Wednesday, July 25, 2007

El Punto Guanacasteco video

Today Costa Rica celebrates the Annexation of Guanacaste. All around the country Ticos commemorate Guanacaste's decision to join Costa Rica instead of Nicaragua in 1824.

Fiestas in Liberia, Guanacaste, and other provinces include parades, cattle shows, bullfights the Costa Rican way, concerts, folk dances and more.

The music on the video is called el Punto Guanacasteco, a traditional Guancastecan dance. The peculiarity of this dance is that it's often stopped to let the dancers shout the traditional "bombas," short verses that usually deal with Costa Rican women and the Costa Rican life.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rafiki: Costa Rica's own African refuge for Tapirs

Rafiki is a family owned lodge. It was established in Costa Rica by The Boshoff family. They started the project in 1999 in hopes of using tourism to build a wildlife refuge and Tapir re-introduction program. The first stage of the project, the lodge and cabins, was completed in December of 2002.

Currently the lodge sees travelers from all over the world. Their contributions have helped develop the nessecary contacts and cultural understanding to undertake the second stage of Rafiki.

Stage 2 of Rafiki is to build a fence around about 60 acres of forest, construct a Veterinary facility, and begin the process of attaining and transporting tapirs. The animals will come from captive environments, but will hopefully one day roam free through the Savegre Valley.

Currently there is a corridor designated for tapirs, El Paso de la Danta, which passes through Rafiki's property. This means that Rafiki is not an ecological island, making our released animals very important to the genetic diversity of the tapirs of Costa Rica.

The philosophy of Rafiki's project is of South African in origin. Essentially, through the use of tourism as a means to generate capital, animals can be given a second chance where local hunting pressures and loss of habitat have decimated their populations.

The tourism that enters the area generates employment opportunity in both the project itself, and also in expanding local economy. Rafiki is highly involved in the local community and will be providing scholarships to aspiring student who choose to pursue careers in eco-tourism, biology, veterinary sciences, or any such related fields.

With the help of the travelers that visit, Rafiki serves as an example to other projects in Costa Rica and around the world, showing that sustainible tourism is a viable means to protect and restore the ecology of a given location.

If you have any questions about the wildlife refuge or the Tapir re-introduction program, please write to info@rafikisafari.com.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Twenty thousand people per year visit the Guayabo archeological monument

According to data from the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT), the Guayabo Archeological Monument, located by the skirts of the Turrialba volcano, approximately 19 kilometers from the town that carries the same name, in the province of Cartago, receives 20,000 visitors per year.

The area consists of 217 hectares and although the archeological area has an extension of 15 to 20 hectares, only a small portion has been excavated.

These excavations, initiated in 1968 by the Costa Rican archeologist Carlos Aguilar Piedra, brought light to aqueducts, staircases, paved roads, tombs, rock engravings, sculptures, and hillocks. It was declared National Monument in 1980.

Recently, several businessmen, along with the Government and the Municipality introduced the Tayutic Foundation, an initiative aimed at uniting efforts to promote cultural tourism and rescue this monument.

Artistic and gastronomical workshops, a compilation of legends and cooperation with the surrounding indigenous towns are part of the proposal, which began only three months ago.

The Minister of Tourism, Carlos Ricardo Benavides, emphasized on the importance of promoting cultural tourism in this region.

The purpose of the Tayutic Foundation (Tayutic: Heliconia Caribea in Latin, meaning Yellow or Golden Heliconia Flower in indigenous language), is to convert the region into a model of cultural tourism. The first part of the plan is to offer artistic workshops to the communities around Guayabo.

The foundation also tries to compile legends and recipes from this region to later publish them.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Costa Rica nominated for the World Travel Awards 2007

(ICT) - Costa Rica has been nominated for the World Travel Awards 2007 in several categories, including:

• Central & Latin America's Leading Beach: Jaco Beach
• Central & Latin America's Leading Dive Destination: Catalina Islands, located in the North Pacific region of Costa Rica.
• Central & Latin America's Leading Watersports Resort: Occidental Grand Papagayo Hotel
• Central & Latin America's Leading Destination: San Jose, Costa Rica

The World Travel Awards in the industry of tourism are equivalent to the “Oscars” in the movie industry. It is the most prestigious and complete recognition in the world travel industry.

These awards were established in 1993 with the purpose of recognizing and celebrating the excellence of world travel and the tourism industry through thousands of votes from professional travelers of 160 thousand agencies in more than 200 countries worldwide.

The America's Awards Ceremony will take place in New York on September 17, 2007; while the Annual World Travel Awards Gala Ceremony will take place in Turks & Caicos Islands on December 12, 207.

The selection of nominees is based on previous annual votes and on the recommendations of professionals from the travel industry.

For further information, and to see the complete list of nominees for Latin and Central America click here.