Are you up for a new culinary adventure through the highlands of Costa Rica? Now you can have one without leaving Finca Rosa Blanca. Our newly appointed chef, Ruben Villegas, has brought creative Latin fusion cuisine to our resort’s acclaimed restaurant, El Tigre Vestido.

Chef Ruben’s culinary journey has been extraordinary. He began at the age of 17, working in a large hotel kitchen and attending culinary classes. He worked his way up to sous chef in several notable kitchens and then moved to Peru to study at the Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Lima, where he graduated with the highest degree, Master Cuisine. In Lima, Chef Ruben worked with Virgilio Martinez, the star chef and owner of Central, consistently rated as one of the world’s top restaurants. He recently returned to Costa Rica to pursue his career as an innovative chef using the latest techniques and trends from his work abroad, and blending them with the abundance of fresh ingredients to be found in Costa Rica.

Finca Rosa Blanca was built with the goal of creating an ecological haven and a sustainable tourism destination in an aesthetic environment for visitors who want to experience the biodiversity of Costa Rica. Sustainably sourced food served at El Tigre Vestido is one of the most attractive aspects of staying at our resort. Now Chef Ruben has taken the culinary offering up a notch with his novel interpretations of Costa Rica’s heritage recipes.

“I love the slow food movement, which combines sustainability and good management of Costa Rica’s raw materials to create a Latin fusion cuisine. My approach is to apply the new culinary tendencies found in European gastronomy to Costa Rican and Latin mainstays,” says Chef Ruben. “The idea is to showcase the right pairing of textures and flavors that also looks beautiful.”

Most everything that the restaurant uses to create Chef Ruben’s dishes is handcrafted and locally sourced, except for the impossible (like olive oil and wine). We tap nature’s bounty for ingredients – think Surinam cherries, sugarcane, avocados, soursop, beans, breadfruit, star apple, chayote, chiles, mangos, water apples – the list is endless… We even make our own banana vinegar from guineos, a type of banana used for stews in Costa Rica.

Chef Ruben has brought exciting twists to El Tigre Vestido’s menu. One of his signature dishes is chifrijo soup based on the namesake Costa Rican classic typically eaten in bars to keep the alcohol at bay; this popular layered dish of rice topped with black beans, chicharrones (twice-fried pork bits) and pico de gallo (tomato salsa with onion, cilantro, and lemon) is served with fresh tortilla chips and avocado. Chef Ruben has also taken the traditional casado (which translated literally means “married”) and given it a Latin fusion twist. Found in nearly any small restaurant serving typical Costa Rican dishes across the country, it is usually a pairing of white rice with a side of savory black beans, a picadillo (chopped and sautéed potato or other root vegetable) and fish, chicken and beef smothered in sautéed onions or a fried egg.

The Chef has added a roasted beet and chayote salad, plantains sautéed in coffee and molasses and a picadillo replete with pulled beef and papaya root. Another exciting reinterpretation is Chef Ruben’s version of Costa Rican tacos called gallos; these soft handmade tacos are topped with a choice of fresh sea bass or chicharrones and crowned with a citric salad of fennel, cabbage and chayote. Another highlight is his octopus carpaccio and the tiraditos featuring fresh sea bass with fresh lime juice and capers.


Experience Our National Parks


volcano, mountains, cloud forest, hiking, birdwatching
A “Poor Man’s Umbrella” plant on the trail to Barva Volcano
Costa Rican White-tailed Deer

Among the chief highlights of visiting Costa Rica is a deep dive into its protected nature areas, to witness their stunning biodiversity and support the country’s pioneering conservation efforts. While staying at Finca Rosa Blanca, guests get plenty of opportunities for full immersion into nature.

The star among the nearby natural attractions is Braulio Carrillo National Park, one of Costa Rica’s most extensive parks, encompassing no less than seven diverse habitats with a dizzying diversity of plant and wildlife. Just north of San Jose, a short drive from Finca Rosa Blanca, it showcases rugged mountains, lush primeval forests, two dormant volcanoes, deep canyons, gorgeous waterfalls, meandering rivers and a splendid cloud forest – a true nature lovers’ delight. The 118,000-acre park (84 percent of which is primary forest) extends from 9530 feet above sea level atop Barva Volcano down to 118 feet at La Selva in the Caribbean lowlands.

This superb park is home to more than 500 species of birds, including the magnificent quetzal, and 6000 species of plants, such as the fast disappearing palmito and tepezcuintle trees. It also features over 135 species of animals, such as guans, jaguars, tapirs, monkeys and South America’s largest venomous snake, the bushmaster. Finca Rosa Blanca has a close relationship with the national park and offers fantastic guided tours of its many highlights, including the various lagoons of the crater.

Another popular tour from Finca Rosa Blanca is a float on the Tárcoles River, to experience the biodiversity of the Pacific coast mangroves and catch sight of the rare scarlet macaws, mangrove hummingbirds, American pygmy kingfisher and Jesus Christ lizards. Just 15 minutes away is Carara National Park, so it’s great to combine the river float with a visit to Carara, which is known to have ten of the most uncommon and rare hardwoods in the country, often covered with vines and epiphytes. From the Rio Tárcoles Bridge you can not only catch fantastic views of the park, but you can also spot crocodiles and scarlet macaws.

Also great to visit nearby is Tirimbina Biological Reserve, with a variety of trails that have you crossing suspension bridges over the rushing Sarapiqui River and discovering the rainforest at your own pace. This mid-elevation rainforest reserve has an impressive abundance of wildlife, from two-toed sloths to spider monkeys, anteaters and countless exotic birds.

At Finca Rosa Blanca and the area around it, you get to experience nature first-hand – raw, wild and pure.


Romantic Rosa Blanca

wedding_vows3At Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn perched at 4000 feet above sea level in the highlands of Costa Rica’s stunning Central Valley, couples can swoon over each other amidst dreamy tropical gardens and shade-grown coffee plantations. Get lost and mesmerized on the scenic paths that crisscross this hideaway’s 40 acres. Gaze at sweeping valley and volcano views from the spectacular honeymoon suite, sitting on your own breezy sun-dappled veranda. Wake to the swallows flying by your windows as you lie in, all cozy and wrapped in luxurious linens. Pamper yourselves with a hot stone aromatherapy massage or an organic coffee scrub in the intimate El Targua spa.

2015-05-24 16.43.08

Wander through the shade-grown organic coffee plantation with an expert guide, learning about history of coffee cultivation and the craft of coffee making. Sit under the cascading waterfall in the sweet-water infinity pool under bougainvillea canopies, looking over the gardens and in the distance dramatic volcanoes. Savor a romantic candlelit dinner featuring garden-to-table Latin fusion cuisine, with the twinkling lights of the valley below. Retreat to your suite and sit on your deck under star-speckled skies, sipping a chilled organic wine.


For newlyweds, it’s just the spot to decompress after the hectic days of getting married. For couples who want to infuse their romantic retreat with a dash of adventure, Finca Rosa Blanca is a top choice. Thrill-filled options for bonding include whitewater rafting on a nearby tropical river, canopy tours through the treetops of a cloud forest and hikes along volcanic craters.


Finca Rosa Blanca is an ideal wedding destination as well. Renowned for its romance, artistry, coffee and comfort, it’s the kind of place tropical wedding dreams are made of. Tie the knot surrounded by steaming volcanoes, enchanting cloud forests and lush coffee plantations, lulled by fresh mountain breezes. There is one especially magical spot at the resort where couples love to hold ceremonies – under the giant ficus tree with dazzling views of the valley below. The resort can create a fantasy wedding for up to sixty people, featuring a unique tropical wedding cake and catchy Latin rhythms. 


Pura Vida Luxury Wellness Retreat: The Shorter Approach Does Costa Rica

Chef gus creates healthy fare for the group
Chef Gustavo creates healthy fare for the group

What is it?

Inspired by the lifestyle in this Central American paradise, Michele Shorter, founder and owner of The Shorter Approach, has partnered with GreenSpot.Travel to offer the Pura Vida Luxury Wellness Retreat: The Shorter Approach Does Costa Rica. The week-long experience will include goal-setting, cardio and strength training, and nutrition planning mixed with activities like coffee plantation tours, cooking classes, hikes up a nearby volcano, and salsa dancing with locals every day.

People of all fitness levels and experience have the chance to join Shorter on the Costa Rica retreat, which includes incredible experiences at two Cayuga Collection properties: Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort and Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort.

When is it?

Oct. 8 to 15, 2016

Where is it?

Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort (October 8-10)

Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort (October 11-14)

Extensions both before and after the retreat are possible

Who are the additional partners?

GreenSpot.Travel http://www.greenspot.travel/blog/pura-vida-luxury-wellness-retreat/ The Shorter Approach http://theshorterapproach.com/costarica/

More info below

What type of guests are we expecting?

We anticipate that we will have primarily women aged 45-60, travelling from the western USA, Miami area, and eastern US (New York region), as well as guests from western Canada.

What is included?

  • Accommodation
  • Daily meals
  • Transfers
  • Fitness and goal-setting discussion and guidance
    • Nutrition planning and recommendations
    • Cardio and strength training
    • Sunset yoga
    • Salsa lessons
    • Volcano hike and wildlife viewing
    • Hiking tour of Manuel Antonio National Park
    • A tour of the organic coffee plantation at Finca Rosa Blanca
    • Wildlife viewing
    • Cooking demonstrations
  • Optional add-on activities during ‘free time’ include:
    • Kayaking or stand-up padding excursion
    • Easy Being Green Tour: sustainability at Arenas Del Mar
    • Spa treatment at Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Retreat (separate fee)


Organic Coffee Scrub
Organic Coffee Scrub

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

Brian Cant

Tartan Group




Find your fitness ‘Pura Vida’ in Costa Rica

chefpreparing_square_smallJoin Michele Shorter, founder and owner of The Shorter Approach for a week-long experience in Costa Rica which will include goal-setting, cardio and strength training, and nutrition planning mixed with a myriad of activities at Finca Rosa Blanca; coffee plantation tours, cooking demos and tasting menus, hikes up a nearby volcano and through the Cloud forest, and salsa dancing with locals every day.  The week will be shared between the coffee growing highlands of Costa Rica to the beaches of Arenas Del Mar in Manuel Antonio.

Here at Finca Rosa Blanca, you will get flexible, strong, and energized, set goals and create a focused plan while enjoying:

  • Early morning yoga with the birds.
  • Salsa lessons with Diego our dance instructor who has the most captivating Latin moves.
  • Hike to the Volcano and find the foot prints of a jaguar and a quetzal nesting far above in the Cloud forest.
  • A tour of the organic coffee plantation at Finca Rosa Blanca and a class on Cupping Coffee.
  • Wildlife and Bird-watching with our resident Wildlife Guide.
  • Cooking demonstrations with Chef Gustavo using the fresh local and seasonal ingredients of Costa Rica.

On your first day experiencing the wonders of Finca Rosa Blanca,  we will share with you our  chef Gustavo who will prepare an artesanal salad, with organic ingredients from the Finca Rosa Blanca Farm and Greenhouse.  You will help harvest the ingredients and then watch and learn as the chef prepares your salad at a Cooking Demo in our main dining room  He will prepare his renowned Citrus salad, with organic field greens, fresh herbs, and three different citrus fruit from our gardens and orchards, red onion, crispy garlic croutons, fried leeks, and passion fruit dressing.

Space is limited. People may register or learn more by contacting GreenSpot’s Costa Rica travel expert Irene Edwards at irene@greenspottravel.org

 The Shorter Approach is based on 18 years of training clients from all fitness levels and backgrounds. Through The Shorter Approach, Michele delivers proven expertise, guidance and support to help you achieve your fitness and wellness goals, nourish yourself and live the life you want.

_EQF9789 For more information, visit www.theshorterapproach.com.


El Guarumo Master Suite

We are so proud of our new conversion of the room El Guarumo from a junior to a master suite. We attached the 150 sq. ft sitting room that was next to the El Guarumo junior suite and added it on as the new bedroom making it now the El Guarumo Master Suite. Available now.  more photos to come soon!

Finca Rosa Blanca's photo.
Finca Rosa Blanca's photo.
Finca Rosa Blanca's photo.

Celebrating our new Chef Gustavo!

Chef Gustavo
Chef Gustavo

Chef Gustavo Alvarado has joined our family at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort.  He brings over 12 years of successful experience in food service and management to El Tigre Vestido Restaurant and the Bar Buho.

Gustavo trained at culinary school in Florida and worked in many famous restaurants in Naples Florida among many Maximo’s Restaurant, Alexander’s Fine Cuisine and Maxwell’s on the Bay.  Just before moving back to Costa Rica three years ago, he was Chef de Cuisine at Carmelo’s Restaurant in Lewiston, New York.Atun bonita springs

Carmelo’s is a highly awarded five star contemporary Restaurant known for its emphasis on Seasonal Farm to Table cuisine.

Gustavo is an artist in the kitchen and his knowledge of international cuisines and New World Fusion recipes will take full advantage of FRB’s extensive organic gardens, orchards, and coffee plantation.  We welcome Gustavo to our family and look forward to his culinary creations in the kitchen of El Tigre Vestido!

Restaurante City Chefs Chef Ejecutivo Gustavo Alvarado Foto Armando Del Vecchio
Restaurante City Chefs
Chef Ejecutivo Gustavo Alvarado
Foto Armando Del Vecchio





Finca Rosa Blanca Invites the Community to an Environmental Education Breakfast


Some of many environmental prizes
Some of many environmental prizes

On July 25, 2015 an “Environmental Education Breakfast” was held at Finca Rosa Blanca in our new Salon Santa Barbara with leaders of the communities of Barrio Jesus and Santa Barbara who are working to protect the environment.  Janina, our sustainability director, welcomed everyone to a breakfast of organic coffee, fresh juices and homemade pastries and then we got down to business!

Barbara and Teri  with prizes for Environment

Karen Bermudez, the environmental manager of the municipality of Sta. Barbara talked about recycling and clean water, Don Rafael de FUPROVIRENA talked about how to share in their reforestation projects and Isabell Guillen, the head of the Eco Patrol, talked to us about the community projects and presented gifts and prizes for all who attended.  Jorge Hidalgo, the representative of the Association of Jesus Developmen, talked about reducing Carbon Emissions at a community level and representatives of the Environmental Blue Flag programs in the two elementary schools spoke about their projects. The representatives from the Senior Center, the Office for Women, and the Children’s Food Bank of Barrios Jesus also attended.

Recycling Presentation
Recycling Presentation

After the presentations, we all toured the organic greenhouse and gardens, the recycling center and our Red Worm Composting Farm.  The new laundry and solar drying area and our silver/copper ionization systems for the swimming pool and jacuzzi were explained to the group as well as the solar systems for heating water for the hotel and restaurant.  It was great to have this enthusiastic and energetic group share our ideals and projects


Topes and Carreras de Cintas

San-Jose-Tope-1In my last blog I mentioned that our daughters joined the Yegua Roja at the many topes de caballos and the  carreras de cintas. The tope is a gathering of horses at the beginning of a festival when ranchers and equine aficionados bring their finest horses  in from the countryside to parade through the streets of each town and city dressed in their best riding outfits. Many of these horses are highly trained in “dancing” which is a type of gait where the horse lifts its hooves, often in time to music.

The carrera is a sport on horseback where the rider seeks to grab hanging ribbons or with a pointed stick topple tiny hoops hanging from a wire above head level all the while traveling at full speed.  Our daughters Lily and Olivia still treasure the hand-whittled sticks made by Yegua Roja for the carreras they ran.  And the colorful ribbons which he taught them to weave into the manes and tails of the horses when riding in the Grand Tope during Christmas week in San Jose.  Thousands of horses and their riders took part in the Grand Tope with mariachis and cervezas flowing alongside the parade.

Yegua Roja prepare to ride up the mountain


The Red Mare! Who would believe his Nickname?

Yegua Roja
Yegua Roja

Yegua Roja (The Red Mare) has worked for us for over 20 years!  He was named after the first horse that he trained as a young man and he  began his long career with us as our horse wrangler when we ran horse trips into the mountains.  Yegua Roja, whose real name is Gerardo Perez, is the local ferrier and is known in the community as the Expert in all things Equine.  He loves children and taught our daughters Lily and Olivia to ride with the best of the Costa Rican cowboys and proudly took them to all of the rodeos and horse parades throughout the year.  His horses had beautiful gaits and danced their way to the top of many competitions.  We rode up the slopes of Barva volcano with Gerardo, sometimes for entire days and shared his knowledge and horsemanship with our guests, friends and family.

Yegua Roja prepare to ride up the mountain
Yegua Roja prepares to ride up the mountain

After we discontinued the horse tours, Yegua Roja became one of our gardeners at the hotel using his green thumb to keep the 9 acres of gardens bountiful and always has a ready smile for guests and fellow employees alike.  He now works with our crew on the coffee farms sharing his expertise in all things coffee.  Gerardo grew up working in coffee with his own family and neighbors and now is helping us maintain the plantations while advising us on weather patterns, organic coffee and methods of planting and pruning coffee trees.

horseback tour with coffee (1)20101203_costa_rica_0717 (1)




Celebrating World Environment Day

planting trees with our guests

Last week we celebrated the World Environment Day on June 5, 2015 by planting over a thousand native trees in our coffee plantation.  We invited out guests to participate and we chose a lovely cool site next to one of the rivers which flow through the farm.  Over the past two months our crew, a group of factory workers from a large corporation and our partners at Finca Rosa Blanca, have planted 3000 baby coffee trees and 2000 native trees which will grow to shade these fledgling plants.

planting trees in the finca

All of these trees are carbon sequestering and have helped us to become 100% carbon neutral at the hotel, restaurant and farms.Charly preparing to plant a tree


Ulises is our Super Coffee Tour Guide and Cupper

Ulises, our Expert Coffee Guide
Ulises, Coffee Guide

Ulises Valdez Zuñiga was born on November 21, 1990 and has 7 brothers and sisters.  He  lives just down the road from Finca Rosa Blanca in Barrio Jesus  of Sta. Barbara de Heredia.  Ulises has become an expert in all things coffee; he knows the plants, trees and wildlife of our tree-shaded coffee plantation better than he knows his seven siblings!   He guides our guests from the coffee roasting house, through the plantation to the processing and drying areas and back to the hotel to participate in a coffee cupping nearly every day, rain or shine.

Ulises shared his experiences with the wildlife of the farm, from paraqueets and parrots, oropendulas and humming birds of all sizes to porcupines, racoons, armadillos, opossums and even deer.  The effort we have put into creating a shade grown, organic coffee farm has attracted animals, birds and reptiles to the farm in the hundreds.

Today as Ulises was guiding a group of students through the farm they encountered a Costa Rican white-tailed deer grazing happily among the coffee trees.  Because the coffee is organic, the grasses and weeds grow between the rows of plants and provide sustenance for wild animals.  We have two small rivers which flow through the farm and are protected by  more than 30 meters of native trees and shrubs offering shelter and water to deer and other mammals as well as the myriad of bird life.  We are anxious to hear more tales of wildlife encountered in the lush and bountiful coffee plantation!



A May Wedding under the Giant Ficus

Congratulations to Sean and Cristina who tied the knot this weekend at Finca Rosa Blanca!2015-05-24 16.43.08Our first wedding of the season was held under a clear tent placed strategically under the spreading boughs of the Higueron Tree.  It had rained all day until the late afternoon and the bridal party was worried, but the day cleared and the wedding was a sucess!    With a romantic harpist and violinist to accompany the vows and the sound of birds celebrating the first rains of May, the bridal couple embraced and sealed their vows.2015-05-24 16.42.302015-05-24 16.43.32


Wedding Season Has Arrived

wedding_vows3Costa Rica is a wedding destination with something to please everyone. Centrally located in the continent, you can combine a holiday with friends and family; your wedding ceremony; and your honeymoon, all in one delicious package.

Juan Santamaría International Airport is located in the Central Valley just minutes from Finca Rosa Blanca, making it the perfect wedding destination. Some of the benefits of choosing a Central Valley venue are: you won’t have to arrange long transfers for your family and friends and it is a destination replete with volcanoes, cloud forests, waterfalls, , museums and theaters, coffee plantations and handicraft shops.  Finca Rosa Blanca is the scenic country venue which offers landscapes of exceptional beauty with its forests, volcanoes, fields of coffee, rivers and waterfalls. If you are looking for the perfect romantic location for your wedding, look no further…The Central Highlands of Costa Rica is the place where dream weddings come true and Finca Rosa Blanca is the destination you are searching for in your dreams.

Finca Rosa Blanca is renowned for its romance and artistry. When you think of your wedding set in a memorable place, Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort can offer you an extraordinary event encircled by steaming volcanoes, coffee farms and cloud forests. Surrounded by lush coffee plantations and lulled by the mountain breezes, you will enjoy all of our luxurious facilities, plus the opportunity to hold your ceremony under our giant Ficus tree with spectacular views of the Central Valley below.

Experience the excellent cuisine of our creative chef, stay in a fabulous Master Suite with breathtaking views, let us pamper you at our El Targua Spa or simply enjoy a glass of champagne on your private deck. Whatever it is you imagine for your perfect wedding, Finca Rosa Blanca will make it possible for you!

For wedding guests who truly want to relax during their time at Finca Rosa Blanca, the elegant and intimate El Targua Spa gives them an opportunity to enjoy a refreshing massage, exotic volcanic mud wrap, or organic coffee body scrub. If you would like to indulge your entire wedding party we can offer you a group rate. We can arrange for a stylist to come and create the most romantic looks for your wedding, including a range of hair styles and make up for the event of your lifetime.

We can create a tropical fantasy wedding from two to ninety people. Escape to paradise and let the experienced staff at Rosa Blanca prepare your wedding feast replete with sumptuous Costa Rican fusion cuisine, Latin rhythms or classical serenades following a romantic ceremony overlooking the verdant central valley. We look forward to hosting such a special event.

Next week I will have photos of our first wedding of the season!


Give Yourself the Gift of Wellness at Finca Rosa Blanca

We now offer a menu of healthy activities and sustenance at Finca Rosa Blanca, including introductory Tai Chi classes, Yoga for all ages, Spa treatments, Farm to Table healthy cuisiine and Organic Coffee to wake your senses.

Organic Coffee at any hour
Fresh Organic Coffee

Join us to get your Chi flowing and your body cleansed and toned in our newly renovated El Targua Spa and yoga/tai chi studio, Salon Santa Barbara.  Andrea Garzon, recently joined us after many years running the spa at our sister hotel, Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort.  She and her staff of massage therapists and yoga teachers will share their techniques and skills to grant you the relaxation and tranquility that you deserve.

We now offer a menu of healthy activities and sustenance at Finca Rosa Blanca, including introductory Tai Chi classes, Yoga for all ages, Spa treatments, Farm to Table healthy cuisine and Organic Coffee to wake your senses.


Organic Coffee Scrub
Organic Coffee Scrub

Teri Jampol, a Taoist Tai Chi instructor for many years and the owner of Finca Rosa Blanca, will teach the the tai chi classes. Discover the Taoist Tai Chi® arts. Finca Rosa Blanca is hosting a class every week, which is open to both the public and the guests of the hotel.

People from all walks of life and across the world tell how the practice of Taoist Tai Chi® arts has relieved stress, provided deep relaxation, given their bodies balance and strength, helped with pain, lifted spirits, and even changed their outlook on life. More background can be found at the international web site of Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi. www.taoist.org

The class is one of many offered by the Asociación de Tai Chi TaoístaMR. For more information on other locations and class times in Costa Rica please visit www.costarica.taoist.org

tai chi logo jul11

We are happy to organize private Yoga classes and special healthy menus for you and your family.  Finca Rosa Blanca has become Costa Rica’s new luxurious wellness destination.




How to eat like a local when traveling abroad

Visiting the local Fresh Market
Visiting the local Fresh Market

How to eat like a local when traveling abroad:

1) Before you travel, start with Google and look up articles about your destination. I tend to trust the publications that cannot be swayed by tempting free trips to destinations. I then start to look at their links to restaurants, culinary blogs or tours that are mentioned in the articles which often then lead to more links to other information about eating in your destination.

2) Try Urban Adventures for information and great inner-city tours, many of which feature meals with a family and tours of markets and restaurants. They have not branched out to all cities, but this may be a great option if they are in your destination.

3) Tripadvisor (uses crowdsourcing and is very subjective and often based upon price instead of quality) and guide books or travel websites unfortunately can be woefully out of date but they can be good to cross reference the information you get from local papers (digital or not) and blogs.

4) These are just some of the different sources for information that I looked at when recently traveling to Bogotá, Colombia last month. We knew we were going to be in the city for several weeks and my plan was to try the best and most interesting restaurants and experiences that I could (some in Spanish). Because we were there for a period of time we did not limit ourselves to local cuisine, but did branch out and found remarkable restaurants which featured the fresh tropical ingredients that can be had in Bogota in a variety of different cuisines from many countries.

5) Go to Facebook for pages on restaurants in your destination. Look for organizations or groups that weigh in on restaurants and food destinations, but again this is subjective and not always to be trusted. Restaurants always have Facebook pages and will often not bother with a website. You can find all the contact information you will need to see hours and make reservations as well as maps that link to Google Maps.

6) Buy a phone chip with data (usually very reasonable and you can download maps and guidebooks as well as use the GPS for Google Maps and use WAZE app if driving. Very uselful when trying to track down culinary destinations.

7) Buzzfeed is often a good source of local information, but again the information is subjective and unless you trust the source, it is probably better to look for professional reviews or blogs by food obsessed writers, chefs, cooks and hedonists.

8) If you loved one restaurant try to ask the chef where they would eat and if you can’t talk to the chef ask your waiter.

9) If at all possible, look for restaurants that use fresh local ingredients, feature traditional recipes or contemporary twists on the traditional and try to avoid the restaurants offering Japanese, Chinese, Italian, French or Mexican among many cuisines, unless you are eating in those countries.

10) Do go to the fresh food markets in each town or city which are often whole city blocks under one roof and/or just on the weekends to see what fresh produce and local products can be found. Ask the purveyors/farmers/producers where they go to eat. What should you try and what is the local favorite meal/food. Be prepared to taste your way along…but do not eat fresh fruit or vegetables that have not been washed or cut with your own clean knife.

Next week I will share Costa Rica Taste Tips!


Oscar paints Barva Volcano in El Cielo

Oscar paints El Cielo

Our good friend and fabulous artist, and muralist, Oscar Salazar, is once again adding beauty and personality to the walls of Finca Rosa Blanca.  We asked him to paint a mural on a wall of the veranda outside of the newest room at the hotel, the lovely El Cielo Master Suite.  The views from the suite windows and deck are of the surrounding coffee plantations and the Central Valley of Costa
Rica, so he decided to paint what could be seen, if you had x-ray vision through the wall, north to our closest national park and Barva Volcano.

oscar el cielo

Oscar has been painting murals inside and outside at Finca Rosa Blanca for over 20 years and he is part of our extended family of friends who join us periodically, bringing art and beauty to share with our guests.  Oscar has painted waterfalls and coffee plantations, jaguars, dantas and exotic tropical birds, church steeples and small towns filled with adobe houses, our neighbors picking coffee and our favorite towering trees filled with orchids and winding vines.

We invite you to come and visit every mural Oscar has painted for us over the years!  Oscar would love it!!!

Oscar painting El Cielo


Nativity Scenes at Christmas in Costa Rica

The traditional Christmas Season  in Costa Rica, offers customs that came from Spain with the early settlers. These include the portal or pasito, the nativity scene, which is still the most important part of Christmas in Costa Rica. The scene must feature the three figures of the Holy Family, one cow and one donkey and the figure of baby Jesus is added at midnight on Noche Buena, Christmas Eve. In most homes, a variety of other figures have been added to the scene including shepherds, sheep and angels, farm animals, cats and dogs, but also toy trains, super heroes and Disney characters have been known to make an appearance.

The nativity scene begins with lana or moss, found in the trees of the high Cloud forests and a rustic manger made of cypress wood.  Each portal is unique to the individual family and often includes potted plants, and creativity  producing wondrous displays with blinking christmas lights, flowing water and recorded hymns. Families sometimes add photographs of family members and some neighborhoods host live portales with humans portraying the Holy Family complete with friends and neighbors who share in saying the rosary and singing villancicos, or carols and share seasonal tamales and eggnog with all. Figures of the three kings are added to the portales on January 6, and again the day is celebrated with a rosary to the baby Jesus.

In the surrounding towns, many houses will place their portales on their porch so that passerbys can look in and enjoy the scene.  The local churches feature large portales in front of the churches and often in the naves.  At Finca Rosa Blanca we take our guests to our local towns and pueblos  to share in the traditions of Costa Rica at Christmas time.

A mix of the old and the new
A mix of the old and the new




Tis the season to pick coffee in Costa Rica and in our own Rosa Blanca Organic Coffee Plantation

One can find coffee baskets full of red cherries by the side of coffee farms around the hills of the Central Valley.  The pickers start early in the morning and wind their way down the rows of verdant coffee only plucking the bright red cherries from the bushes.  Costa Rica is the only country in the coffee-growing world where all the coffee must be picked by hand.  When the day ends, the pickers find their way to the weighing stations, where their cherries fill the metal container “half a fanega/50 lb.) that measures the amount they have picked that day.

The beans are soaked to loosen the fruit around the beans and then put through a chanqueadora, a crushing or peeling machine which removes the skin and fruit from the coffee beans.  There are usually two coffee seeds inside and these come apart in the machine.  Now the seeds are fermented overnight in water and then drained and spread to dry in the sun on parijuelas, hammocks made of mesh that allows the air to dry the beans from below.

The pickers will pick the same coffee bushes 3 times over during the harvest season which last approximately 3 months and starts depending upon the weather conditions around October and ends sometime in January.   Our neighbors and friends love to join us during this season on their time off and the school children will help when their summer vacation begins.  We invite you our guests to join in with us in harvesting our coffee or take our famous Coffee Tour and encounter our pickers in the fields.  If you would like to pitch in and pluck some coffee cherries with our crew, please just let us know and we will suit you up with a picking basket and a hat to keep the sun off. 

Picking organic coffee at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation
Picking organic coffee at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation


Coffee Fields below El Cielo
Coffee Fields Mural

El Cielo means “Heaven” and it is the name of our new Master Suite at Finca Rosa Blanca and it is Heavenly.  We are finishing the new room now to be ready for our Holiday Season and we cannot wait to share this exotic location with you.  We found the perfect site to build overlooking the coffee fields below and with views of the Central Valley below.  At night the lights of the city and the mountains beyond will entrance our future guests in El Cielo.

Our largest Master Suite yet, El Cielo’s bedroom has wraparound windows which open up to the towering native trees that make it feel like an exotic tree house floating above the ground. With a deck that is suspended into the tree branches, you will experience the world of the tropical birds and animals that live in these trees while enjoying the breezes and sun-filled air from a comfy lounge chair. The covered deck area features a hand-painted mural of Barva Volcano and the mountains looming up behind the master suite.  El Cielo is surrounded by many of our coffee trees so that depending upon the season you will be able to watch the coffee ripen on the bush but better yet in the mornings you will be able to fall out of bed and make yourself a freshly roasted cup of Café Rosa Blanca.

We will keep you posted on the progress of El Cielo!