Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Parador Resort & Spa Celebrates 16 Year Anniversary!

It began with a remarkable piece of secluded cliff-side property blanketed with dense rainforest that offered spectacular ocean vistas stretching from Quepos to Manuel Antonio National Park. And a vision. The vision of a Dutch man named Jan Schans who upon seeing this panoramic plot of land in 1993 imagined a hotel that would both aesthetically respect this unique natural setting and commit to protect it. Towards that end, over the years Parador has reforested, under the aegis of a forestry engineer, the entire area on which our hotel sits.

Mr. Schans’ dream became a reality when Hotel Parador (now Parador Resort & Spa) opened its doors on Punta Quepos, Manuel Antonio with 56 rooms in 1995. It quickly emerged as one of the top luxe properties in the area which has, over the years, evolved into not only the largest full service resort in the area – spread across 12 lush acres of jungle-kissed grounds -- but a tenacious leader in sustainable tourism and community service.

Today, as we proudly celebrate our 16th anniversary, Parador features 129 rooms and suites, three swimming pools, four restaurants and bars, a luxurious world-class spa, fitness room, tennis court, nature trails and green areas. We have hosted innumerable weddings and honeymooners, family reunions and special events, first and repeat visitors and even a handful of celebrities to this special slice of heaven on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast.

We continue to be a family run business with more than a 150 loyal employees – many of whom have been with us for many years, some since the beginning. Our “We Share” Employee Program persists in supporting and caring for our team while our ongoing commitment to the environment has earned us the ICT’s (Costa Rican Tourist Board) top 5 Leaf Sustainability rating and the Ecological Blue Flag. Named “Costa Rica’s Leading Resort 2010” by the World Travel Awards, we work each day towards achieving and maintaining a standard of excellence within the context of our green philosophy.

Sweet Sixteen! Time marches on and so do we. Thank you for sharing in our success and participating in our ongoing efforts to save – or at least – protect our planet!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Parador Honors Its Own: Employee Achievements Are Recognized At Quarterly Party

With twelve acres, 129 rooms and suites, stringent sustainability practices, 158 employees in seven departments and a constant influx of esteemed guests for whom to care, the Parador family is a busy one indeed. But we still take time out every three months to honor our hard working and loyal staff with a no-holds-barred party! Hosted each quarter by a different department that has free reign to stage the event as it sees fit, the most recent fete was helmed by the Food & Beverage Group. This time they pulled out all the stops to create an afternoon of tongue-in-cheek performance theater and hilarious Chippendales-inspired vid-clips before we all got down to the more serious business of recognizing individual employees for their superlative work and commitment.

Just one element of Parador’s “We Share” employee benefits program (for more information on that check our website, these staff parties provide an opportunity for the Parador team to mingle in a casual non-work environment, while creating a forum in which management can also commemorate its own. Potential honorees are nominated by each department head after which awards – which include pins and/or certificates and monetary gifts – are presented to one winner per month from each department in such categories as “Most Helpful Employee” and “Smile of the Month.” Further, those staffers who have been with Parador for a year or more receive bonuses while those boasting at least ten years of service receive all expense paid vacations for two.

Parador takes great pride in the fact that so many of our employees have long term tenure here. We are delighted to be able to show our appreciation and party with the troops every few months!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Parador Resort & Spa Initiates New “Mysteries Of The Night” Guided Nature Tour

The mysteries of the jungle are unveiled at night and now Parador Resort & Spa invites our guests to experience the wondrous nocturnal world of our resident wildlife in a new 1 ½ to two-hour guided walking tour. Under the aegis of a certified naturalist armed with a telescopic lens and a fistful of knowledge, participants will hike on trails that meander through the resort’s ten acres of lush secondary rainforest inhabited by coatis, sloths, raccoons, skunks, porcupines, numerous species of reptiles and amphibians, and a plethora of curious insects. Particularly striking is the highly photogenic red eyed frog, found only in Costa Rica´s rainforests and living right here on our grounds. If lucky, a caucel or another of the elusive wildcats that lurk in the forest’s deep shadows might also be sighted.
Tours run every night at 6 p.m. and return in plenty of time to have a wonderful meal at one of our fab restaurants. A perfect educational and adventure opportunity for the entire family.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Parador Resort & Spa Supports Teatro Copaza In Quepos: First Cultural Theater For At-Risk Youth In Costa Rica

It’s a well known fact that Parador Resort & Spa is much more than just a world-class resort. Our commitment to the environment and community has earned us a fistful of awards and accolades, including Costa Rica’s highest 5 Leaf Sustainability ranking and, for the third consecutive year, the important Ecological Blue Flag.

Named “Costa Rica’s Leading Resort 2010” by the prestigious World Travel Awards, Parador’s support of numerous community and charitable groups takes equal standing to our dedication to our guests. As such, we have been intimately involved with Copaza, a regional non-profit organization diligently working towards improving the circumstances and opportunities for Costa Rica’s youth.

Of the many projects Copaza has spearheaded since its formation in 2007, the opening last year (2010) of Teatro Copaza here in the small fishing village of Quepos, stands out. As the first such cultural venture in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific region, the theater introduces locals -- particularly kids -- to cultural performances from around the world while also serving as a prototype for similar undertakings throughout the country.

In addition to visiting performance troupes from San Jose, the US, Europe and Latin America, the theater offers art, music and dance classes to local children. Many programs are free, and for those that are not Copaza provides scholarships and other financial assistance for families with limited resources. The goal is to get kids off the street, away from drugs, violence and crime and to provide positive options and inspiration for a more fruitful and successful life.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Parador Resort & Spa Introduces Guided Walking Tours Through Our 9 Acres Of Secondary Rainforest

Parador Resort & Spa is happy to announce that we now offer a new two hour guided nature tour of the 10 acres of jungle trails that dissect our expansive property. Offered at 6 a.m., 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day -- a certified professional guide will lead you through lush secondary rainforest where a plethora of wildlife resides. You will likely encounter brilliantly-hued tropical birds -- including toucans, parrots our three resident species of monkeys (titi, white-face and howler), two and three-toed sloths, giant iguanas and other native reptiles. If you’re lucky, as one of our recent guests was – you might also spot an elusive caucel, (margay cat, a wildcat in the puma family). Our experienced guides carry with them telescopic lenses for better viewing and will share vast knowledge of the area’s flora and fauna. This newest Parador activity is an educational expedition for nature lovers of all ages.

We provide water and refreshing cold hand towels and recommend that participants be in reasonable physical condition, wear tennis shoes or hiking boots, and most certainly bring a camera.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Parador Resort & Spa Awarded Ecological Blue Flag For Third Consecutive Year

Parador Resort & Spa is recognized yet again for outstanding commitment to the environment for which we were issued the highest 5 Leaf sustainability rating by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) in 2010. Now, for the third consecutive year we have been awarded the Ecological Blue Flag acknowledging our environmentally-responsible policies and achievements, outstanding green business practices and ongoing dedication towards preserving and protecting Costa Rica’s fragile eco-system.

Costa Rica’s Blue Flag Ecology Program, a joint venture between several government and non-governmental organizations, including the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, the National Water and Sewer Service, Ministry of Public Health Ministry of Environment, and National Tourism Chamber, amongst others, is associated with the international Blue Flag Program. Initiated in France in 1985, the Blue Flag Program was conceived to improve and monitor sustainable development at beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety.

Owned and operated by the independent non-profit organization Foundation For Environmental Education (FEE), the European-based voluntary awards program increased its scope in 2001 to become a globally active organization which today includes participants in 41 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Parador Resort & Spa Nominated For The 7th Consecutive Years By Prestigious World Travel Awards

Once again, Parador Resort & Spa has been honored with multiple nominations for excellence by the esteemed World Travel Awards. Having been named “Costa Rica’s Leading Resort 2010,” Parador has won accolades by the WTA for six consecutive years and has been submitted in 2011 for consideration in categories including “Mexico & Central America’s Leading Resort, “Costa Rica’s Leading Hotel,” Costa Rica’s Leading Resort,” and “Costa Rica’s Leading Spa Resort.”

The World Travel Awards were launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognize excellence in the international travel and tourism industry. Now celebrating its 18th anniversary, the prestigious awards are regarded as a mark of high distinction for nominees and recipients, Votes are cast by 183,000 travel professionals which include travel agencies, tour and transport companies and tourism organizations in over 160 countries across the globe.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To Birth A Hummingbird: Parador Resort & Spa Welcomes Its Newest Family Members

One needn’t venture very far to experience the miracle of wild life at
Parador Resort & Spa. Embraced as we are by verdant rainforest, sightings of monkeys, sloths, tropical birds and giant reptiles is a daily occurrence.

The sudden appearance of an elusive hummingbird nest amidst the concrete jungle otherwise known as the Parador parking lot, however, is a far rarer event.

Despite the preponderance of hummingbirds in Costa Rica – 51 species with a reported 15, including purple-crowned fairies, violet-crowned woodnymphs, white-crested coquettes and blue-throated golden-tails, indigenous to Manuel Antonio – it is unlikely to discover the nesting grounds of these tiny fluttering creatures in such a public arena,
But there it was, surreptitiously perched in the branches of a lone tree beside large transport vans and rental cars. -- a nearly imperceptible nest housing several eggs which would soon give way to the miracle of birth.
With some variation according to species and location, in general a hummingbird's nest is about two inches in diameter and constructed of such natural materials as plant fiber and down, lichen and spider silk. Once providing his service, the male has nothing more to do with the process, the female taking all responsibility for selecting the camouflaged site, construction of the nest, and care of both the eggs and hatchlings. Incubation lasts for around two and a half weeks and hatchlings stay in the nest for around three weeks feeding on regurgitated insects instead of the nectar the mother ingests.

And then one day they were gone, the cycle completed. Off into the horizon, into the jungle or where ever a hummingbird family ventures. But as females occasionally return to a previously used nesting spot, building a new one on top of the old one, we are hopeful that the newest members of the Parador family will return to us next year.




Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Soaring The Rainforest Canopy Is a Thrill a Minute

As we strive to ensure that our guests’ experience in Costa Rica is nothing less than extraordinary and safe, we would never recommend a tour or activity without sampling – and in this case, re-sampling -- it ourselves. And so it was that we ventured deep into the rainforest recently with Canopy Safari to verify that the zip lining excitement quotient is as high (no pun intended!) as we remembered. And we’re pleased to report that this half-day excursion was not only an adrenalin-pumping thrill-ride, but a highly educational outing, as well.

From the moment we hit the road en route to our final destination in Paso Real, about 45 minutes outside Quepos, our quick-witted, bilingual guide Jorge regaled us with his superb knowledge of the area’s history and environment, illustrating various usages of ubiquitous plants we see every day, but perhaps don’t notice, giving us facts and figures that were both interesting and vital.

Coffee, soft drinks and fresh fruit greeted us upon our arrival and an informative tour of the facility’s butterfly garden and serpentarium preceded our gear-prep for the main event. Suited up and rigged up in our un-chic harnesses and helmets, we were divided into two groups of about ten each for both safety and comfort purposes.

Featuring 18 platforms, 10 zip and 2 rappel lines,, 1 suspension bridge and “tarzan swing,” our troop – which included a Parador executive and her 5 year old daughter alongside our resident writer – sailed through the lush jungle with the ease and grace of circus acrobats, securely fastened to cables that allowed us to explore our inner gymnast while imbibing the breathtaking scenery in which we were enveloped.

Piloted by a posse of fast-quipping, highly-skilled English-speaking guides who seemed to be having as much fun as us, we soared for more than an hour, traversing the treetops and dropping to the depths of the jungle in a heart-racing rush. Only one of our group succumbed to her momentary fear of heights and was deftly and patiently tandem-carried across the ravine by one of our guides. Our intrepid toddler, however, navigated the course with gleeful abandon.

A delicious lunch awaited us upon our return, highlighting traditional cuisine which included rice and beans, fried plantains and chicken. All in all, a great day and a recommended excursion for all visitors to our area.
Canopy Safari is the pioneering canopy tour operator in the Southern area of Costa Rica. The company built its first canopy course in 1997 with the help of a team of experts who build high ropes courses in the United States and in Europe.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Amazing Dolphin tour in front of Parador´s coastline last week

Words cannot describe the feeling of seeing the curious and friendly dolphins up close. We launch from Quepos Oceanfront. We sail along the coast to where the Punta Quepos meets the Pacific Ocean (a favorite dolphin playground). We linger in that area and wait for the Dolphins to come by.

Familia Cortés y Familia Acuña wrote:
The dolphin trip was cool. I never imagined that we would see as many dolphins as we did or that they would swim as close to our boats as they did."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Parador Resort & Spa Hosts Inaugural “Global Partnership For Sustainable Tourism” Summit

Highly recognized for our dedication to environmental responsibility, Parador Resort & Spa is enormously proud to have hosted the first annual “Global Partnership For Sustainable Tourism” summit on January 18 & 19.

Organized by Costa Rica’s Ministry of Tourism and France’s Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, delegates from Switzerland, United States, Panama, Norway, Austria, Colombia, South Africa, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Canada, Bahamas, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Republic of Korea, and Senegal were amongst those in attendance. The two day conference addressed global environmental concerns, as well as the creation of a permanent commission to facilitate the sharing between participating countries of information, technology and budgets as pertains to sustainable tourism.

The broad geographic scope of this organization -- to be created through the conversion of the International Task Force on Sustainable Tourism Development (ITF-STD) -- will have far-reaching and long-term potential to enable the quick adaption and implementation of ideas, projects, methods and policies to benefit the global tourism community. It will be registered as a Type II United Nations Partnership on Sustainable Development and consist of UN agencies, programs, national governments, intergovernmental organizations, social, environmental, and business organizations.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pedro The Iguana Parador's Pet & Mascot Passes Away

Amidst all the good vibes and celebration, we at Parador Resort & Spa have also suffered a great loss during this holiday season. Our longtime pet and hotel mascot, Pedro the Garrobo Iguana, was found dead close to his home -- a pipe near the reception area in which he has been residing since we opened in 1995. The discovery was made shortly before New Year’s and brings with it much sadness for those whose lives he touched..

Pedro was not only a beloved member of the Parador family, but a bit of a celebrity as well. He enjoyed much fame (but not so much fortune) as the star of many photos, with thousands of guests having posed with our friendly reptile over the past 15 years. Further, while he had no next of kin, Pedro was known to squire many a female companion over and through our expansive grounds and we are sure that his dapper ways with the women will be sorely missed in the kingdom.

Cause of death is undetermined, but it is assumed that Pedro simply succumbed to his advanced age, although we have no idea what that might be!

Rest In Peace dear Pedro. Perhaps one of your offspring will arrive to uphold your legacy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rocking in The New Year, Parador Style!

Parador Resort & Spa ended 2010 with a literal bang behind a backwash of brilliant color as the sky above our sprawling ocean-view property erupted in a dazzling pyrotechnic light show when the clock struck twelve. The awesome fireworks spectacle was orchestrated exclusively for our 250 guests as part of our all-inclusive New Year’s Eve festivities.

Kicking off with a sumptuous buffet which featured fresh sushi bar, lobster and other catches of the day, traditional turkey and a plethora of tantalizing side dishes and desserts, the evening proceeded with a variety of live entertainment staged around and atop our grand main swimming pool. The sultry Latin strains of Taboga Band were followed post-midnight by the funky dance grooves of VJ Rury and a flamboyant costumed Carnival-like Brazilian parade. The party raged until the wee hours of the morning with seemingly half our guests dancing hip-high in the pool’s balmy water while the other half boogied on stage. Complimentary champagne flowed like an endless river while the open bar offered a full range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments to keep the party rocking.

Kids and adults alike reveled in the dawning of the New Year, Parador style! We had as much fun as our guests and thank everyone for helping Parador to start the New Year the same way we ended it: With a bang!