Why Costa Rica?

Because it's Awesome! Really, Costa Rica is more than a vacation and event destination; it is an interactive sensory experience! The country is bestowed with an intense array of biodiversity and environmental attractions including majestic volcanoes, emerald jungles, misty cloud forests, stunning river valleys, waterfalls and hundreds of pristine and exotic beaches. With no army, excellent education and health care with some of the longest life spans and the happiest people on the planet, it is hard to go wrong hosting your event here.

Here are my Top Reasons to Host Your Event in Costa Rica:

1. Infrastructure: In response to growing demand, Costa Rica’s hotel, transportation and tour industry has developed and strengthened providing excellent event and wedding services. It’s not all ox carts and horseback anymore!

2. Proximity: Costa Rica is close to the United States and Canada, so your guests traveling from those places don’t have to subject themselves to long flights. At the same time, Costa Rica is small enough that you can travel from the Caribbean to the Pacific in one day, as you experience all kinds of climate and terrain in between. Lounge on a gorgeous tropical beach in the morning, and be hiking up a volcano, swimming in a pristine river or experiencing the rainforest just a short time later. More and more airlines are offering direct flights into one of our two International airports and tickets prices are generally affordable. It can also be an excuse for you or your guests to vacation as many decide to come before - or stay for a while longer.

3. Time to Really Connect: If you host your event at home, your guests will likely come to one or two events that last a few hours each. By hosting your event in paradise, your guests will likely have at least a few days to really connect on a deeper level. You get to spend quality time getting to know each other better and create unforgettable memories. By incorporating adventures throughout your trip, your guests share an unforgettable life-long bond. You can’t buy that stuff.

4. Friendliness: Costa Ricans are friendly and peaceful by nature. (Seriously, named the Friendliest Country in the World by the Happy Planet Index) again last year. The people who will take care of you during your entire visit and experience will undoubtedly be warm and friendly individuals and make your time even more memorable. It’s pretty hard to have a bad time here.

5. Simplicity: By hosting a destination event, you can skip a lot of the normal hassles involved in event planning. Whether it’s a nosy neighbor, a well meaning Mom or an over-involved co-worker, everyone will have an opinion, or experience that you will have to weigh in (or at least listen to) when you plan an event locally. By planning a destination event, you can take back some of the planning and decision making in your own hands. In some cases it also cuts unnecessary or obligatory invites. We always like to keep it drama free!

6. Competitive Prices: You’ll find that the cost of event and wedding based services, as well as expenses such as transportation and lodging, are very competitive. Arenal in general offers less expensive options than many of the beaches. To clarify, this does not mean dirt cheap.

7. Totally Unique: We all are invited to events of all kinds throughout the years. Let’s be honest, they all start to blur together after a while. You can change all of that. Yours can be different. The one that will keep everyone talking – even at future events! Adventure vacations and events are totally unforgettable and have been proven to have a greater return on your investment. More value for your dollar, who doesn’t like that?

8. Wide Range of Options: Over the last 10 years we have seen an overwhelming increase in vendors and services available in the country. If we can’t get it, chances are you can bring it – or we can make it!

9. Exotic Destinations: Our country is famous for its incomparable natural beauty and exotic destinations that are unbeatable for your event. You’ll find beaches, mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, volcanoes, magnificent hotels, and small towns. With digs like ours, your event will be anything but ordinary.

10. It’s Cool: Which makes you and everyone who comes cool. It’s true.

However, you should know there are some reasons you should NOT host your event in Costa Rica:
1. You can’t handle “wedding crashers” that come with an event in Costa Rica. In the form of sloths, monkeys, parrots, blue jays, butterflies, leaf cutter ants or mosquitoes – we are immersed in nature and anything can pop up, at anytime! I have had all of the fore mentioned show up, uninvited at events. It can happen.

2. You can’t go with the flow, or take the “Pura Vida” lifestyle approach.

3. You think we have readily available ALL of the services and amenities available in North America. More and more is becoming available every day, but generally you end up paying for them.

4. You are not ok with the fact that Mother Nature is in control of most factors at the event. This means everything from dealing with the weather and the elements like wind and rain at the event to availability of certain flowers due to too much or too little wind or rain leading up to the event – and everything in between.

5. If you don’t know where Costa Rica is. Or if you think it is an island. Or if you think we speak Mexican.

Why Arenal?

Considered the Adventure Capital of Latin America, the Arenal area offers the best of all worlds. You can find the lush rain forest, the volcano, expansive Lake Arenal, mountains, farms, rivers, waterfalls, valleys, tropical gardens and decadent hot springs without having to travel elsewhere. There is a wealth of world-class tourist amenities and activities while still offering incredibly romantic and remote venues.

If you need more convincing, here are my Top Reasons Why to Host Your Event in Arenal .

1.The Arenal Volcano: It is the perfect, iconic, conical shaped volcano and a majestic mountain that dominates the landscape of the area. It is one of the youngest, still active volcanoes in the hemisphere. Though it entered a resting phase in 2010 – meaning that its eruptions have paused – it is still a stunning sight. Rising above the rainforest that surrounds its base, Arenal frames the skyline with near perfect symmetry and offers the perfect backdrop for any event. All of the fancy descriptive text simply means you will have stunning photos. *Full disclosure: Not everyone who visits get to see the volcano as it sometimes remains cloaked in clouds for days at a time. But in my humble opinion, cool misty rainforest or even rain still make for an amazing background.

2. 100% Rainforest: Many people come to Costa Rica to experience the rainforest. Arenal and surrounding areas are made up mostly of primary rainforest and epitomize what you imagine when you think tropical. The Arenal Volcano National Park encompasses four different life zones and harbors a tremendous amount of diverse plants and wildlife. In fact, nearly 75% of the total species of birds that have been identified in Costa Rica can be found here.

3. Wildlife: It's a jungle out there - literally. There are over 10,000 identified species of plants, 850 species of birds, 800 species of butterflies, and 500 species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, combined in the area. Among the most productive ecosystems in the world, Costa Rica’s jungles are pristine, lush and feature some of the exotic and colorful flora and fauna on the planet.

4. Adventures and Desafio Supported: Often referred to the as one of the Adventure Capitals of the planet, La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano area offer a huge number of adventures, in fact more than any other place on the planet - including white water rafting, canyoning and rappelling waterfalls, waterfall jumping, soaring canopy and zipline tours, hanging bridges, cultural tours, agricultural tours, exploring caves, mountain biking, tubing, hiking canyons, climbing mountains, the volcano and nature river boat safaris. Phew. And that is just to name a few. (Not counting our lake activities.) You would have to stay for a month to do it all! We are proud partners with the leading Adventure Company in the Costa Rica. With nearly 25 years of experience and offices all over the country, the #1 rated Desafio Adventure Company is the leader in the country in safety and cutting edge adventures!

5. Lake Arenal: Located at the base of the volcano, the largest lake in the country, Lake Arenal was man-made as part of Costa Rica’s hydroelectric project to provide sustainable energy to the country. Its fresh turquoise blue waters provide an enchanting vista from many places in the zone. Lined with lush rain forest jungles and wildlife, it also offers fresh water fishing, boating, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding in addition to world class sail boarding, wake boarding and windsurfing.

6. The Hot Springs: World famous for a reason. Fed by the largest geothermal aquifer in the world and the activity of the volcano, the areas mineral rich hot springs boast many health benefits. Tucked into the rain forest gardens they offer a relaxing way to unwind after a day full of adventures. The area has many different options of hot springs that vary in style and price. It is quite possibly one of the most romantic ways to spend a day! If you can believe it, it gets even more romantic if it rains and after dark. Many of the hot springs also offer world class spas for even deeper relaxation and healing opportunities. It is a truly unforgettable experience and muy caliente!

7. Conveniently Located: The Arenal/La Fortuna area is located approximately three hours from either International airport, San Jose or Liberia. This means you get a greater option of flights and no matter where your guests fly in, they will be settled in no time! It is also located half way between both coasts – meaning it is a perfect pair to any beach destination or city in the country. We are truly the heart of the country.

8. Wide Selection of Venues: You can have your event in a historic, rustic Costa Rican farm house, a volcano-view amphitheater, underneath a 500 year old ceiba tree-of- life, at a five star riverside restaurant, the base of a waterfall, a rain forest palapa, an organic farm serving farm to table meals, a funky disco/club tucked deep into the jungle or a lakeside pavilion complete with a floating stage - just to name a few. Keep in mind, wherever it is, it will probably not have walls.

9. So Many Hotel Options!: You can find something for every style preference and in every price range. Everything from homey B&B's and budget-friendly lodges up to the most luxurious eco-resorts. The area boasts over 120 different hotel options and we are home to many hotels that top the Best Of lists every year on TripAdvisor and other travel guides.

10. Must See: Considered a must-see destination for every vacation by most authorities on travel to Costa Rica. You don't have to take my word for it. Check out MOST Costa Rica travel packages or ask any travel agent and they will tell you that a trip to the country without seeing Arenal is unacceptable!

11. The friendly town of La Fortuna: Full of restaurants, shops and services, you can find anything and everything you could want in this cool and fun little tourist town at the base of the majestic volcano.

12. Because I love it! Of course I love it, I live here. Of all the corners on the planet, I am really happy to call this one mine. There is not a day that goes by that my breath is not totally taken away by the beauty. It makes the perfect venue for any event and I would love to share it with you!

Why NOT to host your event in Arenal:

1. If you not open to the fact that it could rain on the day (or even during) your event. Full disclosure here. Considered paradise by many, we are ultimately in the rain forest. Rain is possible. Anytime of any day, of any month, of any year, rainy season or not – the sky can open up for 10 seconds or 10 days straight. There is often no way of predicting it - even with forecasts and radar. We also have long spans of time with totally amazing, clear and sunny weather. Days that are beyond beautiful! Don’t let anyone tell you differently. There is always a rain plan and most activities go on rain or shine.

2. Want less than a three hour drive from the airport to your destination. There are some other venue options that I can recommend, including cloud forest, rain forest, waterfall and volcano venues that are located closer to both of our international airports. Send me a message and I am happy to tell you some about some different options depending on your interests.

Why hire a planner?

The reasons to hire a planner for your Costa Rica event are obvious. Here are my Top Reasons to Hire an Event Planner in Costa Rica .

1. Your current location: Chances are you are planning an event…IN. ANOTHER. COUNTRY! Based on my past experience - chances are Spanish is also not your first language. And chances are, you have never been to Costa Rica, and if so, maybe once a few years ago. I should really stop here as this is reason enough for you to hire a planner. It doesn’t have to be me, but please hire someone.

2. Costa Ricans are TOO nice: That’s right, I said it. The truth is, one of the things I love the most about Costa Rica is its people. They are hands down some of the friendliest people in the world. They will go out of their way to help you and are really, really happy people. (Seriously we were named the Happiest Country on the Planet again last year.) However, when planning an event, I have found this can actually be a hindrance. Why? Because they will almost always say yes. To anything. They want to be nice so they say yes, we can get this or that, or yes we will do this or that, when the truth is they might not fully understand what it is you want or what you are asking for. (And everyone has a cousin who can help you;) It is not done maliciously and might not be a big deal in most instances. However if you are planning an event or something special, it is important to have someone who clearly understands what you want and can clearly communicate that for you and more importantly – make it happen.

3. It saves you stress: Planning an event is stressful enough. Traveling internationally is stressful enough. There is no need to make it any more stressful. I can help you make every single arrangement from the moment you land until the moment you depart. It can actually be fun.

4. It saves you money AND you get more for your dollar: I have already done most of the price comparisons for you. I know what is available and what the best value for your dollar is. Also, by using vendors that I have relationships with, you often get extra little perks and better pricing in general.

5. It saves you time: Again, I have already done most of the research for you. And if I don’t already know the answer to something, I will find out for you. Instead of spending hours on search engines looking for vendors in the area and trying to translate/communicate what you want and then trying to get each one a payment, you can do it all at once by hiring a planner.

6. You will host a better looking event: I can recommend the best venue, the best time, what is in season and how to pull it all together.

7. You will host your event in the right place: It is really hard to tell what an event venue is really like from a website. You can really only rely on photos and hopefully some reviews. The photos don’t show what’s next door or across the street – or that it is 30 minutes up a 4x4 only driveway! I have personally experienced most of the venues available in the area. I have done site inspections and events there so I know most of the pro’s and con’s that come with each one.

8. You will eat: This comes with having less stress. Plus the food you eat will be local, fresh and delicious!

9. You will breathe: Again, less stress. And the air you breathe will be pure, humid and clean rain forest air!

10. You will relax: Your only responsibility will be to sit back, enjoy the experience, take all of the credit and look good. Period.

Why Not to Hire a Planner:

1. There are none. In my opinion, there are no down-sides to hiring a planner. Myself or otherwise.

2. Most common misconception is low budget: If you think your budget doesn’t have space, I can promise that without a qualified planner, you will make mistakes either during the planning process or at the event that could have easily been avoided that cost you in the long run. More often than not, much more than a coordinator would have cost. (Most couples who do it themselves say they wish they had hired a planner.) Another reason is bang for your buck. When you get a group of vendors together who have worked together and have a cohesive relationship, they will stop at nothing to make sure the event goes smoothly. You can’t put a price on that.

3. You want to DIY. Hiring a planner does not mean you can’t DIY – as much as you would like in fact. The more you do, the less your planner has to, so we normally welcome it. And it can save you a bundle as well. You still make all of the decisions and add all of your personal and unique touches to your event. It is always fun to see what people create and bring!

Why Blue Butterfly?

I was born here. I live here. I work here. I am bilingual and have experience and relationships with many of the country’s leading vendor’s and can suggest the best ones to meet your vision and budget. To stay consistent, here are the Top Reasons Why You Should Hire Blue Butterfly.

1. Birthrite: I am Costa Rican by birth. My parents came from the US to Costa Rica in the early 70’s and started an herbal tea company on the volcano Poas. Both Costa Rica and volcanoes are in my blood!

2. Education: I graduated from Mount Dora High School, Florida, then received an Associate of Arts degree at Lake Sumter Community College, followed by a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Central Florida in Public Relations and Advertising and also graduated from Leadership Lake program.

3. Experience: I have been involved in planning events from the time I was in high school. It has always been something I have naturally gravitated towards. After college, I went to work the at WOFL/WOGX television station in programming and sales as well as coordinating events and then moving on to the non-profit March of Dimes coordinating fundraising and corporate events. Upon moving back to Costa Rica in 2004, I was working as the innkeeper of a boutique, beachfront bed and breakfast in Guanacaste and started coordinating the weddings there. It seemed like a natural fit. Since then I have worked as an independent and freelance event coordinator and consultant. I have both worked independently as well as alongside other companies as the only independent event planner to not only live in – but specialize in the area. I have been involved in over 250 weddings and corporate events in Costa Rica since!

4. Exposure/backgroud:

+Non-profit – Which means I know how to make every penny count.

+Corporate America – I understand it because I have been there and lived it. I have assembled boards as well as serving on them and have participated in more meetings than I care to admit to. I understand the corporate world North American expectations and can deliver.

+Hotels/Travel – I have worked in the hotel and travel industry in Costa Rica so I understand how it works and who the best providers are.

+Freelance Event Coordinator - As a freelance coordinator I have had the privilege of working with many of the other coordinators in the country. There are some really dynamite coordinators and companies in the country who I like and respect very much. The bottom line is, I am able to see countless vendors and service providers at work – without having to “test” them out on my clients! From rental companies, to photographers, to musicians and florists -this has allowed me the benefit to pick and choose who the best ones are and who has the best practices.

5. Location: I am the only event coordinator/planner in the country who is both living in and specializing in the Arenal area. This means that I am current on what is happening in the area in terms of venues, restaurants, tours and services available. I know all the ins and outs and how to get things done. And if I don’t know who can, I can find out.

6. Understanding of Multiple Cultures/Bilingual: Though I am Costa Rican born, I was raised and educated in the US. I hold dual citizenship and I understand both the Costa Rican culture and North American standards and can bridge the two together. And trust me - they are very different in many ways. I understand the North American and European design styles and incorporate my local knowledge of the resources available to execute those ideas in the best way possible.

7. Commitment to Environment & Community: My goal is to use every event that I coordinate as an opportunity to help the community or the world around me in some way. Each group and event is different and the projects that have been supported so far vary widely - from purchasing desks, painting and fixing up local schools and donating school and sporting supplies to supporting reforestation projects and animal rescue centers. I work with each group to find a way that works for them. I have had wedding couples ask all of their guests to bring a children's library book instead of a gift or card and corporate events who used tropical baby trees in their dinner centerpieces that they planted the following day. Each project is as unique as each event!

8. Different Approach: My design style approach is pretty minimalist. Most of the areas venues are completely surrounded by natural beauty and vegetation and so you don’t have to do too much to make an event exquisite. We are not in an event hall in a strip mall with beige carpeted floors and beige walls! I also try to make a small impact on the environment and a big impact on the community by sourcing as much locally as possible. Organic and all natural is what I strive for!

9. Desafio Supported: I am a proud partner and Lead Event Specialist to the best tour, transportation and logistics operator in the country – Desafio Adventure Company!! As direct operators, they own all of the vans, rafts and sporting equipment they use, and provide full insurance as well as employ the drivers and guides. This ensures the highest level of quality can be guaranteed. Others can’t say the same. Most travel and event planners have to find different providers for each tour and service. As a partner to Desafio I have a full logistics support of a travel agency, a fleet of vehicles and drivers, the most exciting tours in Costa Rica, and a 24 hour operations department with nearly 25 years of experience. This is a really valuable and unique asset.

Reasons Not to Hire Blue Butterfly:

I shouldn’t really write anything here – but if I must, if we don’t share the same vision, then you should definitely not hire me. I feel event planning is a personal process so you should connect with the person who is working on your behalf.

Your Adventure Begins Here!