Archive | Opportunities

Cheese! Homestay family falls in love!

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Recently one of our visiting homestay families decided to tour ‘Quesos Canaan’ – a small handcrafted cheese farm that produces a Swiss-type cheese from their small dairy herd. They milked the cow, listened to the weird and wonderful story of how Wilberth Mata and his family got started in hard cheese-making and then helped to make it themselves. Afterwards they bought some and returned to their homestay at Dona Graciela’s to enjoy it with their hosts.

Well, they liked that cheese so much that they’ve been ordering it up from anyone who happens to travel back to their hometown in Canada! The rules state that up to $20 worth of hard cheese can be brought into Canada and so that’s what they arrange. Only Costa Rica cheese will do! We bet that wasn’t an outcome they expected from their Costa Rica Holiday Homestay. Pura vida Quesos Canaan!

PS To include a similar tour in your homestay itinerary simply let Jenny know and she will reserve it for you. The tour lasts 2 – 3 hours includes a walk around the farm to milk the cow, view the biodigester and organic composter, making the cheese from scratch and, of course, a chance to taste it! Although Wilberth speaks Spanish Costa Rica Holiday Homestay provides an interpreter. See: Cheese Factory for more pictures. Tour price: $17 per person includes tour, transport there and back, guide and interpretation – tasters free!

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Summer plans! Learning Spanish in Costa Rica

Our homestay families welcome you!

Our homestay families welcome you!

Summer is calling: vacations, downtime, hobbies and everything that’s just not work! Now’s the time (or anytime really) to start acting on that dream of the Costa Rica vacation you’ve been wanting.

How do you see yourself?

You really want to learn or practice your Spanish. It’s a goal you’ve had for a while. Imagine taking Spanish lessons but also staying with a welcoming family and sharing your newly learned phrases over homemade meals or a cup of local coffee. Our lovely teacher Karol offers lessons at all levels and works closely with our homestay families to keep the practice going after class.
We offer:
• Private classes of 2 or 4 hours
• Couples classes
• Group classes (when available)
• At your homestay or in Café Bambú in the center of the village.
Before or after class you can choose from many tours and activities we offer at reduced prices for our language students. Enjoy a hike, the fabulous thermal springs or a visit to the chocolatier or the cheese maker – whatever your fancy.
Check out the website and contact us here to make your Spanish language vacation a reality!

PLUS! Check out our new Facebook page and give us a LIKE!

10 Reasons why Costa Rica Holiday Homestay is right for you

Dona Leyla's pioneer home is a local treasure

Dona Leyla’s pioneer home is a local treasure


Here’s 10 reasons why Costa Rica Holiday Homestay can promise you a vacation to cherish:
1. You want to learn Spanish – no way better than to live with a family!
2. You want to explore Costa Rican cloud forest – in San Gerardo it’s all around you – wake up and see it all!
3. You have children and you want them to meet children from another country and learn another language – welcome to our family homestays!
4. You want to climb Mt. Chirripo – we can help you with your planning and provide you the best base for your climb and security.
5. You want something different – experience the real Costa Rica by living in a traditional village with a campesino family instead of a hotel.
Cosy in the kitchen at Dona Leyla's

Cosy in the kitchen at Dona Leyla’s


6. Get back to basics – a vacation to rediscover cultural values – the family, living close to the land and…living with less.
7. Pick your own dinner! Our meals are composed of produce grown in our backyards: vegetables, fruits, poultry and local trout. Our Sunday farmer’s market even offers local cheeses and chocolate!
8. Support and more in making your plans for your Costa Rica vacation! We take time to answer all your questions and help you plan the best experience ever.
9. Local transport provided to all your activities and on arrival and departure.
10. Your stay supports a local family and keeps traditional villages like San Gerardo alive.

We promise you a warm and genuine welcome – Bienvenidu a San Gerardo de Rivas!

Fresh, local food always available

Fresh, local food always available

Chirripo National Park Celebration and Race

Carrera Chirripo

August 24/25 will see the annual celebration of the founding of Parque Nacional Chirripó and a weekend full of fun events. The event is organized between MINAE – Oficina de Parques San Gerardo de Rivas, the Guides and Porters Association – Los Arrieros, and the Asociacion de Dessarollo de San Gerardo de Rivas (village council) Make sure you come by to enjoy:

Saturday August 24

  • Football tournament
  • Delicious food available all day in the Salon
  • Dance in the evening

Sunday August 25

  • Marathon covering Los Angeles, the National Park limits and Cloudbridge Reserve.
  • Bingo – 4 pm in the salon
  • Expo of local handcrafts
  • Children’s events related to the Park

Proyecto San Gerardo at Café Bambú will also be featuring:

Saturday August 24

  • 10 am – Cachivache (second hand sale)
  • The Café will open with our new super cook Angie Chavez

Sunday August 25

  • 8:30 am – our regular Feria La Union (Farmer’s Market – get all your fresh food in one place and grown locally)
  • Super breakfasts and morning pastries in Café Bambú.

See you there!

For more information (in Spanish) about Parque Nacional Chirripo and the Anniversary event see Parque Nacional Chirripo

NEW! Costa Rica Cooking Classes in San Gerardo de Rivas

 

Yummy corn tortillas

 

So you’ve come to love your ‘gallo pinto’ in the morning – literally ‘painted rooster’! That delicious mixture of rice, beans and flavorings goes down a treat with fresh eggs and coffee first thing.

How about tortillas? Enjoyed with ‘natilla’ (sour cream) or cheese, tortillas with fresh coffee are traditional afternoon snacks in Costa Rica.

So when you have to go home wouldn’t it be handy to know how to make your favourite Costa Rican dishes? We thought of that too, so starting the first week in January we’re offering cooking classes twice a week in San Gerardo de Rivas:

What?

LESSON 1: A full lunch (almuerzo)
Learn how to make gallo pinto, tortillas and ‘agua de sapo’ (fresh ginger lemonade)
Served for lunch with eggs and fried plantain
Cost $20

LESSON 2: Tortillas
Learn how to hand make delicious corn tortillas! It takes some practice!
Served with natilla (sour cream) and locally produced blackberry jam
Cost $10

When?

Every Monday and Wednesday in January, February and March
Lesson 1: 11 am
Lesson 2: 2pm

Reservations?
Call 2742-5356 or 8793-7783
    or 2742-5102
Or email: costaricaholidayhomestays@gmail.com

Teachers: Dona Leyla, Dona Xinia & Dona Shirley – all Costa Rica Holiday Homestay hosts.

Gallo pinto with all the trimmings

 

 

Frisbee Fun in Costa Rica!

 

One Costa Rica Holiday Homestay family made a big difference in the lives of San Gerardo kids this week! Holly had packed up a bunch of Frisbees to bring with her thinking perhaps the children would enjoy them – never knowing how much they did!

Once the word got around that there was ‘’frisbi ultimo’’ in the plaza around 20 children appeared – aged between 3 and 14 – and Frisbees started to fly!

Holly, Jack and Marcela taught the children how to throw the discs (as accurately as possible!) and they practiced and practiced for hours until the light began to fade. They invented a new form of ‘Monkey’ – one or two kids trying to intercept the frisbee passed by 2 on the outside. They ran and ducked and leapt and ran again till everyone was exhausted. Holly then sent a Frisbee home to every household represented there in the plaza and they took off to the Roca Dura for a well-deserved pint!

Such a simple gesture – but such a great feeling of playing, and enjoying the warm summer afternoon together. And who knows where this will end! An ultimate frisbee team in the making? A chance to share with visitors from all over the world this well-known sport. Thanks Holly and your family – really nice!

(CRHH provides opportunities for inter-cultural activities such as this one. There are also many volunteer opportunities you can match with your homestay. Contact us for a downloadable information sheet about homestay/volunteer options in San Gerardo de Rivas)

Coffee picking tours start in San Gerardo de Rivas

   

How many of these baskets could you fill?

November sees the start of coffee picking in the highlands and the beginning of tours to the coffee plantation – cafetal – for Costa Rica Holiday Homestay. This week we hosted four novices who quickly learned what it takes to pick a cajuela (basket) of coffee and enjoyed an experience campesino for a few hours.

Our tour starts with some general information about the history of coffee growing in Costa Rica, and in the Talamanca highlands in particular, as well as a description of the type of coffee grown, processing, and the worldwide market.

Next we set off to size our pickers for their canastas or baskets, and train them in how to pick as well as balance! Right now the coffee is a mix of ripe and unripe (red and green berries) so our pickers learn to leave the green fruit to mature and pick only the red.

The coffee plantation is set half way up the hillside with magnificent views of the river valley and surrounding farms. We take time to stop and eat bananas, oranges, guayabas and anona – fruit that we encourage on the farm to satisfy hungry birds and animals – and keep them away from the sweet coffee fruit!

After 2 hours we check out how much coffee we’ve picked – hmmm! About ½ basket – equivalent to about $1 in pay for the picker! Better speed up if this is your livelihood! Thankfully it’s not and we retreat to the farmhouse for a cup of the real thing and scrumptious banana muffins. Left with mud on our boots and some great photos we all agree that coffee picking is a fun tour.

Tours run now until March, $17 per person. Contact us soon to arrange your tour and experience coffee picking yourself!

Neighbours from Térraba visit to learn about Costa Rica Holiday Homestay program

Last Monday Costa Rica Holiday Homestay hosted a visit from the indigenous community of Térraba to San Gerardo de Rivas. The senoras from the village nearby to Buenos Aires about two hours’ drive south-west of San Gerardo, are members of the Boruca tribe who live in various settlements in the Talamanca mountain range. They have a long history of art and culture as well as a distinctive language; see: http://www.boruca.org for more information about the Boruca.
Getting together was a chance for us to get to know each other better, and to share Costa Rica Holiday Homestay’s development as a local social enterprise benefitting women in the region. Getting together for a delicious lunch featuring torta de oja de remolacha, picadillo de aracache and fresh local salads and fruit, we shared our experiences with visitors from faraway places and the wonder of learning about new cultures as well as respresenting Costa Rica.
As a social enterprise Costa Rica Holiday Homestay is committed to helping women in various communities explore ways to support themselves while building awareness of cultures, beliefs and language. In the near future we hope to offer tours of one or more days to the Boruca village in Térraba to our guests. Contact us for more information about opportunities to learn more about indigenous peoples in Costa Rica.

PLUS! If you are planning to visit San Gerardo de Rivas during January – March we will be offering traditional cooking lessonsat Café Bambú, Proyecto San Gerardo’s community centre in the village. Learn how to make tortillas, gallo pinto or (wáter of the toad!) from delicious and all-local ingredients. More info here next month about times and rates!

Sharing homestay tips!

Gathering at Cafe Bambu

Gathering at Cafe Bambu

Last Monday Costa Rica Holiday Homestay hosted a visit from the indigenous community of Térraba to San Gerardo de Rivas. The senoras from the village nearby to Buenos Aires about two hours’ drive south-west of San Gerardo, are members of the Boruca tribe who live in various settlements in the Talamanca mountain range. They have a long history of art and culture as well as a distinctive language; see: http://www.boruca.org for more information about the Boruca.

Getting together was a chance for us to get to know each other better, and to share Costa Rica Holiday Homestay’s development as a local social enterprise benefitting women in the region. Getting together for a delicious lunch featuring torta de oja de remolacha, picadillo de aracache and fresh local salads and fruit, we shared our experiences with visitors from faraway places and the wonder of learning about new cultures as well as respresenting Costa Rica.

As a social enterprise Costa Rica Holiday Homestay is committed to helping women in various communities explore ways to support themselves while building awareness of cultures, beliefs and language. In the near future we hope to offer tours of one or more days to the Boruca village in Térraba to our guests. Contact us for more information about opportunities to learn more about indigenous peoples in Costa Rica.

PLUS! If you are planning to visit San Gerardo de Rivas during January – March we will be offering traditional cooking lessons at Café Bambú, Proyecto San Gerardo’s community centre in the village. Learn how to make tortillas, gallo pinto or agua de sapo (wáter of the toad!) from delicious and all-local ingredients. More info here next month about times and rates!

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