Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Hot and Happening Spots"

Week 3: Monte Azul Boutique Hotel, Costa Rica

   "Costa Rica has no shortage of special experiences: in the rainforest, by the sea, and among the local communities of the most engaging ticos, the Costa Rican people. The destination is also masterful in mixing luxury lodgings into its adventurous and eco-friendly vacations; cultural enrichment can be harder to find, though.

   However, Monte Azul Boutique Hotel, perched high on a 125 acre nature reserve in the Talamanca Mountain Range along the Chirripo River in south-central Costa Rica, seems to touch all bases. Guests are accommodated in spacious casitas, surrounded by gardens and birds galore, and furnished with queen-size or twin beds, big bathrooms, lots of original fine art, a compact designer kitchen, free WiFi, and garden patio. Its 6-night, all-inclusive Food, Nature + Art package features a fiesta of hands-on, involving activities.

   The outdoor adventurer can go ziplining, white-water rafting, spend a day at the beach, and take a guided tour through the Chirripo Cloudbridge cloud forest reserve with a visit to its research station. During a cheese making workshop, food lovers visit a sustainable home dairy and learn to milk a cow before getting involved in cheese making with the family. Or they can learn about producing organic coffee at the Las Orquideas plantation and visit the local farmers market or public market in San Isidro to help Monte Azul's chef select the ingredients for a cooking class, as well as instruction on making bocas (traditional Costa Rican tapas). Before becoming a boutique hotel, Monte Azul was established as a Center for Contemporary Art and Design, and today the art center remains part of the many guest activities including a workshop in the fun and fascinating technique of monotyping with laureate Costa Rican artist Alvaro Gomez, or learning to make paper."

   "The resort is located three hours south of San Jose via the Pan American Highway and 1.5 hours from the Quepos Airport (XQP) near Manuel Antonio National Park."

Quoted from "Recommend" magazine July 2012 vol.27 number 10 pages 30 and 32

Photo courtesy of Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

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