• How is life and travel in Costa Rica?

    In this blog you will find all you need to know about this beautiful country; from travel tips to our culture.
    Want to know where you can find the best "pinto" in town or which beaches you should cross off your bucket list first? .

    Read More
  • How is life and travel in Costa Rica?

    In this blog you will find all you need to know about this beautiful country; from travel tips to our culture.
    Want to know where you can find the best "pinto" in town or which beaches you should cross off your bucket list first? .

    Read More
  • How is life and travel in Costa Rica?

    In this blog you will find all you need to know about this beautiful country; from travel tips to our culture.
    Want to know where you can find the best "pinto" in town or which beaches you should cross off your bucket list first? .

    Read More
  • How is life and travel in Costa Rica?

    In this blog you will find all you need to know about this beautiful country; from travel tips to our culture.
    Want to know where you can find the best "pinto" in town or which beaches you should cross off your bucket list first? .

    Read More
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What to do?

Santa Bárbara de Heredia...A short and Attractive One-Day

 
 
 
 
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 
 

Let’s Go to Poás Volcano

 

 
 
Near Alajuela Province, one has to travel less than one hour to get to Poás Volcano National Park. Its main attraction is the “stratovolcano” or “composite volcano”, this is a conical and very high volcano, composed by numerous hardened lava strata or layers. In addition, it has been considered one of the most important volcanic centers of Costa Rica due to its constant activity. It is also a natural wonder in Costa Rica because it is surrounded by a beautiful park where you can take a walk on its trails.  
 
Poás Volcano is composed by three craters: The “main” one which is the active one, “Von Frantzius Crater”, and “Botos” Crater referring to this zone’s native inhabitants. 
 
The main crater is 300 meters deep and its diameter is 1.32 kilometers long; therefore, it is one of the biggest craters in the world. It is currently active, throwing off little gas emissions. It also has an acid lagoon. “Botos” Crater is one of the main attractions in this place, due to the fact that it is surrounded by a cloudy rain forest. Then, you can also observe the main crater where one can see a green-colored lagoon due to the sulfuric acid amount that is in the water. It has a 365-meter-diameter.    
 
Nearby Poás Volcano, you would see a rich biodiversity zone and farming production. The National Park also has a great wild life variety. In the National Park’s surrounding area, one can find typical restaurants and handmade products.
 
But, another good idea is to take your lunch or afternoon snack because the National Park has special picnic zones. Of course, do not forget taking a good coat, a hat, and a scarf, because the temperature is from 8 to 10 Celsius Degrees.   
 
Photo by:  Blog Life and Travel in Costa Rica
 

Christmas Time in Costa Rica

 
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"
 
 
 

Rural Community Tourism in Costa Rica

 

*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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