This morning I left Si Como No Hotel in Manuel Antonio after 6 nights at Christmas time. They call it their “Flagship Hotel” of the Greentiquechain of 4 eco-hotels in Costa Rica. Their marketing department or ad agency is doing a fabulous job with websites (which hooked me) and other advertising, but they touted so much that the actual experience was a let down at Si Como No.
I had two other experiences with Greentique which were very positive, so I got here more because of those experiences than their marketing of this location. Back in May 2017 at Drake Bay (link to my photos) I stayed in the Aguila de Osa Hotel(link to hotel site) which was pricey but not as expensive as Manuel Antonio’s Si Como No. I loved Aguila better in every way! I got all the nature tours I wanted and did not here. The room was bigger and better with equal ocean view and the food was so much better there!
Then in November 2017 at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Resort(link to my photos) nearer me at San Ramon, I was one of few guests still in the low season and got fabulous service and nature experiences and again much better food! Villa Blanca(link to hotel site) is on an old farm and is a much quieter, relaxed setting than either of the other two, but again I liked it better and felt like it was worth what I paid. Si Como No is way overpriced for what you get!
Now, with all of that said and maybe only the second time for me to be negative (I didn’t like a B&B in Orosi), let me show you some photos of my room and the grounds of this old but nice hotel or you can see my total experience at 2018 Christmas at Si Como No trip photo gallery. And I must say this was maybe my best ocean view anywhere and one of the better sunsets anywhere. Just bad service and food!
My Room at Si Como No
Hotel Grounds at Si Como No
All good hotels tend to lead people to do things they wouldn’t necessarily do at home.
The above photo is one of my sunsets at Manuel Antonio National Park in 2015, my first year here! I go back to celebrate 4 years living here! Photographing new birds and other animals, walking forest trails and one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, getting one or more relaxation massages, and eating gourmet food every day for a week as I create more Costa Rica Nature Photos! That is my kind of Christmas Celebration and I anticipate a fabulous week! Here’s one of the resort’s several videos:
For you North Americans to get an idea of how much Costa Rica is into Christmas, take a look at this TV Ad last Christmasfor “MoviStar” which is a TV-Internet-Phone company selling subscriptions. I think it is very entertaining and typical of Christmas mania here in Costa Rica. By far the biggest holiday of the year in Costa Rica! And also a time to go to the beach! Go figure! 🙂
Here is the schedule of Christmas Festivities at Central Park Atenas with the stage being on government property across the street this year with park being remodeled. Lots of music and a lanterns parade at night plus more with vendor booths set up on the outer edges of the park — remodeling not stopping the Christmas Spirit in Atenas! It will be HAPPY, HAPPY as always and I’m sorry I will miss it this year again as I am traveling for Christmas (Which is a very Tico thing to do!). 🙂
And they just added some more activities for Christmas:
If you click the above image it is larger in its original location
And that is the official Atenas Community fiestas. Every church has at least one Christmas Eve service and the big catholic church multiple masses both days. Many Tico families have 1 to 2 weeks vacation and travel to a beach, usually the week between Christmas and New Years (when most businesses are closed).
Expats vary a lot in what they do. Several always go home to the States, Canada or Europe for Christmas with family. Some have family come here. And the “Snow Birds” came here for their Christmas or multi-months escape from snow and cold weather. Our Expat “Men’s Club” (misnamed) went yesterday (the 16th) to San Ramon for a Dinner Theatre Christmas Madrigal Old English Show or something like that. I went this year and reported yesterday.
Then there’s me – like a real Tico now, I’m going to the beach again but will spend most of my time in the forest at and near Manuel Antonio National Park in a private wildlife refuge and resort called Si Como No, which in español literally means “Yes, of course,” or “Yes, why not?” indicative of the positive spirit of life here in Costa Rica! And I will photograph birds of course! ¡Pura Vida!
Considering a move to Costa Rica? If so, and you find online research confusing or overwhelming, then read this Christopher Howard article on All Over the Map Syndrome. Although he is a little arrogant, he still has the best relocation tour of Costa Rica and his tour combined with the ARCR Seminar is one of the best ways to filter through the onslaught of information you may be finding. I credit those two events with properly preparing me for my successful move here along with a positive attitude and an already established love of the Costa Rica Culture and nature places. Before you move here, visit several times (consider the fun Caravan.com Costa Rica tour) and then go on his “Live In Costa Rica Combination Tour” coupled with the ARCR Seminar and you will be much better prepared. People who just come and try to figure it all out when they get here are usually in the 40% who end up going back to the states, Canada or wherever “home” was before. “Be Prepared!” 🙂
About 30 of us expat retirees in Atenas went north of here by charter bus to San Ramon (hour drive) where we were fed and entertained by a group of expat retirees in San Ramon. We had a very interesting experience of a 14th Century Madrigal Christmas Banquet with all our hosts in period costumes and a wide variety of entertainment with the excellent meal! There was chamber music while we ate plus afterwards period ceremony, stories, singing by our hosts and group singing of Christmas Carols (in English & Spanish!) by all making it a very special Christmas Dinner. THANKS TO THE EXPATS OF SAN RAMON! And to Tony & Rose Mary for putting it together! Gracias! 🙂
Madrigal Dinner Slideshow
Or to see each of the photos individually and larger, go to my 2018 Madrigal Banquet Photo Gallery where you can also download photos if you wish.
I rarely go at night, but did one night this week and saw their big tree which is mostly lights, plus lights on everything else including the manger scene, which is a little much for me. Oh well, Christmas is really BIG here! I mean really big! Gobs of celebrations and fiestas and music and church services and most get a whole week off from work and all employers are required by law to give a Christmas Bonus (for me to a maid and gardeners). Then everything is closed Christmas week and people travel, for some, their only vacation. Cultures are so interesting! Everywhere! 🙂 I’ll post a schedule of public celebrations tomorrow.
Last year after Christmas I took the potted Poinsettia I had had inside and planted it in my garden. When I recently asked my gardeners to “thin out” my garden, well . . . they really thinned it out including the removal of my poinsettia which was not doing well anyway.
So today I looked for another poinsettia in town and found only one little plant store that had any and they were expensive, but I got two anyway. They add to the “Christmas Spirit” around my house and I already had in mind putting them immediately in my garden, which I did. Well, the rain seems to have stopped (we might get 1 or 2 more) and the wind has started blowing (think March in the states). The petals or really leaves on the poinsettia are be thrashed by the wind and already look weathered.
Oh well, I meant well and in my thinned out garden there is not much color now, so they have been added to my two other now-blooming red flowers: Red Ginger and Torch Ginger or in Costa Rica El bastón de emperador. So maybe all this red in my gardens is my Christmas color for this year! 🙂
The red of the toyshops on a dark winter’s afternoon, Of Father Christmas and the robin’s breast? Or green? Green of holly and spruce and mistletoe in the house, dark shadow of summer in leafless winter? One might plainly add a romance of white, fields of frost and snow; thus white, green, red- reducing the event to the level of a Chianti bottle. But many will say that the significant colour is gold, gold of fire and treasure, of light in the winter dark; and this gets closer, For the true colour of Christmas is Black. Black of winter, black of night, black of frost and of the east wind, black of dangerous shadows beyond the firelight.
Christmas is a really big deal here in Costa Rica! And the week between Christmas is like a week-long holiday with most businesses closed and many Ticos on vacation at the beach. ¡Feliz Navidad!
Feliz Navidad de Supermercado La Coope
Income Idea for My Fellow-Retirees
Someone just wrote me asking that I share this link with you in case you are interested in renting out a room in your house while at home or renting out your whole house while traveling or otherwise away, using AirbNB. It might be a good idea for you wherever you live as tourists visit all parts of the world now. (NOTE that I am not doing this nor recommending it.) Here’s how:
HAPPY, HAPPY – – – to you and your family, friends, and communities this Christmas! While some of you enjoy a White Christmas, I will be enjoying the beaches and rainforests of Manuel Antonio National Park and the private Wildlife Refuge of Si Como No Resort there. – – – HAPPY, HAPPY! 🙂