Kids or No Kids? Choosing the Best Vacation for You

July 15, 2016

To bring the kids or go on an adult only vacation? That is the question…

When it comes to deciding whether to make a vacation a fun family trip or relaxing couples retreat, there is much to take into account. Do guests want spend their days on high-energy adventures showing their kids the wonders of a new land? Or sipping sangria in a seaside hammock for two?

Whichever type of vacation our guests prefer; we have a hotel or ecolodge that will bring their dream getaway to fruition. With their unique architecture and lengthy cocktail lists, Kura Design Villas and Jicaro Island Ecolodge are the perfect tropical escapes for those vacationing kid free. Lapa Rios—with its 1000-acre rainforest reserve just waiting to be explored— is a nice middle ground for families with children older than six. And Arenas Del Mar is a family haven with on-site childcare and a kid-friendly pool.

So which type of vacation is best for you?

Family Vacation – The Cayuga Way

A trip to a Cayuga property is a chance to come together as a family and make memories that will last a lifetime. Whether it was laughing at Dad’s epic wipeouts during surf lessons at The Harmony Hotel or learning how to make authentic Costa Rican tortillas at Arenas Del Mar, guests will come home with stories to tell and experiences to cherish.

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Tortilla Lessons at Arenas Del Mar

Travelling to a remote destination also provides a unique opportunity to pique a child’s interest in the world around them. New foods, new plant life, new cities—the opportunities for learning and growth are boundless and our properties’ staff members are goldmines of knowledge just waiting to be tapped. Together, families can learn about the sleeping patterns of the three toed sloth, the magic of Costa Rica’s medicinal plants, and so much more. The only prerequisites are curiosity and a sense of adventure!

Adventure time at Lapa Rios Photo: Aranxa Esteve

Family vacations are also the perfect time to break away from scheduled extracurriculars and partake in organic play—an important part of childhood development.  Play encourages creativity, promotes physicality, and builds cognitive and emotional strength. At our resorts, play is not only encouraged, it’s celebrated. After all, what better place to build sandcastles than the snowy white beaches of Manuel Antonio? Where better to chase mythical sea creatures than the frothy surf of Santa Teresa? A family vacation the Cayuga Way is a chance to play, learn, and connect.

Learning about our sustainability initiatives! Photo: Aranxa Esteve
Learning about our sustainability initiatives!
Photo: Aranxa Esteve

Couples Vacation- The Cayuga Way

On the other hand, sometimes Mom and Dad need some good old fashioned rest and relaxation. A couples getaway to a Cayuga property is perfect for those looking to unplug, recharge, and spend quality time with their spouse kid-free. Late nights, lazy mornings, an endless supply of freshly brewed local coffee—a couples retreat with Cayuga is a chance to indulge in life’s small pleasures.

Pool time at Kura Design Villas

Guests can reconnect while wandering the fields of Finca Rosa Blanca’s coffee plantation, take a snooze in one of Kura’s gigantic purple hammocks, or enjoy a lakeside sangria after a kayak around Jicaro Island. Our only rule? Guests must shed all stress and responsibility (don’t worry, it won’t be hard!) A couples retreat the Cayuga way is a chance to relax, recharge, and indulge.

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Latitude 10’s Seaside Hammocks are the perfect spot for some R and R. Photo: Aranxa Esteve

Family travel and couples vacations are oranges and apples but — whether guests choose to bring their kids or leave them behind— Cayuga will make their trip the experience of a lifetime.

The North American “Addiction” to Air-Conditioned Hotel Rooms

April 11, 2016

The Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges consists of eight hotels, resorts and eco lodges in the tropics.   The sunshine as well as the hot and humid climate in Costa Rica and Nicaragua is one of the main reasons that North Americans head down here.     Four of the Cayuga Collection hotels feature A/C in the guest rooms and four don”™t.   This blog is about how difficult it is to convince North Americans to get over their addiction to air conditioning.  

Bungalow view from Lapa Rios Eco Lodge near Corcovado National Park
Hammock on eco lodge deck at Lapa Rios on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.

It is extremely seldom that we receive a complaint about being too hot by a guest at the hotels and lodges that don”™t feature air conditioning in the guest rooms.   The four hotels without A/C (Lapa Rios Eco Lodge, Jicaro Island Ecolodge, Latitude 10 Resort and Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn) feature great architectural design in terms of cross ventilation of the rooms as well as efficient and silent ceiling fans over the beds.

Whenever we work on developing a new hotel, resort or lodge, we try to create guest room experiences that do not require air-conditioning and if we go for air-conditioning, we make sure that the guests have the option to choose.   You have the choice to either turn it on, or leave it off and open up the windows and doors to fresh ocean and rain forest breezes.
Open Air Guest Room at Latitude 10 Resort in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

Many guests don”™t know what they are missing when they spend time in a closed, tightly sealed air-conditioned room. If you enclose yourself, you don”™t hear the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean or the sounds of the tropical rain forest.  And then there is the wellness factor.     Ask any doctor, fresh natural air is much better for you than artificially cooled air.

So where is the problem?   We find that when guests are browsing the websites of those hotels, resorts and lodges that don”™t feature A/C, they get worried about being too hot as they make the comparison with living in a big city in the U.S. during the summer months without A/C.   But of course, there is no comparison between being in the rainforest on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica or an office building or apartment in downtown Houston, TX on a hot August day.   It is not unusual that at Lapa Rios or Jicaro Lodge, guests ask for an extra blanket for the night.
Guest Room at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica

Once guests have enjoyed a night on Jicaro Island in Lake Nicaragua or next to the beach at Latitude 10 in Santa Teresa, they realize what a great experience they had and how good it makes them feel to sleep in a natural environment.   They all of a sudden realize that they can hear, smell, touch, see and feel their surroundings!

We have not even touched upon the sustainability part of air conditioning.   Even though we try to use the most efficient and environmentally friendly air conditioning systems, they are contributing to global warming.   So if you want a truly sustainable vacation, try to stay at places that don”™t have air conditioning in the rooms.   But if you do like in the case of the Cayuga Collection hotels and resorts like Arenas del Mar, Harmony, Grano de Oro and Kura, try to keep it off.   The cross ventilation or ceiling fans can do the job just as well.
Guest Room at Jicaro Island Ecolodge on Lake Nicaragua near the colonial town of Granada.

So how do we get our point across to those guests that are used to living in air-conditioned homes, offices, cars, shopping malls, restaurants, etc. that it is ok to be in the tropics without A/C?   How do we get them off their addiction to air conditioning? It takes a lot of convincing by our reservations staff at the hotels and lodges.   But what helps most are testimonials by former guests that have lived the A/C free experience.
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn in the Central Highlands of Costa Rica

A piece of advice; the hottest months of the year in Costa Rica and Nicaragua are March, April and May.   If you are very sensitive to heat, we recommend you avoid those months.   But even then, temperatures cool off at night and sleeping is comfortable even without A/C.    

Complaints at Hotels and Resorts that make us doubt the concept of “Common Sense”

November 9, 2013

We have the greatest guests at the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Hotels and Resorts in Costa Rica and Nicaragua that you can imagine.  They are highly educated, well-travelled and very sensitive to the local culture.   They love to interact with our staff and learn. They are respectful and considerate.   They often speak Spanish or learn as much as possible during their stays with us.   They appreciate the local food, customs and are excited to be part of a conservation and community development project on their vacation.   They get along among each other and seem to be part of the same ” tribe”.   We are privileged to have such incredible guests at our hotels and lodges.

But once in a while it happens”¦ a travel agent sends us the wrong kind of guest or guests don”™t read our website before they book their trip.  We get complaints that the waves in the Ocean are too loud, that the other guests dress too informally, that monkeys can observe guests from the trees in the outside shower and that cheap alcohol is not included in the rate.   It is a good thing that this is the exception to the rule.   By now we know how to deal with them and either try to ” turn them around” and make them break through their mold to see the natural beauty and authenticity of the experience.   In most cases it works.   But sometimes it doesn”™t.   Then, we try to book them into an all-inclusive resort where they will feel much better.   But it seems that even at those places they complain.   We found this list of complaints that made us smile and thought you might enjoy them as well.   This is taken from Thomas Cook Vacations.

  1. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”2. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”3. “The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”4. “No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”

    5. “Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers.”

    6. “The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”

    7. “There were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”

    8. “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”

If you are a hotelier, let us know your most ridiculous complaints.   If you are a traveler, what have you overheard other people say.   We would love to hear from you.   Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook Page.

Get Married in Costa Rica at a Cayuga Collection Eco Resort

July 12, 2013

Ever dreamed of celebrating your wedding in an exotic location?   Do you want to go somewhere with beautiful scenery, great service, and gorgeous properties.   Two options to consider for your Costa Rica wedding day: Arenas Del Mar and Harmony Hotel provide the perfect backdrop for celebrating your love.   Each property is unique and blends local design, sustainability, and world-class locations to create the some of the most recognized properties in Costa Rica.

Unique Honeymoon Destinations will work with you every step of the way to ensure that your ” big day” meets and exceeds all of your expectations.

Arenas Del Mar: Located within walking distance to Manuel Antonio National Park and with direct access to two beaches. Arenas Del Mar offers a 5 star experience with no stress.   Relax by one of the two pools, tan on the beach, get a massage in the spa, or try our one of the many adrenaline pumping tours in the area.   The secluded Playitas Beach will provide the perfect setting for a wedding and reception with friends and family.

Harmony Hotel: Located in Nosara, Costa Rica just steps away from the Pacific Ocean.   This 25-room hotel has some of the most beautiful sunsets in Costa Rica.   There are few better places to take your wedding pictures.   Not only does the hotel provide great facilities, but there are also many nearby activities for family, friends, and you to take part in after the ceremony.

Your wedding is supposed to be an amazing day.   Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality and Unique Honeymoon Destinations will make sure that it”™s a day you never forget!

Have a green honeymoon in Costa Rica or Nicaragua by staying at any one of Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality”™s eight luxury resorts and hotels.

Vegan or Vegetarian and traveling to Costa Rica or Nicaragua…No problem!

July 6, 2013
At all of our propertiesin Costa Rica and Nicaragua, we do our best to cater to your every need.If you have dietary or health restrictions related to food, we are more than happy to work with you to help make your experience the best ever.Our dedicated and trained chefs are easily able to create a dish or suggest an alternative that will meet your needs.   The photo above is the delicious gallo pinto (rice and beans) “burger” at Jicaro Island Eco Lodge…a guest favorite!

Just mention it during the reservation process!

Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality is a world leader in sustainable hospitality management.   We manage and market hotels, resorts, eco lodges and Haciendas in Costa Rica and Nicaragua with a focus on high end experiences and sustainability.


Traveling to Costa Rica: What to Know and Bring

June 24, 2013

Traveling to Costa Rica for the first time? In hopes to answer some of the most common questions that people ask, here are some tips for packing and preparing for what”™s definitely going to be one of the best experiences of your life.

  •  All of the properties in Costa Rica managed by Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality are on the west coast or center of the country, so there”™s no reason to worry about malaria (it is only sparsely present on the east coast by the Caribbean).
  • A visa is not necessary for visiting Costa Rica from most countries; you simply need a passport.
  • Bring hiking boots! There are so many wonderful places that you can explore, and having the footwear to do so is essential.
  • Don”™t forget to pack sunscreen and insect repellent. During your time here, it”™d be nice to avoid getting burnt or bitten! In case you do, make sure you also have the necessary ointment for both situations.
  • If you are susceptible to motion sickness, bring Dramamine or anti-nausea medication. There are many wonderful experiences to have that potentially involve boat rides, domestic flights, or things of that nature.
  • If you don”™t speak fluent Spanish, come with a Spanish-English dictionary! Ticos (locals) will love to see that you”™re trying to learn about their culture. Try to study a little before arriving to ensure optimal communication.
  • Bring a bathing suit and bring it everywhere! It”™s not necessary to wear it all of the time, but you never know when you”™ll be presented with the opportunity to go snorkeling or waterfall rappelling or any other water-related activity.
  • Make sure you pack long socks because especially at Lapa Rios, there are many hikes that require the use of the rain boots provided on the property. We don”™t want you to get a rash from wearing those!
  • Pack long sleeves and long pants in addition to the shorts, t-shirts, and tank tops. Depending on where you are, it can get chilly at night, during the day, or in the shade. Also, sometimes, to prevent getting burnt or bitten, covering yourself with clothes is the best option. It”™ll be hot but certainly not unbearable!
  • Bring a camera! There are so many things you”™ll see that you will want to remember and capture to show your friends and family.

And last but certainly not least, come with curiosity and enthusiasm to learn and experience the Costa Rican culture! The pura vida lifestyle is incredible; to fully appreciate it, arrive here with an open mind.

Hope this post helps you with your preparations, and have a wonderful trip!

Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality is a world leader in sustainable hospitality management.   We manage and market hotels, resorts, eco lodges and Haciendas in Costa Rica and Nicaragua with a focus on high end experiences and sustainability.

Costa Rica and Nicaragua’s Green Season: Cayuga’s Specialty

June 17, 2013

A little rain never hurt anyone! Although the afternoons during the Green Season (May-October) seem to always bring rain, there are plenty of benefits of staying at one of the eight Cayuga Collection Hotels during this time of year in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Traveling to Costa Rica or Nicaragua during the Green Season, the rainforests will be more vibrant with life and adventures.

Other reasons to travel here?   Room rates are discounted, helping you save a little money, and because less tourists travel here during the Green Season, all of the tours, activities and hotels will be less crowded.

What are you waiting for?   Book your room at one of Cayuga’s properties today!

Creating exceptional family travel experiences, Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality manages family friendly hotels in Costa Rica.