Donation to Reserva Playa Tortuga

Las Villas de San Buenas proudly donated over 10 headlamps to Reserva Playa sand turtle playa tortugaTortuga (RPT) recently. RPT is located approximately 10 minutes from Las Villas de San Buenas and they provide our residents and visitors an amazing opportunity to help protect Costa Rica’s Osa wildlife.

Tortuga is Spanish for turtle, and they focus a lot of their time, energy and financial resources on protecting migrating turtles. However, they also study a variety of wildlife in the area.

Las Villas de San Buenas is looking to increase its support of Reserva Playa Tortuga turtle nests ojochal tortugaand preliminary discussions have started to finalize a program that benefits both organizations.

To donate please purchase these headlamps on Amazon, and ship to:

Nick HalversonTortugaHeadlamp
1759 Valerie Lane
New Brighton, MN 55112

Be sure to include your name in the order and/or send us an email to notify us that they are on the way and we can send you a thank-you card.

Reserva playa tortuga donation

Las Villas de San Buenas (LVSB) recently donated headlamps to RPT Juan Manuel Salazar (RPT),  Nick Halverson (LVSB), Melissa Jimenez Kardentey (RPT).

Mr. Juan Salazar, from RPT, said that “these headlamps will help our volunteers work throughout the night in protecting the mothers who are laying their eggs, and for the hatchlings to successfully make it to the ocean.”

headlamps

Some of the donated headlamps from Las Villas de San Buenas to Reserva Playa Tortuga

Please contact us if you’d like to make a financial or product donation to Reserva Playa Tortuga.

From RPT’s website, their objectives are:

  • To develop positive communication with populations and communities associated with study areas focusing on protection of coastal marine resources and the development of responsible ecological tourism.
  • To establish strategic alliances with governmental and non-governmental entities working towards conservation and management of natural resources at local, national and international levels.
  • To educate and enable local population, via programs and opportunities, to live in environmentally sustainable ways.
  • To identify populations of coastal animals in danger of local, regional, or global extinction.
  • To maintain and rehabilitate the land in order to create/re-create an intact coastal zone that protects the Osa’s incredible wealth of biodiversity while supporting and facilitating sustainable development and living for the immediate coastal populations from Cortés to Dominical.
  • To provide opportunities to the scientists and researchers from Costa Rica to work with senior researchers and faculty members of US and other international universities and research facilities in order to further develop their research skills in the scientific fields related to Conservation Ecology and Biogeochemistry of Tropical Coastal Marine Systems.
  • To facilitate scientists and researchers to use the equipment and facility of Playa Tortuga Marine Conservation and Research Center for their own research activities involving biological investigation of tropical marine environments in regions where such research has not been carried out in recent times.

Turtle Logo

United Airlines adds Seasonal Flights to Costa Rica

United Airlines Adds Two Nonstop Flights to Costa Rica

Source: The Tico Times

The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) in July reported that U.S. carrier United Airlines will open two seasonal flights between Denver and Costa Rica from December to April.

One of the flights will arrive at Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José, and the other will fly to the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste.

United Airlines Costa Rica

The new seasonal trips from Denver will operate Fridays and Saturdays from December 18 and April 30. (Courtesy of United Airlines)

The route between Denver International Airport and San José will operate once a week from Dec. 18 to April 30, 2016. The flight will depart from Denver at 10:59 p.m. on Fridays and will arrive at Juan Santamaría on Saturdays at 5:24 a.m. From San José, the flight will depart Saturdays at 7:19 a.m. and will arrive in Denver at noon.

The route to Daniel Oduber also will operate on Saturdays from Dec. 19 to April 30.

Flights will leave from Denver at 9:55 a.m. and arrive in Liberia at 4:15 p.m. Departures from Liberia will be at 12:30 p.m. and will arrive in Denver at 5:05 p.m., the ICT reported.

Tourism Minister Mauricio Ventura said the news from United is important for the country: “These new flights will boost the tourism sector throughout the country, but they also will expand opportunities for Costa Ricans to fly to this major U.S. destination.”

The U.S. is Costa Rica’s main source of travelers. In 2014, the country registered a total of 936,929 arrivals from that country, a 7.6 percent increase from 2013.

 

Meet our Customers

Las Villas de San Buenas has a diverse set of owners from around the world (eight countries and counting). Come join us in paradise!! More information here

Customers San Buenas

Our customers come from around the world and have a variety of backgrounds.

Lapa Photographed at Casa Lapa

The photograph below was taken by Nick Halverson in May 2015 from the backyard of Casa Lapa using a Nikon D5000 with a Nikkor 18-140 mm lens. It is of a scarlet macaw (or a lapa as they are known in Costa Rica).

There were four lapas eating the ripening almonds from the almond tree in the early morning. If you look closely at the photo you can see that this one has the almond between its beak. We planted those trees approximately three years ago and we now regularly have lapas flying in and eating.

Costa Rica lapa san buenas

Lapa (scarlet macaw) enjoying an almond behind Casa Lapas, Las Villas de San Buenas. (c) Nick Halverson

Las Villas de San Buenas to Plant 2,000 trees in Partnership Agreement

Las Villas de San Buenas to Plant 2,000 Trees

Las Villas de San Buenas recently purchased 2,000 trees from a non-profit division of Sembrada Agua logo2ICE (electricity provider) called Sembrada Agua. This project connects high schools and local communities to organizations looking to repopulate damage done decades ago by cattle farmers whom cleared some of the jungles in Costa Rica. The goal of Sembrada Agua is to plant one million trees by 2030 – and we wanted to do our part in helping out.

“We are committed to designing and planning our development in an eco-friendly manner and integrating native trees into the landscapes,” explained Hanz Cruz, General Manager of Las Villas de San Buenas.

Sembrado Agua ICE 1

Some of the 2,000 trees that have been delivered to Las Villas de San Buenas.

Las Villas de San Buenas will be spending the next month planting these trees. When we purchased the land that is now Las Villas de San Buenas there were thousands of gmelina trees that had been planted in the 1960s by local farmers. Gmelina is a non-indigenous, invasive species that chokes out the native trees. After several years, and approximately $85,000, we successfully cleared out the majority of the gmelina trees. We are now actively replanting the same area with fourteen tree species that are native to the Osa Peninsula, which will help bring the land back to its more natural state from 100 years ago.

“We will be planting a variety of fruit trees, hard woods and ornamental trees which will show our owners the beautiful mix of the wonderful bio-diversity found in this region of Costa Rica,” said Las Villas de San Buenas CEO Nick Halverson.

 

Wildlife Author Carrol L Henderson meets with Nick Halverson

Earlier this week, Las Villas de San Buenas CEO, Nick Halverson, met with Carrol L Henderson, to exchange

Carrol Henderson Nick Halverson

Nick Halverson (L) and Carrol L Henderson enjoyed meeting and discussing Costa Rica earlier this week.

their experiences and stories about Costa Rica. Mr. Henderson is a wildlife biologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and has written four books about Costa Rica’s mammals, birds and wildlife.

During the 75 minute meeting, Carrol shared many stories of his travels around the world and his success in raising awareness of wildlife in Costa Rica. In fact, Carrol was instrumental in getting the Ballena National Park designated as a national park by using photographs he took of migrating whales, and having those compared to photos on file at the Cousteau Institute.

Prolific Writing

Carrol’s four books about Costa Rica are: Costa Rica Wildlife, Mammals, Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica, Butterflies, Moths, and Other Invertebrates of Costa Rica, Birds of Costa Rica

Carrol has spent a lifetime studying wildlife in both Costa Rica and in Minnesota, USA. He made his first visit to Costa Rica in the late 1960’s, where he met and married his wife of 40 years+. Over the past 45 years, Carrol has documented every trip and every animal sighting he’s had in Costa Rica. Armed with this data, he went on to write his books about wildlife in Costa Rica. He is constantly looking for updates and photographic proof of sightings so each new edition of his books is kept up-to-date. In fact, after the meeting Mr. Halverson sent Mr. Henderson some photos so that Carrol could identify the bird species in the photos.

Las Villas de San Buenas is committed to protecting the environment and due to this commitment, birds that were not seen 10 years ago in San Buenaventura are now common. Through working with professional horticultures, local experts and actively searching out other professionals (such as Carrol Henderson), Las Villas de San Buenas is continuing to improve the environmental diversity of Osa.

Small Town, Common Roots

It turns out that Carrol and the Chairman of the Board of Las Villas de San Buenas, Duane Halverson, both were born in Iowa and both were students at Iowa State University at the same time in the late 1960’s.

Nick Halverson was also born in Iowa, and interestingly, both Nick and Carrol have a strong belief that to truly appreciate and enjoy Costa Rica, one must immerse oneself into the local culture and customs.

Costa Rica Birding Tours

Since 1987, Mr. Henderson has lead private birding tours for small groups of people. Every trip is unique and different from any other previous trips. If anyone is interested in learning more about his past trips, or the January 2016 trip, please send us a note.

NOTE: All of Carrol’s books are available at national book sellers and Amazon.

Donation to LILA Non-Profit Organization

LILA Lakes International Language AcademyDonation to LILA Non-profit

For the 5th year in a row, Las Villas de San Buenas donated a week of Casa Lapas to Lakes International Language Academy (LILA) foundation. Casa Lapas generated over $2,500 for the non-profit organization with 100% of the funds going directly to LILA.

LILA Parents Jeanine Halverson and Annie Moorman enjoying the evening.

LILA Parents Jeanine Halverson and Annie Moorman enjoying the evening.

Mr. Chuck Phillips from Forest Lake, Minnesota, had the winning bid. Mr. Phillips owns a karate dojo and is looking forward to visiting Las Villas de San Buenas with his family later in 2015.

The funds will be used to further educate a classroom for an entire year with a licensed teacher from outside the USA who will bring their own experience, and language skills, into the classroom.

LILA 2015

Over 150 people attended the fund raiser.

Las Villas de San Buenas CEO Nick Halverson said, “We are proud to continue our commitment to helping LILA, and their International Baccalaureate program, which not only educates students in immersion learning (Spanish and Mandarin Chinese at LILA) but also provides students learning from a global perspective.”

The LILA fund raiser had over 150 in attendance, including Miguel Ramos, from

LILA Miguel Ramos Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins’ Miguel Ramos donating a banner for LILA

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Minnesota Twins’ front office who donated a banner to be hung in LILA’s office and also facilitate several game-ticket packages that were used for a silent auction. The function was attended primarily by parents of students at LILA and several local business owners.

Las Villas de San Buenas is proud to have customers from eight countries (and counting) who speak at least six languages, and continues to attract customers from around the world.

Mr. Halverson stated at the event, “Costa Rica and in particular, Las Villas de San IMG_7536Buenas, appeals to people from around the world due to its amazing wildlife, the spectacular views throughout the property and its diverse customer base. Add to that the world-class amenities nearby and it’s understandable why we continue to attract customers from around the globe.”

 

Beautiful Reflective Photo Costa Rica

I took this photo of the sunset reflecting into the pool of Casa Lapa on March 20, 2015. The colors were

Costa Rica Sunset

(c) Nick Halverson

electric. NOTE: I used the photo editing app Snapseed to adjust the coloring.

If you enjoy taking photos, as an amateur or as a professional, you will love it here in the Osa region of Costa Rica. From the beaches, wildlife and stunning sunsets to the amazing number of birds and plants, there is never a shortage of subjects to photograph.

I hope you enjoy the photo. I look forward to seeing you during your time in Costa Rica. As always, we are here to help and can assist you in your trip planning, including rental cars and tours.

Pura vida!

Nick Halverson
CEO
Las Villas de San Buenas

Our Beautiful New Rancho

We’ve been busy the last month here in Las Villas de San Buenas. We’ve added some new roads, fixed up some of the old ones, added a few more ocean view lots (more on that later) and built a beautiful new rancho.

Costa Rica Rancho

First, a little background information. A rancho, or ranchito, is an outdoor structure used for gatherings, picnics and/or relaxing. The designs and quality vary greatly throughout Costa Rica, but the one key component of all of them is that there are no walls. This design feature ensures constant fresh air is flowing through at all times.

Our most recent rancho is our third one in Las Villas de San Buenas. We previously built one on a private lot and another one just past our bridge near the driving range of San Buenas Golf Resort.

Rancho Herradura is the largest one yet. The dimensions are 4 meters by 4 meters (16 square meters), which equates to 172 square feet! We used the same roofing material TejaReal and added designed a vent at the top which allows all of the hot air (from the air and cooking – not the fish tales being shared!) to easily leave.

Hand made table by a local carpenter in San Buenaventura.

Hand made table by a local carpenter in San Buenaventura.

One of the design elements that our clients love is how we took leaves from native trees, all of which are found in the development, and pressed them into the floor while the cements was still wet. This left a permanent imprint on the floor.

Rancho Costa Rica Floor

Unlike our other ranchos, Rancho Herradura has electricity with lights, allowing for all day and evening use. Additionally, there are two electrical outlets, internet service, a full grill and a sink.

Costa Rica rancho

 

 

 

 

BBQ costa Rica

Costa Rica is the Happiest Country in the World…again

Costa Rica is the Happiest Country in the World

Costa Rica has once again been judged to be the “Happiest Country in the World” by the Happy Planet Index. The rankings are based on the following three components, and each is given a traffic-light score

based on thresholds for good (green), middling (amber) and bad (red) performance. – See more

1) Life expectancy

female surfer playa dominical smile

Costa Rica once again is named the Happiest Country in the World. 

2) Experienced well-being

3) Ecological Footprint

These scores are combined to an expanded six-colour traffic light for the overall HPI score, where, to achieve bright green – the best of the six colours, a country would have to perform well on all three individual components.

The Top 10 Happiest Countries are:

  1. Costa Rica
  2. Vietnam
  3. Columbia
  4. Belize
  5. El Salvador

As one can see, interestingly, four of the top five happiest places are in Central or South America. By way of comparison, the USA ranked 105th, Canada ranked 65th and France 50th.

For more information, and a full ranking of 151 countries, please visit their website here.

Everyone here at Las Villas de San Buenas, and the town of San Buenaventura, understands the happiness lifestyle. People of Costa Rica tend to be more relaxed and proud of what they have – not envious and jealous of others who have “more”. Although many Costa Ricans may not have a lot of “stuff”, what many Costa Ricans do have more of than other countries is a commitment to family and friendship.

This focus and commitment to family and friends is why Costa Rica continues to be a destination for people from around the world (and why we have had customers from eight countries!).