The Goddess Garden
A Spiritual Retreat Center in Cahuita, Costa Rica.
A place to reconnect with nature, yourself and the universe.
Meet the Team
Sylvie Horvath – Certified Yoga Instructor & Co-owner
Sylvie Horvath has been a yoga instructor for over 30 years, studying extensively in India, the United States, Canada, Brazil and Switzerland, with masters of our time in the fields of yoga, ayurveda, meditation, breath work, indigenous plant medicine and spirituality. Some of her teachers include Dr. Vasant Lad, Yogi Amrit Desai, Yogi Bhajan, Sandra Summerfield Kozak, Dr. Tom Goode, Rama Joyti Vernon, Marshall Govindan, Wim Hof, and Ramanand Patel.
She is an Aurvedic counselor and a certified instructor of the Amrit Yoga Method – a hatha yoga based, kundalini inspired yoga practice created by Sri Yogi Amrit Desai, the founder of Kripalu and Amrit Yoga.
John Jairo Ocampo – Professional Ayurvedic Practitioner
Born in 1965 and growing up in Colombia, John Jairo made a point of helping others and sharing his healing gift with the people around him. He moved to Switzerland at the age of 19 where he joined the First-Aid Association, eventually becoming president of the local branch. He also enrolled in the volunteer fire fighters in his village at the age of 23. He was in charge of first aid training for 10 years. During a short stay in the Indian sub-continent in 2002, he encountered Ayurveda and decided to dedicate the rest of his life to this philosophy. Shortly after his return to Europe, he started his training and was soon recognized as an intuitive therapist by both his teachers and his peers. In 2005, he opened a successful Ayurvedic practice within a yoga center in Geneva, Switzerland. John Jairo Ocampo moved to the Caribbean region of Costa Rica in 2007. Locals and visitors enjoy the great benefits of his Ayurvedic treatments.
Jonas Uens – Professional Chef
Jonas is from Napanee, a small town in Canada in the province of Ontario. His culinary training began at 18 in a tiny restaurant as a preparation cook. His love for cooking has taken him over the last 13 years to French, Italian and Spanish tapas restaurants. He was invited by The Goddess Garden to lead the team at Le Toucan Restaurant, and for the last four years Jonas and his team have brought exciting and innovative vegetarian cooking to the guests. All our food is made from scratch with fresh local ingredients. He enjoys the atmosphere at Le Toucan where he can explore different ways of cooking to bring enjoyment to the palates of our visitors.
Jacqueline Bürkler & Marcelo Ruiz – Founders & Co-owners
Jacqueline was born in Switzerland where she grew up and achieved a pH. D. in natural sciences from the prestigious Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich. She always liked to travel and in early years traveled through Europe, Asia and the continent of America. She lived 13 years in Colombia before changing her home to Costa Rica in 1999. The serenity of the rainforest and the pristine beaches of the Caribbean Sea inspired the idea to create an intentional place for transformation: The Goddess Garden Spiritual Retreat Center.
Marcelo was born in Ecuador and at the age of nineteen went to live in Chicago where he got a degree in Art. He also attended Northwestern University where he obtained a teaching certificate. He taught algebra and geometry in public schools.
Among his interests are spirituality, meditation, shamanism, films, poetry,indigenous tribes, community service and Argentine tango dancing.
Christian Ritter – Co-owner
Christian was born in Switzerland where he grew up on a farm. He spent his early years learning music at the Conservatoire de Lausanne. He studied at the Université de Lausanne where he got a BSc and MSs in Economics and later a BSc and MSc in Psychology. He then pursued a 12 years long career at IBM Global Business Services where he was working as a Senior Managing Consultant.
Since his early age, Christian has been interested in human condition and ancestral spiritual traditions. He has been travelling around the world to learn meditation, ayahuasca and spiritism. It has led him to discover various countries and cultures in Europe, Asia, North America and South America.
Since its inception, The Goddess Garden was planned to preserve nature
The buildings are distributed over an area of 14 acres using the natural clearings in the forest to build the resort. The water in the rooms is heated by solar panels to cut down the use of electricity. Our restaurant serves mainly vegetarian dishes with organic vegetables and fruits locally grown. We compost our organic leftovers. This compost is put back as fertilizer in our garden.
Every action to conserve energy helps to minimize the damage that we cause to Mother Earth and we go the old fashion way of drying the clothes in the sun when possible. In our vision for the future is the creation of the Peace Garden. At the Goddess Garden, we would like to have a museum in the forest with sculptures and paintings representing the feminine energy of the Universe. It will be dedicated to honor Mother Earth.