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The Writers' Retreat
 

Biolley, Puntarenas, COSTA RICA

The retreat in Biolley features a 60-acre farm which is located next to one of the most important biospheres on the planet, and the largest international park in Central America, La Amistad International Park. Fresh air and breezes come off the mountains and display sweeping views of the Talamanca mountain range. The farm offers 10 acres of organic, shade-grown coffee which is donated to the community, rolling pastures, three waterfalls and four swimming holes. This watershed (river) is some of the freshest water in the world.
Resident writers have the choice of two fully equipped and spacious cabins with private deck to live and work on their project. Fan, mini kitchenettes, hot water in the cabins. There is WiFi throughout the living areas of the retreat, a pool to enjoy, a bar to socialize, laundry service and transportation. Full breakfast is included in the price for stays less than one month, additional meals optional.

There is no heating or air conditioning in the cabins, no use for that up here in the mountains. The weather is between 75 to 85 F during the day and 60 to 65 F at night all year round.

Our mission: To live peacefully and to use the land to provide opportunities to our community. In that regard, we provide employment incentives with the idea of handing over the management of the farm and cabins to the locals. The people of the Biolley district are very industrious and kind. They are sincere in improving their lives. We want to bring awareness and help promote the right kind of visitors for La Amistad International Park and provide more opportunity for the Biolley district to earn an income, and not be forced to give up their way of life in the country in order to find work in the city.
 

Our 24/7 staff is trained to facilitate your stay and to meet your needs. Your stay with us is important and we strive to make it a pleasant and memorable experience.

We whip up an incredible breakfast for you! All of our meals are freshly made and most of the ingredients are direct from the farm. We serve heaping portions for hungry residents!

We maintain our organic integrity in all of our gardens in order to pass all inspections of our coffee plantation each year by the USDA/NOP certified agency in Costa Rica.
 

 

Meals, amenities and other services

Meals on the Farm: Our cabins come complete with WiFi, kitchenettes and everything you need to cook for yourself. If you prefer we cook for you, we offer a variety of options; meat, fish and poultry dishes, vegetarian, vegan, raw food recipes. We can also accommodate those who are on lactose and gluten free diets. We can prepare a combination of any of the above options just for you. Farm fresh eggs, chicken and cheeses are offered. Vegetables and fruits are grown on the farm and are certified organic. Other items are mostly purchased locally.

Buddha Bar: We serve beer, wine, margaritas, martinis, daiquiris, cube libres and liqueurs after 5 p.m. Enjoy the sunset on the Buddha bar & patio area.

The Pool: The pool hours are 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. It is maintained and cleaned daily.

WiFi Internet: WiFi service is available around the bar, patio and at the cabins. Typically the earlier hours are best for Internet.

Laundry Service: For stays longer than a day or a week, laundry service is provided at $15 per load.

Transportation: We provide transportation on day trips off of the farm for your shopping or other transportation needs. It is available for up to an 8 hour day, including driving time to and from the farm. A typical trip to San Vito for shopping (the town closest to us) takes about an hour and 10 minutes each way (depending on road and traffic conditions). If you need to shop and prefer to go with us on our shopping days, that can be arranged as well. We will charge for half the gas price of the trip. Trips are during the day and never at night. The vehicle must be on the farm before dusk. If there are emergencies, we are available at all times to assist.

We charge a minimum of $20 for up to 4 hour trips and $40 for up to 8 hour trips. Gas is an extra expense. This will be calculated depending on the distance of the trip and the current fuel price. We do not allow guests to use our car independent of our driver.
 

On-site mentor: Ed Gish, on-site mentor at the retreat in Biolley. If you need help with the creative flow, writer’s block, structure, etc., Ed offers two complimentary hours of consultation to assist our resident writers – one hour after breakfast and one hour after lunch in the inspiring and relaxing ambiance of the main patio. Ed has experience as a novelist and freelance writer. His background includes VP Marketing and Creative Director at King World Productions from 1986 to 1991; Broadcast and print marketing and promotion for Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Oprah, Inside Edition. He wrote and directed "The Mission Continues": The Challenger Space Shuttle and NASA. Michael King wrote of Ed Gish: "We made television history together." He was VP On Air Promotion for CBS Entertainment for seven years. Ed oversaw the writing and production of on air promotion for all prime time series and motion pictures for television. He wrote and produced some of the first promos using major studio motion picture techniques with leading directors and cinematographers.

Your hosts: Jennifer Long and Dr. Bruce Lites.
- Dr. Lites is an astrophysicist at the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado. He studies the Sun. Bruce works all over the world but makes his home on the farm in Biolley.

-Jennifer Long has dedicated her entire career in helping others. She has worked and lived in Mexico, Bolivia and the United States. She has enjoyed a very rewarding career with both children and adults. She now heads the philanthropic endeavors for the people in the community of Biolley and counsel the community members, coffee producers and neighbors to collaborate and work together for the betterment of the community as a whole.


 

Your Host and Retreat Operator:  Ed Gish.


Region:  La Amistad International Park is home to several indigenous tribes, and farmers work the lands surrounding the Park. It is important that these farmers and the indigenous tribes continue to respect the park, to practice organic methods of growing coffee, and to control the population of cattle. The largest protected region in Costa Rica, La Amistad International Park, has more virgin forest than all of the other Costa Rica parks combined. This intense biosphere is among forests with the highest concentration of bio-diversity in the world. We will discuss further with you and arrange your hike with a guide. The Rio Platanillal-The Rio Platanillal river runs from the Talamanca mountain range at about 11,000 ft. It continues down along the northern border of the farm. The Talamancas-The picturesque beauty of the Talamanca Mountain range full of virgin forests, fresh water and cool breezes hosts part of the largest park in Central America, the La Amistad International Park. The mountain range stretches across the southern zone of Costa Rica to the border with Panama. There are stunning views all around the farm including the incredible display of the Talamanca mountain range.

Location:  Biolley, Costa Rica is located in the southern zone of the country. It is near San Vito (small city) and very close to the Panamanian border, close to the volcano in Boquete (Panama) and some of the most beautiful beaches in Panama and Costa Rica on

Closest airport:  Juan Santa Maria Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. (SJO) 5 to 6 hours away from the farm.

Tourism information:  East Side of Juan Pablo II Bridge, over the Hwy. General Cañas, San Jose, Costa Rica

Studios/Rates:  

Studio Name Description Weekly Rates
Platanillal Cabin Without meals the cabins run $525 weekly for single or double occupancy. With meals, snacks and complimentary beverages included weekly rates are $700 for single occupancy and $800 for double occupancy. This includes taxes. We accept Paypal payments and charge a 5% for foreign transactions. A 25% deposit is required and is refundable at 100% if cancelled within a month, 50% refund if cancelled within 2 weeks and 25% refund if cancelled within one week. Please make your deposit on Paypal to: BruceLites@gmail.com. You can pay the remainder online at 5% charge or the remainder in cash without any interest. Pick ups at the bus stop are $30 each way. Inquire within the owner's website for more information. $525
Talamanca Cabin Without meals the cabins run $525 weekly for single or double occupancy. With meals, snacks and complimentary beverages included weekly rates are $700 for single occupancy and $800 for double occupancy. This includes taxes. We accept Paypal payments and charge a 5% for foreign transactions. A 25% deposit is required and is refundable at 100% if cancelled within a month, 50% refund if cancelled within 2 weeks and 25% refund if cancelled within one week. Please make your deposit on Paypal to: BruceLites@gmail.com. You can pay the remainder online at 5% charge or the remainder in cash without any interest. Pick ups at the bus stop are $30 each way. Inquire within the owner's website for more information. $525

Amenities

  • Wireless
  • Printer
  • Phone
  • Weekmaid
  • Kitchenette
  • Mini fridge
  • Phone near
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch dinner
  • Private bathroom
  • Bicycle
  • Swimming pool
  • Satellite
  • TV/DVD
  • Out smoking


Payment terms:  We request a paypal 25% deposit on any reservation.

Cancellation policy:  You will receive 100% refund if cancellation occurs one month before booked dates, 50% refund if cancellation occurs two weeks before the booked dates and 25% if cancellation occurs one week before your reserved date.


A sampling of memories from our residents

T. Nixon I've just had one of the most wonderful travel experiences of my life. Finca Lilo is an exceptional place and it exceeded my expectations. I came on a 'writers retreat' - tempted by the gorgeous pictures on their website. The image of the Talamanca cabin made me think immediately "I can write there". And my gut feeling was correct - I wrote, and wrote and wrote – sat at my desk with a view of a waterfall. I put my creativity down to having all my needs met! The beauty of the remote destination inspired me, the comfort of the cabin made me relax, the delicious, organic; natural food (everything made on the farm or sourced locally) kept me more than satisfied. And then to top that off there was amazing coffee on tap from their own coffee plants, a glass of wine or a cocktail when I wanted one, a wonderful warm pool ‘in the clouds” to relax in, walks around the farm, a visit to an amazing artist who creates work the Rainforest and of course the opportunity to talk to my new friend Laura (the other writer who ‘happened’ to be there) and my gracious and interesting hosts – Bruce and Jennifer. Finca Lilo is not your ‘average’ tourism experience. The farm is miles away from a town, is part of a tiny rural community where there are literally no ‘gringos’ apart from mine hosts. It took me two days to get there – and that was fine by me because I was on an ‘adventure’. I got there via a long, local bus journey and then another long car trip and I enjoyed every minute of the amazing countryside. Jennifer arranged my Guest House in San Jose and helped with taxis and getting the local bus…so it wasn’t difficult at all. If you want to truly relax, write, create or simply ‘contemplate’ this is a place where you can do it. This is a place where you are happy to go to bed at 8.30 so you are fresh for the sunrise at 5.30. This is a place where the only thing you can hear most of the time is the rush of a waterfall or the song of a bird. The only thing I would have changed…to be able to stay longer…one week was not enough. I think I’ll go for a month next time.


L. Nelson I stayed at Finca Lilo for 12 days in April 2013 and it was one of the best experiences of my life. The location is perfect for the person who is in love with nature, tranquility and time for reflection and creativity. The services and facilities are the best you could hope for - Jennifer and Bruce are outstanding chefs and hosts. They are also wonderfully nice people, and very sociable and welcoming. They go out of their way to give the guests an unforgettable experience, with trips to local artists and around the community, and tours of the farm. The cabins themselves are situated in the mid of an area of breathtaking natural beauty, with a waterfall to swim in just 10 minutes away, and hikes in the rainforest nearby. I went there to enjoy the surroundings and the culture, and to work on my writing and creative projects, and I achieved more than I imagined I could. My plan now is to return there as soon as I can!


C. Stenberg Outstanding views, food, and, service. We had a very relaxing time. Highlights included hikes to a nearby waterfall and the La Amistad National Park, a chance to meet local artists, bird watching, and first rate organic food and coffee. Bruce and Jennifer's place is worth finding. They take a very personal interest in their guests and go to great effort to accommodate special needs, even going so far as to adapt their menu to include gluten free options, and they did so with no advanced notice. The views from the cabins are what you might wish for in your dreams, and simply seeing the swimming hole made us feel young again. We especially appreciated the quiet stillness that surrounded the property. It was easy to find inspiration to write and think. We didn't see anyone unless we wanted to, yet the cable TV and Internet worked well when we chose to plug back in. This place is off the beaten path, but you feel as if you are getting a taste of Costa Rica that usually is not available to tourists, and the value is superior. From the gigantic umbrella and flashlight in the room to the daily maid service to the friendly vibe you experience with anyone you interact with, this place has it all. We visited for two weeks in December and found the weather exceptional during this period, though I doubt there is any time of year that it wouldn't be a pleasure to be staying at Finca Lilo.


 
 
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