Mango ready to eat.
Mango season on the Osa Peninsula is in full force this year. Because of the dry season we have had, there has been a bumper crop of mangoes. What is even more exciting is that the mango trees that we planted as seedlings twelve years ago at Iguana Lodge are now bearing fruit and we are serving them to our guest. They are delicious.
We are foodies at Iguana Lodge and we are constantly working on raising the quality of food that we serve. Part of this effort is providing food in a sustainable fashion. Our goal is to serve locally
grown organic foods. This is a challenging goal given where we live. The climate is too hot or too humid to grow a number of the foods we like to serve. Even when the food is grown locally it is hard to find consistent quality, quantity or food that is grown in a sustainable manner. We are fortunate that we have enough property to grow some of the tropical fruits such as papayas, bananas, mangoes, starfruit and lemons. All of these are grown without pesticides or anything else, the trees are left alone until they bear fruit.
Freshly picked mangoes from Iguana Lodge
As tourism grows in the area, more quality food is becoming available. We now buy all our lettuce from a local hydroponic producer. Similarly we buy pineapple, yucca and platanos, when available, locally. Some of our best friends have moved into central area of Costa Rica, in the mountains near San Isidro. This area has some of the best organic farming in the country. They have started an organic farm that overtime will supply organic food to Iguana Lodge.
While driving today from Iguana Lodge to Puerto Jimenez, I saw a Tayra in the middle of the road. It is a small black animal with a long fluffy tail that is part of the weasel family. It is about the size of a house cat but runs and hops very differently from a cat. While Tayras are somewhat common on the Osa Peninsula they are unusual to see because they of their size and their habitat. What was amazing is that the Tayra stayed in front of me for about 150 meters, running in the middle of the road before it darted off into the field. I was stoked. I wish I had a camera. There have been a number of times I have wished I had a camera on this road.
In fact I have been very lucky along this road. I have seen a Jaguar twice, an ocelot and now a Tayra, all within a kilometer of Iguana Lodge. My friends, Aida Bustamante and Ricardo Moreno, who have been researching the wild cats of the Osa since 2003, are jealous that I have seen a Jaguar. They have yet to see one in the wild, although they have caught many photos of Jaguars over the years with their extensive camera trap program. They are the founders of Yaguar and are inspiring for their research, education and efforts to protect the wild cats of the Osa.
This photo was taken around one of the times I had seen a Jaguar and within in several miles of my sighting. This was taken by a photo trap set by Yaguara, a wild cat research program led by Aida Bustamante and Ricardo Moreno
I have been keeping a log of the sightings on Google Maps.
Chef Jose getting ready for Beach Barbeque
We have a wonderful beach barbecue every Tuesday night (weather permitting). It typically alternates between Afghani barbecue chicken and Louisiana pulled pork. Both meals are wonderfully prepared with 5 or 6 sides dishes of salads, slaws, rice, potatoes and corn bread. The meals are flavorful, exotic and are substantial for the vegetarian crowd as well.
Surrounded by tiki torches, candle lit tables are set up on the beach right near the breaking waves. It is dramatic and beautiful.
The beach barbecue starts early at 5:30 PM to enjoy the setting sun and is topped off by a bonfire and, on cloudless nites, an incredible display of the milkyway.
Many guest arrive asking to meet Maxine our reservationist. Maxine is our primry contact with the outside world at Iguana Lodge. She not only sets up reservations at Iguana Lodge but also sets up flights, hotels, taxis, transfers, and almost any other travel arraingements with in Costa Rica. She is also our “answer person” to the various questions people have before coming here. With the advent of cloud computing, Maxine does much of her work at home near Puerto Jimenez. However she is normally in our office weekdays from 12:00 to 3:00 PM, which is often when our guest are out on adventures. Hence it is not unusual to go a whole week without meeting Maxine. However don’t be surprised if you see her biking on the road. Maxine loves the countryside and takes advantage of it any time she can.
Maxine riding her bike to Iguana Lodge
Maxine is a full time resident of Puerto Jimenez, having lived here for over 11 years, She works for Iguana Lodge running our reservations.
One of the biggest challenges to traveling to Iguana Lodge is buying your international airline tickets at the best prices. Sometimes changing your dates can save you a lot of money. Kayak has a wonderful feature so that you can actually see what days are cheaper to travel on. This is really cool and easy to use. Just go to the Kayak Website and click on flights. Enter the basic infofmation and click on search. On the right hand side of the search results appears this great planning calendar that you can look at month by month showing you the lowest fares each day.
The Idea of “Rainy Season” for many conjures up unending days of torrential rain. While we can definitely have torrential rains they are typically short lived and far apart. A typical rainy season day is bright sun filled mornings with some clouds building up into the afternoon. Sometimes it will rain late in the afternoon or in the evening. It is an incredibly nice time to be here. It is slightly cooler, much greener and fewer people. The jungle is alive with wild life and it is wonderfully peaceful. We do get big rains but they are hard to predict and usually are a result of major weather such as hurricanes in the gulf. While we do not get hit by hurricanes on the Osa, we can definitely get hit by the rains that are associated. Generally this happens two or three times a year, when it happens is anybody’s guess.
This is a nice hotel 20 minutes from the international airport. Sitting in the coffee plantations above San Jose looking over the whole central valley. Restaurant, pool, internet, continental breakfast included, and free pick up / delivery to the int’l airport.
Hey if you have 2 1/2 or 3 hours to kill in San Jose on your way to or from visiting us at Iguana Lodge, you should take a trip to the Poas Volcano. It is really worth the visit. The drive is lovely climbing up thought first the coffee plantations, then the fern plantations, and then the strawberry and dairy farms and finally into the cloud forest that reminds me of Jurrassic park. Be patient if you can’t see the crater. The clouds often clear and voila!
We waited 15 minutes and the clouds clear to see this crater.