Archive for December, 2008

Costa Rica: The “Pura Vida” Way of Life

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

“Pura Vida,” a greeting used by Costa Ricans since 1956 and which literally means “Pure life” but contextually means “Full of Life” or “Going Great,” is the best way to define Costa Rica and its culture. Visiting this beautiful country immediately puts you in a good mood. This is a place where people are always nice and things always seem to be going just great. And what is best, there are innumerable things to do, places to see and food to eat! Here are some of the top Costa Rica Destinations for you to explore.

Manuel Antonio National Park: Luxury, Comfort and Nature

As soon as you arrive to Manuel Antonio you immediately notice that this is one of the most exclusive areas of Costa Rica. Luxurious hotels with panoramic views are found almost everywhere and numerous casinos are also available for the most demanding travelers. The park is one of the most popular and visited attractions of the country, receiving in average 150,000 visitors per year. Despite its small size of 682 hectares, the park offers stunning beaches, a lush rainforest with walking trails, and an incredible variety of wildlife.

A good idea is to hire a guide. These guides are most of the times bilingual (English-Spanish), they provide lots of information about the park and can be very helpful.

Corcovado National Park: Biologically Intense

If you are looking for an eco-tourism adventure, visiting the Corcovado National Park is a must. Among the most biologically intense areas of the planet, this park is also one of the most remote places of the country. It is located in the Osa Peninsula and it is home to a wide variety of endangered species including the beautiful Scarlet Macaw, the Red-Eyed Tree Frog and the Tapir among other creatures. While at Corcovado you will find thirteen different ecosystems that range from mangrove swamps and jolillo palm groves to beaches, lagoons and primary lowland rain forests.

Tamarindo: Superb Natural Surroundings

Located in the region of Guanacaste Province on the North Pacific Coast, this former fishing village is one of the most touristic towns of the area. It has beautiful pristine beaches and a laidback atmosphere perfect if you want to simply relax and enjoy the weather. Surfing and windsurfing conditions here are great and swimming, kayaking, jet skiing, boogie boarding and scuba diving are also popular pastimes. The best way to get to this charming town is to fly into the Liberia International Airport or if you are in San Jose take the domestic flight to Tamarindo Domestic Airport.

Playa Langosta: Amazing Surfing

Known for its amazing surfing and beautiful beachfront bed, Playa Langosta is one of the most popular spots of Costa Rica’s North Pacific Coast. Located just south of Tamarindo, this beach is ideal if you want to spend a peaceful and comforting time. Its natural beauty is unlike any other and has a mostly rocky shoreline with small pockets of sandy beach. If you want to see the leatherback turtles which nest in the area visit Playa Langosta during October through March.

La Fortuna de San Carlos: The Gateway to the Arenal Volcano

Referred by locals as simply “La Fortuna,” this town is located in the province of Alajuela and connects the Arenal Volcano with the Monteverde cloud forests. In recent years, the town has become particularly popular among tourists that come to see the best views of the Arenal Volcano. Other attractions of the town include a beautiful waterfall called “La Catarata de La Fortuna,” and the nearby Tabacon Hot Springs, ideal for a relaxing and indulging day.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve: Untouched by Modernity

Those who like contact with nature will love visiting the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Located in tiny village of Monteverde, this reserve offers great eco-tourism opportunities and incredible bird watching. It is located high up in the Tilaran Mountain Range, which causes the weather to be a little chilly. It is a good idea to bring thick clothes and a light jacket. Other touristic attractions in the area include the butterfly garden, the Hummingbird Gallery and a local crafts center.

Costa Rica Famous Events

Fool Moon Party, Cocalito Beach
Puntarenas Carnival, Puntarenas
Copa del Café, Escazú

Costa Rica Restaurants: Our Picks

Tim Jo, San Jose
Bacchus, Santa Ana
Ginger, Playa Hermosa
Playa de Los Artistas, Montezuma

Check out accommodations in Costa Rica

Airline Traveling: What to Know Before you Go

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

In recent years airline traveling has become a true pain for most of us. Checkpoints everywhere, luggage restrictions; there is a lot you have to know and take into account before you leave for your lovely vacations. Here are some tips and recommendations for your next airline adventure.

Traveling With Food and Holiday Gifts

Yes, you may want to take your relatives their favorite jellies and jams for the holiday dinner, but before promising your grandma that delicious jelly, make sure it is not under the “forbidden” items list, or you will have to kindly leave it as a holiday gift to checkpoint officials. Things like cranberry sauce, cologne, gift baskets with food items like salsa, jams and salad dressings are not permitted on board. Perfumes, snowglobes and oils are also not allowed. If you are taking presents don’t wrap them, as security officials may have to unwrap them if they need to take a closer look.

Getting Through The Line Faster

If you want to make your passage through the airport as efficient and comfortable as possible, you can follow certain tips that will help you on doing so. When packing, for example, pack an organized carry on bag using layers as follows: Clothes, electronics, and heavy items. This packing style helps transportation officials to easily see what you have inside. Avoid taking with you metal items such as keys, lose change, mobile phones, heavy jewelry and clothing with metal buttons. Any metal that is detected during a checkpoint will require you to go through additional screening. Finally, have your boarding pass and your Id ready.

Travelers with Disabilities

If you are a traveler with disabilities or are traveling with someone with a disability there are certain things that the Transportation Security Administration has established to provide you the highest level of security and customer service. Disability related-equipment, aids and devices continue to be allowed through security checkpoints once cleared through screening. Prescription liquid medications and other liquids needed by persons with disabilities and medical conditions are also permitted. The limit of one carry-on and one personal item (purse briefcase or computer case) does not apply to medical supplies, equipment, mobility aids, and assistive devices carried by and used by a person with a disability. Make sure to pack your medications in a separate pouch to facilitate the inspection process and ensure that containers holding medications are not too densely filled, and that all medication is clearly identified.

Traveling with Children

If you are traveling with children there are also certain things to take into account. Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Make sure to declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. If you are taking liquids gels and aerosols, these must be placed in a single quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed.

Doing proper research before heading to your vacation destination will allow you to have a hustle free trip, and enable you to enjoy it from the beginning till the end!