Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Cecropia Trip (Trumpet Tree)

Cecropia Tree (Thanks gettyimages)
It looks like this week is turning into interesting plant week. If we wanted to cover all the plants in Costa Rica during interesting plant week this blog would need 10,000 post before the end of the week. Yes, Costa Rica is home to 10,000 different species of plants which if you wanted to see them all on a Costa Rica Vacation I would suggest a helicopter to start. Because of Costa Rica's location in the tropics it makes for a perfect environment for so many different interesting species. Yesterday we talked about the Bromeliad which I'm sure has everyone fired up about todays plant. Drum-role....! Today's plant is The Cecropia (that was exciting!). If you have been to Costa Rica I can almost assure you that you have seen this plant.

The Cecropia is one of the fastest growing plants in the rainforest. This allows it to grow up fast and stick out from the brush in a secondary forest. They sprout up in "light gap" areas.  (Light-gap: Areas that have been cleared by fallen depri in the forest and now sun-light reaches the ground).  The reason why Cecropias are able to grow so fast is because they have an empty stem. This is very common of fast growing plants. This tree can grow many feet in just one year.

The Cecropias most interesting fact and if you are on a nature hike I am almost sure you might here this from your naturalist guide (You Should, if you do not hear this from one of our guides please contact our office info@crrtravel.com). This is the relationship between the Cecropia Tree and the Azteca ants. The ants actually use the tree for a source of food and in exchange because of the ants hard bit it defends the plant against predators. The Azteca ant only takes its food source from the tree to a point that the tree can afford to give without damaging itself. This is a perfect example of one of the most amazing things of nature called SYMBIOSIS!

Along with forty different other species of plants the sloth eats the leaves of the Cecropia. You will hear many guides and books say that the Cecropia is the favorite food of the sloth. The fact is that the Cecropia has a narrow trunk and long extended branches which only has leaves at the end of it's branches which are in the shape of a hand. This makes seeing the hard-to-see sloth very easy to see when in the Cecropia tree. So the Cecropia is the most common plant to see the sloth because it is the easiest for us to see it in and who really knows if it is the favorite.

If you go on the Pacuare Rafting adventure you will see this plant. It is very common and you can see it almost driving anywhere in Costa Rica. On your next Costa Rica adventure keep an eye out for the Cecropia Tree.

Costa Rican Nature Experts
US: 352 694 3462   CR: +506 2266 1559

Monday, October 25, 2010

What is a Bromeliad?

Suspension bridge of the 'Skywalk' north of Sa...
Hanging Bridges in the cloud-forest
If you have been on a  Costa Rica Adventure or you plan on coming chances are you will see many more Bromeliads than you do monkeys. Although chances are you will see quite a few monkeys also so don't worry I know they are a bit more exciting than a bromeliad. But one way to make a bromeliad very exciting to see is to LEARN something about it! So that is today's topic the bromeliad.

A bromeliad is actually a member of the pineapple family. The pineapple is one of the few bromeliads that grows on the ground. Most bromeliads grow up in the trees (which makes these type of bromeliads "epiphytes"). One of the most interesting things about bromeliads is that for some just one bromeliad is like a small little planet.

A bromeliad is crown-shaped which allows it to hold gallons of water just one small plant about the size of a large house plant. This water along with debris forms a home for many different insects and probably most interesting to us frogs such as the poisonous dart frog tadpoles. The plant itself feeds off the different types of debri and ecosystem that is formed by the instects allowing the plant to stay alive and in exchange be a host for many different creatures. This also means the plant is not parasytic which means it does not rely on the larger tree it is attached to for survival.  It is sort of like our planet how the larger trees send off oxigen and the Earth survives. Or on the contrary like us humans who pump CO2 into the atmosphere and the Earth struggles for survival. (Although our human CO2 production is very small to what the forest and oceans produce it throws off the natural cycle.. read more) Just another reason why we should follow natures examples.

A very strong fiber can be extracted from the bromeliad. This fiber is known as cabuya and has been used to make rope, baskets, and even hammocks. Another interesting use of the leaf of the bromeliad is for medicinal use. Many natives from areas where you find bromeliads have taken the leaves and pounded them with salt to use on wounds.

You will find bromeliads all over Costa Rica and some of the most spectacular places to see the bromeliads are the cloud-forest areas.

Scientific Name: Bromeliaceae

Costa Rica's Experts in Nature
US 352 694 3462   CR +506 2266 1559
Enhanced by Zemanta

Costa Rica's Finest

I have shown this video to a number of different people and the reaction I get is always the same, WOW! It has come to the point where I watch it once in the morning and it is like my motivation for running a family adventure business in Costa Rica. In the last 10 years I have to say Costa Rica has changed quite a bit. But the world has changed quite a bit also. At no point can I say Costa Rica is perfect. But instead of looking at the things that have changed for the negative it is always good to be reminded about the positive things of a particular area.

This video is a great snap shot of all the amazing things Costa Rica has to offer that none of their neighboring countries can boast about and actually few countries in the world can actually relate to. I hope many Costa Rican's get the chance to see this video and use it as an inspiration to stay positive in changing times and to remember things are not always as bad as they seem or they could always be a bit worse.

We also like to post this video for reasons why Costa Rica is the perfect learning environment and a must go area for a family adventure:


Costa Rican Travel Experts
US: 352 694 3462   CR: +506 2266 1559

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nauyaca Falls Costa Rica

Nauyaca Falls Costa Rica
When it comes to waterfalls Costa Rica is full of them.  You always have the option of visiting the beautiful but touristy La Fortuna Falls.  But many look for the not so touristy waterfalls and what many people don't realize when they are touring Costa Rica is that most of the waterfalls no tourist will ever see. For example some of the most spectacular waterfalls are found in Braulio Carrillo National Park which would take you just a week hiking, climbing, and camping to get to the waterfall so your week long Costa Rica family vacation would be finshed before it even started.

Although if you want to visit a waterfall that is off the touristy path, hidden in the jungle, and absolutely breath-taking then there is one that comes to mind. The waterfall on the commerical level and guide books is called Nauyaca Falls. We like to call it Baru Falls which was the name given by the Indians.

How to get to Nauyaca Falls

There are few different ways to get to this double-decker 300ft waterfall. The first being to hike to the falls. This is a beutiful hike. You can begin from the main road between San Isidro and Dominical. The hike depending upon where you begin from can take around 1 1/2 hours. The second way to get to the falls is by horseback. There are a couple of tour operators that do the horseback ride to the falls the most common being Don Lulu's ride which has an amazing lunch but this is often crowded.

The third option which happens to be the option of our company CRR is to arrive to the top of the falls in an SUV and then rappel down the waterfall. It is quite exciting to get to the top of the 300ft and tell the tourist  OK now we throw the ropes and hook on to this tree and rappel down. All they hear is the thundering sound of rushing water. This is a more intense experience than the canyoneering trips that they operate in La Fortuna Arenal Volcano area. The waterfall is literally 20 times the size of the waterfalls that you rappel in a canyoneering trip. Take a look at the videos on this entry so you can see the difference and also experience the amazing rappel and beauty of Nauyaca (Baru) Falls Southern Zone Costa Rica.



Plan Your Family Adventure Today
http://www.crrtravel.com/   info@crrtravel.com
US: 352 694 3462  CR: +506 2266 1559

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guest Post from Italy: Crazy for Calabria Italy

Provinces of Calabria in the "toe" o...
Calabria on the Map

For those that enjoy our blog with all the information you need on Costa Rica we wanted to mix things up a little bit. With all the expats living in Costa Rica we just wanted to remind everyone to make sure you know the date you arrived to Costa Rica it might be part of your family history someday. Our blog is made up of expert advice from local Costa Rican Tour guides who work in tourism but myself (Tom Ranieri) and my father (Ralph Ranieri) are incharge of putting it all on the web for you to see.
Our Family name is Ranieri and this December 1st we are celebrating 100 years since our grandparents made the "Adventure Trip" to start their new lives in the USA. They made the trip from Calabria Italy. I (Tom Ranieri) arrived to Costa Rica on January 5th 2001. Take a look at an amazing guest post we have on our blog from a professional writer, Cherrye Moore, an ex-pat, who describes the five things to love about the boot of Italy, Calabria, from where our family started their adventure and which part of it has lead to Costa Rica.

City View of Calabria
 Five Things to Love in the Toe of the Boot

Possibly the least-trekked region in Italy, Calabria boasts majestic landscapes of rugged mountain terrain and never-ending baby blue skies. Surrounded on three sides by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, the Calabrian peninsula stretches to form the toe of the boot and at its narrowest point is only 3.2 kilometers from the island of Sicily.

Yet, with all of this natural beauty, Calabria is still off of the radar for many Italy-bound travelers and is even more untouched by English-speaking expats.

But that is part of her charm. In addition to that rare authenticity, here are five things I love about living in Calabria.

1. Beaches

Beaches compete w/ Costa Rica, WOW!
I grew up in southeast Texas-far from the Padre Island of many a drunken coed’s dreams-and to be honest, was never much of a beach-going girl. However, after my first trip to Calabria in 2003, I was hooked. The region has more than 800 kilometers of coastline and hundreds of beaches that are essentially untouched by international tourists. This means a day at the beach-depending on when and where you go, is either a serene, solitary experience or a family-fun day, filled with generations of locals gathering for a day out with their closest friends.

2. Mountains

Remember the southeast Texas I told you about? Well, in addition to being far from sea-blue beaches it is also F-L-A-T. Nope, no mountains in Texas, so maybe that’s why I am addicted to spending afternoons-and weekends, when I get a chance-in the mountains.

Calabria is home to three national parks, the Aspromonte, with its waterfalls and summits, Pollino, one of Italy’s newest and largest national parks that is home to Europe’s deepest gorge and my personal favorite … La Sila, with its evergreen forest and snow-filled Alpine villages.

3. Medieval Villages

Flag of Calabria
Calabria Flag

Over the years Calabria has been conquered by the Greeks, Romans, Normans, Byzantines, Arabs, French, Spanish … need I go on … and each of these groups left their mark on the area. Many of Calabria’s villages still proudly boast their Medieval beginnings and strolling through an ancient village with narrow alleys and panoramic views epitomizes the Calabrian experience. Some of the best preserved Medieval villages in Calabria are Gerace and Stilo in the province of Reggio Calabria, Altomonte in the province of Cosenza and Badolato and Squillace in the province of Catanzaro.

4. Food and Culture

Technically I’m cheating here by squeezing food and culture under one heading, but here in Calabria the two are undeniably linked.

I often tell people I feel like I’m living in my grandmother’s America … we still hang our clothes out to dry, store close in the middle of the day and generations of families meet for leisurely lunches … even during the week. Oh yes, here in Calabria, authentic southern Italian culture is alive and well … and the fiery red chili peppers, homemade pasta and robust local wine don’t hurt.

5. People

veduta di Reggio Calabria, view of Reggio Calabria
Nicoya Peninsula Costa Rica? Nope, CALABRIA ITALY!!

Travelers who visit our bed and breakfast in Catanzaro-Calabria’s capital city-often tell us that Calabrians are the most helpful, generous Italians they’ve met on their trip. Just this week American guests from Seattle told us about the owners of a local wine bar, who upon hearing they were Americans, dashed across the street to introduce them to their English-speaking neighbor (who then gave them her phone number in case they needed help). Last month, guests from Las Vegas returned to our B&B with bags full of fresh fruit and vegetables, straight from someone’s garden they met on a day trip.

After living in bella Calabria for more than four years, I have grown to love the region, not just for the five points I listed above, but for the fact that it is unchartered … for the fact that I don’t run into expats on every corner and hear English on the streets and in the markets. I love Calabria for the history … the traditions … the way of life. And while that might not always be perfect, it is always perfectly Calabrian.

Cherrye Moore is a Calabria tour planner and travel writer living in southern Italy. She writes about expat life for AffordableCallingCards.net, a site that sells-you guessed it-affordable calling cards to Italy. You can read about expat life on their site or more about traveling in southern Italy on her site, My Bella Vita.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, October 18, 2010

Costa Rica Facts

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 15th "World Rural Women Day"

Smiles from Sitio de Mata Project
 Although this is a day late I wanted to inform everyone that yesterday was the World Rural Women's Day. Most have probably never heard of this including myself until this year. I was doing some research and after dealing with Rural Costa Rica for the last couple of years, having my brother make yearly trips to Africa, and having lived in other rural areas of Central America it crossed our minds that women in rural areas more often than not are the ones putting up the struggle for the food on the table and education of the children.

It turns out after one quick google the Day of Rural Women already exist and it is October 15th. It has been around for over a decade. Halloween will be taking second place now as my favorite holiday in October. This is a special day as we celebrate Rural Women across the globe. Just here in Costa Rica our company has a special relationship with the Rural Women in the village of Sitio de Mata where we have our Sitio de Mata Project going strong and just gets stronger as more of you put groups together to form more visits.

To all the rural women across the globe we hope you enjoyed your day. We will be doing everything we can next year to make October 15th a celebrated day in rural parts of Costa Rica. I called some of the ladies in our Sitio de Mata Project and none of them knew this day even existed which made me think probably most of the rural women on the planet don't even know this day exist. They were quite flattered to here a day was just for them and all their hard work.

Plan a Rural Costa Rica Vacation Today
http://www.crrtravel.com/   info@crrtravel.com
US: 352 694 3462  CR: +506 2266 1559
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, October 15, 2010

Costa Rica Family Vacation (Return to Innocence...)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Morphine?! I'll Just Eat a Poisonous Dart Frog...

Strawberry poison dart frog from Costa Rica.
Dude, I'm slipping (Good thing Im coated in mucous to hold on)
If you have been on a Costa Rica Vacation and have had the chance to see the poisonous dart frogs it i one of the smallest events of any family vacation yet one of the most memorables. (Just a tip if you are heading to the Pacuare River it happens to be one of the best spots to see them in Costa Rica).

It is amazing how this little amphibian the size of a penny can compete with large erupting volcanoes and loud howling monkeys as being one of the sites of your Costa Rica Adventure.

Now if you were interested in seeing them before maybe with the new study out you will see just how important these guys might be. The Family is called Dendrobatidae and more commonly know as the Poisonous Dart Frog which we have all heard the Indians rubbed their arrows on the skin and then the poison could stay on the arrow tip for up to two years used for hunting or wars.

What we might not have known is that there have been studies done recently that have found that this same poison works 200 times better than Morphine and has no side affects. When I say no side affects we are talking that the frog poison is not addictive, no breathing problems, and no digestive problems all at a 200 times better performance than Morphine. I know pain and suffering is a part life but geez this sounds too good to be true.

The new medicine has been taken from the species in Ecuador called "Epipedrobates Tricolor" and all this chatter in the medical industry is still very young. This medicine still has all the hoops to jump through and I'm sure some pharmaceutical company has to get their billions off of it before lives start getting saved.

The medicice is called "Epibatidine" in honor of the frog. So if you happen to hear the name in a few years you can know that this medicine is poison off a frogs back that roamed in the tropics.

The   poisonous dart frogs have no predators except for one species of snake whihc is immune to it's poison. Does anyone know it's name?

Costa Rica Family Adventures
Costa Rican Resource
wwwcrrtravel.com  info@crrtravel.com
US: 352 694 3462  CR: +506 2266 1559
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bairds Tapir

Baird's TapirImage by Andy Tinkham via FlickrThis is one of Costa Rica's most popular animals. It happens to be a flagship species of Costa Rica. There are many interesting facts about the Bairds Tapir (Danta) so I wanted to make a list. This animal is called the Rhino of Central America. Hope you enjoy:

  • Life Span is 30 Years
  • 4 Species exist (Bairds Tapir in Central America)
  • Found in Every Continent except Antarctic; evidence of Super Continent Gondwanaland
  • Species unchanged for millions of years
  • Each toe has it's own separate hoof
  • Nose and Upper lip combined into a flexible snout like an elephants trunk
  • Travels alone
  • Uses flexible nose to explore a circle of ground 1 foot in diameter w/o having to move it's head
  • They love the water and can use their snout as a snorkel

Related Videos by CRRTravel:

    - Costa Rica Family Adventures
    - Costa Rica's Arenal Volcano
    - Rural Tourism Costa Rica

Costa Rican Resource
Plan Your Family Vacation
US: 352 694 3462  CR: +506 2266 1559
Enhanced by Zemanta

What is a Flagship Species?

Giant Panda Bear Eating ApplesImage by Digital Story via FlickrA flagship species is a term used by conservationist in the industry of tourism to bring awareness to an eco-system as a whole of the importance of protecting it. It is an interesting concept. The conservationist pair up with the tourism of an area, pick a popular endangered species, and then promote that species. The idea is to help the species but the real goal behind it is to protect the larger picture which would be the whole eco-system in which the specie lives which would involve many more plants and animals.

The term flagship species is given to animals that "Tourist" find interesting. In most cases "cute" or just large and impressive. Some of the flagship species you might be familiar with around the world are the Koala Bear, Bengal Tiger, and the Panda. We have all heard of these species and the importance of protecting them and that they might be endangered. I think its a great idea to take from the eco-system it's most prized (in the eyes of a tourist) most endangered species and promote it to raise awareness for the problem.

Costa Rica's Flagship Species

Costa Rica has it's own flagship species which is the Bairds Tapir. This is a beautiful animal that has been called the Rhino of Central America. There have been great efforts made to protect this species and along with protected it has come many many acres of protected land in Costa Rica. The Hacienda Baru and the Rafiki Lodge are two areas that have used the Tapir as a Flagship species and have made a difference in not only protecting the Tapir but also protecting the eco-system in which it lives.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, October 11, 2010

Arenal Volcano Hotels

Here is a look at some of the hotels in the Arenal Volcano area. We made a list of hotels from 3 Star to 5 Star. The graph is based on a scale of 1 - 10. The 10 being top quality and the 1 being lowest quality.  The Stars of the hotels stand for the infrastructure and all around how fancy it is. The scale of food, service, view, and location are all based upon the same 1 - 10 rating system and have nothing to do with each hotel having a different Star level.

We have come up with this system through a number of different sources. Our main source being our clients and our guides. Coming in and out of the hotels with different private family groups and sometimes larger groups gives us a good idea of how hotels are behaving. Our guides are always required to ask our guest how their stay was and to get comments on the hotel.

Another source is our low season inspection of the hotels where we travel to the different areas of the country visiting different hotels. This never works as well as the guides and clients opinion though because once a hotel knows you are from a Tour Company they know it is time to step up the service. I hope this chart can help you as you decide for your next Costa Rica Vacation. If you are interested in a Costa Rica Family Vacation Contact Us:

Costa Rican Resource
US: 352 694 3462  CR: +506 2266 1559

Related Articles by CRRTravel:

Nayara Resort Arenal Costa Rica


If I had to pick as of now Naraya is still one of my top 3 favorite hotels in Costa Rica. I've been working in Tourism for 10 years in Costa Rica and it was Nayara that I put my brother for his honeymoon for four
nights (He loved it). The way our guest feel about this place I would have to say it is their favorite when it comes to a Costa Rica Family Vacation or a Costa Rica Honeymoon. Tripadvisor has around 9 million comments about Nayara and from what I can tell they are all positive (Somebody always has something negative to say on Tripadvisor at some point but not yet for Nayara).

Take a look at are Pro's and Con's of Nayara (I had to think hard about the Con's):

Nayara Pros
  • The rooms are at a 10 Star level on a scale of 1 - 5 Stars
  • The view is amazing of the Arenal Volcano (only one room does not have a view of the volcano but great jungle feeling)
  • Outside of town and located in a quiet area
  • Small hotel just over 20 rooms so you have the quaint feeling
  • Service is great
  • Access is Easy
  • Food is very good
Nayara Cons

  • The food is very good but not a huge variety (Think of going to Don Rufinos a night)
  • No real hiking trails nearby. Cattle farms and other hotels around the property
  • Sorry thats it for Cons this place is almost PERFECT!

Plan Your Costa Rica Vacation
TThe Costa Rican Resource
www.crrtravel.com. Info@crrtravel.com
US: 352 694 3462. CR: +506 2266 1559

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Coco Island Costa Rica

Coco Island is located off the Coast of Costa Rica and is Costa Rica's least visited National Park. It is surely the most difficult to get to as it is an expedition tour and a 36 hour boat ride. This island was declared a park in 1978 and is 2,309ha of land and another 97,235ha of Marine habitat. The park is known for it's marine life which make it one of the most popular diving areas on the planet. It is also very scenic as some of Costa Rica's most beautiful waterfalls fall from the island into the ocean. There are many endemic species on the island including different reptiles, birds, species, and plants. Along with diving there are hiking trails which open up to amazing views. The island is completely protected though and you sleep on the boats during these trips.
A waterfall at Wafer Bay, Cocos IslandImage via Wikipedia 
I wanted to make this blog entry a little different. The Island is plain and simply an incredible spot and if I write about it's natural beauties much more I will just upset myself that I have not been there, yet. I did find some interesting information on the island reading a book on Costa Rican National Parks by INCAFO.

Now we have all heard that Costa Rica means "Rich Coast" because when the Spanish arrived the Indians had lots of gold and then the Spaniards went back to Spain and told the Queen they found the Rich Coast (Costa Rica). Turns out with all the rough terrain, rain, and disease they never found much gold.

Coco Island Treasures

In the book by INCAFO it mentions that the Isla de Coco (Coco Island) might have actually been the inspiration for L. Stevenson's book "Treasure Island". They say Coco Island is famous for three great treasures that are hidden on the island between 1684 and 1821. Most importantly being the treasure of Lima which consist of tons of gold and silver ingots. After more years more and more treasures were said to be hidden on Coco Island and it became known as the island with the most treasures on it.

Because of this many organized search expeditions have been made to the island. Nothing has ever really been found except some "doubloons" (Old Currency from Europe).

Writing this we were thinking maybe our next Costa Rica Family Vacation Package will be a search party to the Coco Island to hunt for some treasure or we can organize a high school summer program and the kids might enjoy a scavenger hunt around the island.

If the Island has gold or not the Coco Island with all it's beauty and bio-diversity is now considered one of Costa Rica's most prized treasures and the world has begun to realize. In 1997 UNESCO designated it part of the World Heritage and I don't think they were thinking about the "doubloons". The island was also voted by Costa Rica as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Costa Rica.

Want to Plan an Adventure to Costa Rica:
The Costa Rican Resource
http://www.crrtravel.com/   info@crrtravel.com
US: 352 694 3462  CR: +506 2266 1559

Related Articles by CRRTravel:
Enhanced by Zemanta

Braulio Carrillo National Park Costa Rica

For almost 3 years I worked the Pacuare River Rafting one day trip leaving from San Jose at 6am and arriving back to San Jose at 6pm. It was a very long day but still I have to say everyday you got up looking forward to the tour. It's just one of Costa Rica's best adventures that never gets old.

 One of my favorite parts about this trip was after the long 3 hours of paddling was getting out of the raft and the peaceful drive back to San Jose. Most of the client were sleeping because they were tired from rafting also. They had to rest up for the rest of their Costa Rica Family Vacation and we had to rest up for the next day of rafting. The best part about the drive back was the 45 minutes we spend in the Braulio Carrillo National Park. I still remember hearing a man who had traveled all over the world visiting some of the worlds diverse and jungle filled places.

He made the comment that that the Braulio Carrillo always seemed to amaze him like none other. He said it was so unique in that it was so close to a major populated area as the San Jose Central Valley area. I did not think much at the time and then he went on to tell me how much of the park he would guess has never been set foot on by humans. Not thinking much of it at the time I began to do some research and realized that the Braulio Carrillo National Park is not friendly terrain. It is wet (4,500mm per year), very mountainous & rugged, and extremely tough to get around with many canyons, waterfalls, & rivers. There are a few hiking trails but the more you think about it the more that man probably was right in saying that there are many parts of it that man has never seen and it sits right next too a worlds major Capital City, San Jose (Sort of a major Capital City).

The park measures 47,583hectares and was created in 1978. It was named after the president who went through great lengths to join the Central Valley to the Atlantic Coast Braullio Carrillo.  Probably the most recognized area of the park are the volcanic peaks Barva, Cacho Negro, & Zurqui which can be seen from the now paved highway or the Rio Sucio which is two different color rivers (which was actually a scene from Jurassic Park & the movie Congo). Just a drive through the park on a clear day you will be promised a view of some of the most lush tropical forest you will see anywhere on Earth. The forest here is estimated to have around 6,000 different species of plants.

If you have the chance during your Costa Rica Family Vacation to visit the Braulio Carrillo National Park or atleast make the drive through our suggestion would be to try and do it early in the morning when the mist is rising. If you contact us and you really want to get a taste for the park we can take you hiking but it will not be your average touristy destination.

If you are headed from the Atlatic Coast or Pacuare River to the Arenal Volcano you will not pass the Braulio Carrillo Park although it might be worth to take a short detour if it is a clear day.

Related Articles by CRRTravel:

Costa Rica Family Vacation Specialist
Costa Rican Resource
www.crrtravel.com   info@crrtravel.com
CR:   +506 2266 1559    US:  352 694 3462

Friday, October 8, 2010

Voted by CRR as the Best of Costa Rica: Agree?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Costa Rica Family Vacation

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lapa Rios Corcovado Costa Rica

Lapa Rios is considered to be one of the finest Eco-Resorts not only in Costa Rica but of all of the planet. What makes this place the perfect fit for a Costa Rica family vacation I guess I would say LOCATION, LOCACTION, LOCATION but I have to give credit to other parts of the hotel as well. Also it should be noted that Travel & Leisure has Lapa Rios as one of the top 500 Hotels on the Planet. There are quite a few hotels on the planet so thats not too bad.

We will start with the location though. First of all you fly into Costa Rica's Puerto Jimenez airport where you are met by a staff member of the hotel with a little cocktail Im sure. You are now on the Osa Peninsula which happens to be the most bio-diverse place on the planet (not a bad LOCATION for a eco-resort).

The location lends itself to amazing ocean views and all four species of Costa Rican monkeys without leaving your room. Did you get that all four species of Costa Rican monkeys w/o leaving your room. Now I did say that this hotel has great ocean views but be aware that you have to take a bit of a hike to get to the water. You can also be sure that you will see plenty of Scarlet Macaws during your stay.
I want you to know that we think this is one of Costa Rica's finest places and as a company we would like that every client would enjoy and atleast try an eco-adventure like staying at Lapa Rios. National Geographic as you can see to the left happens to think its one of the top 50 around and NatGeo has seen a few more than we have.  I really feel if your family gave it a try by the time you left it would be almost impossible to say you really missed the things mentioned below.

  Now some of the things you should know before you book what you think is a perfect piece of paradise (which is to us but to some w/o these little things it might be not the piece of paradise they were looking for.

  Here is the list of what Lapa Rios DOES NOT HAVE:

                   - No A/C
                   - No Phones
                   - No TV's
                                                     - No Internet (not even for staff)
                                                   - No ATM (think tips)


This list above is what makes this place what it is. This is a real Gem of Costa Rica. It is one of the few places that does not have all these things, no beach access, and no night shows but you can still take your kids here on a Costa Rica family vacation and they will love it. There are activities to do in the area such as many different nature hikes and you will see more wildlife here than anywhere else in the country. Another great activity for the kids is the whale & dolphin trip or the kayaks. Do not expect to be doing super adrenaline pumping adventures like whitewater rafting Pacuare River. It is a good chance for them to get out into the water as the hotel is not right on the water as mentioned before.

Lapa Rios Costa Rica Negative Comments

  • Up-hill walk to restaurant (not much we can do here) 
  • there should be two hammocks for every bungalow (I heard they were working on this one)
Interesting Facts About Hotel:
  • Dinner is ordered at Breakfast to not waste food in the evening
  • 1,000 acre private reserve (Central America's last remaining lowland Tropical Rainforest)
  • Lapa Rios has 5 leaves for CST (This is huge in Costa Rica and very respected in the Sustainable Tourism World)

Interested in Planning a Family Vacation to Costa Rica Contact:
The Costa Rican Resource
CR: +506 2266 1559  US: 352 694 3462

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hiking in Costa Rica

CRR Guides on a Family Hike
Everyone wants to come to Costa Rica and do the zipline, rafting, surf, canyoneering, sit at the beach, practice Spanish, and the list goes on. One thing I try to get all my groups even if it is just for 15 minutes is to walk into the rainforest. The feeling of being surrounded by some of the most bio-diverse places on the planet is amazing. What you have to do is make your way into the cloud-forest or rainforest but make sure it is a nice thick jungle. You then just stop and listen. You will be amazed at how many noises you hear. That right there what you are hearing is the differnce between hiking in the Grand Canyon and hiking in the Tropics. I know this might not be the big thrill everyone is looking for but it takes just a few minutes and its worth it.

Costa Rica's Best Hiking Spots

Hiking SymbolImage via WikipediaThere are hiking areas all over the country some with many tourist and some with not so many. It all depends on what kind of hike you are looking for. If you want to be amazed by seeing natural wonders than you probably want to take the hike to Chirripo, Arenal Volcano National Park, or Rio Celeste. If you want to be probably the only one around and surrounded by nature than you might want to try a National Park like Tapanti. Personally my favorite hikes happen at the higher elevations when you get up into the cloud-forest. Hiking around Cerro de la Muerte at the many birding lodges is like slugging a 12 pack of fresh air (which is a bit more healthier than other 12 packs out there). The Barva Volcano is a high altitude hike (high altitude for Costa Rica only around 8,000ft) which has very few visitors and great vegetation all around.

These are just a few areas of Costa Rica and a complete book could be written on hiking in Costa Rica. No matter what you come to Costa Rica to do make sure you spend atleast a few minutes to get yourself into nature and remember to just stay still and listen. You wont want to leave.

Plan Your Costa Rica Adventure:
The Costa Rican Resource
CR: 506 2266 1559 US: 352 694 3462

Related Articles by CRRTravel

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hotel Capitan Suizo Costa Rica

After reading many different comments about this hotel I wanted to get some things straight. Its not a bad place. I know all travelers want to go to tripadvisor for comments on where to travel. But a bad comment on tripadvisor does not mean a place is bad.

For example and this goes for my opinion and I understand that all of you might not think the same way which is fine which means Hotel Capitan Suizo may not be the place for you. Costa Rica is located in the TROPICS which is what has made it popular and one of hte most bio-diverse places on the planets. The cute looking monkeys, beautiful toucans, and colorful looking frogs would not be around if it was not for little noisy insects (can you believe that, isnt that weird?). This is my first complaint of the complaints I see about hotels on tripadvisor.

I do agree Capitan Suizo was probably trying to save energy cost as many hotels do it is the "Green-Energy Saving Vibe" going on (its a good thing unfortunately the majority of paying tourist are not on the same vibe yet which hotel owners need to be aware of) by not using dehumidifyers in the rooms and things got a little damp. The sheets the beds. From what Ive heard they made the investment and this problem has been fixed. Some other complaints were the towels were a little out dated which in my opinion working as a guide for years sorry to say Capitan Suizo NO EXCUSE!!!! We get clients out of the river after 2 days of rafting and the most important thing is a nice fluffy towel even though we are in the town of Siquirres which is one of Costa Rica's least pleasant towns it is amazing the magic of the fluff in a towel so I understand those complaints for the vacationer as operatering tours it is the little things that count.

I love the idea of Capitan Suizo how they use no chemicals so if the insects come into the room deal with them. I think visitors need more contact with nature literally. It seems nuts but in the US there is so much isolation from nature it's amazing what we have exposed ourselves to in thinking we are protecting ourselves by getting away from all these little bugs. They actually dont hurt you as much as you think they do.

The staff is amazing, the rooms are big, the hotel grounds are super secluded and kept at perfection and one thing that cant be beat is that you are ON the beach. When it comes to Costa Rica there are many places you will stay AT the beach but ON the beach not as many.

Interesting Facts About Hotel:
  • No TV's I love this
  • 11 rooms with fans
  • 11 rooms with A/C
  • 95% of employees are from Costa Rica
  • No pesticides are used in the gardens
  • 10 minute walk from the town of Tamarindo (good part is you still feel secluded)

Family Vacation Planning Specialist

The Costa Rican Resource

Related Articles by CRRTravel:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Canyoneering Costa Rica

Canyoneering is an adventure that has become just as popluar in Costa Rica as the rafting and ziplining in the last couple of years. If you are not familiar with canyoneering it is a sport that is common in the state of Utah in the USA and many other states out west. Here in Costa Rica many often mistake this sport with rappeling. It turns out canyoneering does often involve some rappeling but in Costa Rica companies will often sell you a tour of canyoneering or rappeling and it is important to know the difference.

Canyoneering in the Tropics

The canyoneering involves more of what it says and that is a "canyon". You actually make your way down on your hands and feet sometimes even your knees and butt. There is always water involved in Costa Rica being in the tropics you are surrounded by rainforest and at the bottom of the canyon is where the water tends to be and that is where you start the adventure. Depending on which canyon you are in the hike can be very strenuous but there are a number of trips most in La Fortuna area near the Arenal Volcano that have become commercial canyons that companies have made it possible for family groups and young kids (10 years and up) to make the trip possible. You do want to be in good physical shape though for this adventure and you might want to leave grandma in the spa or the option for the birding trip.

The real fun comes as you make your way down the canyon and you come along where the hiking has to come to an end. That is where the gear which is your climbing harness, ropes, and carabiners is where you put the trust of the next 200ft in some cases. The next step is to rappel. Most companies will give you a lesson of how to rappel at the start of the adventure.

Where to Canyon?  

 There are a few different canyons in the area and the most commercially run ones are in La Fortuna area and they happen to be very proffesionally run, safe, and amazing fun for the family. There are also some places in Turrialba with the company Explornatura.  If you get the chance to visit Costa Rica on a family vacation and you are looking for a little adventure I suggest squeezing in this adventure I know you will not regret it.

Related Articles by Costa Rican Resource

Casa Turire Hotel Turrialba Costa Rica

This 16 room hotel has been one of my favorites for years now. Although I will say it has no A/C in 15 of the rooms I have never heard any of my clients mention this as a problem.

The hotel is on a lake, it is very small but spread out perfectly almost with the feel that you are in a large plantation home arriving in on a driveway of a long row of palm trees. The pool area is small but very well kept along with all the hotel grounds. You are located in a valley and have very good views of the mountains and nearby Turrialba Volcano. The area is also very close to some of Costa Rica's best rafting rivers and Costa Rica's most famous and world renown the Pacuare River.

The food is amazing and if I had to give this hotel one bad comment it would be the coffee is not my favorite but just go with the tea for a night or two.

Who will Enjoy this Hotel?

I will let my past clients do the talking on this one as we have been working with this hote Casa Turire for around 5 years now and we have a 100% satisfaction rate with this hotel. The prices are also very low I feel for the value and service. This hotel works perfect for family vacations and also an amazing spot if you are on a Costa Rican Honeymoon.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Luxury Hotel In Costa Rica

Cloudforest viewImage by Harry R via FlickrWent to Chirripo a few months back and anyone that has been there knows it is a place about as beautiful as it gets. But the first thing that comes to mind is that it is not a luxury trip. The roads are rough and the living conditions are basic (which is fine still an awesome trip).

Monte Azul Chirripo Costa Rica

Well it looks as if some of this might have changed thanks to the new luxuryBoutique hotel called Monte Azul. I have to be honest as of Sept 2010 I have not visited but that will change very soon and I will be posting on it. This hotel had a recent article in Conde Nast Traveler which put it on it's "Hot List 2010" (Can't be bad for business).

The small hotel looks to be very art-friendly, community and evironmently involved, and located in an area that will give you a full taste of the nature around. It is not too far from the park entrance of Chirripo which could make it a luxury stop for your night before entering the park and your night after coming out of the park. 
Enhanced by Zemanta