Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shark Finning- the TRUTH

'Shark Finning, Shrimp Trawling, Longline Fishing- when will the SHARKS and SEA TURTLES catch a BREAK!'

Although I had eaten shark-fin soup, (IGNORANCE wasn't even tasty), before moving to Costa Rica I really didn’t know much about shark finning, longline fishing, and the plight of the sea turtles and how it related and affected the overall 'Circle of Life'. I have since been educated that this is not VEGAS- so what happens in the OCEANS around the WORLD affect EVERYTHING and EVERYONE… and unless something is DONE, this ‘Circle’ may become a VERY sad game of connect the dots in the very near future.


Shark finning in particular is a HUGE problem, and especially here in Costa Rica and especially, especially in Puntarenas, where the Taiwanese influence in Costa Rica is growing. Ironically, Costa Rica has some of the BEST laws on the BOOKS in regards to shark finning and longline fishing but like many laws here, ENFORCEMENT is a totally different matter. Money talks....

My hope is to get the WORD out. I had a chance to sit down with the 'Anti-Shark Finning, Sea Turtle Preservation People', PRETOMA, and speak with its president, Randall Arauz. If you have any questions concerning the Who, Why, What, Where and How of Shark-Finning, this is the video for YOU.

Tell your friends, EMBED this video, re-TWEET this post, Facebook it, DIGG it, Link-it, do whatever it takes to get the word out about shark finning, longline fishing, and of course, the plight of the sea turtles. It’s really the LEAST we could do. Without further ado:

There's a wealth of information out there, so get educated and REMEMBER this isn't just about SHARKS, it's much BIGGER than that, this is about the food chain, the Circle of Life and how it affects us ALL.

FYI= there ARE organizations doing some GREAT work in the preservation of sea turtles along with the never ending battle of educating, informing, policing, (and in Costa Rica's case, taking them to court), the PUBLIC at large in regards to the practices/abuses/consequences of shark finning, shrimp trawling and longline fishing.

Of course the folks at Pretoma, and also Rob Stewart and the ‘Sharkwater’ people, but here's a few MORE organizations attempting to make a DIFFERENCE:

* Stop Shark Finning
* Oceana- Protecting the World's Oceans

Maybe it's TIME 'YOU' made a DIFFERENCE- like I said, "Money TALKS."

Hey Everyone, we got TONS of Costa Rica Travel Information in our Travel Guide at Travel Costa Rica NOW and don't FORGET all our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos, completely ORGANIZED so you can EASILY find what you're LOOKING for. ENjOY!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

San José Zoo- Simon Bolivar Zoo Costa Rica

San José Costa Rica has a ZOO- it’s called the Simon Bolivar Zoo. Who knew?

With Costa Rica being Costa Rica, who’d a thought they needed a zoo, when most can venture out into their backyards and see the wildlife in their natural habitat.

If you’re expecting the San Diego Zoo or ‘ANY’ zoo in Australia, you’ll be VERY disappointed to say the least. The Simon Bolivar Zoo just isn’t that kind of zoo. But if time is of the essence, or perhaps you didn’t see ALL the animals you we’re hoping too while visiting Costa Rica, then this zoo just may be an option. All the Costa Rican animals are represented: Capuchin, Spider and Squirrel monkeys, toucans, caimans, tapirs, margays and jaguarundi’s and a host of other Costa Rican wildlife.

I must admit it was a little weird having a zoo almost smack dab in the hustle and bustle of San José, but it didn't take long to understand the zoo is mostly a place for the 'locals'- the school kids and tico families to get a glimpse and an education of the animals that call Costa Rica home.

Here's our visit to the Simon Bolivar Zoo, you can decide for yourself if it's worth a LOOK.

Personally, if you want to see wildlife in it's Natural Habitat, I recommend this: A Trip down Cano Negro.

We have ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. and don't forget our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos posted on YouTube. Hope it HELPS!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spirogyra Butterfly Garden San Jose

Costa Rica knows Butterfly Gardens and 'Spirogyra Butterfly Garden' in San Jose is one of the BEST!

Who would have thought- a butterfly garden located smack-dab in the middle of San José? Well actually many know of this little slice of butterfly paradise, as it IS in all the travel books and seemingly quite popular. In the PAST I normally wouldn't loiter around San José for any longer than necessary, so I never even considered the possibility of a butterfly garden in the city, or probably CARED for that matter. I have since changed my opinion of San José: San José, Costa Rica- I'm SORRY! Anyway, on this past trip to the city, we made it a point to stop in Spirogyra Butterfly Farm and check it out for ourselves... and are we GLAD we did.

The Spirogyra Butterfly Garden is a little breath of fresh air nestled within walking distance of the hustle and bustle of the city. After about 30 minutes roaming around the Spirogyra Butterfly Garden (snapping the perfect butterfly pics) and the adjoining forest pathway next to the garden, it's EASY to forget you're actually IN a BIG city. Remember to leave plenty of room on your memory card as photo-ops are EVERYWHERE.

Here’s how Spirogyra describes themselves:

'Spirogyra is a butterfly farm and garden located within walking distance of San José, Costa Rica's capital. One of our goals is to keep this area, located in the last forested part of the city as a "green oasis' where people can learn about butterflies and their role in the environment and hopefully become sensitive and more aware of the importance of preserving one's habitat.'

Spirogyra isn't the 'biggest' butterfly garden out there, but the feeling of REALLY walking through a lush garden with beautiful butterflies flitting about seems so NATURAL. Besides, I'm NOT a big fan of the BIG 'net like' enclosures that don't even go to the trouble of of 'faking it' by landscaping appropriately, yet billing themselves as a serious butterfly garden... UGH!

Luckily, this is not the case at Spirogyra.

If you got an hour or two to spare, we highly recommend a visit to the Spirogyra Butterfly Farm and Garden. During the busier seasons, they even have a small cafe where you can watch an educational film and have coffee and a snack.

Spirogyra Butterfly Farm and Garden is located 50m east and150m south from the main entrance to "El Pueblo" shopping center.

Here's our VIDEO REVIEW of Spirogyra Butterfly Garden and whether you're a butterfly enthusiast or not, it's worth checking out. ENjOY! This Video should be watched in HD.

We have ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. and don't forget our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos posted on YouTube. Hope it HELPS!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Costa Rica SHOUT OUT!

JacóSun - Así es Costa Rica - MuchaCostaRica

Before deciding to totally CHANGE my life and live in Costa Rica, I actually had a semi-regular life, and without getting into the ‘gay’ thing too much, I WAS married with kids for 20 years prior.

My job was my passion, I worked with kids and families at a nationally recognized organization founded in 1917 by Father Edward J Flanagan, called Boys Town, and made famous by a movie of the same name starring Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy.

I worked with literally hundreds of kids and families during my 12-year stint at Boys Town (Here's a story where we did some good for one of our Boys Town kids: DeMarco Brooks). In 1998, I went on to write my own behavioral book and establish my own business, aParentAdvantage. I would go into people’s homes and show them the skills needed to change the behaviors of their out-of-control kids, while fostering healthy relationships. If you know the show Nanny 911, that was me, ONLY BETTER…. that’s a reality show after all and basically a JOKE, but the behaviors I dealt with were very much like the show’s.

Anyway, I learned a few things about people (and kids particularly)- ALL people have the NEED to be recognized (appreciated). Hammering away at a kid and forever giving consequences and feedback without EVER recognizing the good they do is EXTREMELY counter-productive to say the least. People don’t like to be around ‘others’ who forever GIVE criticism andfeedback but never recognize the ‘good’ behavior. Actually this Behavior 101. I don’t care who you are, it’s always NICE when someone points out something good or nice you’ve done that they’ve appreciated. Think of a mother who slaves everyday to put a nice meal on the table every night for her family. You don’t think she doesn’t want to hear some nice words occasionally, “Hey mom, these hamburgers are GREAT, you always make the best burgers.” Not PRAISE necessarily, just a show of appreciation from time to time. We all need it, regardless of what you may think about the QUALITY of your self-esteem.

We just want to say how much we appreciate the following people for giving US a Shout OUT- a little recognition for our work thus far. We’ve been working EXTREMELY hard for the last 14 months or so in order to give you the BEST Costa Rica Travel Info available on the internet, via video and written word. Travel Costa Rica NOW has taken literally hundreds of hours to put together and that doesn’t take into account keeping up our blog sites and videotaping around the country for our Costa Rica Travel Videos- after all, there’s only 2 of us and the LIST of Costa Rica INFO we want to make available to YOU, only gets LONGER- never shorter. There are a lot of GREAT sites out there about Costa Rica, we’re just hoping to be among them at some point in time. We don’t feel the need to compete, we just do what we do and hope you guys find some USE for it.

First Mike, from Jacó did a little piece about us telling his viewers they might find some worth in our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos. Here’s what he had to say about our work. This was very much APPRECIATED, you have no idea. Kind words and a little RECOGNITION work wonders.

A very popular Costa Rica Blog written by Raven, Así es Costa Rica, had this to say about ‘my’ blog:

On a personal note, this couldn’t have come at a better time as I often tend to take some ‘heat’ for my blogging, and at the time, I was, for this article about AM Costa Rica. (Ironically, the HEAT was coming from within, NOT from actual readers). So, as an avid reader, I was reading Raven's blog and had just happened upon her nice words- they gave me a much needed boost of esteem and motivation.

And our new friend Rayna over at sent us this email (I don’t think she would mind me sharing):

"Guys, I love your videos - the tips- you guys really are great and so real and sincere. :)

* Love the toilet paper necklace.
* I can organize handicap friendly tours- I did some research on that a few years ago and it IS possible, Even to Tortuguero!
* I learned something! those blue phones... I had no idea!
* Really- awesome stuff. Love it. Im gonna write a version of your tips plus a few of mine (if i can think of any) and link to your videos."

~ Rayna J.

And this we just came across yesterday. Very random. It was found in the forum section of the GAP Tours website: Here's what they had to say.

I think it should be noted: We do not know mike from Jacó and I've never met Raven from Así es Costa Rica, and we literally just met Rayna from, two days ago. So, this is NOT a, 'pat each other on the back thing'- or a quid pro quo of sorts. Luckily, I knew of ALL these sites prior and although they don't REALLY know it, I frequent ALL of them because they are GOOD sites that offer pertinent and updated, and in Raven's case, 'snarky' content, and information which I happen to ENjoY. I just don't 'recommend' because someone happens to say something nice about us..... just sayin.

"Nice to meet you, I agree, there's PLENTY to GO around."

So, THANX to Mike, Raven,Rayna and even the random guy- Nice comments are always appreciated and ENCOURAGED... 'they SO keep us going.'

I'm positive we'll ALL be able to fill our little niche in providing the traveler to Costa Rica with whatever it IS each of us does BEST, and EVERYONE, especially the traveler, will be the better for it. Pura Vida!

We have ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. and don't forget our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos posted on YouTube. Hope it HELPS!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

San José Costa Rica- I’m SORRY

"Dear San José, I hope you can forgive me for my slanderous remarks."

I owe San José and everyone that lives IN and around the city a BIG apology, but especially expats who have chosen to relocate there of their own volition. Since I have been blogging, I’ve been known to use San José (when I say San José, I mean the city and the outlining areas, such as Escazu), as fodder for mine and my readers amusement, frequently associating it with a few of the nastier cities in the US, like Detroit for instance.

I'm so embarrassed I won’t even link to the posts where I BEAT up on San José and the expat community like they were my very own red-headed stepchildren- but I was frequently fond of reminding San José that it was NOT Costa Rica except maybe by default (like the red-headed stepchild) and spending more than 1 night there would probably be 1 night too many... and as for the expats who had chosen San José, well let’s just say I would seriously question their decision making skills… I’ll leave it at that.

If I could go door-to-door and offer my apologies, I would. I do have my issues, but not accepting responsibility for my own behavior is not one of them. So there it is, I’m sorry and I will do ALL I can to correct the problem, not only ‘now’, but in future posts pertaining to San José.

"Why the change of attitude, Mr. Costa Rica Travel Expert man?"

We just returned from spending 5 nights there for one. Imagine, 5 nights in San José, that’s like spending 5 nights in Detroit- why would you EVER do that on purpose... (that's an example of what I might have said in the past). It’s true we were working (I’ll be speaking for myself now, not D’Angelo), but I was NEVER bored. One activity after the other, one experience after the other, one party after the other (if you’re into that), AND we met some cool people along the way. Funny thing is, I’ve been to San José plenty of times, but just never took the time to OPEN up my eyes and appreciate what I was truly seeing. Before, they were always OPEN- and I WAS looking, just never quite seeing.

The obligatory National Theatre Picture- there's so much MORE to San José.

There ARE things to do in San José. The fact you think there ISN”T, is merely a CONDITIONED response from constantly reading and hearing such over generalizing drivel from the so called ‘travel experts’, such as myself, that 2 nights is plenty in San José. Yes, the city has all the regular stuff: malls and shopping areas, museums, under-rated restaurants (you REALLY can eat extremely good food in Costa Rica), movie theatres- again, all the typical stuff you’d expect of a big city. But what we did this time I would call more of an ‘immersion’ of San José- we people watched outside the National Theatre, participated in a protest about discrimination, talked to a local lady who was feeding the birds about the RECESSION, hung out at La Sabana Park and while there, got a lesson from the TICO’s on how to appreciate LIFE- flying kites, fishing, picnicking, playing pick-up soccer matches, boating, chilling with the family on a blanket, strolling around the park with friends etc. Not a PlayStation in sight.

Meanwhile, we walked, and walked some more around San José, enjoyed the architecture (there really are some beautiful buildings), found a really cool butterfly garden (future video/post), ate at a local Casino’s second floor restaurant overlooking the ‘shopping’ district... and the people we observed- priceless. We took in the nightlife which could compete with any big city anywhere….. HELLOOO… Club Vertigo, El Pueblo, and of course we’ve been known to hit up a gay bar or two, like La Avispa.

Think San José is too boring for you? Don’t think there’s anything to do? ‘Immersion’ doesn’t MOVE you? Well, I got news- Boring is a REFLECTION of yourself. San José isn’t boring- but YOU may BE. You’d be surprised what you can experience when you let yourself be taken by the moment(s).

I would appreciate that any email sent in response to this post does NOT mention the word CRIME- I’m over that… I’ve traveled many places in the world, and let me just say, you wear your Bermuda shorts pulled up to your nipples with the binoc’s around your neck and I’ll wear what I do…. but seriously, I don't want to hear your whining when your camera gets stolen. My original post about crime in Costa Rica as it pertains to tourism: Costa Rica Crime- it's YOUR Fault

That said, I am NOT advising spending your entire vacation in San José at the EXPENSE of the rest of the country- that’s just STUPID… especially if you’re only in Costa Rica for a short time. Furthermore, I’m not a big proponent of the ‘day trips’, with a few exceptions- INBio Park, Lankester Gardens, the Poas Volcano area, and a few others (consult your guide book). For example, some advertise our area (La Fortuna/Arenal) as a daytrip, NOT a good recommendation and makes for a LONG day, just stay here a few nights, we have plenty to do.

Go ahead, hit up the regular stuff in San José like the museums, markets, cafés and restaurants and day trips, but then try a little ‘immersion’- really explore San José without a FUCKIN TRAVEL BOOK nailed to your hands. I swear, travel books were meant to be a TOOL, not taken as the FUCKIN Bible for God sake…. yeah, I said ‘fuckin’, ‘Bible’ and ‘God’ in the same sentence… geez…. be the author of your own travel book, you'll probably find you're a better writer anyway. Try and speak Spanish with a Tico, spend the afternoon chillin’ at La Sabana or any of the the little parks located in the heart of San José, the list is endless. The TRUTH is, sometimes the BEST entertainment is in the observation of your surroundings and I think you’d be presently surprised at the gems hidden underneath the facade of San José, that is if you can remove the veil for a moment.

So San José, I extend my deepest apologies… and maybe, just maybe we can HELP spread the NEWS about this false notion of ‘getting out of San José as soon as possible', and expose it for the ‘conditioned response’ that it IS- perpetrated by faceless entities who wouldn't know ‘entertainment’ unless it came equipped with a PLUG and a SCREEN…….. controller’s optional.

This short clip is just a 'people watching' video. We are NOT making fun of the 2 guys playing the guitar by video taping them, we truly found them quite interesting.

We have ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. and don't forget our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos posted on YouTube. Hope it HELPS!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Driving Costa Rica- Pulled OVER during Semana Santa

Driving in Costa Rica has the potential to become a quite costly affair if you’re a TYPE A personality when behind the wheel- especially NOW- Original Post: New Laws for Driving in Costa Rica.

Here’s what was reported in the news during Semana Santa (Easter):

'According to Tránsito 5,600 tickets were issued during Semana Santa for all types of violations of the Ley de Tránsito. Tránsito subdirector, Huanelge Gutiérrez, explained that 975 of the tickets were for speeding, while the rest ranged from driving without a license, faulty lights and not wearing a seatbelt.'

Also indicated in the article was that Police arrested 88 persons for drunk driving- they must have missed my original post, now these 88 could face jail time (funny, I thought it was mandatory, but the article clearly stated, “could face jail time”…ummm. I’ll have to check into that one.
Well, we had spent a week in San José doing what we do (Do’in Costa Rica), videotaping, hotel and bar reviews etc, and when we got invited to Samara (Southern Guanacaste/Nicoya Peninsula area on the Pacific coast), we jumped at the CHANCE. We had been trying to visit there for quite some time.

Our friend was passing a few cars that in our opinion were going way to SLOW, and actually, I saw the policeman about a quarter of a mile up ahead in the middle of the road speaking with the driver of a stopped car, but didn’t think anything of it, even as we ZOOMED past the 4 cars. What I didn’t see was the radar gun, but we still thought we were cool and we weren’t traveling ‘that fast’,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, the policeman felt otherwise.

Come to think of it, the cars we passed did appear as if they were standing still.

Our friend sorta, kinda tried to plead his case, but the cop wasn’t having any of it. He wasn’t mean, just matter-of-fact and kept showing my friend the speed indicated on the radar gun.

This would be a good time to mention ‘bribes’. If you really believe all Costa Rica authority types accept bribes- you’d be sadly mistaken. And that mistake could cost you about 400 bucks. We wouldn’t have even thought to bribe this guy, and he was working ALONE. You could tell this cop took his job seriously and I'll bet when he lays his head on the pillow at night, he knows who he is.

Technically this ticket was in the range of ‘reckless driving’, and our friends was a tad nervous to say the least.

But like they frequently do in the States, this cop gave our friend a break. Cost of the ticket- $9.00.

It’s nice to see discretion used appropriately- this could have been SO much worse.

We were part of the Semana Santa statistics, but I can’t help thinking we may have gotten off a lot easier than most… Pura Vida to 'us' as this could have been a MAJOR Semana Santa BUZZ KILL…. it wasn’t.

Samara was GREAT! Upcoming VIDEOS and INFO and post about our visit to Samara.

Here's just a snippet of video of the cop that pulled us over. I give this guy serious PROPS and Costa Rica should be PROUD he represents them in his everyday interactions with the gringos and the public in general. He displayed good judgment and discretion and was professional at all times.

I DARE you to try and BRIBE him... double dare you.
I found out some cops don't like to be video taped...hehe

We have ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. and don't forget our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos posted on YouTube. Hope it HELPS!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Theft on the Buses in Costa Rica

Yup, this is almost a PERFECT representation.

The bus from La Fortuna to San José was packed- pretty typical. She (a gringa from Tennessee) didn’t know she got her backpack stolen until we reached San José… actually, EVERYONE on the bus learned she got her backpack stolen… she was hysterical to say the least. Everything was in it- EVERYTHING meaning- passport, money, credit cards, family pictures, laptop, digital camera etc. What she was wearing, is what she had left. Video: Backing Up Your Travel Documents.

From what she told (everyone), her backpack was pretty big, so she didn’t want to lug it to the back of the bus and risk hitting others in the head (her words, not mine), so she opted to put it in the above rack at the front of the bus, but decided to sit in the back of the bus. You know the rest of the story. For the record, her dad sent her money via Western Union.

I won’t hammer… too much anyway, but I gotta admit, I often wonder why people don’t do a little more homework when visiting a country they’ve never been to before. Even we have numerous articles on this particular subject.

Many of the Travel Books will tell you to sit by a window in order to keep an eye on anything (oversized backpacks etc) that is placed in the underbelly of the bus since that is where most of the theft occurs, me personally, I don’t know anyone who has been ripped off in this manner, but do I have a ton of stories from people who have been ripped off from the overhead inside the bus, usually not a few feet from where they are sitting. Costa Rica Crime- it's YOUR Fault. And just a few weeks ago I wrote about a similar experience: La Fortuna to San Jose- Crime on the Bus.

Check this OUT to Remind youself of things you may have forgotten you know: Theft and You in Costa Rica.

Here's a quick VIDEO about the Do's and Don't of riding the buses around Costa Rica:

We have ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. and don't forget our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos posted on YouTube. Hope it HELPS!

Friday, April 10, 2009

AM Costa Rica SUCKS pt 3.

AM Costa Rica takes 12 to the RIBS from Doin' Costa Rica.

Almost forgot. There appears to be more of you OUT there who think of AM Costa Rica, 'Your online English-language news source Monday through Friday', as I do. I hadn't checked my emails in a week while we were in San Jose and my last post HERE was about AM Costa Rica... And as usual, people would rather email me than actually comment on the post themselves, but it's GOOD. The original post that got it all started: A.M. Costa Rica is FUGLY- let me count the WAYS.

I didn't get a ton of emails concerning AM Costa Rica- 12 to be exact. But it should be noted, NONE were offended by my opinions of AM Costa Rica and its lack of professionalism on many levels. All had something to say, much more mean-spirited than me I might add, but this email pretty much sums up the 12 emails- very succiently:

"Jay Brodell is a scam artist.

He runs am costa rica out of his house in barrio otoya and his staff is Himself and one other woman.

They basically plagerize everything. And yes it sucks."

I don't know if what this person says is TRUE or not, nor am I willing to make such accusations, but I don't think I'd be surprised if they were.... just sayin.

I know, a little dramatic, but still a WIN in my book.

We have ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. and don't forget our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos posted on YouTube. Hope it HELPS!

Do'in Costa Rica is BACK from San Jose

BACK from San Jose... and do I have Costa Rica Travel Information for YOU.

I meant to Blog, I meant to keep up, hell, we took BOTH laptops- but you know what they say about 'good intentions'.

The GOOD NEWS is, we got TONS of new stuff. Now comes the difficulty of editing, organizing, writing, re-editing, re- writing.... but I can assure you, our computers will be working overtime in the next few weeks to get this INFO to YOU.

I just gotta say, I've been known to bad mouth San Jose from time to time, comparing it to Detroit... and have questioned many of expats who have decided to relocate there, but I think I may have changed my tune a bit. Stay tuned as to WHY.

So, WE'RE back- don't forget to check back and catch some of our new TRAVEL info in and around the San Jose area- which will of course, have my perspective to DEAL with.

Do'in Costa Rica was there, but NOW we've RETURNED.

We have ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. and don't forget our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos posted on YouTube. Hope it HELPS!