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Mary the Elephant

Mary the Elephant

Mary the Elephant
Mary the Elephant

What are the Odds?
Circa 1984, Kenya

Diana Steel and her family were our Discovery Beach House guests in 2013. After her son Simon studied our web site, he called.

“I think you may have something in common with my mother,” Simon said. “She used to work with elephants in Kenya.”

I was skeptical. “We only knew one elephant in Kenya and that was 30 years ago. She was an orphan at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club animal orphanage. Her name was Mary.”

Simon was quiet for a moment then said, “I think my mother knew Mary.”

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Tiger’s Nest, Paro, Bhutan

Tiger’s Nest, Paro, Bhutan

My daughter Dawn and I made the challenging climb to the most sacred monastery in Bhutan, Tiger’s Nest. This short video shows our ascent. We weren’t allowed to take in cameras or telephones, so stay tuned for Part 2 to read about what we saw and did inside. I highly recommend visiting this monastery built on a sheer cliff – it was an amazing experience!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enPwF4ZT6cs

Manuel Antonio Wedding House

Manuel Antonio Wedding House

30 Photos That Will Make You Wish You Were In Costa Rica Right Now

30 Photos That Will Make You Wish You Were In Costa Rica Right Now

Thank you to our guest blogger, Hal Amen. This blog originally posted on Matador Network.

HOW MANY OF YOUR VACATION DAYS did you use in the last year? If you live in the United States, chances are the answer to that question is somewhere around half of them. Which means you could be taking paid time off to hang out in Costa Rica right now. It’s ever so tempting to just use up all your holidays and just spend a week or so away abroad. That would be the dream. No doubt after seeing these photos, you’ll want to book the next flight to Costa Rica. If you are someone who makes impulse holiday decision, you may want to look into a site like https://www.buenavistadelrincon.com/. This will confirm your desire of visiting this country for sure.

And Costa Rica is a pretty sweet place to be, whether you go for its unrivaled ecotourism opportunities, from watching sea turtles nest to ziplining through the rain forest; its 1,000 miles of coastline on both the Pacific and the Caribbean, and the spectacular beaches and surf that go along with it; or its 50 national parks, representing the nation’s unprecedented commitment to preservation and protecting a full 5% of the world’s biodiversity. These images will persuade you to check out some bachelor locations costa rica and move!

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Costa Rica Beachfront Wedding House

Costa Rica Beachfront Wedding House

Ana Garter Belt

You have an amazing house. We celebrated our wedding in your house and it was the most beautiful day in our lives. The scenery could not be more beautiful or spectacular! Thanks so much for letting us celebrate it in this paradise of a house.

What to say about the Staff? They are all really good and nice and made our stay very comfortable. Especially Sabrina who has helped us with so many small details and was assuring that everything went well for us and our guests. I loved that Manuela, the housekeeper surprised us everyday with different towel decorations on our beds. The wedding cake made from towels was amazing – so sweet of her to do that. Everyone at the Discovery Beach House made us feel very much at home.

We were surprised at how much less expensive it was to get married in Costa Rica than in Italy and we loved the added bonus of getting a tropical vacation. We’ll be spreading the word about getting married in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica!

So to all of you Many Thanks and Pura Vida!

Quepos History in Stone

Quepos History in Stone

Thank you to our guest blogger, Pat Cheek. This blog was originally posted on Quepolandia.com.

Walking along the malecón, sea wall, in Quepos you will notice large stone sculptures sitting atop pedestals. The sculptures were created in 2007, organized by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and sponsored by the Canton of Aguirre with the support of the Chamber of Commerce, Aguirre. Each sculpture was sponsored by a local business.

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Vow Renewal Manuel Antonio Beach Costa Rica

Vow Renewal Manuel Antonio Beach Costa Rica

Dawn and Bill, Guy and Krista vow renewalBy Randy Gritz from Celebrations Costa Rica

When my phone rang the last thing I expected to hear was, “I’m bringing my wife Krista to Costa Rica on vacation. We’ve been married over 10 years and I’m going to surprise her by renewing our vows”

It’s not often a groom contacts me about a vow renewal. They were staying at the Discovery Beach House in Manuel Antonio on gorgeous Espadilla Beach with one of the prettiest tropical rain forests in all of Costa Rica as a backdrop. The setting was amazingly romantic.

To double their pleasure Guy’s friend Bill had decided to renew his vows with his wife Dawn as well. Both husbands managed to keep the secret until a day or so before the ceremony, just in case their wives wanted to shop or get their hair done. Smart grooms. Lucky brides.

The ringsThe day was perfect. Warm weather, the salt air smell of the sea and the sound of waves softly washing the shore was an ideal setting for the two couples as they renewed their vows on the beach. Bamboo poles with tropical flower arrangements blended beautifully with the environment.

Romantic stroll along the shoreAfter the ceremony Guy & Krista and Bill & Dawn were serenaded by local musicians. When they walked up the orchid-lined path back to the house there was a lovely wedding cake with cascading white orchids waiting for them to cut and a wonderful lunch prepared by a chef.

In a later Facebook post to the owner of the Discovery Beach House, Bill said, “It took me 12 years to prove to my wife I’m romantic!”

Guy and Bill – you not only proved to your wives you’re romantic; you raised the bar on how to romance and surprise your wife after a decade of marriage.

Donations to Costa Rican Non-Profits in Lieu of Wedding Favors

Donations to Costa Rican Non-Profits in Lieu of Wedding Favors

Our guest blogger, Randy Gritz from Celebrations Costa Rica blogs about a new destination wedding trend. When Whitney & Daniel Pace got married at the Discovery Beach House they asked their guests to bring donations for Kids Saving the Rainforest.

Capuchin MonkeysI’m often asked about what should we give our guests as a favor to remember our wedding. I have a list that usually includes things like Costa Rican coffee, personalized mugs with a tropical animal as the handle and sarongs for the beach. These are great gifts but I want to focus on another trend by donating something meaningful to the community. A card is left at each guest’s place setting letting them know that in lieu of favors a donation to the community has been made.

You can make a difference in the lives of the people who live in the community where you’re having your wedding celebration. Let’s look at some possibilities. Evelyn Gallardo is the owner of Discovery Beach House in Manuel Antonio. She has been working with Pack for a Purpose. Her guests allocate space in their luggage to bring supplies to the local schools or nonprofit organizations.

Titi monkey mother and baby

Kids Saving the Rainforest  was started by two young girls living in Manuel Antonio. These nine year olds were concerned about the impact that the disappearing rainforest was having on the animals. Initially their organization put up “monkey bridges” that spanned over the streets so the monkeys could cross safely. Their idea has grown and now there is a rescue center, sanctuary, and volunteer program.

ASEPALECO, founded in 1991, is a non-profit organization that promotes the protection and sustainable use of natural resources, whose ultimate goal is to improve socio-environmental quality of life through education, training and community organizations focusing on sustainable development projects.

Greentique Hotels  have really stepped up and created various programs to represent sustainable practices. The Manuel Antonio Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge is an ongoing conservation project and nature exhibit. All proceeds remain with the operation of the refuge including the dormitory for the guides and student volunteers. The Santa Juana Rural Mountain Adventure and Conservation Projects focuses on reforestation and tree adoptions. Their tours help support many of the local families. At Villa Blanca the wedding couple and guests can adopt a tree or support school programs.

Words Cannot Explain the Beauty, Love, Friendship & Experience

Words Cannot Explain the Beauty, Love, Friendship & Experience

Jared, Nikki, Maddy, Karen & Keith, Don, Melissa and Rosie, New York
TripAdvisor Review: October 8, 2013 for a stay in September 2013

jared hotaling groupDear Discovery Beach House, where to start? 
We had such an awesome time! It’s rare that in a week we have made many friends here in Costa Rica. Everyone has been so hospitable that we feel like we’re all friends and family and not Guests and Employees.

This is definitely our #1 vacation so far. We didn’t want to leave and we’ll be back for sure.

Evelyn and David – we’re so blessed to have had the opportunity to stay in your beautiful home. Your home is a very special place. It was great to have you both over for the 1st of many vacations here. I’m thinking we can’t wait to see you again. You both have created a place to make many memories. 

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The Love Shines Through

The Love Shines Through

Heidi & Shane, Colby & Chase and (Shane’s sister) Jodi DeBoer
Trip Advisor Review December 9, 2013 for a stay in December 2013 

DeBoer FamilyThis house is so clearly loved not only by the owners and the staff that cares for it, but by the wildlife that loves spending time there as well. The house is amazing, located right on the best beach with a very large pool we found ourselves drawn to after every outing. It is located near many amazing restaurants that have some great views – yet also delivers for those nights we just wanted to enjoy our time in the house itself. We saw two kinds of monkeys, iguanas of all sizes, an adorable sloth that hung out all week and many many birds. The landscaping is so lush and beautiful and the staff dares not let a leaf fall out of place. 

Speaking of the staff, they were all so warm and friendly and helped us spot animals in the trees and were available to help with any questions we had. The concierge service was a huge bonus – having someone in another country you can count on to assist with not just the travel and tours, but with any issues that arose along the way prior to and during our stay. I could go on and on, but will instead end with saying this exceeded all our expectations.

Who could ask for more?

Who could ask for more?

Paul, California
Trip Advisor Review October 19, 2013 for a stay in October 2013

Brandon, Sash, Shelby, Paul, Terry, Dianne, Cheryl, Colleen, Johnny & Sabrina

From the moment that our group arrived until the moment that we left a week later, we were in paradise. After our drive with Ronald from San Jose, Sabrina, our lovely hostess, greeted us upon arrival with a smile that lasted the entire week. Everyone on Sabrina’s team, especially Juan, our fantastic chef and Manuela, the angel who cleaned up every morning after us, were beyond words. One of the highlights each day was returning to the house after a day out and finding the towel origami that Manuela had created for us on our beds. 

The house was gorgeous-tastefully decorated, clean, airy, so close to the beach, and safe. We never had to worry about anything. A forgotten key? A question about the AC unit? A call to Sabrina and everything was set. 

The location was perfect for us. Every morning, we could stumble to the beach, rent a beach chair and enjoy a local breakfast (with margarita, of course) and plan the rest of our day. Back to the house for a quick dip in the pool, we would spend the afternoon relaxing on the terrace and then get ready for whatever we had planned for the afternoon. Finally, after dinner and a night out, we retired back to the house for a quick hot tub fix before heading to bed. 

The Manuel Antonio/Quepos area is gorgeous- rich in culture and entertainment. With the beach at our fingertips and the rain forest nearly just as close, we had so much to fill our days. I recommend taking the bus into Quepos to do some exploring like a local-great produce at the market (La Feria), fresh meat from the butchers in town, great conversation with residents. 

Sabrina knows everyone! A few in our group wanted to have a fun night out in town. She put us in touch with Lisa, the bartender at Karma, one of the local bars (with great drinks and great decor) and Diego, a friend of hers who knew what was happening in town and knows all about the nightlife. Diego palled around with us for the remainder of our trip-showing us around, answering questions, even making dinner for us one night! 

A++ Vacation. Reviewed October 19, 2013 for a stay in October 2013 

Shangri La on the Beach

Shangri La on the Beach

Dan & Mary, Sharon, Maryland
TripAdvisor Review: September 8, 2013 for a stay in August 2013

Dan & MaryOur entire family had an amazing wonderful time. I am very finicky, but this vacation was perfect. There were days when we alternated sitting by the pool and then walking to the ocean. Other days, we went on adventures such as zip lining, visiting the park, white water rafting, a jungle tour and an estuary tour. Also, what made this vacation special was the staff. They are completely friendly and were dedicated to making our stay the best experience possible. We have traveled throughout the world. This is a very special place.

Beautiful House, Gorgeous Pool and Beach in Tropical Nature

Beautiful House, Gorgeous Pool and Beach in Tropical Nature

Laskshmi & Kevin familyLakshmi & Kevin, DC
Trip Advisor Review:  September 9, 2013 for a stay in August 2013

We spent a wonderful week and a half at this house. I was nervous in advance, since I had never rented a vacation home online without seeing it. Thankfully it exceeded everyone’s expectations. The house was exactly as pictured with the gorgeous infinity pool and beach just steps away. We also loved seeing the monkeys playing in the trees each afternoon. 

The amenities were lovely and the service provided was terrific! We had daily housekeeping (including laundry!) and a fabulous concierge who took care of all our arrangements. No calling for a taxi or booking a zip line or any outing – it was all handled with no effort on our part. 

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This house is a starting point for adventure.

This house is a starting point for adventure.

Med School GradsNever have I rented a property that so completely and proactively addressed our every need, desire, and want as Discovery House. As a group of graduating medical students, we had no expectations and simply wanted to relax in paradise. What followed can only be described as the most pleasant of surprises. 

First, the house itself is a mixture of modernity and Swiss Family Robinson tree house adventure. We had WiFi access, television (which we rarely watched), stoves, microwave, dishwasher, laundry services, air conditioning, locked safe, gated entrance with security, and all the working gadgets “needed” for traditional comforts. The bedrooms and living areas were spacious and decorated with polished wood and monkeys ornaments; pictures of the owners’ previous orangutan friendships adorned the upper wall. The master bedroom resembled a luxurious 18th century English guest room, the shower and bathtub large enough to fit 4 or 5 people. Looking outside, the entire house was surrounded by carefully manicured yet explosive foliage of the rain forest, complete with signs depicting plant species names. A step into the backyard led from Jacuzzi to infinity pool, overlooking the Pacific Ocean with accompanying color lighted Moai of Eastern Island. Their presence is appropriate as metaphor to the remarkable feeling of incredulity one is overwhelmed with as you step directly into the sand and ocean surrounded by monkeys, lizards, hermit crabs, and sloths. No other rental properties we could find provided such proximity and ease of beach access in Manuel Antonio, certainly not at the price provided for this gem of a house. 

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