I recently visited the mountainous South Pacific coastal region of Costa Rica, a relatively untouched area and one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. Quite different from the other parts of Costa Rica, this region is rugged jungle with a laid back lifestyle. A half hour drive north from the main south Pacific port in Costa Rica and the town of Golfito, is Finca Bellavista – a sustainable treehouse community. Named after the Rio Bellavista, which flows through the property, Finca Bellavista is a magical rustic treehouse community removed from the outside influences of the world. Over 600 acres of secondary rainforest, mountains, valleys, rivers and trees, comprise “The Finca” and provide the magnificent backdrop for the modern, sustainable treehouses. My friend Thomas had spent a few months at Finca Bellavista a few years ago, and so he gathered a group of five friends to go back with him.
Upon arrival, after a long day of travel, we were greeted by Mateo and Erica Hogan, who began envisioning and creating this community about 8 years ago. We immediately sat down for a home cooked meal in the community center. The wine was flowing and conversation lively. In the days that followed we spent our time exploring the property; hiking, swimming holes, water falls, and zip lining through the sky trails.
Finca Bellavista has a way of inspiring connection. Perhaps it’s the sacred grounds surrounding you or the seemingly millions of sounds of the jungle that change from morning to night, a reminder that life is buzzing all around at all times. Maybe it’s seeing and trying to comprehend the sacrifices and struggles endured by two people with a dream, who haven’t given up and have created this space, this community, while truly being stewards of the land. I couldn’t help but feel insanely connected to nature and the people who make up the Finca Family. I could go on and on about the 10 incredible days we spent at Finca Bellavista, but honestly I had no intention of taking to the winery blog to talk about my trip.
About the third day we were there I contemplated if I’d have a reason to blog about this magnificent place or if I could even find the words to adequately describe the experience, and share it with our Sean Minor Family of Wines community. Costa Rica isn't known for being a wine-producing country, being mostly too hot and humid, high taxes on imports render CA wines almost obsolete in the market... Where's the connection? That evening I got my answer at the happy hour gathering in the open-aired Rancho above the community center. I struck up a conversation with a volunteer by the name of John, a restaurant owner from Colorado, as he poured me a glass of wine. He had only been there a few weeks and I found out he was from Kansas City, Overland Park to be exact – the same neighborhood where Sean grew up. Turns out they went to nearby schools. When I told him who I worked for he was excited to share he had just tried a bottle of Sean Minor 4 Bears Sauvignon Blanc before coming down to Costa Rica. He had no idea Sean was born and raised in Kansas, much less from the same place he was from. We were both excited to make that wine connection, all the way in Costa Rica. Perhaps I was a bit more excited to know word of our wines could reach that far!
Survivor Finca Bellavista: Left to Right - Volunteers - John from Kansas City, Erin, and Amy; Travelmates - Isla, Danica, Brendan, Thomas and Erik. Left to our own devices for a few days at The Finca while the FBV team celebrated their annual employee appreciation party offsite.
More photos, click to enlarge:
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So, maybe this isn’t a topic you would expect to see on our blog, however I felt called to share the experience with our community. It would literally take thousands of words to really describe everything, and even then it wouldn't be enough, so I encourage you to check out Finca Bellavista's website and Facebook page to learn more about their conservation efforts, initiatives, and opportunities - plus see tons of pictures of the treehouses on the property. And more importantly, if you are considering a trip to Costa Rica, I encourage you to visit them! They have recently announced their volunteer needs for the coming year and information is available online. They were also featured on Animal Planet's Ultimate Treehouses and HGTV's House Hunters International. Hear and see their story right here...