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Costa Rica Advances as a Sports Tourism Destination

Costa Rica Advances as a Sports Tourism Destination

By Laura Alvarado, May 29, 2018, as Published in the Costa Rica Star , September 7, 2018

Costa Rica has been taking big and important steps towards becoming a sports tourism destination. The country’s particular characteristics, its many attractions, beautiful weather, safety, political stability, technology availability, together with the experience gained by organizing companies and the support offered by the government, have played a significant role in the growth of this industry.

“La Ruta de los Conquistadores” is probably one of the pioneers in sports tourism in the country, considered the first and original multi-stage Mountain Bike Competition in the World, and one of the hardest athletic events in the planet, it has been taking place in Costa Rica for 26 years (counting this year’s edition) and it has become a challenge for international athletes.

The excellent conditions the country offers for the practice of Mountain Bike are undeniable, and many smaller events are organized in the country that are used by athletes in the region as a perfect training opportunity.

Surfing has also been attracting many international sports figures throughout the years.

The Davis Cup, X-Knights, the San Jose Marathon, the 70.3 Ironman, Sport Fishing Tournaments, and the PGA Tour Latin America are just some examples of how the country has been able to attract this market and position itself as the perfect location to carry out different sporting events.

The sponsorship of the Ministry of Tourism through its Essential Costa Rica brand and the support of municipalities have become crucial for the organization of these events, which attract thousands of athletes and their teams as well as many fans, generating an economic benefit for the communities involved, the companies in the tourism sector, and the country in general.

An investment in infrastructure to be able to attract other sporting events is necessary.

Conde Nast Magazine Names Costa Rica International Destination of the Year

Conde Nast Magazine Names Costa Rica International Destination of the Year

By Laura Alvarado, May 12, 2018. As Published in The Costa Rica Star September 7, 2018

Prestigious tourism magazine Condé Nast Traveler Spain named Costa Rica the international tourist destination of 2018.

Costa Rica received the award, part of the Gold List Traveler Awards 2018, in a gala celebrated in Casino de Madrid in Spain, this event is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

Costa Rica was voted initially by readers and followers of the site among 25 destinations, and then it made the top 10 along with other beautiful destinations such as Ciudad del Cabo in Mexico, Scotland, Hawaii, Nicaragua, Kerala in India, Puglia in Italy and Samana in Dominican Republic.

Costa Rica was recognized as being a destination rich in biodiversity and for the variety of tourist attractions as well as its constant innovation in sustainable tourism.

Maria Amalia Revelo, who was recently named Minister of Tourism, stated that this award is a result that validates the efforts and development of strategies of promotion that have been carried out in the last years geared towards the European market, where the number of direct flights has increased considerably and the visitation has also seen a constant growth.

Costa Rica: A Great Destination to Enjoy With Friends

Costa Rica: A Great Destination to Enjoy With Friends

By Laura Alvarado July 26, 2018, as Published in The Costa Rica Star, September 7, 2018

They say that all you need in life is a great friend and a thirst for adventure. Traveling with friends, says Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness, is a great way to focus on the “joy of camaraderie and increases a sense of fulfillment, confidence and resiliency.” For travelers looking to strengthen their bonds or spend quality time with their pals, Costa Rica is a destination brimming with opportunities for adventure, culture and relaxation.

Friends who travel together stay together. Those in search of cultural and natural attractions will find both in the Central Valley region. The country’s capital, San Jose, is home to many of Costa Rica’s most popular museums including the Gold Museum, Jade Museum, National Museum and the architectural jewel of Costa Rica, the National Theater. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, volcanoes and cloud forests friends can take a day trip to explore what Central Valley has to offer. The area offers numerous coffee estates, dairy farms, as well as sugarcane mills all waiting to be explored.

To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together. Those looking to enjoy the “Pura Vida” life at a more relaxed pace can head to the Limon Province in Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. The area, which is also known for its rich Afro-Caribbean culture, attracts anglers, naturists and water enthusiasts in search of unique experiences. Friends can head out bass fishing, embark on a fascinating excursion through the area’s interconnected canals or have the opportunity to witness green turtles nesting during the months of July through October at Tortuguero National Park. The area also provides visitors with the opportunity to enjoy some of Costa Rica’s best beaches and picturesque parks, which are complemented by the areas inviting culture. A wide range of activities allow traveling buddies to mix adventure with natural history, present day culture, gastronomy and music.

Life was meant for good friends and great voyages. The combination of breathtaking white-sand beaches, sweeping mountain views and ideal tropical climate has made Guanacaste one of Costa Rica’s most popular regions. Located in the northwestern corner of the country, the area presents a diverse geography, active nightlife and boasts many of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches, including those found at Playas del Coco, Tamarindo and the Papagayo Peninsula. Friends can enjoy everything from snorkeling, zip lining, hiking and more. Travelers can also visit an active volcano with natural hot springs, fumaroles and majestic waterfalls at Rincon de la Vieja National Park, or visit the Nicoya Peninsula for world-class surfing, quaint towns and wonderful nature reserves.

Good friends dream of adventure. Best friends go on them together. High up in the mountains of La Fortuna, travelers have the opportunity to experience ecological tourism in a natural and picturesque environment. Visitors can set out on adventures like zip-lining, a mountain water slide, horseback riding, thermal springs and more. Guests also have access to natural hot springs, scenic trails, pristine waterfalls, bubbling volcanic mud pools and more. Visitors to the region may also enjoy exploring the inlets and mangrove swamps of the south side of the region and marvel at the arrival of the Ridley sea turtles at the Ostional Wildlife National Refuge or discover Barra Honda National Park, home to Costa Rica’s only underground caves.

From mountain ranges and rain forests to breathtaking beaches and cloud forests, Costa Rica’s diversity of landscapes, climates and natural wonders provide friends with unlimited experiences to bond, enjoy thrilling activities together and make memories to last a lifetime.

Press Release: Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT)

TAPIRS ARE SO COOL  And Costa Rica is Their Last Best Hope for Survival

TAPIRS ARE SO COOL And Costa Rica is Their Last Best Hope for Survival

By Jack Ewing, as appeared in the Quepolandia, July 23, 2018

Tapir

Biologist and taper specialist, Charlie Foerster, once told me about an experience he had while standing on a high spot looking down over an embankment into a river when a tapir walked across a shallow area and continued into a deep pool until its head was submerged. Its elongated nose stuck out of the water like a snorkel until the animal reached the deepest part of the pool, and it too went under the surface. The water was clear and Charlie could see hordes of small fish surround the tapir and peck away at all of the ticks, lice and other external parasites attached to its hide, while the tapir blew bubbles. After a while the large mammal surfaced, took several deep breaths and sunk back to the bottom repeating the process a couple more times. Finally it walked out of the pool free of all its unwelcome hitchhikers. Now that’s what I call cool.

The Central American Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) sometimes called Baird’s Tapir, is the largest land mammal in Central and South America. They are about the size of a small cow—an adult will weigh up to 350 kg—but are shaped more like a pig. A long, prehensile snout, that has also been called a short trunk, is used to grasp vegetation and pull it into the tapir’s mouth. The front feet have three large toes and a fourth smaller toe located a little bit higher on the foot. The back feet have only three toes. This puts them in the same family as the horse and rhinoceros, the odd-toed ungulates. They love water and are seldom found far from it.

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7 Essential Items to Pack when Traveling to Costa Rica

7 Essential Items to Pack when Traveling to Costa Rica

By Rebecca Fox, as published in Quepolandia, July 17 2018

You’ve booked your tickets, planned your itinerary and are almost ready for your Costa Rican adventure. The only thing left to do is pack your bag. Many travelers are pleasantly surprised by the infrastructure and amenities available in Costa Rica, drinkable tap-water being a good example. There are, however, a few fairly simple things you can bring from home that will make all the difference to your experience. Whether you are a budget backpacker or a luxury traveler, make sure you consider bringing the following.

Waterproof phone case1. Waterproof Phone Case

I cannot count the number of times I have encountered a visitor desperately trying to dry out their (typically new and expensive) phone by putting it in a bag of rice or sitting it in front of a fan. A rogue wave or unexpected rainstorm can quickly turn the latest iPhone into nothing more than a shiny doorstop. Keeping it in a waterproof case will allow you to relax by the pool and Instagram those waterfalls without worrying about damaging your phone.

2. Sunscreen

Protecting yourself from the sun is vital to a successful Costa Rican experience. You don’t want to waste precious days of your trip avoiding all the fun outdoor activities because you sizzled yourself on the beach within the first 24 hours of arriving. Due to all the water-based activities on offer and the high humidity, it’s best to pack a waterproof or ‘sport’ version of your favorite sunscreen in the highest SPF available. While sunscreen is available to buy here in Costa Rica, it is usually double or triple the price you will find it at home.

Headlamp3. Flashlight/headlamp

Making a bonfire on the beach, doing a night jungle tour, walking home after dark or finding your way to the bathroom during a power cut. These are all highly possible situations in Costa Rica and are much easier to navigate when you have a decent flashlight. Before they arrive, travelers often don’t realize that the sun sets quite early here, at around 5.30pm all year round. With little street lighting and fairly regular power cuts, this makes a flashlight one of the essential items for any trip to Costa Rica. If your phone does not have a strong light, consider getting a headlamp so you can keep both hands free to gather firewood, fend off spiders and find the toilet paper.

4. Sturdy Sandals or Water Shoes

Heavy duty Keens or Teva style sandals are probably the most comfortable footwear to use for the vast majority of adventure activities you will do in Costa Rica. Whether white-water rafting, zip-lining or exploring a hidden trail to the beach, you will want lightweight shoes that stay on your feet and dry out quickly.

Ziplock bags5. Ziplock Bags

One thing to remember about Costa Rica is that it can rain at any moment, even during the dry season. When it does rain, more often than not, it is a torrential tropical downpour that drenches everything in five minutes flat. High humidity can make drying things afterward a struggle. Having a roll of Ziploc bags handy means you can stash your passport, important documents, and electronics safely away. Ziploc bags are also great for storing snacks and separating your wet, dirty things from your remaining dry clothes.

6. Power Bank

Picture this, you have hiked deep into one of Costa Rica’s National Parks and have been waiting patiently to catch a glimpse of an elusive wild tapir. As it finally emerges from the jungle, the battery in your camera dies. Taking a power bank with you on your adventures means you can keep your GoPro, camera, Kindle, and phone fully charged at all times and ready for action. This will make those long bus journeys a lot more bearable too. Some power banks are even charged by solar power, a real lifesaver if you plan on going off the beaten track or camping overnight.

7. Daybag

Spending a day exploring the volcanoes, rainforests or coastal towns of Costa Rica? Having a small backpack to keep the basic necessities of water, snacks, money, camera, and a change of clothes will be very useful. We like the CamelBak bags that have an extra pocket for essentials in front of the water pouch. A lightweight, fold-up backpack that takes virtually no space in your luggage is another good option, and it can double up as an additional carry-on if you end up accumulating souvenirs.

Karma Saving the Rainforest

Karma Saving the Rainforest

By Karma Casey for Kids Saving The Rainforest, as published in Quepolandia.com, July 15, 2018

KSTR vets helping injured sloth
Kids Saving The Rainforest

Hello again Quepolandia readers. Happy 20th birthday to this amazing magazine, which is twice as old as me! Thanks for reading!

This is Karma Casey, the spokes-kid from Kids Saving the Rainforest. For those of you who don’t know who we are, KSTR is a wildlife rescue and sanctuary outside of Quepos, Costa Rica. We help two-toed and three-toed sloths, monkeys, coatimundis, kinkajous, porcupines, parrots, and more! We also plant trees, put up wildlife bridges, educate the public, and do lots of other things to help save the rainforest. If you find sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife, contact our veterinary staff via What’sApp at 88-ANIMAL (506-8826-4625) and we can help!

This month’s article is about probably one of your favorite animals: A sloth!

I have interviewed some of the lucky, hard-working members of our veterinary clinic team to tell you all about one super special and amazing two-toed sloth named Senor Dona.

Dona is an adult male two- toed sloth who was found over an hour away towards Jaco. Kids Saving the Rainforest was alerted by our friends at MINAE and SINAC (two government agencies that work hard to protect Costa Rica’s environment and wildlife) that a sloth had been hit by a car. The wildlife professionals at KSTR quickly came to the rescue, and Senor Dona was rushed to our veterinary clinic.

Injured sloth rushed to vet clinic
Kids Saving The Rainforest

Upon examination, developing burns were discovered on Dona’s body that were evidence of electrocution. Senor Dona was sadly electrocuted, fell, and then got hit by a car. That’s a lot for a sloth! Due to his injuries, he cannot move the lower half of his body.

Kids Saving the Rainforest is doing everything we can to help Senor Dona regain the use of his legs and get well again, including giving special daily sloth massages, and trying non-traditional forms of healing to help him on his way! Joining our efforts is Dr. Tania Zeledon, a veterinarian from San Jose. Dr. Zeledon specializes in alternative healing therapies for animals. She travels to Quepos once a week to give acupuncture to people’s pets, and she is donating part of her time to helping Senor Dona!

Acupuncture for injured sloth
Kids Saving The Rainforest

Dr. Zeledon performs acupuncture on Dona, inserting needles into his skin at special acupuncture points to stimulate healing. Don’t worry, the needles are tiny and she is helping him to get better! She also performs Ozone therapy and therapeutic massage. The clinic team has learned lots of new and different ways of looking at healing animals from Dr. Zeledon, which Kids Saving the Rainforest can use to help Senor Dona and other animals who come to us needing help!

Senor Dona has been progressing slowly with everyone’s help. He still cannot properly use his back legs, but he has been able to hang some and with time we hope he will keep getting better and better. He is a brave and courageous two-toed sloth who has been through a lot!

If you’d like to help support Senor Dona on his journey to recovery, visit our website at http://kidssavingtherainforest.org. And don’t forget! Slow down and watch out for wildlife as you are driving around Costa Rica! We share this beautiful country with many amazing creatures big and small, and they depend on us to treat with them with the respect they all deserve!

KSTR rehabilitation of wildlife
Kids Saving The Rainforest

A special thanks to Dr. Tania Zeledon. If you’d like to speak to her about acupuncture for your pets, you can reach her at (506)8854-8984.

To sign up for a guided tour of the Kids Saving the Rainforest wildlife sanctuary, please visit our website at http://kidssavingtherainforest.org or email
chip@kstr.org.

If you’d like to write to Karma, she can be reached at spokeskid@kstr.org.

Kids Saving The Rainforest logo
Kids Saving The Rainforest

 

Did You Know Rawlings Baseballs are Made in Turrialba, Costa Rica?

Did You Know Rawlings Baseballs are Made in Turrialba, Costa Rica?

By Laura Alvarado – July 3, 2018 As Published in The Costa Rica Star July 8, 2018

Rawling baseballs
Sharon Day, U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica, photo credit: US Embassy Costa Rica

Thirty years ago in the area of Turrialba in Costa Rica, Rawlings Costa Rica opened doors after an agreement with the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) and started out with only 15 employees, however, it quickly became one of the main employment options in the area and continues to be today the source of income of many Costa Rican families.

Rawlings Costa Rica is part of Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. a leading manufacturer and marketer of sporting goods in the United States which produces high-performance equipment and apparel for professional and amateur players. The company’s baseball manufacturing operations were moved to Costa Rica in 1987 in a Free Zone after the closing of a plant in Haiti as a result of political instability in that country.

The baseballs manufactured in Costa Rica are used in the Major League Baseball games, in the minor leagues and are also sold commercially.

The process of manufacturing a baseball is a lot harder that it sounds, it requires long hours of work (the balls are all assembled by hand), and high quality materials like leather, rubber and cork.

Professional baseball balls must weigh no more than 5 ounces. have a circumference of 9 inches and a total of 108 red stitches . Rawlings Costa Rica produces close to 2.4 million baseballs a year.

Rawlings employees close to 400 Costa Ricans, back in 2015 it trimmed down its uniform manufacturing operations in Costa Rica and moved them to El Salvador since this country offered cheaper labor and lower overhead expenses.

 

The Delicious Fresh Fruit You Can Find in Costa Rica

The Delicious Fresh Fruit You Can Find in Costa Rica

By Laura Alvarado – July 4, 2018 as published in The Costa Rica Star, July 8, 2018

Jocote
Jocote

Roadside fruit stands are a delightful culinary experience not to be missed while traveling through Costa Rica. The country’s tropical climate and fertile volcanic soil create excellent conditions for a wide range of fruits to flourish. Although travelers may be familiar with fruits such as mango, papaya, pineapple, bananas, and coconut, Costa Rica offers a wide variety of nutritious and tasty tropical fruits, which stand out for their freshness and exotic flavor.

Below are the top five must-try delicacies no traveler should miss on their next trip:

Nance

The Nance is a small yellow berry with delicate skin and a white pulp. It grows in clusters, which acquire a penetrating aroma. They are sweet and slightly bitter. The tree can be found in Costa Rica’s dry forests, savannas and coastal areas, such as Alajuela, Puntarenas, and Guanacaste. Nance fruit is often used to prepare beverages, craft liquors, ice cream and desserts. It is a rich source of vitamin C and fiber.

Guaba

In Costa Rica, Guaba is synonymous with luck. When someone is particularly lucky, they are called “Guabero”. Not to be confused with guava, the Guaba tree can measure up to 50 feet high and produces beautiful flowers. The fruit pods vary in size and shape, but have a woody bark that contains black seeds covered in a white cottony layer of delicate sweet flavor. Due to its flavor and texture, it is also known as the “ice cream bean.” Guabas are usually available during the rainy season and are often used as an ingredient in salads and ice cream. Its seeds are often used to create jewelry, usually necklaces or earrings, which can be found in craft markets throughout Costa Rica. This fruit is rich in vitamin C, fiber and other micronutrients.

Cas

Cas is a small round green fruit that can be found throughout Costa Rica. The skin is thin and the pulp is fleshy and juicy. Cas juice, which is made with ripe Cas, is tart—somewhat similar to lime or lemonade, but has its own unique flavor. It is a Costa Rican staple during mealtime. Cas is available throughout the year, but is most common from November to August. This fruit is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber and potassium. It is also used to make ice-cream.

Mamón Chino

Mamón Chino is an exquisite round fruit covered in an intensely bright red skin, which is protected with soft thorns. The trees grow in clusters and can reach up to 65 feet in height. Mamón Chino is typically found in the southern regions of Costa Rica, where small and large producers, especially from the Corredores area, produce high quality fruit. The sweet and juicy pulp is consumed fresh, and is the ideal ingredient for the preparation of desserts, salads and drinks. Mamón Chino is a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, vitamin A and other beneficial components for health.

Pitahaya

Pitahaya belongs to the cactus family, is native to Mesoamerica and is also known as dragon fruit. The plant grows in dry stony areas, and is resistant to drought. In Costa Rica, it is found in tropical dry forests—mainly north of Puntarenas and Guanacaste. It is also possible to find the plant in some dry areas of the Central Valley. The Pitahaya fruit is oval-shaped with a bright pink and scaly surface. The pulp is soft and translucent, with multiple tiny black seeds—similar to that of grapes. The fresh pulp is a common ingredient in desserts, drinks, salads and ice cream. On the Costa Rican Colón, the Pitahaya appears as a symbol of the country’s natural heritage. This fruit is rich in vitamin C, iron, phosphorus, potassium and fiber; it is also a rich source of antioxidants.

But these are just a few of the many delicious fruits found in Costa Rica, theGuayaba, for instance, is similar to Cas in appearance but they are bigger in size and they are firm, they can be enjoyed by itself or can be used in juice, it is also used to make delicious jelly and jam.

Guanabana known as soursop is also widely found in Costa Rica and because of its creamy texture it is used specially for fresh juices and in ice cream.

Manzana de agua
(water apple) or Malay apple is an exquisite fruit that is easy to find during the summer months in Costa Rica, many people eat it with salt, while others prefer it alone or use it to make juice.

The Caimito or “Star apple” is also commonly found in the farmer markets, it is purple and round, it has a sweet flavor with milky juices inside, it is said to have a lot of anti-oxidant properties.

Last but not least, the Jocote are easily found in Costa Rica particularly during the summer time, the small fruit can be enjoyed unripe when their taste is more tart (add salt to it) or ripe when they are juicy and sweet.

For travelers seeking a culinary adventure that brings all the senses to life, Costa Rica’s road side fruit stands await. For more information on visiting the country, please visit www.VisitCostaRica.com.

PRESS RELEASE/ SOURCE COSTA RICA TOURISM BOARD

Top Three Most Visited National Parks in Costa Rica

Top Three Most Visited National Parks in Costa Rica

By Laura Alvarado – June 1, 2018  As published in The Costa Rica Star, June 1, 2018

Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio

National Parks, Wildlife Protected Areas, Biological Corridors, Protected Zones, Forest Reserves, Costa Rica has a number of protected areas that represent one of the country’s biggest assets as they attract millions of tourists every year.
The options of different National Parks to visit are many, 28 to be exact and 72 protected areas of variable types that represent 26% of the total area of the country; but there are three in particular that are currently the most popular among visitors:

1. Manuel Antonio National Park: This park has maintained the first place for several years. Located in the area of Quepos, Puntarenas, it received over 475 thousand visitors last year. The combination of lush, unspoiled forest, beautiful white sand beaches, coral reefs and wildlife as well as lively community and amenities, make Manuel Antonio an obligatory stop in your visit to Costa Rica.

2. Irazu Volcano National Park: The Irazu volcano escalated from fourth to second place in one year, this spot used to belong to the Poas Volcano National Park, which has been closed for over one year due to several important eruptions. Now, Irazu absorbed some of the visitors and takes second place with over 343 thousand tourists (from an average 140 thousand in the past). This is the highest volcano in Costa Rica, it is located in Cartago with easy access from San Jose.

3. Marino Ballena National Park : The famous whale tail, maintains its third place in the most visited national parks in the country, but it went from close to 143 thousand visitors to over 167 thousand this last year. With an extension of 110 land hectares and 5,375 marine hectares, the main attraction of this park are the sightings of whales and dolphins that take place during several months and also the natural formation of rocks and sand in the shape of a whale’s tail, one of Costa Rica’s wonders.

US Embassy in Costa Rica Gives Tips For a Safe Stay in Costa Rica

US Embassy in Costa Rica Gives Tips For a Safe Stay in Costa Rica

By Laura Alvarado – May 31, 2018  As published in The Costa Rica Star, May 31, 2018

US Embassy logo
Photo by cntraveler

Source: U.S. Embassy Costa Rica
The United States Embassy in Costa Rica shared the following list of safety tips for travelers visiting the country:

Know Your Environment
Costa Rica lies in an active seismic zone; small earthquakes are commonplace and authorities sometime limit access to national parks near active volcanoes for safety. During the rainy season from May to November, heavy rains can cause flooding, wash out roads, or even temporarily cut off some destinations. Pay attention to instructions from emergency responders and exercise caution in the event of a shift in prevailing conditions..

Do not travel or walk alone after dark or in isolated areas. Be particularly cautious on secluded beaches; criminals target such isolated areas. When traveling, use only clearly marked buses or taxis, as unlicensed taxi drivers have been linked to a variety of crimes.

Beach Safety
Costa Rica boasts world-famous beaches, but many have dangerous rip currents with neither lifeguards nor warning signs. Even strong swimmers should exercise extreme caution when swimming in the ocean. Surf can unpredictable, rogue waves have the ability to knock you down, and drag you out where it is very difficult to swim. Do not swim while drinking. See the Costa Rican Tourism Institute’s tips for swimmers.

Drink Responsibly
The vast majority of arrests, accidents, and violent crimes suffered by U.S. citizens in Costa Rica involve excessive alcohol. Know your drinking companions and stay in a group of friends who have your safety in mind when in clubs, bars, out walking in dimly-lit areas, or in a taxi at night. Visitors found alone or incapacitated have been victims of sexual assault, robbery, and physical assault. Watch your drink at all times. Intoxicated young women may be targeted for assault.

Driving and Vehicle Rentals
Costa Rican roads may not always be fully developed, with many major highways only having two lanes. To reach many common tourist destinations, one must drive on unimproved roads or through particularly challenging terrain. This road network is also a key component of the Costa Rican commercial transportation system, with frequent instances of agriculture machinery and large trucks slowing travel. Allow additional time for any trips to offset probable delays. Please avoid dangerous maneuvers, such as passing in no passing zones. Remember that street traffic in Costa Rica can be unpredictable or difficult to navigate. And never drive after drinking.

Take extra care if you choose to rent a car. Inspect equipment carefully and avoid old or rundown vehicles. Ask to see a copy of the operator’s business license and inquire about their medical and liability insurance coverage in the event of accident or injury. . Consider taking your valuables with you if leaving your car. Never assume a locked vehicle is 100 percent secure.

Hospitalization in Costa Rica
Accidents in Costa Rica can result in difficult and expensive medical situations. Local doctors and hospitals may not accept U.S. medical insurance policies or Medicare/Medicaid, and private medical providers typically expect immediate cash payment before rendering medical services. Medical evacuations to the United States easily cost in excess of $15,000. Consider purchasing separate traveler’s insurance for medical costs, or review your existing plan’s overseas coverage, before you travel. Find useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs on our webpage Your Health Abroad.

Getting Help from the Embassy
An arrest during your travels can result in a messy legal situation. Your U.S. citizenship will not help you and will not exempt you from prosecution under the Costa Rican criminal justice system. U.S. Embassy officials can visit you in jail, provide information about Costa Rica’s legal system, and give you a list of local attorneys or doctors. We cannot arrange for reduction of charges, your release from jail or payment of medical, hospital or other bills. You are responsible for your own costs. Contact the Embassy if you are a victim of crime or your passport has been lost or stolen.

Additional Information
Visit the following to learn more about visiting Costa Rica: U.S. Department of State’s country information for Costa Rica, tips for Students Abroad, and U.S. Embassy San Jose’s website. Be sure to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program before you go.

Keylor Navas Recognized as the Best Athlete in the American Continent

Keylor Navas Recognized as the Best Athlete in the American Continent

By Laura Alvarado – June 1, 2018.  As published in The Costa Rica Star, June 19, 2018

Athlete Keylor Navas
Keylor Navas

Costa Rican goal keeper Keylor Navas, was recognized as the best athlete in the American continent by the AIPS-America (International Association of Sports Media).

Navas, who recently won his third consecutive European Champions League title with his team Real Madrid, received the award as the best male athlete in the 2017 season.

This recognition is awarded every year since 2011 to the best male and female athletes and the best team.

“Proudly Costa Rican, Keylor Navas was recognized by AIPS America as the best Athlete in America. Congratulations”, posted the Costa Rican Soccer Federation.

Navas received the award at the Complejo Gol, (Scotiabank Arena), in San Antonio de Belen from the hands of William Mora, president of the Costa Rican Sports Journalists and Announcers Circle.

The goal keeper is the most important player in the Costa Rica National Soccer Team as they head to the Russia World Cup 2018. This is the second World Cup for Navas, who actually received the offer from Real Madrid after his participation in the Brazil World Cup 2014.

Costa Rica is the Latin American Country with Highest Life Expectancy

Costa Rica is the Latin American Country with Highest Life Expectancy

By Laura Alvarado – May 17, 2018 as published in The Costa Rica Star, June 19, 2018

Older couple sitting
Photo by worldlifeexpectancy.com

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the population in the American continent has won 16 years of life in average in the last 45 years; today, life expectancy in this region is of 75 years.

BBC launched a calculator that shows a person’s life expectancy based on the country you were born in, and using this tool and analyzing the results for Latin America, Costa Rica is in the first place, which means, it is the country with highest life expectancy in the region; globally it takes position 14 with 80.98 years according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 generated by the WHO.

The higher life expectancy in Costa Rica is associated with several elements, including security, health and education.
A study published by The Lancet Global Health in 2015 has Costa Rica ranked in position 26 among 187 countries when it comes to the number of healthy foods that are included in the diet.
High coverage of health and social security and adequate sanitary conditions are also part of the reason Costa Rica takes this privileged spot.

Costa Rica faces, however, challenges such as obesity in adults and nutritional deficiencies in children. The increasing costs of health attention are also a concern.

The second country to appear in the ranking is Chile, followed by Peru.

In Latin America the country with lowest life expectancy is Haiti with 63.97 years, followed by Belize and Honduras.

In the world, Japan holds the first position in highest life expectancy, reaching 83.94 years, in second place Singapore and third Switzerland.

In general women live longer than men in every country, and the biggest difference is marked in Venezuela where women live in average 79 years while men 71.

First Trimester of 2018 Shows a Growth in Number of Tourists to Costa Rica

First Trimester of 2018 Shows a Growth in Number of Tourists to Costa Rica

By Laura Alvarado April 23, 2018 as published in The Costa Rica Star, May 12, 2018

Tourism in Costa RicaAfter showing a decline in the number of visitors from the United States last year, the fist trimester of 2018 shows a growth of 6% in tourists from this country to Costa Rica.

The raise is also evident in visitors from other regions such as Europe with 14.2% in comparison to the same period of 2017 and South America with an 11.4% growth.

“The actions that we have taken in marketing and promotion as well as in terms of airlines are showing in the numbers with a very positive first trimester; however, a lot of follow up is required, coordination, and team work between the public and private sector so that those number continue in constant growth”, sated Mauricio Ventura, Minister of Tourism.

In January of 2017 the total number of visitors from North America (Canada, US, Mexico) was of 151,595 while in January 2018 Costa Rica received a total of 160,009; visitors from Europe in this same month went from 47,574 in 2017 to 52,920 in 2018; the same behavior is observed for February and March.

In the first month of 2018 the Costa Rica Tourism Board had already confirmed an additional 95 thousand plane seats, thanks to the arrival of new airlines and the increase in flight frequencies.

The Costa Rica Tourism Board has also made an important effort to have presence in some of the most important tourism fairs worldwide, promoting the country’s many attractions under the campaign “Costa Rica, My Choice, Naturally”.

Costa Rica has been able to position itself as an ideal country for vacations, adventure tourism, wellness, as well as medical tourism and is now making efforts to become a leader in the region for meetings and conventions tourism.

 

Roger Waters Concert in Costa Rica Breaks Record Ticket Sales in First Day

Roger Waters Concert in Costa Rica Breaks Record Ticket Sales in First Day

By Laura Alvarado, May 1, 2018 as published in The Costa Rica Star, May 12, 2018

Roger Waters Concert
Costa Rica Star News

It’s a once in a lifetime experience, the possibility of seeing Roger Waters in concert in Costa Rica may not happen again,  thousands of fans were counting the minutes for the tickets to go on sale on April 30.

By 7 p.m. on Monday over 20,000 tickets had already been sold and the majority of the locations were already sold out (The Wall, Animals, Wish You Were Here and The Dark Side of the Moon), leaving tickets available just for the cheaper seats (Sombra, Graderia Sur and Us+Them).

The concert of the former bass player, singer and songwriter of the band Pink Floyd broke the sales record in the number of tickets sold the first day, previously it was the band Metallica that had achieved this by selling 13000 tickets in 2010; the E-ticket platform experienced technical difficulties due to the heavy traffic received during the initial hours.

The National Stadium has capacity for approximately 35,000 people.

This stop in Costa Rica is part of Waters’ Us + Them Tour; Waters will be performing songs from The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Animals, Wish You Were Here and also songs from his newest album “Is This the Life We Really Want?”.

Sloths ENdangered or IN Danger?

Sloths ENdangered or IN Danger?

By Sam Trull, The Sloth Institute. Published November 6, 2016

A question I get asked often is “Are sloths endangered?”. While the sloths of Costa Rica may not be categorized as ENdangered, they are still very much IN danger. Every day critical habitat is destroyed and sloths are injured by human encroachment. They can’t run across roads, jump through gaps in the forest or fend off dogs. In addition, underlying diseases and abilities to adjust to an ever changing world go un-detected without targeted research initiatives. There are active steps we can take towards creating a safer, healthier and happier future for wild sloths in Costa Rica.  But first we need to learn, what makes a healthy sloth?  What factors affect the health of individual sloths and sloth populations? In order to truly tackle these questions, we recently completed the build of Monster’s WiSH (Wild Sloth Health) lab.

As a part of our research, we take various samples from the wild sloths that we are tracking so that we can monitor different health parameters to get an overall picture of the quality of life of certain sloth individuals and ultimately populations of sloths.  Everything from weight, body measurements, feces, blood, hair, photos and more can be collected non-invasively to help us paint a clearer picture about baseline sloth health and what factors affect that baseline.  With this lab space, we will be able to collect comprehensive knowledge about common sloth diseases in wild populations. We aim to not only investigate the baseline health of ‘normal’ sloth populations, but also correlate this information with habitat quality so that we can make recommendations on how to better develop human encroached areas to improve the health and quality of life for wild sloth populations in Costa Rica before it is too late. This lab is an instrumental part of our ever growing WiSH program providing our team a perfect environment to work, collect, store and analyze samples.  In addition, this lab is a space where we can invite visiting researchers to collaborate on important conservation research that will save sloth lives.

We are so grateful to our incredible community of supporters that made Monster’s WiSH lab a dream come true to help us avoid sloths becoming endangered. We look forward to sharing our educational journey as we work every day to save the sloths that we all love.

Find out more about the organization and their work: http://www.theslothinstitutecostarica.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/theslothinstitute

 

 

Costa Rican Surfer Malakai Martinez Finishes 4th in the World Surf League

Costa Rican Surfer Malakai Martinez Finishes 4th in the World Surf League

By Laura Alvarado, April 2, 2018. Published in The Costa Rica Star, April 14, 2018.

Malakai Martinez is one of Costa Rica’s young surfing figures and prospects, he demonstrated his skills by finishing in fourth place in the Junior Pro of the World Surf League, which took place in Pipeline, North Shore Oahu, Hawaii.

Martinez was the only Hispanic competitor to reach the final after ousting reigning Junior World Champion Finn McGill; Martinez finished fourth among 32 competitors. The winner of the event was Hawaii native Makana Pang, while the second and third places were also taken by Hawaiians, Barron Mamiya and Kainehe Hunt respectively.

“I am very happy with this achievement, I didn’t get the win, but this is a good result, it motivates me to go home, prepare and come back next year for that first place”, commented Malakai after the competition.

This win will earn the Costa Rican a place in the top 10 of the North American ranking (where the Central Americans are assigned), in the Junior Pro of the World Surf League.

Aside from the native of Tamarindo, Guanacaste, the only two other Costa Ricans in the ranking are Sam Reidy from Dominical in position 23 and Aaron Ramirez from Jaco in position 39.

This past weekend Costa Rican Leilani McGonagle took the first place in the Barbados WQS 3000, becoming the first surfer from Costa Rica to win this type of event.

 

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