Archive for Costa Rica Interest
Yesterday we had to go to the US embassy in San Jose. Usually that would mean spending the night in San jose then coming back the following day about a 6-7 hour trip one way. Well the good news is a new highway from the city is now open and lets off at the beach in-between Jaco and Puntarenas.
The road is by far the nicest highway in Costa Rica now. It passes through amazing views of valleys jungle and rolling hills. There’s double lanes so passing those slow semi trucks is no problem. There are quite a few toll booths that you have to pass by, about 4 so it costs 5-6 dollars one way. Well worth the hour and half travel time save.
It use to take 2-3 hours drive from the fairy but now in one hour you’re in the city. For us locals it sure makes life more convenient. We can now do our bulk shopping and take care of things that can only be done in the city and be back the same day.
Good job Costa!
Here at Shaka we are sympathetic to the vacationer who finds it hard to vacation in these sliding economies. Many people may not have the liquid cash, but may have something of great use or value to us here in Costa. So that being said we are open minded to possible trades of comparable value for items or services that we may need, like or really want. We have already done some barter vacation exchanges that worked out nice for both sides
If you have something of value perhaps we can do a trade or partial cash &trade. Here are some ideas
- Electronics: Here in Costa Rica electronics such as portable computers, cameras, projectors, game systems, apple products, audio equipment, studio equip etc costs more and breaks down sooner. Because of the humidity, dampness in the rainy season and salt in the air stuff breaks down frequently. It’s safe to say we always need something
- Sporting goods: Surfboards, aluminum mountain bikes, fishing gear,
- Tools: All name brand tools cost more here. Quality name brand carpentry, power, and mechanic tools are always of interest.
- House and home: and once again anything that’s fancy and nice cost more or is hard to get. Fixtures, hardware, decorations, energy saving, or anything that can improve a beach house or cabanas will of course be of interest.
- Services: Internet marketing, marketing: We’re always looking for ways to improve our business exposure. Therapeutic: Many of us are extremely active and have nagging injuries, so a true master healer at times would be welcome. That’s just a few off the top of my head. We are open-minded to ideas, lets us know.
Some of us spend part of the year in Las Vegas, Colorado and Texas. An Item could be potentially delivered there as well.
The Shaka Team
So yesterday I drove 4 1/2 hours one way to the town of Nicoya to do my first automobile safety check or Riteve RTV(REVISIÓN TÉCNICA). Bare in mind that most of the drive is on bumpy dirt roads. This was my second trip there this month because on my first visit my 2008 truck failed due to bad bearings.
In some states in the US all vehicles are required to pass a safety inspection. Hawaii is one of them. In the US you can pretty much go to any gas station and get your sticker in 15 minutes provided your car is passable. Here in Costa Rica the hoops you have to jump through blew me away. There are many things you can get away with a simple bribe but this is not one
So here is my short tutorial on how it works.
1. First you have to call and make an appointment in advance.
2. upon arrival you go into the office and present your expired Riteve certificate, car papers, ID( if you’re a foreigner your passport)and pay about 10,000 Colones($20.00) then drive to the back of the line. Tip: don’t make your appt on Monday at the end of the month because this is the most crowded
3. The building you drive through looks similar to a car wash slightly longer with four stations that you stop at for various inspections with a person manning each one.
4. Station A. They check all your lights, tint(no front or back tint allowed), horn, wipers, quick look under the hood, tire tread(your treads need about 4-5mm minimum, smog emission, spare tire, and inside the car you must have a kit that includes jack, jumpers, reflective triangles and vest.
5. Station B. You roll your front tires then your back tires over a metal plate thing that checks your alignment.
6. Station C. You roll your front tires on rollers that spin your tires individually to check your brakes for strength and evenness. You then roll your back tires and have to demonstrate your e-brake and foot brake.
7. Final Station D The pit. You then drive over a pit where a person with a flashlight and microphone inspects the under carriage of your vehicle for any potential hazards such as over rust, loose bearings, loose stearing components or oil leaks.
8. You then exit the building park and wait inline at a booth where all the information is fed to a computer. If all goes well, the man in the booth hands you your papers with your new Riteve sticker. In the event you fail the man will hand you a paper with details in Spanish of what you need to fix.
9. You have 30 days to fix what did not pass. After you get whatever fixed, you have to make another appointment pay 5,000 Colones($10.00) for your return inspection. If its within the 30 days they will only inspect what did not pass, you still have to wait in line. Whew! Hey small price to pay to live in paradise
Pura Vida! Shakacostarica
Hello again, In this blog i want to talk a little about the rainy/wet season and what to expect vacationing durfing different times of the year. The rainy season. Ive already talked about why i love the rainy season in an earlier blog so now ill expand on a few things. The beginning of the rainy season is around mid April, basically thats when you can expect your first rain. The rains start off subtle and build intensity over the months so there is usually still pleny of sunshine. When the first decent rains hit you can expect 2 things. First is more humidity, it take about 6-8 weeks for the trees to fill in with leaves, the under ground water table to begin to rise, and for the temperature and land to to cool off.
The next thing impossible to miss is the Tajalin invasion. After first rains a species of purple and orange crabs comes down from the mountains and they get EVERYWHERE. I personally think they are funny and entertaining, but they can get anywhere and its not uncommon for unsuspecting tourists to return home to find they brought back 1 or two in a suitcase. The worst part is they hang out on the roads and especially at night there are so many its impossible for vehicles to avoid them. After a couple of weeks they start to fade away and by june you hardly ever see any.
Usually around the end of June or July we get an Indian summer for 2-4 weeks. This is one of the nicest times of the year because its nice and cool, the vegetation is at its lushest, and the beaches are quiet. Usually there is plenty of vacancy so showing up without reservations is not a problem. Smaller less used roads begin to get bad and many of the routes can become impassible. All the roads become rougher so travel times slow down. They dont fix or redo the roads until december-January when the rains stop.
September-October-November usually has consistent rains in the afternoons and evenings. From my experience about 40-50 percent of the days will still have scattered showers or sunshine in the morning to afternoon, and the rest will be overcast with occasional down pours.
Activities that can be more enjoyable during the wet season include: 1. Quading because of no dust. 2. Visiting waterfalls and swimming holes because of the obvious. 3. Surfing because the rainy season provides more swell and overcast skys reducing sun burns. 4. boat Fishing, cooler waters oct-dec can the most abuntant game like yellow fin, wahoo, amber jack and mahi mahi.
Well thats just some of the things off the top of my head.
Why do we say surfing is the hardest board sport in the world? In actuality it doesn’t take any longer to learn to ride a surfboard than any other board sport, but in surfing because of the elements of the ocean the amount of stand up time you get in an average surf session is miniscule compared to say snowboarding or skateboarding. For example I’ve been surfing for over 15 years and am pretty efficient with my time in the water but still in a 3 hour surf session with perfect conditions and no crowds i might still only get 5 minutes total on my feet.
Point#2 Learning the ocean. Before you even get to practice surfing you have to learn about the ocean, tides swings, currents, how to deal with endless oncoming whitewater or waves, and to top it off you need the strength and endurance to paddle back out then catch a wave over and over. To make things even more confusing every surf spot will have a huge range of changing characteristics such as ,reef break, point break, sand bar beach break, high tide wave, low tide wave, onshore wind, off-shore wind, rip currents, channel or no channel and the list goes on. One of the first things people realize when they take their very first surf lesson is how difficult it is to balance just lying down on a surfboard with the motion of the ocean.
Point#3 The hunter element. In surfing we essentially become wave hunters. A. First you have to find a good hunting ground or as we call it beach. B. Then you have to watch carefully to see where the waves are running, how long the set intervals are and where there are not already to many other hunters getting in your way or stealing your catches. C. You then need to make sure you have the proper equipment to catch the waves. D. Finally you need paddle out, wait in the line-up, identify an incoming wave, position yourself at the peak, pick the proper direction left or right then finally the chase is on.
All of this makes surfing the hardest board sport, but the challenge, the ocean medium, and the lifestyle makes surfing the most addictive board sport as well.
Pura Vida & Aloha
Well, as head surf instructor for Shaka beach retreat talking about and explaining the tides has become an everyday task for me. Many people come to the beach and they don’t understand why certain times of the day are good for surfing and other times are considered bad. The beach is the beach, so what difference does it make when i go surfing? So anyway the purpose of this blog is to explain how the tides affect our beaches here in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica.
1. High tide & low tide. About every 6 hours the tide switches from low to high and vice-versa. The tide goes out for 6 hours then the tide comes in for 6 hours. So if low tide is 6am and rising, then mid tide is around 9am, and high tide is 12noon then it turns around and goes back out. An interesting thing to note is when the tide switches directions the waves can go completely flat for 15-20 minutes. This can give a false impression of wave size and conditions to someone who arrives to surf right at that moment. I always advise beginners to watch the waves for 10-15 to get an accurate assesment before jumping in.
2. Here in Costa Rica the tide swing is pretty big around 8-9 feet difference between low and high tide. An interesting thing is every coastal area around the globe has different levels or measurements of tide swings, some ranging to less then a foot to over 20 feet. Variables such as the the moon phase, time of year, and geographical location greatly affect day to day tide levels. On any given day here the low or high tide can vary 2-3 feet so its important to check the local tide chart as well as a visual check.
3. Every day the tides move up about 1 hour. If high tide comming in Monday is 8am, then Tuesday high tide will be 9am then wednesday 10am and so on. So the 2 things to think about are that tides switches aproximately every 6 hours from either low or to high and roughly every 6 days the time of a high or low tide will completely switch.
Here is a tide chart for July 2010 to show the changes
|Fri 01||02:36 AM 9.60 ft||08:52 AM −0.47 ft||03:11 PM 9.25 ft||09:10 PM 0.02 ft|
|Sat 02||03:27 AM 9.91 ft||09:40 AM −0.85 ft||03:59 PM 9.73 ft||10:02 PM −0.32 ft|
|Sun 03||04:17 AM 10.03 ft||10:28 AM −1.04 ft||04:48 PM 10.04 ft||10:53 PM −0.47 ft|
|Mon 04||05:06 AM 9.95 ft||11:16 AM −1.00 ft||05:38 PM 10.12 ft||11:44 PM −0.42 ft|
|Tue 05||05:57 AM 9.64 ft||12:04 PM −0.75 ft||06:27 PM 9.98 ft|
|Wed 06||12:36 AM −0.16 ft||06:49 AM 9.16 ft||12:54 PM −0.29 ft||07:19 PM 9.65 ft|
|Thu 07||01:31 AM 0.25 ft||07:43 AM 8.57 ft||01:46 PM 0.29 ft||08:14 PM 9.20 ft||Last Quarter|
|Fri 08||02:29 AM 0.71 ft||08:42 AM 7.96 ft||02:42 PM 0.92 ft||09:13 PM 8.73 ft|
|Sat 09||03:32 AM 1.12 ft||09:46 AM 7.47 ft||03:44 PM 1.48 ft||10:15 PM 8.34 ft|
|Sun 10||04:38 AM 1.38 ft||10:55 AM 7.18 ft||04:50 PM 1.86 ft||11:19 PM 8.10 ft|
|Mon 11||05:45 AM 1.43 ft||12:02 PM 7.14 ft||05:57 PM 2.01 ft|
|Tue 12||12:20 AM 8.04 ft||06:46 AM 1.30 ft||01:02 PM 7.32 ft||06:58 PM 1.95 ft|
|Wed 13||01:14 AM 8.11 ft||07:38 AM 1.07 ft||01:54 PM 7.60 ft||07:51 PM 1.76 ft|
|Thu 14||02:03 AM 8.26 ft||08:23 AM 0.80 ft||02:39 PM 7.93 ft||08:36 PM 1.51 ft|
|Fri 15||02:46 AM 8.42 ft||09:02 AM 0.55 ft||03:19 PM 8.24 ft||09:16 PM 1.25 ft||New Moon|
|Sat 16||03:26 AM 8.56 ft||09:38 AM 0.36 ft||03:56 PM 8.49 ft||09:54 PM 1.04 ft|
|Sun 17||04:04 AM 8.62 ft||10:12 AM 0.26 ft||04:32 PM 8.66 ft||10:31 PM 0.89 ft|
|Mon 18||04:40 AM 8.58 ft||10:46 AM 0.26 ft||05:06 PM 8.73 ft||11:06 PM 0.83 ft|
|Tue 19||05:16 AM 8.43 ft||11:19 AM 0.37 ft||05:41 PM 8.70 ft||11:43 PM 0.87 ft|
|Wed 20||05:52 AM 8.18 ft||11:53 AM 0.58 ft||06:15 PM 8.58 ft|
|Thu 21||12:20 AM 1.00 ft||06:29 AM 7.84 ft||12:27 PM 0.86 ft||06:51 PM 8.40 ft|
|Fri 22||12:59 AM 1.19 ft||07:08 AM 7.46 ft||01:04 PM 1.18 ft||07:30 PM 8.18 ft|
|Sat 23||01:42 AM 1.41 ft||07:51 AM 7.09 ft||01:46 PM 1.50 ft||08:15 PM 7.97 ft||First Quarter|
|Sun 24||02:31 AM 1.60 ft||08:43 AM 6.80 ft||02:36 PM 1.77 ft||09:09 PM 7.80 ft|
|Mon 25||03:29 AM 1.70 ft||09:46 AM 6.66 ft||03:37 PM 1.94 ft||10:12 PM 7.77 ft|
|Tue 26||04:35 AM 1.60 ft||10:56 AM 6.79 ft||04:47 PM 1.88 ft||11:20 PM 7.94 ft|
|Wed 27||05:42 AM 1.27 ft||12:05 PM 7.23 ft||05:58 PM 1.53 ft|
|Thu 28||12:26 AM 8.34 ft||06:45 AM 0.71 ft||01:06 PM 7.92 ft||07:04 PM 0.95 ft|
|Fri 29||01:26 AM 8.88 ft||07:41 AM 0.06 ft||02:02 PM 8.71 ft||08:03 PM 0.27 ft|
|Sat 30||02:21 AM 9.42 ft||08:33 AM −0.58 ft||02:53 PM 9.46 ft||08:57 PM −0.37 ft||Full Moon|
|Sun 31||03:12 AM 9.85 ft||09:22 AM −1.08 ft||03:42 PM 10.06 ft||09:47 PM −0.83 ft|
Many beaches here are categorized as tide optimal breaks; for example Playa Carmen is a mid/high to high tide break, Santa teresa, La lora is mid to mid/low break.
Depending on what time a particular tide is, what the current wind direction is, as well as the swell direction and size will completely dictate the schedule for an entire day or even week in the eyes of a surf instructor or experienced surfer.
Pura Vida!! It’s an amazing day here at Shaka! The sky is clear, the sun is shining, a gentle breeze is blowing, and it is muy tranquilo.
In between surf sessions and quad expeditions, Krista, Mo’e and I have been busy brainstorming and tossing around new ideas for vacation packages to offer on Shaka Beach Retreat Website! Inspired by an old friend, Mo’e, a certified personal trainer, is totally stoked on the idea of putting together a Fitness Adventure package. it’s going to be amazing: early morning yoga on the beach, beach boot camps, hiking and zip-line tours in Montezuma, surf lessons, healthy meals, and so much more! It’s going to be killer and designed for the vacationers who are interested in getting in shape while enjoying all of the adventure that the Nicoya Peninsula has to offer.
In addition, I’m working on writing a biography for our camp dog, Lady, that we will have posted on the website and a write up to submit to Zoom! Nicoya Peninsula- a local magazine with news and tourist information. It’s a pretty exciting time here.
I’m totally excited and working ferociously to get camp ready for 2 weeks of adaptive surf camps with Ocean Healing Group!! It’s going to be great to see all of my old friends, meet some new people, and bring some excitement to our injured campers. Ahhh… it makes my heart feel so good when the camps are here. The experience of being involved with OHG camps is hard to put into words: emotional, inspiring, soul-soothing, and magical. I have met some of the most incredible people in my life here at Shaka!!
Mo’e will be here soon to take me out for an instructional surf session… I’m stoked! Gotta go wax my board, liberally apply that sunscreen, and hit the beach!
Keep checking back for more news, updates, and stories about my volunteer experience on The Shaka Front!
Well its been awhile since i blogged. We have a new volunteer Katie who is gonna keep the blog section updated. This last week has been very quiet so sitting around in the rancho web browsing, facebooking and blogging has become a staple time filler.
Actually the rainy season is my favorite time of the year. No dust, downtime, more swell and uncrowded waves are just a few of the benefits. If you only experience the dry season you really miss out on the greenest time of the year. More animals show up near and around Shaka, and ocasionally the internet and power go out during the rain forcing you to unplug kickback in a hamock and read a book or just sit with your thoughts. Something many of us dont do, or forget how to do in this pace increaing society.
This past week i rebuilt the website for my brothers group SPITBREED. Both of my computers broke in the last 6 months, so Ive been relatively unplugged for a while. Its nice to have the luxury of internet but when i don’t have it i am 3 times more active outside, which makes me wonder if i like it at all. I really cant complain since my office is basically a hammock outside on my terrace looking out to the rain forest with the sounds of wild animals, ocean and waves in the background.
My brothers group SPLITBREED is really gaining momentum in Vegas and their music really suits their location. They just released their first album and you can listen to the entire album online here www.splitbreed.com. Although my web skills makes them look like Starts that have arrived they are still grinding and struggling, so if you have a moment visit their page and become a face book fan they need all the support they can get.
Until next time