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Is Costa Rica Safe? Travel Tips

Is Costa Rica Safe? Travel Tips

Is Costa Rica Safe? Travel Tips

Yes, Costa Rica is safe.

There’s been a few recent incidences in Costa Rica on the news lately. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people affected. Although it is not the norm, if you watch your local news, they might give the impression it’s full of crime and tragedies. It’s not.

I want to take a few minutes to ease your minds if you have any concerns about vacationing here in paradise. As I said, Costa Rica is safe. Here are some tips on how to help ensure a safe and fun vacation in Costa Rica. It’s mostly using your common sense while traveling. Many tourists arrive and fall in love with the beauty, wildlife, people, laid-back lifestyle, and Pura Vida. Sometimes tourists feel so relaxed, they let their guard down, and do things they may not usually do while at home. Like many places in the US or Europe, there is petty crime. No matter where you live or travel, thieves always look for easy targets.

For example, let’s say you have our concierge arrange a car rental for you at the airport. If you prefer, she can have your car delivered right to your door at the Discovery Beach House. Before you load your bags in the car, take off the airline luggage tags. Nothing says new tourist arrival like bag tags flapping around.

As you drive there may be places you want to stop and park the car. Make sure to roll up the windows and lock the car before you walk away. It seems simple but many people get excited because they see a sloth or a beautiful waterfall. They jump out of the car and take pictures. They come back and a bag might be missing because they didn’t remember to secure the car. Not saying it will happen but taking simple precautions can help you avoid a problem. I still sometimes forget to lock my doors or roll up my windows, and fortunately my stuff is still there when I get back.

If for some reason something does happen, you can always call our concierge. She’ll do her best to help you.

When going to the beach, use common sense. You don’t need to bring your bling to the beach. At home, you probably wouldn’t set all your stuff down and then have everyone in your group leave to take a long walk down the beach. It’s good practice to keep an eye on your stuff and don’t walk away.

Now those of you staying at the Discovery Beach House shouldn’t worry about this as much because the villa is right on the main beach. If you need anything, you can walk a few steps and get what you need. Or if you want to take a nice long beach walk, set your stuff inside the gate and enjoy your walk.

At the Discovery Beach House, we have taken steps to make our guests feel safe and comfortable. We have a 24-hour guard who patrols the grounds while still giving you the privacy you want on vacation. Our staff is like family to us; they love what they do and would never steal anything from our guests. They’re highly respected, paid well according to country standards, and love their jobs. Most of the staff have been working with us between 10 and 17 years. They’re here to help you have a carefree vacation. We also have safes if you would like to keep smaller items secure. Your concierge will show you how it works.

I hope this helped ease some concerns about the safety of Costa Rica. Every year Costa Rica receives over 1.5 million tourists. Nearly all of them have an incident-free vacation. The odds are in your favor of having your best vacation ever in Costa Rica.

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse.  If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us. Check out our YouTube Channel for resources on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

The Shady Side of Quepos and Manuel Antonio

The Shady Side of Quepos and Manuel Antonio

Are you all settled in after the holidays?  Do you think this year is going to be a great one? I hope you’re as excited as I am for 2019.

I was out running errands and caught myself doing something very “Tico.” In case you don’t know, “Tico” is slang for Costa Rican. They have some distinctive customs.  I find most of them to be a wonderful way to live a slower, less stressful life. I often catch myself doing things the “Tico” way.  Here’s an example that gave me a chuckle.

Why I love walking on the shady side of town.

From reading some of my other blog postings, you’ve probably discovered winter in the United States is called “verano” or summer in Costa Rica. The average daily temperature is about 86o – 98o F.

If you’re like me, you’ll want to take a stroll around town. It’s only a few square blocks in size.  As you walk around town, you’ll feel the bright sun shining down on you. You’ll hear red scarlet macaws, toucans, and other tropical birds squawking. You’ll inhale the fragrant smell of onions and red peppers coming from open-air restaurants. As you walk along the sidewalk, suddenly, people in front of you cross the street to walk on the other side, then a little later they cross back over to the side they were just on. You might think to yourself, “What the heck are they doing?” You’ll see this all over town. Or you’ll be driving along the road and pass pedestrians and think, “That’s a weird place to be walking on the road.”

By now you must be wondering what they’re doing. After living here for a while, I too look for the shady side of town. Since December through April is hot here, people weave their way, seeking shade until they reach their destination.

Usually, there’s shade from trees or buildings. Around noon, when the sun is high in the sky, the shade is at a minimum. You might notice people walking very close to a building, wall, bushes, on sidewalks or roads. That’s because they’re walking in whatever minute amount of shade they can find.

It’s the charming little things like walking on the shady side of town that make me love Manuel Antonio and Quepos. I think you’ll enjoy the little things here too.

While you’re on vacation at the Discovery Beach House, we hope you discover new ways about life here that you’ll incorporate into your life when you get back home. Sometimes the small things we do make a big difference.

We have a lot to learn from doing things the “Tico” way. Living our lives with less stress, taking a moment to say hello to someone, making ourselves take a step back from the hectic pace of life now and then, and walking on the shady side of the street.

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read my other blog posts, feel free to check them out here. You can follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us.  Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica — 6 Enticing Reasons to Visit

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica — 6 Enticing Reasons to Visit

If you’ve never been to Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is the perfect introduction. It offers plenty of options ranging from beachcombing to rappelling off the side of a waterfall. If you’re planning a return trip but have yet to visit Manuel Antonio, it’s a must-do. But don’t make the mistake of making your stay too short. Many vacationers save Manuel Antonio for a couple of days at the end of their trip and regret not going there first and staying longer.

Enticement #1: Costa Rica is Ranked the #1 Happiest Country on the Planet.

I know I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but it bears repeating. A British non-profit group, New Economics Foundation, prepared a comprehensive report comparing countries according to the population’s life expectancies, satisfaction with their lives and ecological footprint. NEF used these combined factors to create a “Happy Planet Index” score. The newest report ranks sunny, tropical, fun-loving Costa Rica as the number one place on the planet to live. This makes Costa Rica a three-time winner!

Enticement #2: The Views are Spectacular

The beaches are awesome, and the main bay is dotted with picturesque islands. Manuel Antonio Beach is ranked #1 in Central America. The rain forest grows right down to the sand. Local businesses make the most of the views, so you can enjoy them from your hotel, vacation rental home or from a local restaurant.

Enticement #3: There’s a Great Selection of Restaurants

There are more than 30 restaurants to choose from ranging from inexpensive local owned spots that serve “casados” (local fare consisting of beans, rice, fried plantains, salad and your choice of chicken, fish or beef) to fine dining. This seafood Mecca specializes in fresh fish dishes, but you can also find Italian, Sushi, and Fusion cuisine and more.

Enticement #4: Manuel Antonio has its Own National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is known as the “jewel of Costa Rica” and is the most popular of the country’s 32 national parks. Its wildlife includes monkeys, birds, sloths, iguanas, toucans and much more. There are 3 gorgeous white sand beaches within the park and a waterfall you can hike to. Hiring a guide is optional.

One amazing perk of having a national park in the neighborhood is several Manuel Antonio vacation rental homes are within the natural foraging routes of 3 different species of monkeys. Monkeys in your yard – how cool is that!

Enticement #5: There’s an Abundance of Activities

If you prefer to get in touch with your adventurous side you can dangle from a zip line from the forest canopy, rappel off the side of a waterfall, go white water river rafting or enjoy a number of other activities that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and say howdy. Costa Rica has 27 different adventure Tours – and Manuel Antonio has 24 of them!

Enticement #6: There’s a Wealth of Accommodations

Manuel Antonio has several charming boutique hotels, each with its own flavor. A popular option is vacation rental homes, which far outnumber the hotels. At last count there were 120! They range in price from a few hundred dollars a week for a modest cabin or to several thousand for a spectacular luxury home complete with concierge and chef. Many have incredible hillside ocean views. There’s also a handful of luxury vacation homes right on the beach.

The many choices Manuel Antonio has to offer make it the ideal destination in Costa Rica. You could stay for a month and still not exhaust all your options. Just be sure and leave your tux and prom dress at home because this beach town is the epitome of laid-back casual. Flip flops, shorts and sundresses are the local attire. It’s the perfect place to get away from stress, traffic and life as you know it. The national motto is “Pura Vida” and translates to mean: living the pure life. Or in Bob Marley’s words, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

(Image: Courtesy of GalleryHip.com)

Key Tips Upon Arrival at Your Foreign Destination Luxury Vacation Rental

Key Tips Upon Arrival at Your Foreign Destination Luxury Vacation Rental

Key Tips Upon Arrival at Your Foreign Destination Luxury Vacation Rental

You’ve waited all year for this moment. You’ve arrived at your luxury vacation rental home in an exhilarating foreign location. Things are bound to be a bit different from home. Either a rental agent, concierge or homeowner will be there to Meet & Greet you. But there’s more involved than just handing you the keys. Follow these tips to get the most out of your Meet & Greet and maximize your experience at your home-away-from-home.

Actively Participate in the House Tour

All the adults in your party should accompany your greeter on the house tour.What usually happens is just one person goes on the tour while the rest of the party wanders about checking out the different rooms. Leaving 90% of your group uniformed about important details in the house is a recipe for disaster. Work as a team and eliminate the possibility of being left in the dark literally because the one person who knows what to do when the electricity goes out just ran to the grocery store.

Check the Lights

Ask to be shown where all the light switches are. Building standards vary from country to country and you don’t want to be groping around in the dark for alight switch. Try all the lights and make sure there are no burnt out bulbs so they can be replaced before you need them. Power outages may be a common occurrence in some foreign countries, so you’ll want to ask about the location of emergency lights, flashlights, candles and matches.

Check the Air Conditioners

Your luxury vacation rental home will likely have air conditioners. Turn each one on briefly to make sure it works then review the functions with your greeter. The last thing you want to happen on a scorching hot day is to discover an air conditioner doesn’t work and the technician can’t come over until tomorrow.

Know Your Kitchen

The most complicated room in the house is the kitchen as it usually has several appliances. Some foreign countries, especially Latin ones, use propane gas stoves. You’ll want to know how to light the stove and oven if you plan to use them. If there’s a barbecue grill ask how it works if you’re unfamiliar with the model.

Ask Questions

The operative phrase here is “ask, don’t assume.” Don’t be afraid of sounding dumb if you aren’t sure about something. Your greeter is there to help and inform you. Getting your questions answered during the tour can save you several phone calls later. Everything won’t be exactly like it is at home. Be sure and ask for contact information in case something goes wrong. Also ask for local emergency numbers for the hospital, police and fire department. Chances are you’ll never need them but it’s a good idea to have them close at hand, if nothing else, for peace of mind. So, encourage everyone in your party to be an active participant during the Meet & Greet. Learn all you can about the house and check that everything is in working order. Be sure and ask plenty of questions and you’re bound to have a great experience at your luxury vacation rental.

5 Hidden Truths That Will Overcome Your Vacation Rental Fears

5 Hidden Truths That Will Overcome Your Vacation Rental Fears

5 Hidden Truths That Will Overcome Your Vacation Rental Fears

Are you losing sleep over your family’s next foreign destination vacation? Are you worried they’ll get sick, they won’t be safe or just be plain miserable with your choice once they get there? Stop and take a deep breath then let out an enormous sigh of relief because these hidden truths about Costa Rica are about to make your decision a whole lot easier.

Hidden Truth #1: You Can Drink the Water

If you’ve traveled to places like Mexico you’ve probably learned to avoid the Big 3; water, salads and unpeeled fruit. These can all contain bacteria that will ruin a vacation faster than an iguana can snap up a juicy grasshopper. The good news is the tap water is safe to drink in cities and towns throughout Costa Rica. If you don’t even drink the water from your faucet at home, bottled water is readily available everywhere. You can also safely eat all the food including salads.

Hidden Truth #2: Costa Rica is the Happiest Country on the Planet

Travelers are just beginning to discover the Pura Vida (pure living) lifestyle enjoyed by Costa Ricans. Ticos don’t rush (with the exception of loco taxi drivers) or let much bother them. According to the New Economics Foundation Costa Ricans live longer, happier and more stress-free lives. They rank Costa Rica #1 on its “Happy Planet Index” making it the favorite nation in which to retire. Perhaps this is why out of a small population of 4.5 million nearly 300,000 expats have taken up residence there.

Hidden Truth #3: There’s Security Everywhere

  • Costa Rica employs more teachers than police, so Its residents hire private security. You’ll find security guards inside malls, on bicycles patrolling parking lots and in banks and many other businesses.
  • Residents of many neighborhoods contribute to the safety of their communities by hiring private guards.
  • A significant number of luxury vacation rental homeowners in Costa Rica are responding to the current global climate of fear by providing security guards for their guests’ peace of mind.

Hidden Truth #4: Costa Rica was the First Country to Abolish its Army

In 1948 Costa Rica abolished its army. Since then it’s been a peaceful and democratic nation. Funds formerly spent on the military are now budgeted for education and universal healthcare improving life for the average Costa Rican.

Hidden Truth #5: Costa Rica is Considered the Switzerland of Central America

Geographically both countries are small and have beautiful mountains, but this moniker was earned by its former president Oscar Arias when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his pivotal role in bringing peace to Central America.

So, stop obsessing endlessly over where to reserve your next vacation rental home because these hidden truths will allow your family to eat, drink and be merry in Costa Rica. Exercise the same common sense you would anywhere else in the world and visiting the Happiest Country on the Planet may just turn out to be the most amazing vacation your family has ever had.

Three Critical Errors Travelers Make Before Leaving for the Airport

Three Critical Errors Travelers Make Before Leaving for the Airport

Three Critical Errors Travelers Make Before Leaving for the AirportYou’ve booked your luxury vacation rental home in a foreign country. Exciting right? But when was the last you checked your passport? Was it a year ago or more? Did you read the fine print on your rental agreement? Did you double check your flight schedule? These may seem like no-brainer details but overlook and any one of them and your vacation could be ruined.

Fatal Mistake #1 – Not Checking Your Passport Expiration Date

Since 9/11 stricter regulations apply and the country you’re traveling to my require passports to be valid up to 6 months after your travel dates. We live in an ever-changing world and requirements may have changed even if you’ve visited your foreign destination before. Don’t rely on your travel agent to know the newest policies in every country. The reservation agent at your local airport won’t know either. He may board you with a smile, but you can bet the immigration officer at your foreign destination will notice the oversight and send you packing for home. Check the expiration date on your passport at least 30 days before your flight to give you enough time in case you need to renew.

Fatal Mistake #2 – Not Reviewing the Rental Agreement

You read your Rental Agreement when you first signed it but that may have been months ago and you may have forgotten some important details. When is the security deposit due? Some homeowners allow you to include it with your balance payment 30-60 days or more before your arrival, others want you to bring it in cash and pay when you get there. You don’t want to be embarrassed by showing up at your vacation rental only to discover you should have brought the deposit with you in cash. If you’re traveling to a foreign country most homeowners won’t take checks because they can take up to a month to clear. Some won’t take credit cards because the charges can be disputed. Highlight or underline the important details in your Rental Agreement when you first read it then review it again a month before your departure.

Critical Mistake #3 – Not Double Checking Your Flight Information

Is your flight is at 12:05 A.M. or P.M.? It’s a small detail that can be easily overlooked or forgotten if you booked your ticket far in advance. If your flight is at 12:05 A.M. you need to be at the airport 2-3 hours the night before the actual date of your flight. Be sure and check your flight information at least 3 days in advance.

Don’t be that person who’s denied entry to a foreign country or who gets to the airport 12 hours after your flight has left or the one who arrives at your vacation rental red-faced because you don’t have your security deposit in cash. Follow these preventative measures and avoid last minute complications for a stress-free vacation.

Who Wants a Movie Star Vacation?

Who Wants a Movie Star Vacation?

Who Wants a Movie Star Vacation?

Me! I do! I want to feel like a movie star on vacation. In reality that feeling comes easily at the Discovery Beach House where we specialize in making you feel like a celebrity, but without all the Paparazzi. Apparently, this can be achieved be looking for a vacation on somewhere like Exceptional Villas, so you may be tempted to check them out in the hunt for a lavish time away.

You and your entourage will enjoy a full house staff for your movie star vacation at the Discovery Beach House. We all know movie stars don’t do anything unless they want to. That’s why our staff and concierge are here to help meet your every need and make your vacation all fun and worry free. Just leave the details to us while you lay out by the pool and gaze at the sunset surrounded by nature — you’ll swear you’re on a movie set.

Our concierge will treat you like a celebrity and set up whatever you need. Her service is included with your villa. If you want a rental car waiting for you at the airport, done. If you don’t feel like driving after a day of travel, we’ll have a private shuttle and driver at the airport waiting to pick you up. Or, we can have a rental car delivered right to your beach villa while you do the paperwork relaxing by the pool. We can help you plan tours, dinner reservations, nightlife, and spa reservations. It’s so easy when you’re a star.

You’ll feel like a pampered movie star when instead of going to a spa, the massage therapist arrives and asks, “Excuse me, where would you like to have your 90-minute massage, in your room, by the pool or on the beach?” How good will you feel when you finally get to catch some rays, work on your tan, lounge on a beach chair, laugh, and share good times with your friends and family?

Is your drink empty? No worries. Catch the attention of one of the beach waiters. He’ll run over to get you whatever you want. You won’t have to lift a finger, just a hand to wave and say “Another please” or in Spanish “Otro, por favor.” Celebrities don’t spoil their fun by getting their own drinks.

It will feel amazing not to cook or clean. Your concierge will feel like your new best friend and personal assistant. She can schedule a personal chef to prepare one, two, or even three meals a day for you. Your personal chef will do meal planning with you. Then, he’s off to do the shopping. He’ll prepare a fantastic meal for you and your entourage to enjoy in your movie set surroundings (only it’s all real). Manuela will keep your private beach getaway so clean, you won’t have to do a thing.

You’re the star of your vacation at the Discovery Beach House. We look forward to pampering you in paradise. And if you start to miss the paparazzi, we’ll be happy to capture a few memories for you.

Come and visit us. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us. Check out our YouTube Channel and follow our Blog, for fun and pertinent content about our three local hot spots; Manuel Antonio, Quepos, and the Marina. You’ll leave having experienced the best place to vacation in Costa Rica.

Happy Hour for Your Health… It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere!

Happy Hour for Your Health… It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere!

Happy Hour for Your Health… It's 5 o'clock Somewhere!

Happy Hour for your health can be good for you. Cheers! I know what you’re thinking. Healthy, “no way.” But it can be healthier than you think. Many of our guests at the Discovery Beach House are amazed at how delicious the tropical cocktails are in Manuel Antonio and Quepos are.

I recently did a video on with Sabrina, our concierge extraordinaire, on some of our favorite happy hour spots. Here’s a link if you would like to check out one of the Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio.

One of the great things I love about living here is all the fresh fruit and juices you come across. So, instead of ordering a rum and diet coke or beer, try something new and exotic. My favorites are the local cocktails made with 100% natural juices. They’re delicious and much healthier than sugary drinks and beer.

Have you ever heard of guava? It’s a local fruit and it’s delicious. Guava is excellent for the immune system. Guava has about four times more Vitamin C than oranges. It’s also known as a great stress reliever. So, go ahead and relax with a guava margarita. There’s a reason why you feel so good after enjoying this cocktail; it’s not just the alcohol. It’s also great for those who suffer from diabetes because it’s low on the glycemic index. You won’t get the sugary spikes then crash like you would with soft drinks and energy drinks.

Passion fruit is another favorite here, maracuyá (mah-rah-cuya) in Spanish. This wonderfully flavored fruit is high in Vitamin A. You already know it’s good for your eyes, but did you know it’s exceptional for your skin and helps smooth out wrinkles. Woo-hoo! Have that passion fruit daiquiri and drink to a younger looking you. Check out our video on Ronny’s Place and hear about how the Lonely Planet travel guide voted Ronny’s Place as having the “Best Sangria” in Costa Rica, why it’s the best, and, even better, it’s right here in Manuel Antonio.

Want to try something really exotic and different? Try a local cocktail with guanabana, also known as soursop. It’s pure goodness in a glass. This unusual looking fruit has a spongy white interior with black almond-shaped seeds. Don’t judge this fruit by its cover. It looks like a weirdly-shaped, green football with spikes. It may not be pretty on the outside, but it’s tangy, sweet, and delicious on the inside. Guanabana juice is a perfect drink to enjoy on a hot day. The tropical flavor leaves you feeling refreshed and revitalized. It’s full of antioxidants, helps to lower blood pressure, and may help fight cancer. Are you starting to see a pattern here with these fresh juices helping to lower stress by now?

Do you like it spicy? Then try the signature shot of Costa Rica called, “Chili Guaro.” Nearly every bar you visit will have it. Each place has their own recipe and version of the shot. Guaro is a clear distilled alcohol made from sugar cane, like rum. However, Guaro has the appearance and nominal flavor similar to vodka. The Chili Guaro is like having a spicy Bloody Mary in a shot. That’s the best way I can describe it. If you like spicy, then be sure to give it a shot at your next Happy Hour.

One of my favorite things to drink is agua de pipa. You may know this as coconut water, and it’s one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. I drink it fresh just about every day. We have coconut palms right on the Discovery Beach House property, so if you see a ripe one, ask our gardener to prepare it for you. Here, they cut the top off the coconut with a machete, pop a straw in it, and enjoy. It doesn’t get any fresher than that. Add a shot of rum or vodka to turn it into a delicious, healthy cocktail.

Vendors sell coconuts cold and fresh on the beach and around town. Give it a try. When you’ve finished drinking the refreshing liquid, ask the vendor to cut it open, so you can eat the coconut meat inside. It tastes much fresher than what you can buy from the store.

Here’s another tip: agua de pipa is the BEST hangover cure. So if you wake up feeling bad from the previous night of partying, drink agua de pipa. Here’s a little-known fact, during WWII they used agua de pipa for blood plasma transfusions for wounded soldiers when the regular saline IVs were in short supply. That’s how good it is for you.

So drink and be merry because here, even the cocktails are good for you. While at the Discovery Beach House, ask your concierge where to go for Happy Hour. We’ll help you find the best Happy Hours depending on the day of the week. So, get ready to enjoy your guilt-free vacation and have another tropical wonder cocktail.

Now you see how Happy Hour in Manuel Antonio and Quepos can be healthy for you. Your vacation at the Discovery Beach House will leave you rejuvenated, happier, and healthier than when you arrived. You’ll love all the fresh exotic flavors you can find here. So, here’s to your health.  Cheers!

Come and visit us. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us. Check out our YouTube Channel and follow our Blog, for fun and pertinent content about our three local hot spots; Manuel Antonio, Quepos, and the Marina. You’ll leave having experienced the best place to vacation in Costa Rica.

A Tale of Two Whale Seasons in Costa Rica

A Tale of Two Whale Seasons in Costa Rica

Imagine yourself on vacation at the Discovery Beach House in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. You walk out through the resplendent backyard rain forest with its enormous lap pool and onto the beach. You see a mama whale and her calf breach high out of the water and make a huge splash (and a small one) right in Espadilla Bay. I’ve seen it, and it’s impressive. I’m sure you’ll love it too. Here’s an interesting fact, there are two whale seasons in Costa Rica. Much like yourself, humpback whales don’t all come from the same place when they vacation here.

If you love whales as much as I do, you’ll be ecstatic to learn the Manuel Antonio area has the luxury of two humpback whale migrations each year. These beautiful gigantic ocean mammals (yes, they’re mammals) come here each year to enjoy the warm waters of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. I feel so blessed we can see them nearly nine months of the year. Costa Rica has one of the longest whale seasons in the world. I know you’ll enjoy the thrill of seeing them too; they are truly majestic creatures.

We have two groups of humpback whales that come to enjoy the beautiful tropical paradise of Costa Rica, the Northern Hemisphere group and the Southern Hemisphere Antarctic whales. The Northern Hemisphere group is the smaller of the two groups and comes down from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California. This group vacations here from December until early April. The larger group is the South American group that comes up from Patagonia, which is at the Southern tip of Chile, at the very bottom of South America. They vacation here from late July to the beginning of October. Believe it or not, their migrations do not overlap. I’m continually amazed at how nature is always in perfect harmony.

Humpback whales have some of the longest migrations in the world. They swim thousands of miles just to relax and enjoy the warm pristine waters of Manuel Antonio. They’re here to enjoy the plentiful food, give birth to their babies, or find a mate. Incredibly, they’ve known how magical this area is for thousands of years.

The pleasant waters of Manuel Antonio are perfect to raise their calves, get fat on the abundant food, and prepare for the long migration back home. The males attract female whales by singing to them. Their love songs last up to 20 minutes. Come on ladies, who doesn’t appreciate being serenaded? I know I do.

Often you can spot mama and baby whales swimming alongside one another. You can almost reach out and touch them; they feel so close. It’s quite a sight. On that note, remember we can’t touch the wildlife here. They’re wild, and we must keep them that way to ensure their health and safety, free from the risks of human-borne illnesses. At the Discovery Beach House, we only use expert guides and reputable companies that work to protect the wildlife and their beautiful habitats.

Be sure to ask your concierge at the Discovery Beach House to help figure out which whale watching tours will be best for you and your family. Not all the tours are the same; the time of year will determine which company we recommend. Both whale seasons in Costa Rica are great.

By now, you’ve likely already searched your calendar and checked out when you can vacation here and see the whales. I love August and September at the Discovery Beach House in Manuel Antonio. During the beautiful green season, the weather is generally cooler than in the dry season (December to April). There are fewer visitors, and you get to experience the splendor of the rainforest.

If you liked to see these whales up close and personal, we’d recommend you to find an experience like the San Diego whale watching excursion. Make sure you find the right excursion for you and get ready to have the experience of a life time!

Come and visit us. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us. Check out our YouTube Channel and follow our Blog, for fun and pertinent content about Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Gabriella’s Steak House Seafood and Pasta

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Gabriella’s Steak House Seafood and Pasta

Sabrina, our Discovery Beach House Concierge Extraordinaire, and I are continuing our Happy Hour Tour series of our favorite restaurants in the Manuel Antonio and Quepos, Costa Rica area. Today we are at another wonderful restaurant in the Marina Pez Vela. Gabriella’s Steak House Seafood & Pasta has some of the most delicious food. What’s great about going to Gabriella’s for Happy Hour is that you can mix your drinks when you are out with others. Gabriella’s Steak House Happy Hour has two-for-one drinks. For example, you can order a margarita and your friend can order a daiquiri. Gabriella’s Steak House has a fabulous selection of wines.

When you come to Costa Rica and to the Manuel Antonio Quepos area, be sure and come to Marina Pez Vela and enjoy Happy Hour (or dinner) at Gabriella’s Steak Seafood and Pasta. The owners, Mark and Gladis Hilton, would love to have you as their guest. If you come for Happy Hour or dinner, you will have a beautiful ocean view, where you can enjoy your steak, seafood, or pasta, while watching the sunset.

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)

Suppose This Happens on Your Vacation in Manuel Antonio

Suppose This Happens on Your Vacation in Manuel Antonio

Suppose this happens on your vacation: you fall utterly and hopelessly in love. No, I’m not talking about finding Mr. or Mrs. Right. I’m talking about falling in love with an entire country. For some, it may be just a fling. For others, it could be puppy love. Either way, you’ll be back. For some of you, it’ll be a heart-pounding, move mountains, inspired-to-relocate kind of love. All three scenarios happen to our guests at the Discovery Beach House here in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

We know, because it happened to us. My husband and I always knew we wanted to live on a beach in a tropical place with monkeys in our yard. We’d visited upwards of 40 countries, and in each, we always wondered, “Could we live here?” Costa Rica was no different — but our answer was, “Absolutely, we’ve finally found what we’ve been searching for.”

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Could I live here?” while you were on vacation, then be forewarned. Manuel Antonio is a magical place, and you may be bitten by the love bug when you visit here.

You could easily become enchanted with its majestic beauty or the wildlife right in the Discovery Beach House’s backyard. You’ll see two of three types of local monkeys; inquisitive Capuchins and adorable Squirrel monkeys. Howler monkeys are a bit shy but wow, are they loud. They’re the world’s loudest land mammal clocking in at 140 decibels, surpassed only by the sea-bound sperm whale that can reach as high as 230 decibels. And don’t get me started on the thrill of whale season (okay, it’s from July to October and December through March) when approximately one thousand humpback whales migrate from the Southern and Northern hemispheres to the warm waters of Costa Rica to have their babies or to find a mate.

You may take a shine to a prehistoric Basilisk Lizard basking in the sun, or if you’re lucky, you may even see one skimming the surface of the pool on its hind legs. That’s right, it can walk (actually run) on water. You get the complete nature lover’s package here.

The Discovery Beach House property was once part of Manuel Antonio National Park until park boundaries were legally defined in 1972. Fortunately, no one told the wildlife, and they continue to use their old foraging routes. Manuel Antonio National Park is located just a 15-minute walk away and was rated among the top 12 national parks in the world by Forbes Magazine. Ask your Concierge about a guided nature tour. As a fellow animal lover who has lived here since 2004, watching wildlife in its natural habitat still blows my mind. Just remember to pull over if you spot a sloth while you’re driving.

But this isn’t all. You’ll be swept off your flip-flops by the adventure waiting for you here. If you want to do something you’ve never done before, Costa Rica is the place to do it. Take a beautiful hike through the jungle to a waterfall. Climb to the top and watch the water cascade over into a forget-me-not blue pool below. With a guide providing direction, you can walk to the edge, take a deep breath, remind yourself, “You’ve got this,” and jump off the top and into the deep pool at the base of the waterfall to the cheers of your family and friends. You overcame your fear and checked jumping off a waterfall off your bucket list. Whichever of the 24 available adventures you may want to explore, you’ll be swept back into the childhood sense of wonder you once reveled in.

It isn’t a question of will you fall in love, but rather what will you fall in love with most: the lifestyle, beauty, wildlife, locals, community, flavors, beaches, water, climate, and colors here in Manuel Antonio? But, I warn you; it’s not for everyone. Paradise can take its toll. There’s a laid-back attitude here. Things may not happen as you planned but they will happen. There is a lot of “Tico Time” here, which is similar to “Island Time.” Just relax and let the “Pura Vida” take hold. (I’ll teach you about Pura Vida in another blog.)

Suppose this happens on your vacation: you fall in love with Costa Rica at the Discovery Beach House. There’s a big community of expats and locals in this small town, and we see many people come and go. Costa Rica magnifies what you bring to it, and I love it, love it, love it! I think you will too.

Come and visit us soon. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us. Check out our YouTube Channel and follow our Blog for fun and pertinent content about Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Best Seafood in Costa Rica – Z Gastro Bar

Best Seafood in Costa Rica – Z Gastro Bar

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.

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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Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Ronny’s Place

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Ronny’s Place

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.

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Gaia La Luna

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Gaia La Luna

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.

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