Thursday, March 18, 2010

Great Song!!!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Manuel Antonio Trip with Hogar Siembra

This Saturday was one of the best tours Ive done. When there is time off in Costa Rica there is an endless list of things to do. Personally I enjoy doing the same stuff as when Im working. Over the years Costa Rican Resource has developed a relationship with a group of abandoned kids in Alajuela. Some of the kids are orphans, others have parents in jail, and others have been victims of child abuse. When walking into there home called "Hogar Siembra" you see 30 bunkbeds all in the same room and not exactly smiles everywhere. When you take them out for the day they transform into the young fun loving kids we all were. We have taken the group ziplining, rafting, and this weekend we went to Manuel Antonio which is Costa Rica's most visited National Park. Out of the 30 girls that went ages 12 - 17 none of them have ever been to Manuel Antonio. We had one of our best guides Jheudy with the day off who joined us in making it an educational experience from start to finish. I have taken tons of groups to Manuel Antonio and these girls were the first group to walk through the park with notebooks and pens. It turns out the girls will be donig presentations on their trip to the park but the point is that they were really into learning which made us feel great. It was a day full of fun from start to finish. We had breakfast, lunch, and plenty of icecream after playing in the hot sun of Costa Rica's most beautiful beach. On the way back in the bus we were singing songs on the radio and the radio DJ mentioned the name of the girls home and about their trip to Manuel Antonio. They all screamed like they just one Latin Idol. Although I continue to learn about the beautiful natural things of Costa Rica it is always a nice reminder that the most beautiful part about Costa Rica is its people. To the girls at Hogar Siembra, Que Dios les Cuide Siempre!!! The next trip we will be taking the girls canyoning near the Arenal Volcano.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

5 Souvenirs you should take from Costa Rica

When traveling anywhere in the world it is not always about the trinket shopping for most things that are made in Taiwan or China. The real souvenirs are taken from real places and people you visit. When visiting Costa Rica I have come up with 10 things you should take with you on your trip home from Costa Rica:

5. Costa Rican Diet - The Costa Ricans eat healthy. There is not a lot of fats in the food it is high protein, carbs, and a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.

4. Some Spanish - Go ahead and dont be afraid to try some Spanish. If you have to leave with just one phrase make sure its "PURA VIDA"

3. Memories - could not write these ten without the famous leave only "footprints" and take only "memories" when walking through the rainforest.

2. Local stop shopping - dont be afraid to go off the beaten path and stop at a local little mom and pops shop. The chances are the people will be very nice and you will have a long conversation of smiles, take some pics, support the local economy and be on your way.

1. Recycled Goods - if you want to have some souvenirs that are truly local then look in different shops and you will notice women groups from different villages who make wallets, purses, keychains, and things of such out of recycled goods such as coffee bags, egg cartons, milk boxes, ect. If you dont see these during your trip send us an email and we have the contacts to get you some goods.

Magma at Turrialba Volcano?

An article in La Nacion this morning informed us that they have been doing some interesting studies with the recent activity of the Turrialba volcano. The studies are conducted at night and it gives the the experts a look to see if any magma material is leaving that would be hard to see with the naked eye. They believe that there is a magma rock inside the volcano which could mean that we might see some lava soon. What they do not know is which way the lava would begin to flow. We will keep you posted on this very interesting activity.

The Turrialba volcano is almost identical to the Irazu volcano which is the tallest volcano in Costa Rica. In recent years tourist have made the trip to the top of the volcano but it is a very tough hike. The volcano has been relatively quiet for over 100 years and just this past year we have begun to see activity.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Tourism Specialist

Anne Ledezma has a number of years working in the Tourism Industry in Costa Rica designing family vacations and student travels. Tourism has boomed in the last decade in Costa Rica due to its natural beauties and inviting people. One of the reasons for success is the education and knowledge the people who work in tourism in Costa Rica bring to the industry. You will find many Costa Ricans who speak two, three, or even four languages. They are naturally very respectful people but they are educated in areas of how to profesionally treat tourist.

A perfect example in Anne Ledezma who has 15 years of making family vacations and student travel packets. Her experience comes from working with companies large and small. She is very well traveled in and around Costa Rica. Very often she invest hours in to clients just to send them off with advice even if no trip comes of it for the company she does it for the love of her country.

Using Anne as an example it is great to see the love most employees share for their country. Working in tourism is a blessing that most Costa Ricans take much pride in their natural beauties and taking advantage of this to show off just how "Pura Vida" the Costa Ricans are.

Chinese in Costa Rica

Less than a year ago a team of chinese construction builders came to Costa Rica with the plan to build an $80 million dollar National Stadium in the Sabana Park in San Jose. Every cent of this stadium was donated by the Chinese government. Costa Rica with the Oscar Arias administration has begun to lean towards Chinese support and away from the Tawain support from before. The stadium was the first example of just how much the Chinese are capable of doing. I have to say though that the most impressive was not the check of $80 million dollars. In my opinion anyone that has spent anytime in Latin America knows that there is something referred to as "Latin-Time". This means that it does not matter who, when, where, or why, but you can expect things to run a bit late. I would say the most sure of all these would be constructions. With the construction boom in Costa Rica I think Costa Rica has done an excellent job supplying qualified architects, engineers, and construction crews to build solid constructions. One thing they have stayed loyal to is staying on Latin-Time. Having just built a home that took 4 months more than expected I can assure you that many other people have the same story. The weather you can never predict in Costa Rica but one thing for sure is that if you are building there is a 99% chance the construction will not finish on time.

This is where I am so very impressed with the Chinese. The crew brought in for the new Stadium is two months ahead of schedule. To have the stadium finished on time is unheard of but to have it done two months ahead of time is amazing (almost makes me wonder if they are missing any screws and bolts?). The construction is top-notch which Im sure it probably is it has a stadium roof that opens and closes like Dallas Stadium and it is a super modern looking design which will add some flavor to the center of San Jose. So I guess a huge thanks to the Chinese for writing a check for $80 million dollars and for also being the first construction crew in the history of Latin America to not have their watches set on Latin-Time.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

11pm Earthquake!!!

With all the news of Haiti and Chile everybody living near plate activity has thought about their own well being. It turns out that Costa Rica was reminded of their position above the Coco and Carribean plates last Friday night at around 11pm.

My day was a great day for me. I was invited by some former clients to go deep-sea fishing out of the famous Los Suenos Resort. I have to say I am not a big fisherman I am more the river rafting, long hikes, and birding type of tourist but I was interested to see what all the fuss was about in fishing so I accepted the invitation and was on my way. I took the new highway which got me to the Resort in just over an hour. We boarded the boat and we spent a full day fishing. We caught 4 sailfish which made it a successful day. I happen to be one of the people who eat fish and meat but when I see a hook through the mouth of a beautiful fish I cant help feel bad for him. Today was a little different. We had the chance to fish these beautiful creatures, get them into the boat, and then immediately release them. I found it interesting that they were so beautiful bouncing in and out of the water and then when you get them in the boat they are almost brown looking. I think that is their way of saying they belong in the water. It was an interesting feeling to have this creature sitting on my lap, inviting him into our world, and him allowing us to get a glimpse of his world from below. After the picture it is a quick toss back into the water and the fish is on its happy way. So if you are a fan of fishing or not if you go into it with the idea of the chance to develope some respect of the world below it can be quite a magical experience.

When I got home from the fishing trip I was in my room getting ready for bed and I noticed everything starting to shake. I just assumed that is what its like after being on a boat for 8 hours. Then I went down stairs and noticed that my parents had felt the same things and that it must have been an earthquake. Sure enought it was a 4.7 quake that hit the central valley which what has happened in the last few months was enough to give everyone a good scare.

Costa Rica's plate activity is caused by the Coco and the Carribean plates which involve a subduction process. Costa Rica's largest recent quake was in January of 2009 when a 6.8 earthquake hit the area near the Poas Volcano.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Arenal Volcano Tossing Lava Down South Side

This is some cool news. Anytime a volcano changes its daily routine in Costa Rica it is like a major sporting event happening in the States. If you know anything about Costa Rica then you have probably heard of the Arenal Volcano which is located in the north of the country and has been one of the most active volcanos on the planet since the 60's. The that flows down the side puts on a show that tourist and locals are amazed by. Just early this week the volcano has been really making some big explosions and it turns out the lava is now falling on the south side of the volcano. I had the chance to call a family that lives on the south side of the volcano and get their comments. They told me that they were up at 2am watching the volcano because they heard a big explosion. They then send they noticed large boulders bouncing down the side of the volcano. This is a family that has lived in the Arenal area for generations. They said it was some of the largest lava flow they have seen in many years. Not only was it a show for the locals but the tourist that are visiting the Arenal area had a bonus for their trip having the chance to see such heavy lava flow.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Social Media and Costa Rican Tourism

If you are reading this blog you probably have some sort of idea what Social Media is and how it is affecting the business world in the last few years. Running a small business I have fallen into the trend of wanting to have my company branded on social media sites. To be honest ever since Ive started social media I really have not seen sales change. I started social media thinking I could advertise my business and become a large company, make lots of money, sit on a raft all day, and enjoy the beauties of Costa Rica. After I did a quick evaluation of my life I noticed I have a small company, I dont make a lot of money and I still find myself sitting on a raft all day, and ejoying the beauties of Costa Rica. So having already accomplished the last latter two I feel content with my business.

So why do I continue to use social media if it is not bringing sales? With our company we are in direct contact with our clients for one week and then maybe never again. The model of our company is personalized attention from start to finish. Social Media allows me to develop relationships with our groups before and after the trip. It allows us to see their comments on the trip and for us to comment back. It truly develops a relationship with the guides of the company and everyone who took part in their trip. I feel that has benefited our business more than getting 100 more trips for Social Media. Although Social Media is huge business we are happy with being small and allowing social media to help us stay connected with our previous clients in a way that would never be possible before.

One interesting part is that I have not seen the statistics but I can bet Costa Rica has more people using Social Media than other Central American countries. This is due to the very educated tech-savvy people of Costa Rica. For this same reason larger companies such as Intel and Hewlett Packard have some of their largest plants here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Best Cookie in Costa Rica

We can show you the best rivers to raft, waterfalls to rappel, and birds to see but we also take just as much pride in the little local things during a tour. One interesting thing that I have made a part of many family vacations and student vacations is the famous Pozuelo Cookie. Pozuelo is the name of the company that was started in the capital city of San Jose in 1919. There are three reasons why I have grown to love this company and try and make it a part of each and every tour.

The first reason is the most obvious and that is the good tasting cookies. I was not a huge cookie eater living in the States but since Ive moved down here Ive easily averaged a pack of cookies a day. Its something about enjoying the little things in life that make these cookies taste so good. They have their factory on a main street in San Jose that always has a lot of traffic. It is literally torture to sit in a traffic jam and get the constant smell of these delicious cookies.

The second reason I like these cookies so much is that they have given me one extra phrase to use in my developing Spanish. The phrase you can see on all their ads, their packages, and website. The phrase "Es...Muuucha Galleta!" is a phrase known all over Costa Rica. Not only is it used to describe a great tasting cookie but anytime you want to say a positive comment for example: How was the movie? you can respond: "Es...Muuucha Galleta!" You have to love the Costa Rican Spanish.

The third and final reason why I love this company is probably my favorite reason. When dealing with family vacations we are always looking for the best places to put our families. When dealing with the San Jose area I think there is one hotel that can not be beat and that is Grano de Oro. The Grano de Oro hotel is a small hotel with an amazing restaurant. The hotel has been fixed up extremely nicely. So you might be asking yourself what this has to do with a cookie? Well it turns out that this building before being a hotel was the house of the Pozuelo family. So I can say thank you to the Pozuelo family for your excellent taste and a chance to include a little interesting history on our tours about a great hotel and an amazing cookie!!!
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The Golden Toad

During every student trip or family vacation to Costa Rica everyone wants to see some wildlife. The wildlife in Costa Rica is not quite like a safari in Africa where you look at enormous size animals in open areas. It turns out that the wildlife in Costa Rica is usually small and has adapted nicely to blend in with the green thickness of the rainforest.

One animal which does not blend in too well is The Golden Toad. This is a toad that people use to come to Costa Rica to see in te 80's. It has since not been seen. It seems as though the toad went exctinct. There are many studies to why the toad has gone extinct and the main conclusion was a disease that wiped out all the toads. Others studies blame it on the disease and global warming. If you want to read an interesting article on these toads you can visit and read some more about the studies that have been made in the last few years.