Mother's Day with Mothers at Las Catalinas

August 15, 2023


Costa Rica holds mothers in esteemed regard, as they should. Mother’s Day is a major Costa Rican national holiday, so you can expect schools, banks, and offices to close in honor of these pivotal and nurturing figures in our lives.  


The strong influence of Roman Catholicism in Costa Rica aligns the celebration of Mother’s with the Feast of the Assumption, honoring the ascension of the Virgin Mary to Heaven. While the official yearly date is August 15th, the holiday was moved to Monday the 14th this year to create an extended weekend and ensure families can take a little extra time to spoil mom. 


In the spirit of Mother’s Day, we have highlighted the stories of three wonderful mothers from Las Catalinas to share with you. 


Juliana Gil Ortiz  

Founder and General Manager, Blossom Hospitality   


Juliana: A Remarkable Mother, Entrepreneur, and Community Builder 

In a bustling world, where juggling responsibilities can seem overwhelming, there's Juliana – a force of nature who seamlessly blends motherhood, entrepreneurship, and community building into a way of life. With two young boys, Felipe and Gabriel, Juliana is not only their guiding star but also the visionary behind multiple thriving businesses in Guanacaste, and soon San Jose. 


Family Life  

Juliana paints a vivid picture of her home life:  “My sons are balls of energy. I think, like all children, they are constantly hungry to learn, and calm days do not exist in our home. My two boys are very different. Felipe is very sentimental, and he feels everything to the max. Happiness, excitement, sadness, anger, he expresses and lives them all intensely. He is very special and bright. He has the most unexpected comments in very funny moments, and he is very clever. He loves all kinds of motors, including cars, motorcycles, and tractors. Felipe loves riding his bike and being outside at all times.  


Gabriel, on the other hand, is very serious, but at the same time, very affectionate. His personality is very analytical and is always very reserved until he gets upset, and then you can hear him from miles away. Gabriel loves playing with balls and anything that rolls. He is very adventurous and brave.” 



Juliana on Work 


What Juliana enjoys most about her career is the difference that her job can make in other people’s lives. Juliana's influence isn't confined to nutritious dishes or her role in both Pots&Bowls and Pascual her commitment to community engagement resonates profoundly. She's a catalyst for growth and learning, fostering evolution within her team, her suppliers, and herself. What began as partnerships with modest local vendors has blossomed into a network that encompasses her four flourishing enterprises, in turn, uplifting numerous others within the community.  


Juliana reflects on her journey: “The first employee that worked with me started washing dishes and is now a supervisor, training to be an assistant manager. It’s a beautiful experience to see people grow in their work positions, but also within their families and personal lives.” 


Juliana's path through entrepreneurship has fostered responsibility, both for herself and the families woven into her business life. The challenges she's faced have been instrumental in shaping her unwavering determination. "Just as I let my children stumble and learn, I apply the same principle at work. Resolving every issue and micromanaging hinders growth more than fostering it." 


Life in Guanacaste 


Juliana states that she loves the simplicity of Guanacaste, with its people and its places. “It’s a lifestyle that focuses on personal growth and freedom, not focusing on what people are saying or participating in social circles.”  She appreciates Guanacaste’s open spaces, fields, beaches, and many beautiful places where you can just enjoy being there, far from crowds and civilization. 


Juliana is a culinary dynamo and nurturing mother, and we are proud to have her as part of town’s community. 



Andrea Arroyo 

Manager of Santerana Hotel


A Balancing Act Between Hotel Management and Motherhood 


Step into the world of Andrea, a remarkable figure who seamlessly orchestrates the demanding role as the General Manager at Santerana Hotel while leading her daughter, Valentina, through childhood. Valentina, a spirited 10-year-old, radiates the charisma of someone beyond her years—enchanted by music like Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars, with a personality as independent as a teenager's. 

Their family also includes a joyful Australian Shepherd named Zoe, who is forever adorned with a puppy grin. Zoe and Valentina are like two kindred spirits, relieving their energy with playful romps and adventures. 


Masters of Multitasking 

“One of the perks of being a daughter to someone in the hospitality industry are the great birthday parties. All of Valentina’s special events are planned well in advance”, Andrea comments. She says other parents have even mentioned that no one else sends invitations earlier than she does. Valeria’s birthdays are an occasion that's never taken lightly in their household.  


The art of planning is second nature to Andrea, evident by the meticulous preparation for Valentina's upcoming first communion. Amidst the whirlwind of responsibilities, she has made her daughter her foremost priority. Parenthood, for her, is a dance that requires some juggling to ensure that family remains at the center stage. 


A Support System 


Working moms, especially single working moms, often express guilt about not being around as often as they wish or are challenged by finding appropriate childcare. That is not the case for this duo, as they found the perfect support for them.   


Valentina is lucky to have a wonderful nanny, Martha, who helps with caretaking responsibilities. Martha and Valentina’s relationship goes beyond caregiving; Martha is like a second mother, an integral part of Valentina's upbringing. The shared experiences, guidance, and support form a unique support system that contributes to Valentina's growth and well-being. 


From Costa Rica to the World 

Valentina's wanderlust is an inheritance from her mother's profession. Andrea's role in hospitality has given her daughter wings to explore the world, beginning with a love for pasta and blossoming into a fascination with travel. From airplanes to road trips, Valentina thrives on new experiences, and her love for adventure binds their family together. 

Glancing into Andrea's world, there is no doubt that Valentina is her guiding star. She has been able to combine her aspirations and responsibilities into a harmonious and inspiring example for her daughter and everyone around her. 


Sandy Viquez 

CEO of Center of Joy 


 At the heart of Center of Joy, the haven of wellness and connection in Las Catalinas, resides a woman named Sandy. She embodies the very essence of what this center stands for – a good heart, empathy, and the transformative power of shared experiences.


Sandy on Life and Work 

Center of Joy isn't just a workplace for Sandy; it's an extension of her beliefs. With a keen eye for recognizing those who can uplift others, Sandy acknowledges, "For me, it's all about giving back to society, understanding the struggles people go through, and offering a hand, a listening ear, or a tranquil moment in our serenity room. Each person's path is unique, and if you don't naturally have empathy for their needs, you might not belong here."


A Journey of Resilience & Love 


As a single parent of five remarkable children, Sandy proudly recounts raising them into accomplished professionals. It was through a visit with her daughter, Carolina Herrera, an architect and project manager at Las Catalinas,  that Sandy's connection to Center of Joy was forged. This chance encounter led her to the center's doorstep, and a yearning to work within a space dedicated to alternative healing was born. Sandy's diverse background in corporate management, gastronomy, and beauty, coupled with her personal healing journey, equipped her with the perfect toolkit for this role. 

Surviving cancer granted Sandy a unique perspective on life. "Turning 50 after cancer is monumental; it makes you see the world in a new light," she reflects. In the face of such adversity, Sandy discovered wellness does not come only from pharmaceutical solutions, but within your own body, soul, and mind. A breath work session brought her to terms with the idea death, making her cherish life and family all the more. 


Home is Where Laughter Is 


Sandy's heartwarming narrative extends beyond Center of Joy's walls. Originally hailing from Heredia, Costa Rica, her home resonates with the laughter and warmth of loved ones who frequently gather around her kitchen table.  


"I consider myself the luckiest woman in the world," Sandy admits. Her children are her pride and joy, and their support radiates even on her toughest days. A quick glance at their family chat and cherished photographs can instantly uplift her spirits. Sandy's eyes light up when she talks about her granddaughter, a young and fearless explorer, unafraid of life's adventures. 


Her matriarchal devotion extends to her colleagues at Center of Joy, where Sandy fosters growth and transformation. Her guiding hand has enabled fellow staff members Maria and Oneyda, both mothers, to embrace new roles and skills. Through her actions, Sandy reminds us that every journey is distinct, each individual a repository of unique talents deserving respect and appreciation. 


Her presence at Center of Joy enriches the space and those who walk through its doors, reminding us all that within the ordinary resides the extraordinary. 

PHOTO-2023-08-09-13-10-35 2

All of these mother's stories are a testament to the fact that a harmonious balance can be reached where work and family intersect in modern life. Wishing you all incredible mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day from the Las Catalinas’ family.