Pack for a Purpose

Pack for a Purpose is a non-profit organization that strives to fulfill its mission to positively impact communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to take meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit.

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“Our goal is to assist travelers who want to say thank you in this manner or who simply want to expand their generosity beyond their own communities. The supply lists for destinations on our website are provided directly by the local community-based projects which receive and use the supplies, enabling travelers to make informed decisions and to take items which meet the needs of those who will be using them.”

The Springs Resort and Spa is a proud supporter of Pack for a Purpose. We work with La Fortuna Orphanage, known to the locals as Hogarcito San Juan Bosco de la Fortuna, which serves children from ages 6 months through 11 years old.

Hogarcito, started in 1999, is the only one of its kind in La Fortuna and is a pioneer of this type of transitional home. This orphanage is where children are given a safe place after being removed from bad home situations. The devoted employees, directors, psychologists and volunteers help fill this home with love, nurturing, and a feeling of well-being. The orphanage is also sustainable where the children learn how to grow food, raise chickens, recycle, and much more. Over time, the children are found more permanent homes throughout Costa Rica.

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The Springs Resort and Spa always appreciates and welcomes any donations from their guests and visitors in order to help and provide for these underprivileged youth.

Essential items include:
• Band-Aids
• Bars of Soap
• Deodorant
• Hair Brushes
• Multivitamin Tablets
• Shampoos
• Toothbrushes & Toothpaste
• New or Gently Used Children’s Clothing
• Shoes
• New Underwear
• Bath Towels
• Bed Linens
• Light Blankets
• Pillows
• Mosquito Nets/Insect Repellant
• (Spanish) Age Appropriate Story Books
• Other subject books: Biology, General Science, Health, Language/Grammar, and Math

For more information on how to become involved with Hogarcito or Pack for a Purpose, please visit the websites below.

http://www.packforapurpose.org/destinations/central-america/costa-rica/springs-resort-spa-arenal

http://www.lafortunaorphanage.com

El Yigüirro

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Yigüirro (Turdus grayi) – Also, commonly referred to as the Clay-colored Thrush, and formerly known as the Clay-colored Robin.

Fast Facts:
Where They Live: This bird prefers open places and can be found in gardens and cultivated areas with scattered trees. Yigüirro’s typically do not enter dense jungles.

Food They Eat: The Yigüirro feeds off various kinds of fruit trees. It also goes far in the ground digging with its beak and collecting worms, snails, insects, and perhaps small lizards.

Geographical distribution: This species is found only in the American continent, inhabited from northeastern Mexico to northern Colombia and has many different names such as “cas-cas” in Panama.

• National bird of Cost Rica, designated as such in January 1977.

Height and Weight: The Yigüirro stands about 23 centimeters tall and weighs around 74 grams

Physical Appearance: Unlike many other species of birds, both sexes of the clay-colored thrush exhibit the same colors. They have a cream-colored stomach, yellow-brown wings and a yellowish bill.

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The Yigüirro was chosen as the national bird of Costa Rica for several reasons. One of them being that the Yigüirro has a wide range and tendency to live close to humans, and therefore is well known and mentioned in many of Costa Rica’s folk songs, short stories and novels. Another reason is due to its strong and melodious song that always comes during the start of the rainy season. The males in particular are cherished for their exquisite song used to serenade potential mates during mating season. In Costa Rica, their mating season (usually April-June) coincides with the beginning of the green season, and therefore—legend has it—farmers have always taken the yigüirro’s song as the first sign of coming rains.

Hear The Yigüirro’s Song here:

Yigüirro’s also have many other beautiful songs used for different purposes, such as when threatened, before they go to sleep, and at sunrise. Definitely a sound you don’t want to miss when visiting Costa Rica!

Until next time,

Pura Vida!

Sweetbriar Nature Center

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The Springs Resort and Spa is proud to have been the host for volunteers from the Sweetbriar Nature Center in Long Island, New York, USA for the third time!

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Sweet Briar Nature Center is a private not-for-profit corporation, which exists to provide natural science education services for Long Island residents of all ages and to engage in native wildlife rehabilitation services. Through education and examples, Sweetbriar encourages responsible decision-making, appreciation, and respect for the unique wildlife and ecosystems found on Long Island. Sweetbriar Nature Center is situated on 54 acres of varied garden, woodland, field and wetland habitats on the Nissequogue River where hundreds of species of plants and animals make homes here.

For the past 3 years, Sweetbriar Wildlife Rehabilitation Director Jeanine Bendickson has brought volunteers and interns from Sweetbriar to work with our animals and caretakers in the Wildlife Sanctuary of our Club Rio Outdoor Center. In conjunction with the MINAE (Ministry of the Environment and Energy), The Springs Resort and Spa operates a preserve for Costa Rican wildlife that has either been confiscated from poachers or donated by other private preserves or individuals. The mutual goal with Sweetbriar is to create enrichment objects and structures for these rescued animals to have in their enclosures.

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This year, the volunteers of Sweetbriar focused on sensory and environmental enrichment. Along with providing squeaky toys, bouncy balls, and vitamins for the animals, the group built seesaws and swings for the spider monkeys, and scratching posts for the mountain lions. Other projects included ladders made of rope, and holes drilled into large pillars of bamboo used to increase mental and physical activity of the animals when looking for food.

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The Springs Resort and Spa would like to thank the Sweetbriar Nature Center and its staff and volunteers for their hard work and dedication to improving and enriching the lives of our rescued animals. We hope to see familiar faces again next year!!

Until next time…

Pura Vida!

PLEASE PARDON OUR DUST…

As some of our guests may already know, The Springs Resort and Spa is expanding!
We are adding 27 new units, which will be in the new “Aracari” building. These units are expected to be open for your enjoyment in 2016. You can already see some of the construction on the drive up to the reception when entering the property.

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The new “Aracari” Building will have four types of units:

Vista Grande Guest Rooms – This unit has the same layout as our current Vista Guest Room except that it is 3 feet wider and 3.5 feet longer inside thus giving us the ability to add an extra single bed/day lounge on one side of the unit and a pull out sofa in the middle. The extra space allows for easier circulation and luggage storage for guests with more than a two-person occupancy. It is also great for large families that would prefer to stay together in one location.

Vista Grande Honeymoon Suites – Similar to the Vista Grande (mentioned above), but with an added bonus! This unit will have a two person Jacuzzi on the balcony creating a more lavish atmosphere for our guests.

Aracari Junior Suites – The master bedroom and bath have the same layout and dimensions as the Vista Grande Guest Room AND there is an additional bedroom and bathroom with three single beds plus a balcony.

Three Bedroom Premier Suites – These guest rooms have 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms plus a living room and an extensive balcony with a Jacuzzi and dining area. The master bedroom has a king size bed, Jacuzzi tub and private balcony. One of the additional bedrooms has a full size bed and a single bed and the other has two full size beds.
This is the ideal home away from home!

**For those concerned about overcrowding, the “Aracari” building will come with its own set of recreational amenities, hot spring pools, and reception lobby. This will ensure that the intimate feel of our resort will not be lost**

The Springs Resort and Spa is thrilled to be expanding and looks forward to guests’ comments about our new additions. We will continue to provide updates over the course of the construction on the exact opening date and any changes being made.

We would also like to thank all of our past, present, and future guests on their patience and cooperation as we strive to further improve our resort for your enjoyment. Looking forward to the year 2016!

Until next time…

Pura Vida!

La Cabalgata

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Sunday May 17th was the Gran Cabalgata in La Guaria, San Carlos, Alajuela. The Spanish word “cabalgata” means horseback ride and La Gran Cabalgata is an annual fundraiser that supports the enrichment of local schools. Every year this event has taken place from the beginning of May through the end of December, travelling from town to town across Costa Rica. Festivities include music, dancing, food, raffles, and of course horseback riding. All participants ride their horses on a trail through rios, roads, and rainforests. Imagine a group of dozens of horses and their riders strutting through town; looks like something out of an old western movie!

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Spirits were high as the people of La Guaria enjoyed each other’s company and rejoiced in food, drink, and merriment. Young and old, all came together on horseback to enjoy La Cabalgata. Some of our very own employees at The Springs also attended the event together. We began at the stables at Club Rio around 10am and rode for about an hour and a half through terrain until we reached town, which is where the main event took place. There we saw lots of people and their horses, men playing music on a marimba, and vendors selling cowboy hats, belts, and more. The official Cabalgata ride started at approximately 1pm. For about 3 hours we were able to admire the scenery of the countryside, Rio Arenal, and the view of the Arenal volcano as we rode on. We even saw some farm cows and horses along the way!

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At the end of the ride, everyone gathered again to end the evening with more food, drink, and a final dance. It was a genuine Costa Rican experience that will leave you feeling exhausted, but also very content. Anyone looking for an authentic Costa Rican experience should take part in this amazing event.

Until next time,

Pura Vida!

Where were you for SuperBowl 49?

What would you have done, with only a few seconds to spare and 1 yard away from a Super Bowl winning touch down, would you have passed? Or would you have run?

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Who would have thought we would be in for such a dramatic final!

Dramatic was definitely the feeling that filled the atmosphere of The Game Lounge, at The Springs Resort and Spa on game day. It was a packed house filled with both Seahawks and Patriots supporters. To add to the excitement we ran a betting pool as well as included refreshments in the form of chilli, hot dogs, jalapeño poppers and chips, all at no extra cost. We also ran specials on our Budweiser and Miller options to boot!

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Open to all those in surrounding areas, and not only hotels guests we were able to create an atmosphere that was to ensure the best superbowl event in town and surrounding areas. It was an extremely successful event with everyone leaving satisfied, well maybe not the Seahawks fans.

With the opportunity to cool off or heat up in our surrounding hot springs who would not have wanted to be a part of Superbowl 49 at The Springs Resort and Spa?

How did you enjoy your superbowl 49? Share your story in the comments section below.

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Till next time!

Pura Vida

Introducing The Falcon’s Nest

The Springs Resort and Spa has a new addition to it’s already impressive fleet of magnificent rooms, suites and villas. This new addition goes by the name “The Falcon’s Nest” With it’s abundant space and private location The Falcon’s Nest is bound to cater for each and everyone’s needs.

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The breathtaking view of the Arenal Volcano from the balcony of The Falcon’s Nest 

The Falcon’s Nest features 4700 square feet (437 m2) of indoor and outdoor living area and is located at the highest point on property, giving it a sensational view of the Arenal Volcano and the surrounding mountains. The balcony includes a Jacuzzi overlooking the lush river valley as well as a covered terrace perfect for unwinding in one of the hammocks or having a family meal. The Falcon’s Nest has a total of 5 bedrooms and has a layout on one side that is similar to our family suite and the other side similar to the Oropendula suite and also includes a small additional bedroom with a separate entrance.It has the same layout as our family suite on one side with a king bed on the first level with private bath and a mezzanine bedroom above with a king bed and two sofa beds and its own private bath.

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Looking back at The Falcon’s Nest

The other side is very similar to our Oropendula suite as it has a king bed on the first floor and a king bed on the second floor with an additional two twin beds and its own private bath on both levels. There is an additional bedroom with a queen bed and private bath on the first floor as well.

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The living area has a kitchenette, a full bathroom, dining table, mini-bar, coffee maker, and a sofa and chair set. It also has a 47” LCD TV with surround sound and IPhone, IPod and MP3 docking capability.

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The Falcon’s Nest is Ideal for large groups and families, yet also convenient for couples seeking a touch of seclusion and privacy. The Falcon’s Nest has already been an extremely popular addition to The Springs Resort and Spa. Be sure to ask about The Falcon’s Nest with your next reservation and one of our employees will be more than willing to indulge you with details regarding this breathtaking Villa.

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Pura Vida!

Sagu and Jojo:Club Rio’s double surprise

If you have had the opportunity to visit Costa Rica, and more importantly The Springs Resort and Spa you will be very well aware of the wide array of animals we house, treat and care for down at our outdoor activity center Club Rio. From Pumas to Capuchins’, Toucans to Spider Monkeys and Crocodiles to Ocelot’s we have it all.

Well…

Our furry, feathery and scaly family down at Club Rio has just expanded… again! We’ve been fortunate enough to have two very new and special additions to our family, Jojo and Sagu.

The story behind these two little souls is rather quite unique. Hotel Capitan Suizo, a member of the Small Distinctive Hotels in Costa Rica, an organization of which The Peace Lodge is also a member were kind enough to have donated both Jojoand  Saguto our family down at Club Rio. Ursula Schmidt and her son, Urs, the owners of Capitan Suizo accompanied the two special critters on their adventure to a new home personally, to ensure that they settled in well and comfortably at Club Rio. Ursula and the Schmidt family who originally hale from Switzerland and relocated to Costa Rica after a new found love for the country and the pursuit of a dream, establishing Capitan Suizowere not only amazing in the fact that they accompanied these animals to ensure that they blended into their new surroundings comfortably but they too left us a donation to help aid in the care and continuous development of our animals at Club Rio. Ursula, Urs and everyone at Capitan Suizo have been nothing but a blessing.

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Our generous donors Ursula and her son Urs

With that being said,lets get to meeting these two new little faces.

Jojo a white-faced capuchin is native to the forests of Central America. As was the case with the marmosets from our previous blog posts, capuchins too are often found being used illegally as pets  in Costa Rica. They are a prized possession not only because of their attractive features but because of their intelligence.  In the wild, the white-headed capuchin is versatile, living in many different types of forest, and eating many different types of food, including fruit, other plant material, invertebrates, and small vertebrates. The capuchins live in troops that can exceed 20 animals and include both males and females. With Club Rio already having a number of these little guys, it will definitely ensure that Jojo feels right at home.  Capuchins are also noted for their tool use, including rubbing plants over their bodies in an apparent use of herbal medicine, and also using tools as weapons and for getting to food. They are known to be is a long-lived monkeys, with a maximum recorded age of over 54 years. So we’re sure Jojo will be with us for a while.

Sagu is a Coatimundi (Pizote) and is also native to Central America, and for those who have never heard of this little critter, the Coatimundi resembles what would be known as the common raccoon. These little guys generally inhabit wooded areas, for example dry and moist forests. The males are known to be significantly larger than that of the females. Whilst very similar looking to that of the raccoon, Caoatimundis are different in the sense that whilst raccoons are nocturnal the Coatimundi or Coati’s for shortare active by day, retiring during the night to a specific tree and descending at dawn to begin their daily search for food. They are omnivores, preferring small vertebrates, fruits, carrion, insects, and eggs. They can climb trees easily, where the tail is used for balance, but they are most often on the ground foraging.Adult males are solitary, but females and sexually immature males form social groups. They use many vocal signals to communicate with one another, and also spend time grooming themselves and each other with their teeth and claws. During foraging times, the young cubs are left with a pair of babysitters, similar to meerkats. The young males and even some females tend to play-fight. Many of the coatis will have short fights over food.

We rest assured that these two fellows will thoroughly enjoy their new home here at Club Rio,  and thanks again to Ursula and Urs from Capitan Suizo for their gracious addition to our Club Rio family. These two unique beings are definitely a must see at Club Rio, and they will definitely leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Next time you find yourself wondering along the animal tour be sure to ask your guide about Jojo and Sagu.

Pura Vida!

This Week’s Bloom

Our “flower a week” project is back, after a brief break and this week, we have in my opinion easily one of the most unique and distinctive flowers found in Costa Rica.

These particular blossoms can be found in a number of various areas in the country, partly down to the fact that there are a large amount of different species of this particular flower. “lobster claw” as it is more commonly known.

One of the reasons this “lobster claw” is special is due to its abundance of nectar, this being a huge attraction for the hummingbirds as they are the main pollinators of these flowers.

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The Heliconia in all it’s beauty

Heliconias are grown for the florist’s trade and as landscape plants. These plants do not grow well in cold, dry conditions. They are very drought intolerant, but can endure some soil flooding. Heliconias need an abundance of water, sunlight, and soils that are rich in humus in order to grow well. These flowers are grown in tropical regions all over the world as ornamental plants. The flower of H. psitacorrum (Parrot Heliconia) is especially distinctive, its greenish-yellow flowers with black spots and red bracts reminding of the bright plumage of parrots.

Heliconias provide shelter for a diverse range of insects within their young rolled leaves and water-filled floral bracts. Insects that inhabit the rolled leaves often feed upon the inner surfaces of the leaf, such as beetles of the family Chrysomildae in bracts containing small amounts of water, fly larvae and beetles are the dominant inhabitants. In bracts with greater quantities of water the typical inhabitants are mosquito larva. Insects living in the bracts often feed on the bract tissue, nectar of the flower, flower parts, other insects, microorganisms, or detritus in the water contained in the bract. Almost all species of Hispinae beetles that use rolled leaves are obligate parasites of plants of the order of Zingibirales, which includes Heliconia. These beetles live in and feed from the rolled leaf, the stems, the inflorescences, or the unfurled mature leaves of the Heliconiaplant. In addition, these beetles deposit their eggs on the leaf surface, petioles of immature leaves, or in the bracts of the Heliconia. Furthermore, some wasp species such as Polistes erythrocephalus build their nest on the protected underside of large leaves.

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The Humming bird’s best friend

Be on the lookout for these beauties wherever you may be in Costa Rica, stop for a minute, admire it’s rich colours and intricate beauty and who knows you may just find a humming bird passing by.

Till next week

Pura Vida!

LISA GET’S SOME COMPANY

Our resident crocodile down at Club Rio, Lisa, just recently got some company, in the form of 3 additional reptilians, crocodiles in this specific case, all yet to be named. Not only that, but she, along with her new friends had an entire area built specifically for them.

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Lisa enjoying the sun in her new home

The crocodile pit we constructed had reached completion a while back but we had yet to find inhabitants to fill it, or at least accompany Lisa in her new home.

Our three new crocs originated from the AquaCorporation in Cañas, and the reason behind their new journey to The Springs was due to a loss of habitat and diminishing food sources. With this loss in habitat and food the crocodiles then begun to venture into various territories taking a liking to the tilapia pools in the area, thus becoming a hazard to the employees who cared for and maintained these pools. The crocs were then captured due to the hazard and placed in a temporary enclosure. The initial plan was to transport and then release the crocodiles in an area known as Palo Verde, however our friends over at Minaet who have been such a big part in contribution towards Club Rio were kind enough to donate these crocodiles to us, in full confidence that we could provide a safe and natural environment for them.

Once our new friends arrived at their new home, our biologist, Victor Solis, led the way in transporting the crocodiles, and ensuring that they acclimatize to their new home efficiently. With crocodiles being very territorial by nature it was important for us to ensure that Lisa was moved into the pit first. Once this was successfully completed Victor (our new Steve Irwin) was able, along with a team of both strong and courageous men, to one by one introduce the three new crocs to their new home, and their new “friend.”

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Victor Solis, our biologist, leads the way bringing in our new crocs

Tensions ran high as Victor released each crocodile, not knowing how they would interact or get along with their new roommate. Low and behold it was as though they had known one another forever, hatched by the same mother and lurked in the same swamps together for days on end. The crocodiles have acclimatized really well in there new environment and have been quite the popular attraction among our Club Rio visitors.

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Our new addition couldn’t wait to dive right in

Next Time you’re down at Club Rio be sure to ask any of our guides or employees about our new crocodiles, and they will be sure to show you around!

 

Till next time, Pura Vida!