Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tico Kids

Floribeth Umana started taking in neighborhood kids five years ago, while their mom's went to work. In order to support herself while caring for children, Umana joined Community Homes network, a government program that gives stipends to woman to provide child care in their neighborhoods. These home based day care centers were started in the nineties, allowing mothers to work. Fifty-six percent of Costa Rican homes now depend on two incomes, and the number is expected to rise.
Laura Chinchilla, Costa Rica's first woman president, wants to form a national day care system. Her goal is to protect children from poverty at a very young age and have them on an equal footing with other chidren by the time they start school. The present system is insufficient. Home day care, like Floribeth Umana's, is declining. Chinchilla wants to make the investment in children now through a national day care system, and she hopes that it will pay off in the future.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Costa Rican Movies

They are starting to make movies in Costa Rica. Fewer than a dozen Costa Ricans have directed a feature film, but four movies with Costa Rican directors are coming out in 2010. Hilda Hidalgo adapted her first full length movie from the Colombia author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel Love and Other Demons. Her movie opened in Colombia, in the author's hometown, to rave reviews and she has a spot in the Los Angeles film festival. The budget for the movie was 2 million dollars, the largest ever for a Costa Rican movie.
What is so valuable about Costa Rican movies? It gives the people here a chance to display their talents, and it allows the movie public to see the world from another perspective. Most of the world is just beginning to learn about the beauty of Costa Rica, but along with the natural beauty we need to learn more about the people of this country. Movies are a great way to learn while being entertained.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Costa Rican Holiday

Church of the Virgin of the Angels during 2007...Image via Wikipedia August 2 is a holiday in Costa Rica. Everyone gets the day off. It is not presidents' day or veterans' day, but the it has to do with a young girl. The story of how this became a holiday goes back some time. A young girl, Juana Pereira, went out to gather firewood. She found an image of the Virgin Mary about eight inches high. She took the image home. The next day she saw another image and took that home. She thought she now had two images. When she got home, the image from the preceding day was not there. Juana kept finding images and they kept disappearing. She gave an image to the priest and it also disappeared. When the priest went into the woods, he found the image on a rock. She wanted to build a church on the spot.
This traditional story has become a symbol of equality in Costa Rico. The Virgin Mary is a symbol of equality of all people regardless of the color of their skin. A beautiful byzantine church was built in the area in Cartago. On August 2 the day that commemorates Juana Pereira's story, people flock from all over the country and walk to the great church in Cartago. People who cannot walk to Cartago have local walks to their area churches. The highways are full of pilgrims walking to their churches. Traffic slows down and moves along with the pilgrims.
This is just one way that the people of Costa Rica express their spirit and their traditions. All people have their local customs. Understanding customs helps us understand others and ourselves.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Pacific Costa Rica What were they Thinking?!!!

From what most of you have read you can see when it comes to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica my main focus would be the Dominical area. I know this area well due to the tours we run hear normally and also working a little bit in and around the area in Real Estate.

The nice part about this area is that there are no large tour operators that is moving large amounts of people daily. For example in the Arenal area you might find a zipline that has 200 people a day or a rafting company that rafts 100 clients in a day. I have never seen that type of tour in the Dominical area and I dont think you ever will. This area lends itself to the type of service we offer on a Costa Rica vacation making the feeling a bit more private and remote.

Then why in the heck do they have a 150 person boat docked off the beach here offering whale tours. The whale tour is a great idea and there are quite a few small companies who do it (they could use a few more bi-lingual guides with more knowledge of the whales and dolphins). I can see their point because the small companies have small boats and the ride is very rough. But they will have to get a monopoly on all the tourist here to even get the boat half full just a few times a week.

It would be a shame to see one boat get all the people on their Costa Rican vacations looking for the whales as many small businesses make their living off these whale trips. We have kept an eye on this boat and I have not seen it move all week I've been here and we are in the Costa Rica family vacation high season. Have any of you seen the whales in Costa Rica? If so where and when?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why 2011 is the Best time to Buy Real Estate in Costa Rica

I work mostly as a tour guide in Costa Rica and have been doing it for ten years. I have seen the country change quite a bit. Just two years ago I was watching young men my age become millionaires buying and flipping properties on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. There have been a few cases when clients from the tours have asked about real estate and have even returned to look for property in Costa Rica.

The area I know best when it comes to the central  Pacific side is the area of Dominical. It happens to be my favorite, the most green, and where the mountain meets the sea. In July of 2010 I toured a couple around for a week looking at real estate working with some realtors and seeing a few peices I knew of. What we saw was very interesting.

There is a lot for sale some of which are sales of people that want out because of the USA economy crash last year. But with all these things for sale we are not seeing much things being sold. Which if you are looking for property in Costa Rica and really want the best deals then maybe the best deals are yet to come. If the economy does not fix itself in the next few months like some might have expected it to then there will be more people needing to get out, more things for sale, and lower prices.

If I had the capital to invest in some land in Costa Rica I would wait till 2011 and get in. I really feel there is so much land down here on the coast in the hands of foreigners that there will be many more that need out which will cause a huge supply and not much demand and leave a gap there for very low prices. There is also much land left in the central valley. Right now more and more coffee plantations in Costa Rica are being cut into because of the growing population. The central valley is becoming a popular area because some of the best hospitals in Costa Rica are located in the Central Valley.

Its funny how things work. Before it was the Costa Rican selling his piece of paradise to foreigners to get a few dollars that they would have never seen any other way. The Costa Rican new how to live humbley and some kept there humble lifestyles and others splurged on new trucks and fancy living (for a few months then it runs out). What we have now is American's that need out only because they might have never knew how to live humbly. This might be the only answer to the economic problems. What do you think the answer might be?

If you are interested in a very nice Costa Rica bed and breakfast option in the San Jose area you might want to check out CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What it is like to Work for CRR?

Working for our company we feel is one of the best gigs around. We are a small company but we during high season we get to offer quite a bit of work for many different areas. We offer everything from being a river guide to even working in the office with excellent views of the Central Valley and hanging out with the office dogs.

We have a community of employees that have years of experience in tourism. The vibe among employees is the same vibe as the people around Costa Rica which is "Pura Vida". We are always looking to employ more people from mom's in the villages to little kids in the local dance programs that perform for our guest.

Take a look at this video from one of our guides Erick as he says what he enjoys about working for CRR. How many of you know Erick?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Luxury Hotel Costa Rica Pacific Coast

When it comes to hotels Costa Rica has many. The Pacific coast has been home to some of the nicer hotels and a larger amount of foreign investment with a number of places to pick from. If you like quiet, small, and excellent service then the Cuna de Angel just south of Dominical is the perfect pick.

From the time you arrive you feel the vibe of very tranquil surrounded by nature, sound of birds, and a soft jazz station playing in the lobby. The name Cuna del Angel means the crib of the Angel and iti s a fitting name for this hotel. It is located about 150 yards off the beach and has small ocean views.

Cuna del Angel Costa Rica

The highlight of this hotel would have to be the restuarant. Some of the best food in any hotel and of course a nice selection of sea-food. If you pick this hotel there is much to do in the area and 3 to 4 night stay is often suggested. We know you will love this hotel as it is part of the Small Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica. We often use this hotel for our clients on private family vacations and we have a 100% satisfaction rate going for this hotel.

Our only suggestion is if you visit the hotel on a special event which they can do in the resturaunt (New Years, Easter Holiday, ect.) then make sure you get the price of the plate before you sit down. We have had clients that were surprised by the bill of the dinner for the special event. There are plenty of places nearby to eat out one night if you want to save some money.

Family Vacation Planning Specialist
Costa Rican Resource

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Costa Rica's Best Zipline

One of the many things that have made Costa Rica famous is the chance to going zipping through the rainforest. Many zipline companies in Costa Rica will take you from tree top to tree top. If you are up for a real thrill maybe you should try mountain top to mountain top and that is exactly what the SkyTrek at the Arenal Volcano will offer you.

This is a zipline where you will zip on 8 different cablse most of which hundreds of feet off the ground the highest being 700ft. The length of the cables can get up to 1km long and you travel at a speed of 40mph.

We enjoy taking all our student travel trips here and most of our family vacations opt for the thrill of the zipline. If you are looking for an amazing adventure then the SkyTrek at Arenal is the right choice. Have you ever been on a zipline that you thought was worth sharing? If so where and tell us about it? Also if your interested in planning a family vacation and enjoying Costa Rica's top adventures then contact us or
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

This was Amazing!!!

In all of Costa Rica with the class IV rapids and the erupting volcanoes I have to say seeing this was right at the top. I came upon this hummingbird sitting on it's nest.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Costa Rica Travel Essentials

When coming on a Costa Rica vacation you want to come prepared. This is not like traveling to downtown NYC where you can just walk down the block and buy what you forgot. With our experience we have a list of three essentials to make your adventure to Costa Rica more enjoyable. There is much more that you need to bring but these are three you might not have thought of.

First of all is a pair of watershoes. When traveling to Costa Rica you never know when it is going to rain and you will also probably be doing different adventures such as whitewater rafting and rappeling. You want a pair of watershoes that have good traction and will not fall off. My experience of working in rivers of Costa Rica as a river guide for 9 years has left me to be a huge fan of The Keens. This is an amazing shoe that has lasted on average 2 or 3 years each pair. Being used everyday I find this amazing. The Keens also have the rubber front part which covers the toes. I find this very helpful during the rappel adventure.

Another nice thing to have is a Pelican Case. A pelican case is basically your ultimate carrying case for your camera, phone, or any item you would like to keep safe. There are many brands out there but the pelican is the most respected and comes in many different shapes and sizes. You can even find a pelican for your laptop.

The third Travel Essential I have thought of is actually an App for your smartphone. Assuming you have a smartphone you need to get the Shoot-It app. This is one of the best travel apps you can imagine. You can actually take a picture with your phone, write a message, and send a postcard which will arrive the very next day. I have had 100% success rates with postcards arriving and people really get a big kick out of it. This Shoot-it app will keep you from running around looking for stamps while on vacation.

With all this said these are a few things that might not be absolute essentials but I have put on my must have travel list. Do any of you have anything that you must travel with? If so I would love to hear what they are?

Costa Rica Family Adventure Specialist
The Costa Rican Resource

Monday, July 12, 2010

Social Media Outside the Cubicle

When I first got involved in Social Media I asked myself how much time I would really have to dedicate to this idea of being social on the web. My day to day job involves rafting down rivers in the rainforest, hiking through the jungle, and rappeling waterfalls. I do this as a job of taking family vacation groups and student groups through Costa Rica.

I told myself that I probably would not have that much time to sit in the office and tweet, post, and stay connected. Well I was wrong. After some research and an amzing 3G service of cellphones in Costa Rica I was able to put together a Social Media Jungle kit. With a little Gateway netbook and a blackberry I can get connected hanging off the side of a waterfall if needed.

When you are taking 20 kids rafting down class IV rapids you can imagine the emails I get from parents back home wanting to know how their kids are. This is how Social Media has turned our travel company into some of the most personalized service possible. I really dont care right now if I get a bunch of more sales from Social Media. What I am getting is satisfied customers. We keep a blog for each student group so the parents can follow day to day activities with pictures of their kids posted minutes after each activity. The parents all follow and post back in minutes. It gets everyone involved in blogging and is from what the parents have told me an amazing service as a part of our company.

A Social Media kit that takes you to places that have a bit different conditions than your average cubicle should include:

1.) A Pelican Case - These are the cases that are waterproof and pretty much everything else proof if needed.

2.) Kodak waterproof cam. I was going to go with the flip but this was cheaper and took alright pictures also. Short videos for the blog are huge when parents can see their kids.

3.) Digital Camera - get those pictures going and make them easy to upload on the web because time is precious when you are on the road.

4.) Blackberry or anything with a 3G service. For me in Costa Rica I hook my phone up to my netbook and Im posting blogs for parents to see atleast 3 times a day in some of the most remote places of the rainforest.

5.) Carabiners - this is a type of hook used in adventure sports that you will want to hook your pelican up to. These are extremely durable and you will never lose anything hooked up to this.

6.) Headphones - if you are like me and have time on your hands (we often have long drives to get from A to B) then download some Social Media books on and stay updated on tips and ideas for soical media.

So for now I am happy with the idea that it is not so much what social media can do for my future sales but how it can improve on sales I've already made and help my company offer some of the best travel service around. What do you guys think about this can you come up with any ideas of how we could keep parents and family members involved in their childs trip through Social Media?

5 Jaguar Facts

If you decide on Costa Rica for a family vacation or a student travel trip it is because you are probably looking for some adventure and wildlife. One of the most sought after animals of the rainforest is the Jaguar. If you happen to see one of these on your vacation to Costa Rica you will join a very small group of eco-tourist who were lucky enough to see the beautiful animal who might not have much more time left on this planet. Take a look at some interesting facts about the Jaguar.

1.) Is a very good swimmer.

2.) The Jaguar is Endangered due to loss of natural habitat.

3.) 3rd largest cat on the plante behind the lion and tiger.

4.) Eats small mammals. (We are small mammals!!!!!!)

5.) They hunt at night. (This is one reason why tourist rarely see them)
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

5 Amazing Costa Rican Rainforest Facts

Next time you are thinking of a family vacation maybe you might want to visit one of the most astonishing places on the planet that your grandkids might not have the opportunity to see. Take a look at these facts and tell me if it would be worth take an eco-friendly vacation to help fight the cause of protecting these beautiful areas:

1.) 25% of western medicines are derived from rainforest plants and less than 1% have been tested for medicinal use.

2.) 3,000 fruits can be found in the rainforest and of these 3,000 the western world only uses 200. The native Indians to most rainforest use up to 2,000 different fruits.

3.) More than 1/2 of the worlds 10 million plants, animals, & insects live in the tropical rainforest.

4.) 6% of the Earth's surface is rainforest and experts say in 40 years it could be down to 0%.

5.) 1 1/2 acres of rainforest is lost every SECOND!!!!


Costa Rica Family Adventure Specialist
Costa Rican Resource

Friday, July 2, 2010

Arenal Volcano Vacation Costa Rica

When visiting Costa Rica on a family vacation or student travel trip going to the Arenal Volcano is a must. This is an area where there is so much to do from ziplining, rafting, rappeling, nature hikes, and much more all within a very short bus ride.

This past week we had a group that scheduled their stay for four nights at the Arenal area and they did day trips from the hotel each day. This means they did not end up traveling very long and far on the bus which is often a sacrifice one has to make to see the different wonders of Costa Rica. The one day they did travel far was the Pacuare River. There are other rivers to raft in the Arenal area but the Pacuare is one of the best on the planet so if you dont mind one day of around 8 hours in the bus it is still worth the adventure.

Weather at the Arenal Volcano

The other days were filled with ziplining, rappeling, and chances to see nature with one of our expert naturalist guides. I will say this group had excellent weather at the Arenal Volcano which made staying four days easy. The risk you take on a family vacation or student travel trip is that the Arenal Volcano can actually be cloudy for four straight days. If you happen to being staying in the area for four days and you never see the volcano you will probably be asking yourself why the better half of your Costa Rica vacation was spent looking at a volcano covered by a cloud. But if you happen to visit the area for four days and get atleast 2 out of the 4 days clear and you mix that with a little adventure then you will be happy with the choice of four days at the Arenal Volcano.

So when planning your next Costa Rica vacation if you want to take the chance staying at the Arenal volcano for a few extra days just might be worth the chance.

Costa Rican Resource:
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Whitewater Rafting Costa Rica

There are many different adventures in Costa Rica. On a family vacation if the kids are not too young then whitewater rafting should be on the list. Costa Rica has many rivers to choose from but if you are up to the challenge then the Pacuare River is without a doubt the river you need to be on. If you come during the dry season there is a chance that the river will have crystal clear water. This is good for taking pictures but if you want more adventure then you want the water to be a cloudy orange color. This is from the rain filling up the river and bringing sediments into the flow.

If you look at the picture you can see the water level is perfect. What we call in the rafting industry as the perfect day on the river is when you get the high water level on a sunny day. Because usually when the water level is high it is cloudy and rainy out.

So if you show up to your rafting adventure and you think that the river is dirty just remember its really not dirty and that you better hang on!!!