In my previous column, I explored the strong influence of an individual's environment on mood, perspective, and attitude. With my last writing trip on travel, still fresh in my mind, I enjoyed delving deep into the powerful dynamics of people-environment interaction by comparing and comparing the various hotels and resorts in the small villages scattered across the Caribbean and Pacific coast of Costa Rica. My constant travel feature includes notes from the jungle three of my greatest passions in life, creative writing and psychological exploration. The five-week trip took me through the coast, through five villages and eight different hotels, each with very distinctive characteristics that I might be across national borders.
My trip ended in Tamarindo on the north Pacific coast of the country, where I spent four nights at Captain Suizo, a forest paradise on the beach, followed by five nights in Los Altos de Eros, a small boutique hotel located high in the mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Los Ados de Eros was rated as the first motel in the floor by Trip Advisor. Thinking again about our time spent there, I can easily understand the reason. In Los Altos de Eros, my attention was dazzled to the inside as it embraced the beauty of serenity, calmness and solitude. At Captain Suizo, I felt myself expanding outside in harmony with the rhythm of the jungle and the vast expanse of sea that surrounded me. She grew up in the sound of waves across the beach and marveled at the wild woods of the forest. I woke up early with the sun and mixed with many creatures that share my surroundings.
Hotel Captain Suizo summoned the lyrics from Circle of Life and Hakuna Matata, favorite songs from Lion King. It is reflected here on our fragile and beauty planet where all living things are united through the complex exchange of natural resources. Upon entering the hallway at Captain Suizo, I immediately received a warm welcome from Francisco, with my two children Alice and Sophie in the clouds. In addition to its many other important functions, one of Francisco's primary duties in the hotel is to feed, care and protect the two baby monkeys residing. Sophie settled on his head, while her little human fingers touched a dense pile of her curly black hair, while Alice, shy between the two, slept peacefully in his arms, covered safely in a blanket.
Alice was found without a tail. This is the unfortunate result of her mother's unexpected shock, which is a very common phenomenon in Tamarindo when howling monkeys climb over electrical wires. The little monkey without a tail faces a severe hurdle, because the tail is an integrated tool used for climbing and transportation. Captain Suizo saved Alice during her childhood. She practices climbing with Sophie, and the two grow stronger and confident with each passing day. A struggling Sophie is found alone in downtown Tamarindo. Sophie, who was thin and malnourished, provided a good example of the plight of howling monkeys when they separated from their group. Sophie and Alice developed a permanent bond, and relied heavily on each other for play and companionship.
This was welcome at Captain Suizo, where raccoons relaxed on the couches in the lobby, eating squirrels on bananas and the Iguanaas by the pool. Captain Suizo welcomes all wild, large, small, healthy and sick creatures with their protective folds. This was indeed the intention of the Swiss owners whose vision implies an environmentally conscious beach hotel where humans and animals can live together in harmony. I have never seen a raccoon sitting in the bosom of a human or a monkey with a full-time babysitter or a cat playing with a raccoon. That is, not until I entered the magic world of Captain Suizo.
The owners of Captain Suizo live according to the following philosophy: "We did not inherit the planet from our parents but borrow it from our children." When a tree fell by surprise in front of the hotel in April 2006, the monkeys lost their natural bridge that allowed them to enter the hotel area, forcing them to cross the dangerous road. It took four attempts, but the owners finally succeeded in building an alternative bridge that the monkeys use today. The first man-made monkey bridge was born. This is the soul of Captain Suizo.
There always happens in Captain Suizo's lobby. Maybe it's time to feed Alice and Sophie, the friendly raccoons who enjoy a late-night snack, or Missy, the apricot-colored cat also known as a "queen" hanging around at the top of the reception desk while Sibu, the handsome cat-studs, chasers Ibn Hazm cowboy The grasshopper. Causes of Captain Suizo overflowing with wildlife and vibrant and captivating jungle sounds. The owners have clearly chosen their employees to reflect their love for wildlife; every employee has a fondness for animals and a story told by countless creatures that passed through the doors of the hotel. There is the story of Brocholina, the three-color chef cat who is affectionately referred to as Garfield because she loves to eat and sleep, and Coco, the lovable raccoon who was more friendly than any cat and has mysteriously disappeared someday. Legend has it that Coco was coveted by many because of its green nature, and thus was stolen from the hotel grounds.
After staying at Hotel Captain Suizo, I moved him to Los Altos de Eros for my trip at home. The owner of Los Altos de Eros clearly has a kind of special talent; the man has created pure charm through a service philosophy that makes guests wonder whether employees are insightful or not. At Los Altos de Eros, employees anticipate and fulfill the needs and desires of the guests before the guests realize they are there. Perhaps the reason for this is that the owner respects and treats his 28 full-time staff like family, and the staff, in turn, treat guests the same way.
The five-room horseshoe villa surrounds a beautiful infinity-edge pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding forest, where green mountains fade into a smoky sky. There are howling monkeys in trees, frogs, and lizards roaming the workplace, buzz birds and groups of lush tropical flowers. The soothing feeling of tranquility permeates the atmosphere, where the mind, body and soul are relaxed. Imagine a five-room hotel with 28 full-time employees! The employee-to-guest ratio allows for very personal and attentive service, making guests feel incredibly pampered and satisfied.
There is a stunning outdoor yoga studio and an international spa. Osa, the resident dog, barks at the monkeys and escorts guests in an hour-long walking loop around the hotel's scenic gardens and hills. It is best to do this walk early in the morning, before the sun becomes very strong and Osa retires due to his nap in the middle of the morning. During our five nights stay in Los Altos de Eros, we never felt like we were staying in a hotel, rather than a private property for the wealthy. Meals are shared at a large community table in the outdoor dining area overlooking the pool, allowing guests to interact and develop lasting bonds.
It's really amazing how the travel experience can change dramatically depending on the atmosphere of a particular hotel, the personality of its employees and guests, and the rhythm and pulse of the surrounding village. My experience in Costa Rica was very tempting and enhancing the spirit. Like ships passing at night, I crossed many wonderful spirits during my journey that I will always remember but most likely I will never see again.
There was a Monkey incubator in the Hotel Captain Suizo whose smile melted my heart and Jessie the waitress at the Almond Resort and Coral Reef with dark eyes full of vitality and appreciation for the most basic pleasures of life. There was Jose, the driver from Rosa Blanca who talked about family values, and Elizabeth, the little Australian woman who had a broken relationship with her only daughter and traveled to the world alone, reminding myself of myself in dear isolation. Kitty, the stray cat that sat next to me on a rainy day in Playa Guinness, introduced companionship because I finally wrote the first chapter of my first novel. There was Valerie, a choreographer from New York City, looking for answers about life and love, and Chantal, the divorced woman from France who taught me that sharing the same language is not a prerequisite for friendship. David was a humble psychologist from London who put others first and himself second, and praised and praised while diminishing his amazing accomplishments. These unique and colorful souls have formed the fabric of my journey and my memories of the time we have forever participated in my heart will live.