Tuesday, March 31, 2009

AM Costa Rica RESPONDS to 'lil ol me.

Do'in Costa Rica vs. AM Costa Rica- Round 2... sort of.

The editor… and I think owner of AM Costa Rica, 'Your online English-language news source Monday thru Friday', Jay Brodell, RESPONDED to my scathing editorial I wrote about them the other day: AM Costa Rica is FUGLY- let me count the WAYS.

Wow, seriously, I was flattered… well at first anyway. Even a tiny bit scared if truth be told.

So, if you read my post, I pretty much unloaded on AM Costa Rica (with examples) as to what I thought of their, ‘English-language news source Monday thru Friday’ - constructive criticism because I CARE. Really, I thought I entertainingly reamed them a new ASSHOLE, but I swear, my intentions were sincere. I called them out on a variety of issues: the overall UGLINESS of their site (it is), the fact it is NOT user friendly (it isn’t), lack of overall writing skills (10th grade at best), and even went so far as to say AM Costa Rica is basically a front for making advertising dollars (tell me it isn’t).

Really AM, underneath it ALL, you are what you ARE.

I was about 2 steps from calling AM Costa Rica’s mom- a BITCH.

Had I gone too far or would Mr. Brodell appreciate my criticism and thank me for my most EXCELLENT observations. I doubted this.

But what did cross my mind:

Lake Arenal which sits at the base of the Arenal Volcano was once a smaller lake (reservoir). It was purposely flooded in order to expand it so it could be used for hydroelectric purposes. A town (old Arenal) sits at the bottom of the lake; a community that found itself in the wrong place at the wrong time,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, it occurred to me that I could be its sole inhabitant, if you get my drift.

So, with all this, what would Mr. Brodell write, well, here it is. (I wouldn’t normally post an email, but since it’s so impersonal I decided I would use the exact copy).

'I noticed that you were having trouble reading our newspaper. The headlines in the example you gave seem to run together.

We are using Times Roman at 14 points for body type. And there might be a problem with the pixel size of the monitor. It may be that you have your monitor and browser set to use your own typefaces, hence the distortion.'


Jay Brodell
A.M. Costa Rica

I’m thinking I would have gotten further if I would have called AM Costa Rica’s mom a BITCH. I didn’t know what to make of this. Oh by the way, he’s referring to this:

Personally, I thought this looked like a 'tag cloud'

Did he read the post? With all I BAD mouthed, he’s talking about this drivel- and blaming it on MY computer, my browser. I was perplexed to say the least.

I didn’t know if I should respond or what. Well, you know me, I NEED the last word. So, with careful contemplation, I decided to play along…. sort of.

From me to Mr. Brodell:

'Thanx, that may be true (referring to my browser) With all due respect, AM Costa Rica has more issues to consider rather than if I can view its headlines... just sayin'

Jay responds yet again, in an “I’m rubber your glue,” type of fashion, with:

'Well, you were the guy who brought it up.'

Wow, he really gets to the point huh? And so edg-U-ma-cated. Na-na-na boo-boo!

Okay Mr. Brodell owner of, ‘Your online English-language news source Monday thru Friday’, YOU WIN.

I don’t know what to say. I tried. I suppose if you want to blame the fact AM Costa Rica has some MAJOR issues on my browser, then so be it. What’s the quote about ‘Denial not being a river in Egypt?’ Hey, Mr. Brodell, for your own education: What the WIKI people say about Denial.

AM Costa Rica, I just want you to know, I’m officially calling your mom a Bitch… BITCH.

If I suddenly disappear off the planet, could someone please dust off their scuba gear?

All the Costa Rica Videos you could want at Costa Rica Travel Channel, and ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. and don't forget our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos Hope it HELPS!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Costa Rica- it's just SAD

There's somethings I just wish I didn't know about Costa Rica.

Do'in Costa Rica is rarely at a loss for words, but really, I got nothing to say. This just saddens me. I won't print the entire article, but this pretty much says it all:

In Costa Rica about 96.5 percent of waste water IS discharged into rivers and oceans without any treatment, UN independent advisor and expert on water and human rights Catarina De Alburquerque said.

The BLATANT hypocrisy in regards to how Costa Rica markets itself (very successfully, I might add) vs. the actual EVIDENCE of the CONTRARY speaks for itself.... and truly saddens me. So much so in fact, I just can't bring myself to write on it any further. Plus, I've written about this 'shit' (pun intended) in a couple of my past posts: Manuel Antonio: Full of SHIT and Looking Both Ways.

I'm sorry, I just got nothing to say.

Nothing says eco-friendly like human excrement.

All the Costa Rica Videos you could want at Costa Rica Travel Channel, and ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. and don't forget our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos Hope it HELPS!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Baldi Hot Springs La Fortuna Costa Rica

Seriously, a visit to the La Fortuna/Arenal area without visiting the hot springs would almost border on sacrilegious. People come to La Fortuna for the Areanl Volcano, which is totally worth the visit in and of itself, but 9-10 people are also drawn to one of the many hot springs in the area. Baldi and Tabacon are by far the more popular hot springs, but their are other options, and some of the other hotels in the area have their own hot springs like Baldi and Tabacon, but not as big, and definitely NOT as popular- not that that's a bad thing.

Here’s some other hot spring options. Hot Spring Options around Costa Rica

You ALSO just gotta read my REVIEW: Tabacon Hot Springs vs Baldi Hot Springs- the TRUTH.

That said, D’Angelo did a little tour around Baldi Hot Springs, so YOU could get a taste of what to expect if you pick Baldi over the other hot springs.

All the Costa Rica Videos you could want at Costa Rica Travel Channel, and ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. and don't forget our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos Hope it HELPS!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A.M. Costa Rica is FUGLY- let me count the WAYS

A.M. Costa Rica, your daily English-language new source, is just NOT attractive.

amcostarica.com sucks! AmCostaRica.Com Sucks! AMCOSTARICA.COM SUCKS!

Yeah, I said it.

For those of you who don’t know, A.M. Costa Rica is basically an online newspaper, or how they bill themselves- ‘Your daily English-language news source Monday through Friday’. Whatever.

They’re very popular, in Spite of Themselves.

Literally, everything about A.M Costa Rica SUCKS! The layout speaks for itself, and in this day and age of cool, user-friendly web designs, there’s just NO excuse. It really is HORRID. Let’s see what the WIKI people say about the basic aspects of design:

1. The content: the substance and information on the site should be relevant to the site and should target the area of the public that the website is concerned with.

2. The usability: the site should be user-friendly, with the interface and navigation simple and reliable.

3. The appearance: the graphics and text should include a single style that flows throughout, to show consistency. The style should be professional, appealing and relevant.

4. The visibility: the site must also be easy to find via most, if not all, major search engines and advertisement media.

Yeah, this looks good... well formatted... is this one of those 'tag clouds?'

As far as 1, yeah, they have content and it’s sorta relevant, but we’ll get into that later. They FAIL miserably on 2 and 3 (usability/appearance)- Go Look - Cruise Around and see for yourself. They also got 4 covered, mostly by DEFAULT, but the search engines definitely find them- a little too much for my liking.

They’re content is often subjective to say the least and frequently just blatant over-the-top advertising disguised as a relevant story. Take a look at this story, I mean advertisement, it ran a few weeks ago, Front Page, first story. Are you kiddin me. How much did they get for this one?

Back when I first started this BLOG, it was during the presidential elections; well the editor of A.M. Costa Rica wrote an editorial endorsing John McCain. Now, I could care less who A.M. Costa Rica endorses, but check out the article (actually, it’s my post, F*** AM Costa Rica, but their article is there as well), talk about one-sided…. I realize it’s an editorial, but this guy supposedly REPRESENTS a unbiased, factual news source- you don’t think his extremely right-wing, biased, conservative views don’t spill over into other stories A.M. Costa Rica does?

A.M. Costa Rica is a “Front’, the real stories are the advertisements. A.M. Costa Rica EXISTS to advertise, not unlike most magazines, newspapers, tv, etc, so I get it, but geeeez…. check out the front page, ad, Ads, and more ADS- there’s gotta be 3X the amount of advertisement space than story space. I have no beef with wanting to make money, but it’s just so blatant in my opinion.

Ummmm.... can't afford a designer, maybe a NEW template is in order, as hard as they are to FIND.

It’s a ‘hack’ site at least 70% of the time. Of course they do provide some relevant information, mostly because they PULL the REAL information from other sources. Stories are either written by ‘A.M. Costa Rica Staff’, or ‘Special to A.M. Costa Rica’ or provided by the ‘A.M. Costa Rica wire services’. A.M. Costa Rica Staff provide the fluffy, subjective pieces, the MEAT is usually provided by outside sources. And when A.M. does try to provide the meat, they often end up with a story of dots, that not only don’t connect; they don’t even resemble each other. Check this story out from the A.M. Costa Rica staff:

'An open boat spotted Saturday by a U.S. Coast Guard patrol plane ended up on a beach in Parque Nacional Corcovado Sunday where Costa Rican law enforcement took one man into custody.

Eventually a second man was detained, and police cut into the deck of the boat to reveal what was said to be 320 kilos (704 pounds) of cocaine. Dogs had alerted officials to a possible drug cargo.

The 22-foot craft of Ecuadorian registry did not appear to be a fishing boat as an occupant claimed. The man, identified by the last name of Murillo Mero, told the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas that he had run out of fuel and had to put in near the mouth of the Río Sirena. That was about 7 a.m. Sunday. Some 12 hours later the second man was located near Playa Salsipuedes. He carried no papers, officials said, but was believed to be from El Salvador.'

*WTF? What does this ‘second man’ have to do with anything? He’s not even relevant to the story, or more importantly, maybe he was, hard to say. Hey A.M.- it’s ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ and furthermore, it makes much MORE sense to the reader when the DOTS actually connect. Who writes this shit?

I write because ‘I have ideas’, I’m no REAL writer, but A.M. Costa Rica writers may be even worse- subjective, general, vague, with often terrible explanations of ‘things’… and they’re NOT me, I can do that, it's a BLOG for God sake, but they’re suppose to be reporting the news in a matter-of-fact fashion, but frequently, if you didn’t know what they were talking about, well, you wouldn’t know what they were talking about.

And that’s my point, they’re POPULAR, but A.M. Costa Rica could be SO MUCH BETTER and really pack a punch, while maintaining integrity, but still providing accurate, unbiased NEWS about Costa Rica. Come on A.M. Costa Rica, take some of those advertising dollars and invest in a good web designer and maybe beef up the writing staff with people that actually graduated high school- you have the audience, now it’s time to step-up and perform.

Pretty PLEASE... you have an audience.

Check OUT our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos and for tons of Costa Rica Travel Information visit: Travel Costa Rica NOW

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Costa Rica Travel Tips pt 1

When traveling to Costa Rica it's ALL about knowing the 'little' things, the stuff you wouldn't know unless you did your homework (highly recommended when traveling Costa Rica) and the more you KNOW, the better your Costa Rica travel experience will BE. And we like to think we provide at least some of the 'KNOW.'

Hey Everyone! WE love providing Costa Rica Travel Info and Travel Tip VIDEOS about 'ANYTHING' Costa Rica, to YOU- the potential Costa Rica Traveler, to ensure the BEST possible vacation EVER! There's a lot of Costa Rica Info out there to choose from, so we work hard giving you the most updated, pertinent Costa Rica Information through written words, and of course VIDEOS- reading is fundamental, but sometimes, it's just easier to WATCH than to read.

In part 1 of Costa Rica Quick Travel Tips, find out the importance of your passport (like you didn't already know), and how early do Tico really get up, and don't forget to bring plenty of sunscreen and a hat.. and much more. So take a few minutes even if you think you already know this stuff- maybe will remind you of things you have forgotten you knew. Pura Vida.

Related Articles and Videos:

Video: Backing Up Your Travel Documents
Must Know INFO when traveling to Costa Rica.

And yeah, we got the GAY info on Costa Rica as well.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Costa Rica Travel Tips pt 2

Traveling to Costa Rica? Need Costa Rica travel Information, or possibly some Travel Tips to unsure the BEST vacation possible. We got a few tips that may be able to help you.

Hey Everyone! WE love providing Costa Rica Travel Info and Travel Tip VIDEOS about 'ANYTHING' Costa Rica, to YOU- the potential Costa Rica Traveler. We understand there's a lot of Costa Rica Info out there to choose from, so we work hard giving you the most updated, pertinent Costa Rica Information through written words, and of course VIDEOS- reading is fundamental, but sometimes, it's just easier to WATCH than to read. (All the links in this post will take you to even MORE info on the subject.)

In part 2 we'll explain the toilet paper situation in many Costa Rican hotels, restaurants and the like. Not for the faint of heart! BUT, it is good info to know so you can prepare, especially you backpackers and Costa Rican travelers on a budget. Also, want's the camping situation here in Costa Rica... can you camp on the beaches, what about he beaches in the National Parks? So, is Costa Rica in the 21st century in regards to supporting the handicap traveler to Costa Rica... this and more in Part 2 of Costa Rica Travel Tips with michael alan and DAngelo. If you're not sure of the answers, don't be caught unaware, it could be the difference between a good Costa Rican Travel Experience or a 'not' so good one. The most FAQ's about Costa Rica Travel.

We have all your GAY Travel Costa Rica Information as well, in the GAY Section of our Guide: Travel Costa Rica NOW.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Costa Rica Travel Tips pt 3

When traveling to Costa Rica it's ALL about knowing the 'little' things, the stuff you wouldn't know unless you did your homework (highly recommended when traveling Costa Rica) and the more you KNOW, the better your Costa Rica travel experience will BE. And we like to think we provide at least some of the 'KNOW.'

Hey Everyone! WE love providing Costa Rica Travel Info and Travel Tip VIDEOS about 'ANYTHING' Costa Rica, to YOU- the potential Costa Rica Traveler, to ensure the BEST possible vacation EVER! There's a lot of Costa Rica Info out there to choose from, so we work hard giving you the most updated, pertinent Costa Rica Information through written words, and of course VIDEOS- reading is fundamental, but sometimes, it's just easier to WATCH than to read. (All the links in this post will take you to even MORE info on the subject.)

In part 3 of Costa Rica 'Quick' Travel Tips will be discussing what you can expect upon 'Departure'' of Costa Rica at the San Jose International Airport along with some Driving Tips you must KNOW if you plan on Renting a Car and discovering Costa Rica yourself. Oh, at what happens when you Argue with a Tico about not having Hot water in your Hotel room? This and more in part 3 of Costa Rica 'Quick' Travel Tips. ENjoY!

We have all your GAY Travel Costa Rica Information as well, in the GAY Section of our Guide: Travel Costa Rica NOW.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Costa Rica Travel Tips pt 4

Hey everyone! We LOVE traveling around Costa Rica, video taping, writing reviews and providing YOU, the potential Costa Rica traveler with information (see Travel Costa Rica NOW for even more INFO) to ensure the BEST possible vacation EVER. We filmed a few Costa Rica 'quick' travel tips, little things you should know before traveling around the country. In part 4 will be talking about tipping, gringo pricing and that 'BLUE PHONE' you see in just about every hotel around the country.

So, take a few moments and check out these Costa Rica 'quick' Travel Tips, you wouldn't want something that could be avoided messing up a vacation... and the more you know about Costa Rica, the BETTER your experience will be

Plus, why read it when you can WATCH it:

Costa Rica 'quick' Travel Tips with michael alan and D'Angleo, this is part 4 but these are in NO particular order so it's ALL good.

Related VIDEOS and INFO

Gringo Pricing: You should definitely be familiar with the concept of Gringo Pricing before traveling to Costa Rica.

Tipping in Costa Rica: A little bit more in-depth on the why's and why not's of tipping in Costa Rica.... this is NOT Vegas.
More Costa Rica FAQ's: More INFO and Facts to know when traveling to Costa Rica.

And yeah, we got the GAY info on Costa Rica as well.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Laws for Driving in Costa Rica

"Bribe? I didn't say bribe... this is a 'regalo'".

In Costa Rica, the days of driving down to Manuel Antonio while throwing back a six pack of Imperial (Costa Rica’s MOST popular beer) are OVER if you’re the driver, unless of course you don’t mind playing Russian Roulette in a Midnight Express sort of way.

They ARE, and will be continuing over the next year to implement new laws in regards to driving in Costa Rica. It pretty much started when Costa Rican officials got tired of all the alcohol related deaths and accidents. Yeah, I’m not big on death either - so it sounds reasonable they'd be tired - even the locals we’re on board with this one. But what about the gringo traveler to Costa Rica?

If you plan on renting a car to see this beautiful country, there are a few things you need to know. For instance, here, it ISN'T against the law to drink and drive, it IS however illegal to drive DRUNK- and it is no longer a SLAP on the wrist as in the past. Basically, all the infractions (below) would be illegal in the States as well; it’s the penalties that are a bit on the harsh side. Don’t miss my perspective on this entire debacle below, especially YOU, the traveler to Costa Rica.

It should be noted NOT all these laws are in EFFECT- but the drunk driving law IS.

NOW, you GO to JAIL if your blood alcohol exceeds 0.75% or you’re driving over 100 mph (150 kph), which is considered reckless driving. So far, not bad- but wait there’s more.

For the following, you won’t go to jail, but it will cost you BIG TIME approximately $410.00 as of the March 17th 2009 exchange rate. These are considered Category A offenses.

• Reckless driving, in this case speed exceeding 80 MPH (120 kph)
• Driving without a valid drivers license.
• Driving under a suspended license.
• Driving a child without proper safety seats. This also includes driving a motorcycle or any other motorized vehicle with a minor and that minor has no helmet.
• BRIBING A POLICE OFFICER… shit, there’s a law for that, I guess now we can’t do it.

Category B offenses- Still costly at about $305.00 a pop.

• Driving 14 mph over the speed limit, exceeding 16 mph when passing school entrances or exit, hospital or clinics. Be careful, these are often not marked.
• Talking on you cell phone.
• Running a Stop sign or making an illegal u-turn.
• Driving or carrying passengers and not using seat belts. (Check your passengers, it’s your responsibility as the driver in Costa Rica).
• Driving a motorcycle or quad or similar vehicle without a helmet.

Tickets that will cost you a little over $200.00

• Driving too slow in the passing lane.
• Driving too slow and impeding traffic or failure to yield to faster vehicles.
• Driving on the beach.
• Improper passing.
• Littering.
• Stopping in the middle of the intersection and blocking traffic.
• Driving in the wrong lane.

Here are a few examples of other driving infractions that will cost you in fines ranging from $40.00 to $180.00:

Parking in a handicap zone, driving on a foreign drivers license while in violation of your visa (90 days for you gringos), failure to maintain assured clear distance, jaywalking, failure to have your drivers license with you while driving, blah, blah, blah- all the usual suspects.

I would say the gringo traveler to Costa Rica really only needs to worry about- drunk driving, excessive speeding, wearing seatbelts, using a cell phone while driving and maybe improper passing, other than that you should be OK.

Now for those of you who actually in Costa Rica, there’s a point system tied to all the fines, and you receive BOTH fines and loss of points for infractions. You begin with 50 pts and when you reach 0- your driving privileges are revoked. How long- it’s unclear. Here’s the basic point break down.

Drunk Driving and Driving 100 mph- you lose ALL 50 points and of course JAIL time.

Category A offenses- Reckless driving and carrying a child without a proper safety seat is also a loss of ALL 50 pts.

Category B offenses are almost all a loss of 20 points and fines that are approximately a $200 fine are usually a loss of 15 points.

It appears that it’s almost a 3-strike RULE- 2 seatbelt tickets and one for talking on a cell phone while driving- You’re OUT- a bit Draconian in my book.

Ok, cool I guess, new laws for the betterment of ALL. JAIL for drunk driving- great. But what’s this all really mean?

Well, I call total Bullshit. You want the REAL Costa Rica without the make-up- well she can be fairly unattractive when the light hits her just right.

First, Costa Rica is notorious for making laws it has NO WAY to enforce (for a variety of reasons). Not only is its bark worse than its bite- Costa Rica would have to put its dentures back in if they were even INCLINED to leave a MARK. Costa Rica cares about one thing- PERCEPTION, read that as how they are VIEWED by the ‘outside’ world. Marketing is obviously a strong point because Costa Rica is the SHIT on paper. They believe it doesn’t matter what you actually DO, it matters what you’re perceived as DOING.

The laws are there…

… there’s laws to stop shark finning, and long line fishing, but 100’s of thousands of sharks are killed for their fins off the shores of Costa Rica each year. Umm, China and Costa Rica have become quite chummy lately. Check out this video with Pretoma, the people attempting to make Costa Rica enforce its LAWS on shark finning and see what they have to say. Video: a Talk with Pretoma

Eco-friendly- laws are in place...umm, about 90% of sewage finds its way into the rivers, streams and oceans of Costa Rica. Nothing says eco-friendly like human excrement. Hell, Manuel Antonio National Park just got sited for sewage flowing directly into the ocean from the RANGER STATION- WTF! And don’t get me started on Jacó and Tamarindo. See Manuel Antonio National Park: Full of Shit

Huge mega resorts break just about every law in order to build ‘closer to the beach’. Even where we live, La Fortuna, there are strict laws prohibiting building in close proximity to the Arenal Volcano, PLEASE- money rules the day, so without naming names, here, a few hotels could light their cigarettes using the sparks from Arenal.

Even drug use is often tolerated as well as is underage drinking (I’ve seen underage teenagers drinking in the park right next to police officers, hell, talking to them to boot). See Legal Age to do Stuff in Costa Rica

many of these new fines are more than the transit police make in a month, what would you do if you had a family of 5 or so to look after and some gringo wasn’t wearing his seatbelt?

I would venture to say most drunk driving infractions will be ticketed at road blocks and random check points; I seriously doubt you’ll be pulled over from behind with the possible exception of in and around the San José area. As a matter of fact, these new laws probably won’t mean shit outside San José as it will be business as usual in most places, with the police turning a blind eye to the more victimless of these traffic infractions. I guarantee cars will be racing right outside our apartment tonight like they do every night, and of course I’ll see a guy riding his motorcycle with his wife on the back and 2-year old sitting on the gas tank with the driver being the only one wearing a helmet. Costa Rica is mostly rural outside of San José and the police in these small towns are anyone’s next door neighbor, so they’re not going to give the teenage son of a friend a $400. fine and send him to jail, it’s just not going to happen. They’d be run out of town.

But gringo BEWARE, I got this funny feeling they don’t give a FUCK about you.

The irony will be that the laws will appear to be working, because with payoffs and bribes, the tickets won’t exist. My advice, carry some cash just in case and I’m thinking a $20 bill just won’t CUT IT anymore, so hopefully you’ll be pulled over close to an ATM machine, you’ll need it. OH! Don’t call it a bribe, it’s a regalo (gift), a bribe sounds so illegal and it could cost you, be careful in your word choice. Don’t know Spanish, just remember ‘regalo’.

The laws will be on the books soon enough and of course they’ll make the travel guides as to how Costa Rica is really clamping down, and I’ll get a ton of emails asking if they’ll go to jail for talking on their cell phone while driving. Perception is EVERYTHING.

Check OUT our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos and for tons of Costa Rica Travel Information visit: Travel Costa Rica NOW

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cano Negro Costa Rica

Don't miss the chance to visit Cano Negro up on the Costa Rica Nicaragua border. We were just there a couple weeks ago and thought we would shoot a video on what you can expect to find on the Cano Negro tour. (Although it's actually down the Rio Frio, so don't be confused).

Although we mention it a couple of times in the video, tours out of La Fortuna can run anywhere from $45 to about $60 bucks depending on which tour company you use. If you happen to have a rental car, it's a great option to drive there yourself and rent a smaller boat- you can get really GREAT deal. A smaller boat is really nice for taking pictures, you're not tripping over everyone to get 'the shot' and the boat is much more maneuvarable. That said, the tour is worth the money regardless of how much you spend. Lots of animals and birds, relaxing and informative, a great day trip out of La Fortuna.

So check out this little video on our boat trip down the Rio Frio. And don't forget to stop in Muelle and check out the iguanas- GREAT photo ops. ENjOy!

Don't forget to Check OUT all our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos and for Costa Rica Travel Info visit Travel Costa Rica NOW.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Costa Rica- Taxi's Lower FARES

Even when gas prices were UP, I thought taxi’s were a fairly cost effective way to get around, especially in San José, ‘Where the streets of no Names’, and double especially when you’re out Clubb’in in San José (walk out the door of a club, into a cab and dropped off in front of the next club, no worries- especially convenient for those of you who think CRIME is lurking around every corner in Costa Rica. Costa Rica Crime is your Fault

Yup, since gas prices have fallen, the good folks who oversee those ubiquitous red cabs have dropped the fares a little bit more than 6%. A savings of about 12 cents a mile. Muchas gracias.

And of course the ‘legal’ red cabs are always competing with the ‘piratas’ or ‘pirate’ taxis for the tourist dollar so they need to keep their prices down to stay competitive. For those of you who may not know, pirate taxis are the guys that just use their private ‘car’ as a taxi and as you might have guessed, they don’t really use a meter and the 'legal' taxis HATE them. I’m probably one of the view people who think pirate taxis can often be a good deal, but of course using a pirate taxi is done so at your OWN risk. *You should know about how much it would cost to reach your destination and a little Spanish would also be a good idea when using a pirata.

In all actuality, most tourists don’t really worry about taxi fares, but it is nice to know that they have gone down a little. So there you have it.

Here's our VIDEO about Taxi Service in Costa Rica:

If you need Costa Rica Travel Information then CHECK OUT our travel guide at: Travel Costa Rica NOW and see all our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos on YouTube.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tabacon Hot Springs VS. Baldi Hot Springs- the TRUTH

The 'Garden of Eden' has NOTHING on Tabacon Grand Spa and Thermal Resort aka Tabacon Hot Springs

Baldi Hot Springs vs. Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort, “Which is the BETTER hot springs option while I’m visiting La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano- and I can only pick one?” I get a ka-zillion emails about Costa Rica, and La Fortuna questions in particular, and besides asking if they’ll be able to see the Arenal Volcano spit lava (like I have a direct line to Mother Nature), it’s- which is the BETTER Hot Springs- Tabacón or Baldi?

Another GREAT Hot Springs option- Eco Termales

A couple of things FIRST- this post is specifically pertaining to Baldi vs Tabacón, there ARE other hot springs in La Fortuna, like Eco Termales, but Baldi and Tabacon happen to be the most well known, so do your homework here- (MORE hot springs INFO).

Second; and this is VERY IMPORTANT to keep in mind when you’re discussing hot springs with ANYONE in La Fortuna, especially tour companies and hotels- Baldi PAYS a commission, Tabacón does NOT, so almost NO ONE (but possibly me) we’ll recommend Tabacón over Baldi, unless of course they happen to work for or with Tabacón or they’re a travel book writer. So, when you hear a Baldi recommendation, there’s ALWAYS a MONEY agenda behind the recommendation- ALWAYS. To the local tour operators and hotels and restaurants in La Fortuna, Tabacón is like the arrogant, conceded, RICH, neighbor who you want to see get knocked off his pedestal from time to time.

For Tabacón, they just about OWN the Travel Book writers and Baldi then becomes the red-haired, gay stepchild. Outside of La Fortuna, it’s, Tabacón, Tabacón, Tabacón. Whoever has been in charge of marketing, they’ve done a bang-up job. In many cases, you will find La Fortuna and Arenal by following the signs to Tabacón… really. Tabacón has marketed themselves almost as a destination in and of themselves… Heck with the volcano and the beauty that IS La Fortuna, in Tabacón’s mind, they ARE the Arenal Volcano.…….. and take my word, it’s been working. Tabacón is the neighbor that never says “Hi.”

This post is likely to be the only objective opinion you’ll EVER read.

Tabacón did it RIGHT and technically; there’s no comparison between the two. When you’re in Tabacón, it’s not unusual to feel you were roaming the rainforest and stumbled upon a tropical Garden of Eden… and for a second, you half expect to run into Adam and Eve contemplating the APPLE. Lush vegetation, mini-waterfalls, misty romantic steam, secluded natural Jacuzzis, and if you want to socialize a bit, they have the obligatory swim-up bar(s) and even a slide, but it somehow WORKS and you don’t feel like you’re at Disney World. Tabacón knows they’re the SH*t.

The LUSHNESS that is Tabacon Hot Spring aka Grand Spa Thermal Resort

BUT, you’re gonna pay to socialize with Adam and EVE. It’s like $7,000.00 to get in if you’re not staying there. Ok, maybe around $70, and the price DOES goes down after 7 pm, but like I said, Tabacón is the arrogant, conceded guy that doesn’t give a shit- and staff can often come across as somewhat aloof and uncaring. And I take EVERYTHING back when the buses full of blue-hairs come rolling into Tabacón- the place turns into an upscale nursing home for the rich. Saggy tits, gold jewelry, wrinkles in places I didn’t think possible and fat asses who stopped eating fruits and vegetable years ago- I often feel guilty I forgot CPR. Have you ever seen an ol’ lady who spends hours tanning on the beaches of Florida in a two-piece even a supermodel would feel self-conscious wearing…….. after 2 hours of soaking in the hot springs- wet beef jerky doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Baldi Hot Springs La Fortuna Costa Rica.

If Tabacón is the arrogant, rich guy, Baldi is the irresponsible brother who would rather P-A-R-T-Y than work. Baldi is more Disney-esque and feels like a place that could be located in any tourist destination in the world. Baldi tries to incorporate a Tabacón type of environment and succeeds in a few areas around the massive grounds, but I’m thinking Adam and Eve came here when they needed to unwind a bit and have a few cocktails, maybe even brought CAIN and ABLE along, as the water slides provide the babysitting while ‘the adults’ belly up to the bar. (Be careful on these water slides, they border on the “damn that hurt” side). For many, hot water is HOT water and take my word, both hot springs will give you as HOT as you can handle, but Baldi provides the hot water at a reasonable price and if there’s a PARTY, it would be at Baldi, the crowd tends to be MUCH younger and livelier.

I feel like I’m not going to be much help here. Tabacón is the SHIT and I like to tell people if you can afford it and never expect to visit La Fortuna again, then it’s worth the price of admission. Besides, if you can afford Tabacón, then you can obviously afford Baldi the next night. I do like Tabacón, BUT there’s something about the arrogant, conceded guy that doesn’t give a SHIT… do I really wanna give him EVEN more money (and don’t forget, they pay NO commissions to the locals)? If you don’t care for vegetation and ambiance, or maybe you’re just an atheist, then Baldi is a great choice and you won’t be disappointed. Ps. Both places have Vegas bar prices, so sneak in your bottle of Cacique.

Want to give the ‘FINGER’ to both Tabacón and Baldi? Then check out OUR video and see where Tabacon's FREE hot springs is located:

TONS of Costa Rica Travel Info and VIDEOS on our website: Travel Costa Rica NOW and if you want to visit our YouTube Channel: iCostaRica24 Oh, and we also have all the INFO about GAY Travel in Costa Rica. ENjoY!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

La Fortuna Costa Rica Weather- the TRUTH

In La Fortuna Costa Rica, home of the Arenal Volcano it RAINS- a lot, with the time of year playing an important role on exactly how much; sometimes nearly all day, while other rainfall is more of the ‘late afternoon’ variety following near perfect mornings and early afternoons.

*Yeah, I realize I’m about to shoot myself in the foot on this post, as I am somewhat a piece of the ‘travel Costa Rica’ pie.
But I’m here to provide true INFO and I don’t think La Fortuna, or Costa Rica, or myself for that matter, have to promote the country using deceptive tactics and weather word games. Costa Rica is the SHIT regardless of weather. Hell, it’s the SHIT because of the weather.

*It is also worth noting if you’re thinking of visiting the La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano area: La Fortuna and Volcan Arenal are synonymous- Nuevo Arenal (a small town) is NOT the same thing and is located about 45 minutes or so from the La Fortuna area, and you will be pissed if you book rooms there thinking otherwise…. just sayin.

Also note: Most travel agents and travel books referring to Costa Rica use the following phrases, (marketing ploys): Summer, dry, and high season(s), ALL 3 mean the same thing: Dec-April, when it supposedly doesn’t rain AS much in Costa Rica. Likewise, winter, low, rainy aka green season(s) also mean the same thing: May-November when it’s raining much of the time in many parts of the country. More about the weather patterns in Costa Rica.

Back to La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano.

The travel books like to say the Arenal Volcano is frequently clouded over, which is true, but without any reference to the time of year OR the weather patterns normal for this area. So, when it’s written as such, it almost sounds as if there’s one BIG ASS cloud covering the Volcano with the rest of La Fortuna being surrounded by sunny, blue skies- this conjures up a FALSE representation. The reason the volcano is frequently clouded over is SIMPLE- there are clouds in this ENTIRE AREA year round- rain clouds, as well as the nice, soft, BILLOWY, cuddly ones. This is where it gets confusing. You’re thinking ‘DRY’ season, which is like I said, a marketing ploy to make you believe it’s the best time of year to visit Costa Rica in general, which may or may not be true depending on what you enjoy and where you want to do it- rainforest vs. beach time, Pacific vs. Caribbean etc. In other words- EVERYTHING in Costa Rica ‘DEPENDS’. In La Fortuna it just so happens December, January and February (summer, dry, high season) are BAR NONE, the absolutely worst times to visit La Fortuna if your sole purpose is to catch a glimpse of Arenal Volcano. It rains a lot during this time, but the travel books refer to this as “The Arenal Volcano is frequently clouded over.” DUH!

Oh, btw- I charted this: In December of ’08 and January ’09, the volcano was visible a total of about 15 hours the entire two months (nights don’t count, but I’m sure there was little difference). Places like Tamarindo and most of the Pacific coast couldn’t have been much HOTTER or DRYER during this time.

Many people visit La Fortuna and the surrounding area for its scenic beauty, adventure tours, hot springs, wildlife and nature hikes etc, so aren’t bothered by the rain…. and shouldn’t be. Maybe they did their ‘weather’ homework, maybe they didn’t, but I’ll bet MOST thought it was the ‘dry’ season during those months around here and the constant rain and cloud coverage were merely an anomaly.

WHY an anomaly, because people in the ‘industry’ lie about the weather and volcano viewing patterns- for obvious reasons. Here’s our video on the BEST times to view the Arenal Volcano- we have been ‘scary’ accurate so far- we taped this video over a year ago.

That said, La Fortuna can also go many days (weeks) in a row with perfect weather, but not normally during the ‘dry’ season. Other times during the year you are MUCH more likely to have a perfect view of the magnificent Volcan Arenal. Don’t forget, La Fortuna and the surrounding areas are beautiful because of the near perfect combination of rain and sun, and PLUS, there’s a reason it’s called the ‘rainforest’. Double DUH!

I think of the weather in La Fortuna the same way you think of your MOM- You can call her a BITCH, but I can’t.

All the Costa Rica Videos you could want at Costa Rica Travel Channel, and ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. Hope it HELPS!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Costa Rica- Flying into San Jose Airport

Most people visiting Costa Rica fly into Juan Santamaría International Airport, aka San José Airport; although Liberia's Airport, (Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport), in the northern part of the country also handles many tourist types headed for the nearby beaches, such as Tamarindo.

Frequently people get a little intimidated when flying into a foreign country, often with good reason depending on the country. We made this short video to show you what you can expect when flying into the San José Airport in hopes it will relieve any anxiety you might have. There’s more info on flying into Costa Rica here- Travel Costa Rica NOW.

All the Costa Rica Videos you could want at Costa Rica Travel Channel, and ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. Hope it HELPS!