Category Archives: Travel

Gay Travel to Costa Rica

With the spreading acceptance of gay culture and the gay lifestyle, many tourist organizations and locations have sought to reach out to the gay community with clubs, hotels, bars and other attractions that cater specifically to them. Costa Rica is one of many regions which has chosen to do so, and gay travel to here is now one of the most rapidly expanding subsections of the local tourist market. As such, those who are interested in gay vacations in to this lovely country have a great variety of options to choose from.

Though Costa Rica was somewhat indifferent or hostile towards gays as recently as the late 90s, the large amount of tourist dollars, not to mention the fact that they are generally well behaved tourists who don’t destroy property or vandalize buildings. As such, in recent years, there has been a great effort to build gay-friendly bars, hotels, and other meeting places. The vast majority of these places are located in San Jose or Manuel Antonio, which are also the largest cities on the island. There are also a number of older (forty years old and up) gays who have chosen to settle in here, purchasing various houses and other properties in the area. This offers unique opportunities to gays visiting Costa Rica, not to mention the fact that many of the bars are becoming increasingly gay-themed and gay-friendly properties.

Like many formerly conservative areas, it is advisable that gays who are visiting Costa Rica keep to themselves when vacationing in Costa Rica. Though the police and many other organizations have sided strongly with the tourists, there have been a number of incidents. While none of them have led to outright violence or death, the natural tendency towards machismo and confrontation found in some of the natives (especially after a few drinks) means that gay visitors are more likely to stick with the gay friendly resorts and areas.

About Traveling to Costa Rica

You’ve heard the rumors about traveling to Costa Rica. Could it be as fun and affordable as they all say? Let’s take a look at five that are actually true to get to the bottom of it.

1) Costa Rica is more accessible to Americans in 2015.

American travelers only need a plane ticket and passport to enjoy this tiny Central American nation. Things continue to get even more accessible. Southwest is extending its flights this year, offering great rates for budget travelers. Enterprise Rent-A-Car has also opened offices while familiar American chains like Dippin’ Dots and Little Caesars continue to expand, providing many of the comforts of home while still being able to explore an exotic and exciting region.

2) Costa Rica joins developed nations in the OECD.

The people and economy continue to flourish as a provider of ecotourism. They received an invitation to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which creates policies to advance the economies and societies of member nations.

Upon approval, Costa Rica will be the first Central American country to join. Pura vida, indeed!

3) The volcanoes are active.

The Turrialba volcano sure has shaken up the country recently. Remnants of its eruption have been felt as far as east as San Jose with bits of ash falling from the sky. Volcanology enthusiasts will love the chance to see an active volcano.

And don’t worry — tourism shows no signs of slowing down and eruptions have been benign. Head to the Nicoya peninsula if you’d rather bury your toes in sand and avoid the issue altogether.

4) Coffee is better down there.

Coffee is one of Costa Rica’s major prides. Take a sip and you’ll understand right away why it’s called the golden bean. This delicious beverage is a key part of the country’s economy.

Today, more and more cooperatives are being developed to provide fair wages to coffee farmers and pickers. Coffee tours are available all over the country. Whether you visit the farms of Monteverde or Naranjo, you’ll love learning about coffee’s rich history and flavor in this tropical nation.

First Time Travelers to Costa Rica

Costa Rica projects an image of rainforest canopy tours, crystal clear blue water, and the free-spirited Pura Vida mentality. While these things are all as good as advertised, many first time travelers to Costa Rica may be surprised to learn that they suffer from a unique set of modern problems. This guide will help soften the blow of the culture shock and prepare travelers for a great trip to Costa Rica.

First the pleasant surprises. English is spoken throughout the country and American dollars are an acceptable form of currency. For casual purchases, keep some Colones in your wallet; the exchange rate is roughly 600 Colones/ $1 USD. Also, the entire country is wired in 110V so American appliances will work without cumbersome adapters.

The most common entry point to this country is the San Jose Airport (SJO) which has surprisingly modern customs and immigration terminal. It is here that some of the shine of the country may wear off if you are not prepared.

For starters, there are signs posted reminding tourists that it is illegal to engage in sexual intercourse with minors. There are reminders that possession of Cocaine, Marijuana, and Opiates is also quite illegal. Those who think that Costa Rica is a third-world lawless zone should go elsewhere, because the Policia in Costa Rica do not have a sense of humor regarding these serious crimes.

The taxi stable at the airport is the one place in the entire country where travelers should be on the lookout for pickpockets and shady unlicensed cab drivers. These ne’er-do-wells may promise an exclusive tour of the surrounding countryside that you can’t get anywhere else; these can lead to horror stories of tourists being robbed and stranded in an unfamiliar land. The best counter to this problem is to arrange transportation ahead of time with a reputable transport company.

Over the last few years the roads in Costa Rica have been improved tremendously, however there are still places where the pavement gives way to dirt, rocks, and mud. Also there are virtually no roads in the country wider than two lanes. Therefore as you leave San Jose factor in additional travel time for highway problems. Vehicle breakdowns, accidents, and mudslides can delay traffic for hours, so be prepared to stop for a while.

Once out in the countryside, the Pura Vida mentality will take hold of you. Rural Costa Ricans are friendly, honest, and generally concerned with the safety of their foreign guests. Violent crime is virtually non-existent outside of San Jose and the fishing, ecotourism, and volcanoes truly do live up to their world-class reputation.

Luxury Travel To Costa Rica

Costa Rica has become a popular travel destination for people from all over the world, and especially the U.S. It’s convenient location, year-round tropical climate and 800 miles of coastlines, create a perfect destination for business or pleasure.

In recent years, some American-based companies have opened nearshore offices in Costa Rica. The country’s educated, talented workforce is an additional incentive for a variety of industries including the information technology sector. And every visitor to Costa Rica, whether for business or pleasure, gets to experience what is characterized as the “Pura Vida” lifestyle. This open and happy culture tends to help people relax and feel at ease.

5 Luxury Accommodations for You to Try During Your Travels to Costa Rica

Whether you’re traveling to Costa Rica for business or pleasure, chances are you’d like to stay somewhere you’ll really enjoy. Be sure to make hotel reservations in advance to get the perfect accommodations for your visit. Check out these 5 luxury travel resorts available in Costa Rica. These places have been selected based on location, amenities and glowing customer reviews:

    1. Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo: Located right on the Gulf of Papagayo, this resort offers a 5-star travel experience with full beach access and free wifi. The resort features multiple pools, gyms, restaurants, bars, tennis courts and golf courses. This resort is the perfect getaway and full of different kinds of entertainment opportunities depending on your needs and interests.

    1. Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort at Manuel Antonio National Park: Located near rainforests, private trails and white sandy beaches, this resort offers stunning views and activities for thrill seekers. This resort has been awarded the Five Sustainability Leaf Award for its carbon-neutral sustainable lodging and lush neighborhood. This resort is ideal for nature lovers and adventurous souls.

    1. PURE Condo Resort: Located on Herradura Bay, this 5-Star luxury resort allows guests to immerse themselves in the Pura Vida lifestyle and relax by the water. This resort is located one hour away from the international airport, making travel pain-free. This resort allows guests to enjoy a home away from home in beautiful condos perfect for families, couples or those traveling alone. This location offers guests the option to explore local retail shops and get a taste for Costa Rican cuisine at near-by restaurants.

    1. Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort: Located in the center of a tropical rainforest near the exquisite Arenal Volcano, the Tabacon Resort is a destination fit for queens and kings! This resort offers guests something uniquely relaxing — thermal mineral spring rivers that have formed waterfalls, streams, pools and ponds. This tranquil scenery allows guests the opportunity to relax and enjoy nature at its finest. There are plenty of amenities offered at Tabacon, including spa services, restaurants located in the rainforest and superior hotel rooms. This resort creates the most relaxing vacation for every guest.

  1. Fina Rosa Blanca: Located in Santa Barbara, Costa Rica, this coffee plantation and inn was built right in the middle of beautiful gardens producing coffee beans. This resort is easily accessible, located only 20 minutes from the international airport. With breath-taking scenery, delicious dining options and refreshing pool and beach access, this resort offers a luxury experience for any visitor.

Travel Inside Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the major Latin American countries in Central America where tourism is booming. Thus, the need for airlines that travel inside Costa Rica is increasing and the government is working its best to supply the demand.

There are various airlines that travel inside Costa Rica both international, domestic, and even charter flights. The official flag carrier is Lacsa (Lineas Aereas Costarricenses SA), which has been established since 1945 and is based in the country’s major airport in San Jose.

Lacsa operates international scheduled flights to more than 20 major destinations in Central, North and South America. Among those destinations are Bogotá, Tegucigalpa, Guatemala City, New York, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Toronto, Havana, Lima, Panama City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Salvador.

Sansa Airline is a full owned subsidiary of Lacsa and started its operations in 1980. It has approximately 9 Cessna 208B Grand Caravan and 1 Aerospatiale ATR-42-300. It flies to around 18 destinations within Costa Rica.

Another long running airline in Costa Rica is Air Charter Service. It has been in operation since 1970 and is divided into two major but different divisions: Aviones Taxi Aereo and Taxi Aereo Centroamericano. Nature Air Airline is based in Tobías Bolaños International Airport, San José. It has been operating since 1991 to provide domestic flight services and it was formerly known as Travelair.

Paradise Air travels to approximately 33 destinations in Costa Rica and is one of the leading Air Charter operators within Costa Rica, Panama and also in Nicaragua. Another one of the airlines that service Costa Rica is Aeropostal Alas de Centroamerica. It is a relatively new budget airline based in San José. It was established in 2003, although it began its operations in 2005.

There are two major airports in Costa Rica. First is the Juan Santamaría Airport which is accessible to the cities of San José, Alajuela and Heredia. The second is the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport located in Liberia in the Guanacaste Province.

Although the airport in Liberia is considerably smaller than the former, it impressively receives flights from major airlines like American, Air Canada, Delta, Continental, and United. These airlines that travel inside Costa Rica connects the country to international cities like Atlanta, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, London, Miami, Newark, Vancouver, and more.

There are also several domestic airports in other major cities of Costa Rica. In Limon, there is one in the city itself and one each in Barra del Colorado and Tortuguero. In South Puntarenas, there are five domestic airports like the Carate, Coto 47, Drake Bay, Golfito, Palmar Sur, and Puerto Jiménez.

In North Puntarenas, there are two others namely: the Quepos Domestic Airport and the Tambor Domestic Airport. Because Guanacaste is the gateway to Costa Rica’s fantastic beaches, they have for domestic airports which are in Carrillo (Samara), Nosara, Punta Islita and Tamarindo. Other domestic airports are Pavas Domestic Airport in San Jose and La Fortuna Domestic Airport in Alajuela.

Traveling Within Costa Rica

What is the best way to travel within Costa Rica? Once you arrive in Costa Rica, either through the Daniel Oduber Airport in Liberia, or the Juan Santa Maria Airport in San Jose, you will need to decide how to get to your vacation destination.

Due to international carrier arrival times, many travelers need to spend the night in San Jose when arriving to and departing from Costa Rica. There are many sights and activities to justify spending perhaps 2 or 3 nights total in the San Jose Central Valley. However the great majority of the tourism destinations are well outside of San Jose. There are many options which include public transportation by bus, minivans with drivers, tour buses, taxis, rental cars and flying. Public buses are very inexpensive but take the most amount of time with many stops. Minivans and larger tour buses are also very time consuming. Taxis only make sense if the trip is local due to expense and lack of comfort for longer trips. Most tourists find renting a car exasperating. With little or no road signs and no numbered address system, one might end up driving in circles looking for the first right after the Coca Cola building which no one happened to mention no longer exists!

I love to drive and have my own vehicle here in the Central Valley. However when I travel on weekends or vacations outside of San Jose, I always choose to fly. It is scenic, relaxing, saves time and is the greenest option in Costa Rica. For example the 208 km trip from San Jose to Quepos would take almost 4 hours by car, but only 25 minutes by Nature Air. The 4 hours does not take into account anything like road work, cows crossing, accidents, or flat tires from potholes and the like! These events are unfortunately commonplace and add frustrating, unknown time to your trip. Further, there are no shoulders, emergency lanes, or exits for bus stops. When a bus makes a stop, it blocks traffic.

I value the unplanned detours in life, but I have found in Costa Rica I get to my destination and then (if at all) rent a car to meander and explore the areas I am interested in. This way if you have an interest to drive here, you may partake of some driving adventure and see the local sights, but not be as likely to jeopardize your itinerary.  I have heard so many stories of people driving or being driven to their destinations, only to cancel the return trips and fly instead! It is easy to see why- flying Nature Air is like an added value scenic tour with beautiful views and efficient travel times.  You will arrive and depart in the relaxed ‘pura vida’ mood, making the most of your precious vacation time.

To elaborate on the point of traveling green, there are many layers to consider. From an emissions standpoint, the greenest way to travel within Costa Rica is by turboprop airplanes, or airplanes with propellers.

Nature Air’s fleet is comprised of the De Haviland Twin Otter and King Air, both twin- engine turboprop planes. Looking at a study of emissions per passenger km for travel, the least emissions per passenger were generated by turbo prop planes, then bus, and finally the most emissions were generated by cars. I don’t mention trains (the least emissions) regional jets or larger aircraft (the most emissions) because these are not options to travel once you are within Costa Rica.

When you plan trips outside of Costa Rica and wish to reduce your carbon impact, trains are the best option as they produce the least amount of emissions per passenger. To reduce your carbon footprint for the inevitable international airfare on large aircraft to Costa Rica you may choose to purchase carbon credits to offset this portion of your trip though organizations such as Fly Neutral (flyneutral dot org) or Carbon Fund (carbonfund dot org).

In addition to lower emissions, flying to a destination has less overall impact on the environment than ground vehicles. It is not just the higher emissions produced by cars, trucks, and buses but many other factors that impact the environment. The roads required to support vehicles disrupt animal corridors and increase likelihood of more development in the area. The increased traffic produces sonic pollution which adversely affects wildlife. This is an ongoing challenge of growth and development versus preserving nature. One of Costa Rica’s most important industries as a whole is tourism. The key feature is nature and all the glorious flora, fauna and geography.

Nature Air has 17 destinations and brings more than sixty percent of its passengers within 10 kilometers from national parks or other ecotourism destinations. These natural wonders are the future of this stunning country. By choosing to fly, your contribution will be less impact in these zones. Not only is flying a greener choice to start with, but Nature Air additionally offsets carbon emissions through the carbon neutral reforestation/protection of rain forest program in the Osa Peninsula. Further, with the use of biodiesel for all ground vehicles, an extensive recycling program and other environmental education programs, the choice to fly Nature Air is even more environmentally friendly.

Discount Air Travel to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the perfect paradise getaway. An inexpensive Costa Rica vacation can be accessed using Discount Air Travel Costa Rica. Beautiful beaches, unspoiled rain forests, lively festivals, and warm sunshine: no other temptations can get better than these. But traveling to Costa Rica, especially when the entire vacation period numbers in more than a couple of days, can get expensive. The air fare expense usually gets the major share of the vacation budget, with a roundtrip airfare ticket to Costa Rica averaging about five hundred dollars for the lowest budget class. Add the entire family to the trip and the airfare expense alone can mean thousands of dollars!

Many times you can book discount air travel to Costa Rica as part of your travel package that includes travel to Costa Rica, lodging and travel to local attractions. In most cases these packages can save you a lot of money and help you upgrade to a better resort or lodging facility. Of course the best benefit you can realize is the discount air travel Costa Rica.

You can also find discount air travel deals to Costa Rica on the Internet as well. It is important to be as flexible as possible in terms of travel routes and times. Obviously air travel rates will lower during periods of low demand. In Costa Rica this usually occurs during the rainy season months of July through October. Generally direct flights from Miami, Dallas and other major hubs are more expensive than flights with several stops. Flights to Liberia are generally cheaper than those ending at San Jose. If you are diligent you can also find charter flights that have empty seats that can be accessed for a reduced fair.

You can also search for regional airlines that provide air services to areas outside the major metropolitan and resort centers. This may mean a flight to an out of country regional airport like Mexico City to link up with these regional carriers. Although inconvenient this may be the best discount air travel Costa Rica available.

No matter how you get to Costa Rica you will find that you have arrived to a beautiful tropical paradise with world class beaches, accommodations and national parks. Once you have tasted the beauty of Costa Rica you will count the days until you can return to paradise.

Tips When Travelling to Costa Rica

One important thing a traveler must know is a place’s monetary system and since Costa Rica is a haven for tourists, it is no exception. Are you planning on travelling to see the Costa Rican beauty?

Then check out these useful money tips you will find helpful.

• Colon is the country’s official currency. Although many large establishments: hotels, gift shops, restaurants accept the US dollars, a lot of local places and rural areas prefer the local currency. It will be wise to keep some handy.

• As with any other denominations in the world, the Costa Rican colon exchange rate fluctuates depending on market conditions. The most recent value of one colon is equal to $0.001938 U.S. dollars. A traveler can easily estimate a ratio of 500 Costa Rican colones to $1 U.S. dollar.

• If you are an American travelling to Costa Rica, have your money exchanged in your own country because some money changing shops might give you a poor currency exchange and charge a fee. For other travelers, Costa Rican banks may not exchange your homeland currency unless you have US dollars.

• Not sure if you should be using cash? Then it is wise to bring with you a Visa card and a MasterCard. Some establishments accept only one and not the other. Contact your credit card provider and advice them of your travel plans to prevent your account from getting frozen. Also, keep your card provider’s number in case the card gets lost or stolen.

Important Reasons to Travel to Costa Rica

In the past, Costa Rica was a hidden jewel. Today, it’s no longer a secret and thousands of travelers a year flock to this luscious paradise to escape the day-to-day worries of their chaotic worlds. Below are the top 7 important reasons to travel to Costa Rica:

1. Beaches – Over 50 white and black sand beaches. Visitors can bask in the sun or seek refuge under the shade of beach almond trees. The waters are warm year-round, perfect for swimmers and surfers. Cozy restaurants and bars are nearby so travelers can enjoy a fresh beverage or meal any time.

2. Parks/Reserves – Costa Rica is home to 26 national parks which safely harbor over 75% of the country’s flora and fauna. Some of the most visited national parks are Manuel Antonio, Arenal Volcano and Braulio Carrillo. Their natural beauty will tempt any nature lover to travel to Costa Rica.

3. Museums – Gold Museum is home to the most valuable collection of pre-Columbian gold in the world; exhibits include 2,600 gold artifacts, plus a collection of rare coins and bills. The Entomological Museum of University of Costa Rica, where visitors can examine more than a million specimens of butterflies and other insects.

4. Gardens – Most notable are The Butterfly Farm in La Guacima de Alajuela, the Monteverde Butterfly Garden and La Paz Butterfly Observatory. The latter is the country’s largest butterfly garden with over twenty species of butterflies soaring freely in a natural habitat the size of an American football field.

5. Volcanoes – Only five out of more than 200 volcanic formations are considered active: Arenal, Poas, Rincon de la Vieja, Irazu, and Turrialba. There are many hiking tours offered for the adventurer interested in travel to Costa Rica.

6. Wildlife Refuges – There are over 55 in Costa Rica and travelers are treated to sights such as Olive Ridley sea turtles, two and three-toed sloths, white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, wild pigs, ospreys, herons, and kingfishers.

7. Cultural Attractions – One of the most popular is the National Theater which was modeled after the art deco style of Paris’ Opera House. It’s decorated with Belgian ironwork, Baroque and Italian renaissance flourishes and 22.5 karat gold leaf.

Interested yet? I thought so! Call your travel agent today so you too can be one of the lucky people to travel to Costa Rica and discover its natural treasures.

When to Travel to Costa

This depends a lot on what you want to do, see and when you can travel. Costa Rica is good to visit any time of the year. There are advantages of the high dry season, but some would vouch for the low rainy season. There are a few places in the country which are best seen at a particular season because of the weather. The high or the most popular tourist season is the dry period which starts from November and continues through April.

It does not really matter when you travel to Costa Rica as there are always plenty of things to do and see. When you explore the numerous attraction options here, you may have a tough time deciding on what to choose or where to begin.

What to do in Costa Rica

In fact, you will find endless possibilities for activities in Costa Rica with a number of tours and attractions. The country is home to a breathtaking vast nature that offers boundless activities. No doubt the key attractions here are the infinite beaches and the tropical forests, but there are many other adventures and goings-on to explore.

Stay on the pristine beautiful beaches of Costa Rica that even today are relatively untouched. Water sports, relaxation and sun bathing can be thoroughly enjoyed on the sun drenched beaches. It is not surprising to find a concentration of night clubs and bars in and close to the beach areas where tourists come to unwind. Dance floors pulsate with live music and DJ’s. San Jose in the central valley has a very vibrant nightlife.

If you are a handicrafts enthusiast you can watch the traditional artisans in Guaitíl make Chorotega pottery or the Sarchí wood carvers modify rainforest hardwood into amazing shapes. Outdoor lovers can rent mountain bikes to explore the forests. You can spend a day cruising down the hill.

Canopy tours and Volcano watching are exciting activities. There are several tours organized for the benefit of the travelers including thrill ride on gondola or across treetops. Canopy tours have become very popular in the past few years. Arenal volcano is the main destination to witness fire belching, lava flows and rolling down smoking rocks but Irazú and Poás also are good locations.

Surfing in Costa Rica is well known and Lake Arenal with its balmy water and good wind speeds offers a perfect background for windsurfers. It is possible to rent equipment as well as take lessons. The country is enclosed by rain forests that start from a height of 12,000 feet and drops down to sea level within 70 miles. This has encouraged whitewater in Costa Rica and people of all levels can enjoy.

The country has numerous hot springs and a few of them have given way to spas. Hit these natural pools to relax. With mountains, canyons and rainforests, waterfalls can’t be far away. You can enjoy them from viewing platforms or hike up into the forests for a close encounter. It is easy to become an amateur bird watcher when in Costa Rica. Experience the extraordinary colors, plumage and calls with guides to assist you.

Costa Rica Weather

Costa Rica is a tropical nation and like other countries in the tropics has rainy and dry season. It lies in the northern hemisphere but the names of the seasons are inverted with ‘summer’ starting in late November through April. This is not due to a large difference in temperature but because it is typically drier during this period. The rainy season lasts from May to December. April month does not experience much rain while September and October see heaviest rainfall.