What is Veranito in Costa Rica?!

Veranito is the name for the temporary lull in the green season that comes in late July and early August in Costa Rica. These precious three or four weeks bring a reduction in the level of rain, giving way to sunny hot days and cool, misty evenings. So, if you’ve been thinking about making a trip down to Lapa Rios in Costa Rica, now is the time!

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.17.31 PMWhat is the green season?
The green season here begins in May and goes until mid-November, and is a magnificent time to see the country. During this time, the rainfall all over the country increases, bringing about the rejuvenation of ecosystems and habitats.

Romantic yellow carpet of flowers for Lapa Rios guestsWhy is the green season a great time to go to Costa Rica?
Well, fortunately for those interested in traveling here, there are many misconceptions about the realities of this season! This means that prices are often lowered, so you can get incredible value for your dollar. The green season is truly a wonderful time to visit. Flora and fauna flourish, the sounds of the rainforest reverberate through refreshed soil, rivers thrive, the rainforest grows more mystical, and certain parts of the country which during the high season are dry and bland come alive with color and vitality. Another advantage is that the wetness tends to come at the same time each day, being in the late afternoon, so planning activities with this in mind, is very doable!

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What are downsides of travel during this time?
As the increased rainfall brings increased wetness, driving can be a little more difficult. However, for guests coming to Lapa Rios, the roads taken to reach us are well travelled, so they are fine, even during this time of year. In addition, because Lapa Rios is surrounded by rainforest, guests never have to go far to see the natural wonders of the Osa Peninsula. They’re often right outside your jungle bungalow!

White-Nosed Coati at Lapa Rios Ecolodge in Costa RicaUltimately, don’t be disillusioned.
Even during the dry season here it rains! Costa Rica is covered in rainforest… after all. The immense wilderness will captivate, the friendly people will warm and the stunning wildlife will inspire, during any time of year.

Edwin VillarealCheck out this blog for a detailed outline of when to travel in Costa Rica and what you’ll experience at different times of the year!

Eight reasons to come to Lapa Rios!

Here are eight words to sum up some of the amazing things about Costa Rica!

Lapa Rios management teamPeople – The Costa Rican people are welcoming, warm-hearted and good humored. Eager to ensure that each visitor has a positive experience, you will find that everyone from surf instructors to street vendors is hospitable, accepting and warm.

Unexplored – Much of Costa Rica remains extraordinarilly untouched by modern life, so while you’re trecking through the rainforest, you truly come to feel that you’re in another world.

A frog holding onto a leaf in Costa RicaRainforest – The rainforest will play host to all your dreams and adventures while in Costa Rica. You can search for creatures of all kinds while learning a little about them too! Monkeys, 3-toed sloths, birds, iguanas and frogs are just a few commonly sighted members of the animal kingdom.

Adventure – Surfing, whale watching, snorkeling, kayaking, zip-lining. These are just a few of the activities you will love to take part in while staying with us at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge.

Waterfall Vibrant – The colors of the jungle, ocean and all their inhabitants are stunning, and serve as inspiration for everything from art to action. Seeing these animals and their ecosystems up close, in all their glory, is one of the best ways to encourage people to care about their well being.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 4.52.31 PMInternational – Costa Rica is well versed in the tourism industry, and has an incredible blend of nationalities, cultures and ethnicities visit each year. In addition, with an always improving economy, international trade is of growing importance for local businesses.

Delicious – Food here is so darn good. At Lapa Rios our open-air Brisa Azul restaurant keeps guests full of fresh, nutritious and tasty meals. Our chefs are passionate about creating top quality meals, and it shows in the quality of each dish.

Tortilla making at Lapa Rios Eco LodgeAlways an awesome time – Whether you’re here for just a few days or months on end, everyone who leaves Costa Rica is a little more bronzed, a lot more relaxed and a definitely happier than when they came!

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.18.13 PMP.S.The first letter of each of these eight words forms the phrase “Pura Vida”. This is the law of the land in Costa Rica, serving as a means to say practical and concrete things like hello and goobye, but also used in expressing more profound and meaningful feelings. Synonymous with “Hakuna Matata”, a life lived by Pura Vida encourages one to enjoy life and all the happiness, sadness and surprise it brings.

29, 32, 63, 1

29 days, 32 teams, 63 games, 1 winner. As the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup came to a close over the weekend we think it’s fitting to look back on the tournament, and Costa Rica’s legendary involvement!

The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, bringing one nation and a handful of players the glory of being world champions of the great game (until the next tournament). Unfortunately this year Costa Rica was not number one, but advancing to the quarter-finals to mark our nations best ever performance in the tournament, is an achievement that has gone far from unrecognized!

The HerosIn group play our Ticos tied England 0-0, beat Italy 1-0, and Uruguay 3-1. We then beat Greece in shoot-outs to advance to the final eight! After an incredibly hard fought defensive game against the Netherlands in the quarter finals it came down to penalties once again, and unfortunately it didn’t go our way this time.

Graduation party at La Carbonera School on Osa PeninsulaLuckily for Costa Rica our loss to the Netherlands was bitter-sweet. Yes, we were out of the running for winning the tournament, but the efforts by our men were so impressive and inspiring, we couldn’t be too distraught. Beyond just the soccer, the World Cup truly illustrated some of the best characteristics of Costa Rica and our people.

Osa Peninsula Soccer1. We are the underdog – Being a small country, with about 4,579,000 people and a total area of 19,730 sq mi (51,100 sq km), we may not seem as big or strong as other nations, but we definitely proved that desire, spirit and passion often win out against bigger opponents. This same philosophy translates to every aspect of life in Costa Rica. Though we may sometimes seem small, we are mighty, and so often compete on the world stage, in everything from culinary tourism to developing environmentally sustainable practices.

Lapa Rios Team, Osa Peninsula2. We play to win – Though the odds may have been stacked against us, we never once dropped our heads or doubted ourselves. Similarly, though we may face challenges as a nation, our foundation is strong with an army of dreamers and doers, and we have proven that we can truly rank among the top destinations in the world for agriculture, tourism, wildlife and more.

The house-keeping staff at Lapa Rios ecolodge.

The house-keeping staff at Lapa Rios Ecolodge

3. We love every moment – Though our team didn’t come home with the trophy, they created incredible memories for their countrymen and women, as well as for themselves, to share for many years to come. Here in Costa Rica, we like to live by the saying “pura vida”. It literally translates to “pure life”, but to us it means so much more than that. It means that no matter what you have or where you are, you must enjoy life. You must take the good with the bad, and find a way to still be happy. It is used generously in day to day interactions between Costa Rican’s and is one of the ways we remind ourselves of this lovely way of life.

Two school girls smiling in Puerto JimenezUntil next time, pura vida!

Birds, Birds and More Birds at Lapa Rios

As one of Central America’s top birding destinations, Lapa Rios is proud to be nestled in more than a 1,000 acres of primary and old re-growth rainforest. Having recorded more than 325 bird species, a vacation to Lapa Rios entails sightings of lots of rare, exotic and beautiful birds.

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Golden Naped Woodpecker

In a 4-5 day stay at Lapa Rios, guests statistically have been found to see and hear more than 100 new bird species! We have three main structured birding tours, but of course, all guests are encouraged to do as much birding as they would like, even if it just means looking out their bungalow and spotting the wildlife!

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 4.52.08 PM

Ruddy Breasted Seedeater

Early Bird Tour
Difficulty Level: Easy
Duration: 2 Hours
Location: On Property

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Black Cheeked Ant Tanager

Sunset Birds Tour
Difficulty Level: Easy
Duration: 2 Hours
Location: On Property

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 4.52.31 PM

Scarlet Macaws

Corcovado National Park Tour
Difficulty Level: Hard
Duration: Full Day
Location: Off Property

Come on down and enjoy your stay full of adventure, relaxation and bird watching!

Surfing on the Osa Peninsula

Sometimes you’ve got an incredibly well kept secret. It’s so well hidden that you don’t even think about the news leaking, i would be impossible… well to the dismay of many local surfers, the secret is out… the Osa has waves, BIG ones.

The Costa Rica Times published a great shot of a surfer catching a beautiful ten foot wave, not far from Lapa Rios.

The beautiful surfing waters!

The beautiful surfing waters!

This is just one more reason why the Osa Peninsula really is the most diverse place on earth. You’ve got incredible nature surrounding you, incredible tours, a lifetime of things to learn, and also extremely great conditions for adventure sports. We’ve said it before, but wow we feel lucky to live on the Osa.

 

Have a Budding Biologist in the Family?

If your answer to the title of this blog post was yes, Lapa Rios needs to be your next vacation destination!

With loads of on and off-property tours available for guests, anyone interested in ecology, biology or unfamiliar creatures will be in paradise.

Lapa Rios Eco Lodge is nestled into a 1,000 acre nature reserve, home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity, which just so happens to be Central America’s last lowland tropical rainforest on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. The variety of flora and fauna is breathtaking, as is the exotic wildlife.

CatIn the nearby Corcovado National Park you will get to see some of Costa Rica’s endangered animals including pumas, jaguars, scarlet macaws and the great harpy eagle. While there are many off-property tours to go on from dolphin and kayak tours, surf lessons, and waterfall repelling to zip lining and touring botanic gardens, our on-property tours are some of the best in the area!

waterfallWith more than a dozen tours all included in your stay with us, we are turning the traditional all-inclusive on its head, taking you beyond buffet dinners and pool-side cocktails. So, while you’re at Lapa Rios here are a few things to do:

1. Plant a Tree
With a reforestation program in place here, we call on each guest to lend a hand in repopulating the rainforest with her native vegetation. Each guest who takes part in this activity will learn about the tree they’ve planted and its role in the ecosystem. This is a great way to introduce any youngster to the concept of environmental impact and sustainability.

Guest experiences at Lapa Rios2. See the Rainforest and Her Creatures in the Moonlight
This is a super fun way to get to know the rainforest and some of her inhabitants! Guests will go out with a guide and a flashlight, and learn about some of our crazy nocturnal creatures and their homes. Frogs, bats, insects, kinkajous and many others will be seen and heard while exploring. After a couple hours, guests can return for dinner and discuss their incredible sightings!

Golfo Dulce poison dart frog3. Search for Birds
Birding is a favorite activity for many of our guests. Enjoy this morning tour exploring the rainforest and being in the company of over 300 bird species! Have your young environmental enthusiast try to identify different birds by their appearance, or even learn to do it by their song.

costa-rica-snowy-cotinga4. Learn about Local Plants and Aeeds
Get to know the area and her native greenery through the lens of traditional medicine. Following local guides through the primary rainforest, you will come to understand the breadth of knowledge surrounding natural medicine. Did you know turmeric has been found to help prevent and treat arthritis and cancer?

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.17.31 PM5. Go Searching for Starfish
Learn all about the marine biology of one of only four tropical fjords in the world. The Golfo Dulce, meaning sweet gulf, is home to innumerable species. Guests will see crabs, starfish and sea cucumbers, among many others, while enjoying a lovely afternoon on the water.

Lapa Rios Team, Osa Peninsula

What do you do without internet

Not many people can believe that we do not have Wifi. We don’t think that having an internet connection while you are here at Lapa Rios is terribly important.  There isn’t even cell reception at Lapa Rios, if you do bring your phone we’ve got some ideas of what you can do with it.

So what do you do without internet when you are in Costa Rica on the the Osa Peninsula without an internet connection? We’ve got some ideas:

  1. Get outside! Even the rooms at Lapa Rios feel like they are outside because we don’t use windows. In place of windows we have bug nets to allow for the air to come through but the bugs stay out. When you’re outside you can read a book, write down status updates in your journal, or take a walk on one of our many walking trails.

    Walking through the Lapa Rios property.

    Walking through the Lapa Rios property.

  2. Go on a tour. All of the tours that take place on Lapa Rios property are included in your stay. So sign up for some morning birding, a nature walk, a bar tending class, or tour down to the Matapalo beach.

    Learning about the rainforest on the medicine tour.

    Learning about the rainforest on the medicine tour.

  3. Go for a swim! We have a beautiful ozone treated chlorine free swimming pool at Lapa Rios. It’s the perfect way to cool down on a hot day. It’s also got an amazing view of the Golfo Dulce and Corcovado Park. If you’re lucky you can even see whales swimming in the ocean below.

    The swimming pool at Lapa Rios

    The swimming pool at Lapa Rios

Cost and Time from Your Door-Step to Ours

Costa Rica is one of Central America’s gems, and sits nestled between Nicaragua and Panama.

Being thin and long, access to the warm Caribbean waters is never too far. Costa Rica is popular for its gorgeous climate, its inviting population, and its treasured rainforests and wildlife. But there’s also another reason Costa Rica is so popular – it is so accessible! We all know that life is busy with work, family and friends, but it is so important to take time to travel, see other places and change up you day-to-day scenery.

waterfallLapa Rios Eco-Lodge is just a 45-minute drive from the city of Puerto Jimenez, cozied up to the rainforest and beach. So, how do you get here? Three simple steps.

1. Fly from your home city to Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)
2. Take a 50-minute flight from SJO to Puerto Jimenez airport (five $100 dollar flights daily: 5:35 am, 8:23 am, 9:15 am, 11:45 am, 12:10 pm)
3. Drive 45 minutes from Puerto Jimenez to Lapa Rios Eco Lodge

Giving an hour to get to the airport from your home, 2 hours at the airport before your flight, 1 hour layover in SJO and the flight and drive time outlined above, we have calculated the time and cost to get from your door-step to ours, using a few major Canadian and American cities.

New York
11 Hours, $820.00

Houston
11 Hours, $850.00

Toronto
13.5 Hours, $820.00

Chicago
13.5 Hours, $590.00

Philadelphia
14 Hours, $880.00

Calgary
16 Hours, $1030.00

Vancouver
16 Hours, $1050.00

Portland
16 Hours, $970.00

Some of the local kids at the Carbonera School.

Some of the local kids at the Carbonera School.

Using the same means of calculation, it takes 16 Hours and costs $1,400 to go from New York to Hawaii, and it takes 8 Hours and costs $600 to go from New York to Cancun. As you can see, Costa Rica is a happy medium, and offers a lot more than just an all inclusive at one of these touristy places.

A frog holding onto a leaf in Costa Rica

School’s Out For Summer!

Any kid who just read that headline thought to themselves “OHH YEAHHH” and any working parent just thought to themselves “ohh no”…

When parents get home from a long day at work in an office that’s maybe a little too warm, the last thing they feel like doing is devising an exciting and educational activity for their children. Well, Lapa Rios to the rescue! With us you will experience the most supped-up family vacation ever. You’ll spend your days outside enjoying the outdoors and the wildlife, you’ll have a ton of fun learning all the time, and you’ll reach 7:30 and be exhausted and ready for bed (at least the kids will be)!

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.18.13 PMWith world class amenities like a spa, a salt based pool, a guide hut and a yoga deck we also offer tours that will take you to waterfalls, the rainforest (by day or night) and the local school. You can surf, horseback ride, hike, tree plant, bird watch and so much more! Beyond the tours there’s another thing we love – we have no Internet. That might have made a few of you gasp, but it really is a blessing. How often in your busy life do you get to sit down with friends or family and have everyone completely present?

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.17.18 PMWithout possibility of staring at a screen all day connecting with people in a different place, you’re encouraged to engage with where you are. Engage with the other guests of the hotel. Engage with your friends or family you’re with! Instead of playing Candy Crush and Angry Birds you’ll play Marco Polo and have competitions to see who can hold their breath for longer.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.16.54 PMAny parent bringing their child here is giving them an educational, eco-friendly and unbelievably fun vacation. With a living, breathing classroom right outside your bungalow, the kids will love learning – that is if they even realize they’re doing it! And parents, the learning isn’t only reserved only for the little critters – every guest leaves with a new understanding of our rainforests, Costa Rica and Central America as a whole.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.17.52 PMSo, when the teacher asks “So Mark, what did you do this summer?” he’ll have stories of howler monkeys, sloths and pumas to tell!

What is the Cayuga Collection?

Although Lapa Rios is run independently we are proudly part of the Cayuga Collection. This collection of small-scale eco-lodges, formed 20 years ago, promotes sustainable tourism through a four pillared approach: environment, culture, financial, and community.

Roberto at Lapa Rios

Roberto at Lapa Rios

When we signed on with Cayuga we were not simply looking for a management company, we were looking for a partner who shared our values and ideals. We were looking for a partner that could help Lapa Rios achieve the level of sustainability that we wanted, and we couldn’t be happier with the results.

Cayuga has helped Lapa Rios in many ways. Together we have secured our land as a private nature reserve, we have implemented an ozone water treatment system for our pool instead of using chlorine, we have gotten rid of plastic water bottles and drinking straws (we use bamboo straws produced exclusively for Cayuga properties), we have started a garden and small scale farm with pigs that are used to eat food waste and we then harvest their bio-gasses for kitchen fuel… The list goes on and on.

One of the incredible things Cayuga has done is helped us give back to our community through a partnership with Earth Equilibrium. The local school in Puerto Jimenez just got a new playground thanks to generous donations from our guests.

Cooking with bio-fuels.

Cooking with bio-fuels.

The important thing is that we have found an industry partner that understands that tourism to us is much more than getting “heads in beds”. Tourism is a way to share an incredible place with people from around the world, and if we have anything to say about it this place will be around for generations and generations to come.