Archive for the ‘Jaco’ Category

Souvenir Shopping in Costa Rica

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

Your Costa Rica vacation is everything you’d ever hoped for, but what about some keepsakes for friends and family back home…or a little token to remind yourself of the Pura Vida you enjoyed.   You will find great Costa Rican souvenirs throughout your travels, and our advice is to snap them up as you go rather than waiting until your airport departure. Here’s a small sampling of our favorites!

costa-rica-souvenir-wooden-bowl

Fresh roasted coffee

You don’t have to be a connoisseur to appreciate Costa Rica’s rich, award-winning coffee, which flourishes in the nutrient-rich volcanic soil. Doka’s Tres Generaciones and Café Britt offer both whole bean and ground coffee in several varieties, whether you prefer a light roast or deep espresso. You’ll find these premium brands on their coffee plantation tours, as well as select tourist shops. Other tasty options include Café Milagro and Café Monteverde, which are sold in local supermarkets. Your luggage will smell delicious and your friends will thank you!

Indigenous art

Miniature ox-carts of SarchiFrom gorgeous ceramic pottery to colorful masks and delicate textiles, Costa Rica’s indigenous peoples – including the Boruca and Chorotega Indians – showcase their talent in myriad ways. Unique Guaitil pottery , hand-made in a wood burning kiln, makes a wonderful gift as do Boruca masks made of balsa wood. You can pick up authentic creations in San Jose-area galleries as well as other shops that promote artisan crafts and indigenous tourism.

Oxcarts, known as carretas in Costa Rica, were originally used to transport coffee from the Central Valley to the coast.  They have since become a symbol of the culture of Costa Rica. Featuring vibrant blues, yellows, reds and greens, each oxcart is a piece of art, hand-painted by talented artisans in the town of Sarchi. These artisans also create mini-reproductions for souvenirs – a terrific gift for someone who enjoys table knick-knacks.

Handmade wood crafts

oxcart-souvenir-costa-rica

 

Fine woodworking is somewhat of a tradition in Costa Rica, where you’ll find exceptional bowls, jewelry boxes, salad spoons, cutting boards, vases and other items made from exotic timber. For the best selection of hand-crafted items, head to Biesanz Woodworking in Escazu. If the San Jose metro area isn’t a part of your itinerary, tourist gift shops usually stock these items in popular areas like Jaco, Arenal, Tamarindo and Manuel Antonio.

Remember that haggling over prices is not the norm in Costa Rica. If vendors are negotiable, they will immediately lower the asking price if they sense some real interest. And you’ll always do best when paying cash in the local currency.

 

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…)

Costa Rica Weather FAQs

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Costa Rica is praised for its tropical clime, which varies from 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the region.  Due to its altitudinal variations from highland mountains to low-lying coastline, temperatures can fluctuate as much as 15-20 degrees within just a few hours’ drive. Most vacationers prefer to visit during the country’s “summer” months (December through April), though rainy season visits offer plenty of advantages for the budget-minded traveler.

Beautiful beaches of Costa Rica

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Is the rainy or dry season better for a Costa Rica vacation? 

Both seasons have benefits and drawbacks. The dry season (early December to mid-April) marks the start of Costa Rica’s peak tourism period, when beach vacation rentals, hotels and hostels begin booking up weeks in advance. Visitors are nearly guaranteed 12 hours of daily sunshine, but prices are higher and popular attractions often crowded. Though it can rain daily in the green season, thunderstorms typically roll in later in the day. Perks of a rainy season holiday include fewer tourists, major savings on accommodations and increased flexibility with your travel plans, since advance reservations aren’t necessary. (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…)

December – April: Prime Costa Rica Sportfishing Months

Friday, December 12th, 2014

There’s a reason why Manuel Antonio and Quepos are the most popular sportfishing destinations in Costa Rica – a country lauded for its rich ocean diversity and 570+ IGFA world records. The Central Pacific coast features phenomenal fishing year-round, but the start of the dry season marks peak season for apex predator fish likeblack marlin and sailfish. One glimpse at Quepos fishing reports this month and you’ll see a roster of sailfish and marlin releases, with some anglers boating more than seven each day!

Marinade Pez Vela

Costa Rica sportfishing is world class

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Quepos’ Marina de Pez Vela is a state-of-the-art facility, featuring a full-service yacht yard and wet slips occupied by dozens of 27 to 34-foot custom charter boats. Veteran captains and their skilled crews know exactly where the billfish run each year, and usher anglers to prime spots offshore to cast a line. Costa Rica fishing packages – both half and full days – are easily arranged and allow ample opportunities to experience the thrill of a lifetime as you land your first 200-pound marlin or 50-pound mahi-mahi. While all marlin and sailfish are release only, guests are welcomed to keep tuna, wahoo and other smaller catches for a fresh and tasty dinner. (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…)

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…)

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…)

All aboard the Costa Rica Surf Bus – Taking you to the best Costa Rica surfing hotspots!

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
 

The Costa Rica surf bus is a great way to visit the best surfing hotspots and make some likeminded buddies along the way. If you’re looking for an action packed Costa Rica adventure, jump aboard the country’s very first surf bus.

Costa Rica Surf Bus

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Costa Rica surf bus visits the best surfing hotspots

The world-class Costa Rica surf conditions attract avid wave riders from all over the globe and if you want to focus on tackling the waves rather than the roads the Surf Bus is the perfect mode of transportation.

If you are planning a Costa Rica surf vacation, find out more about how the surf bus can get you to the best hotspots in the country.

•         The Costa Rica surf bus offers transportation for surfers and tourists to all the main beaches on the Pacific and Caribbean Coast, with plenty of space for your trusted surfboard, free of charge!

(more…)

An extended Costa Rica vacation – relocating to paradise!

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Costa Rica is not only a popular beach and sun vacation destination, escaping the concrete jungle may be a dream for many, but the “Pura Vida” life has become a reality for a lucky few. An article published in PROA magazine on Sunday 9th October details how many expats have left their fast paced lives in Europe and North America and are living in Costa Rica. Those interviewed are quick to point out that Costa Ricans should be more appreciative of their surroundings.

Costa Rica Vacation

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A Costa Rica vacation turns from weeks into years

La Nacion journalist, Alonso Mata Blanco opens his report with the story of Marc Hauser a 53 year old American who visited Costa Rica for a two week vacation 19 years ago, and never left.  “It was love at first site, seduced by the mountains, the absence of an army, the warmth of the people and of the sea, more than anything the sea.”  Blanco lives in Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas and he’d only been in Costa Rica for three (more…)

Costa Rica Sport Event Copa Triatlon Coming to Playa Jaco July 30th

Friday, July 29th, 2011
copa triatlin costa rica sports

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Get ready for an action-packed weekend of Costa Rica sporting events in Playa Jaco— the third leg of the Copa Triatlon 2011 is coming to town!

If you are heading to the popular surfing hotspot of Playa Jaco during your Costa Rica vacation, expect sporty crowds on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st of July.   The Copa Triathlon is a popular Costa Rica activity that has already entertained sports spectators at Playas del Coco, Guanacaste and the port of Puntarenas this year.

(more…)

Jaco Beach to Open Movie Theater and Entertainment Complex in July 2011

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
jaco-beach-costa-rica

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Jaco beach is not just famous for its world class surfing conditions.  Known for being one of the busiest surfer towns in Costa Rica, with an action packed nightlife, Playa Jaco is getting ready for the inauguration of a brand new multipurpose Ocean Center and Movie Theater.

Scheduled to open in July 2011, the modern entertainment complex will be a welcome addition to the Playa Jaco nightlife scene, offering top theatre shows and the latest box office hits. Catering for the multicultural Jaco beach community, the entertainment events will be shown in both Spanish and English. (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.
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A FOUR WHEEL ADVENTURE – TAKE AN ATV TOUR IN PLAYA JACO

Friday, October 15th, 2010
Playa Jaco Costa Rica ATV Adventure Tour

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If you love adventure travel and extreme sports then look no further! Find an adrenaline infused adventure tour while on vacation in Costa Rica with an exciting ATV tour at Playa Jaco! Tired of chilling out on the beach and in need of some action? Then its time to hop on a quad bike and begin your trek through some of the most exciting trails winding through Costa Rica’s rainforest.  The ATV adventure tour at Jaco Beach is one of Costa Rica’s most popular – so don’t go home without trying it out on your vacation in paradise! (more…)





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