costa rica


  • You like horses and the energy given by riding. Today, we bring for you an interesting recommendation located at Platanar de Florencia in Ciudad Quesada, a place that belongs to Alajuela Province. It is better known as the “Northern Touristic Zone” due to the fact that it is nearby Arenal Volcano. “Ralunas de San Carlos” is the name of this interesting local country estate that offers to the tourist a perfect place to ride and know more about horses, including other kinds of cattle. 

    According to what Mr. Manuel, its owner, told us, this project’s idea was born from his father. From a simple cattle farm, a little place for rural tourism was started to be developed where the visitors can enjoy the nature and the fauna of the place. This country estate has a mountain and the pleasure of enjoying the fresh water that flows through some trails, and of course, enjoying the clean air.

    The most taken tour is the one in which you ride a horse from 60 to 120 minutes, guided by people who know the country estate. This tour includes contemplating wide pastures, the mountain, rivers, and typical local animals of the zone. For Mr. Manuel, his phrase is “Living a different day in harmony with nature.”

    Another activity of this place is that it offers the local food service. This means that you eat the typical or local zone’s food, including the Costa Rican delicious desserts. You can take a tour to visit the sugar cane press, to see when the cows are milked, to see how the cattle is fed, to see the local agriculture’s plantation, to see the trees’ plantation, and take Spanish lessons. This place has cattle to get milk and meat; it has pigs growing up, sheep, horses, and chicks.   Schedule: Monday-Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The prices are from $35 or higher. To reserve your place: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  /  Phone: 506 83856020/506 86331747
     
     
     
    Photo by:  Ralunas de San Carlos 
     

     

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    *A 100% local product, crafted by Costa Rican artisans.
     
     
    While we were taking a walk through the FID (International Design Festival) recently held in our country, the brand CR Woodcraft captured our attention immediately. We stopped and approached the small stand with its product that, in my opinion, where almost unique in their design. Mario León, who kindly provided us his presentation card, commented that he, along with his friend David and his two brothers where the ones that started this woodcraft brand. 
     
    The name of the brand has its origin in using wood as the main product and producing or doing something with dedication, skill and ingenuity: to craft.
     
    The products of the brand CR Woodcraft have as purpose a "daily use" either in the house or in the office. Among their main products we can find the famous "Chorreador de Café", crafted with great taste and "La Colmena", an attractive honey dispenser. Both products are inspired in the direct relationship between bees and coffee flowers due to caffeine. They wish to take this to people that enjoy beauty and design in daily life products. 
     
    Something that really captured our attention is their intention to elaborate their products with total integrity. That is why, as a group, they have decided to support local artisans with the elaboration of their products. They extract the raw material they use only from forests managed responsibly and have invested a percentage of the utilities in planting new forests through the Association "Let's plant trees", in which Mario is also he co-founder. 
     
    Because of this, it would be an excellent option for an exclusive souvenir from Costa Rica to take to your home or office, but above all, of great use in the morning for preparing breakfast or any other activity where you wish to share with others a good Costa Rican coffee or some toasts with honey. 
     
    For more information: https://www.crwoodcraft.com/
    Photos by CR Woodcraft
     
     
     
     
     

     

     

     
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    *All of the products of this store are 100% natural, without chemicals. 
     
     
    Today we went shopping to Multiplaza del Este Shopping Center, located in Curridabat. In this opportunity we found a store that caught our attention immediately because a delicious fragrance whispered to us across the hall “you must enter and discover this”. This experience made us believe we were at the Spa. 
     
    This store of delicious fragrances, that invites you to observe from up close each product, is called Biolosophy and it belongs to a Costarican company called Bioland. It is the only “green store” in Costa Rica and also at a regional level, because its products do not contain preservatives and artificial coloring and they are 100% natural.
     
    This cosmetics and personal care shop works with aromas and organic ingredients. For example, here you can find several different natural vegetable soaps of delicious and exotic fragrances such as passion fruit, wild flowers, cashew, chocolate with honey and palmarosa essential oil (widely used to cure allergies and burns). What amazed us the most in this store were the products based on pejibaye, a fruit and carbohydrate source very common in Costa Rica to make different delicious dishes. 
     
    Their natural products advisers tell us that pejibaye is an antioxidant high in vitamins and minerals for the skin. It has been shown to be a preventative for premature aging. This product is aimed at men and women and it is commonly preferred because it is not greasy and it can be used by people of all ages and it works for necessity, placing our beloved pejibaye not only in the dining room but in our dressers as well. 
     
    Another great novelty is the “Orchids” body cream that, we were told, is super moisturizing and leaves a velvety finish, as well as other products based on “Cholorphyl” for facial care, such as the marine botanical infusions for cell regeneration. And, if you like natural, fresh and chem-free make-up, this is the right place to get it. This is because Biolosophy creates its make-up using flowers of tubers, cacao, cinnamon, karate and argan, using also collagens and yeast extracts that act as sun screen protectors. According to their adviser, Ana Lucía Solórzano, the Bioland make-up is completely organic. 
     
    And a what better courtesy to finish this tour than to get a facial cleaning session in their shop for free for 30 minutes by purchasing one of their products. My face received a delicious exfoliation with marine algae using a collagen mask from the “free” adapted to my sensitive skyn-type and finishing with a relaxing serum to stimulate the collagen and to hydrate even more. This is how we met and enjoyed Bioland’s premium line in their new stores. 
     
    For more information, you can call the phone number 2253-0153 or 8953-2274 or  https://www.facebook.com/biolosophy/. Hours: Hours: 10 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday - Sunday 10 am to 8 pm.   Location: Multiplaza del Este -Multiplaza del Oeste.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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    This year, the Christmas Time arrived to our country a little colder than what is normal. Sometimes, we have a sudden rain, although the normal situation should have very sunny days with some wind.  
     
    Christmas in Costa Rica is almost starting since November, 1st, when a lot of commercial stores put on the shop windows the Christmas and New Year’s merchandise to be sold. Even though one should not believe it, many people start decorating their homes during this month: This is to come ahead of time.   
     
    It is normal to see in each house the famous manger that represents Jesus’s Birth with Mary and Joseph (Nativity Scene). In different homes, the manger could be more important than the same natural lighted Christmas tree. Although we can see that people use a lot the artificial trees, the preferred tree is the natural one for Christmas. One can get it, many times, in specific zones where these Christmas Trees are planted during the entire year. Going there to take it home is a family trip. 
     
    Soon, for December’s second Saturday, the attractive Light Festival is carried on at night; this activity congregates adults and children. This is a show full of color and animation for the present public. This event is carried on at downtown San José and at Paseo Colón, initiating with a traditional firework. In the same way, after December, 23rd, we can hear in different communication means the living advertisements that invite us to the bullfights and popular parties in the Celebration Square, located during many years in Zapote’s zone, at San José. These parties can continue until January’s first week.   
     
    Of course, since now, it smells of pork tamales, Christmas cake, and “rompope” (a low- alcohol drink very similar to eggnog). It also smells of pork leg meat “gallo” (corn pancake with ground or shredded pork leg meat) that invites many people to have a coffee at homes, commercial stores, or to share these typical dishes in working groups. Costa Rica is inviting you to enjoy these Christmas and New Year’s Parties with some of these cultural activities. Logically, we should do it with more sunny and windy days, getting closer to the hot summer.  
     
     
    Typical Flowers of the season the "Pastoras"
     
     
     
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    Costa Rica has two important  public transport companies to go to Guanacaste.  Alfaro Transport Company and Tralapa Buses.
     
    Alfaro Transport Company started its services in 1958. Now it has 3 principals routes:  San José – Santa Cruz via Puente de la Amistad (ruta # 1502), San José – Nicoya via Puente de la Amistad (ruta # 1507), San José – Nicoya via Liberia (ruta # 503).
     
    These routes cover the following destinations: Santa Cruz, Nicoya, Samara, Carrillo, Guiones, Nosara, Tamarindo, Hojancha among others.  Its prices are between :  $6 dollars and $10 dollars. In high season, the different routes are reinforced with extra buses to provide a better service.
     
    More the 10.000 people meet daily in the new mega bus terminal from 7am to 10pm. In this place there are restaurants and different services for your trip. Also, there are screens where the users can see the schedules and departing times, just like at the Airport.  Location: Mega Bus Terminal, Barrio México in San José. If you want to know these schedules, you can to call  (506) 2680-0392 - 2221-7202.
     
    Other option,  is Tralapa Buses, they also travel to Guanacaste. This service offers different options to several beaches in Guanacaste.  Location:  Calle 22 y 20 Av 5, San José, Costa Rica. Tralapa has  3 bus services daily.  Its prices are approximately $8-$12 per person, depending on the trip. For more information call:  (506) 2680-0392 - 2221-7202. 
     
     
     

  • *More details about its attractions.


    Mmm… Volcanic mud just at South of the thermal canyon’s main access of Río Perdido. Here is a special pool of the hot river designed specifically for the distinctive volcanic mud treatment. This particular mud of high quality contains a lot of natural compounds, including Sulfur. 


    But, if your thing is Yoga, at the canyon’s side, this activity is being practiced at a level called “Very-Well-Done Meditation,” due to the fact that the unique and hidden Río Perdido’s environment is the perfect setting for reflection and meditation. While the thermal-mineral swimming pools at the thermal canyon and at the springs allow the guests to jump between the warm and cold water, three mineral swimming pools provide a space to explore the charming temperature variations allowed by the environment. 


    The Spa “Bienestar” (“Well-being”) is a special place if you want to treat an old injury or simply relax, although an ordinary bath in any thermal water would be the ideal beginning to pamper your body.    “Hiking” is ideal in this place for those visitors who are looking for the exploration of the nearby zone taking walks. The walks generally end in panoramic viewpoints, one of them is very attractive, it is called “MESA NORTE” (“NORTH TABLE”). In this place, from the peak, one can see all the Guanacaste Province Volcanoes, including Miravalles Volcano, Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, and Tenorio Volcano. 

    Other interesting experiences with more adrenalin in this place are “Tubing” at Río Blanco and “Tubing” at Río Perdido where modern equipment is safely applied for the people who participate in them.


    Río Perdido Hotel & Thermal River currently offers the Original East Bungalows and the Center Bungalows. The last ones have a wider space and a “corbel” balcony: Its rear façade’s width is of 40 feet and it has windows from the floor to the ceiling. This allows a panoramic and gleaming view to the forest, including the volcanic rock floors of local origin and the teak wood panels. There is no more to tell about this place, because it deserves your live and direct visit. Río Perdido is waiting for you as part of your visit to Costa Rica. More information: https://www.rioperdido.com/
     

    Photo by: Río Perdido Hotel & Termal River

     

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    *A wonderful experience that you can live up close

     

    We sat down to speak with Doña Marieloz Bonilla, a Costa Rican who went beyond being a tourist guide with a traditional approach on tourism to managing to position in our country the interesting model of “Rural Community Tourism”.

    This woman has been a great entrepreneur when it comes to her studies and diverse activities related to her vocation. Marieloz is native of the province of Cartago and her family comes from a rural family.  She made her first steps towards the end of the 80s as a volunteer and collaborator of the recognized Education for Development Program "Juventud Canadá Mundo" (Canada World Youth) in rural communities in Costa Rica and Canada. And it was at that moment when she started her formation in sustainability, as she told us.

    Doña Marieloz was able to make a totally different turn to the traditional commercial tourism she had studied, by means of an alternative option of "non formal education" directed to a traveler interested in formation outside the classroom with real live experiences of the Costa Rican culture, including topics such as conservation and inclusion of vulnerable groups, leading to a concept of sustainable development.

    After several years of knowledge, formation and experience obtained through projects developed with NGOs and being part of a pioneer group developing "Rural Community Tourism" in Costa Rica, Mrs. Marieloz tolds us also about her interesting and current program called "Acción Verde" (Green Action) (Action Learning Project Costa Rica), starring high school and university students with already acquired experiences in Alberta, Montreal, Ontario, New York and Vermont.

    This program has specialized in providing tourists with educational thematic journeys, addressed to "responsible tourists" and to those that wish to impact a local community in a positive way. The same program offers the service of "incentives travels" for stress management or motivation to families and companies. It has also started offering recently "business coaching". Green Action is directed also to groups of retired persons, kids with disabilities, LGBTI persons and inclusive groups.

    We were having already our second cup of coffee after a long and interesting conversation and it was clear that the principal attribute Doña Marieloz offers to the Canadian visitors is the "close encounter with the Costa Rican culture", from learning how to dance typical dances to a real-life experience learning how to cook a truly Costa Rican receipt.   For more information: http://www.greenactioncr.com/

     

    * Doña Marieloz is the founder of the educational travel and volunteerism program called "Acción Verde" and her field of action has expanded to Central America. She is a consultant, an international lecturer in Sustainable Tourism, and a Certified Touristic Guide with knowledge in English, French and Portuguese. Marieloz has studies in Administration of Touristic Businesses and a Masters degree in Leisure, Tourism and Environment in Holland. She received the Professional Merit Award in 2014 and is the former president of the Rural Community Tourism National Chamber. At this moment, she is part of the Executive Board of ACOPROT, the Costa Rican Association of Tourism Professional.

     

    Photos by: Acción Verde 

     

     

     

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    This time, we went to Santa Bárbara de Heredia to know more about de local coffee production, visiting a family’s local coffee plant. This family is always working on it. 
    This opportunity, we were accompanied by Diego, an experienced local resident who loves the coffee’s theme. He has also studied this. Besides that, he has his own coffee shop whose name is Castilla. The same one offers a list of the country’s different gourmet coffees. Here, the foreign visitors can savor each coffee and know more nearly about each coffee and its characteristics because of Diego’s knowledge. 
     
     
    Before going out of that place, Diego told us “You should visit the Famous Bombi’s Old Masquerade Museum, located near the park.” We walked some squares from the coffee shop and we met Bombi (the local artist’s diminutive name). He opened kindly his workshop to know more about the Costa Rican Masquerade History and the way they are made. They are always ending with happiness in many country’s parties as the tradition is.  
     
     
    Well, so, we arrived to the local tour at the family coffee farm where the coffee harvesting is carried on yearly. The coffee is prepared for its national and international use. This relaxed and personalized tour showed us the daily reality of people who grow coffee at this zone.
     
     
    They love and respect primarily the coffee production in their prosperous agricultural lands. Coffee is one of Costa Rica’s main exporting products, besides banana. Coffee is presented in different forms like ground or whole bean. There are also candies, chocolates with coffee, and many other products.     More information:  https://www.facebook.com/cafeteriacastilla/
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Photo by:  Blog Life and Travel in Costa Rica 
     
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    Today I wish to tell all of our followers in this blog which are the most famous traditional foods in Costa Rica during Christmas. 
     
    We will start with the "tamal", a meal that cannot be lacking in many Costa Rican homes. This meal is mead with corn dough and each family prepares it in a unique way.  It has different ingredients that are previously cooked and prepared, like carrots, sweet pepper, hemstitch, rice, and pork meat. In some cases, some people add potato cut in squares, olives, eggs, raisins, or ever plums.
     
    Also, some people prefer chicken instead of pork or even some other options for vegetarians. The tamal is later wrapped in green bananas leaves that have been previously put in a pan. People use a rope to tie it up.
     
    Later, the tamales are boiled a few hours so the dough can be cooked, they have normally a rectangular shape. The traditional tamales can be cooked for breakfast, lunch or even dinner.  It is a very flexible meal in the Costa Rican cuisine during the Christmas season. Additionally, you can have it with a good coffee or with an "aguadulce", a typical sweet Costa Rican drink. Also, if you wish for the tamal to have more flavors , you can put a spoon-size amount of "salsa inglesa" (Costa Rican sauce) to it. You can find the tamales in many homes in Costa Rica or in different establishments such as restaurants or sodas.