After living in the United States for ten years, Allan Bado Jimenez, a 29 year old Costa Rican, returned home to travel and explore his country and fell in love with the wealth of culture, history and lush nature he found. He began a new journey that would see him working in tourism and hospitality and three years ago he was introduced to Selina for the first time. La Fortuna Selina, one of the most attractive destinations in the country, opened soon after on July 28th, 2017.
Surrounded by lush rainforests, jungle waterfalls and one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes, the famous Arenal Volcano, the diversity of life and colour here is quite amazing. The proximity to this hot mountain, makes the area the centre of the best thermal springs and attractions. It also has some of the best hiking trails offering the most dazzling views of the area and other activities ranging from ziplining, trekking and mountaineering.
Out of the jungle, in the spirited mountain town, visitors will find themselves surrounded by a variety of shops, bars, cafés and restaurants. All brimming with the wonderful vibe that this area is famous for, and all under the imposing gaze of the neighbouring volcano. Days are usually hot, wet and lazy and the nights come alive with nightlife music, restaurants clubs and bars.
“Selina is a lifestyle, travel and hospitality platform,” Allan says, “Born out of a desire to celebrate the nomadic lifestyle and to experience our planet’s most incredible destinations. This town incapsulates that spirit perfectly.”
Hosted in the centre of town, La Fortuna Selina offers an ideal platform to launch explorative expeditions for those who are new to the area. Be these adventures to a local coffee house or restaurant, or a hike up the mountain; whatever the size of the adventure it is better to be in the thick of it and not on the periphery.
“There is a range of rooms available,” Allan reveals, “We have community rooms for groups of people or people travelling on a budget, private rooms and suites and a gorgeous Teepee area.”
Since opening, La Fortuna Selina has provided many solitary travellers and digital nomads with a community of friends to tap into and be involved with. They also provide a number of community activities to further make each guest feel at home, like nightly bonfires under the stars near the Teepees where guests meet up and share stories.
Rooms are clean and secure, communal kitchens are stocked and leisure areas have an array of in-house activities. The teepees are very stylish and cosy and beautifully designed, and there is always the possibility that guests may see some of the frequent informal residents which include monkeys and iguanas. Even sloths.
Their unique offering, standards of cleanliness and excellent customer service ensure that La Fortuna Selina receives a steady flow of positive commentary and reviews online from happy and enamoured guests. Their approach has also won them several awards from Booking.com and TripAdvisor.
“For La Fortuna Selina the most important thing is to forge connections with our guests by creating the best unique experience with the community,” Allan says.
“Activities are a reliable way to create communities,” he adds, “They make opportunities for guests to communicate and chat with each other, hang out and become friends and even travel companions.”
While travelling alone can be exciting, it does get lonely. In fact, it is fairly common knowledge that loneliness today is a major problem, not only for digital nomads who frequently flit across border lines, but even for those who are settled in one location. Thanks to hyper-connectivity many interactions and communications take place digitally without any of the important social interaction which we, as humans, need.
“So, to remedy this, La Fortuna Selina is designed to nurture that connection,” he says, “Guests can hang out with fellow travellers in the common areas which includes a garden with a pool. We have a library, a cinema room and a shared kitchen where guests can save on cash while learning new recipes or enjoy some great local meals at our restaurant prepared by our local chef.”
Activities include tours through the treetops of Los Cañones, plunging off the waterfall, rafting the rapids of Rio Celeste and spelunking in the Venado Caves. This area has a palatable buzz about it and that’s not even including the food, bar and shopping scene which can be explored with as much vigour as any mountain or jungle. For those seeking an even deeper cultural experience, La Fortuna Selina offer workshops on the local culture, to fully immerse those seeking to tap into the history of the place. This has proved very popular as many travellers find the spirit of a location can be better understood when you know what the backstory is. In this way, places are just like people.
According to Allan, many of their clients are digital nomads in one form or another, attracted by this call to a community that they can finally call their own, and on average mostly they stay three to four nights at a time.
“Many either return or seek out the next Selina site along their way,” he adds, “But we stay in touch with all of our guests and keep them updated on new developments across social media. Once you’re in the Selina family, you’ve got a friendship community for life.”
WHAT IS SELINA?
Understanding that exposure to new ideas, different ways of thinking and different lifestyles are the reason why many people travel, Selina is a hospitality network targeting young travellers with a holistic approach to the travel and work experience. Founded by Rafael Museri and Daniel Rudasevski in 2014, who after traveling the globe and staying in many places believed they could change the world of hospitality.
Through the platform, Selina’s staff of travel professionals select only the most incredible places across Latin America, North America, the Caribbean and soon the rest of the world. Combining the natural beauty and elements of their locations with the best of local activities, food, community and work. In essence, Selina is a nomadic ecosystem.
DIGITAL NOMAD HEAVEN
As their main client base are not simply students on a gap year, but professionals in their fields who work hard every day, the other part of La Fortuna Selina’s attraction to the digital nomad community is the coworking space and the great WIFI.
“Selina La Fortuna started offering co working space in March 2018 for guests and visitors and this quickly became a haven for digital nomads,” Allan says.
A shift in the modern priorities is taking place. Many people from many countries and across many ages now calculate value by the number of experiences and human connections rather than just numbers in the bank. A happy irony of this is that this can prove to be an incredibly lucrative lifestyle to adopt, not only fiscally but also in the sort of adventures one can have, but it isn’t always easy and sometimes people just need to recharge.
“Selina La Fortuna is like a power socket for your soul,” Allan says happily.