Grupo Islita Scoop: Intelligence for Costa Rica Travel
A bi-monthly newsletter featuring relevant content from Hotel Punta Islita, El Silencio Lodge & Spa, and Costa Rica as a premium travel destination.
September 2012 Costa Rica Scoop intelligence for upscale travel by Grupo Islita 2012 - Greetings from Gustavo - Earthquake: 7.6 Costa Rica: A perfect 10! A s you probably know, Costa Rica was recently affected by a strong seismic event that rattled most of the countryâ€™s territory and put emergency authorities on high alert. Fortunately, our beautiful nation was spared from widespread casualties and there are no reports of significant infrastructural damage. International and regional airports remain fully operational, utility services were quickly reestablished, and the vast majority of the road network is intact. In short, Costa Rica is as welcoming as ever! Mr. Gustavo Segura CEO Grupo Islita Costa Rica is a geologically active nation. This activity is partially responsible for its incredible bio-diversity, stunning rugged landscapes, and amazing volcanoes. Periodic seismic events are an unavoidable part of the equation. Fortunately, our engineering standards are top-notch, fully rooted in our geological reality and accounting for the excellent safety of our building codes. In the aftermath of the event, we are humbly grateful. We feel blessed. The raw number of the quake's magnitude was a scary 7.6. But the reality is that the country is largely unscathed and in great spirits. A perfect 10 in optimism and resilience! The families and communities that endured some damage are now being assisted in solidarity, underscoring the conviction that our institutions are solid and our character is as determined as always. Warmest regards! -Gustavo Costa Rica, returning to normal. As gorgeous as ever! - El Silencio Lodge & Spa - Shop & Cook Like a Local Visiting a local market can be a highlight of your travel experience. L earn a little Spanish, visit a regional â‚Ą5000 (about $10) and your Eco- mercadito, and prepare the best Olla de Concierge will teach you essential Span- Carne, one of Costa Ricaâ€™s favorite ish to help you in your quest. In the pro- homespun dishes. Perfect for shopping cess, you will have a chance to interact and cooking enthusiasts! This fun experi- with local farmers, and shopkeepers, ence starts off with a list of delicious in- learning about their daily lives and cul- gredients for a traditional Costa Rican ture. Back at El Silencio, guests will work stew. A photo guide will help you under- with our Chef, preparing a hearty Olla de take your mission: To find, select, and Carne stew to be enjoyed at dinner. purchase the freshest produce at the Vegetarian community market! You will be given tions possible. Experiences! op- Travel should be a journey. A quest for memorable landscapes, and enticing cultures while embracing a sense of wonder, and letting a genuine smile transcend language. El Silencio Lodge & Spa;s new online Experience Menu details the many cultural discovery and active adventures that you can enjoy during your visit: http://bit.ly/ElSilencioLodgeCostaRicaExperiences2012 - El Silencio Lodge & Spa - Felo Maria Gustavo (yupâ€Ś our CEO) Members of the Grupo Islita/El Silencio Lodge family took part in this incredible outdoor adventure. August 11th, 2012 Nano Pets! The North Face Eco-Green Adventure Race Amazing landscapes, river crossings, boulder climbing, and mud! El Silencio Lodge & Spa was thrilled to cosponsor The North Face Eco-Green challenge. Perfect for consummate athletes or weekend warriors, it offered varied circuits (6K, 10.5K, and a demanding 21K). The day was filled with rugged fun, ending with a special celebration at the Bajos del Toro Community. Followed by delicious food at our Las Ventanas Restaurant and well-deserved massages at our Esencia Spa. We look forward to the second edition next year. Space is limited, so if you would like to take part, please contact: RESERVE@GRUPOISLITA.COM @ Venezuelan Poodle Moth he internet has been abuzz Tabout the recently discovered Poodle Moth, a cuddly-looking specimen with Gizmoesque charm. Perhaps it should pal up to our own tiny fuzzy cutie, a furry nocturnal moth reminiscent of aâ€Ś Spaniel? These fascinating creatures remind us that nature showers us with wonder, not just in stunning large-scale landscapes, Image submitted by former guest, Scotty Fusion but in the little details. in our 2010 photo contest - El Silencio Lodge & Spa - Guest Experiences The comments and images, generously shared by our recent guests, James and Patricia T. vividly capture the lifting experiences we seek to transmit. We are grateful for their heartfelt words and extend a very special thanks to James for his amazing images. "Having just spent 9 days in the amazing beauty of El Silencio Lodge, the peace and tranquility that we experienced from the very start will be with us for a very long time. Every one of the staff was so delightful, friendly, refreshing, gracious, and helpful reflecting the true Costa Rican hospitality that we have always loved. The beauty of El Silencio where one can literally hear God whispering is awesome. The babbling river over the rocks in front of the restaurant and lounge and some villas, was the perfect place to unwind with the forever peace and serenity of the surroundings. Villa No5, further up - a beautiful walk with lush foliage and trees - with its incredibly beautiful full panoramic view of the mountains with the clouds descending in the evenings and the sun shining through intermittently lighting up the mountains was a sight to behold. And yes! It was cold but the hot water bottles at night and the room heaters made it just perfect and the rocking chairs with blankets to cuddle up with and enjoy the surroundings whilst sipping hot ginger mint tea was just perfect. Yes, we live in another beautiful part of the world but oh so very different. Having always sought out other amazingly beautiful places and we can truly say that El Silencio is of the best." -James & Patricia T. Cayman Islands - El Silencio Lodge & Spa - Sweet Inspiration Ingredients: 1 medium sweet potato (250 grams) 2 medium ripe plantains (400 grams) ½ cup macadamia nuts ½ cup raisins ½ cup of sugar ¼ cup of flour For the Caramel syrup: 2 cups of sugar Peel and boil the sweet potato and plantain until they are soft. Puree all the ingredients in a blender and set aside. In the meantime, melt the 2 cups of sugar over medium heat. Stir constantly and cook until it reaches a syrupy consistency. A delightful treat from Las Ventanas Restaurant! Pour syrup in a baking dish and swirl to cover the bottom. Once it hardens, add the sweet potato/ plantain puree. Nest the baking dish in a larger baking dish and surround with water. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Turn upside down and remove from the baking dish. Serve in square pieces. - Hotel Punta Islita - Hotel Punta Islita guest-stars in The Travel Channelâ€™s new show Destination Honeymoon Based on HGTVâ€™s hit show, House Hunters. The Travel Channel recently launched an exciting new offering where vacationers travel to their chosen destination to be presented with three hotel alternatives for their getaway. Contestants whirlwind through a one-day crash-course of each option to get a sampling of offered activities and featured amenities. After the third round, they must choose where to enjoy their actual vacation. It was a true pleasure to host honeymooners Tony and Dawn Psamarotis and the production crew during filming. Our star Concierge, Marvin Seas did a phenomenal job as an emcee, guiding them through Hotel Punta Islita and presenting out best experiences and services. Kudos to Marvin and his hosting skills. For a brief preview featuring Marvin: http://www.travelchannel.com/video/a-surfside-costa-rica-resort - Hotel Punta Islita - Harry the Relentless Gourmand! A t the beginning of August, Harry, a re- say that its flavor is similar to peanut butter’s. leased Scarlet macaw (Ara macao) in Islita Re- It was amazing to see how they were learning lease Site, tried a fruit for the first time. Harry to choose the right fruit, sometimes they didn’t like it at all! He dropped it after just a were picking an orange one and after trying bite. it… they spitted it Hotel Punta Islita is proud of its ongoing part- out quickly!… awA few days later, nership with The Ara Project in a successful Harry went back ful, what about effort to recover endangered Macaws. to the same tree this red one? So all but this time the fruit wasn’t orange, bitter of them learnt about this new food source. and hard. He was savvy enough to chose a But they were not the only ones… mature, red, sweet and absolutely delicious They have been eating everyday from this sample!!… And after him, the rest of the re- tree for about a month and, sadly, the fruits leased Scarlet macaws enjoyed the fruit for have finished. But don’t be sad, Aras! There is hours. That day was exciting! “They are plenty of fruits to be discovered out there!: eating a new fruit!” We discovered that this tree is called Cherry From The Ara Project’s Blog: mount (Bunchosia nitida) and belongs to http://www.thearaproject.org/ family Malpighiaceae. The fruit is very well known for its wonderful taste! Some people - Hotel Punta Islita - Drumroll for the Inter-American Development Bank The Fundación VZ thanks the Inter-American Development Bank for generously supporting Hotel Punta Islita’s young neighbors through the Rhythm in Our Lives project. This original initiative paired local youth with Costa Rican percussionist Gerardo Mora in a fun instrument-making session that transformed trash into musical treasure. Plastic bottles, tin cans, plastic caps, pebbles, and seeds are now elements of rhythm! And the children were taught the basics of percussion in anticipation of a very special end-of-year concert. To learn more about the Fundación VZ and how it leverages the generous support of tourism visionaries and institutions to craft sustainable travel models, please visit their Facebook page. Or write to its Executive Delegate. Nancy Arias: @ NANCY@FUNDACIONVZ.ORG - Hotel Punta Islita - Curried Shrimp Ingredients: Green, red, or yellow curry paste (2 tsp) 1 tsp olive or canola oil 1 tsp finely chopped yellow onion 1 tsp finely chopped fresh garlic 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger 1 can coconut milk (14 oz) ¼ cup of flour 8 oz peeled shrimp 1 tbsp. butter 1 tsp white wine Pan sear the shrimp in butter over medium heat. 3-4 minutes on each side. Add the white wine, toss, and set aside. Sautee the A tasty recipe from 1492 Restaurant! onion, garlic, and ginger for about three minutes over medium heat in a deep pan. Add coconut milk and fold in the curry paste until thoroughly mixed. Set heat to low and add the pre-cooked shrimp. Let simmer for about ten minutes. Serve with white rice. For other delicious options, substitute the shrimp for chicken or tofu. How Far Would You Swim for Love? Grupo Islitaâ€™s two select properties blend the best of Costa Ricaâ€™s beach and mountain settings featuring intense nature, upscale comfort and bespoke services. Remember, we now offer a unified reservations center and a dedicated bilingual team to help travelers, travel professionals and their partners ensure seamless logistics from arrival to departure. How may we assist you? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone in Costa Rica: +506 2231-6122 Toll Free from US & Canada: 1-866-446-4053 Online chat: www.hotelpuntaislita.com or www.elsilenciolodge.com Please visit our new blog! Your comments, questions, and contributions will be greatly appreciated. http://grupoislita.blogspot.com/