From sea turtles hatching to exploring tide pools, here's how the manager of a luxury Costa Rican resort is spending her days in lockdown
- Cody Dillon is the general manager of Florblanca, a luxury
resortin Costa Rica.
- The coronavirus has caused her resort to close, and she's unsure when guests will be allowed to visit again.
- The time has presented Dillon with challenges, but she's learned to balance the uncertainty with spending time with her family.
Cody Dillon, her partner, and two children wake up every morning, eat breakfast, and head to the empty tide pools on the shores of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.
This new routine has sprung out of the pandemic, as many parts of the world have been put on pause.
"People pay so much money to go to a deserted island or deserted parts of the world," the 39-year-old told Insider. "That's our experience day in and day out."
While Dillon has welcomed the extra time with her family, there's a looming uncertainty around when her resort will reopen.
Dillon has been the general manager of Florblanca for more than a decade. The luxury resort sits on the sandy beaches of Santa Teresa, typically offering visitors activities like yoga and surfing as well as
Dillon said the lockdown has challenged her in unexpected ways, but she's also been thankful for the added time with her two sons and partner.
Cody Dillon, general manager of Florblanca, still visits the luxury resort every day
"It was a situation that none of us had ever imagined," she said, speaking of the pandemic and the temporary closure of the resort.
Dillon said the initial lockdown required adaptability. Every day was different, she said. There were new rules, new regulations, and new advice for travelers. The decision to temporarily close was challenging and sad, she said.
"There was just this sense of uncertainty in life in general," she said.
Dillon works with a staff of 50 employees. When the resort decided to close, a majority of the staff was out of work, but the resort provided its employees with a severance package, according to Dillon. Dillon said when the resort reopens, it plans to operate at 50% capacity and will bring employees back in waves.
Even without guests, there's still work to be done, Dillon said, adding that she visits the property every day. She's taken this time to focus on marketing, email language, and other projects at the resort.
A few gardeners and maintenance staff are also still working and receiving a paycheck, according to Dillon. By keeping everything functioning, clean, and in pristine condition, Dillon hopes that once borders open, Florblanca can quickly reopen, too.
Dillon said the resort's energy has changed without guests; at capacity, the resort welcomes 30 people. Now, with no visitors checking in and fewer workers, it's quieter and calmer.
Costa Rica's slogan, 'Pura Vida,' or 'Pure Life,' holds true for locals and visitors
"It really is something that you feel the minute you get here," Dillon said. Dillon said Costa Rica is full of positive, laid back residents.
That lifestyle, along with a love for surfing lured Dillon to visit after she graduated college. That same
"Long story short, what kept me here is Florblanca and now my family," she said.
The resort sit in the Nicoya Peninsula, which is one of the world's five "Blue Zones." These regions are known for having longer life expectancies, happier people, fresher food, and cleaner air.
"It's really one of the draws for people who come to visit, and for people, like myself, who chose to live here," she said.
Dillon described it as a "vibe." The resort's surrounding community is full of positive, happy people. And it's the number one thing she hears from her guests: the people are incredible.
Dillon also said it shines through in the food. Local fishermen catch the seafood found on the restaurant's menu, and a majority of the produce is also sourced locally.
The resort's new sea turtle hatching program still hopes to welcome guests by the end of the year
CIRENAS is located about 10 miles from the resort. The nonprofit is home to a turtle hatchery and patrols the shores to track turtles and prevent poaching. Florblanca decided to partner with the nonprofit so guests could learn about sea turtles and watch baby turtles hatch.
"We always wanted to be able to give the clients the experience to be able to see sea turtles hatch and help them with their first few steps into the water," Dillon explained.
Costa Rica is known for its large ecotourism efforts surrounding sea turtles. In the peninsula of the resort, there were few opportunities for visitors to interact with the beloved animals.
Dillon said there is one silver lining. Sea turtles have a lengthy hatching period that lasts from May to January. Dillon remains hopeful that guests will be able to watch sea turtles hatch this year.
Dillon watched a turtle hatch this year for the first time.
"It's totally magic," she said. "That essence of pure life."
She's hoping to share that magic with others. Since she's started working in hospitality, she's noticed a growing demand in guests wanted to get involved and give back to the community they're visiting. She said the sea turtle program aims to bridge the need for sea turtle conservation efforts and satisfying her guests' vacation expectations.
"That's a really cool trend I think that's happening in
The general manager has been spending extra time with her partner and two children
Dillon has lived and worked in Costa Rica for 15 years, but the coronavirus has resulted in her taking an unexpected break.
"It's really the first time ever in my life in Santa Teresa that I didn't have a full-time responsibility to come to the hotel," she said.
When she's not at the resort or working, Dillon is spending time in the water. She said her 2-and-a-half-year-old sons have learned to swim in the last three months on empty beaches.
"It's been a lot of beautiful time with my family outside, in the sun, making sandcastles, swimming," she said. "And enjoying this place that I feel really lucky to be spending the pandemic here."
Dillon said this time has taught her valuable lessons
Dillon said she now has a greater appreciation for her job, and that she has spent a lot of her time during this lockdown considering efficiency and how the surrounding community can supply the resort with everything it needs.
"I've also put a lot of thought, both personally and professionally, to how we can have everything that we need right here," she said.
Since the resort is fairly remote, access to food and water were immediate concerns. It's left Dillon considering what the resort can make and grow and what other products they can source locally. For example, the resort is expanding its garden by adding lettuces, herbs, and tomatoes. And Dillon and her family have even started their own garden.
While the Costa Rican borders are still closed, Florblanca also remains closed. Dillon is unsure when the resort will reopen, but she remains hopeful.
"It was tough," she said speaking of closing the resort, "but I feel that we're all going to persevere through."
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