Costa Rica Travel Guide
Street Food Friday / Food Travel / Costa Rica Travel / Costa Rica Food / Gallo Pinto / Sodas / Casado / → All Tags
Now that you know the country's most important phrase, where to geek out Av-style, and what to drink, we head back down to Costa Rica in this week's edition of Street Food Friday to see what's cooking. The city of San Jose offers a bit of international dining, but for the most part, locals, especially in the countryside, revolve their daily meals around a few staples.
Local Lingo / Costa Rica Travel / Pura Vida / Culture Travel / Languages / Travel Etiquette / → All Tags
First-time visitors to Costa Rica will notice a particular saying that flows from the lips of every local, one that seems to be very flexible in terms of its use and meaning.
Pura Vida (pronounced POO-rah VEE-dah) literally means "Pure Life," but the meaning of the phrase goes well beyond its simply translation. In fact, it has many loose translations to go along with its direct one. Practically, it is used as a salutation, farewell, thank you, descriptor, and state of being. More contextually, it represents the idea of living a peaceful, uncluttered existence amongst nature, family, and friends, and that life, no matter how much or how little you have, is wonderful.
Those who come from the North will drive a coastal road that climbs to a few hundred feet above sea level as it approaches Quepos and Manuel Antonio, winding past a series of scenic bars and restaurants. And there's one that will catch the eye of anyone looking out the window: El Avion.
Monday Five Thirty / Drinking Travel / Costa Rica Travel / Central America Travel / Cacique Guaro / → All Tags
“Cacique” is the Spanish and Latin American term for Indian chief, which is why you will see one on the label of the liquor bottle. "Guaro" is a more common word to describe a clear liquor from Central America that's made from sugar cane. It also has a nickname within its logo, “cuatro plumas,” referring to the four-feathers worn by the tribe's most powerful member.
View of the scenery near the town of Turrialba
Costa Rica is a paradise for lovers of adventure and the outdoors, thanks in large part to its combination of Pacific and Caribbean climates that combine dry, wet, and volcanic ecosystems. The country has been blessed with a beautiful landscape, for sure, but after spending a few days in the country, it’s become apparent that its first-rate natural world is no accident.
The world’s leader in sustainable and ecotourism, Costa Rica has made a commitment to the continued health and longevity of its land, especially those it uses to lure in tourists. “Sustainability” and “green” have become marketing terms for many destinations, but Costa Rica walks the walk as a whole like nowhere else we’ve seen.
Tax Refund Vacations / Costa Rica Travel / LIR / Surfing / Surf Travel / Nature Travel / Hiking / Green Travel / → All Tags
Tax day is coming, and you're probably excited...but not because you look forward to sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" tripa Tax Refund Vacation.
Whether you're into eco-travel, surfing, zip lining, hiking, swimming/snorkeling/Scuba, hanging out with exotic animals (like the Coati), learning Spanish or just lazing on a sandy beach, Costa Rica can make it happen. Regardless, you're in for sun and warm temperatures.
If you're interested in the Caribbean side with all its eco-tourism or you'd like to scratch a visit to Arenal volcano off your bucket list, fly into San Jose International Airport. For trips to the Pacific side's beaches, surf spots and giant national parks, Liberia International AIrport is the best bet (and it's got a brand-spanking-new terminal).
Jaunted Awards 2012 / Travel Awards 2012 / The Jauntys / Airports / Airport News / Costa Rica Travel / LIR / → All Tags
It's that time of the year again, the time when the year just plain ends. Alas, we can't just let 2012 go that easily, especially since travelers spent it both up in the air and up in arms over a crazy range of topics. Needless to say, we're ready for 2013, but first we're taking a brief look back at the best of 2012 with the Jaunted Travel Awards,or as we fondly refer to themThe Jauntys.
Ever flown to Liberia, Costa Rica? If no, you should because now they've finally got an airport capable of handling the flood of tourists and international flights heading to this gateway city to the country's spectacular Pacific coast.
Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new featureTravel Catfocuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).
Travel Cat spotted in: La Fortuna, Costa Rica.
This week's Travel Cat is from Jaunted twitter friend @megangh, who spotted this proud puss atop a restaurant table. Costa Rica suffered a magnitude-7.6 earthquake earlier today and, though there have been no reports of fatalities, it's still pretty scary.
Megan's story of this cat reflects quieter times:
Doubletree By Hilton is celebrating the release of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax with a sweepstakes inspired by eco-travel.
In The Lorax, a young boy is searching for the one thing that will win over his dream girl, and along the way he discovers the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world.
And, just as the Lorax tries to protect his world, the Doubletree Resort by Hilton Costa Rica, which is located in El Roble, Puntarenas, is trying to do something to protect ours.
Moneyball may have gone home empty handed at the 2012 Oscars, but sabermetrics are alive and well and not just on the baseball field.
Ru Hill is the owner/operator of Surf Simply, a boutique surf coaching resort near Nosara, Costa Rica, and he has been collecting surf data for more than ten years, all the while instructing thousands of surfers in England, France and Indonesia. Since 2007, however, his home base has been just up the dirt road from Playa Guiones in CR.
Every Saturday Ru and his team of ISA-trained surf instructors, chefs, yoga instructors and masseurs welcome a new group of travelers who, while varied in surfing ability from none to plenty, all have a common goalto become immersed in surf while on vacation. While there are plenty of surf camps, surf instructors, and surf boards in Costa Rica, you would be hard pressed to find one as detailed and systematic as Surf Simply.
While Saturday night starts with a low-key dinner at the basic yet boutique 14-guest surf resort, by Sunday morning 8am, the travelers are ready to get in the water.
Costa Rica Travel / Nature Travel / Road Trips / Volcanoes / Kai MacMahon / Adventure Travel / Science Travel / → All Tags
You know Kai. Last week he detailed how he made his surfing adventure happen. Today, he drops some intel on the famous Arenal volcano in Costa Rica...
Volcanoes are coolgiant mountain things with a hole that goes to the bottom of the earth, full of boiling hot lava and belching smoke and soot into the air. There's something very prehistoric and intimidating about them. Oh, and every now and then they explode and turn lethal. Both cool and a bit scary then.
My typical vacations are usually by the water (not many volcanos there) or at ski hills (likewise), so I'd never had the opportunity to see a volcano up close and personal. Then, on my recent surf trip to Costa Rica, I decided to take a couple of days away from the water and go check out the volcano Arenal, one of the ten most active in the world. It last erupted as recently as 1968, when it destroyed three small villages, killing 87 people in the process. Arenal is the real deal; it's most definitely not a Disney volcano.
Surfing Travel / Kai Surfs Costa Rica / Sports Travel / Beach Travel / Costa Rica Travel / Road Trips / Kai MacMahon / LIR / Surfing / → All Tags
Kai MacMahon had lost himself to the urban life in NYC, taking up running but putting down the surfboard. That is, until recently when he bit the bullet and flew himself to Costa Rica to drive, sleep and surf wherever he damn well pleased. All this week, Kai will share his experiences on the beaches and the breaks, and how he made it happen.
Yesterday: Becoming a (surf) bum in Mal Pais
As you've probably guessed, Costa Rica is one of the most surf-friendly destinations on the planet. Surfers are welcomed here with open arms, and locals will go above and beyond to help you out. It is perfectly normal to see a massive board bag strapped to the roof of a taxi, to store your boards in your hotel room, and to set up a makeshift clothes line outside your door.
And just as friendly as it is, it's also easy. US Dollars are accepted just about everywhere and most people speak at least a little English, though no matter how bad your Spanish, an attempt to speak it will always go down well. ATMs are fairly easy to find, and most will have English as an option. The bigger bank ATMs even dispense dollars as well as the local currency, Colones, and any of the main hotels or stores will take credit cards.
Nonetheless, be careful of the foreign transaction fee charges that your US bank will tack on; look into a foreign transaction-free credit card if you travel abroad often. For myself, I tried to pay for most things in cash, only using plastic for purchases of $100 and up.