Place of Enchanted Waters
Welcome to the blog home of Hotel LaRosa de America’s charity climb! On Dec 5th and 6th we will be climbing Cerro Chirripo in Costa Rica to raise money and awareness to support the efforts of the Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. This organization is striving to protect animals within the National Parks of Costa Rica from poaching and degradation of habitat. To find out more about this worthy cause, please check out their website and associated news releases, blogs etc…
Also for future climbs, you can help by spreading the word and letting people know about this opportunity to blend a great holiday experience with some hard work, and a great payoff through supporting our environment.
Basic Facts about the Mountain
- Cerro Chirripo is 3,820 metres or 12,533 feet in hight.
- The second tallest mountain in Central America and the tallest in Costa Rica.
- Trailhead elevation is 1,520 metres
- Overall hiking distance is 40 km over two days
- Non technical climb – great for fit adventurers!
Integral to our climb is a strong desire to learn about the various environments that we will pass through. That, coupled with the extra safety of a guide, led us to search out one of the best! Amelia Garita, daughter of Jose – the man with the World Record for Chirripo ascents, has agreed to be our guide.
Amelia holds a degree in tourism from the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, is bi-lingual and has extensive experience in the Chirripo region. We are very happy to have her join us!
Day 1: Enroute from the Central Valley, we will cross over the famous Cerro de Muerte and see our first glimpse of the Cerro Chirripo rising over the omnipresent Talamanca Mists. Arriving in San Gerardo de Rivas on the afternoon of 04 December, we will enjoy a dip in the Thermal Springs prior to supper.
Day 2: Rising early, we will enter the Chirripo National Park and begin our hike, passing through many distinct climatic regions as we climb. After about 7 hours, we will enter the “La Cuesta del Agua” which will prove a challenge to our endurance! We will then enter the Paramo Valley and then stop at Base Crestones for the night.
Day 3: Rising early, we will have a quick breakfast, and then begin our climb to the Summit in time for a “continent spanning” sunrise. After an hour at the top, we will commence our descent down into the Valle de los Conejos (Rabbit Valley) and through the Paramo high altitude equatorial vegetation. If time and energy allows, we will take a look at the Cerro Terbi and Los Crestones features as well. Continuing our descent past Base Crestones, we will arrive back at the Hotel Uran before nightfall.
Day 4: After breakfast, and the inevitable swapping of stories and maybe a few aches and pains we will say goodbye and continue on with our holidays -until meeting up again at Hotel La Rosa prior to departing Costa Rica.
We are very excited about this chance to climb the highest point in Costa Rica and hopefully have the chance to see the Pacific AND Atlantic Ocean at the same time! Thank you for your participation and for your willingness to support our wildlife charity cause! See you at the top in a month!
Book Donations Update:
Through the generosity of hundreds of our guests from all over the World, our Hotel near the San Jose Costa Rica Airport is nearing our initial goal of 5,000 books donated to local schools. Thank you for your support of our program. To have this kind of success in only three years has been a humbling experience for us and has left many local school Principals amazed at the generosity of people from countries they have only seen on a map!
Though clearly difficult to put a monetary value on these donations, we estimate that the resale value alone in Costa Rica would be in the area of $50,000.00 USD. Of course, the new book purchase value would be much greater. The great cost of books for Costa Rican Schools means that only the most important books for learning can be purchased. Novels, picture books etc are very much a secondary concern to having sufficient pens and paper, rulers etc. Sadly this is resulting in a culture-wide loss of the love of reading.
With the kind assistance of an expat Palestinian with close ties to the Women’s Club of Costa Rica, and a local teacher,as well as the employees of Hotel La Rosa de America, we have been able to organize, sort into appropriate age groups, source deserving schools, and deliver over 3.500 books so far in English, French and Spanish as well as large numbers of school supplies. Some of the benefit schools, statistics and pictures can be found on our website page devoted to the project: Costa Rica Book Donations
Many of the schools we have donated to now have large numbers of books in English. To ensure that these donations are best used and distributed, we have volunteered to host the Women’s Club at Hotel La Rosa and to potentially team up with this organization in order to expand the current scope of the program.
The WOMEN’S CLUB of COSTA RICA:
The Women’s Club of Costa Rica has deep roots throughout Costa Rica, especially in the local schools and we believe that their experience with Costa Rican schools combined with books from Hotel La Rosa’s Donation Program will lead to targeted donations that will provide the greatest benefit for Costa Rican children. The Mission Statement of the WCCR is “a philanthropic organization supporting education, primarily through scholarships and development of school libraries for children in Costa Rica.”
To this end, our airport hotel will be hosting the next planning meeting of the Women’s Club of Costa Rica on the 26th of October 2011. For Hotel La Rosa, this will be a charity event with all Hotel services donated for the event. During this meeting, Hotel Staff will introduce the “La Rosa” book donation project. We hope to continue our donation project and develop our new link with the Women’s Club.
Again, thank you all for your great support of our book donation program, and let’s keep the books coming!!
Once again, as the summer period draws rapidly to a close, we are faced with yet another transition into the wettest of the wet season. This is typically a time for consolidation among the various tourism businesses within Costa Rica and can sadly often lead to significant layoffs of employees across the country. At our Costa Rica airport hotel, we prefer to cross-train our existing employees to do “other” functions in the times we have few guests. This way, our employees can retain their jobs, and the hotel benefits by ensuring all our intensive training of staff is not wasted every year through layoffs.
During the Sept-Dec timeframe, we have traditionally focused on significant capital improvements to enhance the hotel, and to renew it’s 15 year old services and presentation. However, this year, we are going to focus on customer feedback generated over the past year. This feedback is invaluable to us as it allows us to maintain what works and conversely to eliminate any problems that may come up over the course of hosting thousands of guests per year. This year we have received some guest concerns over hot water reliability. We are currently addressing these concerns and we expect to complete the change over from gas to an electric system by the end of August. It is disappointing to us that the carefully picked gas water on demand system failed to deliver what it promised to do. We had hopes of eventually removing ourselves from the power grid, by first converting all major energy users to gas and then utilizing solar for the remainder.
However, this plan has proven ineffective therefore we are adapting to a new electrical energy saving on demand system. When it is complete, guests will not be able to tell the difference between the systems they use at home and the much more power smart on demand system being put in place. Complete installation throughout the cabins is taking some time due to the need to rewire many areas of the hotel to 220 Volts, complete with heavier gauge wiring and breakers.
Other upgrades will include improvements to our existing WIFI system, finishing up of the exterior painting of the entire hotel, resurfacing and repainting of the walkways, and replacement and painting of the roof over the restaurant area. Significant upgrades to Cabin 12 and our handicapped certified cabin will also be done. Inside, we will be upgrading all our computer systems, installing wireless music and speakers in the common areas, and introducing a brand new reservation system for better guest management. Gone will be the hand-draulic paper based system complete with it’s mountain of colour coded sticky notes!!!! Of course continued maintenance and minor improvements will continue apace!
As always, there is lots to be done. We want to ensure that Hotel La Rosa is 100% ready for the 2012 High Season so as to ensure maximum guest satisfaction! Shortly we will be making a blog comparing and contrasting some of the “then” and “now” differences at La Rosa as we will shortly be celebrating our fourth anniversary of hotel ownership in Costa Rica!