10 Fun Facts about Costa Rica You’ll Love

10 Fun Facts about Costa Rica You’ll Love

I find Costa Rica amazing! For such a tiny country, there’s a lot packed into it, from its resplendent wildlife, gorgeous beaches, lush rainforests, picturesque mountains, sweet people, and more. There’s beauty everywhere you look. I always enjoy learning something new and interesting about Costa Rica, so here are a few fun facts about Costa Rica you’ll love.

  1. You can drink the water. When people talk about Costa Rica, many think we’re on an island or Costa Rica is a third-world country. Not at all. We’re pretty advanced down here. There’s pure, clean drinking water in all the cities and surrounding areas. So, you can take that water purifier out of your suitcase, order ice in your drinks, and brush your teeth with tap water with no problems. It’s nice not worrying about the drinking water on vacation. Save space in your luggage for souvenirs.
  2. The national dish of Costa Rica is “Gallo Pinto,” literally meaning, “Spotted Rooster.” This is normally a breakfast dish of rice and beans (usually black beans) stir-fried together in a pan. Gallo Pinto is served with your choice of scrambled or fried eggs, and a slice of local white cheese or sour cream. Some places add a piece of toast and give meat options like bacon or sausage. While on vacation here, ask your concierge where to try the best Gallo Pinto. You can also have your concierge book a private chef for you and your family to enjoy local and international cuisine. There’s nothing like waking up to the smell of fresh brewed Costa Rican coffee and a big plate of mouthwatering Gallo Pinto to start your day off right. It’s delicious.
  3. The national animal is the White-Tailed Deer. I know, right! Probably not what you were expecting. I was surprised myself to learn it’s a White-Tailed Deer. You’ll find it on the 1000 colon bill. I thought it was a Howler Monkey or another primate. We’re lucky at the Discovery Beach House because the White-Tailed Deer can be found nearby in Manuel Antonio National Park. You’ll melt when you see its sweet innocent face, perked ears listening intently. and white fluffy tail bobbing.
  4. Costa Rica is GREEN. It isn’t just green with lush tropical rainforests, it’s environmentally-friendly green. Ticos know the natural beauty of Costa Rica is one of its biggest assets. They produce a whopping 90% of their electricity using renewable energy. They’re also proactive and have banned the use of many single-use plastic items, which is great for the wildlife and environment. The Discovery Beach House is part of the solution and has clearly marked recycle bins for easy disposal.
  5. Costa Rica has five active volcanoes. Costa Rica was dramatically forged from fiery volcanoes. Although there are no active volcanoes in Manuel Antonio, there are several near San Jose: Irazu, Turrialba, Poas, and Rincon de la Vieja. If you’re exploring other parts of Costa Rica, each of these volcanoes has a dazzling national park worth a visit. Plenty of dormant volcanoes pepper the landscape throughout Costa Rica.
  6. You can watch the sunrise on the Caribbean and see the sunset over the Pacific that night. Pretty cool huh? You’d need to rent a car to do this. You could watch the sublime sunrise on the East coast then jump in your car and drive over to the West coast in time to have a cocktail and watch an unforgettably vibrant sunset. It’s a gorgeous drive with vivid landscapes to fill your senses with wonder. The drive takes about six to nine hours depending on where you go on the West coast.
  7. Costa Rica holds 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Costa Rica has only about 0.03% of the earth’s surface. However, it packs a whopping 5% of its biodiversity into a teensy-weensy area. We enjoy oodles of wildlife right in our beachfront backyard at the Discovery Beach House. Sip on a delicious freshly brewed cup of coffee, take in the warm morning sun, and voilà, a troop of Capuchin monkeys show up to play around the pool. The baby monkeys are the cutest, most adorable creatures on the planet when they wrestle or play leap frog. They’ll mesmerize you. I’m always delighted and grateful when a troop traipses by. I’m sure you’ll love the monkey show too.
  8. Costa Rica has no military. They abolished the army December 1, 1948. Seventy years later, they have no regrets regarding the decision. I think this is a great reflection on the Costa Rican people. They’re peace-loving, non-confrontational, and choose to live a stress-free lifestyle. This leads to the next fun fact about Costa Rica.
  9. Costa Rica has one of the top five “Blue Zones” in the world. Blue Zones are special. They are areas of the world where people commonly live well into their 100’s. Researchers believe part of the reason they live so long is a healthy diet, positive social interactions with both family and community, and overall life satisfaction. Notice they didn’t mention what type of car they drive or job they have. Here, a simple, happy life has more value than material things. The Nicoya Peninsula is Costa Rica’s Blue Zone.
  10. Costa Rica is the happiest country on earth according to several polls. I think the previous three Costa Rica fun facts help with the overall happiness Costa Ricans share. I know I’m my happiest here in this tropical paradise. For me, there are too many reasons to list why Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world but one more worth mentioning is the ready smile on a Tico’s face. I miss it when I travel. Costa Rica isn’t a rich country by any means; however, its people find value in a happy, family-centered lifestyle. To them a rich life has a more grounded and enduring meaning.

By now I bet you can’t wait for your vacation at the Discovery Beach House. I know you’ll love learning new things about this beautiful little place on your visit. It really has so much to offer in such a small package.

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. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Experiencing an Epic Day in Costa Rica — (Part 2)

Experiencing an Epic Day in Costa Rica — (Part 2)

Experiencing an Epic Day in Costa Rica (Part 2)

Greetings from paradise. In part one of my epic day in Costa Rica, I returned to the Discovery Beach House from running errands around Quepos and Manuel Antonio. While I was out and about, I kept thinking to myself how fortunate we are to be in such a special place filled with beauty and so many conveniences to offer.

Picking up from where we left off in the last issue, David and I were leaving to meet friends for sunset at Barba Roja. (If you didn’t have the opportunity to read part one about the Quepos area, you can find it here.)

Moving on to the second part of my epic day in Costa Rica, we’ll explore the conveniences you will find in Manuel Antonio.

Once you leave Quepos and start heading up into the mountains, you enter Manuel Antonio. The road from Quepos to Manuel Antonio is about eight kilometers long (five miles) and ends at the public beach next to Manuel Antonio National Park. Hold onto your seats as the road winds through steep hills covered with rainforests at times with sneak peaks of breath-taking ocean views. There is a very steep part of the road known to us locals as “Cardiac Hill.” You will know because you’ll feel your heart beating a bit faster as you climb up, up, up this winding hill. Once it flattens out, you have reached “the hill.” Here you’ll find the local soccer field, a few smaller supermarkets, and “restaurant row.”

Restaurant row in Manuel Antonio offers a variety of dining options. There’s a sushi place, Mexican food, a bakery, a hole in the wall burger spot and a Costa Rican “soda.” A soda is not a soft drink here, it’s what we call a typical Costa Rican-style restaurant. Get your fill of rice and beans, chicken, pork, or beef, with sides when you order a “casado,” the working man’s lunch. As you walk restaurant row, your nose will be delighted with the aromas of freshly cooked onions, peppers, and savory meats. You hear the “phhssst, phhssst” sounds of the pressure cookers making homemade beans and soups.

As you continue down the road, you’ll come to Barba Roja. Barba Roja is one of the first establishments in the Manuel Antonio area. It has been a local hang out ever since it opened in 1975. The dishes are tasty, with delectable sushi and a sunset view to die for! Ask your concierge what specials they’re running.

Across the street is a wonderful little deli. Manuel Antonio Deli has scrumptious deli sandwiches, meats, cheeses, and breakfast. They make their own hearty sausages, smoked bacon, corned beef, and zesty hot sauces. I love their sizable breakfast burrito and their divine egg and sausage English muffin. By now all this food talk has made you hungry, right? It’s making me hungry!

Next to the deli and across the street are boutiques and handicrafts shops. The Captain’s Booty is located just to the right as you walk into the entrance of Barba Roja. It features only items made in Costa Rica, a rare quality and definitely worth a visit. You are sure to discover the perfect tropical gifts for everyone on your list. There’s even a shop that has clothing made from bamboo, banana, and hemp fibers. Try them on and you will love how soft they feel against your skin.

Be sure to visit the renowned coffee shop, Café Milagro. This is the quintessential place to grab an exquisite cup of coffee any time of the day. Café Milagro roasts their own premium coffee locally, David’s and my favorite coffee.  I’m sure you’ll find their restaurant menu irresistible, too. If you like live music, Café Milagro is a great spot to catch it every night of the week. We love the variety of live music Manuel Antonio has to offer. Do you want to bust a move or learn salsa dancing? Be sure to ask your concierge where to go for live music each night of the week.

Just a few steps from Café Milagro is Plaza Vista shopping center. Here, you can find an ATM to withdraw US dollars or Costa Rican colones. The shopping center offers a full-service bank, charming boutiques, souvenir shops, mini-super, wood-fired pizza restaurant, and the best gym around with an iconic view of Manuel Antonio National Park. If you’d like to work out while on vacation, let our concierge know, as we can get you a discounted day-pass or a multiple day-pass through the Discovery Beach House.

As you travel a few more steps past the shopping center, here is another one of my favorite restaurants, Agua Azul. What a cute little place. By little I mean there’s about nine tables, and it gets packed. If you want seafood, this is the place to go. If there’s a birthday in your vacation group, stop by Agua Azul for dinner. Without giving away the birthday surprise, let’s just say it’s loads of fun and the whole restaurant gets into it.

Other restaurants we enjoy close by include Z Poolside Bistro and Jolly Roger. These two are next door to each other. Jolly Roger is a pirate-themed chicken wings bar. They have live music on the weekends and 24 different chicken wing sauces to choose from. The sauces range from no spice to super spicy with delectable flavors including garlic, honey, curry, red wine, and of course many buffalo and BBQ sauce choices. So, there’s individual flavors for everyone. Z Poolside Bistro is just that, a great little bistro next to the pool. Bring your suit if you’d like to have lunch or dinner and take a dip to cool off. The fusion of fresh flavors and local ingredients in the dishes are fantastic.

Keep heading toward the Discovery Beach House, and you’ll run into an old US C-130 supply plane called El Avion. This supply plane was shot down in Nicaragua during the fight between the Sandinistas and the Contras. It was left abandoned for years until the current owner rescued it, brought it to Manuel Antonio where it found a second life as a restaurant and bar. You can even go inside and snap a few pictures in the cockpit. Indeed, this is a one of a kind experience!

After El Avion, the road starts its descent down to the Discovery Beach House and the beach. You’ll know you’ve reached the main beach because it’s the first time you’re actually the same level as the beach, the rest of the time, you are up on the hill. At the beach, you’ll find a couple mini-supers, even more souvenir shops, and a few restaurants. There is another ATM near the Super Pura Vida mini-super. This is the closest ATM to the villa.

You will feel so peaceful and secluded at the Discovery Beach house. Yet you are only a short walk from the backyard of the Discovery Beach House to the main beach, shops, bars, and restaurants.

I get excited talking about this area and why I love it here so much. It truly is a place to visit and experience. We look forward to your stay with us.

If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @Discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Barba Roja – Family Restaurant

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Barba Roja – Family Restaurant

Many of the families who stay at the Discovery Beach House will often ask Sabrina, our Concierge, where is the best family restaurant in Manuel Antonio? We always recommend Barba Roja. It is one of the oldest restaurants in the Manual Antonio area and has always been a fun place to hang out for the locals and visitors to Costa Rica.

What is even more fabulous is their two for one hamburger nights on Tuesdays. If you love ribs, then you definitely need to try the Barba Roja smoked savory ribs. For adults, the Barba Roja happy hour is every day from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. It’s a great place to unwind after a day of Costa Rica adventures.

You can sit and watch the sunset, then listen to the live band at night. The locals think Barba Roja has one of the best views of the Costa Rican sunset. When you come to Manuel Antonio, we hope you will be our guest at the Discovery Beach House. Have Sabrina fill you in on all the great restaurants in the Manuel Antonio area, especially Barba Roja!

Experiencing an Epic Day in Costa Rica — (Part 1)

Experiencing an Epic Day in Costa Rica — (Part 1)

An Epic Day in Costa Rica (Part 1)

Have you ever had one of those “ah-ha” moments? You know the kind when clarity illuminates like a light bulb in your brain. You’ve figured something new out, and now you must share it. Or maybe it feels like hearing great news, like a family member getting married or earning a big promotion. I’m having one of those remarkable moments right now.

I walked into the Discovery Beach House kitchen to set down my groceries when it hit me. Wow, we live in an incredible place. My husband David and I often refer to it as our “heaven on earth” or “having found our paradise.” It’s so beautiful with so many amenities to enjoy. I just had a world class epic day in Costa Rica, right here in Quepos/Manuel Antonio. By now you’ve got to be saying, “Tell me about it.” Let me put these groceries away, change into my flip-flops, and relax with a cold beverage outside by the pool.

Ah, much better. At the Discovery Beach House, you have a “chef’s kitchen,” and we encourage you to enjoy it. It’s stocked with items you may need, including spices. Don’t be afraid to get in there and make some tantalizing meals together. Some of the best memories are friends, family, all cooking, laughing and dining together. They say the kitchen is the heart of the house. It definitely is in ours.

One of the advantages of this area is the availability of supermarkets where you can grocery shop. Don’t get me wrong, it can be charming to spend the day learning where to find the best fruit, veggie, meat, and other vendors, or to buy eggs from the guy driving around with the loudspeaker mounted on his truck.

But it’s convenient to get a variety of products right in town and in one store. Head’s up, you might not find exactly what you’re used to. For us locals, there’s been a vast improvement from even just a few years ago. You can even buy organic produce. Do you have gluten intolerance? You can find many products and restaurants here with gluten-free options.

Quepos has grown quite a bit from its humble beginnings as a mangrove turned banana export hub. For a long time, you could only get here via banana train. The streets of Quepos finally got paved only a couple decades ago. Now, there’s so much more to do here, and Quepos is still growing.

The seawall or “malecon” in Spanish, is the perfect spot to take a stroll and enjoy an epic sunset view. Imagine sitting on a bench taking in the beautiful scenery, smelling the salt air, the sun slowly dips below the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. Above you, the clouds turn a smattering of red, orange, pink and purple. You soak in the warmth and the charm of local fishing boats puttering by and listen to the rhythmic beat of Latin music. It’s a beautiful place to be, especially when live bands play music on the seawall stage during festivals.

Quepos is about six feet below sea-level and the malecon helps prevent floods during heavy rains and high tides. Every Friday night from 5 pm – 9 pm and Saturdays from 7 am – 1 pm, right in the heart of Quepos, across from the seawall and Marina Pez Vela, you will find a variety of fresh produce and artisan goods from the local farmer’s market.

Marina Pez Vela is a world-class marina.  My husband and I love to go down for a sunset cocktail or to dine at one of the many fine restaurants. Z Gastro Pub is right in the center. At Z they serve a creative seafood menu and marvelous food. If you crave a steak instead, go upstairs to Gabriella’s where you’ll be able to enjoy delicious food and stunning views of the marina and coastline. You’ll also love the Asian fusion at Sunrice. There is a yummy gelato spot, too. Is your mouth watering yet?

Marina Pez Vela has unique gift shops, Promerica Bank with ATM’s and a small pharmacy. Mademoiselle Salon is a lovely place to get pampered. We all deserve a little pampering, right ladies? That said, if you ever want to be pampered while on vacation at the Discovery Beach House, please let your concierge know. We can arrange in-villa spa treatments or a visit to a spa or salon for you.

Alright, David just reminded me we’re meeting friends for sunset at Barba Roja in Manuel Antonio. Barba Roja is a favorite with locals and tourists alike. I’ll tell you about my epic day in Manuel Antonio in the next article. There’s so much this area has to offer; you really need to come and see it for yourself.

We look forward to your vacation with us at the Discovery Beach House. If you haven’t read my articles, please click here for more of my articles. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check availability, please visit Discovery Beach House. You can also check out our YouTube Channel for fun and pertinent information about Manuel Antonio and Quepos, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio<br>Samui Thai – Traditional Thai Food

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio
Samui Thai – Traditional Thai Food

One of the requests guests at the Discovery Beach House will ask is if there is an authentic Thai restaurant in Manual Antonio. Today’s happy hour tour is at the Samui Thai Bistro. We love it here!

The restaurant uses locally grown food here in the Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica region. The owner, Angie, and her sister, Cherry, who manages the restaurant, are from Thailand. This is the only authentic Thai restaurant in the area. They serve a 100% traditional Thai iced tea, which is absolutely delicious. They have a wonderful selection of authentic Thai appetizers and entrees.

Happy hour has some great deals with their bottomless Sangria and house wine, along with a bucket of beer (six beers for the price of five). Evelyn and Sabrina tried a couple unique drinks… healthy and spicy!

When you visit the Discovery Beach House, you will definitely want to put this restaurant on your must go to list!

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 from your local car rental company, say, e-mietwagenkreta.de 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.

Furthermore, if you’re coming from abroad, I’d suggest using a site like PharmaVaccs to determine whether you need any vaccines before you arrive. Costa Rica is a beautiful place, but there is always a risk of falling ill when travelling, so looking after your health while on vacation is incredibly important.

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

Last year you spent hours looking at holiday apartments and the time has finally come to go on your holiday. It’s been a long year, right! You’ve waited all year for this moment and you’ve been excited about it ever since you booked the trip. You’ve arrived at your luxury vacation rental home, or in an exhilarating Global Basecamps 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.towerloan.com.

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 ar, salads and unpeeled fruit.ntain 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. Many areas around the world can make you feel like you’re living the life of an A list celebrity, if you’re keen on looking around at your options, research into some of the best hotels in Copenhagen D’Angleterre.

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)