Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast a Top Destination, Says Lonely Planet

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Lonely Planet—the world’s biggest and most successful travel guide series—ranks Costa Rica’s lush Caribbean coast as one of 2016’s best vacation destinations. The respected publication claims the region offers unbeatable value, and a taste of everything that makes Costa Rica one of the greatest places for a family vacation or romantic escape.

Caribbean coast garners praise from Lonely Planet

playa-cocles-costa-ricaLonely Planet writer Tom Hall is a veteran globetrotter and knows the inherent benefits of getting off the tourist trail for a more authentic travel experience. In places like Cahuita and Manzanillo, he claims you’ll discover “a still-evolving destination that’s likely to become a big noise over the next few years.” In sum: the entire coastal region, both north and south of Limon, boasts all of the natural beauty of Costa Rica but without the heavy crowds.  Hall’s other destinations that made the cut for best value included Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, Estonia, Galicia in Spain, East Africa, Quebec City, and Western Australia.

Ideal for surfing, snorkeling and beach lovers

While the Caribbean draws its share of visitors each year, most are independent travelers, birdwatchers or die-hard surfers who come to test their mettle on the pounding waves churning off the coast of Puerto Viejo and Playa Cocles. Beyond wild surf, the coast is dappled with gorgeous black and white sand beaches. For extraordinary underwater explorations, head to Manzanillo and book a snorkeling tour of the coral reefs. Or, swing by Cahuita National Park where tour guides offer a combo trip that includes a short hike along sandy trails followed by a glass-bottom-boat tour.

?????????Sea turtles of Tortuguero

If the reggae beats of Puerto Viejo and neighboring beaches isn’t quite your scene, set your sights northward to the river town of Tortuguero, where black-water canals and rugged beaches host incredible biodiversity. In all, five species of endangered sea turtles nest on Tortuguero’s beaches, with most of the action happening between July and October. When you’re not watching 350-pound reptiles lay eggs by moonlight, you can relax and enjoy the copious wildlife that inhabits the protected wetlands, including spider and howler monkeys, basilisk lizards, sloths, herons, toucans and spectacled caimans.

Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica

Lonely Planet pays special tribute to one notable tourist attraction—Limon’s Sloth Sanctuary near Cahuita. Admission fees go toward the veterinary care and feeding of injured and orphaned sloths. Tours feature a guided canoe ride through the sanctuary’s tropical lowland rainforest and visits with resident two and three-toed sloths, including the beloved mascot named Buttercup. Their coveted behind-the-scenes tour even includes a trip to the Slothpital clinic, and a chance to see adorable babies in the on-site nursery.

Shopping your way through San Jose – 5 Best Spots

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

San Jose is the vibrant capital city of Costa Rica – the go-to destination for a memorable day of culture, arts, and theater. The city is also fantastic for a bit of retail therapy, whether you’re picking up some souvenirs for friends or want a piece of original Costa Rican art for your home. The 10 Best series in USA Today recently extolled the capital’s best shopping spots and walking streets. Here’s a recap of the top five.

 

galeria-namu-shopping1. Avenida Central  This bustling pedestrian street has dozens of excellent cafes and restaurants that will fuel a long day of strolling, people-watching, and shopping. Browse the ever-popular Universal and La Gloria stores after taking in the Avenida’s permanent art displays.

 

2.  Galeria Namu  This little gem isn’t far from the Jade Museum in downtown San Jose. The gallery features dozens of handcrafted, fair-trade items from local artisans that are affordably priced. You’ll find lovely pre-Columbian pottery, oil paintings, woven baskets, and hand-carved masks, plus lots of other textiles and interesting home décor items.

 

3.  Boutique Annemarie  Looking for that one-of-a-kind gift on your Costa Rica vacation? Visit the lobby of Hotel Don Carlos for a wide selection of unique leather goods, handmade jewelry, crafts, figurines, clothing and specialty gifts. The shop has a distinctive old-fashioned ambiance, complete with antique photographs, memorabilia, and artwork.

 

4.  Caballo Loco Boutique  The horse lover in your family will appreciate a trip to this San Jose boutique, which stocks authentic equestrian clothing, gear, gifts, and more. Think leather chaps, cowboy and cowgirl hats, and the ever-popular bolo tie. Bonus: you can shop in air-conditioned comfort!

 

san-jose-mercadocentral5. Mercado Central  No visit to the nation’s capital is complete without exploring the labyrinth corridors of the Mercado Central (Central Market). A staple since 1880, the market encapsulates the lives and livelihood of Costa Ricans. Vendors sell everything from fresh produce, flowers, and cheeses to souvenir T-shirts and coffee socks. You can easily spend a full day wandering through the maze of shops, watching people as they enjoy a “cafecito” and catch up with friends. And be sure to go with an appetite—traditional food is sold everywhere and rumor has it the cinnamon vanilla ice cream is to die for!

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 Ranked Among Top Whale-Watching Destinations

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Costa Rica has garnered numerous accolades for its earth-friendly policies, pristine beaches and incredible biodiversity. 2016 is shaping up to be another banner year for this popular eco-tourism haven. According to a recent article in National Geographic magazine, Costa Rica’s Bahia Ballena (Whale Bay) is among the world’s top ten destinations for dolphin and whale watching.

 

Bahia Ballena scores 7th place on the list

The lovely Bahia Ballena,humpback-whale-breaching located on the southern Pacific coast, is one of the planet’s crucial habitats for the humpback back whale, which migrates twice a year to the bay’s warm waters to mate and calve. Bahia Ballena was ranked seventh for whale and dolphin sighting by the venerable publication, which added that manta rays, sea turtles, bottle-nose dolphins and other marine species also enjoy protection in the sanctuary of Ballena National Marine Park. Australia’s Hervey Bay, the Valdes Peninsula in Argentina and South Africa’s Hermanus also made the list for top whale watching locales.

 

Costa Rica whale-watching season                             

Seeing a 45-foot whale breach in the ocean with a tremendous splash is on a fair number of bucket lists. Travelers to Costa Rica are especially fortunate in that whale season is happening virtually year-round. In Bahia Ballena, humpback whales are frequently spotted plying the shallower coastal waters from December to the end of April and again from July through September.  Powerful swimmers, humpbacks can weigh more than 40 tons and are easily recognized by their long pectoral fins and distinctive knobby heads. Their entertaining surface displays make them a superstar in the whale-watching community, though scientists aren’t sure what motivates breaching. Some speculate the aerial twirls are a form of communication or a means of marking territory, while others say breaching is nothing more than play.


whale-watching-costa-ricaOff the beaten path in Uvita

Bahia Ballena lies just south of Dominical and encompasses a string of uncrowded yet breathtaking beaches, including Uvita. While the area is easily accessed by car, bus or plane, it has remained relatively tranquil and undeveloped. If you’re looking for a gorgeous beach to dig your toes in soft sand, enjoy a little surfing, and watch one of Mother Nature’s most incredible marine mammals, add this spot to your Costa Rica vacation itinerary.  Boat tours depart daily during peak whale-breeding months, and afford ample opportunity to see playful dolphins and humpbacks doing what they do best. In addition, travelers to the Dominical region can also book everything from zip-line and horseback-riding tours to private yoga lessons.

Annual Envision Festival Epitomizes Costa Rican Pura Vida

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

Seeking an Enlightenment of Consciousness

Screen shot 2016-02-06 at 2.59.10 PMSince 2011, the Envision Festival, set to kick off February 25th, has brought thousands of people seeking an enlightenment of consciousness mixed with fun and excitement to Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast. The venue, located near Uvita, is a celebration of music, the arts, self-expression, and the bringing together of different cultural backgrounds. For 4 days, activities run virtually 24/7, and vary from music by Central America’s best artists, interpretive dance, and fire and juggling performers, to numerous workshops on yoga, meditation, and healing. All of these activities are set amid a backdrop of beautiful beaches, unspoiled rainforest, and, of course, the indigenous wildlife so plentiful in Costa Rica.

All are Welcome!

People from all walks of life and from around the world come to the festival to be challenged to raise their consciousness of their relationship to the environment, learn valuable lessons to improve their health and well-being, and simply have fun doing it. It’s a party with a purpose! Children are welcome, making this a great family experience. (Children under 12 are admitted free with their parents, and anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult parent.)

Screen shot 2016-02-06 at 3.01.12 PM For the Adventure Seekers

For those who want to add some adventure to their time at the festival, Costa Rica offers a multitude of activities  for attendees. For water buffs, the area boasts some of the world’s best snorkeling, diving, and surfing. If dry land  is your thing, then zip-lining along the canopy of virgin rainforest, hiking or riding horseback to magnificent  waterfalls, or even hopping on your own ATV and riding along the backtrails of the rainforest and along the  mountain rivers are some of the available ways to see the beauty of Costa Rica.

Provisions and Accommodations

Food—including locally grown organic fruits and vegetables—is available on the festival grounds, and water is provided free (as long as it holds out). A store (mercado) is set up for essentials, so it’s not necessary to leave the venue for the entire 4 days in most cases. Sleeping arrangements range from tents and hammocks on the beach to large vacation rental homes and villas for a VIP experience.

Don’t Miss this Great Event!Screen shot 2016-02-06 at 2.47.20 PM

According to officials, this year’s Envision Festival is nearly sold out.  Check the website http://www.envisionfestival.com/ for last-minute availability. And we can help you plan for Envision 2017. There are a lot of intriguing areas to explore and enjoy in Costa Rica. Come and see for yourself. Pura Vida!

 

Must Have Apps for Your Costa Rica Travels

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Be prepared for every contingency with this year’s best travel apps that put critical information at your fingertips. Installing a few of these on your smartphone may prevent hassle and headaches, which nobody wants to deal with on their much anticipated vacation.  From tracking itinerary details to navigating Costa Rica’s roads, these apps are worth checking out!

TripCase collates itinerary detailstravel-apps-costarica-vacation

As you book your flight, car rental and begin to schedule tours and accommodations, you may need a little assistance organizing and managing all the details. TripCase consolidates confirmation emails and the most essential travel information like addresses, pertinent data and dates, listing everything in a chronological itinerary.

Learn local phrases with Costa Rica Idioms

Your high school Spanish will serve you well on your Costa Rica travels, but it won’t help with local slang and idioms that are a part of the daily Tico lexicon. Developed by a Costa Rica couple, this handy app instantly translates Costa Rican slang – phrases not found in textbooks — into English, giving you the upper hand in communication.

costa-rica-travel-apps

Currency conversion made simple

The Costa Rican colon usually hovers around 530 to the US Dollar, which makes on-the-fly conversions a little challenging. For exact exchange rates every time, download the OANDA Currency Converter app.  It features a simple interface and stands out from the pack for its ability to factor the typical credit card or ATM rate (usually 2 to 3 percent) into conversions.

Never get lost with WAZE

While it’s true that road signage in Costa Rica has come a long way, even the most seasoned of travelers can use a little navigating help from time to time. WAZE to the rescue! This practical app provides real-time traffic information, and is ideal for first-time drivers in Costa Rica who are headed to parts unknown. Sourced from other drivers, this app gives you a heads up on traffic jams, detours and road closures in addition to step-by-step GPS navigation advice.

Get the scoop on weather changes

With Costa Rica’s many micro-climates, temperatures can fluctuate by as much as 15 degrees in the span of a few hours drive.  Be prepared with weather alerts, hourly and daily forecasts as well as boating and beach conditions with the Weather Channel app. Just enter your next destination for customized alerts on your smart phone.

 

Statistics Indicate another Banner Year for Costa Rica Tourism

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) reports that tourism is up this year, with 4.4 percent more visitors arriving in the country’s two international airports during the first six months of 2015. The bulk of travelers hail from the United States, Canada and European nations, say tourism officials. These numbers reflect an increase in the number of flights and routes offered by international carriers to meet the rising demand for Costa Rica vacations.

Average stay is just over 12 days

costa-rica-travel

During the first half of 2015, travelers stayed an average of 12.4 nights, which according to ICT officials, is one of the lengthiest stays in the realm of travel. Visitors are also spending more money during their holidays in Costa Rica. Travelers arriving via the San Jose international airport spent roughly $1,635 during their vacation contrasted by $802 for tourists who flew into the Liberia airport in Guanacaste.

More flights and strategic routes offered by airlines

Costa Rica Tourism Minister Mauricio Ventura attributes the uptick in travelers to enhanced promotion efforts abroad as well as the availability of new non-stop flights from a number of carriers. Acclaimed airline British Airways announced it will begin a direct London to San Jose route in May of 2016, which will surely boost numbers of U.K. visitors. Costa Rica takes the honor of the first Central American destination for this prestigious airline.  Budget carrier Spirit Airlines made headlines this year when it began non-stop connections between San Jose and Houston, Texas, offering flights four times a week. And United Airlines announced they will start direct flights between both San Jose and Liberia and Denver, Colorado.

Local airline expands fleet

costa-rica-airport-tourism

One of Costa Rica’s premier regional carriers, Nature Air, is also taking measures to accommodate larger numbers of travelers. The company recently purchased four new aircraft (seating 19 passengers each), which will take to the skies this coming December. Nature Air currently flies to 15 destinations within Costa Rica, including hot spots like Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio/Quepos, Tortuguero, Arenal , Nosara and Drake Bay. In addition, this carbon neutral airline also connects to popular destinations in Panama and Nicaragua. Most domestic flights last only 20 to 45 minutes, saving tourists two to five hours of driving time to beach destinations.

2015: Costa Rica Ranked the Happiest Country in the World

Friday, August 21st, 2015
Costa Rica people known as Ticos

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Want to live in one of the greenest, happiest places on Earth? Then you may want to consider moving to Costa Rica!  Once again, Costa Rica tops the list as the world’s happiest country, according to results from The Happy Planet Index (HPI). While most measures of national progress focus primarily on economic growth, the HPI analyzes what matters most: the sustainable well-being of an intrinsically happy population. And year after year, this tiny Central American nation outranks dozens of more industrialized countries in terms of environmental impact, life expectancy and levels of well-being.

Costa Rica scores #1 out of 151 countries

With a population of just 4.7 million people, Costa Rica achieved 64 points (out of a total of 100) on the HPI index, which factors in ecological footprint, life expectancy and experienced well-being. For many across the globe, the HPI serves as an accurate gauge of how well a country is doing in terms of producing healthy, happy people both now and into the future.

Costa Rica has high level of well-being

happy-planet-index-costa-rica

 

Falling just behind Denmark, Costa Rica scored 7.3 out of 10 for experienced well-being, which draws on responses to a Gallup World Poll that sampled 1,000 individuals aged 15 or older in all of the 151 countries included in this year’s HPI.  Costa Rica was trailed by Thailand, Ecuador and the Philippines in this important indicator.

Small ecological footprint

The ecological footprint (amount of land necessary to sustain a country’s normal consumption) of Costa Rica is 2.52 global hectares per capita. If others had the same environmental impact as the average person in Costa Rica, the globe’s eco footprint would be 5 percent lower.

Costa Rica’s average life expectancy is 79.3

The nation with highest life expectancy is Japan (83.4 years), but Costa Rica still ranked higher than the United States, whose residents have a life expectancy of 78.5. Data was gleaned from the 2011 UNDP Human Development Report.

Enjoying the “pura vida” that is Costa Rica

Surveys and polls aside, Costa Rica’s palpable happiness may be attributed to a number of basic factors. A lot of residents enjoy a simple life that is tune with nature. Heavy emphasis isn’t placed on material possessions, and locals truly embrace the pura vida, or pure life  that values family, friendship and life’s small but meaningful pleasures.

 

Facebook Teaser: Costa Rica again ranks #1 on the Happy Planet Index (HPI), which has drawn worldwide attention as an important barometer of a country’s sustainable well-being. Find out why this small nation is one of the greenest and happiest on Earth!

 

5 Best Apps for Your Costa Rica Vacation

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Even if this is your second vacation to the sun-kissed shores of Costa Rica, it’s always better to have practical info at your fingertips before you land and during your travels. From quick Spanish translations to instant flight alerts, these popular travel apps are your new best friend!  Read about our top five recommendations for your smart phones.

Travel Apps For Your Costa Rica Vacation

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FlightTrack Pro

FlightTrack Pro has garnered tons of praise for its user-friendly interface that lets you manage international flights, with updates in real time of delays and cancellations. The app has nifty maps and tracks more than 1,300 different airlines across thousands of airports.  Even better, the app boasts terminal maps, flight alerts and lets you know about any weather-related delays. FlightTrack Pro costs $9.99 and is compatible with Androids, Blackberries and iPhones/iPads. (more…)

Crazy for Coconuts in Costa Rica

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Delicious, exotic fruits are readily available year-round in Costa Rica. Guava, mangosteen and passion fruit vie for your attention alongside jumbo pineapples and plump mangoes. These homegrown delicacies are bursting with vitamins, essential minerals and are a terrific snack any time– especially after a long day of adventure. Of all the major players in Costa Rica, no other has the versatility or amazing health benefits as the coconut.

Agua de pipa is a Costa Rican treat

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Rehydrate naturally with coconut water 

“Pipa fria” or the water from young, green coconuts is sold on beaches and towns everywhere in Costa Rica. This slightly sweet liquid is a natural source of electrolytes, and is packed with potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and calcium. At just 60 calories per eight-ounce serving, this elixir is the smart way to rehydrate. Coconut water may be a trendy “health drink” among A-listers, but its healing properties are backed up by hard evidence. Studies show that coconut water aids in digestion, lowers blood pressure, enhances insulin levels in diabetics and facilitates weight loss.  (more…)

Six Compelling Reasons to Plan a Costa Rica Vacation

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Adventure. Romance. Wildlife. Volcanoes. Hot springs. Waterfalls. Beaches. These are some of the hallmarks of travel in Costa Rica, a place where you can get back to nature, rev up your adrenaline, and savor the pura vida lifestyle that makes Ticos so darn happy. Ready to wake up to jungle noises while sipping on shade-grown coffee of the highest caliber? Or meander through a national park literally teeming with wildlife? Read on to discover six convincing reasons why you should book now!

Thriving ecotourism in Costa Rica

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Thriving ecotourism

Leave it to Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez to put the country on the map for its environmental dedication. Want to travel green and as low-impact as possible? You can in this thriving eco-tourism destination! Eco-friendly vacation villas, “green” car rentals, and carbon neutral flights mean a smaller footprint as you experience Costa Rica’s natural wonders. (more…)

Dominical Prepares for Envision Festival 2015

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Mark your calendars, folks, the fifth annual Envision Festival in Costa Rica’s lush Southern Pacific Coast starts February 26 and runs through March 1, 2015. Equal parts music festival and eco-conscious gathering, the event is expected to draw at least a thousand more visitors this year, as more eco-minded travelers partake in this spectacular microcosm of performance art and spiritual enlightenment.

Dominical prepares for the Envision Festival Costa Rica

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Envision Festival 2015 hosted in Uvita

Envision isn’t your average music festival, but rather an epic conglomeration of talented musicians, artists, yogis, natural healers, and legendary teachers. Just like last year, the festival will be held in Uvita, just a few miles south of Dominical. An Envision attendee at the 2014 festival spoke about her incredible experiences, including healing massages; “flying yoga;” all night dances on the beach; and healthful cuisine lovingly prepared with fresh, organic ingredients. The setting couldn’t be more inspiring: a jungle backdrop where luxuriant rainforest meets the sea. (more…)

Traditional Christmas Tamales in Costa Rica

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

December is a spectacular month to be vacationing in Costa Rica – a time of holiday celebrations, sensational horse parades, family gatherings, seasonal fiestas and delicious Christmas foods. Nearly every home and building is adorned with twinkling lights, elaborate nativity scenes and beautifully-decorated Cypress trees and wreaths. Traveling in Costa Rica during this time of year is a culturally enriching experience, and a chance to sample some of the country’s typical Christmas cuisine.

Traditional Costa Rica tradition is the Christmas Tamale

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Tamales – a time-honored holiday food among Costa Rican families

Tamales are a bit labor-intensive to make, but the results are so worth it! These tasty little pockets of goodness are usually made over a period of several days, as family members pitch in to complete various stages. Made of corn meal and filled with a savory combination of shredded pork, beef, or chicken combined with carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, bell peppers or peas – tamales are wrapped in banana leaves and boiled until ready.  Every family has their own unique recipe and shares them as gifts with loved ones and friends. Look for them in grocery stores everywhere, or try your hand at home with this traditional recipe. (more…)

Costa Rica’s New National Wildlife Symbol – the Manatee

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Move over sloths, Costa Rica has recently adopted a new national wildlife symbol – the West Indian manatee! These adorable marine mammals were officially named the country’s national wildlife symbol in a move that will hopefully boost local conservation measures. Manatee numbers have been dwindling in their primary habitat – the brackish canals found in Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean region.

Sea cows are Costa Rica’s new animal mascot

Manatee Costa Rica's newest mascot

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West Indian manatees, also called sea cows, are placid herbivores that range from the mid-Atlantic to southern Florida and south to Brazil.  According to a press release issued by the Costa Rican Tourism Board, a group of students from Limoncito school suggested manatees be made the national symbol, given their precarious status in the river inlets and lagoons of Barra de Colorado and Tortuguero National Park – the only areas where manatee populations have been noted. Last month, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis signed the bill into law, which will also earmark funds for future manatee preservation and educational outreach efforts. (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…)

Off-Peak Costa Rica Vacation Benefits

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Dubbed the green season by travel industry experts, Costa Rica’s rainy season corresponds with the low tourism period. Locals know these wetter months have several intrinsic perks, but why should travelers consider May through November a prime window for a romantic or family-themed Costa Rica vacation? Here are some compelling reasons why you should plan your visit in the next five months!

Tropical Costa Rica beaches during green season

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Afternoon showers bring the countryside to life

Anyone who has visited during Costa Rica’s high season knows how parched the landscape can be – particularly around the beach towns of Guanacaste province. Regular showers transform brown hillsides into an explosion of green, revitalizing the entire countryside. The normally dry and dusty areas around Santa Teresa and Tamarindo become lush and pleasant. And with afternoon rains, tourists can enjoy cooler temperatures along with plenty of time for outdoor pursuits while the morning sun shines. One misconception is that it literally pours all the time, which couldn’t be further from the truth! Thunderstorms are generally limited to the afternoons and some days never see a drop of water. (more…)

Costa Rica Gripped by World Cup Fever

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Even non-soccer fans were glued to the TV earlier this month, when Costa Rica’s national league La Sele fought long and hard for a coveted final four spot in the FIFA World Cup 2014. Gripping their red, blue and white flags while muttering prayers under their breath, Ticos across the nation (and globe) watched in anticipation as La Sele nearly advanced in the quarterfinals, thanks to an incredible defense.  The Brazil stadium was filled with chants of “Oe oe oe. Ticos, Ticos,” but the Dutch national team ultimately prevailed during an anxious 4-3 penalty shootout victory.

Costa Rica national soccer team winning over ItalyCosta Rica – the World Cup underdogs

This was the first time in 24 years, since La Sele beat Scotland in the 1990 FIFA Italy games, that the country had a World Cup title within their reach. Respected and loved by all, La Sele was unofficially adopted as Brazil’s second team, with local fans wearing Costa Rica jerseys and T-shirts that mocked opposing “group of death” teams from England, Italy and Uruguay. Costa Rica has been labeled one of the best surprises of the 2014 World Cup and has a number of star players, including their 27-year-old goalie, Keylor Navas, who racked up 21 saves in just five matches, earning him the Man of the Match Award three times. (more…)

Leatherbacks of Las Baulas National Marine Park

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Often described as one of Guanacaste’s best-kept secrets, Las Baulas National Marine Park harbors the main nesting site of Pacific leatherback sea turtles (known as baulas in Spanish). Situated just north of Tamarindo, the park encompasses more than 1,100 marine and land acres of Playa Grande – one of the region’s most coveted surfing beaches. By day, this beautiful shoreline is occupied by die-hard surfers, but at night the beach belongs to the turtles.

Leatherback turtles in Las Bualas MArine NAtional Park

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Leatherback turtle nesting season

The planet’s largest marine turtle, leatherbacks can grow to be more than seven feet long and weigh nearly 2,000 pounds. After mating at sea, females return to their natal beach where they carve out nests with their flippers before depositing the next generation of turtles into its sandy depths. On Playa Grande, this remarkable event happens from October through March every year. While the leatherback numbers are declining worldwide and they remain highly endangered, it is estimated that between 600 and 800 females come to the shores of Playa Grande annually. (more…)

Animal Planet Films “Meet the Sloths” in Cahuita Sanctuary

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Animal Planet’s prime time show, “Meet the Sloths” details the interesting lives of 150 furry residents at Aviarios del Caribe – Cahuita’s (now famous) sloth sanctuary. If you haven’t been, this one-of-a-kind refuge protects orphaned and injured sloths from all over Costa Rica. Since opening its doors in 1997, the sanctuary and its dedicated staff have rehabilitated and rescued more than 350 two and three-toed sloths, ensuring they receive the care and love they deserve. The popular series, which was filmed last fall, details the romances and struggles of sloths named Tigger, Melinda, Suzi and Samantha, among others.

2 toed sloth located in Costa Rica

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Animal Planet show goes behind-the-scenes

The show, which began airing on Discovery’s Animal Planet in November of 2013, takes viewers on a wild ride into the secret lives of sloths, following their days as seen through the eyes of their caretakers: their nursery manager, a resident sloth scientist and the sanctuary’s founder. The cute factor reaches dangerously high levels in this entertaining and sometimes heartbreaking show that unveils much about these enigmatic creatures. (more…)

TripAdvisor Rates Manuel Antonio among World’s Top 25 Beaches

Friday, May 30th, 2014

TripAdvisor’s eagerly awaited 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards are out, and Costa Rica has once again received accolades for its spectacular beaches.  Trusted for their honest reviews posted by travelers for travelers, the website published its ranking of the World’s Top 25 Beaches, and Manuel Antonio made the cut! Often described by visitors as a “tropical paradise,” it isn’t hard to see why this central Pacific gem is one of the most popular beach vacation destinations among Costa Rica’s varied choices.

Manuel Antonio rated amongst top 25 beaches on TripAdvisor

More On Costa Rica Beaches Here

Manuel Antonio ranks among top 25 beaches in the world

According to traveler reviews at TripAdvisor, Brazil’s Baia de Soncho Beach is the planet’s top beach, followed by Playa Flamenco in Puerto Rico and Sicily’s secluded Rabbit Beach. Other contenders for the top 25 spots included Lanikai Beach on Hawaii’s Kailua, Spain’s Cathedral Beach and Cala Mariolu in Italy. Our very own Playa Manuel Antonio made the list at number 23, and was praised for its aquamarine waters, abundant wildlife and family-friendly national park, where visitors can swim in warm Pacific (more…)





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