On day one the team ventured from Columbus International at 7 in the morning, headed for Costa Rica. After a brief layover in Atlanta and a flight to Costa Rica, we made it to San Jose! We immediately headed to the Marriott in San Jose for lunch and cocktails!
The hotel itself sits on a gorgeous property that features views of the mountains and San Jose and Heredia. Featuring five options for food and drink, the hotel served as the ideal place for the team to stay for the next two nights. Being a group of foodies, a little tired from our journey, we appreciated the fact that we could spend our first afternoon and evening at the hotel sampling authentic Costa Rican cuisine as well as variety of cocktails!
On our second day in Costa Rica, the team traveled to La Cuenca, a village located within Heredia, Costa Rica. Luis's sister Gloria runs an organization called El Nido that offers prenatal care and guidance to the mothers of La Cuenca. These incredibly brave women come to Costa Rica in search of better lives for themselves and their families. Gloria's organization helps them by providing emotional support and the skills needed to better take care of their newborns.
Gloria selected four families enrolled in the El Nido program who needed some extra love and support. The Crimson Team provided time and labor to the families and painted their homes in the bright vibrant colors the family matriarchs selected. From sky blue to pastel yellow, the homes received fresh coats of paint. As designers we know that a home's environment can make all the difference in a family's mood. We were happy to give a little of our time to make a difference in these extraordinary women's lives.
To find out how you can help El Nido's cause, click here!
On day three of our Costa Rican adventure, the team loaded into a van for a journey down the Costa Rican coast line! We traveled from San Jose to our next destination, Villa Mareas, located just a few miles from Uvita, and just a few minutes from the beach!
Along the way we stopped at a Fruteria and purchased some incredible mangoes, limes, avocados, and more.
We also took a small detour to check out the local wildlife! (Nothing like seeing a bask of crocodiles in their natural habitat!)
Around 1pm we stopped in Manuel Antonio for lunch at the eco-friendly hotel, Gaia. Featuring its own nature reserve, Gaia's restaurant La Luna offered stunning views of the ocean and rain forest, with a side of incredibly ceviche and delicious rum drinks.
After our stop over in Manuel Antonio, we drove the last 30 minutes to Villa Mareas.
The word Mareas means Ocean Tides, which suits the estate beautifully as it's adjacent to the Whale's Coast, or Costa Ballena. The estate sits nestled within 36 acres of thick rain forest on a ledge overlooking the ocean. It offers trails of waterfalls, views of the coastline, and incredible views of the rain forest's residents: toucans, monkeys, sloths, and more!
In addition to its own 36 acres of pristine rain forest, Villa Mareas is surrounded by a 400 acre wild life sanctuary. In a way, it's a sanctuary of its own! The nine-suite estate is 18,000 square feet and in addition to the property's kaleidoscope of flowers, it offers a 1,700 sq. ft. pool, surfaced entirely in blue iridescent glass tile, with an infinity edge with views of the rain forest and the pacific ocean bellow. From the pool you can see toucans, macaws, and way off in the distance, the occasional whale cresting in the ocean.
That night we were treated to a meal provided by the residence's private chef, after which we played games together and prepared for the next day of our adventure!
On day four, members of the team took a once in a lifetime yoga class at Villa Mareas. On the villa's yoga platform, overlooking the pool, we took an hour long Vinyasa class. Sun salutations and downward facing dogs take on an added significance when you can see the ocean and rain forest from your yoga mat!
Later that morning, the group split up for some exploration of the property. Some of the team members saw toucans from the pool (as promised!) and others saw the property's resident sloth (who's expecting a baby sloth soon!).
Several team members hiked through the rain forest to swim underneath the property's 80 foot waterfall! Hiking down muddy trails, over fallen trees, and through the underbrush, team members worked together to make their way to the most crystal clear waterfall they'd ever seen!
Later that afternoon the whole team journeyed down the hill to spend a few hours at the beach! We were truly living Pura Vida!
On the last day of our vacation, members of the team headed to the Sierpe river for a mangrove tour! Over the course of five hours, we traveled by boat through the mangroves.
The Sierpe River mangrove acts as a nursery for the creatures of the Pacific Ocean. Hammerhead sharks, bull sharks, seahorses, and more! Not only that, but mangroves subdue tidal surge, reduce erosion, and provide the Earth with oxygen!
As our boat wound its way through the mangrove, we spotted sloths, crocodiles, and brightly colored mangrove crabs!
Two hours into our journey, we reached the mouth of the Sierpe and the Pacific Ocean. We spent a magical lunch hour on Playa Blanca, eating ceviche, drinking fruit juice, and romping in the surf.
Experiencing the best of both worlds in this excursion was the perfect way to cap our Costa Rican adventure!