When we take a step back from the Day to Day Hotel Operations

The Cayuga Collection Retreat 2014:  Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica

For over 10 years, we have taken our Cayuga Corporate Team and Hotel & Eco Lodge Managers on corporate retreats.   We completely disconnect from budgets, operating procedures and guest requests for three days.   Besides this being a special thank you for their great work after the high season, it is a way to created bonds between the managers of the various hotels and lodges and the corporate team.

But don’t think of a “typical” corporate retreat…  We create experiences of ” Experience ““ Learn ““ Connect ““ Relax“ for our guests every day at the various hotels, resorts and eco lodges and during the Cayuga retreat, we try to create those experiences for our managers  and get them to experience the incredible nature and activities that are available on their doorstep here in Costa Rica.

The Cayuga Collection Managers and Corporate Team at Diamante Waterfalls in Southern Costa Rica. EXPERIENCE – LEARN – CONNECT – RELAX.

On Thursday morning, we met at 5:30 am at the Tracopa public bus station in San Jose and took the Manuel Antonio bus to the coast.   We got off at the Tarcoles and walked towards the beach to meet up with a couple of local fishermen. We are big on serving only sustainably caught fish at our hotels and lodges and wanted to see for ourselves how seafood is caught responsibly.   We spent two hours in the Gulf of Nicoya and caught our lunch.   Definitely not an easy job, but great fun for a couple of hours.

We are on our way to see the fishing community of Tarcoles and experience sustainable fishing practices.  LEARN.

After enjoying our freshly caught fish for lunch, we headed south towards Dominical and then turned onto the road to Perez Zeledon.   Near the small town of Tinamaste, we started our hike to the Diamante Waterfalls, where we would spend the night in a cave.

Our “hotel” for a night. Sleeping under a waterfall in a naturally formed cave. The air, the sounds, the nature, the energy – Amazing…  EXPERIENCE.

This was one of the most incredible experiences any of us ever lived.    Arriving at the waterfall, taking a ” shower” in the gushing fresh rainforest water, sharing a meal in the cave, sleeping to the sounds of falling water and then of course waking up to see it all in daylight.   We were all in awe of the natural beauty and positive energy we felt. Of course there was also some time to bond and socialize.  Martin, the co-owner of Kura Design Villas in nearby Uvita is always ready for joke…

Singing, laughing and telling stories.  A great way to let go of the day to day stress. RELAX.

There is always a challenging part to our retreats where we try to get out of our comfort zone.  For some it might be the phyisical effort of hiking up a steep mountain through a rainforest for over two hours, for others, the sleeping in the “open” under a waterfall might be difficult to deal with at first.  But we are all nature lovers and and in good shape.  It is part of our corporate culture and philosophy.

When hiking, we were tied together with a rope like Alpinists. It strengthend our team spirit and made sure nobody was left behind. CONNECT.

After the hike down the mountain, we stopped at a small Tico restaurant for “Casados”. The plates were “extra large” and filled with rice, beans, picadillo, salad and a choice of fish, chicken or pork.  All fresh local products.  And how convenient Howard, the General Manager of Jicaro Lodge in Nicaragua found a few cold Pilsen and Imperial beers in the cooler (see below).  Glory!!!

Lunch at a local Soda before heading down to Uvita beach. The food is always a very important part of our retreats.  It does not have to be fancy, but local, fresh and delicious. EXPERIENCE.

Back to the Ocean.  To the Bahia Ballena National Park and Uvita beach.  Costa Rica and Nicaragua are becoming more and more popular among visitors that want to learn how to surf.  We have two “pros” in our team (Jose Pablo, the General Manager of Latitude 10 Resort in Santa Teresa and Federico, the Operations Manager of Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio) and we let them go to “rip” the waves.

Learning how to surf was a great highlight of the retreat for many team members. LEARN.

The rest of us signed up for lessons and were excited to catch some waves and get up on the boards.  But we all felt the excitement of this sport and could certainly understand how “addictive”  it could become.  The most popular Cayuga Collection hotel for surfing is the Harmony Hotel in Nosara in Guanacaste.

Cayuga Team learning to surf at the Uvita Beach in Bahia Ballena National Park, Costa Rica.  Maria Jose catching a wave.  LEARN.

Needless to say, we were exhausted by now.  Fishing, hiking, surfing…  We had rented a house nearby and arrived just before a huge thunderstorm hit.  What a great experience to feel the warm rain fall in the tropics.  Rejuvenating.  It was time to relax, enjoy some great home cooked food and then…  well, some of us even still had energy to dance the night away. [email protected] are just like Energizer Bunnys, the never stop.

While waiting for dinner there was time to RELAX and CONNECT with colleagues from Cayuga Corporate or other hotels and lodges.


The next morning, we headed back north towards Manuel Antonio and visited the Villa Vanilla Spice farm.  We received a guided tour and learned about spice farming from a very knowledgable local guide.  Many guests of the Cayuga managed  Arenas del Mar Resort in Manuel Antonio take this tour and really enjoy the experience.

Learning from our guide at the Vanilla Spice Farm near Manuel Antonio about how spices such as vanilla, cinnamon and cardomon are grown sustainabily. LEARN.

A great part of the Vanilla Spice Farm Tour was the tasting of local spices in the form of Cinnamon Juice, Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate and Cardomon Cookies.  A great place to relax and enjoy the view.  At this time, we were observing the first signs of exhaustion.  Maybe it was the dancing the night before.  Marijke, our General Manager of Lapa Rios Eco Lodge is definitely ready for a “break”.

RELAX at the Vanilla Spice Farm near Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

we had one more “surprise” planned for our team.  At Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, the chefs had prepared a special BBQ for us at Espadialla Beach.  What a special experience to finish off the Cayuga Retreat 2014.  Thank you to Jorge and his team for this special WOW moment for all of us.

Beachfront Lunch at Espadilla Beach near Manuel Antonio National Park provided by the staff of Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort.  EXPERIENCE.

We have started to plan the Cayuga Retreat 2015.  Climbing Chirripo, the highest mountain of Costa Rica, a few days on the Caribbean Coast or an excursion to Nicargaua are at the top of the list.  We work hard and have become world leaders in sustainable hosplitaliy in the past years.  Our team deserves to have those kind of experience or even better.  What do you think?  Send us a note through Facebook.

A special thanks to Melida Barbee and “Mane”  of Adventures Under the Sun for helping us put this adventure together.  The best so far!!!

The team of Cayuga Sustainbale Hospitality 2014. World Leaders in Sustainable Hospitality Management with operations in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.




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