Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Tico train tour

Tico Train Tour staff / Photo by AmericaTravelBy Uri Ridelman

I recently found online what seems like an original and interesting tour idea: The Tico Train Tour. Developed by a company called AmericaTravel the tour looks to rescue the old-fashioned way of travelling by train in Tiquicia.

The train will travel through typical villages and towns, that feature typical dances, marimba music and cimarronas (brass bands).

The trip also enables you to enjoy beautiful scenery, taste the traditional “Gallos” ( typical taco-like snacks) and connect to other attractions located near the train stops.

Now, as a personal note I have to tell you that I have never travelled with this company, taken this tour, nor talked to anyone who has tried it, so I can't personally recommend them or give them my approval.

I'm not associated in any way with AmericaTravel. I only wanted to share this with you as a way of providing ideas of things to do while in Costa Rica.

If any of you end up trying it while in Tiquicia, please do come back and tell us of your experience.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Costa Rica among the the best destinations for women worldwide

Venezuelan tourist Karla Carrillo poses for her boyfriend to take a photo at the main crater of the Poas Volcano, 55 kilometers north of the capital of San Jose, Costa Rica. Poas volcano which rises 2,708 meters in Costa Rica's central valley, is one of the main attractions in this Central American country.(AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)Costa Rica has been listed by USA Today among the world's safest and best places for women to travel to. The original article lists the five "good" and "bad" destinations around the world for women. Fortunately Costa Rica was among those considered women-friendly. Here's what USA Today said about Costa Rica:

By Jessica Labrencis and RaeJean Stokes, SmarterTravel.com Staff

Much of Latin America has a bad reputation as being unsafe for women, with tales of "forward" men, pick-pocketing, and harassment prevalent. However, Costa Rica has been increasingly popular with Americans, and it's considered one of the safest Latin American destinations, particularly outside of San Jose, the capital.

Editor-in-Chief of travelgirl magazine, Stephanie Oswald, recommends Costa Rica based on two visits to the country. Before she and a girlfriend left for Costa Rica on one of her trips, other friends were concerned about the two women traveling without other companions. But the trip went smoothly, with Oswald and her friend driving both the city streets of Quepos and unpaved, mountainous roads to Monteverde, without incident.

Oswald says that she found the locals to be friendly, and had a particularly positive experience that might have turned out differently in another country. At a restroom stop, Oswald left her wallet behind, complete with at least $100 and her passport. When she contacted the U.S. Embassy, the wallet had already been returned and the person who returned it also included a small handcrafted wall hanging. "I have it hanging in my kitchen to remind me of how nice the people are," Oswald says.

Costa Ricans have adopted the motto "pura vida" or "pure life," which has various meanings, but roughly translates to "living the good life." Many locals with this attitude seem very laid-back, and go out of their way to help visitors. In April 2005, I had several positive experiences with locals, and one in particular has stayed in my memory. In La Fortuna, as my friend and I descended a steep hill on a hot day, a man in a pick-up truck pulled over and offered us a ride. In the U.S., I never would have accepted the ride, but I felt so safe in Costa Rica that I hopped in. The man dropped us off a few blocks from our hotel with a wave.

Costa Rica is also a good destination for women on a budget. Comfortable, safe accommodations are available for less than $40 per night, and Costa Rica has plenty of ecotourism and luxury accommodations as well. Shared vans shuttle small groups of tourists around the country so you don't have to rely on public buses or a rental car.

Friday, August 18, 2006

New refuge for leatherback turtles

Photo by PRETOMABy Alejandra Vargas
La Nacion

In order to protect the nesting site of some five leatherback turtles and of an undisclosed number of other species, all endangered, Costa Rica established the Caletas-Ario Wildlife Refuge in the Nicoya Peninsula.

Noah Anderson, of the Turtle Restoration Program (PRETOMA) in Spanish, said that only some 1,000 leatherback turtles nest all along the Pacific Coast of the Americas, and that Costa Rica is blessed with the fact that some 60 individuals come to nest here.

Anderson also pointed out that the fact that only five leatherbacks nest at Caletas Beach tells about how endangered the world population is. The new refuge protects many other species, both in its land as well as in its marine areas.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Costa Rica esta caliente! (Costa Rica is hot!)

I found this video on YouTube.com and I think it's pretty cool. The video not only is made by a Costa Rican musician, but it has a catchy tune and shows some nice images of Costa Rica and it's people. So as a way to promote this artist, the country and its tourism I share it with all of you. The video is in black and white and the music could be described as a kind of Latin Rap I think. I hope you enjoy it!

Uri R.

The use of a high-speed internet connection to watch the video is recommended.