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

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.

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!).

Costa Rica Tourism Up in 2014

Nick Halverson Pam Bunte

Enjoying a drink at Tortilla Flats, Dominical, Osa, Costa Rica. International travel in Costa Rica increased 6.4% in 2014 (up by over 103,000 travelers compared to 2013).

The number of travelers traveling through Costa Rica’s two international airports increased by over 6% in 2014 compared to 2013. The Tico Times provided the following information. Not surprisingly the majority of visitors come from North America. In fact, North America accounted for 74% of all international visitors to Costa Rica in 2013.

Tourism Ministry officials on Thursday reported that revenues from Costa Rica’s travel sector last year totaled $2.6 billion, an 8.3 percent increase over the $2.4 billion registered in 2013, according to figures from the Central Bank.

Officials credited the 2,526,817 international arrivals registered in 2014, an increase of 4.1 percent over the previous year. That’s an increase of 98,876 arrivals by air, land and at ports, the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) reported.

Tourism Minister Wilhelm Von Breymann said that the arrival figures are generated by crossing reports from the Immigration Administration and the ICT.

Air terminals still are the main ports of entry for international travelers, and the country’s two international airports — Juan Santamaría and Daniel Oduber — registered an increase in arrivals of 6.4 percent, or 103,509 travelers.

According to the Immigration Administration, this is the highest number since 2008 when the international crisis hit the tourism sector worldwide and in Costa Rica led to a decrease of more than 100,000 arrivals in 2009.

Von Breymann noted that 67.5 percent of international arrivals came from North American countries, followed by Europe at 16.5 percent and South America at 6.9 percent.

“The ICT’s promotional efforts this year will focus on attracting more tourists from those markets,” Marketing Director Alejandro Castro told The Tico Times.

The U.S. remains the main source of travelers, and in 2014, Costa Rica registered 936,929 arrivals from that country – a 7.6 percent increase from 2013. Arrivals from Canada also increased by 7.5 percent, according to the Immigration Administration report.

“Our research told us that the U.S. has a potential market of 65 to 70 million citizens who want to travel abroad, and some 16 million would be interested in a destination like Costa Rica. So there is still great potential for us to increase arrivals from there,” ICT’s Director of Strategic Planning Rodolfo Lizano said.

By percentage, however, the region that showed the most important hike was Europe, which grew by 19.9 percent. According to Immigration Administration records, Germany, France, Spain and the U.K. are the main sources of travelers from that continent. The only drop was registered by South American travelers, which decreased by 18.1 percent “driven mainly by the FIFA World Cup that attracted tourists to Brazil,” Lizano said.

He also said that greater revenues were influenced by an increase in tourists’ average stay, from 11.6 to 12.1 nights. That prompted a hike in the average per-person spending from $1,252 in 2013 to $1,378 last year.

“These variables reflect Costa Rica’s leadership in the region as our figures actually can be compared with those of major destinations around the world. Our direct competition is not in the region,” Lizano said.

Asked if the opening of relations between Cuba and the U.S. and the boost of the tourism industry in Nicaragua would affect Costa Rica, Von Breymann said he does not believe those countries represent direct threats to Costa Rica’s tourism sector.

“Cuba is basically sun and beach. We have a much wider variety of tourism options here, and the country’s size gives tourists the possibility to visit many different destinations in a short period of time. As for other countries in the region, our main advantage is the experience and development of our tourism industry, which is many years ahead,” he said.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, regional countries such as Panama and Nicaragua last year registered average stays of eight days, while Cuba and Mexico reported 10 and 11 days, respectively.

ICT officials highlighted that another advantage for Costa Rica is its lodging capacity, as the country currently has 45,531 rooms, a figure that exceeds by far Panama’s 22,768 rooms and Nicaragua’s 11,189, according to World Tourism Organization figures.

Regarding the ministry’s plans for this year, von Breymann said officials have detected a strong potential in specialized types of tourism such as fashion, health and wellness, sports and events. He said officials are hoping to speed up construction of a National Convention Center, a key infrastructure project to attract event-related tourists.

Costa Rica Travler Arrivals by Air (2013, 2014). Source: Costa Rican Tourism Board and Immigration Administration

All data in ‘000s.

North America: 1.082 (2013) 1.162 (2014) Increase of 6%

Europe: 237 (2013) 284 (2014) Increase of 20%

South America: 145 (2013) 119 (2014) Decrease of 18%

Asia-Middle East: 31 (2013) 35 (2014) Increase of 12%

We made a terrific choice!

We made a terrific choice!

The Madrigal family from San Jose, Costa Rica, recently spent a week in Las Villas de San Buenas. After their stay they wrote the following review of their stay.

————

We decided to go south Costa Rica for our year end vacation. We’re from San Jose and we all decided to skip the road to Guanacaste as this time of the year is hectic.

We rented this house for the final week of December and first days of January and we really had a great time here. First of all the road is in in great condition. Directions to the house are also really easy to follow. We were a group of 7 people, 3 couples and a friend. The house has 3 bedrooms, all with their private bathroom. Hot water of course and even a Jacuzzi in the master suite.Costa Rica home rental
Kitchen is in perfect condition, large refrigerator, dishwasher, stove and microwave. Laundry room with washer and dryer. Living room with Sky TV and all others with a DVD player.

The gardens and pool area are exceptional, the ocean view is amazing and we really spent our days there! With a cool breeze and birds singing everywhere.
The property is located in San Buenaventura town, close to beaches, national parks and waterfalls

Now, we really didn’t find any cons, however I must say that the house is listed for 8 people and the house has only 3 bedrooms with 3 beds (for 6 people comfortably accommodated). The other two must sleep in mattresses in the floor so you have to make some room for them in the bedrooms. Not a big issue for us.
Booking process was excellent and Nick the owner, replied every single email in no time.
If you’re thinking for a vacation in south Costa Rica, this is a great choice, you’ll have a wonderful time here!

Southwest Airlines nonstop flights to Costa Rica increasing

Original source: The Tico Times

Southwest Airlines could start offering service to San José, Costa Rica, from Houston, Texas, as early as October 2015, according to a statement from the company on Thursday. San José is among six destinations for which the airline is seeking permission to serve in Latin America, along with four locations in Mexico and Belize.

southwest airlines planeThe Dallas-based airline filed applications with the U.S. Department of Transportation to offer daily, nonstop service from its new $156 million international concourse at William P. Hobby Airport in Houston to Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and San José del Cabo/Los Cabos, as well as Belize and Costa Rica. The “Love” Airline already plans to offer service between Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Juan Santamaría International Airport starting in March 2015.

“Service to Mexico will be the cornerstone of our international operation at Hobby and the four cities we are announcing today provide exciting travel and business options for consumers. Adding Belize to the Southwest network and growing our Costa Rica service continues our expansion to international destinations where our people and consumer-friendly policies can deliver as no other airline can,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President and CEO.

The airline already offers flights to Aruba out of Houston and additional service elsewhere to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Aruba, the Bahamas and Jamaica.

Southwest Airlines starts daily service to Costa Rica in March

Original source: The Tico Times

Southwest Airlines Costa Rica

Southwest Airlines and the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) confirmed that the discount carrier will start daily service to Juan Santamaría International Airport outside San José from Baltimore, effective March 7, according to officials at a press conference Wednesday morning. southwest airlines logo

Southwest Executive Vice President Robert Jordan said that customers can expect fares as low as $130 one way from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and that the company’s discount reputation would hold true abroad with fares on average 30 to 40 percent lower than their competitors.

Baltimore daily service will be on Boeing 737-700 jets with a capacity of 143 passengers, according to a statement from ICT. Jordan said that customers could connect to 60 destinations on 200 daily flights out of BWI.

President Luis Guillermo Solís, center, meets with Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President Robert Jordan, left, and Tourism Minister Wilhem von Breymann on Wednesday to discuss new flights to Costa Rica. (Courtesy of Costa Rican Tourism Institute)

The discount carrier also plans to start offering direct service from Houston Hobby Airport sometime in October.

“We have millions of current customers in the United States, and we can see where they want to travel, and we can see – based on their requests – that Costa Rica was at the top of their list,” said Andrew Waterson, Southwest vice president of network planning and performance.

“Our international expansion in the first phase is geared toward tourist destinations, and San José represents a different kind of tourist destination – not just a beach, but also business and visiting relatives travel. So, Costa Rica looked like the best fit for our market,” Waterson added.

Tourism Minister Wilhem von Breymann said that the new routes would help bolster Costa Rica’s relationship with the United States, the largest single source of visitors to Costa Rica. According to the ICT, 90 percent of U.S. tourists arrive in Costa Rica by air and spend an average of more than $2,200 per person, per visit.

Tourism industry representatives have been increasingly concerned about the rising costs for travelers in Costa Rica, but Waterson said the country continues to provide greater value than many other destinations.

“There are many countries, many islands that have a great beach, but you can’t leave the hotel. Costa Rica offers a diversity of visiting nice beaches and hotels, but also of seeing more of the country in a safe manner, and that’s priceless,” Waterson said.

President Luis Guillermo Solís said Southwest’s announcement and his intention of opening a direct flight to Costa Rica from China were part of a larger policy to make Costa Rica more connected to the wider world. The president added that the announcement was once again proof that Costa Rica is an attractive, reliable market for companies to invest.

Southwest already offers international service to Aruba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Service to Belize City is expected later in 2015.

Fans of the carrier’s distinctive cattle-call boarding policy can look forward to seeing the same queues here in Costa Rica, Waterson said.

“We can’t wait to show you that Southwest hospitality,” Jordan said.

High Speed Internet Now Available

High Speed Internet Now Available!

It took several years, and lots of meetings and negotiations, but Las Villas de San Buenas now has DSL high-speed internet available!

Internet San Buenas costa rica

ICE installing the internet and phone lines to Las Villas de San Buenas

We have always wanted to be able to offer this to our full-time

customers and our vacation renters, however, the fiber optic network never extended close enough to our entrance to make this a reality. Due to the small population of San Buenaventura (population ~ 400), neither ICE or CableTica were originally interested in connecting the town. However, the nearby elementary school was recently connected and given our proximity to the school we were able to extend the telephony network to our property. The speeds are great!

For those who enjoy streaming movies on Netflix you will be happy to know that Netflix Costa Rica has been available for over three years. In fact, Netflix Costa Rica has its own Facebook page! If you already have a Netflix account outside of Costa Rica it will probably not work in Costa Rica. You will need to sign up for an additional account with Netflix. However, for the price of an netflix costa rica logoinexpensive meal, you will have access to 10,000s of movies, documentaries and specials.

Nick Halverson Costa Rica Video Series p1

Nick Halverson Costa Rica Video Series

Part I in a new video series

Nick Halverson, the CEO of Las Villas de San Buenas, was recently interviewed by Brad Gudim where they briefly discussed Costa Rica real estate. This is the first of the Nick Halverson Costa Rica Video Series. He will be recording more videos each month and will share great information about owning and investing in Costa Rica real estate. This short video (about 10 minutes) provides some background information about Nick Halverson and why he has chosen to develop land in Costa Rica. (LinkedIn profile).

Nick has over nine years of buying, selling and developing land in Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific zone and will be putting on Costa Rica real estate seminars in 2015. If you are interested in joining us for our first seminar in Costa Rica in 2015, or simply want information about visiting Costa Rica, please contact us today.

Stay tuned for the next in the Nick Halverson Costa Rica video series.

Diquís spheres to be declared UNESCO World Heritage site

Diquís spheres to be declared UNESCO World Heritage site — The Tico Times.

Pre-Columbian spheres of Costa Rica

Finca 6 in Palmar Norte is one of the four archeological sites in the Osa municipality in Costa Rica’s south Pacific that will be added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The decision was finalized early this Pre Columbian stone spheres costa ricamorning during a meeting of the World Heritage Comittee in Qatar. The four spots — Finca 6, Grijalba 2, Batambal and El Silencio — are home to Costa Rica’s largest collections of pre-Colombian stone spheres, knows as the Diquís spheres. Discovered in the 1930s by the United Fruit Company, the spheres orgins and purpose have remained a mystery to archealogists for decades.

Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times

From The Developer:

For anyone who has visited Costa Rica’s Osa region (Southern Pacific) it is likely that they saw at least a couple of pre-Columbian spheres of Costa Rica. What is less known, is that these spheres are only originally found in the Osa region. If you see a Pre-Columbian spheres of Costa Rica outside of the Osa region, it is completely out of place and has obviously been moved.

When these spheres were first discovered many were destroyed by those who found them as they were rumored to have gold in the center of them. There are fewer than twenty known spheres that have not been moved or disturbed from their original placement by some long gone indigenous group.

Finca 6 is only twenty minutes from Las Villas de San Buenas. We provide directions to our guests and clients. Contact us for more information.