The most naturally beautiful countries in the world

The most naturally beautiful countries in the world

Original article by Gwen McClure, May 3, 2017 Travel + Leisure

You’d be hard-pressed to find a country that doesn’t offer any natural assets, but some are more naturally gifted than others.

Though the natural beauty of a country might seem like a tough thing to rank, the World Economic Forum took on the task, ranking 136 countries by what natural resources they offer for the 2017 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report.

So, what makes a country quantifiably the most naturally beautiful? The report takes into account several factors, including the number of World Heritage natural sites, the total known number of species and protected areas, and the natural tourism digital demand. And, of course, they also looked at the attractiveness of natural assets. World Heritage natural sites are recognized as having “outstanding universal value.” Natural tourism digital demand measures how many searches are related to the country and specific key words, including “beaches,” “animal watching,” and “diving.” Finally, a survey on how much sway the natural assets of a country had in bringing in tourists helping the WEF finalize the rankings.

Costa Rica waterfall
Natural beauty

Starting from number 15, here are the top ranked countries for natural resources.

15. Kenya

Landing in the 15th spot on the list is Kenya, and anyone who’s visited will understand why. In the southwestern part of the country, the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley is home to giraffes, kudu, cheetahs, lions, and black rhinos. Northeast of the capital city, Nairobi, is Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa, and in the north, spilling into Ethiopia, is Lake Turkana, where Nile crocodiles and hippopotamuses breed. Here’s how to see the great wildebeest migration.

14. Indonesia

It seems logical that a country that is home to the world’s only population of Komodo Dragons — giant, aggressive lizards — would make it on the list. Komodo National Park is set on volcanic islands, where 5,700 of the lizards live. Of course, Indonesia is a string of islands, so it has much more to offer as well, from beaches in Bali to rainforests in Sulawesi.

13. France

France has actually dropped five spots since the last report, but from the vineyards in Bordeau to the beaches of the French Riviera, there’s no question the country is gorgeous. And there are places outside of the mainland helping France’s rating as well: La Réunion National Park on Réunion Island, east of Madagascar, has a breathtaking combination of rainforests and cloud forests, and New Caledonia’s lagoons host an impressive collection of marine life and coral reefs.

12. Italy

Though many travelers who visit Italy make the trip for cultural reasons (the ruins of ancient Rome, wine tours and eating pizza in piazzas are all very good reasons to visit), the country also has natural resources worth showing off. Monte San Giorgio is considered to hold the best marine fossils of the Triassic Period, and UNESCO describes the Dolomites as “the most beautiful mountain landscapes anywhere, with vertical walls, sheer cliffs and a high density of narrow, deep and long valleys.”

11. Ecuador

With two active volcanoes, tropical rainforests and glaciers, the sprawling Sangay National Park would have plenty to show off even if it weren’t for the fact that it’s home to threatened species, including the mountain tapir. Don’t forget that the Galapagos Islands are also part of Ecuador. The volcanic islands are home to a wide variety of endemic mammals and reptiles, and there is also plenty of ocean life.

10. United States

From the Redwood Forests to the Gulf Stream waters, America already is pretty great. With 58 national parks including the Grand Canyon, Papahānaumokuākea (northwest of the Hawaiian Archipelago) and Glacier National Park, you could spend a lifetime exploring and never get bored.

9. Spain

Any traveler who enjoys serious hikes has Spain’s Camino de Santiago on their list. With trails snaking across the country to the final destination in northwest Spain (one of the most popular routes runs about 500 miles), it covers some serious — and seriously beautiful — ground. Doñana National Park, where five threatened bird species live, and Garajonay National Park in the Canary Islands, which houses a huge laurel forest, are also worth a visit.

8. Tanzania

Tanzania is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain peak, as well as the Serengeti. In the latter wildebeest, gazelles and zebras live, and UNESCO calls their migration to watering holes while being followed by predators “one of the most impressive natural events in the world.”

7. Thailand

The fact that Thailand is listed in the top 10 is no surprise to anyone who has seen this country. From the stunning islands that run down the east coast in the Gulf of Thailand to the gorgeous rock formations of Krabi, there’s no shortage of beach destinations. But outside the coastal regions there is also lots to enjoy, including Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries, home to elephants and tigers.

6. Australia

Although Australia came in at number six overall, in World Heritage Natural Sites alone, Australia comes in first. From the world famous Great Barrier Reef on the east coast to the Ningaloo Coast on the west coast, and from Kakadu National Park (which “Crocodile Dundee” made famous) in the north to the Tasmanian Wilderness in the south, Australia has incredible sites in every corner of the country.

5. China

As the fourth largest country in the world, China has a head-start in encompassing tons of natural assets. Some highlights include the Three Parallel Rivers in Yunnan, and Huanglong valley, with its hot springs giving way to forests and mountains in the backdrop. We’d be remiss not to mention the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, as well, which are home to about a third of the world’s endangered pandas.

4. Peru

Coming in at the fourth most naturally beautiful country in the world is the home of the incredible Incan ruins, Machu Picchu. But it’s not just the world-famous sanctuary that gives the South American country bragging rights. Peru also boasts Mount Huascarán, in the world’s highest tropical mountain range, and Rio Abiseo National Park, which is home to another 36 archeological sites.

3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica comes in third on the overall list, but the tiny country ranks second in natural tourism digital demand and attractiveness of natural assets. Cocos Island National Park has bragging rights for being the only island in the eastern Pacific with a rainforest, and Tortuguero National Park is known for its sea turtles.

 

2. Mexico

It’s no real surprise that Mexico landed close to the top of the most beautiful destinations. Between the ruins of Tulum, Sian Ka’an’s networks of tropical rainforests, marshes and mangroves and the stunning Revillagigedo Islands, there’s plenty of beauty. Mexico also has a wealth of wildlife. Check out the Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino and the stunning Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve for a dose.

1. Brazil

Landing the top spot on the list is Brazil, which has the most — and most diverse — natural resources in the world. From the The Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves, which comprise 25 protected areas (and is home to jaguars, woolly spider monkeys and ocelots) to the Amazon Basin, there is no shortage of splendor in the South American country.

Costa Rica’s Return to Forest in the Midst of Latin America’s Deforestation

Costa Rica’s Return to Forest in the Midst of Latin America’s Deforestation

Original article by Wendy Anders, May 3, 2017 The Costa Rica Star

Changes in forest cover
Changes in forest cover. Image by Rodrigo Ruiz

While Latin America as a whole has experienced marked deforestation, Costa Rica has proved the notable exception, and has sustained and even increased its forest cover, said a climate investigation published in the University of Costa Rica’s weekly Semanario Universidad.

What has led to Costa Rica’s success? The United Nations Organization for Agriculture (FAO) says state support and incentives to preserve forests have played a key role.

Costa Rica’s environmental services payment program (PSA, its initials in Spanish) is one of the most successful environmental public policies in the country’s history, and has been used as a model for other countries.

The country went from having 75 percent forest cover in 1940 to an all time low of 21 percent in 1987, as shown in the infographic included above by Revista Vacío.

Today, more than half of the country is forested and, about 50 percent of forested lands are classified as protected.

The environmental service payment program was formalized in 1997, having morphed out of some similar previous programs. Between 1996 and 2015, investments in forest-related PSA projects in Costa Rica reached US$318 million, according to the FAO.

The program pays for four types of “environmental services” on forested lands. These include carbon capture; water protection for rural, urban or hydroelectric use; protection of biodiversity; and natural scenic beauty or value for tourism and/or scientific purposes. In essence, the program is simple: if you keep the forest on your property, Costa Rica will pay you.

The report in Semanario Universidad found that the environmental service payment program tends to be more effective in areas far from national parks. This appears to be related to the fact that owners of lands near national parks can often find more lucrative uses for their land due to the presence of tourism, and so conserving forest for government payments is not as attractive as in more remote areas.

An important finding for the FAO was that while other Latin American countries cleared forests to make room for agricultural production, Costa Rica was able to increase conservation and sustainable management of forests without jeopardizing their food security. In fact, the FAO found that 70 percent of deforestation in Latin America between 2000 and 2010 occurred to make way for commercial agriculture.

Costa Rica has increased its food security since the 1990s by increasing agricultural productivity and importing food from countries with lower production costs, according to the recent FAO report.

While there continue to be poor, landless and vulnerable rural families suffering from food insecurity, Costa Rica appears to be heading the right way and has found a way to preserve its forest cover while maintaining good levels of food security, said the report.

10 Reasons to Visit Costa Rica During the Rainy Season

10 Reasons to Visit Costa Rica During the Rainy Season

Originally published by Laura Alvarado, April 28, 2017 in the Costa Rica Star

Rainy Afternoon
Photo by Andres Madrigal

It’s always a good time to visit Costa Rica, but for the most part you will always hear it is best during the “summer” time, dry season actually is a better term considering it’s always summer in this country; however, traveling to Costa Rica during the green season or rainy season has its advantages.

The green or rainy season in Costa Rica extends from May through December, however when it comes to tourism the “low season” includes the months of May and June and then September, October and November and even the first ten days of December. July and August used to be considered part of the “low season” but for some years now schools in the country schedule their vacation periods through these two months which also coincide with the summer break in the USA.

Here are the 10 reasons to visit Costa Rica during the rainy season:

1. Better Prices: Budget is always important, and the prices for airfare, hotels and tours sky rocket during the high season, so if you are
2. Less Crowds: Some people like crowds, but the majority tries to avoid them. Less crowds translate into better attention, shorter waiting times and more relaxation.
3. Sunny Mornings, Rainy Afternoons: With exceptions of course, rainy season in Costa Rica offers hot sunny morning and afternoon showers, this gives you enough time to enjoy the beach and different tours in the early hours of the day and enjoy your afternoon relaxing with the sound of the rain.
4. Green and greener: Rain makes everything greener and that makes for beautiful views, the rainforests come alive and this draws more wildlife.
5. Caribbean Coast: The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica (Limón) has the best weather during the months of September and October the beaches and National Parks in this area are worth visiting.
6. Whale Watching: If one of your interests is having the opportunity to go on a dolphin and whale watching tour, the rainy season is the perfect time. Although both whales and dolphins can be spotted other times of the year, the humpback whales show up in large numbers as they migrate to warmer waters during the month of September and early October. Marino Ballena National Park even hosts a Whale Watching Festival during this time.
7. Tortuguero: If you want to have the opportunity to witness the nesting of sea turtles, Tortuguero in the Caribbean is the perfect spot, and the green season is an optimal time to catch this amazing phenomenon. White water rafting is also a great option in the area.
8. Playa Grande: This beach in Guanacaste, which is part of the National Park Marino Las Baulas, is another great place to see the arrival of Baula Sea Turtles (Leatherback Sea Turtles). Turtles start arriving the last week of October.
9. Ostional Wildlife Refuge: Located in Guanacaste, Ostional is the site of arrival of thousands of sea turtles.
10. Romance: What can be more romantic than a rainy afternoon in paradise? Planning your honeymoon in Costa Rica during the green season is a fantastic idea.

Other activities like surfing, sport fishing and scuba diving are pretty much good all year round, it all depends too on the area you will be visiting, but likely there will always be a place in Costa Rica where you can find the best conditions for a particular activity no matter the time of the year.

Pack your bug repellent and your raincoat and you’ll be ready to enjoy Costa Rica during the off-season.

 

Costa Rica Nominates Savegre River as its Fourth Biosphere Reserve

Costa Rica Nominates Savegre River as its Fourth Biosphere Reserve

Savegre River
Savegre River Photo by Christian Lee

Original article by Laura Alvarado April 28,2017 The Costa Rica Star News

Costa Rica currently has three biosphere reserves: La Amistad, Cordillera Volcánica Central and Agua y Paz; now it is trying to get a fourth one: Savegre River.

What is a biosphere reserve? According to the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), these are “areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems which promote solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use; Science for Sustainability support sites’ – special places for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity”.

There are currently 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries.

Costa Rica currently has three biosphere reserves: La Amistad, Cordillera Volcánica Central and Agua y Paz; now it is trying to get a fourth one: Savegre River.

What is a biosphere reserve? According to the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), these are “areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems which promote solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use; Science for Sustainability support sites’ – special places for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity”.

There are currently 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries.

According to Alejandra Loría, anthropologist from the National Commission of Biodiversity Management, the proposal of Savegre River is different, since it includes the catchment area as a whole, from where it originates in the Cerro de la Muerte mountain to the rivermouth in the Pacific Ocean, therefore it will include even marine area of Manuel Antonio National Park. A total of 312,914 hectares (terrestrial and marine).

This territory includes four counties, Dota, Tarrazú, Pérez Zeledón and Aguirre; seven wildlife protected areas and three biological corridors.

Some of the characteristics are, the large biodiversity, quality and quantity of the water sources, and that the main economic activities (tourism and agriculture) are based on the richness of the existing areas”, established the Association Friends of Nature of the Central and South Pacific (ASANA).

A biosphere reserve translates into an international recognition of the territory and the efforts in finding a balance between conservation of the biodiversity and the socioeconomic development. This mechanism is ideal for Savegre since it does not impose additional limitations, and contributes to unite efforts inside and outside the protected wildlife areas, between the communities, the organizations, the international organisms and the different Government institutions”, states ASANA in the press release.

The verdict of UNESCO will be given in June.

10 things we need to learn from Costa Ricans

10 things we need to learn from Costa Ricans

A boy hitting a piñata
Family fun

Article originally appeared on Matador Network by Joe Baur, August 14, 2015.

1. How to keep the party going

Whenever an American city or neighborhood, big or small, has a festival, there are weeks of preparation involved followed by fliers and social media advertising. In Costa Rica, they just seem to spontaneously happen. I could hear marching bands practicing regularly into the night only to suddenly take to the streets for God knows what. Music might be booming down at Mercado Viejo or, as had happened on more than one occasion, a group of Mascaradas (a popular Costa Rican tradition of dressing up as large, masked characters often with roots in national legend) could be dancing in circles warming up before a procession. Even in my pueblito, there was always something happening.

2. What a town is supposed to look like

Living in little Ciudad Colón 22 kilometers outside of capital San José reminded me of how people talk about 1950s America. Everyone shopped with the local farmer and butcher. Chain restaurants were a rarity and the downtowns of small town America were booming with activity.

Now, that’s all gone. Small town America is largely a ghost town with a six-lane bypass around it thanks to over half a century of unchecked suburban sprawl. While Costa Rica has and continues to make some of the mistakes we’ve made, their sprawl doesn’t even begin to compare with ours and their small towns remain largely intact. In most Tico towns, you can still walk to the grocer, the local farmer’s market, the gym, and just about anything else you’ll need.

3. How to make university affordable

I’ve been out of university for more years than I was in it, yet I’ll continue chipping away at my mountain of student debt for some time to come. At the University of Costa Rica, 12 credits will cost you 164,820 colones or $309.81. That’s less than two months on my current payment plan.

4. How to give a proper greeting

Americans tend to give a general head nod in the direction of someone they know to satisfy any pleasantry obligations. Hugs are seemingly exclusively reserved for sorority sisters seeing each other for the first time since college.

Costa Ricans, however, know how to make you feel like they actually give a damn when greeting you. Whether it’s merely a “Buenas” when passing a stranger with a warm smile on the sidewalk or entering someone’s home, you’re bound to be greeted like the most important person in the world at that given moment. In the States I greet my friends with a nod, at best a firm handshake. With my Mama Tica, it was always a hug and kiss on the cheek followed by the biggest bear hug from Papa Tico who I swear was the Costa Rican Santa Claus minus the beard. “Joe! Cómo estás? Todo bien? Pasa, pasa, pasa…”

5. Treat your family like family

Families in the States seem to often be the cause of some sort of neurotic behavior or material generated for visits with the therapist. We move far, far away and lament the Holidays when visits become obligatory. Obviously there are exceptions. But in general, that’s far from the case in Costa Rica where it’s still common to stay with your parents until you get married. Of course you still have the option to leave the house before any nuptials, but it’s not at all frowned upon to stay with your folks into your 30s whereas familial living in the States is looked at with the same concern as a virgin old enough to remember the Clinton years. Once you’re out, regular family meals and vacations are still very much part of the dynamic and something to look forward to.

6. Get moving when the sun rises

A mixture of footsteps slamming against the concrete and bike gears shifting can be heard as early as 5:30 in the morning when Ticos meet the rising sun with a bit of exercise. Others might head to zumba, which is not viewed with the same challenge on a man’s sexuality as it is in the States. Younger Ticos will stick with soccer or volleyball in the park. It seems like the whole country will have gotten a workout in before most Americans even roll out of bed.

7. To let the weather be

“What’s the weather gonna be like?” “How’s the weather?” “I can’t believe how cold it is!” Most Americans have an unhealthy obsession with weather talk. Costa Ricans simply let the weather be what it’s going to be without the annual surprise. For instance, Ticos aren’t surprised when it’s windy in the valley throughout the winter because that’s what happened the year before and the year before that. Americans, however, seem to find themselves completely flabbergasted when snow comes in December as if this is new territory.

8. How to walk

Walking in the United States of Automobiles has become such a rarity, we now have to track it on health apps or wristbands to guilt ourselves into moving around a bit without our cars as if legs are some sort of novelty. The majority of Ticos still take public transportation and actually walk places. Their towns are even still built for pedestrians to reach things, like restaurants and markets, without the use of a car. In the States, we’ve built entire cities around the idea that everyone has a car, which leaves pedestrians playing real-life Frogger should they attempt to cross needlessly wide roads that cut through neighborhoods with the nearest crosswalk practically a drive away.

9. What to put on your food

Ticos have created the world’s tastiest condiment and it’s called Salsa Lizano, a kind of Worcestershire sauce that goes perfectly with everything from the morning’s gallo pinto to the afternoon casado. If my talents in the kitchen actually extended beyond the cereal bowl, I’d be opening up a Costa Rican restaurant tomorrow.

10. The importance of choosing life over work

Many North Americans or Europeans who have made the move over to Costa Rica have done so because there’s very much a palpable sense that life is more important than work. Their tourism campaigns even prod us Norteamericanos for trapping ourselves in cubicles, moving from bed to car to work and back without even a hint of sunshine and fresh air. This is where the pura vida mindset (and expression) comes in with enjoying life taking precedent over grinding yourself to death for some guy in a suit at the top of a tower.

“¿Cómo le va?”
“¡Pura vida!”

 

5 REASONS EXPLAINING THE FASCINATION ABOUT COSTA RICA

5 REASONS EXPLAINING THE FASCINATION ABOUT COSTA RICA

Originally published on The Costa Rica News, Feb. 9, 2017. 

Tourism in Costa Rica is booming since years. Meanwhile about 5 million people are living in the country of “Pura Vida”. And more than another 2.5 million travelers per year are coming here for a visit. A number as big as half the population itself. The tiny state of Costa Rica seems to be a dream destination from all over the world: Australia, Canada and many western European countries. But the majority of visitors originates from the United States. Nearly 700.000 US tourists traveled to Costa Rica in 2015. The Costa Rican National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR) already has mentioned that the numbers of 2016 continued to show growth, though they did not publish the statistics of last year yet. Seems like the whole world has a Fascination about Costa Rica.

Waterfall in Costa Rica
Waterfall in Costa Rica

Reasons for traveling to Costa Rica

Read More

Costa Rica is participating for the first time in Switzerland’s main touristic fair

Costa Rica is participating for the first time in Switzerland’s main touristic fair

Originally published by Laura Alvarado January 28, 2017, The Costa Rica Star 

Switzerland's Tourism Fair

Costa Rica was selected as a guest country by the organizers of the International Fair FESPO, the most important touristic fair in Switzerland.

This is the first time that Costa Rica participates in this international event that is taking place January 26th -29th in Zürich, Switzerland.

The participation in this fair will allow us to position the country in the European market, which represents a necessary and fundamental action to capture the attention of potential tourists”, said Mauricio Ventura, Minister of Tourism. Ventura added that efforts are also being done to approach this market with the confirmation of a new direct flight to Switzerland.

During these days, Costa Rica’s stand will be located in the exhibition center in a privileged position that is given only to the selected guest country. As part of the benefits given to the guest country, Costa Rica will also have a special section in the webpage of this important event.

The participation of Costa Rica in the FESPO, is of great interest to the general public, since as of May 9th of this 2017 the Swiss and Europeans will have the possibility of taking a direct flight to Costa Rica via Edelweiss airlines, which will operate two weekly flights, Tuesdays and Fridays, between Zürich and San José.

FESPO gathers more than 63000 participants yearly, and these could visit the Costa Rican stand that features general information, elements of traditional Costa Rican cuisine and attractive decoration with images of the country.

Last year, 21,242 tourists entered Costa Rica from Switzerland, a number expected to increase with the enter in operation of the new direct flight.

5 Best Costa Rica Honeymoon Destinations

5 Best Costa Rica Honeymoon Destinations

Originally published by Shannon Farley, The Costa Rica Star, August 30, 2013 – Updated January 2017

You’ve met the man or woman of your dreams. You’ve planned your wedding down to the last sugared almond and flower arrangement. Now it’s time to think about the honeymoon.

You’ve met the man or woman of your dreams. You’ve planned your wedding down to the last sugared almond and flower arrangement. Now it’s time to think about the honeymoon.

Read More

Seasons and Best Times to Visit Costa Rica

Seasons and Best Times to Visit Costa Rica

By Evelyn Gallardo

Rio CelesteSeasonal terms can be confusing in tropical places like Costa Rica where online resources and guidebooks may describe them in different ways. To add to the confusion, some terms refer to the weather itself, while others refer to tourism.

Honestly, there are really only two seasons in Costa Rica, dry and rainy. There are no seasons with snow or drastic changes in temperature. The average temperature year round is between 71F and 81F degrees (21.7C-27C). One thing to keep in mind is elevation. The higher up you go, the cooler it gets. If you’re planning to visit Costa Rica you’ll want to optimize your experience by knowing what clothes to pack and what to expect weather-wise. No worries. The seasons in Costa Rica are about to become crystal clear.

Read More

Costa Rican Weather – What to expect when moving to Costa Rica

Costa Rican Weather – What to expect when moving to Costa Rica

Originally published in The Costa Rica Star by Laura Alvarado, Dec. 28, 2016

When you hear about the wonders Costa Rica has to offer, one of the aspects that always comes up is the wonderful weather the country has; this is the reason many choose it as a vacation escape, especially those that live in areas of very cold winters, and this is also the reason many decide to move to Costa Rica.

Beach and island view
Beach and island view

Read More

Fun Facts About Sloths

Fun Facts About Sloths

Two-toed and three-toed sloths are regular residents at the Discovery Beach House.

By Alina Bradford, LiveScience Contributor

This article was originally published May 21, 2014 on  www.livescience.com.

3-toed SlothSloths are tropical mammals that live in Central and South America. They use their long claws to hang onto branches while they feast on the leaves that other animals can’t reach. Unfortunately for the sloth, their long claws — 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 centimeters) — make walking on the ground difficult, so they spend most of their time in the tall trees they call home.

There are two categories of sloths. The two-toed sloth is slightly bigger than the three-toed sloth, though they share many of the same features. They are about the size of a medium-sized dog at around 23 to 27 inches (58 to 68 cm) and 17.5 to 18.75 pounds (about 8 kilograms).

Read More

Costa Rica Celebrates 68 Years Without an Army

Costa Rica Celebrates 68 Years Without an Army

Originally published by Wendy Anders in The Costa Rica Star –  December 1, 2016

“Blessed is the Costa Rican mother who knows that her son at birth will never be a soldier,” said the well-known Japanese politician and philanthropist Ryoichi Sasakawa in one of his visits to Costa Rica, as reported in Costa Rica’s Elperiodicocr.com digital news source today on the anniversary of Costa Rica’s abolition of its army on December 1, 1948.

Costa Rica. No army since 1948.
Costa Rica. No army since 1948.

Costa Rica made one of the most important decisions in its history 68 years ago by abolishing the army.

In a symbolic act, with a blow to the Bellavista Barracks, carried out by the then President of the Founding Governing Board of the Second Republic, José Figueres Ferrer, the Costa Rican army was officially dissolved, reported Elperiodicocr.com.

A series of events during that time, including the Civil War of 1948, and the ensuing formation of a Governing Board, which ruled for 18 months, allowed for important reforms in the country such as the creation of universal health care and education.

At the end of the Civil War and upon assuming power, the Founding Governing Board met with an extremely weakened army, and they jointly decided to eliminate it in order to invest the resources in improving the social and economic situation of the country, said Elperiodicocr.com.

The day the abolition of the Army was announced, the keys to the military barracks were handed over to the newly founded University of Costa Rica so they could establish the National Museum as a center for anthropological studies.

On October 31, 1949, the National Constituent Assembly incorporated the abolition of the army into Article 12 of the Political Constitution, thereby ensuring to the permanent elimination of the Costa Rican army, reported Elperiodicocr.com.

This year, the 68th anniversary of this momentous event for Costa Rica was celebrated with a symbolic act in the Plaza de la Democracia in downtown San José.

Drink Coconut Water

Drink Coconut Water

Reprinted from Home Remedies Web

Drink Coconut Water! 

Green coconuts are known as “pipas” in Costa Rica. You’ll see vendors selling them on the beach. Coconut water is delicious and nutritious. Drink it often while you’re here! 

What is Coconut Water? 

Nutritious pipas are available just steps away from your beach vacation rental home.Coconut Water is the nutritious clear liquid inside the coconut fruit, which is packed with vitamins and minerals. There is usually more water in a young coconut because the water is replaced by the white coconut flesh as it matures. Therefore, for drinking purposes, coconuts are harvested off the trees when they are still young and green. 

For best results, the water from a fresh coconut should be consumed shortly after being exposed to air due to the possible loss of important nutrients. A single coconut usually provides an 11 ounce serving of water, and it is low in calories and fat but rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. A few key nutrients in Coconut Water include Lauric acid, Chloride, and Iron, as well as important electrolytes such as Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium, and Phosphorous. In fact, the potassium content in Coconut Water is close to twice the amount in a banana. A healthy balance of electrolytes is important for the optimal health of our muscular, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems, as well as to help with the absorption and balance of the body’s internal fluids. 

What are the Benefits of Coconut Water?

Many studies have shown that the antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of Coconut Water may help with a number of minor to severe health conditions. This nutrient rich drink has been used to regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, and it has been found to boost energy levels and increase metabolism in the human body. Other conditions that it has been found to be effective at treating include stomach flu, dysentery, indigestion, constipation, intestinal worms, cholera, urinary abnormalities, urethral stone, malfunctioning kidneys, dry and itchy skin, age spots, and wrinkles. 

Uses of Coconut Water

Age Spots, Wrinkles, and Other Skin Problems

Researchers have found that Cytokinins help regulate the cell growth and their divisions. Coconut Water contains these cytokinins and lauric acid, which can minimize the aging of skin cells, balance PH levels, and keep the connective tissues strong and hydrated. Therefore, simply applying Coconut Water onto affected skin areas every night before going to bed may help with acne, age spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, cellulite, and eczema. 

Boosting Energy

Abundant in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, Coconut Water makes a wonderful energy drink. In particular, coconut water has less sugar and sodium content compared to most sports drinks, while packing more Potassium, Calcium, and Chloride, which makes it a better choice to rehydrate, replenish and boost the body’s energy levels after any strenuous activity or workout. For example, in every 100ml of Coconut Water there is approximately 294mg of potassium compared to 117mg in an average energy drink, 25mg of sodium compared to 200mg in energy drinks and 41mg in most sport drinks, 5mg sugar compared to 20-25mg, and 118mg of chloride compare to 39mg in average energy and sport drinks. 

Cardiovascular Health

According to researchers, individuals with high blood pressure usually have low potassium levels. Therefore, drinking coconut water on a regular basis can be quite effective at regulating blood pressure due to its high concentration of potassium and lauric acid. Similarly, some recent studies have found that coconut water can help increase HDL (good) cholesterol, which makes it a wonderful natural treatment for maintaining good cardiovascular health. 

Dehydration

Rich in Potassium and other minerals, Coconut Water helps to regulate our internal fluids and replenish and rehydrate the body. It has been used to treat dehydration caused by dysentery, cholera, diarrhea and stomach flu, and the electrolyte balance and plasma in Coconut Water has been found to be similar to that of human blood. Therefore, drinking one cup of Coconut Water twice daily during digestive tract abnormalities, hot temperatures, and after strenuous workouts can help rehydrate the body quickly. 

Digestive Problems

Coconut Water contains Lauric acid which our body converts into monolaurin. Monolaurin has great antiviral, antiprozoal and antibacterial activity which helps fight against intestinal worms, parasites, lipid-coated viruses and other gastrointestinal tract infections in children and adults. Additionally, the water from coconut may not only act as an antibiotic but it can also rehydrate the body. Therefore, a simple remedy for Intestinal Worms is to mix one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil into a cup of Coconut Water and drink it daily for at least three days. For constipation, diarrhea and other common digestive problems drink one cup of Coconut Water twice daily. 

Weight Loss

Coconut water is a natural electrolyte and isotonic beverage, which help increase the body’s metabolism. Therefore, it can greatly benefit people who are struggling with weight issues. 

What are the Side Effects of Coconut Water?

Fresh Coconut Water is one of the best natural drinks on the face of the earth. It doesn’t have any known side effects unless somebody is prone to having allergic reactions or have severe nut allergies. It is considered to be safe for children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women. If you are taking potassium supplements it is recommended to regulate your potassium levels since Coconut Water is high in potassium.

Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s Top Destination, and There are Good Reasons Why

Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s Top Destination, and There are Good Reasons Why

By Guest Blogger Karl Kahler. This article originally appeared in the Tico Times October 3, 2016

Aerial view of Quepos & Marina Pez Vela
Quepos Aerial By Kevin Heslin, Courtesy of Marina Pez Vela

MANUEL ANTONIO, Puntarenas — The first tourists to lay eyes on Manuel Antonio were apparently the crewmen of the Spanish explorer Hernán Ponce de León, who sailed into these waters in 1519. But the numerous Quepo natives on the shore put on such a display of hostility against the foreigners that he decided against landing and proceeded to safer shores farther north.

How times have changed.

Read More

The Hottest Trends In Boomer Travel

The Hottest Trends In Boomer Travel

By Suzanne Gerber, Editor for Living & Learning channel for Next Avenue

The article was originally published on forbes.com.

How much do baby boomers love to travel? According to industry research, we spend $157 billion on trips every year and many polls rank travel as our No. 1 leisure activity.

Recently, the Preferred Hotel Group teamed up with Harrison Group, a marketing research firm, to learn more about boomers’ travel preferences. “This generation is passionate about travel and want to have fun, says Lindsey Ueberroth, hotel group president. “And for professionals that are not focusing on this, it will be their mistake.”

Young Gorillas Spotted Dismantling Poachers’ Traps For The First Time

Young Gorillas Spotted Dismantling Poachers’ Traps For The First Time

Originally published by Arjun Walia on Collective Evolution February 5, 2016.

Gorillas dismantling traps

Just days after a poacher’s snare had killed one of their own, two young mountain gorillas worked together Tuesday to find and destroy traps in their Rwandan forest home.

“This is absolutely the first time that we’ve seen juveniles doing that … I don’t know of any other reports in the world of juveniles destroying snares,” said Veronica Vecellio, gorilla program coordinator at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center, located in the reserve where the event took place.

“We are the largest database and observer of wild gorillas … so I would be very surprised if somebody else has seen that,” Vecellio added.

Not long after a poacher’s trap killed a young mountain gorilla in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, researchers actually witnessed a couple of four year old gorillas working together to take apart other traps in the area. Large gorillas are able to use their strength to do this, but the younger ones aren’t.

It’s sad to think that thousands of snares are set up in these areas, leaving many animals to be caught and left to die.

Read More