temporary sanctuary; many places exist where one can spend one or more weeks decompressing, destressing and/or detoxing.
Rather, it seems that more and more people are seeking the kind of sanctuary where one can simply thrive in a beautiful, natural setting with no ongoing need to decompress, destress or detoxify. Where one can live a less-hectic, less-toxic, dare I say, less-“modern” life.
And for each person seeking such a place, there likely are hundreds more who desperately need one but aren’t even aware of that need.
A Toxic World Is Driving Some People’s Search for Sanctuary
And it’s not just that we live in an increasingly toxic world—where microwave signals from cell-phone towers (bad enough before 5G), ubiquitous wi-fi, glyphosate, pesticides, car exhaust, nano-particles from chemtrails and hundreds of other toxins assault us all the time—but even more, we now live in a world that has become increasingly less human.
Most people spend far more time in a cyber-world of their own making where they have hundreds or thousands of “friends” but feel increasingly isolated, devoid of human contact or fellowship.
And with COVID-19, things are much worse now. Many people have been largely isolated for months, with massive social and economic costs, including skyrocketing rates of depression, suicide, murder, child and spousal abuse. Even if one does venture out, in many places, face masks are mandated, and so there is little if any sense of connection even when around others.
And although I still hope that this fate can be avoided, more and more governments are mandating vaccines, taking away your sovereign right to determine what goes in your body.
Many people work for 40 to 50 years, spending most of their time and energy doing something that they don’t want to be doing so that they can enjoy their “golden years” only to find themselves disintegrating, with the bulk of their ample “free time” spent dealing with health concerns.
Clearly, numerous issues affect most people today that dramatically and negatively impact how we feel and function and, perhaps, more importantly, how much we enjoy life.
Human Beings Need to Reinvent Themselves Completely, and Las Cascadas Is an Intentional Community Where This Reinvention Can Unfold
And so it occurred to me that what we need is reinvention: to completely reinvent how we live, how we communicate, how we spend our time, how we source our food and eat, how we impact the world around us, how we support ourselves, how we create true wellness, how we educate our children, what’s really important and what it is that we are truly committed to.
Las Cascadas, the raw vegan ecovillage and nature preserve that we’re creating here in Costa Rica, was born from this need for reinvention.
We envisioned the raw vegan ecovillage as a place where we could return to the concept of “tribe” and where community members feel like they belong and matter—because they do. Where one knows that they can always speak their truth, can always do what’s in their own best interest, and can always be supported in manifesting their highest potential. A place where unconditional love is the highest value and where community members are encouraged to live from that place.
This is an “intentional community,” or a place where people purposely come together to live in community with others because of shared values, vision for the future and/or overarching philosophy.
Lots are intentionally kept relatively small as more than 20 years of research into what makes intentional communities work finds that large lots tend to isolate people and smaller lots help create community. The majority of the land will be communally owned by all residents and will provide us with ample space to plant hundreds of fruit trees to grow as much of our food as possible, to create a community center where the community can come together for communal dinners, classes, movies and more.
The community center will include a communal kitchen, laundry room, internet lounge (no wi-fi!), library, meditation space, tool center and playground for kids.
Although intentional community members are free to live their own lives, functional communities have regular community events and also encourage informal cooperation, sharing resources, sharing food, sharing time and sharing hearts.
With lots arranged in small clusters surrounded by plenty of common land, it will be possible for those who don’t need to go out to earn money to never leave if they don’t want to. With a lovely stream running through the property, plenty of space to hike and swim, an abundance of fruit trees, and the comfort of being in a community of like-minded others, those who choose to escape the outside world can thrive.
The intentional community is the heart of Las Cascadas as it provides the sanctuary I mentioned earlier.
But Las Cascadas is so much more.
It’s a multifaceted, multiphased project and, in addition to the intentional community, it will include a nature preserve, permaculture-based organic fruit farm, world-class botanical garden, commercial village, athletic center, spa, amphitheater, adventure-sports-like zip lines, mountain-bike park, high adventure park, climbing and bouldering walls as well as rock climbing, rappelling and more. There will be a retreat center, raw vegan culinary institute, massage school, yoga teacher training school, permaculture school, green building school, world-class school for children and more.
The Las Cascadas Intentional Community Project Would Include Tourist Attractions in a “Beautiful, Soul-Lifting Setting”
Why such an ambitious project? There are various reasons.
As you’re probably aware, we’re in the midst of the sixth mass extinction on the planet, losing between 150 and 200 species every day, roughly 1,000 times the natural rate of species loss. This is the most devastating loss of species since the dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago, according to some scientists. Furthermore, some scientists project that, at the current rate of loss, there will be no species left within 40 years or so.
It seems clear to me that we cannot depend on big industry to change anything unless it’s in their economic interest to do so. Monsanto continues to pump out nearly 1.5 billion pounds of Roundup each year even though its toxicity and the destruction caused by it is well-documented. They’d probably consider discontinuing it but have roughly 4.75 billion reasons not to. And according to one source, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—working hard to convince the world that they are good citizens—made a fortune by investing in 69 of the worst-polluting companies in North America.
So how do we create change, if not from the top down, or in economic terms, from the supply side? By affecting the demand.
And that’s what we hope to do. How? By creating an amazing, not-to-be-missed tourist destination where we can give visitors a visceral, emotional experience of nature and natural living in a beautiful, soul-lifting setting.
I believe that, this way, we will demonstrate the real value of the environment in a way that can have the lasting impact of helping people to begin living more gently on the planet. In my opinion, this is the only chance that we have of surviving the current environmental crisis.
So let’s look at this intentional community project.
The botanical garden will be located on 7 hectares (17 acres) of gently rolling land with amazing views. This is one of the highest sites on the property and allows views of the ocean on three sides of the Nicoya Peninsula through the mountaintops. Here, beautiful gardens and ponds will showcase the spectacular beauty of tropical plants and flowers, shrubs and trees and the intention is to create a truly world-class garden.
A small boutique hotel in the midst of the gardens will provide guests second-floor views over the gardens and valleys and to the ocean beyond. A first-floor meeting space will allow for business meetings, weddings and other events.
On the edge of the botanical garden will be the takeoff point for various zip lines, allowing incredible runs over the jungle, rivers, falls and to the bottom, as much as 450 meters below.
Across the valley from the botanical garden, one will find the permaculture-based organic fruit farm. With roughly 100 acres of pasture, we will have the ability to create a network of drivable paths to provide various tour options. With the intention of creating the largest and/or best collection of tropical fruit species in one place, we believe that the fruit farm will call attention to not only the many tourists already coming to Costa Rica but to any tropical fruit enthusiast in the Americas as well as from other continents as well.
Imagine having the chance to try a dozen—or maybe a few dozen—different fruits when you complete your tour. Anything you enjoy, you can pick up at the organic market at the end of your tour.
And imagine the many festivals possible: a mango festival, a durian festival, a jackfruit festival or many others. The possibilities are endless and, during the season for each fruit, one can enjoy up to dozens of different varieties. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is!
For those who like to be active, there will be many options, including rock climbing, rappelling, hiking, mountain biking, BMX biking, yoga classes, a high-adventure course, electric quadracycles, a skate park, a team-building confidence course, dancing and more.
Las Cascadas’ Nature Preserve Boasts the Tallest Waterfall in Costa Rica and Central America
And then, of course, there’s the “crown jewel”: the nature preserve.
Most tourists come to Costa Rica seeking a chance to spend time in the country’s spectacular natural beauty. here are many, many beautiful places to choose from. So what will make Las Cascadas unique?
Our nature preserve includes the tallest waterfall in Costa Rica (and, we’ve been told, in Central America), another that starts 75 meters away, is 25 meters lower and connects to the taller one in a pool at the bottom, another 10 or 11 smaller falls on that river as it proceeds, and at least four more falls on three more streams, two of which are in excess of 250 meters tall.
With the tallest fall in the country and so many more so close-by, there is no other place like it.
In addition to the mesmerizing waterfalls and various pools one can swim in, the nature preserve will give visitors a chance to see a wide variety of native plant and animal species, to swim in the many pools and to hike many kilometers of improved trails and a small network of raised boardwalks through the forest. There will also be a chance to enjoy amazing views from various suspended bridges. Accommodation options in the preserve will include a campground, various cottages or a lodge-style hotel.
But most importantly, the nature preserve will give visitors—the majority of whom come from urban areas—the opportunity to really experience a connection with the majesty of nature that they may not be able to experience otherwise.
And as our visitors enjoy our various offerings, we will be both subtly and not-so-subtly educating them about the impact of the choices that we’re making and so encouraging them to consider the impact of their own choices.
Education and Enrichment Programs Would Help Inspire Visitors About the Differences They Can Make in Their Own Lives and the World
Visitors will be able to either hike in and out of the valley from the commercial village on various trails, or can take our electric or bio-diesel shuttle. Around the top of the head of the valley, a 3- to 4-kilometer long trail will wind along the edge of the valley with many places where there will be enchanting views into the valley from three sides.
Halfway up from the valley floor to the commercial village above, you’ll find the retreat center, where four or five different programs may be happening simultaneously. With a variety of different teaching and presenting spaces, a dining hall (also organic raw vegan) retreats will occur in this beautiful area, above the valley floor but still very much ensconced in nature. Retreats will be around raw food, yoga, spirituality, sacred sex, art and music, and anything else that is good for the human soul and spirit.
Further up the road, one will encounter the commercial village, which will be the entry point, and for visitors, the center of the project.
Visitors will park and enter the village, where they can buy their tickets for the various activities, catch their shuttle to the retreat center, into the nature preserve, to the botanical garden, to the fruit farm or to various other places.
While waiting for the shuttle, after enjoying one our primary attractions, or whenever they have free time, visitors will have the chance to wander through the lovely commercial village, a collection of one- and two-story buildings housing shops, eateries, galleries, boutiques, an organic market, a juice bar, a raw vegan chocolate shop, a raw vegan ice cream shop, offices, a museum and more.
Gardens, benches, fountains and outdoor art will make the area beautiful and will keep it interesting.
This will be a place to relax; enjoy a meal or snack (all food will be organic raw vegan); browse through various art galleries; check out the organic market, with hundreds of fruits available; stroll through the artisan village, where we’ll showcase local artists and artisans; read a book; get a massage; take a yoga class; learn how raw chocolate is made; shop for organic and handmade clothing and other products; play a game of backgammon or chess while enjoying a juice or smoothie; get a haircut; catch some live music or a classic movie; or just stroll through the park-like atmosphere.
There will be various accommodation options around the project, including another campground not far from the village, rental cottages, small hotels, and bed and breakfasts.
The Las Cascadas Intentional Community Would Include Residents, Extended-Stay Guests and Day Tourists, With Most Businesses Operated by Residents
In addition to many day tourists, who will come to enjoy one or more of our main attractions, there will be many others who come for a one-week retreat, who come to study at one of the various schools on site for one to 12 weeks, who come for a conference or a festival, or who simply choose to spend several days or more on site because they want to take their time to enjoy a wider selection of the attractions and activities that we offer.
Others who may not be ready to live on site full time but who want to be a regular part of what we do may spend a month or more on site every year (with various ownership options as well.)
These long- and medium-term guests will be looking for things to do, places to eat and ways to spend their free time, and the commercial village will provide many opportunities for each.
And the exciting part is that most of the businesses that meet these needs will be run by community members.
Although some community members will be able to sell their home or business somewhere else to relocate here and may not need to work, and others may be able to earn what they need online, still others will need to find a way to create an income.
And so as we create an amazing experience for our visitors, we’ll simultaneously make it possible for our community members to run a business where the likelihood of success would be dramatically higher than it would be if it weren’t within such a project where we will attract so many visitors each year.
Each business will contribute to the overall project in the same way that each community member contributes to the intentional community. As the project thrives, we all thrive.
And although the intentional communities will be set up as green condominiums, where each member owns his or her lot and home and the majority of land is owned by the homeowner’s association to which each community member belongs, all the rest of the land will be owned by a nonprofit foundation to ensure that it is protected in perpetuity.
Las Cascadas will serve as a model of how it’s possible to live gently in concert with nature and others while earning a living doing something you enjoy and is actually beneficial to the planet.
Together, we can help create a new world, and Las Cascadas gives you the chance to do this in a spectacularly beautiful slice of paradise.
So where are we now? Well, we have recorded option contracts to buy 14 farms, have the title to one farm now and will be getting the title to three others as soon as the government finishes the recording process. We’re working on developing a site plan for the intentional community as well as a map of the entire project. We hope to be ready to start building in the community in the next 12 months and are seeking community members as well as investors.
If you’d like to help create something amazing, come join us!