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Author: Jenny

A new gourmet restaurant in town!

‘Hotel y Restaurant El Descanso’ has been run by Don Francisco Elizondo and his delightful wife Yami for decades and now they have decided to take a rest and pass the business down to their daughter Hazel and her chef husband, Esteban. This turns out to be quite a change for San Gerardo as both Hazel and Esteban have considerable experience working in hotels previously. Hazel previously worked on the business side of things at the Talamanca Hotel in San Gerardo and Esteban comes from the 4 star Hotel Monte Azul in Chimirol where he was head chef. Many of his creations have translated onto the menu at El Descanso and promise to provide a wonderful gourmet option locally – a chance for fine dining not previously known in San Gerardo. We tried out breakfast with 10 other friends last Sunday and some of the wonderful surprises included the most delicious ‘pinto’ – typical breakfast rice and beans with cilantro and other secret ingredients; deliciously poached eggs, and fruit and Greek yogurt with honey dressing. The service was friendly and efficient despite us ordering at least 6 different dishes between us. Here’s a peek at the high end of the menu that will soon be posted in full on El Descanso’s page on this website. The restaurant offers a full breakfast and lunch/dinner choices from nachos and hamburgers up...

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CHIRRIPO RESERVATIONS NOW ONLINE!

We’ve waited long and hard but at last it’s here! Hikers can now make their reservation to enter and hike Mt Chirripo online from anywhere in the world. First go to https://serviciosenlinea.sinac.go.cr/ and create a personal account. Then you can enter the online booking process and purchase your tickets. Reservations by telephone are now no longer offered The site is offering booking for San Gerardo and San Geronimo start points – don’t forget to select San Gerardo! At this moment online bookings are available for July, August and September 2016. We will have to see how easy the system is to operate so we invite you to send questions and we’ll see if we can get them...

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Klaus Siebert (1932 – 2016) San Gerardo’s “Jardines Secretos” loses its founder and inspiration.

Klaus was fondly known to many of us in San Gerardo as “Santa Klaus”. His short rotund figure, always cheerful and full of life, was well known far and wide. He wore a large brimmed hat against the sun, a bright T-shirt stretched over a paunchy middle, and always his gum boots – as he was always coming or going to his beloved garden. People who knew Klaus better than I can fill in the story of how he went from Germany to Canada and the USA, and later built his beloved log house and started his garden at the junction of roads to San Gerardo and Herradura de Rivas, not far from Mt Chirripó. The garden was bursting with tropical flowers and vegetation, with pools brimming with carp and tilapia, and attracted birds and animals to the fruit trees and secret places. Klaus’ love or orchids could be seen in all the fantastic specimens he collected and showed around the property. Not all of them were indigenous but they all responded to the tropical climate and Klaus’ green thumbs to their very best. The place is called the “Secret Gardens” or “Los Jardines Secretos” and is open year round for visitors who want to walk the trails casually or those who would like a guided tour from Don Bernan Blanco – Klaus’ protégé and manager of the property....

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Changes in reservation procedures for hiking Mt Chirripó

For years and years visitors have told us how hard it is to buy tickets to enter Chirripó National Park. Reservations by phone were near impossible as it took ages for anyone to pick up the phone, and then so many dates were already full by the time their call was answered. The booking process was long and complicated and even more so if calling from overseas. Nothing new to report – but changes are s-l-o-w-l-y being made! The Parks Office (a branch of MINAE – the Ministry responsible for the Environment and Energy) knows very ell how difficult it is for people to book their tickets. As of last year a new telephone number with more lines was instituted for people calling FROM WITHIN Costa Rica. It is 905-2447747. If calling from overseas the number is still (+506) 2742-5348 and you still need a ton of patience to wait for someone to pick up. However, there are 2 hopeful signs: • Fiber optic cables have been laid to the Parks Office to provide high speed internet. The plan is to have an online reservation system available globally sometime this spring/summer. Keep an eye on this site: http://www.sinac.go.cr/Paginas/Inicio.aspx where an announcement will be made when online reservations are launched. • There are many private but local companies who have started up to offer guided hikes on Chirripó. Many of...

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May news: Xocolata Chocolatier, great quetzal viewing and the Coca Cola truck

Here we are in May and at last the needed rain has arrived on a regular basis to help everyone get started with their plantings, replenish the springs and the rivers and remind us not to go out without an umbrella! I’ve known rain in Canada and England – the dreary, all-day-long and perhaps all-week-long variety that greys the skies and doesn’t ever seem to let up. Here rain is a different commodity entirely. Every morning, without fail, it is blissfully sunny. The green of the foliage on the surrounding forest trees glistens and birds call from their nests or as they forage for the emerging fruit. Sometime around 1 or 2 pm the skies darken and the heavens literally open and spew forward torrential downpours that have everyone scurrying indoors and drowns out the sounds of the river and everything else. But 2 hours later the rain is over and gone, the sun returns and everything is refreshed. For visitors the rain is not to be avoided – it’s to be embraced for the abundance of flowering plants and new animal life it produces. And it’s as though you live on different planets – the morning sunny one and the afternoon rainy one – and each one is beautiful in its own way. And during these times is when we can see the quetzals! Or rather the Resplendent...

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