Archive for the ‘Manuel Antonio’ Category

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…)

5 Reasons We Love Manuel Antonio

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Costa Rica is one of the world’s hottest ecotourism destinations, and within its tropical bounds Manuel Antonio ranks among its most popular spots for a family vacation or romantic escape. Among the myriad incentives to explore this enchanting part of the country, we’ve narrowed it down to our top five.  Featuring diverse attractions and adventure activities for travelers of all persuasions, this balmy beach town is must see on your next Costa Rica vacation!

Manuel Antonio beach  Costa Rica

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#1- Fantastic beaches

Ok, this one is a given. But once you set eyes on these sun-kissed sands, swaying coconut palms and clear blue waters, you’ll wax poetic too.  Choose from several white-sand shorelines, where you can bronze under the sun’s warming rays, swim safely in tidal areas with your little ones, or simply unwind with a refreshing smoothie or cocktail. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent along the public stretch, and if you venture into the national park, you are assured seclusion and privacy from other sun worshippers. (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

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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…)

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…)

Our Favorite Hiking Spots in Costa Rica

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

With hundreds of national parks and reserves to choose from, Costa Rica is a dream for hiking enthusiasts of all ages and abilities.  Well-tread footpaths through primary rainforest, rugged mountain passes, and sandy ocean-side trails beckon thousands of travelers each year. While challenging to whittle down our list of favorite hikes, the following made the cut based on their sheer beauty, accessibility and cornucopia of wildlife. But before heading out on your Costa Rican trek, be sure to heed the following tips: hire a local guide (whenever feasible), bring plenty of water, pack extra sunscreen and insect repellent and carry raingear for the odd thunderstorm.

Santa Elena cloud forest hiking trail

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Inviting cloud forests of Santa Elena 

Situated on the edge of its more popular neighbor Monteverde, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve deserves as much praise if not more when it comes to the pleasures of hiking. Here, you can escape the tourist crowds and enjoy more than eight miles of luscious, verdant primary growth cloud forest simply brimming with bromeliads, epiphytes and orchids. Local guides are invaluable for spotting some of the 400 bird species that inhabit this protected zone. Besides the fabulous birdwatching, visitors often report coatimundi, sloth and tree frog sightings. (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 vacación 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…)

Benefits of Spending Christmas in Costa Rica

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Want to experience a “White Christmas” in Costa Rica? Look no further than the dazzling beaches of Manuel Antonio, where sugar-white sands are soft beneath your toes and the sun is always shining! December not only marks the beginning of Costa Rica’s peak tourism period, it also signifies a change in weather, as the country shifts from rainy to dry season. When you spend Christmas in Costa Rica, you can leave the miserable snow shoveling behind as you jet-set into tropical warmth, where average temps hover in the 80s and 90s and seasonal winds make outdoor pursuits that much more pleasant. Here are some of our top reasons you should consider a Costa Rica vacation over the holidays.

Christmas in Costa Rica great for family of all ages

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The weather is absolutely sublime

Weather-wise, December and January are some of the greatest months to visit Costa Rica, especially if your holiday plans include the central Pacific beaches. As the country transitions from the green season to the dry, humidity levels go down and December winds kick into high gear. Daytime temperatures around the Central Valley rarely surpass 80 degrees, and warmer coastal areas are tempered with constant breezes. (more…)

Manuel Antonio Tour Guide – Adventure and Romance

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Situated on the picturesque central Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s most sought-after beach vacation destinations, and for good reason. Lowland rainforest meets the sea in this tropical hamlet, which is treasured for its pristine white sands, breathtaking sunsets and slew of heart-pounding adventure and eco tours.  Escape Villas is proud to offer a new Manuel Antonio Tour Guide eBook that compiles 15 years of our local expertise, allowing you to better plan the family vacation or romantic getaway of your dreams.

Beautiful Manuel Antonio beach a popular spot for surfing at all levels

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Manuel Antonio at a glance

Ideal for nature enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies, wildlife lovers and beach bums, Manuel Antonio caters to travelers of all walks of life. Traveling on a tight budget? The area is bustling with simple but comfortable hostels, where $30 gets you a clean bungalow and easy access to the beach. For a bit more luxury, rainforest and ocean view villas provide a lot of bang for your buck and come with fully-equipped kitchens, private swimming pools and stunning panoramas. The dry season months of December through April are the most popular time to visit, though green season (May – November) specials can knock up to 30 percent off accommodation rates. (more…)

Save Money on a Costa Rica Medical Vacation

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Medical tourism in Costa Rica is growing by leaps and bounds, and for good reason.  Last year nearly 40,000 medical tourists took advantage of the nation’s internationally-accredited hospitals, highly-trained health care professionals and affordable prices. Why do so many Americans and Canadians choose Costa Rica for their dental, preventative care and cosmetic surgery needs? Most procedures cost 30 to 60 percent less and are complemented by a stress-free recovery in paradise, where English-speaking staff offer patients the best in post-operative care. In reality, health care in Costa Rica is so reasonable that a medical vacation here, including accommodations, airfare and sightseeing is much less than the procedure alone would cost in the States.  For instance, a vacationer can save 50% and more on the cost of cosmetic dentistry, including dental implants and full mouth reconstruction.

Medical tourism in San Jose with low dental costs

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Medical tourism in Costa Rica

If you are contemplating a Costa Rica medical or dental vacation, you can rest assured the nation has one of Latin America’s best health care systems, with multiple JCI-accredited hospitals in the San Jose metropolitan area. Clinica Biblica, CIMA San Jose and Clinica Catolica are all top-notch private hospitals that cater to medical tourists with bilingual staff and the latest equipment and medical technology.  Most surgical packages include post-op care at a luxurious recovery center and several sightseeing tours to local attractions, enabling patients to take in some of Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches, botanical gardens and national parks. (more…)

Top Adventure Tours in Costa Rica

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

No Costa Rica vacation is complete without at least one hair-raising adventure – and with ample adrenaline-pumping tours on offer, the hardest part is often narrowing down your choices. Canopy zip-line tours, waterfall rappelling, parasailing, and rafting Costa Rica’s churning river rapids are just a few that top the list. Here are some of the most popular tours that will satisfy even the most die-hard of adventure buffs.

Costa Rica white water rafting adventure tour

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Thrills & spills: whitewater rafting on the Pacuare and Reventazon

For a mellow river rafting trip, Costa Rica offers several options, including the Sarapiqui, Savegre and Naranjo Rivers.  The latter two make for great day trips from both Jaco and Manuel Antonio. But if heart-pounding Class IV and V rapids are more your cup of tea, a Pacuare River excursion promises a day of unforgettable scenery and challenging white waters. Multi-day packages can be booked out of San Jose and Turrialba, which include mountain lodging, meals, equipment, bilingual guides and roundtrip transportation, plus an exhilarating run down either the Pacuare or Reventazon, both of which are renowned as some of the world’s toughest. (more…)

Quepos to Host 2014 Offshore World Championship

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Mark your calendars anglers! The sport fishing Mecca of Costa Rica is ramping up for the 2014 Offshore World Championship, slated to run from April 6-11. Just like last year’s tournament, the world-class Marina Pez Vela in Quepos is the site of all the action, where participants represent the “best of the best” in the sport fishing industry. The Offshore World Championship features the ultimate in catch-and-release big game fishing following more than 120 qualifying tournaments worldwide, and this year’s competition should hail record crowds!

Offshore world championships 2014 being held in Quepos Manuel Antonio

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The Olympics of sportfishing

Quepos is proud to host this prestigious and much anticipated event for the second year in a row. Last year, the Offshore World Championship lured more than 65 teams who each worked hard to enter the event by winning one of the 120+ qualifying tournaments held throughout the globe. Widely regarded as the Olympics of sport fishing, the tournament draws international coverage as one of the most challenging and thrilling offshore events.  In 2013, die hard anglers set all kinds of fishing records, with more than 300 men and women in participation. Within five short days, anglers released 821 billfish, including 811 sailfish and ten marlin. (more…)

Save Money on Your Manuel Antonio Vacation Rental

Friday, September 6th, 2013

You’re planning your ultimate Costa Rica beach vacation but are undecided when it comes to location.  For the best of both worlds, consider Manuel Antonio beach – the premier holiday destination – perfect for honeymooning couples, families and large groups of friends. Renowned for its verdant backdrops, sublime beaches, excellent restaurants and varied adventure tours, you will be spoiled for choice. And if you really want to save money and maximize your trip, a rental home is your ticket to a stress-free escape in paradise. Here are a few simple ways to save extra cash by using your Manuel Antonia villa rental to its best advantage.

Amazing Manuel Antonio vacation rental in Costa Rica

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The more the merrier!

By electing to stay in a Manuel Antonio beach rental rather than a hotel, you’re already saving big bucks. But to capitalize on these savings, invite along some of your best friends to enjoy all that Costa Rica has to offer. Escape Villas has an extensive selection of luxury vacation rentals in the Quepos and Manuel Antonio area that sleep up to 18 people! Enjoy panoramic Pacific Ocean views, posh master suites, a private pool and tons of modern amenities. You’ll spend much less than you would on a hotel, and get to kick back with your mates in the lap of luxury. (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 Sportfishing Epic Year Round

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

You don’t have to been a seasoned angler to appreciate Costa Rica’s epic sportfishing. Rain or shine, Atlantic coast or Pacific, the fishing is truly phenomenal any time of year. Cast your line inshore for red snapper, roosterfish and snook, or head into deeper waters for the prize-winning beasts – black marlin and sailfish. Costa Rica sportfishing is rated among the best in the world, and the central Pacific town of Quepos is the frequent site of international tournaments, including the recent 2013 IGFA World Offshore Championship at Marina Pez Vela.

Quepos & Manuel Antonio in the center of all the action

Marlin one of the Sport Fish to go for while in Costa Rica

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Marina Pez Vela has attracted several headlining catch and release tournaments such as the 2012 Quepos Billfish Cup and the renowned 2011 Costa Rica Classic. The world-class facility just hosted the “Olympics of Sportfishing,” which lured more than 200 die-hard anglers from around the globe. Participants fished for marlin, sailfish, and big-eye tuna along with wahoo and mahi mahi (also known as dorado). While trophies were awarded for various categories, the crew that shone brightest was that on the EPIC, captained by Mike Alligood, with Randal Garcia Canales as mate. The team, which is based at Costa Rica’s Los Sueños marina, released 26 sailfish and one blue marlin, earning a total of 5,700 points. The Quepos marina is just five miles from the pristine beaches and diverse wildlife of neighboring Manuel Antonio and its national park. (more…)

This months top pick – Stunning Costa Rica Vacation Rental

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

If you’re looking to get away from it all and escape to paradise, this beautiful Manuel Antonio rental home is the place you want to be in Costa Rica. This 4-bedroom, 4-bath villa is a one of a kind property in the Manuel Antonio and Quepos area. It is the most private of all the Manuel Antonio vacation rentals, boasting 4 acres of manicured tropical lawns and botanical gardens that are set amid 10 acres of private property; bordered on one side by a nature reserve and the other by the most famous Costa Rican national park. There are plenty of Costa Rica activities for the whole family.

From the multi-level roof top terraces you will entertain your guests with magnificent Pacific Ocean views, and unforgettable sunsets. The waterfall swimming pool is set in the most beautiful private tropical garden in all Manuel Antonio vacation rentals. A 10-person Jacuzzi spills water over a diving platform into the tile pool, 2 meters below.

Every inch of this Colonial-Moorish style home has been custom designed. From the stone bathroom sinks and countertops to the marble dining room table, each detail has been attended to by the owner who designed one of the premier hotels in the area. For more information please contact Escape Villas on

Life can’t get any better than this! Discover Costa Rica luxury vacationing at Casa Fantastica, Manuel Antonio

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

If you are looking for an unforgettable vacation experience, Casa Fantastica will surely deliver. Living up to its name, Casa Fantastica not only offers some of the best views in all of Manuel Antonio, it also ticks all the right boxes for the perfect Costa Rica luxury vacation rental.

Manuel Antonio vacation rental swimming pool

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Casa Fantastica is a tropical-modern style resort home that was especially designed and built to cater for the premier rental home market. Divided into two wings, Casa Fantastica has an impressive 8 air-conditioned bedrooms along with 8 Full and 3 Half bathrooms that include designer fixtures. Covering over 10,000 foot, this majestic residence Casa Fantastica offers guests 2 spacious Master Suites and 6 comfortable guest bedrooms each with their own bathroom. (more…)

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