Just outside San Jose, Costa Rica is one of my favorite cloud forests. Drive an hour-and-a-half out of the Capital-metropolitan area and you're in another world “ a world of rolling green hills, black and white and brown dairy cows, rich rust red earth, plants with giant leaves, dripping ferns and shifting mist. It reminds me of England, with a decidedly tropical twist.
Villa Blanca Hotel near San Ramon is an idyllic pastoral mountain settingThese are Costa Rica's Central Highlands and the 2,000-acre Los Angeles Private Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, one of the country's most accessible cloud forest reserves just above the city of San Ramon. Known for generations as the œCity of the Poets, San Ramon features a temperate spring-like climate and rich soil that has yielded generations of family-run coffee, sugar cane and dairy farms. The beautiful mountain community and its surrounding farm villages have mostly preserved their rural way of life, and it gives visitors a glimpse into œyesteryear Costa Rica.
Tucked into this verdant greenness, halfway along the drive from San Jose to the Arenal Volcano, is Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Spa. The 75-acre boutique hotel is surrounded by the Los Angeles Private Biological Reserve, and you can see Arenal Volcano on clear days from the hotel's terraces.
See Resplendent Quetzals in the cloud forest reserve around Villa Blanca HotelAt an elevation of about 3,600 feet (1,100 m), Villa Blanca and the private cloud forest reserve are home to widely diverse plants and trees, birds and other wildlife. Walk the trails and you may run across darting jeweled hummingbirds, bright turquoise-tailed Motmots, emerald and crimson Trogons, or even the fabulous jade, turquoise and ruby Resplendent Quetzals. The haunting call of black howler monkeys echoes through the forest and mist. Cute raccoon-like coatis, ringed tails held high, come right up on the hotel's lawns.
Villa Blanca was named in the top 10 of Best Hotels in Central America by the 2013 Trip Advisor Traveler's Choice Awards. The hotel features private accommodations in 35 Mariana Wedding Chapel at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel in Costa Ricacasitas, each with picturesque views of the tropical cloud forest. On the main hilltop is the Hacienda House, with the Reception, fireplace lounge area and restaurants. The stunningly gorgeous Mariana Wedding Chapel sits pristine white among colorful gardens. The chapel was the 50th anniversary-wedding gift from former Costa Rica President Rodrigo Carazo to his wife, First Lady Estrella Zeledon de Carazo; the two were the original owners of Villa Blanca. Built in 1997 in traditional Spanish colonial style, the chapel's unique ceiling is artistically decorated with 840 hand-painted ceramic tiles depicting the history of Spanish colonial settlers.
Hand-painted ceramic tile ceiling of Villa Blanca Hotel's chapelYou can visit Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel on Costa Rica Special Deals' exciting combination vacation deal in Costa Rica to visit the cloud forest and the coast. Costa Rica Special Deals offers a 7-night œBirds and Monkeys package to two locations in Costa Rica's cloud forest, staying 2 nights at Villa Blanca Hotel in San Ramon, and 2 nights at Savegre Mountain Hotel in San Gerardo de Dota in the Talamanca Mountains southeast of San Jose. Then, experience the unparalleled beauty of the famous Manuel Antonio National Park and beaches on the Central Pacific Coast, with 2 nights at Hotel San Bada. Manuel Antonio is home to 3 species of monkeys and a host of other wildlife. One night's stay in San Jose at the beginning of your trip, and a week's car rental is included in your Costa Rica hot deal.
Costa Rica Special Deals arranges great vacation deals in Costa Rica. The Costa Rica-based travel service professionally assist you to choose hotels, tours, transportation, local flights, car rentals and other services for your vacation to Costa Rica. Costa Rica Special Deals always offers the most competitive Costa Rica hot deals.
By Shannon Farley