Guest Post: Bonnie Rios

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A Motmot at Norma’s Villas

Bonnie has been living at Norma’s Villas for six months with Norma’s son, Rick. She’s our guest blogger for today!

It is Christmastime and summer has officially begun here at Norma’s Villas! I am married to Norma’s son, Rick, and we have been living here for nearly 6 months now. While I have visited during all times of the year, this is my first time to actually experience the change in seasons, from winter (rainy) to dry (summer). The biggest change I have noticed so far is that, while it is still quite hot during the day, the winds have picked up, providing a nice respite from the heat. In addition, the nights are cooling off with less humidity and, perhaps my most favorite part: the stars have “re-appeared” (due to lack of cloud cover). I love coming to the pool area a couple of hours after sunset, throw down a blanket, lie back and enjoy the view.

As I wrote this post, there was a group of happy Ticos (slang for Costa Rican!)  whose Christmas party was actually saved by Norma’s hidden salon. This work group had made plans to have their celebration at another location, but they found it to be wanting. One of the employees suggested they call Norma, and now the property is resounding with the sometimes-slightly-off-key voices of partygoers singing karaoke, laughter from the pool, and an all-around festive atmosphere. They left pretty early, and by 5 p.m., the property quickly returned to its normal peaceful ambiance.

I cannot write about Norma’s Villas without introducing some of the “locals.” Today it is the Blue-crowned Motmot, Momotus momota, a brilliantly-beautiful bird that, according to field guides, is quite common in Costa Rica. Interestingly, in the eight years I have visited Costa Rica I have never seen a motmot, even though I searched for them. A few weeks ago, as Rick and I were taking one of our regular walks through the trees on the property, we encountered this show off who allowed Rick to get a few pictures.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Bonnie

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Faster, Stronger Wifi.

We created a survey three months ago about what our visitors would want most in their trip to Costa Rica.

Here’s a rundown of our results:

  • Away, but not cut off — 92% said that Internet access was either a deal breaker or extremely important.
  • Lone rangers — 77% indicated that group activities were nice but not necessary, or not necessary at all.
  • Building Trust — 83% said that reviews from past guests were extremely important in deciding where to stay.

Some quotes:

“I want space to roam without a schedule.”
“I like to explore on my own, with the option of group activities.”
“I want transportation and good food!”

Some amenities surveyors asked for were wifi, a comfortable bed, and air conditioning.

Results

As a direct result of our survey, we now have faster wifi and more routers to extend our Internet service to all villas and pools!

Thank you to everyone who took our survey. We look forward to collecting more data and making changes based on what our visitors say. Didn’t get a chance the first time? Tell us what you want from your trip to Costa Rica and receive exclusive discounts!

Help Us Make Your Home More Comfortable

Norma’s is a getaway, a community, a home. Please help us make it better with our new survey!

Click here to answer seven questions about your stay in paradise, and mention the survey when you email in to get 10% off your stay!

20140724-072240-26560489.jpgPura Vida!

NaNoWriMo Discount!

If you're gonna write a book, why not do it here?
If you’re gonna write a book, why not do it here?

 

Writers have been getting ready for NaNoWriMo, which can be an exciting and productive time! But have you planned on what you’re going to do after?

Maybe some editing or rewriting…in Costa Rica?

Norma’s is giving 10% off weekly and monthly rates for writers who book during March-August of 2015! There’s one catch . . . you must send the request during NaNoWriMo (November). You do not need to make any payments, but we need all requests by November 30.

Drop me a line at lisaatnormas@gmail.com with the following information:

1. The dates you’re looking to stay and the room you want (furnished room with access to community kitchen, studio with its own kitchen, one bedroom, or two bedroom house)
2. Your Twitter handle
3. A bit about your project!

Is that it?

Space is limited, but we will try to accommodate as many as we can! Drop us a line to reserve your spot!

Normal rates for these months are:

$600/month, $360/week for a studio
$800/month, $480/week for a one-bedroom
$1000/month, $600/week for a two-bedroom

Why Norma’s?

Norma’s is in the quiet town of La Garita. We are close enough to San Jose and Alajuela that you have major conveniences, but far enough and secluded enough that you can buckle down!

By offering this discount specifically for writers between March and August of 2015, we hope to cultivate a bigger creative community.

**You must send a message before November 30 to receive this discount! You do not need to make a payment, but must send the initial request.**

 

So drop us a line before November 30 with any questions, let us know you’re a writer, and if you eventually decide to stay with us, you’ll get 10% off your stay!

Still not sure? Check out this video to see what Norma’s is all about:

Still not enough? ***AND*** If you visit our Twitter @normasvillas and RT (retweet) our discount, you’ll receive an extra 5% off!

What are you waiting for? Email me at lisaatnormas@gmail.com before November 30!

Walkthrough Video by Adventure Paul!

Paul stayed at Norma’s for a whole month working on various projects, and he was nice enough to make and share this walkthrough video! Get to know Norma’s before you come.

Tell us in the comments: What is YOUR favorite spot?

Visit Paul’s Adventures here!

A Quick Guide around Norma’s

Want an intro to public transit in Costa Rica? Tips on getting to a secluded, magical turtle island? Maybe you need the number of a cab driver in Granada, Nicaragua? Or maybe you don’t need that info right now, but wouldn’t you like to have that problem?

We can help you out.

 

Norma’s Internet Problem

Norma’s has a lot of space. A lot. We are happy that everyone has lots of space to roam around, but that leaves us with a huge problem:

The Internet.

As more freelancers and remote workers come to Norma’s, it’s clear that we are going to need to solve our Internet problem.

I made this sketch of the place:

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…more or less (less) to scale.

We have one router by the hourglass pool and the big house, and another on the other side by a one bedroom. The routers are the pink dots. The pink shading shows where you can get wifi.

While the shading shows a perfect circle, the range varies. The router can send a signal up to 300 feet, but it’s not always reliable. Studio #5, for example, gets spotty range from Router #2.

How should we solve our internet problem?

We currently have two DSL lines and two routers, and we cover most, but not all, of our villas.

Solution 1: Communal Internet Spaces

We could let go of the idea of everyone having private internet in their villas, and instead focus on making the bar a kickbutt workspace with high-speed Internet!

Solution 2: Internet everywhere!

Through a series of routers, repeaters, and transmitters, we blast wifi throughout the whole place. Wifi for all!

What do you think we should do, why, and, most importantly, how? What equipment is the best? All tips welcome!

Writers’ Discount for next June, July and August!

 

Are YOU a writer looking for a retreat?

Why do you wanna know?

Norma’s is giving 10% off weekly and monthly rates for writers who book during June-August of 2015!

Really? How do I get this discount?

If you’re on Twitter, Tweet the link to this post and follow @normasvillas. If you can’t think of a Tweet, you can use this:

@normasvillas giving discounts to #writers next June-Aug! Get yours: https://normasvillas.com/?p=102

Next, drop me a line at lisaatnormas@gmail.com (or one of our contact forms) with the following information:

1. The dates you’re looking to stay and the room you want (furnished room with access to community kitchen, studio with its own kitchen, one bedroom, or two bedroom house)
2. Your Twitter handle
3. A bit about your project!

Is that it?

Space is limited, but we will try to accommodate as many as we can! Drop us a line to reserve your spot!

Normal rates for these months are:

$600/month, $360/week for a studio
$800/month, $480/week for a one-bedroom
$1000/month, $600/week for a two-bedroom

Why Norma’s?

Norma’s is in the quiet town of La Garita. We are close enough to San Jose and Alajuela that you have major conveniences, but far enough and secluded enough that you can buckle down!

By offering this discount specifically for writers between June and August of 2015, we hope to cultivate a bigger creative community.

That’s all! Looking forward to hearing about you!

It’s a beautiful day…

The mangoes are no longer in season, but a few are hanging around. Manzanas de agua and cas are in season. Jennifer and I picked a whole bunch!

Coconuts are also aplenty. Sergio, our gardener, was nice enough to pick some for me and my cousin Arianna.

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Mini is nesting and we expect to have 21 baby chicks in two weeks. Phew. That’s a lot of chickens! If you have chicken name ideas, please let us know…!