#ModicInterview – Pura Vida with Alberto and Margherita

Costa Rica is named the third best Green Country in the World, according to the recently released 2014 Global Green Economy Index.

In the 1940s more than three-quarters of Costa Rica was covered with trees. From lush tropical rainforests, home to hundreds of rare species, to cloud forests at the top of the world a total of six different ecosystems could be found across the tiny Central American nation. But the decades that followed devastated the country’s forests as logging companies turned this irreplaceable natural resource into profit. Land was cleared to be used for crops and livestock, changing it forever. An all-too-familiar story in tropical regions where an area of rainforest the size of a football pitch is thought to be lost every 6 seconds.

By the 1980s, only a third of the woodland that used to blanket the Central American nation remained. It had one of the highest rates of deforestation in all of Latin America. Reading its history, you might not expect Costa Rica to be world-leading in its conservation efforts. In a remarkably short space of time, however, the country has managed to dramatically turn things around.

It has become one of the first tropical countries to all but end deforestation and reverse its loss of nature. Today, around 75 per cent of its land is once again covered in forest. Making up just 0.03 per cent of global landmass, Costa Rica now protects 5 per cent of the world’s rapidly shrinking biodiversity.

The country’s respect for the environment is also being reinforced by its successful ecotourism industry. Nearly two-thirds of the three million people that visit Costa Rica every year do so because of its nature, according to the tourism board. Tourism makes up 8.2 per cent of the country’s GDP and around 10 per cent of citizens are employed in the sector. Unlike some other destinations that rely on visitors to keep their economy afloat, the industry is helping to protect the environment that draws people in rather than destroying it.

“We made a decision as a country that tourism would become a tool for social progress, not just an industry that produces jobs,” says Gustavo Segura Sancho, the country’s minister for tourism.

“Had we chosen a model of aggressive growth in mass tourism, then there would have been no conservation of nature.”

He explains that the small rural and coastal areas, likely to attract the most visitors, are also those most in need of social progress. In the last 30 years or so a healthy number of tourists has allowed the building of multiple new schools, hospitals and health clinics to strengthen these communities. It has led to a 97 per cent literacy rate which makes sharing all kinds of information among the population a lot easier. Segura Sancho says that tourism now helps to directly fund this combined approach to education, health and conservation.

“What that has really meant is we have now 26 per cent of our territory in some form of conservation and the main source of financing for those efforts of conservation, is tourism,” he adds.

Costa Rica is known for its incredible national parks, where tourists can enjoy some thrilling activities like river rafting, canyoning, cave tubing, and zip lining. It’s also one of the best places for animal lovers to discover some interesting wildlife like macaws, sea turtles, and adorable sloths.

”We are Alberto & Margherita, an Italian couple that decided to live a new life in paradise: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.”



Alberto and Margherita built Buena Onda Bungalows – https://www.buenaonda.cr/ with the aim to share this special place with us, letting us live the best holiday surrounded by the jungle life with all the modern comforts and services at the same time. A perfect fusion between nature, sustainability living and functionality of various activities like yoga, surf, meditation and beach walks.



We were so impressed by their dream project built during the pandemic period, but planned few years before during a holiday, so we got in touch with them to find out more:

Why did you choose Costa Rica? 
Alberto: The Buena Onda project has been a dream in the drawer for more than 10 years. Being a surfing enthusiast the basic requirements were obviously the Waves. After years of traveling in different tropical countries, I decided to invest in Costa Rica because it had all the requirements I was looking for: warm all year round, tropical beaches, perfect waves and unspoiled nature. Furthermore, it is a country that welcomes investors by allowing them to carry out their businesses, there are still many opportunities for growth in different fields.
Margherita: Costa Rica is only recently discovering itself both from a business and a tourist point of view. It is a country that offers many opportunities for those who are young and for those who have the desire to carry out an entrepreneurial project. Here everything is still in progress and it is very stimulating to be part of this positive energy of growth.

How did you discover your favorite place in Costa Rica and how Buena Onda was born?

Alberto: I came to Santa Teresa with a friend in 2013 and immediately fell in love with this place. It is a surfing paradise: perfect waves, many spots to experience and warm water all year round. This location on the Costa Pacifica offers 15km of open beach, with white sand and the lush jungle that surrounds it. It is the tropical beach of dreams.

Margherita: We went back together on holiday in Playa Santa Teresa in 2019 and, for fun, we made some appointments with the local real estate agent. We fell in love with the first land we visited, 150 meters from the beach. We took it as a sign of destiny, perhaps it was time to make Alberto’s dream come true. For me the process of developing the project was much longer and more painful but it was an opportunity and an adventure that I didn’t want to miss for any reason. Therefore, after a few months Alberto returned to Costa Rica to buy the property and from there the project was born, which was already in our minds.

Which decades of generations influenced you the most and why? 

Both: The 70s for the explosion of energy: the end of darkness, the rediscovered freedom, new rights conquered, economic growth, the possibility of being able to express one’s individuality, the feeling of being free in a world of colors.

What makes Buena Onda so unique and original?

Both: We are Buena Onda, it is a place that represents us and wherever our touch is found. The project was carried out by us as well as all the stylistic details. We used local materials, everything is made with natural elements from Costa Rica: wood, palm leaves and bamboo, which comes directly from our garden.

”We wanted to create chic zero-impact huts, surrounded by nature but with all the comforts, we hope we have succeeded!”


What do you expect from your clients when they choose Buena Onda? 

Both: Let them be smiling in the first place. We called our place Buena Onda because in Spanish it has the double meaning of “Good Vibes” and “Beautiful Waves”.

Our goal is that customers become friends and can return home having had a 360 ° positive experience. We are very keen to convey to our customers the philosophy behind the Buena Onda: to live the Pura Vida to the fullest, that is to come into contact with nature and its animals, to enjoy the beach and natural spectacles such as sunsets. Leave the busy life aside and embrace the rhythm of the jungle.

Speaking about your choice to leave Italy and follow a dream, what is the message that people should understand when it comes to make a decision like yours?

Alberto: It is never too late to pursue a dream that seems feasible to you somewhere in the world.

Margherita: Life is a changing adventure, you never know what the future holds for you. So it’s important to be able to pick the right signals and know when it’s time to jump in and try.

Tell us a little bit about your background and what freedom means to you? 

Alberto: After graduating in business administration, I traveled the world working in almost all fields of hospitality. I have always known that the office was not a reality for me so I wanted to experience experiences that made me grow as a person. I was a chef in Australia, ice cream maker in Miami, I spent several seasons in Romagna; everything served me to be able to realize my dream.

For me, freedom means being able to decide on one’s life without being accountable to third parties.

Margherita: I left my home when I was 18 years old, I graduated in Oriental Languages, I obtained the MA in Management and Communication and I worked for 5 years in the fashion field. I have lived in many places both during university (China and Spain) and for work (Switzerland, France and around Italy).

For me, freedom means deciding how to manage your time, the most precious asset.

What other hobbies make you tick?

Alberto: Surf and motorcycling. 
Margherita: Dance and reading. They have accompanied me during my growth and are always present in my every day.
What’s on your current music playlist?
Alberto: A little bit of everything, from Bob Marley to Lucio Dalla and 70-80s rock. 
Margherita: a miscellany – old Italian singers-songwriters because I’m homesick, 70s and 90s soft rock, classical and Indian music.
How you do approach a sustainable lifestyle and what’s your creative process?
Alberto: Since I started traveling alone at the age of 20, I have realized that a sustainable lifestyle was the only possible one. Traveling opens your mind and makes you truly aware of the “state of health” of the world. I have always preferred nature to big cities so for me the direction towards a sustainable lifestyle has been quite simple.
Margherita: I only started to get passionate about this theme in the last few years. Costa Rica was its catalyst because it is one of the leading and representative countries of a sustainable lifestyle. Here everyone in his own small way is careful to respect nature, its biodiversity and at the government level there are many projects already implemented on renewable energy and preserving the environment. In a country where nature and animals are far more present than humans, it is almost automatic to give them priority, submitting to their laws and needs. From this point of view there is a lot to learn, nature teaches you something every day.
How the pandemic situation affected Buena Onda and how did you overcome this challenge? 
Both: Obviously, among the many difficulties we faced, the Pandemic was the icing on the cake. In such a surreal situation we tried to bring out the positives: that is to start construction when the country was closed and without tourism in order to take advantage of all the time available, and so it actually was. For us, the pandemic represented the moment of construction and therefore, if we want, the opening of the Buena Onda to the public marked a real rebirth.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for people nowadays when it comes to live somewhere they are not happy? 
Alberto: Because they have never questioned themselves internally to really understand who they are and what can make them happy.
Margherita: Do not resign yourself and do not fall into the routine of a life that you do not feel yours.
What would you change in a toxic system in order to improve more the sustainable lifestyle?
Alberto: Stop following the dogmas imposed by a consumer society that does not think about the well-being of the individual but about profit.
Margherita: having more time available to be able to move around on foot or by bicycle, more time to be able to shop in small grocery stores without consuming ready-to-eat foods, more time to devote to taking care of ourselves, our family and friends. detoxification to bring more love to the environment around us, aspire to have more time.
What are the main activities we can experience at Buena Onda?
Both: We offer various activities, all in contact with nature. We do yoga classes in our rancho in the garden, surf classes for all levels, boat trips to dive or fish, horseback riding, chocolate tasting tours and finally the possibility to book a relaxing massage directly in your bungalow.
Can you tell us the difference between being an entrepreneur between Italy and Costa Rica? 
Both: From this point of view, Italy is a very complicated country, which does not give young people the opportunity to experiment and create. Alberto has documented and informed for a long time to be able to start a project a few steps from our shores but they have always slammed the door in his face.
In Costa Rica it’s the other way around, investors, with any type / budget, are seen as an asset and therefore welcomed. Even if from the bureaucratic point of view a lot of patience is needed, the times are biblical ones of South America.
Your morning routine?
Alberto: In Costa Rica you live following the rhythm of the sun so you wake up very early in the morning and go to sleep in the evening after dinner. You can’t start the day without an espresso and then a surf session in front of the house.
Margherita: I drink an espresso with Alberto and then take a long walk on the beach with the dogs.
When I get home I make myself a smoothie with banana and coconut water then my day starts.
The most important person of your life who always supported you in taking decisions? 
Alberto: My family and Margherita.
Margherita: I would say myself. Only when I was open did I begin to receive appreciation and support from my family.
I understand their point of view, they certainly did not expect such a choice from me since I had a completely different life. But seeing the satisfaction in their eyes is the thing that makes me most proud. It means I did something good.
What would you write inside a letter to tour FUTURE self? 
Alberto: Thank you.
Margherita: If you have accomplished all of this, you are much stronger than you think. Don’t be afraid and trust your intuition, never abandoning logic and rationality. Now you already know that anything can happen in life so leave fear aside and face everything that happens to you as an opportunity to grow, explore and improve yourself. Moments of change are those that allow you to know sides of yourself that you never thought you had; your courage, your tenacity and your patience are an inexhaustible source that you now know you have and from which you can always draw. Never abandon your roots, the people you really love and your passions as a girl, they are your anchor when you feel lost, the zero point. Always try to be yourself, express your opinions and your personality, because there is no worse person to deceive.

An interview by Mira Postolache 

Check also: #ModicInterview – Issey Cross