Costa Rica Advances as a Sports Tourism Destination

Costa Rica Advances as a Sports Tourism Destination

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hosting big sporting events such as the PGA Tour Latin America and The Davis Cup is a step in the right direction for Costa Rica, who as a result, may be on course for being recommended to host future competitions. Just because these tournaments are being held in a different country, it doesn’t mean that the athlete’s preparation will be any different, as they may still need to have access to simulators that can be used at home to ensure that they advance to the latter stages of their respective competitions.

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

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

Conde Nast Magazine Names Costa Rica International Destination of the Year

Conde Nast Magazine Names Costa Rica International Destination of the Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

Costa Rica: A Great Destination to Enjoy With Friends

Costa Rica: A Great Destination to Enjoy With Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release: Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Keylor Navas Recognized as the Best Athlete in the American Continent

Keylor Navas Recognized as the Best Athlete in the American Continent

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

Athlete Keylor Navas
Keylor Navas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Costa Rica is the Latin American Country with Highest Life Expectancy

Costa Rica is the Latin American Country with Highest Life Expectancy

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

Older couple sitting
Photo by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ticos on the World Cup Soccer Stage

Oleeé Olé Olé Oleé Ticos Ticooos…

You are going to hear this chant a lot during the World Cup 2018 if you are visiting Costa Rica this June. The Costa Rican team, locally known as La Sele (the Selection) has made it again; they are so proud, as they should be. The team has risen up from humble origins to qualify for the World Cup for a second time consecutively. The Costa Rican team will battle it out on the field with their fellow Group E teams including Serbia, Brazil, and Switzerland.

They managed to outplay both Italy and Uruguay, former champions, known as part of the “Group of Death” in the last World Cup. Surely they can make some magic happen again this time around. We all wait with baited breath to see just how resilient La Sele can be out on the playing field. Anything is possible.

Everyone in Costa Rica is craving a win, one game at a time. You’ll see the blue, yellow, and white jerseys in every bar and restaurant you visit, loyal supporters rooting for their team.

If you get a chance to watch the Costa Rican team play in the World Cup games, you will enjoy the high level of excitement. A proud country will watch their team give their all on the world stage. Oleeé Olé Olé Oleé Ticos Ticooos. Good luck Costa Rica!

Costa Rica Game Schedule:

Costa Rica v. Serbia June 17
Costa Rica v. Brazil June 22
Costa Rica v. Switzerland June 27

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

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

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

Roger Waters Concert
Costa Rica Star News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Carlos Alvarado: President of Costa Rica, Journalist, Writer, Musician,Husband and Father

Carlos Alvarado: President of Costa Rica, Journalist, Writer, Musician,Husband and Father

By Laura Alvarado, April 8, 2018.  Published in The Costa Rica Star, April 14, 2018

Carlos Alvarado Quesada was elected President of Costa Rica just a week ago and will take the lead of the country on May 8th, with the big responsibility of dealing with a high fiscal deficit, a divided congress and a country that demands actions against corruption and inequity.

But who is and what is the background of Costa Rica’s 48th President? Does he have what it takes to make positive changes in the next four years?

Carlos Alvarado was born January 14, 1980 he is 38 years old. Son of Adelia Quesada Alvarado who dedicated her life to her family, and Alejandro Alvarado Induni an electric engineer; Carlos Alvarado grew up in the community of Pavas, in San Jose, along with his brother, Federico, the eldest, and his younger sister, Irene.

His family is a middle class family that made an effort to put his kids through private education with the dream that they’d learn to speak English, Carlos attended elementary at the Anglo American School, “I remember I was always introspective, serious, well behaved even as a child”, stated Alvarado in an interview with Channel 7; he graduated high-school from St.Francis. It was precisely in high school that he discovered three of his loves in life, the love for reading awaken, with books such as The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway; he also discovered his interest in music listening to Pink Floyd and he met the woman that today is the First Lady of Costa Rica, Claudia Dobles.

He studied communication at the University of Costa Rica.

His first job was as a clerk in a sportsbook in 1999 in San Pedro, he took the job to be able to buy an electric guitar, when he had enough money to buy the guitar he quit his job and later went to work as a journalist for newspaper Semanario Universidad.

He was part of several musical bands. He wrote his first book called “Transcripciones Infieles” a recompilation of short stories he had written throughout the years, “this is a book I probably shouldn’t have published, I was too young”, he said.

His second book was a short novel, “La historia de Cornelius Brown”which won the Joven Creación Award in 2006. His second novel was published in 2010 “Las Posesiones” a book about the internment camps of Germans and Italians in Costa Rica during World War II. The last novel he wrote is “Temporada en Brighton” about his experiences living in France and England.

His interest in politics began during his university years and at some point through his journalism career he felt the need to do something that could create change and that brought him to study political sciences.

He worked in France giving Spanish classes for a while. He also attended the University of Sussex in England where he lived for a year where he got a Masters in Development Studies. He also lived in Panama due to his wife’s career where his son was born.

He was part of the communication team during the campaign of Luis Guillermo Solis, and he later was named Labor Minister for the government.

“Nobody ‘convinced me’ to run for the presidency, I did it for Costa Rica”.

Costa Rica Launches Its First Satellite Into Space with SpaceX

Costa Rica Launches Its First Satellite Into Space with SpaceX

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

Costa Rica launches satellite
Costa Rica launches satellite

The first Central American satellite, developed by Costa Ricans will be launched the afternoon of this Monday, April 2 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA.

The rocket Space Falcon 9 and the Dragon spaceship will be in charge of the transportation of the small satellite, which was manufactured with CubeSat technology, and consists on a cube that measures only 10 centimeters (3.93 inches) each side and weighs close to 1 kilogram.

This initiative known as Irazu Project (Space Technology for the Monitoring of Climate Change), is the result of the work of the Central American Association of Aeronautics and Space )CAAE for its Spanish acronym) and the Costa Rica Technology Institute (ITCR) with the support of several sponsoring companies, the government and donations received through kickstarter, the satellite was designed to help with different environmental investigations.

According to SpaceX this is the fourteenth Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-14), Irazu Project is part of the about 5,800 pounds of supplies, payloads and vehicle hardware, including critical materials to directly support science and research investigations that will occur onboard the orbiting laboratory.

The launching can be seen live through the SpaceX You Tube channel via The Costa Rica Star at 2:30 p.m. local time, the link is included below by clicking on the video:


Remodeling of Quepos Airstrip in Costa Rica Underway

Remodeling of Quepos Airstrip in Costa Rica Underway

By Laura Alvarado, February 17, 2018 Published in The Costa Rica Star, March 10, 2018

AirplaneThe Quepos airstrip is receiving an important investment of over US$9.5 million that will better the conditions and infrastructure with the purpose of strengthening local tourism.

The General Directorate of Civil Aviation explained that the runway will be built with hydraulic cement with a capacity of 50 thousand pounds of weight and will be extended from the current 13 meters (42.65 feet) in width to 23 meters (75.45 feet) and 1123 meters in length plus 200 meters of security zone.

Four parking spots for light aircraft, new paint for all areas, a perimeter wire mesh and new lighting. In addition, a new and modern domestic terminal with all basic services will be built, with adequate waiting rooms and food services as well as proper parking area for vehicles.

The new design and infrastructure complies with the norms established by the International Civil Aviation Organization for a 2B airdrome.

Enio Cubillo, director of Civil Aviation stated “This is an area of high visitation for both national and foreign tourists, this project is a tool to attract more visitation and generate more business in the area for the local community”.

The Manuel Antonio National Park located in Quepos is the most visited National Park in the country, driving from San Jose to Quepos can take over three hours while a domestic flight takes only 20 minutes.

Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica Has New Universal Trail

Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica Has New Universal Trail

By Laura Alvarado, February 17, 2018 as appeared in The Costa Rica Star, March 9, 2018

Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park

The Manuel Antonio National Park in Quepos, Puntarenas, the most visited National park in Costa Rica, has a new universal trail sponsored by the Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE).

“El Manglar” (The Mangrove) is the name of the new elevated trail that has a length of 784 meters (2,572 feet) and is 2.4 meters wide (7.87 feet); it was built over a mangrove, hence the name, in an area of the park that wasn’t accessible to the tourists in the past and which leads to Espadilla Sur Beach and connects with other existing trails.

The new trail was built and donated by the Engineering and Construction department of ICE and it complies with Law 7600 (Equal Opportunities Law for People with Disabilities) and has 10 bays that have information in braille language that describes the characteristics and attractions of each area of the park.

In the past few months the Manuel Antonio National Park has received several improvements that aim to offer better conditions to the more than 440 thousand visitors it gets every year.



14 Things That You May Not Know about Costa Rica

14 Things That You May Not Know about Costa Rica

Article by Charito Villegas, February 7, 2018 The Costa Rica News

Costa Rica, it is known for its beautiful natural scenery, its biodiversity and its wonderful habitants happy. Here are 14 interesting facts about Costa Rica to help make the country a truly unique place.


1. More than one-quarter of the land is dedicated to conservation. Tourists and locals alike feel attracted by the natural beauty of Costa Rica and undertake to preserve it. With 20 national parks, 8 biological reserves, refuges of animals, and protected areas, 26 percent of the lands of Costa Rica is protected.

2. Tourism is the leading source of foreign exchange for the country. All the natural beauty and diverse landscape with two oceans and access to a number of adventure activities have made Costa Rica a great holiday destination. There are so many reasons you could visit and some tourists visit there as they have marijuana rental homes. These are lodges, huts and even resorts that let you smoke as much as you like on your holiday, providing the ultimate relaxation. What more could you ask for? In 1995, tourism overtook bananas to become the leading source of foreign exchange for the country. Tourism reached an all-time high for Costa Rica in 2013 with 2.4 million visitors.

3. Costa Rica is home to four UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have designated four places in Costa Rica as world heritage cultural and natural value. These are the National Park La Amistad, the National Park Cocos, the Guanacaste Conservation Area, and pre-Columbian settlements chiefdom with the stone of the Diquis spheres.

No army
No army

4. Costa Rica is one of the 23 countries in the world that does not have a standing army.
Costa Rica dissolved its national army in 1948, and the abolition of the military was written into the Constitution in 1949, committing to provide support military to Costa Rica (and any other signatory) where you need it. In 1980, the United Nations University for peace was created and hosted in Costa Rica.

5. It has one of the highest life expectancies in the world.
According to the World Bank, Costa Rica’s life expectancy at birth is 80 years. This figure is higher than that of the United States (which is 79). The Nicoya region in Costa Rica is also one of the five populated areas by the longest-lived people in the world around the globe. All that natural beauty and happiness must be very good.

6. There are more than 200 volcanic formations in Costa Rica. Costa Rica may not be a big country, but it stores a lot of life on its borders. While Costa Rica occupies only 0.03 percent of the world’s surface, it has the highest biodiversity density on the planet. The country is home to more than 500.000 species. And, with nearly 3 percent of the world’s biodiversity contained within its borders, Corcovado National Park has been considered “the most biologically intense place on the planet.”

7. There are many butterflies in Costa Rica. Seriously, there are so many butterflies. Costa Rica contains approximately 90 percent of the butterfly species found in Central America, 66 percent of all neotropical butterflies, and about 18 percent of all butterfly species in the world.


8. There are also more than 50 species of hummingbirds.
The 338 known species of hummingbirds, about 50 live in Costa Rica. The smallest hummingbird in Costa Rica (the Hummingbird scintillant masculine) weighs only two grams. The largest (violet brewing) weighs an average of 11.5 grams.

9. Residents in Costa Rica are called Ticos and Ticas. The Costa Ricans refer colloquially to themselves as the Ticos (masculine) and Ticas (feminine). This is due to its practice of adding the diminutive suffix “tico” at the end of most of the words. For example, a little, the diminutive is a little bit (a little), but the Costa Ricans rather say a poquitico.

10. The Tico and Tica couples use a sweet expression of affection.
Costa Ricans use the term “Media Naranja” your significant other.

11. Most of Costa Rica’s radio stations play the country’s national anthem at 7:00 am.
The national anthem unofficially called “Noble Patria, Tu Hermosa Bandera” was first heard in 1852 to receive diplomatic representatives from the United States and the United Kingdom. The song, with music by Manuel María Gutiérrez and written by José María Zeledon in 1903, was officially named the National anthem of Costa Rica in 1949.

12. Costa Rica did not use street signs until the year 2012.
While a GPS would show you the names of the streets, in Costa Rica locals use landmarks to give directions. To get to the National Theatre of San Jose, for example, you would take “left, turn 100 (meters) south of Banco Popular.” While San Jose residents used street and number names until the 20th century, the practice fell after a population boom in the years 1950 and 60. In 2012, the city undertook a project of US $1 million to re-introduce signs on the streets and a more regulated postal system.

Pura Vida
Pura Vida

13. Costa Rica lives by Pure life.
Costa Ricans often greet each other and say goodbye by saying “Pura Vida”. But pure life, is more than a way of talking about Costa Ricans, is a state of mind. Costa Ricans take every opportunity to live life to the fullest.

14. Costa Rica occupies the first place in the Happy Planet Index.
With pure life as its philosophy, it is no surprise that Costa Ricans consider themselves some of the happiest people on Earth. The Happy Planet Index uses three criteria, life expectancy, well-being, and ecological footprint to determine the overall happiness levels of 151 countries around the world. With a score of 64.0, Costa Rica tops this list.

Costa Rica Included Among World’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations.

Costa Rica Included Among World’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations.

By Laura Alvarado January 23, 2018, as appeared in The Costa Rica Star, February 4, 2018

World Map
Ethical Travel Costa Rica

Costa Rica claimed a spot in the 2018 list of The World’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations, a ranking created by Ethical Travel, an all-volunteer non-profit organization and project of the Earth Island Institute.

“Every year, Ethical Traveler reviews the policies and practices of hundreds of nations in the developing world. We then select the ten that are doing the most impressive job of promoting human rights, preserving the environment, and supporting social welfare—all while creating a lively, community-based tourism industry. By visiting these countries, we can use our economic leverage to reward good works and support best practices. No money or donations of any kind are solicited or accepted from any nations, governments, travel bureaus, or individuals in the creation of our annual list.”, states the report.

The ten countries that made the list are: Belize, Benin, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mongolia, Palau, St. Kitts & Nevis, Uruguay, and Vanuatu.

Costa Rica also appeared in the 2017 list. Ethical Traveler explains that the list is created through surveys in which they focus in four general categories: environmental protection, social welfare, animal welfare and human rights; “For each category, we look at information past and present to understand not only the current state of a country but how it has changed over time. This process helps us to select nations that are actively improving the state of their people, government, and environment. Our goal is to encourage the behaviors we see as creating a safer and more sustainable world”.

Once they have identified 25 “short list” performers they focus on actions these governments have taken over the past year to improve or weaken policies and practices in their countries.

“For a country to make our list, of course, it must excel in more than metrics. Each Ethical Destination also offers unspoiled natural beauty, great outdoor activities, and the opportunity to interact with local people and cultures in a meaningful, mutually enriching way”, 
continues the report.

Some of the actions highlighted for Costa Rica include:

-The launching of an initiative in 2018 to aid elderly citizens in finding work; currently, only about 25 per cent of people over 60 are gainfully employed.

-The goal set of carbon neutrality by 2021; also the fact that Costa Rica ran nearly 100% in renewable sources and the fact that the plans for a new El Diquís dam, which, even though it would increase the country’s renewable energy capacity, would have a devastating impact on the lands of indigenous communities, were blocked in court.

-The commitment of the country to address the regional refugee and displacement crisis.

-The imposition of criminal charges for the illegal trade of shark fins, which made a historic ruling… however in this matter the report states: “Costa Rica is one of the world’s few countries to ban the export of hammerhead shark fins. Nevertheless, conservationists remain alarmed because the administration of President Luis Solís has worked tirelessly to lift the ban, imposed in 2015, to allow the export of eight tons of fins amassed since the ban took effect. This would be detrimental to the species’ survival. We will follow this issue closely when considering Costa Rica for next year’s list. Also a very positive evolution regarding animal rights in 2017, Costa Rica made killing, mistreating, or abandoning pets a crime.


Juan Santamaria Airport in Costa Rica Implements New Technology to Improve Arrival and Departure Times

Juan Santamaria Airport in Costa Rica Implements New Technology to Improve Arrival and Departure Times

By Laura Alvarado February 1, 2018, as published in The Costa Rica Star, February 4, 2018 

Juan Santa Maria Airport
Juan Santa Maria Airport, Photo Tico Times

The Juan Santamaria International Airport begins implementing new technology procedures of satellite navigation today, through which they expect to improve considerably in the times of arrivals and departures of flights.

The project, under the name “Costa Rica Pura Vida” is being implemented by experts in navigation of Civil Aviation and has the support of the airlines and Aeris, the company in charge of the airport.

The changes should better the arrival times and should also represent considerable savings in fuel and CO2 emissions, by bringing down the time that an airplane is flying.

“This project is complying with the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization, in reference to maximizing the use of aerial space, improvement in the environmental aspect and aerial navigation security”, 
explained Enio Cubillo, General Director of Civil Aviation.

Early arrivals and more agile would translate into less stress for the travelers that need to make their connecting flights; it would also avoid delays in land or air due to the use of conventional systems.

“Taking advantage of last generation technology systems is beneficial to the operations and the flow of airplanes. We are improving the capacity of the airport in a response to the increment in the number of airlines and operations in the past few years”, explained Juan Belliard, Director of Operations of Aeris Costa Rica.

Maximizing the use of the aerial space will make flights visible from the different locations of the Great Metropolitan Area like Escazu, Santa Ana, San Sebastian, Mata Redonda, Zapote, San Pedro, Tibas, Santa Barbara and San Lorenzo in Heredia.