Archive for the ‘Puntarenas’ 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 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.

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.

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…)

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…)

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…)

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 Rica Eco Tour To The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is a major destination for the tourists who are coming to explore Costa Rica and its splendid wonders of Nature. The mysterious jungle is famous for being one of the best spots where you can see a beautiful Quetzal with its colorful plumage. This Cloud Forest Biological Reserve will take your breath away for its intact beauty and richness of flora and fauna.

Monteverde cloud forest sky walk surrounded by Costa Rica nature

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Monteverde is located in the province of Puntarenas just 45 minutes from Arenal Volcano. It’s about 4 and half hours away from San Jose which is the capital of Costa Rica. It is known to be one of the most outstanding nature reserves of the planet with its bio diversity and natural beauty. Cloud forests receive less rainwater than rain forest. However, they are by no means dry. Cloud forests are usually located at higher altitudes and hold on to the humidity. (more…)

Costa Rica Wildlife – Sharks Abundant in Isla de Coco

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Sharks are a fantastic example of Costa Rica wildlife and the Isla de Coco, located in Puntarenas is home to a total of 12 species. Just in Chatham Bay there are a total of 206 white tip reef sharks. After their Costa Rica nature investigation a team of biologists confirmed this means there is a healthy population of resident sharks in Isla de Coco. This is one of the preliminary results of the Mision Tiburon (Mission Shark) organization that initiated an investigation to evaluate the population of white tip reef sharks in the Isla de Coco Conservation Area.

Costa Rica Wildlife Isla de Coco

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Costa Rica Wildlife – White tip shark study in Isla de Coco

This particular species of shark lives in the reef that surrounds the Isla de Coco. In Costa Rica the white reef shark spends most of their time lying on sandy flats and is one of the most fascinating Costa Rica wildlife species.

The investigative team established a tagging system that helped them identify each shark and ascertain whether they stayed in one particular area or moved to another. Taking into account that the reef is very sensitive to changing temperatures, the shark study is also looking into the impact of climate change. The results of this Costa Rica nature study will help to determine the affects of (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…)

Costa Rica Sport Fishing highlighted by Los Suenos Signature Billfish Series

Monday, April 18th, 2011
costa-rica-sports-fishing

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Costa Rica continues to rein supreme as a top sport  fishing vacation destination, as one of the world’s most popular deep sea fishing tournaments in Costa Rica comes to a close.  The second leg of the 8th annual Los Suenos signature Bill fish series has been the most successful to date, surpassing previous tournament  catch and release records.

This action packed Costa Rica catch and release sport fishing event took place in Playa Herradura in Puntarenas Costa Rica, at the luxury Los Suenos Resort and Marina.   The first leg of the two heated Costa Rica deep sea sport fishing contests was held from January 26th to the 29th, and the second leg was held from March the 2nd to the 5th.  With the three best performing boats taking home much coveted trophies and generous cash prizes, this Los Suenos signature Bill fish series was a highly contested Costa Rica sport fishing tournament.
(more…)

Puntarenas Costa Rica Promotes Tourism with $3 Million Swimming Pool Complex

Thursday, April 7th, 2011
Puntarenas Costa Rica Swimming Pool Complex $3 Million

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The city of Puntarenas Costa Rica is about to get a large addition—a new swimming pool complex! With the hope of encouraging more tourism to the port town of Puntarenas, this 1.5 billion colon beachfront pool complex will include an adult pool, a children’s pool, changing areas, parking, and a two-story combination bar and restaurant.

The new swimming pool complex in Puntarenas will built in the next year, according to Costa Rican officials, and the job should be completed in 8 months. The construction contract involves the firm Constructora Navarro y Aviles S. A. and the Instituto Costarricense de Puertos del Pacifico (Costa Rican Institute of Pacific Coast Ports). Also participating is the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (Costa Rican Institute of Tourism), according to officials. The proposed construction site is located on the Puntarenas Centro beachfront in Barrio el Carmen. (more…)

Isla Del Coco Costa Rica: The Legend of The Hidden Treasure

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Coco Island National Park Costa Rica Waterfall

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According to legend, Costa Rica may really be the coast of riches. Historians have confirmed there is evidence to suggest that what is now Parque Nacional Isla del Coco (Coco Island National Park) was used by pirates in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries to store valuable loot that they had pillaged from passing Spanish cargo ships. Many Costa Rica locals believe that the Isla del Coco, Puntarenas still holds many secrets including the location of a hidden treasure.

The infamous Captain Morgan, Edward Davis and William Thompson are believed to be just a few of the pirates who graced Costa Rican shores of this treasure island. Although the Isla del Coco Costa Rica is located in the Pacific Ocean many historians believe pirates would have gone to great lengths to protect their treasure having to travel a considerable distance around the tip of South America and around Cape Horn to get to their final destination.  The pirate’s adventure would not take weeks or months, but years. (more…)

An Eco Tour to Remember: Exploring Isla Tortuga, Costa Rica, By Catamaran

Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Costa Rica Eco Tour Catamaran Sailing

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Enjoy Costa Rica’s world famous golden coasts and turquoise waters while cruising the Gulf of Nicoya aboard a luxury catamaran. Add that little “extra something” to your family vacation, destination wedding or honeymoon in paradise by experiencing the thrill of sailing Costa Rica’s open sea.  A romantic and relaxing catamaran and snorkeling cruise through the beautiful, calm Pacific Ocean is the perfect addition to your Costa Rica beach vacation!

The one day catamaran tour to Tortuga Island is highly recommended. A shuttle picks you up from your luxury villa rental in Jaco or Manuel Antonio and transports you to Puntarenas, where the catamaran tour sets off. Whether relaxing on board the catamaran or off exploring the wonders of Tortuga Island, this is one excursion you don’t want to miss! The luxury catamaran includes a generous deck and two pools, so make sure you don’t forget your towel and sun block while on this Costa Rican eco tour!  (more…)





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