Archive for the ‘Ecology’ Category

Shopping for Souvenirs in Costa Rica

Monday, February 15th, 2016

After eCosta Rican Coffee Beansxperiencing a Costa Rican vacation and the retaining memories of paradise, exotic locations, and all the adventures you had while in this beautiful country, you may want to invest in some souvenirs to bring home to friends and family or even to remind yourself of the sense of “Pura Vida” you found here. Chances are that throughout each venture you will find fantastic, one-of-a-kind Costa Rican keepsakes that you will want to bring home. Rather than waiting throughout your entire Costa Rican vacation to shop at an airport venue, we fully suggest that you shop along the way at each location you visit. You are more than likely to find unique and beautiful Costa Rica souvenirs that will give you a taste of what you experienced while traveling abroad. Below, you’ll find a short list of some timeless favorites!

Infamously Fresh Ground Coffee or Coffee Beans

Your friends and family will thank you when they find out that you brought back fresh ground coffee or coffee beans in several different flavors from some of the world’s most prestigious coffee plantations. Café Britt along with Doka’s Tres Generaciones are both award-winning and well-known coffee plantations that offer tourists a plethora of souvenirs. They not only carry the actual coffee itself in variation (light roast, medium, dark, and espresso) but also other souvenirs such as chocolate covered coffee beans, music, t-shirts, and books and information regarding the history of coffee in Costa Rica. These are premium blends of coffee from the plantations themselves so don’t hesitate to pick up more than one or two bags. Your luggage will smell great and each morning after you return home will feel like you brought back a light piece of paradise.

Indigenous Tribal Art & FolkloreChorotega Pottery

With a little bit of exploring it is not at all unusual to stumble upon towns that make their very own intricate masks, colorful and original ceramic pottery, or even delicate and stimulating textiles. Costa Rica is full of rapidly declining indigenous tribes such as the Boruca or Chorotega that still try to preserve their culture by continuing to create and showcase their many talents. Amongst the Maleku tribe of Costa Rica you can find jewelry and other handmade wooden keepsakes. Some tribes specialize in woven goods, such as purses or backpacks. No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong when you pick up one of these rare and beautiful artifacts. These artisan crafts make incredible gifts and furnishing for houses.

Versatile Hammocks

If you’ve lived in Costa Rica long enough or your Costa Rican vacation was an eventful occasion, then you know that a sturdy hammock is not only practical but also necessary. You can find a beautiful hammock in almost any town in Costa Rica; some of them are manufactured by companies while others are made from local town artists or indigenous tribes. These hammocks can literally be easily packed up and taken anywhere. You can hang them from your home, your porch or even just between two trees. They are perfect for reading, relaxing, people-watching, sleeping, rocking in the shade or laying in the sun. They are portable, light and a beautiful souvenir that anyone would be happy to own.

Handmade Wooden Crafts

If you’re in search of a traditional and timeless Costa Rican souvenir, you will find that craftsmanship is very much alive in this small country. They wooden crafts you find in each town are usually made by local businesses or individuals so you are not only supporting this country when you invest in a souvenir but also the smaller local town business. You can find some of the most beautiful and exceptionally crafted bowls, jewelry, vases, coasters, salad spoons and many more made from exotic and rare Central American timber. These wooded souvenirs also make long-lasting and beautiful home furnishings for yourself, friends, and family members. You’ll find them anywhere; whether in a tourist town or while exploring un-discovered territory.

Souvenir Tips!

Keep in mind that haggling over prices in any town of Costa Rica is a completely reasonable thing to do. A lot of vendors will lower the asking price of a souvenir when simply asked for a discount on something that you like. Paying in local currency is best since the exchange rate of other currencies versus Costa Rican currency can change on a day-to-day basis.

Cocos Island: Hotspot for Scuba Diving with Sharks

Friday, January 15th, 2016

If you’re searching for one of the world’s greatest locationcoco-island-divers to scuba dive with sharks, you can easily find Cocos Island approximately 340 miles off the pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is a lavish and secluded island that can only be found with the help of a trusty tour-guide. To get to this beautiful destination you will need to acquire transportation to San Jose, head south approximately 3 hours to the region of Puntarenas and from there you will get aboard a live-aboard dive boat

Situated 340 miles off the coast of Costa Rica, Cocos Island is one of the world’s greatest spots for scuba diving with sharks. A 34-hour boat ride takes thrill seekers to this lavish and secluded island, where scalloped hammerheads and whitetips school in billowing masses amid the nutrient-rich currents. This UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site was declared a national park in 1978, and offers divers unparalleled opportunities to swim with large numbers of marine predators.

Cocos Island fast facts

  • The island is uninhabited
  • Cocos receives approximately 275 inches of annual rainfall
  • Best time to see large numbers of hammerhead sharks is May-November (rainy season)
  • Visitors dive from a custom live-aboard boat for the 10-day trip
  • Accessible via San Jose to Puntarenas, where live-aboard boats depart
  • Named the world’s most beautiful island by Jacques Cousteau
  • Recommended for advanced divers due to strong currents
  • Most of the dive sites are volcanic islets with a max. depth of 130 feet
  • Average water temperature is  72-83 degrees; wetsuits required

Diversity of aquatic lifediving-with-rays-coco-island-costa-rica

Circling masses of hammerhead sharks are the main draw of Cocos Island, but divers can also expect to cross paths with other species including tiger, silky, Galapgos, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks that scour the underwater seamounts for food. Though slightly less common, whale sharks – some reaching over 18-feet in length –also swim through the strong currents surrounding Cocos Island. Divers often glimpse graceful manta rays, marble and eagle rays, as well as green sea turtles, dolphins, parrotfish, moray eels, jacks and snapper.

Popular dive sitesdiving-isla-del-coco

There are nearly 20 dive sites around this volcanic seamount, which is home to some 260 species of fish. Pelagic sea life among the submerged pinnacles is especially abundant between 60 and 90 feet. Bajo Alcyone is the most notable site for massive manta rays and scalloped hammerheads, which can number in the hundreds at this cleaning station. Dirty Rock is another dynamic site known for its pelagic marine life and thriving masses of hammerheads and other apex predators. Night dives at Manuelita promise close encounters with unbelievable numbers of whitetip reef sharks as they hunt their prey.

Costa Rican Stand Up Paddle Board

Friday, January 1st, 2016

 Stand-Up-Paddle-Board-Couple Stand up paddle board, more commonly referred to as “SUP” is a new and innovative form of exercise and an incredible thrill if you love the water and have a desire to put your skills to the test on the Pacific Ocean. Paddle board is not only an amazing workout but it can be an incredibly leisurely activity as there are many different levels to accommodate all levels; from beginners to the more experienced. Stand up paddle board takes many forms. You can usually book a tour to explore mangroves and picturesque waterways, work on your balance before taking on waves to surf, or even join a SUP yoga class that allows you to experience original and challenges forms of exercise. There are all sorts of inventive waves to explore SUP and if you’re just beginning, you may want to take advantage of the following tips.

SUP Beginner’s Guide: Avoid the Waves

Stand up paddle boarding can be extremely challenging so it is a must to start off where the water is calmest. Often times you can find a class or an instructor in your specific area that already knows the hidden beaches or bays that offer the gentlest waves. Even if you’ve engaged in other forms of water sports throughout your life, it is never a bad idea to learn how to maintain your balance and properly paddle all within the realm of safety. Within no time at all you will be balanced, flexible and paddling with ease. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to paddle with the pros!

Everyone Falls So Get Back Up!Stand-Up-Paddle-Board-Sunset

It is important to remember that everyone is prone to falling off their board at one point or another. Even the most experienced stand up paddle boarder has had their fair share of wipeouts. This, however, is not discouraging as falling off is expected and can actually be quite fun. By falling off, you are engaging in an extra workout by getting back on the board every time, cooling off in the water, swimming amongst fish, and learning to laugh at yourself as well as taking note of your mistakes. If you have concerns or worries, you can modify your SUP experience by paddling on your knees, wearing a life-vest, and attaching an ankle leash for safety precautions.

Choose a Skilled Guide or Teacher

When you are first starting off as a student in stand up paddle board, it never hurts to go with an experienced, veteran paddle boarder. A good SUP instructor gives you safety instructions, shows you proper operation of your board and paddle, guides you into calm waters, can prepare you for what you may experience, and supports you every step of the way. Encouragement can be really important when taking up a new hobby or trying to enhance skills that you may already possess. There is nothing quite like the help of a professional to cheer you on and keep you safe.

Focus on the Horizon or a Non-moving ObjectConquering-Waves-Stand-Up-Paddle-Board

There is a rule of thumb while paddle boarding: don’t look down. When you are solely focused on the waves or the placement of your feet, it is easier to fall of your board. By starting at the horizon or concentrating on a focal point that doesn’t move, you will be able to manage to stay on your board longer and concentrate. This is particularly important if you are engaging in a sport like SUP yoga where balance is key.

Common Destinations for SUP in Costa Rica

The following places are both great places to learn the fundamentals of stand up paddle board and put your skills to the test:

    • Playa Herradura, Jaco
    • Lake Arenal, La Fortuna
    • Playa Manuel Antonio, Manuel Antonio
    • Maracas, Quepos
    • Playa Avellenas, Tamarindo
    • Pavones , one of the longest beach breaks in all of Costa Rica




Costa Rican Pampering and Self-Care Spa Days

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Cacao-Body-Wrap-Treatment   There are several reasons why people choose to vacation in Costa Rica. Whether you’re here for some family fun, white water rafting, or personal pampering, we have all the amenities that you can’t find in any other part of the world. Costa Rica is full of award-winning spas that offer perfect solutions to ease tension, diminish stress, and even ease sunburn from your day-to-day activities. We use all of our resources to make our spas as serene and tranquil as possible. We utilize our locations; using white sand beaches as your back drops as well as our tools; making sea weed body wraps, coconut oil, aloe vera, jojoba oil and other props on hand that will enhance your experience. If you wish to indulge your sense in a full immersion spa experience using locally-sourced ingredients and organic products native to the country, self-care spa days in Costa Rica are what you’ve been searching for.

Sugar, Spice, Coffee and All Things Nice

If you’re in love with body treatments and wish to use an anti-inflammatory on your body that contains diuretic effects and will even boost your immune system, then our coffee body treatment and polish is a fantastic option. Even if you’re not a coffee-drinker this type of ingredient will leave your skin rejuvenated. Combined with the cinnamon polish your skin with be re-hydrated, extremely soft and all of your senses will reawaken.

Local Cacao: The Organic Chocolate Body Wrap

You are sorely mistaken if you think that chocolate is something to indulge in only when consumed for food. There is a sensual sensation that comes along with this type of body wrap that can reduce stress and leave you with radiant skin. Cacao is known to stimulate endorphins which will help trigger metabolic fat burning and is even said to act as a cellulite-buster. It is definitely an exotic twist on body wraps.

Skin Reconstruction Using Organics & BotanicalsOrganic-Costa-Rican-Ingredients

Sea salts, sand, avocados, and even coconut cream are some of the basics used here in Costa Rica to gently exfoliate your entire body and rejuvenate skin. By removing dead skin or callouses your skin cells have a chance to regrow, giving your skin a young-looking glow and an amazing feeling of youth.

All Skin Type Nourishment

An accredited spa professional will always assess your skin type and determine what kind of damage has been done as well which products will help you get to a place of smooth, glowing and healthy skin. Facials are a relaxing source of nourishment to the skin. Whether you require extractions, steam, or a plethora of organic and local masks that range from honey, mango cream, papaya milk or cacao, you can rest-assured that your face is in good hands and we have your skin’s best interest at heart.

Detoxifying Volcanic Mud WrapsVolcanic-Clay-Body-Treatment

In Costa Rica we try and utilize every element. A volcano may be a beautiful and awe-inspiring place to visit but our aestheticians and bodyworkers actually use the terrain as a source of our organic products. Gently warmed volcanic clay can be bliss for any tourist, traveler, or backpacker. It is traditionally applied all over your body and the natural clay actually pulls out your body’s impurities in the process.  This is an extremely rare body wrap so add it to your agenda when you’re in Costa Rica; particularly in the area of Arenal.

Tortuguero: The Most Desirable Area for Spotting Nesting Sea Turtles

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

There is a hidden but increasingly popular charm stowed away on the Northern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Tortuguero is located in the Western Hemisphere and is known to be the largest nesting area and spotting sight for green sea turtles. The green sea turtle is one of several endangered species of animals that repeatedly visit this truly exceptional area of Costa Rica and are taken into great consideration in terms of love and protection. In fact, Tortuguero has been mentioned in several critically acclaimed magazines as a crown jewel of Costa Rica. It is definitely a place worth visiting when you wish to view something majestic and beautiful.

Nesting Period of the Green Sea Turtleturtle-nesting-tortuguero-costa-rica

Amongst the loggerheads, hawksbills and leatherbacks that often frequent the protected beaches of Tortuguero, the chelonian mydas, more commonly known as the green sea turtle, are the most collective species found in this area. You can find the official nesting season of green sea turtles from July 1st through October 31st. If you’re lucky, a tourist may find a female gracelessly trudging along the coast shores in the early weeks of November as well.

The Miracle of Life is Revealed in the Evenings

Green sea turtle tours are led during the evenings by trained and experienced guides. They are highly popular tours and mostly held late in the evening as that is when the greater part of all action can be seen. With quiet footsteps and inconspicuous infrared lights, you are bound to see these incredible female creatures digging deep holes into the sand and depositing approximately 100-110 eggs at a time. She buries her eggs in this demeanor so that they will be protected and nurtured under the warming rays of the morning sun. During this event, you are also likely to view about 2-5 different ancient reptiles with the help of your tour guide. The most interesting part of this process is waiting to see the future sex of each sea turtle, as their sex depends on the temperature of the sand that holds their incubation. They are typically underneath sand for 50-70 days.


Preservation and Efforts to Protect Endangered Sea Turtles and Marine Speciesturtle-nesting-costa-rica

Costa Rica takes great measures to protect our endangered species; including the green sea turtle and other marine reptile species. Turtle conservation is a popular and hot topic in the community of Tortuguero. There have been great strides made to promote turtle conservation, such as: tagging, protection of nesting sites, general data collection, proper employment of educated tour guides and other strategies used over 50 years of charting this species. The goal is to maintain sea turtle populations for future generations to come, which is why a portion of all green sea turtle proceeds goes to the preservation efforts. Currently, the Sea Turtle Conservancy has an updated estimate of nesting females that ranges in numbers from 85,000-90,000 worldwide.

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