Today we’re enjoying a little more than happy hour at the Z Gastro Bar in the Marina Pez Vela, in Quepos, Costa Rica. Z Gastro Bar absolutely has some of the best seafood in Costa Rica. Our Discovery Beach House concierge, Sabrina, and I are on a happy hour tour of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica and the surrounding areas. However, today, we indulged in appetizers and a full meal. We were hungry! Owner, Dean Paquette, and his wonderful chefs treated us to the most delicious seafood.
Z Gastro Bar has arguably the best seafood in all of Costa Rica. When you come to Costa Rica, and when you come to Manuel Antonio and Quepos, definitely come to the Marina Pes Vela. It’s only been here for three years and has some wonderful shops and restaurants. When visiting Costa Rica, you now have three wonderful places to explore, Manuel Antonio, Quepos, and the Marina Pez Vela.
By Jack Ewing, as appeared in the Quepolandia, July 23, 2018
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.
Sabrina, our concierge extraordinaire at the Discovery Beach House, and I are enjoying our happy hour tour at one of our absolute favorite places in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. We’re here at Ronny’s Place.
One of the special things that I love about Ronny’s Place is not only Ronny himself, and the service they provide, but this restaurant is kind of tucked away. It’s the only working farm here in Manuel Antonio. Everybody lines up right before sunset on the benches because we get amazing, uninterrupted, sunset views at Ronny’s Place.
Ronny’s place does have a few signature drinks, such as their sangria, which the Lonely Planet Travel book voted as the best sangria in Manuel Antonio. Sabrina and Ronny also talk about how his sangria is so different from most other sangrias. He’s also famous for his Nanci shot. Then there is the Coco Loco.
Sabrina also shares what her favorite appetizers are and a couple of her favorite dishes at Ronny’s Place. We hope you are enjoying our Happy Hour Tour series at some of the best restaurants in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. We guarantee, if you visit us at the Discovery Beach House, you are definitely going to want to come back to Manuel Antonio.
Evelyn and Sabrina from the Discovery Beach House in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica take us on a happy hour tour of some of the best restaurants in Manuel Antonio. Today they are at Gaia’s La Luna restaurant. As Sabrina mentions in the video, they’ve already had one cocktail at Agua Azul and they’re one hit wonders, so they are really enjoying themselves at La Luna. Sabrina is having the Coconut Margarita and Evelyn is having the Guanabana Margarita. Have you ever heard of the Guanabana fruit? Sounds delicious.
The Gaia Hotel and Reserve is the reason the Scarlet Macaws came back to Manuel Antonio. They started a reintroduction program about five years ago because the Macaws used to be in Manuel Antonio but disappeared in the 1970’s.
Sabrina also teaches Evelyn a hilarious way to get rid of the hiccups. In Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, we have a relaxed and fun way of living life.
If you are in Manuel Antonio and looking for one of the best restaurants to enjoy happy hour or enjoy a five-star dinner, then Gaia’s La Luna restaurant is definitely one of Evelyn and Sabrina’s favorite places to go.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you’ve booked a luxury vacation rental home in Costa Rica and you’ve rented a car to get there, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with some of the twists and turns of the road. Driving in a foreign country can be intimidating, especially if all the road signs are in Spanish!
1 – Road Signs – Here’s a handy glossary of common road signs listed alphabetically for easy reference. Print them out and refer to them while you’re on the road.
Alto – Stop
Ceda el Paso – Yield
Derrumbres en la Via – Watch for landslides in the road
Despacio – Slow down
Hombres Trabajando or Trabajos en la Carretera – Men at Work
We’re taking you on a happy hour tour of some of the best restaurants in Manuel Antonio, starting with Café Agua Azul. The margaritas here are not your standard margaritas! The view of the bay and the islands from Café Agua Azul are astounding. The specials are absolutely scrumptious. Listening to Sabrina describe the Panko Tuna will make your mouth water.
If you are in Manuel Antonio and looking for one of the best restaurants to enjoy happy hour or enjoy a meal, then Café Agua Azul is definitely one of our favorite places to go.
After 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.
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?”.
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
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.
Carlos Alvarado Quesada was elected President of Costa Rica just a week ago and will take the lead of the country on May 8th, with the big responsibility of dealing with a high fiscal deficit, a divided congress and a country that demands actions against corruption and inequity.
But who is and what is the background of Costa Rica’s 48th President? Does he have what it takes to make positive changes in the next four years?
Carlos Alvarado was born January 14, 1980 he is 38 years old. Son of Adelia Quesada Alvarado who dedicated her life to her family, and Alejandro Alvarado Induni an electric engineer; Carlos Alvarado grew up in the community of Pavas, in San Jose, along with his brother, Federico, the eldest, and his younger sister, Irene.
His family is a middle class family that made an effort to put his kids through private education with the dream that they’d learn to speak English, Carlos attended elementary at the Anglo American School, “I remember I was always introspective, serious, well behaved even as a child”, stated Alvarado in an interview with Channel 7; he graduated high-school from St.Francis. It was precisely in high school that he discovered three of his loves in life, the love for reading awaken, with books such as The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway; he also discovered his interest in music listening to Pink Floyd and he met the woman that today is the First Lady of Costa Rica, Claudia Dobles.
He studied communication at the University of Costa Rica.
His first job was as a clerk in a sportsbook in 1999 in San Pedro, he took the job to be able to buy an electric guitar, when he had enough money to buy the guitar he quit his job and later went to work as a journalist for newspaper Semanario Universidad.
He was part of several musical bands. He wrote his first book called “Transcripciones Infieles” a recompilation of short stories he had written throughout the years, “this is a book I probably shouldn’t have published, I was too young”, he said.
His second book was a short novel, “La historia de Cornelius Brown”which won the Joven Creación Award in 2006. His second novel was published in 2010 “Las Posesiones” a book about the internment camps of Germans and Italians in Costa Rica during World War II. The last novel he wrote is “Temporada en Brighton” about his experiences living in France and England.
His interest in politics began during his university years and at some point through his journalism career he felt the need to do something that could create change and that brought him to study political sciences.
He worked in France giving Spanish classes for a while. He also attended the University of Sussex in England where he lived for a year where he got a Masters in Development Studies. He also lived in Panama due to his wife’s career where his son was born.
He was part of the communication team during the campaign of Luis Guillermo Solis, and he later was named Labor Minister for the government.
“Nobody ‘convinced me’ to run for the presidency, I did it for Costa Rica”.
The first Central American satellite, developed by Costa Ricans will be launched the afternoon of this Monday, April 2 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA.
The rocket Space Falcon 9 and the Dragon spaceship will be in charge of the transportation of the small satellite, which was manufactured with CubeSat technology, and consists on a cube that measures only 10 centimeters (3.93 inches) each side and weighs close to 1 kilogram.
This initiative known as Irazu Project (Space Technology for the Monitoring of Climate Change), is the result of the work of the Central American Association of Aeronautics and Space )CAAE for its Spanish acronym) and the Costa Rica Technology Institute (ITCR) with the support of several sponsoring companies, the government and donations received through kickstarter, the satellite was designed to help with different environmental investigations.
According to SpaceX this is the fourteenth Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-14), Irazu Project is part of the about 5,800 pounds of supplies, payloads and vehicle hardware, including critical materials to directly support science and research investigations that will occur onboard the orbiting laboratory.
The launching can be seen live through the SpaceX You Tube channel via The Costa Rica Star at 2:30 p.m. local time, the link is included below by clicking on the video: