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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.

Suppose This Happens on Your Vacation in Manuel Antonio

Suppose This Happens on Your Vacation in Manuel Antonio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Seafood in Costa Rica – Z Gastro Bar

Best Seafood in Costa Rica – Z Gastro Bar

Today we’re enjoying a little more than happy hour at the Z Gastro Bar in the Marina Pez Vela, in Quepos, Costa Rica. Z Gastro Bar absolutely has some of the best seafood in Costa Rica. Our Discovery Beach House concierge, Sabrina, and I are on a happy hour tour of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica and the surrounding areas. However, today, we indulged in appetizers and a full meal. We were hungry! Owner, Dean Paquette, and his wonderful chefs treated us to the most delicious seafood.

Z Gastro Bar has arguably the best seafood in all of Costa Rica. When you come to Costa Rica, and when you come to Manuel Antonio and Quepos, definitely come to the Marina Pes Vela. It’s only been here for three years and has some wonderful shops and restaurants. When visiting Costa Rica, you now have three wonderful places to explore, Manuel Antonio, Quepos, and the Marina Pez Vela.

7 Essential Items to Pack when Traveling to Costa Rica

7 Essential Items to Pack when Traveling to Costa Rica

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

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

Waterproof phone case1. Waterproof Phone Case

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

2. Sunscreen

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

Headlamp3. Flashlight/headlamp

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

4. Sturdy Sandals or Water Shoes

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

Ziplock bags5. Ziplock Bags

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

6. Power Bank

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

7. Daybag

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

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Ronny’s Place

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Ronny’s Place

Sabrina, our concierge extraordinaire at the Discovery Beach House, and I are enjoying our happy hour tour at one of our absolute favorite places in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. We’re here at Ronny’s Place.

One of the special things that I love about Ronny’s Place is not only Ronny himself, and the service they provide, but this restaurant is kind of tucked away. It’s the only working farm here in Manuel Antonio. Everybody lines up right before sunset on the benches because we get amazing, uninterrupted, sunset views at Ronny’s Place.

Ronny’s place does have a few signature drinks, such as their sangria, which the Lonely Planet Travel book voted as the best sangria in Manuel Antonio. Sabrina and Ronny also talk about how his sangria is so different from most other sangrias. He’s also famous for his Nanci shot. Then there is the Coco Loco.

Sabrina also shares what her favorite appetizers are and a couple of her favorite dishes at Ronny’s Place. We hope you are enjoying our Happy Hour Tour series at some of the best restaurants in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. We guarantee, if you visit us at the Discovery Beach House, you are definitely going to want to come back to Manuel Antonio.

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Gaia La Luna

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Gaia La Luna

Evelyn and Sabrina from the Discovery Beach House in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica take us on a happy hour tour of some of the best restaurants in Manuel Antonio. Today they are at Gaia’s La Luna restaurant. As Sabrina mentions in the video, they’ve already had one cocktail at Agua Azul and they’re one hit wonders, so they are really enjoying themselves at La Luna. Sabrina is having the Coconut Margarita and Evelyn is having the Guanabana Margarita. Have you ever heard of the Guanabana fruit? Sounds delicious.

The Gaia Hotel and Reserve is the reason the Scarlet Macaws came back to Manuel Antonio. They started a reintroduction program about five years ago because the Macaws used to be in Manuel Antonio but disappeared in the 1970’s.

Sabrina also teaches Evelyn a hilarious way to get rid of the hiccups. In Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, we have a relaxed and fun way of living life.

If you are in Manuel Antonio and looking for one of the best restaurants to enjoy happy hour or enjoy a five-star dinner, then Gaia’s La Luna restaurant is definitely one of Evelyn and Sabrina’s favorite places to go.

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

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

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

US Embassy logo
Photo by cntraveler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Road Savvy When Driving In Costa Rica

Be Road Savvy When Driving In Costa Rica

If you’ve booked a luxury vacation rental home in Costa Rica and you’ve rented a car to get there, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with some of the twists and turns of the road. Driving in a foreign country can be intimidating, especially if all the road signs are in Spanish!

Costa Rica road signs1 – Road Signs – Here’s a handy glossary of common road signs listed alphabetically for easy reference. Print them out and refer to them while you’re on the road.

  • Alto – Stop
  • Ceda el Paso – Yield
  • Derrumbres en la Via – Watch for landslides in the road
  • Despacio – Slow down
  • Hombres Trabajando or Trabajos en la Carretera – Men at Work
  • No Estacionar – No Parking
  • No Hay Paso – No passage
  • Peligro – Danger
  • Salida – Exit
  • Sin Salida – No Exit
  • Una Via – One Way Traffic
  • Velocidad Maxima – Maximum Speed
  • Velocidad Minimo – Minimum Speed

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Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Cafe Agua Azul

Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio – Cafe Agua Azul

We’re taking you on a happy hour tour of some of the best restaurants in Manuel Antonio, starting with Café Agua Azul. The margaritas here are not your standard margaritas! The view of the bay and the islands from Café Agua Azul are astounding. The specials are absolutely scrumptious. Listening to Sabrina describe the Panko Tuna will make your mouth water.

If you are in Manuel Antonio and looking for one of the best restaurants to enjoy happy hour or enjoy a meal, then Café Agua Azul is definitely one of our favorite places to go.

Luxury Vacation Home Rental: 7 Insightful Tips to Tipping the Staff at Luxury Vacation Rentals

Luxury Vacation Home Rental: 7 Insightful Tips to Tipping the Staff at Luxury Vacation Rentals

By Evelyn Gallardo, Vacation Rental Owner, Author Travel Guides | Travel Blogger

Discovery Beach House Staff
Discovery Beach House Staff

Whether this is your first or third time renting a luxury vacation home, you may still be confused about how much to tip the staff. Luxury vacation villas generally provide more staff and a higher level of personalized service; therefore, warranting more generous tips than staff at a luxury hotel. You’re likely to be in more direct contact and come to know the staff by name. The amount you tip will depend upon the quality and quantity of service, length of your stay, and the size of your group. These recommendations are based on a five to seven-night stay. Follow these insightful tips and you won’t under tip or over tip.

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