Featured in National Geographic Tours of a Lifetime, 2012
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Monteverde Lodge & Gardens Monteverde Lodge & Gardens Monteverde Lodge & Gardens Monteverde Lodge & Gardens Monteverde Lodge & Gardens Monteverde Lodge & Gardens

Federico Barrantes

Executive Chef

We are thrilled to introduce you to Federico Barrantes, Executive Chef, for Costa Rica Expeditions Lodges, Monteverde Lodge and Tortuga Lodge & Gardens.

Federico is skilled at cooking in general and more specifically skilled at weaving the tastes and smells of the many tropical ingredients and traditional Costa Rican recipes into his food.

Here are some excerpts from Trip Advisor

Terdal_Erik, July 22, 2012
..."My favorite feature is the restaurant. Fabulous! Excellent wait staff, and superb food. I ate here for breakfast and dinner every single day for a week. I have never done that before, but it was so good I had to try to try everything. Didn't succeed - it is a big menu"...
daughterofLDTC2, April 14, 2012
..."We went with the meals included and the restaurant is FABULOUS - so is the wait staff. Ask for Gerald and ask him to see his most recent animal pictures. He's great, the food is great, and the service is so attentive. We had a very romantic night outside complete with tons of candles, tiki torches, and great service. If you want to plan a special night - this place can absolutely help you"...
bccffh, August 11, 2012
..."Food at restaurant is the best we've had during our stay in Costa Rica. Loved the coffee station and the individual breakfast selections"...

Born in San Jose on September 18, 1980, Federico wanted to be a fireman when he was a little boy. His father worked for the Bank of Costa Rica and his mother was a stay at home mom. Federico has three brothers

Federico says that his mother has “muy buena mano” which means that she has a very good hand in the kitchen. His parents are foodies and his father’s job at the bank took them to restaurants all over town where his parents encouraged him and his brothers to try everything.

His paternal grandmother is of German descent and she was the one that first people to get Federico interested in cooking. She made a delicious “cajeta” which is a milk candy or caramel fudge, usually with the flavor of coconut or milk, sugar and vanilla. Federico remembers stirring the fudge with a wooden spoon for hours. When he got older, he then started helping his mom cook on weekends and today festive meals are his responsibility.

When he first graduated from High School, Federico began studying Agronomy and French. He had a brother that was an exchange student in France and through visits to his brother; he became familiar with France and gained a new perspective on food.

He later spent a year in France teaching Spanish where as luck would have it, he lived above a Creperie. The chef at the Creperie let Federico dabble in the kitchen with him, that year above the Creperie would be a turning point for him, he learned the in-house side of food and he gained new perspective.

When Federico returned to Costa Rica, he enrolled in a local cooking school, ARCAM. In his words, it was “love at first sight”. He thrived on the intense activity of the kitchen, met other like-minded Costa Rican men and women and fondly remembers an excellent professor that made a big impression on him. Two years later he graduated from ARCAM and ended up working at a local restaurant where we discovered him. We are delighted that he has joined our team.

Consistently turning out dishes are reflect the place is a challenge for any chef, but for Federico it’s an even greater challenge because he has to translate and teach his vision to the cooks that turn out these dishes every day.

Federico spends a third of his time at Tortuga Lodge, another third at Monteverde Lodge and the rest of his time in San Jose. He says his experience as a French teacher, has helped him be a better teacher for our local cooks, in our case the ability to teach is almost as important as being an inspired chef.

Our local cooks come from humble backgrounds and have very little worldly knowledge of food. What they have learned has been taught by the different people that have come through our lodges in the never ending quest to delight our guests at meal times.

Judging by how the lodge staff has warmed up to him and the fantastic reviews we are getting from guests, we’d say it’s better than it’s ever been before.

But don’t take our word for it, try for yourself and be sure to let us have your feedback

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Arrival Departure
Rooms Adults/Room Children/Room (*)
(*) 10 year olds and younger sharing room with parents.

Bar & Restaurant Staff

Milagros Vallejo Ruiz
Head Cook

Born in Leon, Nicaragua, Milagros came to Costa Rica with her sister, Nubia, when she was 17 years old. They crossed the Costa Rica – Nicaragua border illegally at night, in dense forest, they were assaulted by three men who stole their money and their belongings. They were left with what they were wearing and 5000 colons.

They walked from the border to Las Juntas and then from Las Juntas to San Rafael. The town of San Rafael is 40 minutes from Monteverde. Here they found work picking coffee.

Her sister Nubia decided to go back to Nicaragua, but Milagros stayed in Monteverde. When she first came to Monteverde Lodge 4 years ago she worked as an assistant in the kitchen. When the position of Head Cook became available, she asked what it would take to get the position and made a pledge to learn everything she needed to learn to do the job. She didn't let us down, she has turned out dish after fabulous dish and she makes up for her extremely shy nature in her interaction in general by being creative, curious and bold with her food.

Her message to people considering a visit to Monteverde Lodge & Gardens: "The staff at Monteverde Lodge is friendly and looking forward to your visit, in addition to that, this is a place where you will relax and enjoy nature, Monteverde a place you should not miss."

Oscar Perez Arguedas
Bar & Restaurant

Oscar was born and raised in the town of La Florida, 30 minutes from Monteverde. His parents have a cattle farm there.

After graduating from High School, Oscar worked in bars and restaurants in the Monteverde region. He has worked at Monteverde lodge since early 2010 and says that what he likes about working here is that he has time to get to know the guests.

"At Monteverde Lodge I am able to learn a little bit about our guests lives and share something about my own. It makes what I do a lot more interesting." I like that guest know me by name and are not shy about letting me know how they like their drinks or ask me for a special dish.

His message to people considering a visit to Monteverde Lodge & Gardens "Visit Monteverde to relax and experience Mother Nature"

Jeffrey Jimenez Alfaro
Bar & Restaurant

Jeffrey has worked at Monnteverde Lodge & Gardens for a year. He has worked in the region in the Food & Beverage industry since 2000 and he had always dreamed of working at Monteverde Lodge. "It's such a classy place," he says.

"I like what I do because it gives me the opportunity to have conversations with all different kinds of people. Without being too forward, I always try to get guests to open up and interact with me and my co-workers."

He has fond memories of a birthday celebration barbecue in the Gardens where he and his guests were visited by a Coatimundi that the staff has named Poncho. He says that he will never forget that celebration because when Poncho came ambling up, he decided to introduce him to the guests as one of the Staff. Our guest promptly incorporated the Coati in the conversation. Poncho sat in the amphitheater for the entire celebration and truly seemed to enjoy the festivities.

His message to people considering a visit to Monteverde Lodge & Gardens: "Monteverde is a place to open up to nature, slow down, relax and enjoy the forest and the tranquility of the region."

Alex Mariano Suarez Rojas
Bar & Restaurant

Alex has worked for Monteverde Lodge & Gardens for since April of 2010. When we called him to offer him an interview he was unsure if he should accept or not. He had been working at a different restaurant and art gallery for 5 years and highly valued his stability. Although he was afraid to change jobs, he talked with several employees of the lodge, they all told him what a great place it is to work. He says he made the right decision.

Before working in the Food & Beverage industry, Alex played Division 1 soccer with the city of Puntarenas, his position, Center Forward. Today, he still plays soccer with a Monteverde team.

One of the things that stand out for Alex about his work at Monteverde Lodge is the bonds that are quickly formed with guests. He remembers an elderly couple that was here for 3 nights. The day before leaving they looked for him and gave him a real bear hug saying that they didn't want to leave Monteverde Lodge and wished they had planned to stay here for their entire time in Costa Rica.

"It still surprises me how we can be moved to tears by people that we've just met. I like it that this happens, it's meaningful to our guests and to me".

His message to people considering a visit to Monteverde Lodge & Gardens: "When you are a guest at Monteverde Lodge, we won't treat you like a formal customer, we'll treat you like family and you will see that we thrive on making our mission, Legendary Service…Unforgettable Memories, come true."

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Browse all the feedback we and 6 other Top Travel Companies have received from guests since February 2011. Raves, Praise, Constructive Criticism, Complaints & Bitter Complaints. Nothing left out, no excerpting, easily sortable.

Monteverde Lodge & Gardens
Lodge: 011 (+506) 2645-5057
Office: 011 (+506) 2257-0766
Fax: 011 (+506) 2257-1665

400 mtrs east (uphill) from the Frog Pond, entrance on the right hand side of the road.
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no smoking

Smokers Be Aware!
Costa Rica has recently passed one of the strictest smoking regulations in the world; hotels are 100% SMOKE FREE.
If you are a guest at the hotel, and want to smoke, by law you are required to leave the property. This is a 300 meter walk to the road outside the main gate, day or night, rain or shine. We realize that this is very inconvenient, but it’s the law. There is an $800 fine for breaking this law.