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Villa Perezoso News…March 2013

March 30, 2013


The Villa

Villa Perezoso..a luxury vacation villa in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Welcome to our Villa Perezoso Blog. We wanted to create this blog to share with you more about life and happenings in Manuel Antonio, along with Villa Perezoso news and photos and even on occasion to post some of our chef’s favorite recipes!

Some history…

To us, Manuel Antonio is as close to paradise as it gets. Our dream was to someday live in a tropical haven, near the beach and somewhere not too far from “home” (California). Having traveled nearly all the continents and vacationed on many of the worlds’ best islands and tropical destinations, upon arriving in Manuel Antonio in November of 2003, we knew we had to live there someday.
Not only was the place magical, the views heavenly, the beaches some of the best we’ve ever encountered but the friendliness of the people of Costa Rica, with their emphasis on preserving their beautiful country, we knew when we arrived that we were hooked and that we wanted to make Costa Rica our next home.

Meanwhile however, we wanted to create a luxury vacation villa like no other to share with others this beautiful find. We found a gorgeous property with some of the best views we have encountered, bought it and started building. With Bali being another favorite destination of ours, we wanted to bring to our guests what we loved about Bali to Costa Rica–from the feeling of living outdoors, to designing a home using an assortment of natural materials, to providing for our guests the top notch service
that the Balinese are so aptly known for. So we melded the worlds of Bali, with the natural beauty, wildlife of Costa Rica to create our luxury vacation villa.

Our architect, Mauricio, did a beautiful job taking our vision and in creating Villa Perezoso,
with every room having distinctive ocean and jungle views. We travelled to Bali to have all the furniture and accessories custom built for the property and had it transported to Costa Rica. What we love most about Villa Perezoso is its uniqueness; from the views, to the monkeys, sloths and birds who
frequent the property, to the wonderful staff, to the extra touches provided for our guests. The BEST part about the Villa however, is our staff. Unlike any other luxury vacation villa in Manuel Antonio, the property was built with a separate live in quarters for the house manager, Victor, who has been with us for years (we hired him at the beginning of the construction)and he is available 24/7 to meet any and all of your needs. His warm smile, contagious charm , his desire to please
and his knowledge about the area and services, along with our most talented chef, Over’s cuisine, is what our guests say makes the stay perfect. And as far as our brilliant chef …he too has a wonderful personality and a great talent in the kitchen and he is part of our staff (all the other villas offer this at an extra cost). What our guests love about him (you can read more on our testimonials page on our website) is that the shopping, cooking and clean up is all taken care of by them! A true vacation experience (and his top notch, delicious food is better than most of the restaurants)! Our housekeeper manages to add her own special touches each day, delighting guests coming back “home” from the beach to sparkling room.

We also love that nature beckons right outside our luxury vacation villas; I personally love the daily monkey visits
and am always excited upon seeing a “perezoso” in the nearby guarumo tree
(that is how we got our name, but more on that in a later blog). If I could pick out two of my
favorite things about Villa Perezoso is 1) the staff and how they spoil us and our guests and 2) the views from each of the rooms (especially the bathrooms with floor to ceiling glass doors that open up allowing you to shower looking out to the vast jungle and pacific ocean. Its a slice of paradise found.

Visit us at  Villa Perezoso, enjoy our luxury vacation villas…and tell us what your favorite experience is!

Follow us on twitter @villaperezoso

Become a fan of Villa Perezoso on Facebook

 

Pura Vida.

Seda

Introducing Victory, our new adopted baby perezoso

April 3, 2012


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This is a heart-warming story about life, heart, kindness, generosity, serendipity and happen stance that I think you will enjoy. Villa Perezoso luxury villa rentals has “given life” to “Vicky”, a baby perezoso (sloth) rescued by our brilliant and charming house manager, Victor (her namesake). On Feb. 22nd, Victor’s trained ears heard a baby sloth crying for its mother. Upon searching the property, he found her lying on the rainforest floor, mother nowhere to be found. Victor called the amazing local rescue organization, Kids Saving the Rainforest (aka KSTR), who took her to care for the newborn until she gets to be strong and old enough to be freed back on the grounds of Villa Perezoso luxury villa rentals. This organization www.kidssavingtherainforest.org, founded by Dr. Jennifer Rice from Palo Alto, California, relies on the generous donations of the public. Our guests in our luxury villa rentalswho had the privilege of witnessing Vicky’s rescue (named Victory by them), were the first to contribute towards her upbringing. She is doing incredibly well in their facility and will be released in about 6 months time. We will keep you abreast of her progress. Meanwhile, if you find yourself in the beautiful Manuel Antonio, be sure to arrange a visit with Kids Saving the Rainforest and see all the great work they are doing, you can also stay at Villa Perezoso and avail of our luxury villa rental . Years ago, my daughter and I had the incredible opportunity to do some volunteer work for the organization. We spent half a day caring for Koko, another young sloth found and brought to KSTR. I can still remember holding her and being quite surprised by the softness of her hair. Clinging fiercely to her stuffed animal (this not only nurtures them but helps keep their long sharp claws from “hugging” you when they are picked up and “walked”) we took her for walk in the rainforest. We were instructed to place her at the base of trees to help train her to climb them so that she could not only get exercise but learn to forage for herself. We had to keep a careful eye on little Koko, despite being a “sloth”, once she got started up a tree she could move pretty fast and be beyond reach in an instant. Taking care of Koko was one of those memories, like swimming with dolphins, or watching baby sea lions at play, that I will hold onto for a lifetime. We know that Vicky will have the same wonderful care which delights us to no end. If you are interested in donating to this wonderful organization who help care for the injured and abandoned animals of the rainforest, please let us know by sending an email to info@villaperezoso.com or visit the Kids Saving the Rainforest website for details. Stay tuned on her progress on our facebook page. Pura Vida.

Costa Rica’s Holidays

May 10, 2011

Costa Rica is a Catholic country and it’s holidays are mostly church-related. Most businesses, including banks, close on official holidays. The country closes down entirely during the biggest holiday time, Easter Holy Week, but only during Holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday, by Holy Sunday, some services might be available, but don’t count on it in remote parts of the country. Buses stop running on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Banks and offices are closed. And hotels and car rentals are booked solid weeks in advance as everyone seems to head for the beach. Avoid the popular beaches during Easter week. Most Ticos now take the whole Christmas holiday week through New Year as an unofficial holiday.

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Easter in Costa Rica is a perfect opportunity to see colorful religious processions. Individual towns also celebrate their patron saint’s day: highlights usually include a procession, plus bullfights, rodeos, dancing, and other parades. Fireworks and firecrackers are a popular part of local fiestas and church celebrations.

This is the list of the main and official holidays in Costa Rica:

January 1st: New Year’s Day, celebrated with a big dance in San Jose’s Parque Central.

March 19th: St. Joseph’s Day, patron saint of San Jose and San Jose province.

Easter: Holy Week or Semana Santa in Costa Rica. Dates vary annually but businesses will often close for the entire week preceding Easter weekend.

April 11th: Juan Santamaria Day. Public holiday to commemorate the national hero who fought at the battle of Rivas against the American invader William Walker in 1856.

May 1st: Labor Day. Dia de los Trabajadores.

June: Corpus Christi

June 29th: St. Peter and St. Paul’s Day

July 25th: Guanacaste Day. To mark the annexation of Guanacaste from Nicaragua in 1824.

b>August 2nd: Virgin de los Angeles Day. Patron saint of Costa Rica.

August 15th: Mother’s Day and Assumption Day

September 15th: Independence Day, with big patriotic parades celebrates Costa Rica’s independence from Spain in 1821.

October 12th: Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day). Limon province only, marked by carnival, which take place in the week prior to October 12.

November 2nd: All soul’s Day

December 8th: Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.

December 25th: Christmas Day. Family-oriented celebrations with trips to the beach. Much consumption of apples and grapes.

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Our Language

Villa Perezoso Housekeeping

When Ana went up to the gate, she looked for the bell, but there wasn’t one, so she screamed out “Upe!”, the Costa Rican saying for asking to be let in. Then, when Dona Mayela came out, Ana asked her “Como esta?” (how are you), and the lady answered: “Muy bien, gracias a Dios, y usted?” (Very well, thanks to God, and you?). If you’re a foreigner and you don’t know how to speak Spanish, it would be a shame for you to miss out on Costa Rican sayings and language in general. Even though a lot of people living in the capital city of San Jose, Costa Rica speak some English, (especially those people in the tourist trade), you won’t encounter many English-speakers in more rural areas. It’s always advisable to learn at least the basics, so that your stay can be more enjoyable and less stressful.

Costa Ricans don’t use the same Castilian Spanish that’s spoken in Spain. In Costa Rica, its a bit different.  The Spaniards lisp their c’s and z’s and they use the “vosotros” person, while Costa Ricans use the antiquated form of “vos”, and the more formal “usted”. They all mean “you” but they vary in their formality and they affect verb conjugations. Costa Rican Spanish is as dynamic a language as any other, and it’s full of “Tiquismos” or unique sayings and argot. One of the common Tiquismos is the use of the diminutive- Costa Ricans are called “ticos” because they add this word as a suffix in order to create a diminutive. In other words, instead of saying “blanquito” (small, white), they might say “blanquitico” or “blanquititico”, which means the same thing. Ticos also use tons of terms of endearment, which shouldn’t be misinterpreted as mean nicknames. For instance, it’s common for Ticos to call people “flaco” (thin one) or “gordo” (fat one) without intending any offense at all. People of other races are usually called by their race, as in “chino” (chinese) or “negro” (black one). I hate to think of what would happen in another country such as the U.S., which is full of more pronounced racial tensions if people were to call out these names to minorities.

Apart from the unique “Tiquismos”, Costa Rican Spanish isn’t really that difficult to learn. Ticos speak more slowly and clearly than in other Latin American countries. Ticos are also extremely patient with people who are trying to learn their language, and they will help and encourage them to do so. It’s advisable to learn at least the basics of the language, since as was mentioned before, only some people speak English. The only large population of native English speakers is located in Limon, where people of Jamaican descent settled.

Costa Rican Spanish, as most Spanish in Latin America, is extremely polite and sometimes formal. Some key words to learn, in order to keep up with the politeness are: “Gracias” (thank you), “Por favor” (please), “Buenos dias” (good morning). Ticos also mention luck and God a lot in their speech: “Que Dios lo acompane” (May God go with you), or if you meet them for the first time “Mucho gusto” (It’s a pleasure).

Language schools abound in Costa Rica, and they range from a few mediocre ones to a majority of excellent ones. Some are located in universities, such as the program for foreign students in the University of Costa Rica (506)207-56-34, in private institutions, like the Forester Institute (506)225-31-55, Intensa (506)225-60-04, and many, many more. There are even language schools in rural areas, near rainforests or in beach areas, that offer a good combination of exotic living and language learning for the more adventure-type travelers.

All in all, Costa Rica is an excellent option for learning Spanish in an easy and gradual way. There are intensive 2-4 week courses and semester and yearly programs for the more ambitious types. The best way to learn a language is to have a boyfriend or girlfriend that will teach you, but even if this doesn’t happen,in Costa Rica, there are numerous language schools where you can learn and friendly people in the streets who won’t make fun of you or loose their patience when you’re trying to speak their language.

Costa Rica Coffee 101

April 26, 2011

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You Wake  up to the soothing murmur of the surf as it spreads along the shore, to the sweet serenade of birds perched outside your door, as dappled shadows flit and flirt, bringing golden light to fading gloom, the sharp aroma of freshly brewed java gently wafts into your room. Buenos Dias Costa Rica!

So you’ve come in search of the perfect brew,
Yes, tis an elusive bean that gently beckons you,
so delicate, yet so wonderfully robust…
I dare say I’m not much the poet so I’ll leave the prose to Mr. Frost.
From an overly ”caffinated” Infocostarica staff member

As the ninth largest coffee producer in the world, Costa Rica is widely known for it’s high-grade mountain grown coffee. From the full-bodied Tarrazú, to the clean bold taste of the Orosi Valley blends, Costa Rican coffee has a smoky trace and distinctive acidity evident to many of its drinkers. Coffee is harvested from November to January and as in North America, the school holidays correspond with the harvest season. The cultivators are mainly small farmers organized into co-operatives which form a federation which is responsible for exports. Due to the use of high-end technology the yield obtained is extremely high.

Coffee’s aroma, body, and flavor vary greatly depending on how and where it is grown. In Costa Rica, the most famous coffees by region are Tarrazú, Tres Rios, Herediá, and Alajuela. Coffee from these areas is characterized by its distinctively clean, bold flavor. Most Costa Rican coffee comes from a hybrid called caturra and is characterized as bright and full bodied. Other popular varieties are Mondo Novo and Catuai. After being harvested, the cherries are immediately taken to state-of-the-art facilities, known as beneficios, where they are fully processed. The best coffees, which are grown above 3,900 feet, are designated as “strictly hard bean”. The “good hard bean” classification is given to coffees grown from 3,300 to 3,900 feet. Costa Rican coffees are usually identified by the estate, cooperative, or facility where they are processed.
There are two main varieties of coffee grown in the world… Arabica and Robusta.

82-costa rican coffeeArabica Coffee beans grow in mountainous regions, usually at relatively high altitudes and are widely known for their full-bodied flavor and rich aromas. These trying conditions make them difficult to harvest. Thus the arabica’s are much more expensive to produce. Robusta Coffees, on the other hand, are grown in flat lowland regions where they flourish and produce abundant harvests. Robusta coffees are plentiful and inexpensive. Connoisseurs rate robusta beans less rich and aromatic than arabica beans and as a result, they usually cost less.
Costa Rica is the only country in the world which has issued an executive order banning the production of any variety of coffee other than Arabica.

When purchasing coffee from Costa Rica, make sure it is labeled “puro” (pure), as some non-gourmet makers do add sugar to the mix. Among Costa Rica’s most famous labels are Café Britt, Bardú Coffee, Café Rey, Café Volio, Doka Estate Coffee and R.F. Meseta. Many makers also offer organic coffee, which is cultivated without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers.

Once you’ve settled on the beans, the next step is to delicately savor the rich aroma and enticing flavor of your pick. When brewing the perfect cup of joe, always start with freshly ground coffee beans, cold tap or bottled water (boiled water gives coffee an unpleasant “flat” taste) and the correct proportion of water to coffee ground. The industry standard is two rounded tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water.

Coffee Tasting Terminology


For those interested in the finer points of gourmet coffee cupping (tasting different varieties of coffee), the following terms are commonly used for tasting and describing coffees.

Acidity
Coffees with low acidity are soft and smooth. High acidity coffees, such as those grown in Costa Rica, have a bright, crisp, palette-cleansing quality.

Aroma
Aroma refers to the fragrance or odor of brewed coffee combined with its flavor.

Body
Body refers to the sense of the coffee’s weight and texture (e.g., its oiliness and intensity) in the mouth. How it coats the palate, how it balances, and how it interacts on the four flavor zones of your tongue The brewing method also influences the body as a plunger pot or espresso machine will produce a heavier bodied coffee, while a conventional drip machine will result in lighter bodied coffees because the paper filters remove flavor oils. A coffee’s body can be: Light, medium or heavy.

Flavor
Flavor refers to a coffee’s intensity, the combined impression of a coffee’s aroma, acidity, and body. Specific taste flavors may suggest spices, chocolate, nuts, or even uncomplimentary flavors like straw, grass, or rubber.

Finish
This is a specific evaluation of how the coffee’s finish is in your mouth. Finish refers to the aftertaste, the feelings and flavors that are perceived after the coffee has been swallowed.
Once you’ve got these finer points down, you’ll be well on your way to finding that special brew. Remember, the sip is only half the fun! So….

let us continue our quest for the perfect brew,
and not give up, as some will surely do,
we shall give no quarter for we must not tarry,
not until we’ve found those fragrant berries.

Costa Rica Facts

February 26, 2011

Population: 4,331,000
Capital: San José; 1,085,000
Area: 51,100 square kilometers (19,730 square miles)
Language: Spanish, English
Religion: Roman Catholic, Evangelical
Currency: Costa Rican colon
Life Expectancy: 79
GDP per Capita: U.S. $8,300
Literacy Percent: 96

Costa Rica Facts Flag

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Map

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Located in Central America, Costa Rica has coastlines on the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. The tropical coastal plains rise to mountains, active volcanoes, and a temperate central plateau where most people live (San José, the capital, is here). The only country in Central America with no standing army, it enjoys continuing stability after a century of almost uninterrupted democratic government. Tourism, which has overtaken bananas as Costa Rica‘s leading foreign exchange earner, bolsters the economy. A quarter of the land in Costa Rica  has protected status; the beauty of rain forest preserves draws more and more visitors.

Economy

Industry: Microprocessors, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials
Agriculture: Coffee, pineapples, bananas, sugar; beef; timber
Exports: Coffee, bananas, sugar, pineapples, textiles
—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

Jaguars of Costa Rica

Jaguar-Costa-Rica

Habitat
Currently in Costa Rica, this cat is found almost only in forests of protected reserves.Range
In suitable habitats, it lives from northern Mexico to northern Argentina.

National Parks

Tortuguero National Park, Santa Rosa National Park, Corcovado National Park, Rio Macho Forest Preserve and lower Cordillera Talamanca, La Selva, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve; may also be found in San Jose, San Vito, and Cerro de la Muerte, Costa Rica.

Physical Description

The jaguar has a yellowish brown coat with a white stomach and black spots all over its body. Its tail is short for a large cat – less than half the length of its head and body. This cat is adapted to grip prey with its great head, shoulders and forepaws.

Biology and Natural History

This endangered cat is the largest of Central American carnivores. The jaguar used to be common in many habitats, including mangroves, lowland savannas, wet and dry shrublands and forests up to 1000 m in elevation–but now they are rare except in large protected reserves. Because of the jaguar’s conspicuous tracks, the market value of its pelt, its reputation for killing livestock, and its vulnerability to hound pursuit, their numbers and commonality are far reduced today. These cats suffer not only from hunting, but also from habitat destruction. They are sensitive to habitat size: in forest reserves a single male needs several hundred km2 for his home range, and females need somewhat less per individual. Sometimes young males will resort to areas with habitats far from normal for them. But because jaguars require such large territories, even in reserves their numbers do not compare to when they prowled most of Costa Rica.

Jaguars will leave deep scratches on tree trunks, but it is not known whether they use urine or scratches on the ground to mark territories. A strong swimmer, the jaguar is able to cross rivers and other bodies of water. It tends to prefer damp areas like streambeds where footprints betray its presence, size, and whereabouts. The jaguar is mostly nocturnal but sometimes will sun during the day. At night it may roar at any time of year; some hunters call to them with imitations.

Unfortunately for this impressive predator, the jaguar does not seem to avoid the scent of men and may even follow them, although they rarely attack humans unprovoked and do not provide much of a threat to humans. The main threat to current Costa Rica jaguar populations is no longer poaching, but deforestation for the sake of agriculture. Once roads enter a virgin area, jaguars and peccaries are the first large mammals to disappear.

Diet

The jaguar survives on a diverse diet: they prefer peccary, but also eat monkey, agouti, deer, bird, fish, lizard, turtle, or other animals. They’ve even been known to take sea turtles nesting in Surinam. Mud tracks have also indicated that jaguars will feed on dead fish, alligators, iguanas, or other dead animals beached by receding waters. Occasionally they will kill a domestic animal, but they usually kill and finish a single beast-unlike some other cats, jaguars are not wasteful predators, and even eat the entire ribs of their prey.

Height/Weight
Adult males are 50 to 100 kg, and adult females are two-thirds that size.

Taxonomy 
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae

Source
Koford, C. B. in Janzen, Daniel H. Costa Rican Natural History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.
Wilson, D. E. in Janzen, Daniel H. Costa Rican Natural History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.

-Amy Strieter, Wildlife Writer

Courtesy of www.anywherecostarica.com

Bird Watching in Manuel Antonio

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Anyone visiting Manuel Antonio National Park will surely notice flocks of brown pelicans gracefully soaring overhead, plunging headlong into the sea after fish, or maybe even “wind surfing” as they playfully glide along the face of a wave with a wingtip almost skimming the wall of water. Magnificent frigate birds – large dark birds with long pointed wings and forked tails – will probably grab your attention, too, as they effortlessly cruise on the slightest breeze.

If you are at all interested in birds, you know that most species are not as easily seen as pelicans and frigate birds. But for those who make an attempt to find them, the Manuel Antonio National Park area harbors hundreds of surprises. More than 270 species, including migrants, can potentially be observed in the park and the surrounding area extending to Quepos and the local airstrip.

Despite the image of beautiful beaches that the name Manuel Antonio conjures up in most peoples’ minds, the majority of its bird life is to be found in the forest – whether inside the park proper or in any decent patch of vegetation around your hotel. Screeching flocks of parakeets and parrots impart a decidedly tropical air to the birding here, as do the comings and goings of at least 15 different types of hummingbirds, including purple-crowned fairies, violet-crowned woodnymphs, white-crested coquettes, and blue-throated golden-tails.

If you come across a fruiting tree or shrub, you might be treated to a riot of color from a visiting parade of birds that could include scarlet-rumped, blue-gray, golden-hooded, and bay-headed tanagers; green, shining, and red-legged honeycreepers; and yellow-crowned, spot-crowned, and thick-billed euphonias, among others.

One of the biggest thrills in tropical birding in Manuel Antonio National Park is encountering a mixed-species foraging flock, because the action can really get fast and furious as the birds stream past, each one seemingly different from the next. In the forest understory at Manuel Antonio National Park, insectivorous flocks form around pairs of black-hooded antshrikes and dot-winged antwrens, and the entourage can contain plain xenops, long-billed gnatwrens, chestnut-backed antbirds, rufous-breasted wrens, russet antshrikes, buff-throated foliage-gleaners, sulphur-rumped flycatchers and, in winter months, any of a dozen or so species of migrant warblers, vireos, andflycatchers.

Of course, trying to identify all those fluttering creatures at Manuel Antonio National Park can be terribly frustrating to the novice. But what’s worse, too much or too little? After a flock has moved on, it can often seem as though there are no birds left in the forest. But even when you can’t see them, if you listen, you’re likely to hear birds. Perhaps my favorite singer in the Central Pacific forests is the black-bellied wren. From its preferred microhabitat of dense vine tangles at Manuel Antonio National Park, this difficult-to-see bird advertises its presence with an outpouring of rich liquid notes that are sure to stop any passersby in their tracks. Likewise, the clear tremulous whistles of great tinamous and the mellow phrases of blue-black grosbeaks are apt to please any human listener.

The Animals of Manuel Antonio

February 1, 2011

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In Costa Rica, along the Pacific coast, near the town of Quepos is Manuel Antonio National Park. There in a small area surrounded by picturesque beaches, you may see many monkeys, sloths, colorful crabs, red-eyed green tree frogs, some bats, butterflies and various other birds and creatures.

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The Fire-billed Aracari is related to the Toucan

Wildlife spotting is not always easy. A few monkeys are easy to come by but you may benefit from a guide, binoculars, and a stiff neck to keep your head looking up into the trees of Manuel Antonio National Park.

Capuchin White Faced Monkey[

The Capuchin monkeys of Manuel Antonio National Park, also known as “white-faced monkey” or in spanish “carita blanca”, are especially abundant there. The red-backed squirrel monkeys are also called titi monkeys but are not related to the the titi monkeys of the Amazon region. There are also squirrel monkeys in the Amazon region but the “red-backed” are only found in Central America and for that reason are sometimes called the “Central American” squirrel monkey.

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White-handed Titi from Colombi

Red Titi Monkey

Night Owl Monkey

The night owl monkey of Manuel Antonio National Park is the nocturnal one of the group and the howler monkey will let you know with its howls that he is in the vicinity.

If you had the time there are apparently more than 100 different species of animals and over 200 species of birds to be found and who knows how many insects, amphibians and reptiles. There are about 840 bird species in all of Costa Rica. Compare that to around 530 in all of Europe.

Halloween Crab

One animal in Manuel Antonio National Park that is not so wild is the raccoon. They are waiting for any visitors to leave an item of food out on the beach so they can sneak over and steal it. They are very brave and will sometimes come and take things from people unafraid of shouting or of sticks.

The lizards, iguanas and basilisks, including the Jesus Christ Lizard, are more or less approachable and let you come close enough to get a good look but they still like to keep a little distance.

Destination Celebrations: Where to go, Where to Stay, What to Consider

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During the past five years there has been an increased surge in  group travel…from destination weddings to celebrating that special anniversary or landmark birthday to family reunions and couples retreats it seems that going abroad with ones friends and/or family is the thing to do. The desire to spend real, quality time with one’s friends and family along with experiencing some local culture and adventure, and being able to do that over the course of a week or more versus a trying to capture it all in a celebration that lasts just a few hours  is the desire that drives this new way of traveling.

The challenge here is in deciding where to go, where to stay and what to do and doing so without breaking the bank. Not a simple task when trying to coordinate a group of 10 or more people.

The best group travel destinations are those where everyone can participate in an activity or stay behind and seek out a beach, a spa or simply relax in the confines of their environment. A city destination where each person must choose between visiting  a  museum, seeing a particular sight, going  shopping or meandering through the streets may not the best choice for a group vacation experience where the goal is to spend quality time with each other. On the other hand, choosing a destination where you share meals and activities along with lounging time is exactly what travelers seem to be seeking.

Luxury vacation villas seem to be the desired way to go but is it the best? (We think so!). Luxury vacation villas in costa rica can be from 1 to 20 bedrooms and usually are staffed with a knowledgeable, dedicated staff, living spaces, fully equipped kitchens, outdoor living spaces, a pool. Here are some considerations for you to think about when planning that great group getaway:

  • Choose a resort destination (tropical, snow, sailing trips, rural villages in Europe, small cruises) vs a city
  • Rent a large house/Luxury vacation villas (or two) that can accommodate your group comfortably
  • Be sure it is staffed with a house manager/concierge, chef and housekeeping so it’s a true vacation; you don’t want to spend precious time on household chores, learning how to use a foreign appliances, figuring out the phone system. It’s nice to have a chef who shops, cooks and cleans up after you and a house manager who oversees a house can help make your stay easy while deepening your insight into the culture and peoples of the country
  • Are there local activities that the entire group will enjoy?
  • Do they offer pick up and drop off services from a luxury vacation villa?
  • Is there easy access to local attractions (beach, shopping)?
  • What are  the transport options
  • How many bedroom, beds, bathrooms are there
  • Check out reviews, testimonials, TripAdvisor for the area and for the luxury vacation villa
  • Ask to email or speak with a prior guest

Some of our favorite group destinations include Costa Rica (of course, we love Villa Perezoso!), Tuscany, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, sailing the turquoise waters in a gulet off the coast of Turkey, motoring the Virgin Islands. There are so many to choose from and so many resources. Here are a few resources for luxury vacation villa rentals:

  • Vrbo.com
  • Homeaway.com
  • Luxury Retreats.com
  • Villas of Distinction.com

Some additional perks in staying in Luxury Vacation Villa versus a hotel or resort are:

  • Superb value—you spend less and receive more
  • Personalized attention and service from experienced concierges and chefs (be sure the villa you choose has a full staff onsite)
  • More space and privacy (you get a lot more living space for probably less than what you would pay for hotel rooms to accommodate everyone)
  • Eliminating high food costs (going out to eat versus having a chef shop and cook for you can be very costly and add thousands of dollars to your bill for a group of 8 or more)
  • Kitchens for that late night snack or early morning coffee
  • Great for all occasions, from big group gatherings to an intimate getaway
  • Allows you to create a unique and customized experience based on your needs
  • Many different options – thousands of villas from which to choose
  • And as one Villa Perezoso guest described some of  their favorite highlights of their stay ..”never having to dress for breakfast or dinner and not having to compete with 24/7 texting, computer and friends and enjoying real time with our 3 teenagers for a whole week”.

So whether you are celebrating your 40th birthday or a silver wedding anniversary or simply want a girls trip in an exotic locale, consider renting a villa but make sure they are fully staffed so that you don’t have to lift a finger.