Archive for the ‘Golfo de Papagayo’ Category

Costa Rica at a Glance – Interesting Stats & Facts

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

In the context of memorable vacations,costa-rica-map Costa Rica evokes images of palm-fringed beaches, sultry rainforests brimming with wildlife, and the delighted yips of zip-line adventurers as they hurl their bodies from one platform to the next. But did you know that Costa Rica is also a model of environmental stewardship and boasts a long history of pacifist policies? Read on for interesting tidbits about Costa Rica’s people, history, and culture.

The people of Costa Rica

As of 2016, the population of Costa Rica hovers just under 5 million, with the majority of residents centralized in the San Jose metro area and Central Valley. More than 95 percent of “Ticos” are of European descent, and less than 2 percent of Costa Rican residents are of indigenous ancestry, many of whom live in the country’s remote mountain regions. More than a century ago, legislators declared that education was to be mandatory and free for all citizens, accounting for today’s high literacy rate of 97 percent.

No longer a cash crop nation

Formerly a cash crop nation reliant on coffee, sugar, and bananas, Costa Rica is now a major exporter of software technology and medical instruments. The country’s growing economy is driven by tourism, electronic exports, and some agriculture, and it enjoys robust foreign investment, thanks to highly incentivized free-trade zones. Compared to its Central American neighbors, Costa Rica has a large middle class, largely comprised of working class, highly-educated professionals.

Green policies and environmental focus

In 2012, Costa Rica was rated the planet’s 5th Greenest Country by the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). This tiny nation has demonstrated what many have found inconceivable: achieving nearly 100 percent renewable energy through natural resources. A winding river system and substantial rainfall provide hydroelectric power, which accounts for 80 percent of all energy production. The remaining is made up of geothermal, solar, and biomass power. With renewable-energy targets being met, Costa Rica continues a steady path toward becoming entirely carbon neutral by 2021.

costa-rica-no-armyNo army since 1948

You’ve probably heard (or learned first-hand) that Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse nations, housing an astounding variety of flora and fauna. Biologists claim that you’ll find more than 600 species of animal for each 10,000 square miles—compared to 104 in the U.S.! But did you know that Costa Rica abolished its standing army in 1948? This bold feat was ordered by then-President Jose Figueres Ferrer, who announced the country’s military spending would be directed toward education, health care, and environmental protection. Nearly 70 years later, it’s obvious that this bold decision has paid off.

Costa Rica Ranks First for Best Family Vacation Destination

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Costa Rica’s unspoiled jungles and pristine beaches can make for the family vacation of a lifetime, say travel experts at U.S. News.  Among Central and South American holiday destinations, Costa Rica was rated number one for its kid-friendly attractions and outdoor pursuits that are ideal for nature lovers and adventure seekers. When scoring the eight best family vacations in South and Central America, the site considered family-centric activities, accommodations and dining experienced offered by each country, in addition to expert recommendations and traveler opinions.

Several activities for the whole family

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Favorite Costa Rica tours enjoyed by families

Seasoned travelers who have enjoyed the many perks of a Costa Rica family vacation named some of their favorite activities and tours, which carried them from the sunny beaches of Manuel Antonio to the cool climes surrounding Poas Volcano.  Kids aged 7 to 12 adored snorkeling tours – where they could get up close and personal with curious aquatic creatures and billowing clouds of tropical fish. Other popular tours include dolphin and whale watching excursions, horseback riding and zip-line tours around Arenal Volcano –a short and scenic 3-hour drive from the San Jose International airport.  And of course, there are scores of extreme activities, like whitewater rafting and off-road ATV tours, which will appeal to an older or more daring tween or teen. (more…)

Costa Rica Weather FAQs

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Costa Rica is praised for its tropical clime, which varies from 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the region.  Due to its altitudinal variations from highland mountains to low-lying coastline, temperatures can fluctuate as much as 15-20 degrees within just a few hours’ drive. Most vacationers prefer to visit during the country’s “summer” months (December through April), though rainy season visits offer plenty of advantages for the budget-minded traveler.

Beautiful beaches of Costa Rica

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Is the rainy or dry season better for a Costa Rica vacation? 

Both seasons have benefits and drawbacks. The dry season (early December to mid-April) marks the start of Costa Rica’s peak tourism period, when beach vacation rentals, hotels and hostels begin booking up weeks in advance. Visitors are nearly guaranteed 12 hours of daily sunshine, but prices are higher and popular attractions often crowded. Though it can rain daily in the green season, thunderstorms typically roll in later in the day. Perks of a rainy season holiday include fewer tourists, major savings on accommodations and increased flexibility with your travel plans, since advance reservations aren’t necessary. (more…)

Summer is Here! Costa Rica’s Dry Season Means More Glorious Sunshine

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Cool trade winds are blasting through the Central Valley and afternoon showers have long since abated – a sure sign that summer has arrived here in Costa Rica.  January marks the real beginning of the country’s dry season – a time when visitors flock to the beaches, volcanoes and mountains, reveling in the glorious weather that makes January-April one of the best times for a Costa Rica vacation.

Costa Rica beach vacation with the family

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Perfect time to plan your family beach vacation

Now is the ideal time to start planning your family holiday to Costa Rica’s famed tourist attractions, which draw millions of travelers each and every year.  If your kids are begging for beachfront fun and exotic wildlife encounters, there’s no better place than the Central Pacific’s Manuel Antonio. Discover the thrills of snorkeling, boogie boarding and parasailing over the Cerulean blue waters of this popular tourist hotspot, which is home to the nation’s smallest (but most beautiful )national park. Your entire group can relax in comfort and luxury in one of our well-appointed Manuel Antonio villa rentals, many of which feature amazing ocean views and lookouts over the park. (more…)

December – April: Prime Costa Rica Sportfishing Months

Friday, December 12th, 2014

There’s a reason why Manuel Antonio and Quepos are the most popular sportfishing destinations in Costa Rica – a country lauded for its rich ocean diversity and 570+ IGFA world records. The Central Pacific coast features phenomenal fishing year-round, but the start of the dry season marks peak season for apex predator fish likeblack marlin and sailfish. One glimpse at Quepos fishing reports this month and you’ll see a roster of sailfish and marlin releases, with some anglers boating more than seven each day!

Marinade Pez Vela

Costa Rica sportfishing is world class

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Quepos’ Marina de Pez Vela is a state-of-the-art facility, featuring a full-service yacht yard and wet slips occupied by dozens of 27 to 34-foot custom charter boats. Veteran captains and their skilled crews know exactly where the billfish run each year, and usher anglers to prime spots offshore to cast a line. Costa Rica fishing packages – both half and full days – are easily arranged and allow ample opportunities to experience the thrill of a lifetime as you land your first 200-pound marlin or 50-pound mahi-mahi. While all marlin and sailfish are release only, guests are welcomed to keep tuna, wahoo and other smaller catches for a fresh and tasty dinner. (more…)

Helpful Costa Rica Vacation Planning Tips

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Planning a romantic escape or family vacation to Costa Rica and need a bit of help from those in the know?  Avoid common traveler pitfalls with these pointers so you can enjoy a smooth and stress-free holiday without any surprises.

Don’t forget to budget in the airport exit tax

Plenty of Costa Rica activities for the family

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For travelers departing via the SJO airport in Alajuela or Guanacaste’s LIR international terminal, don’t forget that each passenger must pay a $29 exit tax. This fee is never included in your airline ticket, and is mandatory before checking in for your flight. You can pay with a debit or credit card, or with cash (either U.S. dollars or Costa Rica colones). (more…)

Traveler Tips: Understanding Costa Rica Directions

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Veteran travelers to Costa Rica know that local directions are just a wee bit different than those you’d use back home. Forget street names or numbered buildings… in the land of Pura Vida this type of information is useless mostly because it doesn’t exist outside of newly developed urban areas. Instead, Ticos rely on the cardinal points (North, South, East and West) and use these in combination with major landmarks to get where they’re going.

Driving Directions in Cost Rica

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Getting from Point A to Point B

It’s helpful to know that blocks are measured in meters (metros) in Costa Rica. So, if someone tells you the supermarket is 100 meters down the road and on the right that means it’s just one block away. For example, a typical address may be written like this: “400 meters east from the post office and 200 meters north, across from the public swimming pool.” There are relatively few roads or streets with proper names (or signs), and it’s rare to see buildings marked with numbers outside of San Jose.  If you’re driving to your hotel or beach vacation rental, you’ll likely be provided with very specific directions that utilize a combination of well-known landmarks and the distance travelled. (more…)

Costa Rica’s Snorkeling and Scuba Diving Hotspots

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Framed by more than 800 miles of picturesque coastline, Costa Rica features ample opportunities for underwater explorations. Swim among graceful sea turtles, vibrant parrotfish and spotted eagle rays as you investigate the country’s living coral reefs, mysterious caves and fascinating shipwrecks. While visibility varies depending on location and your time of visit, you can always count on warm waters and extraordinary encounters with inquisitive marine creatures. (Costa Rica is home to more than 7,000 species!)

Scuba Diving while on your Costa Rica vacation

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Best destinations for snorkeling and scuba diving

Here’s a quick breakdown by region of the country’s top locales for diving and snorkeling. Most beach towns, including Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio and Puerto Viejo rent snorkels, masks and fins by the hour or half-day.

  • Southern Caribbean: Manzanilla, Punta Uva, Puerto Viejo and Cahuita – wonderful snorkeling on Cahuita’s 600-acre coral reef.
  • Tortuga Island – an easy day trip from Santa Teresa or Montezuma, Turtle Island is renowned for its sparkling clear waters, underwater rock formations and fantastic snorkeling. (more…)

Guanacaste Beach Named One of the World’s Most Beautiful

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Described as lovely, secluded and tropical by TripAdvisor reviews, Playa Nacoscolo is one of four eye-catching beaches within the Papagayo Gulf. What makes this section of Guanacaste shoreline so notable are its crystal-clear waters, isolation and suitability for swimming and snorkeling. Nacoscolo is so “insanely gorgeous” that it ranked eighth among the world’s most beautiful beaches, according to travel site DreamPlanGo.

Playa Nacascolo located in Gulf of Papagayo Guanacaste

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Nacoscolo beach one of the 10 most gorgeous

The impressive news comes courtesy of the Chicago Tribune, which published the ranking on February 25, 2014. Nacoscolo beat out the white sands of Hawaii’s Lanikai Beach, and the Caribbean isles of the Turks & Caicos. First place went to Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia, Greece, with Sardinia, Italy ranking second for its sunny, Mediterranean shores. Other top contenders include Australia’s Whitsunday Islands, Yelapa Beach in Mexico and the alluring islands of Langkawi, Malaysia. Costa Rica’s national tourism institute noted that Nacoscolo was the only Latin American beach featured on the list. (more…)

Meet the Curious Coatimundi

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Most Costa Rica vacations promise spectacular wildlife encounters – perhaps none more exciting than the nation’s highly acrobatic primate species. When not marveling over the throaty roars of howler monkeys or amusing antics of capuchins, you may find yourself entranced with the wonderfully curious coatimundi (or coati for short). Locally, they’re known as pizotes – a raccoon-like creature with a long snout, pointy tail and endearing personality. The white-nosed coati is one of the country’s most prolific mammals, and is often seen in tourist hotspots like Arenal, Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, Puerto Viejo and Dominical.

White nosed Coati or Pizote as known in Costa Rica

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Pizotes at a glance

A large male coati can tip the scales at nearly 18 pounds, and with his dark, brownish-red fur and nocturnal preferences, it is often mistaken for a large feline. Make no mistake, these resourceful creatures belong to the same family as raccoons, and are known for their ability to adapt to just about any habitat or terrain. They will feast on crocodile and bird eggs, crabs, shellfish, fruits, leaves, nuts, lizards, invertebrates, birds, and carrion as well. Often seen in bands of 20 members, coatis are skilled climbers and, with the aid of their agile prehensile tails, can amble up the tallest of trees in search of food or safety. (more…)

Hotel vs. Vacation Rentals: Which offers more bang for your buck?

Friday, January 17th, 2014

One of the biggest factors in vacation planning is where you’ll stay – do you opt for hotel or a vacation rental? This all-important choice will affect how and where you’ll dine during the duration of your visit, privacy levels for all group members and, of course, your holiday budget. At first glance, hotels may seem the wiser choice in terms of up-front costs, but vacation properties are, hands down, the best way to enjoy a truly relaxing and wallet-friendly family getaway. Let’s take a look at some of the myriad advantages that Costa Rica vacation rentals offer their guests.

Beach Vacation rental in Jaco

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Costa Rica beach rentals offer major savings 

You’ll discover great value in a private vacation rental once you weigh in the ample family-friendly amenities and concierge services versus the limited privacy and space found in even the most luxurious resorts. This especially holds true if you’re traveling with extended family and friends, where a six-bedroom villa split amongst all guests will prove cheaper than individual rooms. Not only is a house rental more cost effective, it also provides added flexibility in terms of meal planning and cooking in, since you’re not tied to a hotel meal plan or dining out all the time. Take advantage of fully-equipped kitchens, where you can whip up your own dishes and enjoy meals for fraction of the cost you’d shell out at restaurants. (more…)

Testing the Waters Before You Move to Costa Rica

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

It’s tempting for many to dive right into a real estate purchase, especially after a series of fabulous Costa Rica vacations. But before plunking down your hard-earned cash on the property of your dreams, it’s smart to test drive a few locations to better determine if the surroundings, amenities and weather truly meet your needs and expectations. That’s why we always recommend renting before you buy to increase your chances of a successful relocation, whether for retirement or to start the next chapter of your life.

Costa Rica vacaciĂłn rental offered by Escape Villas

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Location, location, location

One of Costa Rica’s most unusual and appealing aspects for potential expats is its diversity of microclimates and terrain. The sun-dappled beaches of Guanacaste’s Gold Coast, including Playa Flamingo and Tamarindo have long attracted North Americans and Europeans in search of the “pura vida” lifestyle, while farther south, Jaco and Manuel Antonio rein king among central Pacific hotspots. Daytime temperatures soar into the mid- 90’s, but evenings are cooled off with refreshing ocean breezes. On the other hand, the Central Valley is known for its perpetual Spring-like weather, which usually hovers in the 70’s to upper 80’s. Towns like Atenas,  Grecia and Heredia are wildly popular and offer a range of affordable housing options along with access to city amenities. (more…)

Canopy Tours in Costa Rica: 10 Useful Zip-line Tips

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Boasting hundreds of miles of zip-line cables zigzagging above the forest, Costa Rica is often referred to as the home of the original canopy tour. Visitors to Monteverde, Tamarindo, Jaco, Arenal and Manuel Antonio will have no shortage of options when it comes to hair-raising, adrenaline-pumping rides high above the treetops. In fact, most popular beach vacation destinations have at least one canopy tour, luring adventure seekers with unhindered views as they hurtle through the sky.  To make the most of your adventure, follow these quick zip-lining tips.

Canopy zip line tour in Costa Rica great for family activity

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Be Prepared Before Your Canopy Tour

  1. Long shorts or pants are always recommended to prevent chafing and friction from the harnesses.
  2. Avoid flip flops and wear shoes that fasten securely. Lightweight hiking shoes or Tevas are ideal. (more…)

TripAdvisor Survey Reveals Vacation Rental Benefits

Friday, June 28th, 2013

The latest travel survey on TripAdvisor asked participants which they’d prefer:  a vacation rental or hotel?  According to the results published on April 10, 49% of respondents have already stayed in or are planning to vacation in a house rental this year. This figure is up from 40% percent in 2011, showing that rental properties continue to be the accommodation of choice among savvy U.S. travelers.  Survey participants cited many factors that made holiday rentals more attractive than your traditional hotel, with over half saying a beachfront villa was their preferred type of rental – especially when traveling with extended family.

Casa Nova beautiful rental estate located in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

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Costa Rica vacation: beach rental or hotel?

The survey polled more than more than 1,300 U.S. travelers, who agreed that vacation rentals offered more bang for your buck and were a great alternative to a hotel stay. The following were named as reasons why tourists prefer villas over a hotel:

  • Last-minute deals (82 percent)
  • Financial savings (82 percent)
  • Traveling with a large group (19 percent)
  • More living space (15 percent)
  • Booking a vacation for one week or longer (11 percent) (more…)

Surf’s Up in Costa Rica – Best Beaches to Hang Ten

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s no shortage of stellar choices when it comes to surfing in Costa Rica. Straddled by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the country has over 800 miles of gorgeous shoreline, and a slew of surf spots where you can test your mettle on epic point breaks, or learn the basics amid gentle waves. Leave your wet suit at home – the water temps hover around 80 degrees – and get ready for some serious fun and adventure while hanging ten in the land of Pura Vida.

Costa Rica surf with beautiful sunsets

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Planning your vacation: surf seasons

If you’re wondering which months are best for surfing certain beaches, here’s a general summary:

  • Central and Southern Pacific beaches (Jaco, Playa Hermosa, Esterillos, Bejuco, Manuel Antonio, Dominical and Pavones) peak between May and November, which coincides with the country’s rainy season.
  • Caribbean Coast (Puerto Viejo and Playa Cocles) enjoys its biggest swells from November through the end of March
  • Northern Pacific & Nicoya Peninsula including Nosara, Tamarindo, Playa del Coco, Avellanas, Playa Grande, and Santa Teresa/Mal Pais have the most consistent waves, but  December through April are considered the best (more…)

Costa Rican Luxury Hotels Receive Million Dollar Investments, Demonstrate Strength of the Costa Rica Tourism Industry

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
paradisus-papagayo-bay-guanacaste-beach-hotels-costa-rica

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According to the Costa Rica Minister of Tourism, Allan Flores, million dollar investments in Costa Rica luxury hotel developments are a clear indication that the country’s tourism industry is going from strength to strength.

Flores is optimistic about the new hotel developments, which coincide with Costa Rica’s increase in tourism arrival figures. In 2010, 2.09 million tourists arrived compared to 2.08 million tourists that arrived in 2008. The year with the highest recorded tourism arrival figures for Costa Rica was 2008.

As tourist arrivals increase, the availability of Costa Rica luxury hotels is essential. As the country’s tourism industry continues to expand, investors are on the look out for prime locations for future hotel developments. Many top Costa Rica hotels enjoy exclusive beach front locations in some the world’s most popular vacation destinations along the Pacific Coast. (more…)

Liberia Airport in Guanacaste Costa Rica to Open New International Terminal in November

Friday, April 22nd, 2011
liberia-airport-costa-rica

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The Liberia Airport in Guanacaste Costa Rica recently announced plans to open a new international terminal in November 2011. The announcement of the expansion at Liberia Airport is welcome news for eager tourists wanting to visit Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches on the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. With the Costa Rica Tourism Institute (Instituto Costarricense de Turismo) announcing record breaking arrival figures for the Liberia Airport in the first quarter of 2011, it’s evident that this Costa Rica airport is in urgent need of expansion.

Offering easy access to popular vacation destinations on the Pacific coast including the many beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Papagayo, it is estimated that Liberia Airport will receive 10% more tourist arrivals to Costa Rica this year in comparison to 2010.  In January of 2011, a record amount of 31,600 tourist arrivals were registered, 26% more than in the same month of 2010.   Of the two international airports in Costa Rica, Liberia Airport, otherwise known as Daniel Oduber International Airport, is experiencing the most rapid growth. It is evident that international tourists to Guanacaste Costa Rica are opting for convenience, avoiding the lengthy drive from the international airport in San Jose. (more…)

Amazing Caves in Costa Rica Offer True Caving Experiences

Friday, March 4th, 2011
Caving in Costa Rica at Barra Honda National Park

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Caving in Costa Rica is an extreme adventure sport on the rise. While many adventure tours in Costa Rica like white water rafting and hiking tours are extremely popular, caving, or spelunking, is a growing adventure sport for travelers on vacation in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is home to some truly exceptional caves. From the caves in Barra Honda National Park,which require tourists to descend a massive ladder to enter the cave, to the privately owned Venado Caves near the Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica has some fine caving adventures to offer spelunkers.

The Venado Caves in the Arenal area of Costa Rica are magnificent and massive. Boasting an incredible array of cave creatures, the Venado Caves are home to bats, monochrome frogs, spiders, and crickets. There are incredible limestone stalactites and stalagmites to see, and a river runs through the cave as well. (more…)

Boardwalk in Playas del Coco Costa Rica Opening April 2012

Monday, February 14th, 2011
Amor de Temporada Boardwalk Construction at Playas del Coco

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For an exciting beach vacation in Costa Rica, Playas del Coco, located along the Gulf of Papagayo, is well on its way to becoming one of the best beaches to visit in Guanacaste. In recent years, this once quiet beach town on Costa Rica’s Gold Coast has enjoyed a revamp with new installations including the opening of the shopping center Pacifico with boutique stores, quality restaurants serving delicious cuisine and bustling bars featuring a variety of tropical cocktails.

Opening in April 2012, tourists and residents of Playas del Coco Costa Rica will be able to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the pristine beaches on their very own boardwalk!  The Amor de Temporada (Seasonal Love) boardwalk will extend for 420 meters along the sandy beach coast and will offer visitors fantastic beachfront views of the surrounding landscape as well as the world famous sunsets seen from Playas del Coco Guanacaste. Resident artisans will be given permanent installations along the boardwalk to promote locally made Costa Rican arts and crafts. (more…)

Rio Corobici Floating River Wildlife & Adventure Tour in Costa Rica

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
Costa Rica Rafting & Wildlife Adventure Tour

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If the thought of shuttling your way down Costa Rica’s white water rapids while holding on for dear life turns your stomach, then how does a pleasant glide through the calm waters of the Corobici River in Guanacaste sound? Intense Class V whitewater rafting tours in Costa Rica are best left to the adrenalin junkies. Even the finest anti-shutter technology on your camera won’t help when you’re whizzing past some of the world’s most fascinating wildlife! For real wildlife photo opportunities while on a family vacation in Costa Rica the Corobici Floating River Adventure Tour will not disappoint. This is quite possibly one of the calmest rafting adventure tours in Costa Rica. (more…)





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