Friday, June 26, 2009

GREAT Hostel in San Jose- Tranquilo Backpackers

Tranquilo Backpacker in San Jose Costa Rica- one of the BEST hostels in San Jose.

Hey Everyone! You know, sometimes you just want to SPREAD the LOVE and help get the word OUT. We stay in a lot of places around Costa Rica, some 5-Star places such as the Gaia Hotel and Reserve... but also places like Tranquilo Backpackers in San Jose. And actually, if truth be told, we love places like Tranquilo Backpackers maybe even a little MORE, it just seems like the way you're suppose to ROLL when traveling Costa Rica.

Without further ado,, here's our REVIEW of Tranquilo Backpackers:

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!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Playa Samara on the Nicoya Peninsula

Playa Samara on the Nicoya Peninsula has some amazing sunsets.

Hey Everyone! We've always been partial to destinations on the Nicoya Peninsula like Malpais/Santa Teresa, Montezuma and of course Samara which is pretty much at the northern part of Nicoya. We spent a few days down there and made this little video to share our views on Playa Samara and it's next door neighbor, Playa Carrillo.

Samara is one BIG BEACH and definitely the VERY definition of a beach town. Taking in the sun and water adventures during the day and partying at night. Great restaurants, intimate little bars on the beach where you can share a cocktail and the sunset with that special someone, but also club-like party bars to drink and party until the wee-hours.

Me, just checkin OUT Playa Samara... and liking what I see.

Playa Samara is a long-wide beach on a curved horseshoe-shape bay. Unlike many other beaches along the Pacific coast, the water is calm and great for swimming and other water adventures like snorkeling and fishing and it's even a great place to 'beginner surf'. Playa Samara is popular with the Ticos and can often get quite lively on the weekends and special holidays, but since the beach is so BIG, it all seems to work. The calm waters and steep cliffs on the far side of the bay make this a very seductive spot, and don't forget Playa Carrillo, 5 kms away, also a great little beach. Here's our REVIEW of Playa Samara. ENjOy!

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!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pregnant GIRLS in La Fortuna

La Fortuna Costa Rica- pregnancy is almost ALWAYS in your face.

The RESULTS are OUT and without boring you with the details, are as follows:

*The number of births to single mothers is on the DECREASE, as single women between the ages of 15 and 49, are having less children today than six years ago.

*More than 63% of births in the country are outside of marriage.

*The survey also revealed the number of "common law" households was on the increase.

The study was conducted by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC)- pretty much the Census Bureau for Costa Rica.

I’m a natural cynic and skeptic- I can’t help it. I believe the times in which we live DEMAND it, or variations of ‘Animal Farm’ or ‘Brave New World’ just may be possible. (They aren’t yet are they?)

I’ve been leery of statistics for a long time since statistics, surveys, numbers etc, tend to have an agenda and somewhat of a pre-determined outcome. Back in the ‘70’s, Pepsi ran a HUGE ad campaign called the Pepsi Challenge, basically a head’s up taste test against Coca-Cola, was their ever a doubt who would win? And Pepsi is trivial, what about when RESEARCH and STATISTICS matter- like in the areas of medical, political and environmental issues etc? We can’t even agree on the harmful effects of Aspartame. (if you don’t know this one, research it, it’s SCARY).

Take the Costa Rica results. They fail to mention that over 4,000 pregnancies in the last 10 years occurred in girls 14-years old and younger, instead, starting their numbers at 15 years of age. There are so many variables and considerations that could change this data... I just don't have the time or inclination...but that’s not my point.

I collect data also- empirical data and I see this;

Young pregnant girls in La Fortuna are almost the NORM. They’re everywhere. I don’t know if they’re married, single, common law or what, I just know they’re OUT, pregnant and pushing their baby carriages around the park and through the shops- seemingly PROUD to be pregnant at 16 or 17. Many times if there’s a ‘man’ in tow, but it’s difficult to know if they’re the father of the child, or merely the brother or friend of the young mother. I would venture to say, outside of San José, most girls in Costa Rica are ‘STILL’ destined to become homemakers. Here, you either go to University or you don’t. If you don’t, normally you’re working in a menial job with very little chance of advancement to supplement the family income or you’re pregnant starting a family- there really is no between. Not that being a homemaker is a BAD thing, but options are limited and SEX begins at an early age here- not a whole lot of condom use going on in Costa Rica I would say.

I still maintain and although it’s DEFINITELY changing, Costa Rica has the mentality the United States held back in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s- A woman’s place IS in the HOME… barefoot, pregnant and worrying about what to make for dinner.

You see FAITH and HOPE, I see a SCARY-ASS Picture.

I know the Roman Catholic Church LOVED the ‘50’s and ‘60’s in the STATES… when they still meant something, but in Costa Rica they continue to wield influence – Espousing, Defining and PROTECTING, in their minds, the very essence of what marriage and family IS supposed to mean to a Costa Rican- and so far, so good. Which probably accounts for the lack of condom use in Costa Rica. They don’t mind a 16-year old pregnant girl- it’s almost a SUCCESS, start having kids EARLY and don’t STOP… BIG, uneducated, Catholic families- the likely hood of them ever venturing far from the 'dogma' is greatly reduced. Keep them Big, close and uneducated, while providing HOPE… I dare say they’ll never run out of alter boys... or sheep always HAPPY to sign a petition or two to ensure that marriage and family values are well protected.

Don't FEEL the consequence of NOT wearing one.

If only there were more emphasis on teaching sex education, self-esteem building through 'taking responsibility' and the importance of having a college diploma- then a 16-year old's raging hard-on wouldn't become such a life-altering consequence because after all, that's what condoms DO best- provide experiences (not always good mind you), but without life-altering consequences. And then maybe, just maybe, young Tico's could make it into their early 20’s with 'possibilities' around every corner....... instead of Jose Jr., Mario, Alejandra and baby Fernando.

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!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

San Jose Costa Rica Barrio Amon

San Jose Costa Rica has some pretty COOL architecture in Barrio Amon.

San Jose Costa Rica get an undeserved BAD WRAP. I realized my mistake a couple months ago with this post: San Jose Costa Rica- I'm SORRY.

And believe me, I used to be on board: "There's NOTHING to do in San Jose." or "I was only there 2 days and it was 2 days too LONG." and of course, "San Jose is a dirty, crime ridden city."

I pretty much went over most of this in the previously fore mentioned post, so I won't bore you by doing it again. But here's something worth checking out if you got a hour or two to kill in San Jose:

Here's a few other examples of things to do in San Jose:

La Sabana Park

San Jose ZOO

Spirogyra Butterfly Garden

or at night:

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gaia Hotel Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

'Gaia Hotel in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica is SO nice, it makes it difficult to ever SEE the Manuel Antonio Area'

Gaia Hotel and Reserve is a 5-Star hotel nestled in the hills of Manuel Antonio. We had the distinct pleasure to review Gaia a couple weeks ago... and BOY, were we impressed (did I just give away our REVIEW?)

From the very minute you ENTER through the gates of Gaia Hotel and Reserve, YOU KNOW you’re in a 5-Star Hotel. Smiles, welcome drinks, conversation… nothing but top-notch service from the get-go.

Gaia Hotel is owned by 4 guys, but the one we were talking with was David. David was personable and seemed genuinely excited to have us there. I can tell you, the feeling was mutual. David was a wealth of information and always had the time to sit down and talk with us and I found him very candid with his answers. We sincerely thank him for his hospitality.

Anyway, Gaia has everything you’d expect- Amenities x100. Studio’s and villa’s, maxed out with flat-screen tv’s and thread counts so high it makes it difficult to ever leave the bed. Great food, a beauty salon, spa, gym and even a 12 acre reserve complete with hiking trails, squirrel monkeys and butterflies we’ve only seen in butterfly gardens like Spirogyra Butterfly Garden in San Jose, Costa Rica… and the VIEWS from the reserve and the HOTEL… very NICE.

I could go on and on about Gaia Hotel, but why READ a REVIEW when you can see it on video below.

Funny thing is, we were here the night before:

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!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"I'm a Celebrity..." - Costa Rica doesn't CARE

'Heidi Pratt of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here', before the Puking and Diarrhea.'

I just read (very accidentally of course) the show, 'I'm a Celebrity- Get Me Out of Here', being filmed here in Costa Rica has had a casualty of sorts with one of the 'celebrity's ' , Heidi Pratt. It appears she's been taken to the hospital for some kind of stomach issue. Hopefully not just a bout of bulimia... sorry, couldn't resist

I won't spend much time on this post since I definitely made my feelings known about my thoughts of this show being filmed in Costa Rica, and 'REALITY SHOW'S' in general... AND the fact I'm giving this any TIME at all seems somewhat hypocritical. The post is here: Reality TV in Costa Rica- Say it isn't SO.

I swear I'm not a bad guy, I generally care about people and don't really want to see harm come to anyone. But could a stomach 'WHATEVER' happen to a nicer BITCH? There's a part of me (hopefully small), that hopes Mrs. Pratt is bent over the toilet trying to decide whether to puke or shit and contemplating the consequences of perhaps making the wrong decision. NOW, that's REALITY I can empathize with.

Poor Heidi, she's UPSET and not feeling so much like a Celebrity>>>>>>>

After all, how dare she and the rest of the 'has-beens' and 'wannabe's' come down to my country, yeah, I said it, and take it for GRANTED... EXPLOIT it for the sake of entertainment and personal gain and not EXPECT Mother Nature's first son, Costa Rica, to leave you with a little something, something. A woman's scorn... sweet.

I was going to Rant a little more, but I'm going cliche NOW, this video pretty much let's you know how I feel. WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE BABY............... YOU'RE GONNA DIEEEEE. (I know, a little dramatic, plus I'm half kidding, so RELAX), Now, if I could just get a poison dart frog to jump in Janice Dickinson's MOUTH...

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!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rio Celeste- the OPTIONS

Rio Celeste located in the Tenorio National Park has been generating a LOT of emails lately. Actually with good reason as we HIGHLY recommend visiting Rio Celeste if you have the chance. Most questions seem to be centered around visiting Rio Celeste WITHOUT a guide or GUIDED tour, which run from La Fortuna for around $65./ person (don't quote me on the exact price, it fluctuates- depending). Here's more INFO on Rio Celeste: Tenorio National Park/Rio Celeste. I'm not saying NOT to take a paid tour from La Fortuna as many people are much more comfortable with guides, but for you adventuresome types and backpackers- YOU have some options.

First, if you have a rental car, you should drive to Rio Celeste yourself (directions below). It's only about 1 hour and 15 minutes from La Fortuna- give or take. If during the rainy season, you may need a 4-wheel drive, there's a couple of steep inclines when you get close to the park, but I gotta say, we did it in a 2-wheel drive, but you gotta 'make a run' and don't stop once you begin the incline(s) (not recommended for people uncomfortable behind the wheel).

If you don't have a rental and want to do it on the cheap, it can be done. Personally, I would try to gather a few like-minded people who want to visit Rio Celeste and then negotiate a price for a taxi from La Fortuna, there and BACK. Also, I would even approach the 'piratas' or pirate taxi's located on the main street in front of the park. I know it's not politically correct to say so, but I've never had a problem and you can often get a decent deal.... or not. (I guess I need to say, if you use a pirate taxi, you do so at your own Risk). I wish I could give you numbers, but they change too often... I would think $60. would be fair, but then again, the taxi people will assume you don't know shit and obviously tell you some outrageous number, but at least you can 'negotiate' from there and you'll have a ballpark of what to expect with the NEXT guy you talk too.

Want a cheaper, but more adventuresome way?
A bus leaves out of El Tanque (the next small town over from La Fortuna- maybe 5 minutes in a car driving on the main street AWAY from the volcano) for Penas Blancas, which is the border crossing from Costa Rica into Nicaragua (It costs about $6.00 and takes 5 hours if you're interested). This bus departs EVERYDAY at about 7:00am. It returns from Penas Blancas at 2:00 returning to El Tanque at about 7:00pm. The reason this is important is because the turn-off to Rio Celeste is on the way between Guatuso and Upala. You could hitch a ride to Guatuso then negotiate a taxi the rest of the way, which isn't too far. Then meet the returning bus from Penas Blancas in either Upala, Guatuso or just on the road between the 2 (believe me the bus STOPS a LOT). You may need to know a little Spanish just in case, but this is doable.

1. Head to El Tanque- 5 minutes away driving on the main street of La Fortuna and AWAY from the volcano. The cheap way to El Tanque (without a rental car) is to basically hitch, or catch a ride, often locals that just happen to be going that way will only charge a dollar or so, but if that frightens you, then obviously take a cab to El Tanque.

2. Take a left in the middle of El Tanque across from the the super market and hardware store (this is easy as there is NO other left to take, it's the only intersection in El Tanque).

3. A few miles and you'll see the sign for Upala or Guatuso,,doesn't matter, follow that. Then go to Guatuso. In Guatuso you might have to ask directions to Rio Celeste (or Upala), the town's small but there's no clearly marked directions. The turn off (left) to Rio Celeste (or Rio Celeste Lodge) isn't far away after Guatuso, so if you make it to Upala, you went TOO far. Follow the signs to Rio Celeste Lodge, that's the starting point. It cost $10. to enter the park.

It's worth the EFFORT however you get there.

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!

Monday, June 1, 2009

AM Costa Rica- Setting the Journalism Bar LOWER and lower

'AM Costa Rica- Where the Advertisements get EDITED better than stories'

I've had a few issues with AM Costa Rica, 'Your Daily English-language News Source Monday through Friday', in the recent past, feel free to get acquainted- A.M. Costa Rica is FUGLY let me count the WAYS and this, AM Costa Rica RESPONDS to 'lil ol me and also this, AM Costa SUCKS pt 3. Actually, looking at the titles, I'm thinkin 'FUGLY' or 'SUCKS' probably gives my opinion away.

I must admit, AM Costa Rica makes it way easy to criticize and my only point in doing so is that maybe, just maybe Jay Brodell, Editor of ALL that is AM Costa Rica, will do something about it. The potential of this internet NEWS source is off the HOOK- what doesn't he understand?

Check out the above: The story on the TOP is brief, yet explains succinctly the important details, especially if you're handicapped and give a shit.

But what is this CRAP on the BOTTOM?

If you're NOT going to fill in ANY details and merely report an event, it should have read something like this:
Fuerza Pública officers made a sweep through Cartago centro Saturday night and early Sunday and checked out establishments in Manuel de Jesús Jiménez, Cot, Quircot, Taras and Guadalupe. Citations were given for various infractions ranging from....

Obviously just an example.

Here's a short list of questions I was thinking when I read the 'article', which if answered, may have made the story more interesting to the reader (in no particular order):

1. Were their any other problems? Looks like a lot of 'establishments' were checked... only one problem?

2. Has this Brick Brac place had issues in the past, run-ins with police... anything?

3. Is their a security guy at the door, is this a disco or just a bar and restaurant?

4. What's the law state on this in regards to a 'place of business' being responsible for its patrons?

5. Was this guy wearing Cocaine capsules around his neck, were they hidden... did he shove them up his ass and the security guy just didn't see them? This shit is important.

6. Did officers frisk every one in the Brick Brac, what's the law on that?

7. Did the 'owners' of the BriK Brac get to issue any sort of statement on their own behalf?

Is it just me... WTF?

I'm sorry, I can't go on, it's too long of a list. In my mind, the way this is written, I have to ASSUME too much. But it works because it sounds like the BricK Brac is a crack den and should be avoided at all costs. Good job police department. I blame AM Costa Rica for making me draw THAT conclusion, or ANY conclusion for that matter, and furthermore the owners of the BricK Brac should take issue with your,, hell, I don't even know what it is that shitty ass snippet of 'whatever' is called. It's certainly not informative, it may be factual, but who knows, like I said, not filling in the details,,, mine is BETTER and much more appropriate.

So, that bit of informative news I couldn't live without was done by the A.M. Costa Rica staff... "Damn, how many of you did it take to write that?" Actually, how many Blondes does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Know the answer, then you know the answer.

AM Costa Rica STAFF?

And please don't blame this on my browser.

Oh and one more MAJOR beef: This article entitled, 'Costa Rica simply is not a foreign worker's paradise' written May 25th by Garland M. Baker, a 'supposed' EXPERT, is perhaps the most poorly written article published in AM Costa Rica in the last few months. Chalk FULL of negativity, misleading facts... and talk about one sided- Garland is WAY out of the LOOP on this one. How this made the cut, I'll never know.

"Come on Jay, I'm beggin HERE. Step it UP... you can SHINE I know it."

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!