Archive for Costa Rica Interest

Celebrities in Costa Rica normally come from the US. Steven Tyler is one such person who recently bought property in Costa Rica. Despite its low profile on the world stage, Costa Rica is a country with its fair share of famous sons and daughters. Read on to discover some of the famous people who have made their country proud through their skills and achievements.

Claudia Poll and Silvia Poll

Claudia Poll

Claudia and Silvia Poll made history at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Apart from the stories of gridlock on the streets of the city of Atlanta, these two swimmers dominated in their performances. They blew the competition away and each received a gold medal in their respective events. What made it so special was it was the country’s first gold medals at the Olympics.

Lorena Clare Facio

lorena clare facio

Lorena Clare Facio is another athlete from Costa Rica. She’s a champion of dressage and participated in the widely publicised Pan American Games 1983. She added to her image by becoming the First Lady of Costa Rica in 1998, before she left Costa Rican politics in 2002. Since then, she has remained relatively private.

Francisco Amighetti

Betancourt´s caricature
Francisco Amighetti is one of the country’s most famous artists. He is one of the most well-known celebrities in Costa Rica due to his work as an engraver and expressionist painter. He makes his art relevant and aims to communicate social messages. In his work, he demonstrates influences from Mexican, European, American, and Japanese artistic styles. To cap everything off, he was named the ‘Artist of the Century’ for the 20th century.

Joaquín Gutiérrez

Joaquín Posada Gutierrez
Joaquín Gutiérrez is the equivalent of England’s William Shakespeare. Some of his works appear in the national curriculum and are mandatory reading for all students. His early book Cocorí is the most famous book he’s written and this is what led to a statue of him being erected inside the National Theater in the capital of San Jose.

Walter Flores

Walter Flores is one of the few Costa Rican music producers who made a name for himself outside of the country. He was the producer for singer and activist Ruben Blades. Ruben Blades has won Grammy awards for two of his jazz albums. Flores was also involved with the Marfil music group. Expats who enjoy Latin music nearly always have works from the Marfil music group on their music players.

Do you know any more celebs from Costa Rica? Drop by our Facebook page and let us know!

 

 

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Rare animals in Costa Rica are everywhere. This is a country home to 250 endangered plant and animal species. Many of them are unique to this Latin American country. No trip would be complete without making an attempt to spot some of these wonders. You might be one of the last humans to see them. Here are three rare and endangered animals you might be lucky enough to spot.

1. Resplendent Quetzal

CameliaTWU / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

This country is famous for bird watching. The Resplendent Quetzal is a prize for any birdwatcher to spot. It’s easily noticeable with its ruby red chest and emerald green wings. It’s cute and fluffy and makes its home within the cloud forests of the country. It’s only 14 inches, but its feathers can expand up to 30 inches.

Population numbers are declining as this bird can’t reproduce in captivity. The biggest threat is deforestation. Try spotting it around the Monteverde area.

2. Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey

Cloudtail / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

This spider monkey is long, slender and only has a 25-inch frame. It’s very fragile and it weighs a tiny 20 pounds at its maximum. You’ll hear this animal before you see it as it’s normally hooting from tree to tree with other monkeys. This makes it a target for predators in the forest canopy as it simply doesn’t know when to shut up!

These spider monkeys can be found in Tortuguero National Park, Santa Rosa National Park, and in many private reserves around the Monteverde area.

3. Baird Tapir

MiguelVieira / Foter / CC BY

Baird Tapir looks very much like a hybrid of a rhinoceros and an elephant. It also has some aspects of a horse. They can weigh up to 880 pounds and are about 6 feet long and 4 feet tall. It’s the largest land mammal on the entire continent. You can spot it by its coarse fur. Despite its size and the fact they’ve been known to beat up crocodiles, they’re peaceful herbivores.

There are only about 1,000 of them left, and most of them are held in national parks as part of conservation projects. Your best chance of meeting a Baird Tapir is by going to the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula.

Some rare animals in Costa Rica might be difficult to spot on your own. Take a local guide along with you. They can point out the little quirks of the species to you. This is important in the case of Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey where only slight differences separate them from other species of spider monkey.

Feel free to contact us for more information on wildlife spotting excursions.

 

 

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Backpackers in Costa Rica are in good company as thousands of them travel to this intriguing country each year. It offers so much for the budget traveller. Unlike many commercial destinations, this nation offers beauty instead of luxury. There’s so much to see and do for very low prices. Here are some favourite destinations for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money on holiday.

Puerto Viejo

Wha’ppen / Foter / CC BY-SA

This is perhaps the most popular destination on the Caribbean coast. It’s a big party atmosphere and you can find something going on every night of the week. If the dancing and the live music isn’t your thing, or you need to sleep off a hangover, there are quiet beach hotels isolated from the rest of the town.

Cahuita

Wha’ppen / Foter / CC BY-SA

Not every backpacker enjoys guzzling bottles of brightly coloured alcohols all night. Cahuita is the town for travellers who want to relax. It’s a small town located next to the Cahuita National Park. It’s only about an hour from Puerto Viejo yet the atmosphere couldn’t be more different.

You’ll only find a grand total of one bar in town and it’s never full. Most travellers prefer to lie around and read or go hiking throughout the forests surrounding the town.

Tortuguero

Tortuguero is teeming with wildlife of all kinds. It’s on the northern coast and is the country’s version of the Amazon. Throughout April and May you can observe Green Sea Turtles coming to nest on the beaches. If you arrive during the off-season, you can still spot and array of colourful animal and plant life. The river cruises and hiking trips are inexpensive and leave the various settlements on a daily basis.

Corcovado National Park

dmason / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

If you want to put in some effort, visit the Corcovado National Park. This remote area is in the southwest of the country on the Osa Peninsula. It’s more popular than ever, but tourist numbers are still low. The biggest difficulty is actually getting to the park. Once you arrive here, you’ll be treated to isolated beaches, the best hiking in Costa Rica, and rare animals on land and in the crystal clear waters off the peninsula.

Backpackers in Costa Rica should consider booking many of these trips in advance. Since a lot of the attractions are remote you can get the best deals by booking a few months before you’re set to leave. Consider arriving during the rainy season as there are less tourists and you’ll encounter a whole other set of wildlife in the jungles and waters of this Central American paradise.

 

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Yvonne Denman Photography / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

During your trip to Costa Rica you can expect to have to deal with a lot of different people. Ticos are usually informal, peaceful, and always willing to help. Social conventions aren’t as strict in Costa Rica. Either way, you should still act in the correct manner so you make a good first impression. Here are some tips on etiquette in Costa Rica to endear yourself to the locals.

Formality Returns

A strange quirk of Costa Rican culture is the fact everything is informal until you start drilling into speech. Ticos will always use formal terms in conversation. When they’re addressing a visitor like you, you’ll be referred to using ‘usted’. They only use the more informal friendly term ‘vos’ for friends and members of their own family.

Hello Goodbye

pura vida

When you greet someone or say goodbye you should say ‘pura vida’. It’s used as a way to say hello, goodbye, or just to fill space in a conversation. Both sexes will always shake hands. Hugs are generally reserved for family members and friends. At the same time, you should keep a respectful distance and avoid invading their personal space. Stop by our Facebook page and say Pura Vida!

Confrontation

Etiquette in Costa Rica starts to get strange, from a tourist’s point of view, when it comes to confrontation. Ticos will do practically anything to avoid confrontation. They don’t want to offend anyone. Remember, this is a country which takes peace so seriously it abolished the armed forces.

Sometimes, a Tico will give you the wrong directions to your destination simply because they don’t want to tell you they have no idea where you’re trying to reach. The attitude isn’t about achieving the best in customer satisfaction. It’s about maintaining high standards and reducing the risk of upsetting anyone.

Dress to Impress

Costa Rican men will only wear short trousers if they happen to be on the beach. It’s common to see them wear thin shirts with an open neck and long trousers anywhere else. Costa Rican women will show skin wherever they happen to be, which usually leads to catcalls and whistling. This is accepted in Costa Rica, so female visitors shouldn’t get too upset when it happens.

Either way, if you’re visiting local families or sacred sites you should always dress conservatively. You don’t want to risk offending anyone, even though confrontation in Costa Rica will never go past the passive aggressive stage. Check our packing tips for more information on what to bring on your trip to Costa Rica.

Lateness

If you’re planning on visiting someone, you should never worry about being late. Punctuality isn’t a Costa Rican strong point. In fact, most people will actually arrive anywhere from five minutes to an hour after the appointed time. They have a word for it, ‘Tico Time’.

Generally, this doesn’t apply to public transport and tour operators. These are very timely and you should aim to arrive at your destination at the arranged time.

 

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It’s always handy to know something about the country you’re visiting before you actually get there. Even if most of the conventions don’t apply to you, it’s good to know as much about your destination as possible. These facts about Costa Rica focus on life and traditions. You might find some of them strange, or completely eye-opening as some of them directly contrast with what we believe in countries like the UK and the US.

Young Children

It’s common for parents to give two-year-old children coffee. This seems mad as surely it’s just going to keep them up at night? It doesn’t because Ticos live a highly active lifestyle so the caffeine usually doesn’t affect them.

Death

Wha’ppen / Foter / CC BY-SA

Ticos don’t wait around to embalm you or for your relatives to pick out a nice casket. They put you in the ground on the same day. Your obituary comes out after you’ve been buried. Costa Ricans are very laidback even when it comes to death.

Furniture

Costa Ricans are naturally short. You’ll find nearly every piece of furniture outside of holiday resorts to be about six to eight inches lower than an average piece of furniture found in the USA. Tall and comfortably round people will have problems getting up out of chairs in a standard Tico family home.

Bad Habits

For all the country’s natural beauty, there’s still a lot of people who shun the benefits of good health. To illustrate this, most cigarette brands will cost you less than $2. McDonald’s, Burger King, and other major fast food chains also do home delivery. Now you don’t even have to leave your house to get fat!

Addresses

Addresses simply don’t exist outside of the major cities like San Jose. To deliver mail and find people, you’re usually directed to a major landmark like a church or statue. From here, you usually have to ask someone if they know who you’re looking for. This makes driving very complicated.

Fire Codes

Fire safety marshals in the US would have simultaneous heart attacks when they learn about this interesting fact. All doors open inwards instead of outwards. Costa Ricans have gotten used to pushing when they leave and pulling when they enter. Yet strangely they’ve never had a major fire disaster caused by these doors.

Bullfighting

Hambo / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Like many Latin nations, there are bullfights throughout the country. This is one of the more intriguing facts about Costa Rica as it’s bullfighting with a twist. For a start, the bull rarely dies. Secondly, you genuinely don’t know the outcome of the fight since the bull has a chance of winning and isn’t killed for doing so straight after. It makes the spectacle a whole lot less guilt-ridden and family friendly.

Have you booked your Costa Rican adventure yet? Contact us to discuss your vacation of a lifetime. Know any more interesting Costa Rica facts? Drop by our Facebook page and let us know!

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VancityAllie / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Costa Rica is a country renowned for its nightlife. Things really start to get hot after 10pm. If you’re visiting the country, you’re bound to indulge in the nightlife in Costa Rica at some point. Whilst there are lots of similarities to the UK and the US in the way people approach clubs, there are also some notable differences. Read on to find out more about getting your groove on in Tico town!

Dancing

stevendepolo / Foter / CC BY

Dancing in American and European clubs normally involves swaying mindlessly in time with the beat. If you’re a good dancer you might even be mocked by the rhythmically challenged. In Costa Rica, dancing is taken very seriously. It’s why you’ll find dance studios teaching all manner of jives and tangos at discounted prices. Some clubs will even offer dancing lessons early in the evening before the festivities begin.

If you’re not a good dancer, take a few lessons first or don’t dance. You will get a few odd looks if you act like Michael Jackson’s white cousin.

Concerts

jaguardelplatanar / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Live music is something else you’ll see regularly in clubs and bars. Concerts are one type of live music. These tend to involve anything from Flamenco to chamber music. You can find these bands in theatres and dedicated concert venues. They’re more formal and focus on the music over the drinks and the dancing.

Live Bands

The Photomaton / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Live bands are the second part of nightlife in Costa Rica. Live bands are brought into bars and are normally made up of local people. You’ll find some touring bands too. Now these bands are good. It’s not just a few high school kids putting a band together because they’ve got nothing better to do. If they were in the US they’d be competing for a record contract.

Music Types

The Photomaton / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Costa Rica is a country which doesn’t necessarily segregate its venues according to music type. Most bars will play different types of music on different days of the week. Ticos are very open to different types of music and there a lot more varied musical tastes within the country.

You can go to the same bar one night and listen to rap and return another night to listen to traditional Flamenco.

jurvetson / Foter / CC BY

Stay Safe

Ticos enjoy a good drink and a good dance, but the idea of a night on the town isn’t to get wasted. This is the American and the British way of doing things. Drunkards aren’t appreciated. Drink in moderation and focus on the music and the dancing to make the most of your time in this part of the world.

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Costa Rica is famous for its bird watching opportunities. It’s hundreds of species unique to Central America and has taken great steps to protect them through establishing a number of national parks. For tourists like you, this provides unrivalled views of some of the most colourful creatures in the world. Spot jabiru storks, scarlet macaws, and the blue-crowned motmot.

Before embarking on your trip, you need to make sure you’re properly prepared. The birds in Costa Rica might be wonders to behold, but the hot and humid climate isn’t.
Blue Crowned Motmot (4693084852)

Where are You Going?

There’s no designated bird watching location in Costa Rica. They’re everywhere because the San Jose government has taken many steps to preserve their habitats in the best way it can. Determine where you’re going.

The environment of this country varies wildly. It is all well and good sneaking through the jungles, but your attire here won’t suit a trip into the mountains. Carefully plan your route and any safe places should you need to shelter from high winds or sudden heavy rainfall.

Jabiru (Black Necked Stork), Australia Zoo (3341175686)Local Guide

Consider a local guide if you’ve never been to this country before. There are plenty of them around. Many of them work with conservation societies. The fee you pay them actively funds the preservation of these rare birds. Look for online reviews on specific guides and see which one suits you.

We all have our preferences. Some prefer to stick to well-travelled dirt tracks, whereas others will have you crawling through the undergrowth searching out some of the more ‘hard to spot’ creatures.

Bird Book Parrot.red.macaw.1.arp.750pix

Birds in Costa Rica come in all shapes and sizes. Often, it’s a matter of spotting a different coloured wingtip or a slightly different belly which segregates one species from another. Unless you’re a walking encyclopaedia, grab a field guide from Amazon before you go or from a book store in Costa Rica.

If you’re only visiting a certain area, you can normally find little guides for specific national parks. These are less bulky to carry around and are easy to replace. Some travellers are wary about carrying around a ‘trophy’ bird book.

Clothing

Birds in Costa Rica find it easy to stay cool because there’s so much humidity. You will have to confront this on most trips. Wear a poncho or light waterproof jacket to keep your clothing as dry as possible. In the forests, keep as little skin exposed as possible to make sure you don’t attract insect bites.

Mosquitoes do live in these forests, so do everything you can to avoid attracting them. Wear repellent on your skin and don’t use deodorants or perfumes. The strong scents attract them from far away. More Costa Rica Packing Tips

Time

Make sure you leave enough time for you to get back to base before night falls. You don’t want to be lumbering around in a forest at dusk. If you’re trapped outside at night, it’s a lot more difficult to find your way back. People who get stranded often have no choice but to stay outside.

A professional guide will always ensure you leave your bird watching position with enough time to spare.

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National parks in Costa Rica are all teeming with wildlife and cover 25 per cent of its total landmass. This is a country which takes pride in having such a diverse ecological system. It’s also the backbone of its behemoth tourism industry. During your trip to Central America, you’ll experience some of your most treasured memories in one or more national parks. If you’re unsure which of the 26 national parks you want to visit, here are our favourites.

Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge

CameliaTWU / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

This 10,000-hectare refuge is a regular migration site for waterfowl. Throughout the year, you’ll spot wood storks, anhinga, blue-winged teal, and glossy ibis. It’s a regular haunt for birdwatchers. During the rainy season, a shallow lake fills up to create an area where people can sail on. After the rainy season ends, the lake dries up again and it turns into a path people use.

Arenal National Park

mikebaird / Foter / CC BY

The Arenal National Park is the most well-known of Costa Rica’s national parks. The active Arenal Volcano constantly pumps out gases and steam from its almost perfectly cone-shaped peak. Since being declared a national park in 1994, millions of visitors have travelled to the volcano and gone to the maximum 600-metre elevation point to watch the lava.

It’s also the country’s largest source of hydroelectric power as the underground heat warms up nearby Lake Arenal.

Manuel Antonio National Park

AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker / Foter / CC BY

This small park on the Pacific Coast is just south of Quepos city and close to the capital of San Jose. It was established in 1972 and covers less than 2,000 hectares of land, which makes it the smallest park in Costa Rica. 150,000 people visit each year.

It’s known for its spectacular beaches and warm Pacific waters. Park rangers regularly tend the miles and miles of hiking trails weaving through the forest and along the beaches. Forbes recently named it as one of the world’s 12 most beautiful parks.

Tortuguero National Park

asorsz / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

This national park is one of the most remote national parks in Costa Rica. It’s in the Limon province and falls within the boundaries of the Tortuguero Conservation Area. You must book a visit to the park in advance if you want to go as it’s unreachable by land. The only way to get here is through boat or plane.

Despite its highly isolated location, it’s the third most popular park in the country. It’s well-known for its biological richness. There are a total of eleven different habitats in the Tortuguero National Park. These include lagoons, swamps, rainforest, mangrove, and beaches.

Visiting

Make sure you bring a local guide with you to these parks. They can show you some of Costa Rica’s most coveted birds and plants, whilst also making sure you can’t get lost. Going on a guided tour of a park is another great way to build camaraderie with other travellers from all over the world.

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