Monday, May 31, 2010

Mount Chirripo (Highest Elevation in Costa Rica)

The adventure to Mount Chirripo is a hike that will take you to the top of Costa Rica. You will have the chance to be at Costa Rica's tallest point which measures 12,330ft. You are located at 9 degrees from the equator which can make the weather rather interesting in Chirripo. At night it can drop below freezing and during the day it can be extremely hot so you must be prepared for it all and of course some rain.

The Paramos is the part of Costa Rica that is located at an elevation of more than 10,000ft. It is in this area where normal tree growth stops and all you see is stunted trees in and around the area. Most of the hike to the top will take you through Costa Rican cloudforest where you will see many different flor and fauna. You might also have the chance to see Costa Rica's most beautiful bird which is the famous quetzal.

On a clear day one of the most memorable moments of being in Chirripo is seeing both coast. You can see the Pacific and Caribbean Sea from the top. I can not say that if you are in Costa Rica for a week you should take this 3 day trip during your stay but if you have extended time in Costa Rica and you want to do a serious hike then climbing Chirripo should definately be on your list and can be a great experience for any student travel program to Costa Rica.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Birthday Splash!!!

Growing up we all know one of the most important things is where are you going to do your next Birthday bash. This is something that each kid needs to think about months before his actual birthday. The traditional birthday bash is done in an area where all your friends can be, kids toys, games, and maybe even a clown. Just this past week a mother of a nine year old came to us with a different idea for her sons birthday. She wanted to change the birthday bash to a Birthday Splash. Her idea was to take her son and all her friends white-water rafting. Living in a country like Costa Rica that is known all over the planet for its natural beauties the idea to get the kids outdoors and experience a little adventure was to us the perfect idea for a birthday party.

The day started as we picked the kids up from their homes and all the mom's giving us that look "is this really safe???" as we drove away in a bus filled with kids. The river that was used is a small but beautiful and clean river in the Turrialba area which is class II rapids.
It is a perfect match for small kids and the adventure is getting them wet and allowing them to hop off in some pools and swim around in the river. After the rafting of course the party is not complete without one of the best looking birthday cakes you can ever imagine. The cake was formed into the shape of a river with a raft on top.

So as for giving your kid a birthday party that tops them all taking them outdoors and doing some adventure is something him and all his friends will love. The kids were all dropped off at their homes some healthy looking sun, stories of the wild rapids they ran, and memories of the best Birthday Splash Ever!!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Adventure Gear

When dealing with family vacations and student trips to Costa Rica you have to be sure you are using only the best equipment and gear for your adventures. Costa Rica is a country that lends itself to some amazing adrenaline pumping activities such as rafting, ziplining, and rappeling. These are all adventures where your gear can not be bought at Wal-Mart. You need to find proffesional gear used by proffesionals. Here we are going to give you an introduction to some of the basic gear you will see during an adventure trip to Costa Rica.

First of all you have ropes. In a country that is only 50 miles wide and has a peak of 13,000ft you can imagine that many things are vertical in Costa Rica. In vertical situations ropes are your best form of transportation unless you have a helicopter which mine is in the shop.
There are many different types of rope some are called Dynamic which means it has a bungee feel to it which works well on belay lines. Other ropes are called Static lines which stay firm and dont give. These are good for rescue lines. Ropes come in different sizes, braids, and materials.

A second piece of equipment is a caribiner. This is probably the single most popular piece of equipment for any adventurer. A caribiner you will find from rafting, rappeling, zipling, or even hooking gear up during a hike. The caribiner is made up of different parts. Different caribiners are made of different shapes and materials. They are measured by how strong they are by what is called kilo-newtons which is marked as KN on the caribiner. For each KN the caribiner can hold 225lbs of pressure.

The next and happens to be my favorite piece of equipment is called webbing. This is my favorite because it is by far the lease expensive. Webbing is incredibly strong and used as an achor to hook ropes up to rocks or trees inorder to do your descend.
On rafting trips the guides often use webbing as flip lines. The flip line is used to flip the raft over.

Another piece of equipment that you might see or you might not see are called handled ascenders which are used to go up the rope. This is the easiest way to climb up the rope but these ascenders have little teeth in them and over time they can damage the rope. Keep in mind they are not used for a rescue which means only one person can use them at a time. This is also a very difficult excercise and should only be done with experience. As you can see in the picture its a face of struggle.

There are many many more pieces of equipment that you might see during your adventure to Costa Rica but if you are into the outdoors and on a student travel trip or a family vacation this is a good start at what you should expect to see.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Educate Yourself on the Tropics

If you are coming to Costa Rica chances are you might have some interest in wildlife. If you dont then by the time you leave you should be interested in the wildlife of the tropics. With Costa Rica being one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet it is a perfect area to educate yourself with the different types of species of plants and animals of the tropics. Costa Rica can be used as an amazing classroom for student travel trips or for family trips that want to keep themselves and their kids educated. Every year the tropics are being discovered with more and more natural resources that can be used for so many different things. The idea behind our company is to protect these resources the best we can so that they can be used most effectively when the time is right.

Being educated on the tropics is an education that can go on forever and I can assure you there is not a textbook large enough to hold all the information of the tropics. What we have used as an excellent introduction to the plants and animals of Costa Rica is a book by John Kricher called "A Neotropical Companion". It would be a dream of mine that before every trip to Costa Rica be it a student travel trip or a family vacation that members of the group read this book. There is so much to see and do in Costa Rica and if you know whats in this book then you have atleast scratched the main surface and during your stay you will respect more the things you see and you will be able to relate to them. The way it always turns out is that kids or parents get interested in these things after they visit Costa Rica so they end up reading a book like this for their second trip to the tropics.

So for your next trip to the tropics if you want to feel like an expert when walking through the jungle read "A Neotropical Companion" by John Kricher and you will be well on your way to be a Nature Guide in the Tropics.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Technical Rope Rescue Course

Rescue 3 International is one of the most well known Rescue Course companies out of California. This company is used to certify firefighters and Rescue teams all over the globe. Here in Costa Rica we are fortunate enough to have a representative from the company that does his part in getting guides ready to guide in any situation. Pacific Journeys is a Company that offers these courses which we feel if you have the time everyone should take part in but most important all who want to be adventure guides. We just finished with the 70 hour vertical rescue course which is how to do rescue and tourist activities such as rappeling and canyoning.

It is a very intense course where each member has to climb up a rope 200ft. If you are not wearing gloves you can say hello to some new blisters. There is also a lot of attention given to systems with ropes that would lighten the load in certain rescue situations. For example if you are a team of only two people and you have to lift a car out of the river how can you set the rope system up to where it is possible for two people to lift a car out of a river. First of all you always need the right equipment but there are even some tricks to know that if you are caught with little to no equipment then you can make the best out of what you have.

It was a great week which all guides in the country should be certified. Courses like this can be a great addition to any student travel trip to Costa Rica. Costa Rica has the terrain where ropes are often the most practical way to get from one place to the next. With a little training you can play a major roll in a rescue situation which can happen anywhere at anytime.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

About Us

Costa Rican Resource is a company that has been operating Student Travel Tours and Family Vacations since 2002. This is a small company that concentrates on personalized attention. The company was formed by Tom Ranieri. He is from the State of Florida and has resided in Costa Rica for the last 9 years. Tom worked as a river guide on the Pacuare River where from there the company was formed. Tom's family moved down to Costa Rica to help with the business and now all operations are out of their office in San Jose de la Montana in Heredia located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano. With some excellent networking and the idea of the company being spread out through different small businesses Costa Rican Resource was formed.

This is a company that operates from many different levels. We have our own rafting department, video department, transportation department of which all are seperate owners and everyone gets a peice of the pie. Not only do seperate small business owners pay the bills with Costa Rican Resource but the amount of time, money, and work given back to communities is a major part of this company. The company makes donations but the idea of making the local communities, the orphanage, and families in rural areas being a working part of our company is the main idea. They offer our clients an amazing experience in which both benefit from the activities that take place.

Our company is always making progress forward in being the most environmentally friendly tour operator possible. During our tours you will notice the importance giving to the environment and the education each client will recieve on ways they can help.

We invite you to look at our site or even better contact some of our former clients and get an idea just how personalized, attention to detail, and proffesionally operated are the tours of Costa Rican Resource. PURA VIDA!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Man who works with a Passion

Just this last week I took the Swiftwater Rescue course in Pacuare. It was an amazing course with very experienced guides from all over Costa Rica. We camped out at the river for 3 nights and had 12 hour days in the river learning different Rescue techniques that we might need in the while rafting.

The teacher of the class is a man from California who has been in Costa Rica for 20 years. His name is Felipe Perez and he has done so much for the sport of rafting in Costa Rica. Felipe Perez is in my opinion what a role model should be. I know many Costa Ricans look to the millionaire football players and famous people but when I have kids I want them walking around saying "Like Felipe, if I could be like Felipe". The man absolutely loves what he does and he does it for the love of nature, the river, and the saftey of others. He has given this course over 200 times to guides all over the world. The advice Felipe gives are expert rescue techniques that all river guides should know. But probably the most important advice he gives is advice on life which is to listen to the river. He talks about all the things the river can teach you about life and probably the two most important is to enjoy the moment and live simply. Felipe is a perfect example of living these two rules excellently. He is always smiling and lives a very simple life always enjoying the moment.

From myself and all the river guides of Costa Rica I want to thank Felipe for making our jobs a proffesion and for being such a great educator to so many.