August Recommend 2017 - 29

Opposite page: Villa accommodations at Xantari Resort & Spa.

Sibu owners and master chocolatiers, Julio
Fernandez and George Soriano. Here, we
learn about the history and techniques of
chocolate-making, and sample Sibu's elegant
bonbons, truffles and chocolate bars, inspired
by Central America's unique flavors and
cultural heritage. This is a must-do tour
and tasting.
Hotel Stay
Today is also Expotur day, where I discover
Chayote Lodge, recently opened in Costa
Rica's famed coffee region between San Jose
and the Arenal Volcano country. It offers a
unique combination of nature and culture-
a place where the historic and traditional
coffee growers' culture blends easily with the
surrounding environment. Guests stay in
grand bungalows, designed to resemble the
iconic recibidores (coffee receiving stations).
Guest experiences incorporate visits to local
markets, artisan workshops and fiestas.
Another interesting lodging, the Macaw
Lodge-a working model of environmentally
mindful living-captures the DNA central
to Costa Rica culture: sustainability. Located
in the Turrubares Hills of the Central Pacific
region-a hotspot for birdwatching-this
eco-resort has eight rooms, whose bedding
and towels are made of bamboo fiber. Here,
meals are dedicated to organic, farm-to-table,
dining; one of the yoga platforms sits in a
sun-dappled bamboo forest; and the star bird
sighting is the scarlet macaw.

Day 3
Today was the time to devote to the capital,
whose outstanding attractions are museums
and markets. At the top of the capital's
cultural attractions are several excellent
museums, introducing clients to facets of
Costa Rica they won't find elsewhere. Best
known are the Gold Museum, with its
spectacular 1,880-piece treasury, and the
Fidel Tristan Jade Museum, housing the
America's largest jade collection. Of note is
the Costa Rican Art Museum, showcasing
works of the country's most celebrated artists.
And no visit to San Jose is complete without
a stop at the Mercado Central, a block-long
covered market built in 1880 and made up

of a warren of produce stalls, bric-a-brac
counters, and cafes. The best way to get to
know the market is to come hungry and
plan for a roving meal, assembled as you
dine-around at the sodas (small, familyrun eateries). Most famous is La Sorbetera
de Lolo Mora, a 116-year-old ice cream
parlor that makes one flavor only-a mix of
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla.
Hotel Stay
We move today to the five-star, 82-room
Studio Hotel, an art-themed property in
San Jose that takes its mission seriously:
displaying a large and distinguished art
collection by well-known Costa Rican artists

throughout the hotel, from the lobby and bar
to the third floor rooftop pool and lounge
area with lovely city and mountain views.
For our final dinner, we are guests of San
Jose's most elegant boutique hotel, Hotel
Grano de Oro, where we dine deliciously,
despite the restaurant's signature chocolate
cake being sold out.
Contact Information
Costa Rica Tourism Board:
Chayote Lodge:
Macaw Lodge:
Xandari Resort & Spa:
Studio Hotel:

South America:

Now More Than Ever


Susan Farewell

Clients asking where to go next? Surefire answer: South America. Big-picture reasons why?
Relatively safe, no jet lag, affordable, year-round appeal and an amazing variety of travel
experiences. Here's just a sampling of what you can sell to solo travelers, honeymooners,
families and empty nesters.
	Adventures Galore: Kayaking among icebergs in Patagonia, horseback riding in the
highlands of Ecuador or on the beaches of Uruguay; trekking between Andean mountain lodges
in Peru...the list goes on and on.
		Spectacular Landscapes: From the surreal scenery of the Atacama Desert in Chile to
the wildly exciting cascades of Iguazu Falls in Argentina, the diversity of landscapes on this
continent is mind-boggling.
	 Wildlife Viewing: South America is rife with wildlife from the sea lions, tortoises
and iguanas in the Galapagos Islands to the thousands of bird species in the Amazon and
the Andes.
	 Urban Wonders: In cities all over South America, you will find hip, cutting-edge
neighborhoods full of art galleries and one-of-a-kind shops. But you'll also find a profound sense
of history with colonial centers, magnificent churches, cobbled streets and squares.
	 Foodies Feast: The secret is out-Lima is home to some of the top restaurants in the
WORLD. The city is a foodie's dream but it's not the only city in South America that is
a magnet for gourmets. Among some of the others: Cartagena and Medellin, Colombia;
Santiago, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Quito, Ecuador.
	 Wine Regions: Exploring the vineyards of Argentina and Chile are world-class experiences.
	 Accommodations: Chic boutique hotels in artsy urban neighborhoods, eco-lodges in the
jungles, stunning estancias in the countryside and remote resorts that embrace their unique
environments-your clients can look forward to some extraordinary stays throughout
South America.
Susan Farewell is the owner of Farewell Travels LLC (, a travel design firm
based in Westport, CT. Follow her onTwitter and Instagram @FarewellTravels.
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