Backstage Pass: Model Victoria Henley returns to Lands in Love

This article is produced in loving memory of our dear friend, caregiver of my beloved grandmother, Mimi, and supporter of Animal Love Rescue, Jami Gobert, who passed away tragically not even a week after our visit to Lands in Love. Her kind heart, radiant soul, and generous spirit will be cherished and remembered always.

by VICTORIA HENLEY
CTFashionMag.com.

Nestled in the lush, peaceful, and tropical Alajuela Province of Costa Rica, Lands in Love Resort, is home to Animal Love Rescue, a nonprofit organization founded by 15 lifelong friends from Israel, who left all their previous lives behind in their homeland to establish a no-kill charitable organization. It is founded on the belief all animals deserve respectful and loving treatment and must be protected by humans, as well as by law.

Since its inception in 2005, Animal Love Rescue has provided shelter, food, and veterinary care to thousands of animals in need, housing over 1,200 species (including dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, and geese etc ) at any given time. A vast assortment of animals, many with special needs, are provided with personalized treatments, custom mobility devices such as wheelchairs, and many more accommodations to ensure they experience a better life than they ever would have elsewhere.

The consistently substantial number of animal admittances to the rescue, as well as the vast expanses of the resort properties, incur massive amount of upkeep expenses for the staff, who rely solely on donations to effectively execute all their many responsibilities and obligations.

Several years ago, the sanctuary’s marketing manager, Assaf reached out to me regarding a visit to the resort for a hands on promotional spotlight feature. Following an enlightening and productive visit, I have made this visit an annual affair, bringing models and designers from my fashion production company, Magnifique (which I own and operate with my mom, Lynn of Lynn Henley Photography, who photographs editorials on site at the resort as well as the lush and vibrant natural eco system) for editorial photo shoots and mini shows to benefit the resort.

The 2024 event marked the third visit.

Upon our arrival, we made our way to our lodging quarters, “Room 23”, which was exquisitely decorated with hand painted adornments, featuring a queen and single bed, a flat screen television, a spacious bathroom, and a large porch to enjoy the picturesque jungle sunrises daily before heading to the restaurant for a leisurely breakfast.

The restaurant, featuring an array of scrumptious chef prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, highlights the culinary creations of the acclaimed chef Naama. Naama’s masterful attention to aesthetic detail and penchant for flavorful fusions has garnered acclaim from visitors from around the world.

Some of the standout menu items, all completely vegan, were:

DRINKS: Delightful varieties of wines, including dry and sweet reds and whites (as well as the full bodied Jewish wine, Manischewitz) are available on the menu for guests’ enjoyment, as well as assortments of beer, cocktails, soft drinks, bold Costa Rican coffee and juices.

BREAKFAST: Lands in Love Restaurant allows you to start your day off right with an array of breakfast options suited for every preference and palette. Some standouts:

French toast — Layers of French toast, sautéed in orange and brandy sauce, served with maple syrup, toffee sauce, bananas, pineapple, almonds, nuts, and chocolate fudge.

Breakfast burrito — Special tortilla wrap with ham, cream cheese, eggs, yellow cheese, avocado, tomato, cucumber and lettuce)

The American– Hash browns, home fries, pancakes, French toast, bacon and fried eggs, scrambled tofu, chickpea omelette

 

LUNCH AND DINNER:

Naan bread with sauce

Veggie and bean soup

Egg rolls

Hearty veggie burger served with a generous portion of home fries

Pad thai– Tender noodles, topped with a semi-spicy and savory sauce, garnished with diced peanuts

Fish and chips — A uniquely and distinctively delicious vegan take on a seafood classic.

Mexican basket — Chicken fajitas, lettuce, beans, cheese, salad with tomato, spring onion, avocado and sour cream)

Casado–A Costa Rican meal using rice, black beans, plantains, salad, a tortilla and an optional “ protein” of choice

Shawarma– Mediterranean grilled chopped meat with salad and pickles, neatly wrapped in warm pita bread.

Gnocchi– Tender gnocchi enhanced with olive oil, basil and garlic

Israeli plate — Hummus , tahini, falafel, five salads and pita bread

Italian stir fried vegetables: Garnished with olive oil, herbs, cheese and Dijon mustard, served with rice

Bacon avocado: Italian bread, bacon, avocado, grilled tomato, onion, served with dill and chives and mayonnaise

 

ACTIVITIES:

Known for its thrilling and exhilarating roster of adrenaline pumping activities, Lands in Love provides a wealth of experiences sure to excite and delight everyone in your party.

Zipline: One of the most popular and in demand adventures available at the resort, the zipline offers guests a bird’s eye view of more than 500 acres of uninterrupted cloud forest. This dynamic tour features seven cables, five platforms, and a pulse pounding Tarzan Swing, for a total of 845 meters.

Superman Cable:

This wildly unique and inimitably fun Superman Cable allows visitors to bring their loftiest super-hero fantasies to life as they fly like Superman high above the vast expanses of the jungle, while soaring above the trees and taking in the tremendous scenery of Costa Rican wildlife.

 

Rafting:

Rafting allows guests to immersive themselves in the roaring waves of the Balsa River with an electrifying, intense, and action packed hours long expedition experience through the area’s vast canyon, brimming with tropical birds, monkeys, sloths, iguanas and fascinating flora and fauna that inhabits the lush, tropical area . Our guide, Didier, was not only incredibly experienced and skilled at his trade, but also personable and affable, putting our group at ease with lighthearted jokes and gentle guidance to ensure an optimal experience for everyone in our party. Throughout our excursion, we were delighted to see a Howler Monkey (a mom with a very small baby clutching her back, to be exact), numerous sloths leisurely hanging from the highest visible branches of the many trees which line the river, and the largest iguana we ever laid eyes upon. The guides treated guests to delicious chopped fresh fruit toward the ending portion of the excursion, providing a naturally sweet ending to a high-octane adventure.

WEBSITE: https://arenalrafting.com

 

Canyoning:

The ultimate way to experience the cavernous expanses of the Costa Rican cloud forest, canyoning allows guests to repel down the rocky terrains leading to four total waterfalls, all under the leadership of the knowledgeable and skilled tour guides. Descend into the magical jungle from a hanging bridge, high above the trees, enjoy the sensation of plummeting into the chilly cold waterfalls, and satisfy your cravings for incomparable adventure with this canyoning experience you’ll remember long after your trip has ended.

ATVs

Featuring both single and double vehicles, the ATV experience allows guests to savor the inimitable views of San Roman while operating a vehicle and navigating the natural terrain, offering views of a breathtaking dam and unpolluted farmland. A myriad of opportunities to take photos at various scenic locations are offered by the patient and competent tour guides through the approximately two-hour expedition, and guests are even treated to fresh fruit (including an assortment of sweet and scrumptious watermelon, mango, and pineapple) toward the end of the ATV adventure.

 

FASHION SHOW:

Our June 2024 visit marked our second annual mini-pop up style showcase to support the Lands in Love Animal Rescue, and we were elated to feature a roster of our stunning and talented Magnifique Models, including Jami Gobert (whose memory will always be honored and cherished by everyone who knew and loved her through our shows and events), Bailey Gattis (accomplished model, pageantry titleholder, and designer of formal and ready to wear line, B Kate Designs (@b.Katecollective), and Angela Valesquez, who made her runway debut with style and grace. Themed collections including resort wear, all black, Hollywood red carpet glam, and the soft launch of our headliner, B Kate Designs were presented in succession.

One of the show’s standout moments was the “catwalk” (or shall we say “dog walk”?) starring the adorable and charismatic animal residents of Animal Love Rescue, also featuring their handlers and some of the beloved and hard working Lands in Love volunteers.

Our 2024 return to Lands in Love was nothing short of spectacular, and we would like to thank the entire staff (including Alon, Assaf, Naama, all of our Magnifique Models, the amazing Lynn Henley Photography for capturing all our images, Jonathan for doing an outstanding job with our music) for another beautiful experience.

The owners and staff of Animal Love Rescue work around the clock, depriving themselves of sleep and “free time” to provide the animals with the care they so desperately need. Running such a large operation is extremely costly, and they rely entirely on donations to keep the sanctuary running.

Please consider donating to this incredible cause and help continue the dreams of these altruistic and selfless people to give animals a safe and loving future they wouldn’t otherwise have.

WEBSITE: https://animallove.cr

INSTAGRAM @animalloverescue

WEBSITE: https://landsinlove.com

PHONE NUMBER: +506 2447 9331

INSTAGRAM @landsinlove_tierrasenamor