Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fossil Land: the geological theme park in Costa Rica

Fossil Land is a theme park focusing on its special tropical habitat. It's an eco-friendly attraction in Patarra de San Antonio de Desamparados located less than a half an hour and 12 kms. (about 7 miles) from downtown San Jose.

Fossil Land, which opened in 2002, teaches its visitors about the geology of Central America in a fun and educational way.

Its main attraction is Fossil Mountain, consisting of limestone rock standing tall at 1,400 meters (4,550 feet). Adorning its surface is an assortment of ancient marine fossils captured within the mountain rock.

The majority of fossils are of the shellfish variety, but the rock also contains preserved crabs, algae, clams, and other long-deceased sea creatures.

There's also The "Passage to the Sky." A rappelling adventure that allows participants to defy gravity by descending backwards off a 75 meter-high (244-foot) cliff with the help of a rope and harness.

"The Great Abyss" journey takes you into the depths of a cavern to admire its stalactites, stalagmites and cathedrals.

The "Total Perception" tour offers a less-physically demanding, yet fascinating, tour of the premises. The staff gives lessons on limestone refining, plate tectonics and environmental responsibility through team-building "missions." Due to its emphasis this tour attracts numerous school groups per week.

Other tours with educational, interactive and recreational activities, such as the "Prehistoric Expedition," are also available for school groups and the general public.

Fossil Land also organizes birthday parties for children. More recently a paint ball area, rides in quads, and a helicopter ride were added to the attractions of Fossil Land.

The Fossil Land packages include transportation from and to San Jose as well as lunch, so all a visitor needs is to bring tennis shoes.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Jaguars in Costa Rica

A female jaguar (Panthera onca) is seen in the rainforests of Costa Rica on February 2, 2006. The jaguar, which is one of Central America's largest carnivores, has lost 37% of its historic range. In Costa Rica it can still be found in the lower levels of the Cordillera of Talamanca, and in the Tortuguero, Santa Rosa, Corcovado and Rio Macho National Parks. (Photo: REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Puntarenas welcomes cruise ship season

Costa Rica expects to receive 200 cruise ships this year in the highly competitive market that includes Mexico, Honduras, and Panama, according to Costa Rican Tourism Minister Carlos Benavides. Here are some scenes from the Pacific port city of Puntarenas and the festivites they put together to welcome the tourists and mark the start of the "cruise ship season" (All photos by Kent Gilbert/AP)

Costa Rican school girls parade in the Pacific port of Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006.

A passenger of the Infinity cruise ship walks past a local tourist bus taking visitors on a tour of the Pacific port of Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2006.

Tourists walk past the Infinity and Regal Princess cruise ships at the Pacific port of Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2006.

A passenger of the Infinity cruise ship poses for a picture next to a pelican in the Pacific port of Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2006.