June, 2016

The History of The Arenal Volcano

Most geologists assume that forty million years ago Costa Rica was part of a large volcanic archipelago and that the current land mass of Central America dates to only about three million years old. The theory of plate tectonics suggests that the earth’s crust is fragmented in a number of sections that fit together like pieces of a non-stationary jigsaw puzzle. The formation of Costa Rica's land mass is explained by its position at the western edge of the so-called Caribbean plate which is moving westward and overriding the Cocos plate located in the Pacific Ocean.

Between 1500-1900, the Arenal Volcano remained silent and was considered by many to be extinct. In fact, the local farmers and ranchers who worked the land along its base referred to it as a mountain: Cerro Arenal (Arenal Mountain). However, on Monday, July 29, 1968 at 7:30 AM, the Arenal Volcano suddenly and violently erupted. The eruptions continued unabated for several days, burying over 15 square kilometers with rocks, lava and ash. When it was finally over, the eruptions had killed 87 people and buried 3 small villages, Tabacón, Pueblo Nuevo and San Luis, and affected more than 232 square kilometers of land. Crops were spoiled, property was ruined, and livestock was killed. It was a difficult time for the people of Arenal.

At the height of its ferocious activity, the volcano flung giant rocks – some weighing several tons – more than a kilometer away at a rate of 600 meters per second. These explosions would go on to form three new active craters A,B,C, in addition to the old crater D. In September of 1968, “Crater A” began again to emit lava, and remained the most active crater until 1973.

In 1973, the eruption activity migrated to “Crater C.” This crater remains active to the present day and covered the crater A and B. During clear days we can see two craters, the new crater C on the west side and the old crater D on the east side. This volcano is characterized by lava that is of an andesite basaltic composition, with explosions that contain pyroclastic materials and gas emissions.

Although the volcano took the lives of many men and women, it has given back to the community by becoming one of Costa Rica's most visited natural attractions. While agriculture is still important to the region, tourism has surpassed it to become the main source of income for the area’s residents.

Arenal volcano before 1968:

February, 2016

February is associated with love

February is associated with love, romance, time-together, and of course Valentines. This week we will all be dreaming of spending time with our significant other in a romantic, adventurous, and fun destination.

Costa Rica’s amazing mountains and volcanoes (the Arenal being the most majestic), sun-baked stretches of white-sand beaches, as well as lush jungles and rainforests packed with exotic wildlife will temp those looking for an unforgettable romantic getaway.

According to honeymoon experts at The Knot “With two breathtaking coasts only a short plane ride away from each other -- one on the Pacific, the other on the Caribbean – Costa Rica is the perfect destination for couples looking for an adventure-beach mix.”

Be daring this Valentine and embark on the path of adventure and romance in the Costa Rican rainforest. You will be doing things you never thought you would be doing such as zip-lining and water rafting, holding a small frog on the palm of your hand or admiring toucans from your room’s window.

We want to share these amazing photos of a happy and beautiful couple’s honeymoon in Nayara that Gabby from Barcelona’s En Route enroutephotography.com was so kind to share with us. Enjoy and come and visit us!

November/December, 2015

Quentin Villers our new Chef du Cuisine

Quentin Villers our new Chef du Cuisine, is the culinary star responsible for the exciting new menu of AsiaLuna, our fusion restaurant. Quentin comes from Belgium where he was sous chef of le monde est petit, a one–star Michelin restaurant that he owned with his brother in Brussels. Quentin loves to cook fusion food and is very exciting to mix Latin American and Asian flavors. His favorite dish is the “Tuna Teriyaki”; he grills the fresh tuna on the Wok with local vegetables and tops it with a espuma made of potato and wasabi. Check out the new menu of Asia Luna

August, 2015

What makes Nayara a Holistic Experience?

The dictionary explains the word “holistic” as referring to “all inclusive” or “complete.” For me, what situates Nayara above and beyond the many other resorts that you can visit around the globe is precisely the fullness of the experience. Many places can give you luxury, service and nature but they fail to connect all three into one holistic gift.

From the moment you walk into the resort the people of Nayara stand out as gracious, warm and genuine. They smile and you sense that they are controlling their natural instinct to hug you as they welcome you into their home.

Rooms are clean and well maintained and it is hard to see all the work that took to build in the rainforest without disturbing the sensitive ecological balance. You wonder if you could take with you some of the sunlight that flows into the room?

Good energy exudes from the balcony, and as the tropical garden tells you a story of daily renewal you feel the combination of rain and sun doing nature’s work. Daily Yoga gets you out of the room and as you traverse the bridge over the ravine you sense the layout following and respecting the land.

What makes Nayara so romantic? -The feeling that you are alone in the jungle, the joy of discovering a Jacuzzi at the bottom of the hill, or the privacy of your outdoor shower? All three, and much more. Atmosphere is taken to a different level of privacy and respect and this makes your experience stand out.

Luxury is found in unexpected places. Senderos take you to unanticipated discoveries. Nature is present and revered. Sunlight weaves throughout. And, you are the protagonist of your own “Nayara Holistic Experience.”

June, 2015

Meet our new Executive Chef, Jaak Toomsalu.

Jaak came to Costa Rica from Estonia after falling in love with a "Tica, " a beautiful Costa Rican woman. Jaak's culinary career spans 13 years. He studied Culinary School in Estonia and went to work first in the Scandinavian countries, and then in the Mediterranean, mostly Portugal, Spain, Italy and France. Before moving to Costa Rica Jaak was a chef in Norway where he was creating new concepts and working together with a Norwegian chef who won this year's Bocuse d'or culinary competition and with Chef Christopher Haatuft of New York's "Perse" fame. Jaak continues to be a contributing editor to Estonian's food magazine Ajakiri Kook where he is currently writing a feature about how he ended up in the Costa Rican rainforest working for Nayara.

Jaak is working on a new culinary concept for Nayara's fourth restaurant to be open next Summer. We are all very excited to have him on our team and we welcome all his great ideas. Jaak's radiant personality is already felt all around Altamira Restaurant. When you visit Nayara make sure to try the Seafood Grill on Tuesday, one of Jaak's most popular creations where he dances to the music while grilling fresh red snappers and lobsters.

April, 2015

High Fashion in The Rainforest

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I have to confess that I have never worn stylish dresses or high heels at the hotel, but looking at these beautiful shots from Jennifer Lake, a recent guest who writes the Style Charade blog, I was blown away by the combination of nature, color and high fashion. Jennifer's photo shoot is gorgeous (Robert Zigmund took the pictures), and her stylish clothes and accessories look striking against Nayara's greenery and colorful decor. We wanted to share her beautiful pictures with all of you. For more photos from the shoot in the SushiAmor Restaurant, please take a look at her blog www.stylecharade.com/04-03-2015/ or follow her Instagram @JenniferLake of Style Charade.

December, 2014

Birds, Birds, Birds!!!

Humming birds, toucans, white hawks and macaws are some of the birds you can spot in an early (5:30 AM) walk in our Nayara’s gardens. Spotting birds is easiest during early morning and in the afternoon, when they are most active because of comfortable temperatures. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars along if you are interested in spotting a number of birds. Avoid making noises while you walk along forest trails to increase your chances of spotting birds welcoming the morning sun.

Although Costa Rica is a small country, it is in the bird-rich neo-tropical region and has a huge number of species for its area. 894 bird species have been recorded in the country, more than in all of the United States and Canada combined. Of those species, eight are endemic, and 19 are globally threatened. About 600 species are resident, with most of the other regular visitors being winter migrants from North America.

Costa Rica's geological formation played a large role in the diversification of avian species. North America and South America were initially separate continents, but millions of years of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions eventually fused the two continents together. When this happened, species from the north and south poured into the land bridge that became Central America. Birds like the hummingbird came from the south, while birds like the jay came from the north.

Make sure to enjoy a morning walk in our tropical gardens to spot some of these beautiful birds!

October, 2014

Costa Rica's Great Coffee

Coffee production has played a key role in Costa Rica's history and continues to be one most important products of the country's economy. By 2006, coffee exports had climbed to number three.

Most coffee berries are handpicked from the plants. The berries are then taken to beneficios(processing plants), where they are washed and removed of pulp. The beans are then dried in the sun or by a machine. Afterwards, beans are sorted according to size and shape and sealed off in bags.

The most classic Costa Rican coffees are mild and softly acidic. They are good afternoon pick-me-ups and pair well with deserts. Growers are currently experimenting with new flavors that are brighter and fruitier. These are less traditional than older varieties, but may find an audience in the international market.

Touring a coffee plantation is a great way to learn about the history and production of this important plant. As you walk through the fields, guides will explain how coffee is grown and harvested. You’ll learn about the de-pulping, drying, and roasting process, and will often be given a fresh cup of coffee at the end. It’s a fun and informative experience.

At Nayara Springs we serve Britt Tueste Oscuro in French presses for breakfast, and we also have an extensive coffee menu which highlights the different options. The most popular is the Cafe Flambe which adds two types of Rum to the coffee and is then flambé in front of the guests. Make sure you stop by Amor Loco Restaurant to try it. Take a look at our coffee menu here.

August, 2014

Amor Loco’s poet and coffee menu creator

Blog Nayara Springs - Costa Rica. Blog Nayara Springs - Costa Rica.

Byron Alvarado Rojas manages Nayara Spring’s Amor Loco Restaurant and Bar. For five years Byron has been Nayara’s poet not only because he carries the famous British poet's name but also because of his soft spoken demeanor and sweet smile. Byron invented the morning’s fresh green juice: a mixture of cucumber, celery, parsley, orange and pineapple juice.

A master of many thing, Byron created a coffee menu that includes world favorites hot and cold drinks, and also some new and innovative drinks based on coffee beans. His favorite is Costa Rica’s traditional “café chorreado” drip-brewed table side and then flambéed with two local Costa Rica's rums. This Cafe Amor Loco Flambé gives guests a flavor of Costa Rican culture.

Byron's favorite dish from the dinner menu is the seared tuna but he says that guests love the raw hearts of palm salad and the beef medallions. Byron is very proud of his work at Nayara and invites everyone to come and see him at Amor Loco Restaurant.

June, 2014

Our own naturalist

Blog Nayara Springs - Costa Rica. Blog Nayara Springs - Costa Rica.

Meet a great Nayara Springs’ addition: Andres, our own staff naturalist. Born and raised in Los Angeles de La Fortuna, Andres graduated from the I.N.A., Costa Rica’s Tourism School and has worked extensively around the area. Andres likes to personalize the experience and enjoys showing tourists the wonders of nature in this pristine area of the world. He specializes in the fauna and flora of the Arenal area, and is free to take guests around the hotel for a 6:30 AM bird-watching tour, or as far away as Rio Celeste Natural Park, an hour and a half away from the hotel, for a private tour. Make sure to ask him to find you a red-eye frog or to show you a “perezoso,” a rain forest sloth, Andres will be happy to do it!

DIGITAL DETOX
Disconnect with Technology and Connect with Nature

New at Nayara Springs, what everyone has been asking for and what everyone needs: a total disconnect vacation! We called it first “an escape,” but then we thought, it is more than that…it is a total disconnect. We “confiscate” your phone and laptop and put it in a safe place (either your own room’s safe or in the reception’s safe), we give you our own phone number so anyone can call in case of an emergency, and we help you get away from it all. Can you handle this?

Come to Nayara Springs for a digital detox: disconnect with technology and connect with nature in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Bird watching tour at 6:30 AM; Yoga at 8:15 AM; breakfast at the terrace by the pool: home made granola, green juice and a French press of filtered Britt Oscuro coffee. Followed by total-relaxation in your own plunge pool fed by mineral hot springs, listening to the forest and counting your blessings. A nap, and then, a Nature Escape Couple’s Treatment at the spa: hot stones, refreshing facial and Jacuzzi time.

Your mind will be renewed; your body refreshed, and your soul will thank you.

And we agree with you; definitely, you are worth-it!

April, 2014

OUR EXECUTIVE CHEF

Meet LLayro Sevilla Guerrero, our Executive Chef. LLayro has been with Nayara for over three years. He was born in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, and his attraction to the kitchen started when he was a little child and used to help his grandfather cook on Sundays for the whole family. LLayro’s when to study cooking at age 14 in the I.N.A., the local vocational institute that trains Costa Ricans for the Tourism industry. He started as a kitchen helper for the Melia Cariari. A quick learner, Llayro was promoted as direct helper to their Italian chef Giuseppe Atzori who taught him all the secrets of Italian cooking. LLayro went back to the I.N.A. to become a chef and to learn Spanish cuisine. Back in the Melia Playa Conchal he worked 3 years with all their different chefs before coming to Nayara. Llayro first love is still the Spanish cuisine; he loves tapas, Gazpacho, and boquerones. Next time you are in Nayara make sure to meet LLayro and ask him to cook something special for you, he loves to please gourmet finicky eaters.

March, 2014

FAVORITE RECIPIES: MARLIN CARPACCIO

One of our most popular appetizers is the Marlin Carpaccio, Carpaccio de Marlin Blanco. White marlin is freshly available at Nayara from Punta Arenas. You can use any non-flaky fish at home. Here is the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 150 gr. White marlin
  • half of a red pepper finely minced
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 leaves of arugula (for top decoration)
  • 1 tomato cherry (for top decoration)
  • salt and pepper

PREPARATION:

Mix the olive oil and the lemon and reserve. Chopped the red pepper very finely(we use only the inside of the pepper) and mix it with the dressing.

Slice the fish horizontally in very thin slices. Organize in a plate until you cover most of the plate. Add the dressing, salt and pepper, and decorate with the arugula and the cherry tomato.

February, 2014

WHO INVENTED THE ZIP LINE?

In the 1970s, Donald Perry, a graduate student studying the rain forests of Central America, invented the zip line that has made Costa Rica’s rainforest famous according to a New York Times’ article. In order to get closer to the canopies of the trees, Donald devised an intricate system of ropes, later steel cables, which allowed him to move around the treetops and study closely the forest and wildlife. The system existed well before the 1970s but Donald made it popular and famous by attracting the attention of the press.

Zip lines are now popular all around the world, and in Costa Rica you will find them in all areas where there are big forests and tall trees, that is all around the country! In Arenal there are more than three companies that offer zip line and canopy rides. The difference lies on the type of harness that is used. In case you don’t want to feel the thrill of zipping from station to station, there is also a tram where you can see the wildlife and the treetops from the safety of a gondola window.

The longest single line in the world is The Eye of the Jaguar, in Peru with 6,990 ft. and the highest vertical drop is in Nepal, which drops about 2,000 ft. In the Arenal area, the canopy tour has 12 platforms, 10 zip lines and it covers a distance of 1,200 feet of longitude. The highest altitude is 200 meters.

CHILD CARE INITIATIVE IN ARENAL

Both Nayara Hotels have made early education and children safety a priority in 2014. After the administration learned that some employees were having difficulties finding a safe environment to leave their babies and small children while at work, it decided to do something. Starting in January 2014, Nayara has made a commitment to support a school in La Fortuna de San Carlos (Arenal) that takes care of children as young as six months, until they enter the public system of education. Our contributions are allowing free childcare and free meals to up to 30 families. We are very happy to give back to our community; our children are our future!

Costa Rica is very proud that the country's literacy rate is 96%. Since 1869, public education has been free and mandatory, and the country’s educational system is ranked 32nd in the world, the highest in Latin America according to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009. The first president of Costa Rica, Jose Maria Castro was a former teacher and for him, and for many of the other leaders that followed him, the country’s education became a priority. Most of our employees come from the Arenal area and they have been educated and trained in the public school system.

COSTA RICA’S FAVORITE COCKTAILS

A new class is being offered at Nayara Spring: How to make Costa Rica’s favorite cocktails. Among these: Guaro Sour, Nayara’s Star and Mojitos. Guaro is the traditional liquor of Costa Rica.

For those that cannot join us in the classroom here is the recipe for Guaro Sour:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 ounces guaro
  • 2 ounces raw sugar
  • 1 lime cut into 6 wedges
  • Ice cubes
  • Splash of club soda

PREPARATION:

Put guaro and lime wedges in a rock glass. Muddle all the ingredients until the juice is extracted and the rinds are bruised. Leave it all in the glass and add ice cubes.Top with a splash of club soda. Serve with a straw