Posts Tagged With: Blog

 
 

Sorry to say, but happy to say at the same time

My new project My Life Book has taken over my life. In a week we have already gained almost 5K members! That is great. So much of my time is now spent there I can no longer keep this up over here as well.

So Best of Costa Rica now has a presence on MLB. All blogs and other items will be posted there. This site will stay here for achive purposes, but anything new will be posted on Best of Costa Rica’s coffee house page. Please follow me over on MLB.  You will get everything you get here, but there. If you sign up before Monday you get a free lifetime membership. After Monday there is a yearly subscription fee depending on what you wish to do.

Here are two video’s for MLB. Hope you enjoy them and will join us over there. Look us up.

Hopefully I will see you there!

Pura Vida!

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, YouTube, Photo, Facebook Posts, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Life Book

The beta is open up and ready to go. There is a free blog application that I just installed! You can blog there and export to your site or you can blog on your site and import to My Life Book. Your choice. It works great! Fast and easy! I am accepting the 1st 2K users will get free membership for life! After I reach 2K it will be a $5 yearly subscription fee. That is nothing for the privacy you will get unlike other social networks. There will be true freedom at My Life Book. Come join us! Click on the images below.

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Dental Procedure in Costa Rica

I asked a local dentist to send me some information on a new procedure they are doing and this is what I received. My wife uses them and she loves them! I hope you will enjoy it.

Over the past few decades, Costa Rica and plastic or cosmetic surgery have been become almost interchangeable. For the wealthy who wish to have their surgery in private, Costa Rica has become an internationally recognized center for high quality cosmetic surgery. Many consider it the ideal place to have surgery, due to its almost perfect weather and the peaceful natural surroundings in which to recuperate.

Due to the aforementioned reasons, we are able to offer the same or better quality than what you might receive in your own home town at a much better price. All this bined with the highly trained staff and quality medical facilities combine to make Costa Rica a much more desirable place to have dental work done.

If you are considering having cosmetic dental work done, we certainly hope you will consider a visit to Costa Rica. The savings you will enjoy, can also end up paying for a very nice vacation and more. Costa Rica dental implants are considerably less expensive, as are most other cosmetic surgery procedures, materials and treatments in Costa Rica.

Today I would like to speak to you about how much dentistry has radically changed over the past 20 years. For instance, in the past, we performed full mouth rehabilitation using large bone grafts involving complex hip grafting to restore a patient who was edentulous, that is being essentially toothless. As implant dentistry has become more technologically sophisticated we are able to address this condition in a more efficient and less invasive way. This name for this new technique is the All on 4. This new surgical procedure has become very popular because now we can treat many edentulous patients in a more economical and efficient way to obtain the best result for the patient in the shortest amount of time with less trauma. This new technique means fewer bone grafts, less aggressive surgery, more efficient use of implants with the tremendous benefit of having fixed non removable temporary bridges fabricated and attached at the time of surgery. You literally walk out of the office with a full set of teeth in one day! The advanced bone grafting protocol involving a mix of new materials has, in most cases, eliminated the need for complex bone grafts. This new grafting procedure has proven itself to be very successful and has become the medical standard. Using 3D technology permits us to fabricate a custom internal titanium frame structure for your temporary and permanent bridges. This results in a very precise fit over the implants and provides a long term resolution for edentulous patients, plus the maintenance of the bridges is simple and has a very low cost. Once again everything now is greatly simplified. With the new protocol the patient can be seen early in the morning and they can literally walk out with their temporary teeth fixed to their implants for one or both arches in a few hours. I have been doing this protocol for over two years now with excellent results. I will be more than happy to make myself available to call you to go through the process and explain it in greater detail. Also, I now operate my practice in a new, English fluent, multi-million, state-of-the-art facility with its own laboratory in San Jose.

I invite you to come and visit us at your pleasure to meet the staff and tour our new facilities. Please call 305.517.5172 to arrange a phone consultation or tour of the new facility.

Pura Vida!

 

 

 

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Costa Rica starts imposing immigration law from 2010 as of 8/1/14

Costa Rica News – Seems that Costa Rica has finally decided to start getting imposing laws in regards to illegal immigration and visa status in the country. The $100 a month fine for over staying your visa is finally being implemented. There are also fines for hotels and landlords that are housing those that do not have legal visa status.  The question is will this have a negative effect in Costa Rica down the line?

nicaragua-costa-rica-border 1On 1st August, the Director General for Migration and Immigration announced that from that day forward, they would be imposing fines on employers with workers in either construction or the domestic service if they couldn’t prove the legal residency of these workers.

Kathya Rodríguez, the General Director of Migration, explains that the penalty range between ¢798.800 to ¢4,8 million, depending on the degree of the breach of the law.

This is how the General Migration Law is set up, which became valid on 1st March 2010. However, collection of these imposed fines was often not properly organised; firstly due to an amnesty, and then due to an extension period which lasted around 2 years.

Rodriguez and the Government’s vice-Minister, Carmen Muñoz, explained that they were awarded a new extension, but one which would apply only to employers in agricultural industries.

Businesses in this sector would have from now until the 31st January 2015 to put themselves down on a special register. Following that, they would have a year in which to work through the entire legalisation process.

Migration Police, by paying attention to complaints and general disruption, will be working to detect any sorts of irregularities surrounding migrant workers.

In the case of domestic workers they will be assessing their treatment, if they are receiving minimum wage and any bonuses or benefits they may be receiving; not just their own immigration status. The higher the number of breaches found, the higher the penalty to the employer will be.

For cases outside the agricultural sector, Migration will keep the same entry policy as normal. During past extensions, it was possible to begin the immigration process for a person who illegally entered the country; from the 1st August, this will no longer be an option.

Rodriguez said that they would only process cases where the person in question has had some sort of migration status, or where they still hold a valid passport.

First paragraph added by Dan Stevens, rest of article translated by Leah Hendre from La Nacion

Pura Vida! Well maybe not any more for some! This could get ugly.

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Driving in Costa Rica

I get this question all the time, “Should I rent a car when I come to Costa Rica to drive myself?” That is actually a very good question. When we came to Costa Rica for the 1st time in Nov. 2012 we brought a friend with us who has a son who lives here with his mother. He is familiar with the area and how they drive here so it was a win for us. He made it seem so easy. He found everywhere we wanted to go, driving was a breeze for him and it just seemed so simple.

We go home and decide this is the place for us. Our purpose of our trip was to look at houses and to live here for 10 days to see if we would like it. We did! Feb. of 2013 we moved here. Our friend Will made driving here look so easy I decided I would rent a car. We get into the airport at 8pm. Great! We head out and can’t seem to find where to go pick up our car? Damn!  We walk though the parade of taxi and bus people trying to get us to use them. We finally walk past all of those and are looking around. Nope nothing. So I call and they send a pickup for us. Great!!! Now we are on our way.

We get to the rental place and get all signed in and they get our car ready. A nice gentleman puts our bag in the car. I am talking to the rental agent and trying to get directions to our hotel. He gives me this map (I am horrible with maps!) OK, no problem he writes on it which directions to go and tells me to go out turn, than turn at the end of the road take it down past the bridge and yada yada yada giving me land marks to look for in true Tico (I didn’t know this than) fashion. Many times they use places like the Coke factory (Which has been closed for years) as a land mark, but luckily the sign is still there. Or you get turn left after the cow tied to the big mango tree. Sorry for people if that farmer ever lets that cow loose or has it for dinner. Off we go me thinking I can do this! My wife thinking, “Oh God we are never going to find this place!”. She knows me so well.

We get in the car and off we go. OK made the turn, yep I see the bridge OK going good. Wait what? That’s not a road! Keep going. Oh wait maybe it was. Nope didn’t look like one and there was no sign. Keep going, and going, and going. Nope I think we missed it.

So to make a long story shorter than it already isn’t. We arrive at 8 pm we didn’t get to a hotel (not ours) until midnight. After driving and driving and driving I stopped and asked a taxi driver to take me to the hotel. Well little did I know there were two of them with that name so he took me to the old one not the new one. I got a room and the actual hotel send a car in the morning to take us to the right hotel that was and I kid you not 10 min drive from the car rental place! Yep that was our 1st adventure in Costa Rica. I did however get to see a lot of Costa Rica that day! Back to what this article is about.

We have now been hear in Costa Rica for 1 year and 5 months! I have learned a number of things that will help you should you decide to drive yourself here in Costa Rica. Before I give you my top things you need to know one of the basic things you need is a course in defensive driving! You will need it! Here are my top things to know about driving in Costa Rica.

1. Laws we don’t need no damn laws! All traffic laws are just suggestions. You come to an intersection with a stop sign, expect someone isn’t going to stop! Be careful of any intersection no matter if it is a stop sign, a red light, a flashing yellow on their end, it doesn’t matter. Always check and be on the look out. Now should you be caught in violation of those rules you will be stopped and fined. So follow them, but know others may not!

OH and by the way this bike is for sale. :-) It is located in MD. Titan 9/11 tribute bike called “Rudy” That is Peter Reckell from Days of our lives. I bought it from him.

2. 2 Wheels Cool and 4 wheels drool! 2 wheel vehicles will come out of no where and dart in and out like nobody’s business. They will cut you off, they will come up behind you and along side of you even if there isn’t really a lane on either side. They are going to be hard to see and God help you if you are not on the look out for them.  They seem to think they rule the road and they really do not have to pay attention to any rules at all! None!

3. Honk if I’m sexy! Oh yea! They love to honk their horn! All the time and for any and all reasons. In the states we were always taught that you don’t honk unless it is an emergency! Here if you sit 2 seconds past the light changing they honk. They like your car they honk. You are going to slow for them they honk. They want you to get the hell out of their way they honk. They win the world cup match they honk like mad!!!! That one I understand! Go Tico! They didn’t win but they did one hell of a job. They see a pretty girl or a nice looking guy they honk. I think you get it they honk a lot!

This is a 2 way 2 lane highway. See a problem?

4. Leap Car anyone? If there is a car in front of you than you must pass it! It doesn’t matter if they are going the speed limit if they are in front of them they must speed up and pass any vehicle that is in front of them. I totally understand when there are slow moving cars or those big trucks that can’t do the hills. If I am going 10 km over the speed limit and you still feel the need to pass me you go right ahead. Make sure you honk at me as you pass me as well. :-)

5. Chicken anyone? Watch for vehicles coming at you in your lane!!! Again the whole passing thing. If they have to drive in the wrong lane to pass they will do so and will do so as long as they feel they can. I was driving on day and we had two lanes on our side and there was a very slow moving 18 wheeler on my right side lane so I was in the left. There was only a single lane for the oncoming traffic and it was a down hill thing. We had a double yellow line meaning neither I nor they should cross as well all know. Well good luck with that. A truck pulls out into my lane to pass the 18 wheeler and 3 other vehicles that were in front of him moving slowly down the hill. So I keep going and going and he is getting closer and closer and closer. Finally I had to speed up to pass the cars on my right so that I can swerve to the right so that he misses me by inches and he cuts off the 18 wheeler to miss me. Vehicles coming at you in your lane is not uncommon here. Either for passing or because the road on their side is so bad they need to move into your lane. Its just how it is.

6. No Hay Paso (gringo speak Do not enter one way) Yea ok sure! remember rule number 1. I can’t tell you how many times vehicles have come the wrong direction on a road just because it is quicker. I understand it to a point because sometimes in towns the way they have roads flowing just doesn’t makes sense. If it say do not enter don’t enter just because you are in a hurry.

7. Here a Tico there a Tico everywhere a Tico. Yes most don’t have cars so they walk everywhere. Day, night doesn’t matter the time you will have people walking in and along the street. Why? There are no sidewalks really. So driving at night can be a little dangerous as some like to walk in the road and wearing all black!!!!!!! Some do have reflective gear. Some don’t. People will ride bikes everywhere they go as well so they fall under rule #2 above. Now most people on bikes do wear reflective gear or have something reflective on their bike and some don’t.

8. Bark, Bark, Hissss, Moo, and Cockadoodledo. When driving please, please watch for the animals. There are a lot of street dogs that wonder the roads, or just sit in the middle of the road. That one I don’t understand as you would think as hot as it gets here the road would be so hot for them. Not sure how they can stand to do that. Most won’t chase your car. I always say if a dog barks at your car and chases you its an expat its not from here. Yes dogs, cats, cows, horses, rooster and chickens can all be found wondering the roads. Not just the back roads, but the main highways as well. So don’t think just because you are traveling a highway like 27 that there won’t be an animal or two or 20 that you must contend with!

9. Stop Police! There are a couple different types of police here, but for this article I will only speak about the Traffic police. There are usually somewhere a check point setup. If you are here for a few days or a week or living here now you will at the very least see one. If they step out and wave you down stop!!!!! You really don’t want them to come chance you and they will. They are checking to see if you are here legally. They will ask for the drivers passport and valid drivers licenses. Now a couple schools of thought on this. Most will only carry a copy of the front of their passport and the current visa stamped page. I hear that is ok. I carry my actual passport. I have heard stories of the police taking the actual passport and requiring you to pay them to get it back. I have never had that issue (*knock on wood) I also have only been stopped 1 in 15 months. The one time I was stopped my passport was in the back seat in my man purse. Yes I have a purse and I am secure enough to admit it! :-) They did let me get it, but he was willing to accept my wife’s as well who was sitting next to me. So up to you, but stop if they stop you! Only the traffic police can give you a ticket. The regular policía are for criminal activities only. The tráfico policía can only stop you for traffic violations. Now the tráfico policía are usually accompanied by regular policía at the traffic stops so that if you are in violation of immigration rules or criminal laws they can lock you up.

10. Last and by no means least! GPS systems actually do a fairly decent job here. Not wonderful, but most do work. So if you have one and it has Costa Rica maps that you can download you should do it. Get that done before you come and bring it with you. Do not leave it in plain site or anything of value when you leave your car. There is one system that I happen to love! It is called Waze! If you have a smart phone download it! You will love it. Our GPS is about 90% accurate with roads and such but Waze is 99.99% up to date at all times. Its great! If you have data on your phone it will give you live up to date traffic conditions from accidents to traffic stops! All entered by other Waze members as it happens. It really is great!

Not taken in Costa Rica, but it sums it up! :-)

So, that pretty much covers it. I am working on compiling some video’s of how they drive here and once I get that done I  will post it. I have a lot of footage to go though to pull out the specific examples so that is going to take a while to get done. I will get it done and post it here. So enjoy visiting Costa Rica and driving here. Really just use your head and be alert at all times and you should be fine. Think of it this way if you get lost what an adventure! Be sure to stop at the local places where you are lost and check things out, takes some pictures and enjoy it! Sample the local food and maybe just maybe if you don’t speak English you will run into someone who does and they will help you find your way. Even sometimes when you don’t speak Spanish you can still get a taxi driver to help you out like I did! Just pay them for their meter to take you where you need to go! That is what I did! Oh I almost forgot make sure you rental is a min. of 6 cylinders under the hood or you could be one of those slow moving cars on the road!

Pura Vida! 

 

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Costa Rica Night life? YouTube Videos of the day

What is Costa Rica Night Life like? This question has been asked of me many time. Since I usually am in the house by 9 pm I really couldn’t tell you. Yes I am that old. Well not really. Just not big on the night life scene. So here are some videos that hopefully will show it. Enjoy!

Pretty typical bar type of music and such. Than there is this type. If you don’t want to see 1/2 necked woman dancing on bars don’t play these videos. Also if you don’t like talk about prostitution here in Costa Rica read no further. I try to give all sides and prostitution is a part of the night life here. I just want to state I am not promoting this activity in any way. These are the facts. 

So this brings me to talking about Prostitution here in Costa Rica. Is it legal? The short answer is yes it is. Is it regulated? No. It is not like it is in other countries such as Germany or Amsterdam. In these countries unlike Costa Rica all the girls and guys have regular health checks and ID cards. Health checks are offered and free to prostitutes here in Costa Rica, but very few actually get them done. There is no way to know for sure if they have had it. Again no regulation at all.

Pimping is illegal in Costa Rica, but like most things here it is very lax on its enforcement. Again like most things if you are an expat and think of going into this business where locals are concerned it is lax with you they will not be so. You will at min. be deported if caught and worst jailed! You do not want to spend time for pimping in a Costa Rica jail as an Expat.

The age of consent is 18 year old. No if’s, no and’s,  no “I didn’t know she wasn’t 18″. or “She told me she was 18″. 18 is the age a person can charge for sex and do not get caught with or even offering to compensate them in any way to have sex if they are under the age of 18. Again deportation and or jail! By the gods people on Facebook are insane. So don’t look at, don’t offer, don’t speak to, don’t talk to anther person to have them make an offer to anyone under the age of 18 about sex, compensation for sex or anything else that goes along with sex. Simple 18 good under 18 bad get you thrown in jail and or deported in Costa Rica. I assumed that my The age of consent is 18 years old would have covered all of this, but some people need it spelled out for them. Insanity people insanity. 

So how do you know? Fake id’s are easy to get here. So that doesn’t help. There are a number of options. Massage parlous are you best option. They have set prices and the establishment get about 50% of what you pay. Remember I said pimping is not allowed? This like all things in Costa Rica is the work around. They do not consider this pimping. The reason this is the best option as the rooms are there and available and you do not have to go rent a hotel or bring them back to where you are staying.

Pickup bars are you 2nd best option. The girls hang out there and you will know who they are it is very clear. They are independent and set their own prices. No one takes a cut from them. The will tell you what they are willing to do and not do. It is my understanding everything is negotiable with them unlike other option that have set prices. No negotiations with the other options. The price is the price. Now here is the down side of this way of doing it. You have to provide the room. You have to be very careful when you book your room that they will allow prostitutes in. Many do not! Now other hotels will allow them in, but they will charge you an outrageous fee to do so. Again this is not pimping. :-) yea right. DO NOT and I can not stress this enough DO NOT take them to where you are staying!  Make sure you know what you are getting into before you book your room. Do it a head of time and ask the right questions before you book. If you are embarrassed about saying, “I want to book a room to have a prostitute for the night” you may not want to go looking for one using this option. Use the option above.

You next option is strip clubs. Now these while they are the 3rd best option are very dangerous. They work the same way as the massage parlous as they have a set price. The establishment gets about 50%, but there are many stories of people being held at gunpoint and being robbed or having huge charges on their bills and not being allowed to leave until it is paid. You must be very careful if the option you choose is a strip club.

Your last and final option and really should not be an option is street girls. This is the most dangerous. Really you won’t know what you are getting until you get them back to your room. I have been told that many are not as they seem. You may think you are getting a woman and when you get them back to your room “Crying Game!!!!” Those of you who don’t not understand that reference its really a man and not a woman. Many especially here in Costa Rica make very nice looking woman! So be careful! You are also more vulnerable to being robed this way. There is no way to really verify their age! This is a big problem! The other options above all involve establishments that will be sure that everyone is 18 or older. Please don’t chose this option.

While yes it is mainly men who do this there are many woman who also seek this type of service. The services also extends to people who are looking for gay hook ups as well. Costa Rica does have many options and many choices n this regard. You must know what you are getting yourself into and be very careful. It isn’t a world you want to really do with out knowing what you are doing. Check out everything ahead of time.

NBC report on the Sex Tourism in Costa Rica

So there you have it the Good, The Bad, and the Ugly side of the Night life in Costa Rica.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, News, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HOME FRIES AND FAUX POTATOES

HOME FRIES
This can be a lifesaver for a meat and potatoes man (or woman). 
Recipe from Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance.

4 slices bacon (3¼ ounce or 93 grams)
2½ cups (15½ ounces) Rutabaga Faux Potatoes (See following recipe.)
½ cup (2½ ounces) peeled and chopped onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Chop and reserve. Pour off the fat from the pan. Measure 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and return to pan. Sauté  the cooked rutabaga, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add onion to the skillet with rutabaga and sauté until the onion is soft. Add the reserved bacon and the salt and pepper and cook until heated through.

“I appreciate the potato only as protection against famine, except for that, I know of nothing more eminently tasteless.”– Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825

Makes 5 servings of ½ cup.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 7.8 g; Protein: 3.7 g; Fiber: 2 g; Fat: 2.9 g; Calories: 77
Total weight: 14 ounces or 398 grams
Weight per serving: 2¾ ounces or 78 grams
Preparation time: 5 minutes active; 20 total

Notes: RUTABAGA
Some sources list the carbohydrate count for rutabaga as being higher than that for turnips; some list them as being about the same. I prefer rutabaga as a potato substitute because it is a bit milder and the texture is more like potatoes, but rutabagas and turnips can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

Buy the smallest, freshest rutabagas you can find. Fresh ones will be heavy for their size and they will feel firm to the touch. Avoid ones that have been waxed to give them a longer shelf life; they may feel hard but the older they are, the stronger they will taste.

~~

RUTABAGA FAUX POTATOES (Basic Recipe)
Try this when you are missing those hash browns and home fries. They may not pass for russets, but they are very much like Yukon gold potatoes. Unless you tell them, your guests may be convinced that they are eating potatoes.

3 small rutabagas (about 1¼ pounds total)
2 walnuts in the shell
1 slice of lemon with peel, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Sweetener, if needed

Peel the rutabaga and dice into ½- to 1-inch cubes. Simmer for 10 minutes in a generous amount of water to which you have added salt and pepper and the 2 whole walnuts. Change the water if desired, add the lemon, if using, and continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes more or until fork tender. Drain well. Discard walnuts and lemon. Return the rutabaga to the pan on low heat and stir a minute or two longer to dry. Taste the rutabaga and if it is bitter, sprinkle with a small amount of sugar substitute. Use like potatoes in soups or chowders or to make faux potato salad or Home Fries. (See previous recipe.)

Notes: Adding walnuts in the shell to the cooking liquid will neutralize the odor of cooking cabbage; I have discovered that it also helps counteract the turnip or cabbage flavor of similar vegetables, like cauliflower and rutabaga. Lemon also helps to neutralize strong flavors. Changing the water once while boiling makes them even milder.

If the recipe you will be using calls for cream, rinse the rutabaga well after draining to remove any trace of the lemon so the cream won’t curdle.

“There is nothing so tragic on earth as the sight of a fat man eating a potato.”
– Vance Thompson, Eat and Grow Thin, 1914

Makes 5 servings of ½ cup each.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 6.5 g; Protein: 1.4 g; Fiber: 2.9 g; Fat: 0.2 g; Calories: 41
Total weight: 15½ ounces or 440 grams
Weight per serving: 3 ounces or 88 grams
Preparation time: 15 minutes active; 35 minutes total

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Water sports in Costa Rica

Water sports in Costa Rica: Unlimited thrills for you by Costa Rica Dave

If you get an adrenaline rush from participating in water sports, head over to Costa Rica, one of the world’s best destinations for this. Its superb climate, virgin beaches, tropical rainforests and whacky night life all add to the charm of this paradise on earth.

The best thing about enjoying water sports here is that you can come to this country at any part of the year and you can enjoy all the water sports they have to offer. The large gushing lakes and rivers and the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean make it the best place to enjoy water sports.

Here are some of them that you’re sure to enjoy:

Whitewater rafting: Central America’s best rapids are in Costa Rica which are suited to novice rafters and experienced ones too. The best rivers for rafting are Río Reventazón and Río Pacuare. It’s best to raft in all parts of the year except June to October.

Fishing: Serious fishers consider this an amazing place for fishing. They bring their personally owned equipment and fish here for hours. The winter is the best time to come fishing here and you can also take a fishing tour, if you like.

Waterfall rappelling: Something that water sports enthusiasts love indulging in, waterfall rappelling gives you a real close look at the waterfalls here. Also called canyoning, waterfall rappelling excursions can be taken between Manuel Antonio and Arenal, though the best spot is Los Chorros Waterfall, a superb cascading waterfall all of 180 feet. This highly visited tourist spot is very close to San Jose.

Sea kayaking: Here’s something not as stomach curdling as other water sports. Sea kayaking can be done on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean side at sunset. You can also go kayaking on the bays along the Pacific Ocean. You can rent a kayak from most of Costa Rican beaches for an hour or for a maximum of one day.

Scuba diving: Scuba diving is popular here because divers love the warm waters here. Additionally, there are unimaginably beautiful coral reefs on the side of the Caribbean Sea that you can see at Playa Manuel Antonio (Pacific), Gandoca-Manzanilla (Caribbean), Isla del Caño (Pacific), Cahuita (Caribbean) and Parque Nacional Ballena Marina (Pacific). Here, you can also see several species of crustaceans and dolphins.

Along the Pacific Ocean coast, you can dive at these locations: Playas del Coco, Bahia Drake, Playa Ocotal and Playa Hermosa.

Surfing: You can find just the waves you want on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Manuel Antonio, one of the most superlative Costa Rican beaches, is home to surfers and also has surf camps where beginners can learn the sport. Here, surfing also takes the forms of standup paddle surfing and windsurfing, which you can enjoy at Lake Arenal at the foothills of Arenal Volcano. This is the country’s top destination for windsurfing, so die-hard windsurfers will never leave this country without spending some valuable time here.

If these sports grab you, come to Costa Rica and enjoy what thrills you most–water sports.

 Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


 

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Restaurant Review: La Divina Comida

La Divina Comida

We have had dinner here 3x now and it has been very consistent with is quality, price and presentation. Now it is not a cheap place to eat so you are not going to go here everyday. It is what I call Fu-Fu food. In other words very high end stuff. As far as high end food goes the price for what you get is pretty good.

Let us begin with the food. We were here on the day we went to Cartago. We stopped in for dinner. There were 4 of us so the bill was up there.

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This was our free starter. It was a little over grilled for me, but tasty none the less. The butter was an herb butter and it was very, very good! The bread was soft and warm. Again free! So even better!

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Ceviche Limeno. The lemon was a little over powering, but it had a nice flavor to it. Warning there is octopus in there so if you don’t like that kind of thing you may want to avoid this dish. Presentation was nice, but a bit over sauced really. This cost 5,609.76 colones or $10.36. It was a good portion and I think worth the price. It can most definitely be shared by two!

 

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Believe it or not this is a salad. Ensalad Arugula. A wonderfully tasty salad. One of the BEST SALADS I have had in Costa Rica! Yes the Salad Nazi said it is one of the BEST SALADS in Cost Rica! It had flavor and needed no dressing at all. The avacodo on top was wonderful! Nuts and leafy greens and all sorts of stuff put into that stack! I love how they stacked it! 7,235.77 colones or $13.36 and again enough that two could share it and make an nice salad appetizer.

 

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Lomito Funghi was very good. The sauce was very nice! The grilled veggies had a good seasoning on them. Now that steak was cooked to perfection Medium rare as I like mine. Sometimes I like it more on the rare side, but this was as I asked for it. The meat this trip was just a little tougher than I am use to having from it, but still nothing that horrible. Just needs to be mentioned. This cost 14,552.85 colones or $26.88. Now that is a bit on the high side. If the meat was a little more tender I would say sure. I would have been comfortable paying maybe $18.00 for this. So no I wouldn’t order this one again. While the presentation and it was cooked to perfection the tenderness and amount puts this more at $18 and not $27.

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Lomito Saltado and I have no clue what that means, but it is steak medallions. I was told it had a good flavor. The steak was again a little tough to eat. I’m surprised as the other times we have been here the steak has been tender. Not sure of the issue today. This was priced at 9,674.80 colones or $17.87 a little better price with the exception of you get a lot less steak on this plate. Plus you add that it has fries and rice and I’m sorry not at this price. I would not have paid more than $12 for this really, maybe not even that.

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Risotto Lomito Saltado and I was told this was very, very good. The best he has had. He loved the Risotto. Again steak was just a little on the tough side, but he said nothing to really complain about. Again just noting it. This dish was 10,487.80 colones or $19.37. I again would not pay this much for this plate again. Personally if this was priced at $15.00 I would not hesitate to order it again!

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Salmon Cointreau was very good. This was my wife’s dinner. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the veggies were nicely grilled and the butter sauce always makes a big hit with us! The cost of this dish was 9,674.80 so that would be $17.87. Now this I would pay for this dish.

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Mouse Tres Chocolates was scrumptious I was told. Nicely done, looks great and its cost was 3,170.73 r $5.86 an well worth this price. Taste and size makes it worth a try!

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This Suspiro Limento dessert needs to be savored and eaten slowly. It is very rich and very creamy and has just a lovely taste to it. The lime is not over powering and the sweetness is just a great match. We had two of these and the cost was 6,341.46 colones or $11.71  or $5.85 for one. Well worth the price no doubt!!!!!

Now we also had 4 bottle of San Pellegrino 750ml size which came to 9,430.84 colones or $17.42 an we had 1 coke zero which was 1,422.76 colones or $2.63. Now I was surprised to see that if we had all had soda it would of cost more.  Plus side is that Pellegrino is better for you than Coke zero so if you like sparkling water it is a better option here than a coke!

The balance of the meal was 2 Cafe Americano’s which cost 1,951.22 or $3.60 for the two. They were small cups and the typical bad restaurant coffee. We also had 1 herbal mint tea for 813.01 colones or $1.50 which isn’t bad for a cup of tea I guess. Not much of a tea drinker myself. Its as bag so it was what it was nothing special.

Our total price with tax and tip came to 98,850.00 colones on the nose or $182.57 for 4 people so that comes to $45.65 per person. That really doesn’t sound that bad when you break it down like that.

So lets wrap this bad boy up and tie a bow around it shall we. Very nice restaurant inside and out. The place is wonderful. The staff was very, very attentive and took care of our every need. The food had great presentation. The steaks were tough so I had to take a point off for that. The prices for the amount of food was a little high. So again a point off for that as well. The bathroom were very nice, clean, maintained and had what was needed. So would I go back? Sure! Would I get the steak? No. I would go for the seafood next time.

So I give them 3 Rating seashellout of 5. Took off as I stated for the toughness of the steak and the prices. As I stated I would go back no doubt.
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


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What you can see and enjoy in Costa Rica

What you can see and enjoy in Costa Rica

A tropical paradise you could never imagine–that’s the simplest and most appropriate way of describing this stunning country in Central America. The Panama Canal is to this country’s southeast. Beautifully located, this country is home to the most verdant tropical rain forests, lush and dense.

It is also home to the most amazing variety of exotic animals and plant life. Here’s a peek in to what you can see and be fascinated about on your trip to Costa Rica or the “rich coast” in Spanish:

Pristine and stunning beaches: Perhaps you want a quiet holiday by the beach or you may want to indulge in thrillingwater sports. Whatever your level of adrenaline rush, you can visit this miniscule country of 1,200 miles-long of beaches, with rocky coves and bustling coastal small towns.

Lush, dense tropical rainforests: You can also see a wealth of birds, insects and reptiles at the tropical rainforests and the most spectacular views on Earth.

Active volcanoes: Bang on the Pacific Ring of Fire, you will have the opportunity to see Costa Rica’s five volcanoes–each of them active! You can visit them by hiking here and enjoy a lava eruption.

Take your pick of national parks: With over 60 national parks, biological zones in 12 ecologically dense areas, wildlife refuges, you can get a never-before experience of the national parks insideCosta Rica has more than 60 national parks, wildlife refuges and biological zones spread across 12 ecological areas, offering the ultimate rainforest exploration experience. Visit the Manuel Antonio National Park, which though small, is home to four stunning beaches, unforgettable views of the Pacific Ocean, animal life like monkeys, sloths, ocelots, anteaters, etc. Coral reefs here will amaze you just as the occasional dolphin and whale will. You can also go scuba diving from here.

Another national park not to be missed here is the Corcovado National Park, home to over 100 amphibian and reptile species, and big cats, bats, jaguars and over 400 bird species. Don’t miss a trek from here.

Water sports–ride the waves here: If you’re a water sports buff, this is home for you. You can enjoy the water in an amazing array of water sports here, or go out for a small excursion where you can go bungee jumping, horseback riding or hot air ballooning.

Bird life watching: If you love being in the midst of Nature, you can’t leave Costa Rica without bird watching. This country regularly invests inenvironmental protection, so it has a huge and impressive wealth of biodiversity that is home to the world’s endangered species. This makes it a wonderful spot for bird watching tropical birds. You’ll be in the wonderful company of 900 bird species that you can’t find anywhere else.

However you may want to spend your holiday, you can’t do it better anywhere else than in Costa Rica. So, pack your bags and get here soon. There’s so much to see and enjoy here and memories to go home with.

Ready to book your vacation? Click on the link below!

Written by CostaRicaDave Best of Costa Rica Author

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

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UPDATE: 2 Costa Rica fans stabbed, another hit with a bottle in Plaza de la Democracia while watching Netherlands match

No Costa Rica say it isn’t so. :-( Don’t be like the U.S.!!!!!!

Police cleared the front of the Plaza de la Democracia where Costa Ricans were gathered to watch the game after a stabbing that injured at least three. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times

The Public Security Ministry (MSP) released a statement Saturday evening reporting that Red Cross responders attended to three victims from a fight that broke out in the capital’s Plaza de la Democracia. Two victims were injured from a stabbing and a third received treatment after being hit with a bottle. Police arrested eight involved in the disturbance, including one suspect identified by the last names Delgadillo Ruiz who was wanted on a weapon possession charge.

Authorities still don’t know what started the brawl that interrupted an otherwise peaceful gathering. More than 1,000 fans watched Costa Rica and the Netherlands battle for a spot in the World Cup semifinals on a large LED screen at the plaza in downtown San José.

Tico Times reporter Lindsay Fendt, who was at the scene, said that fans toward the back of the plaza did not realize what was unfolding in front of them and continued cheering the national team.

An ambulance arrived soon arrived to the area and removed the injured on stretchers.

Original article continues here:

A Costa Rican fan lies in the Plaza de la Democracía in downtown San José after being stabbed in the back while watching Costa Rica play the Netherlands in the World Cup quarterfinals.AFP

Police and spectators rushed to assist injured Costa Rican fans at the Plaza de la Democracia in San José. Three people were reportedly injured, although the extent of those injuries has not yet been confirmed by authorities.

Fans  gathered in the capital’s public plaza to watch the match. Police have sealed off the scene of the alleged crime and are investigating.

A Costa Rican fan lies on the street after being stabbed in his back in the Parque de la Democracia in downtown San José, while watching Costa Rica play the Netherlands in the World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.AFP

Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times

 

140705worldcupstabbing03

Originally Posted Tico Times
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


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Exchange Rates July 7th 2014

Here are the current exchage rates at BAC San Jose

BAC San Jose exhcange rates
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


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Food Chick Tip

Today’s Chick Tip…..We all have different lifestyles. Weight loss is different for everyone. The key to finding what works for you is experimentation. The two common factors are diet and exercise. Find what works for you and enjoy the ride!

I have been using my Nutri-Bullet for four weeks, once a day five days a week. I have discovered my favorite concoction; organic spinach and blueberries, cantaloupe, banana, almond milk and either chia meal or hemp hearts (sometimes both).
I have noticed a reduction in my fluid retention as well as increased energy levels. In addition I have opted to make my mid afternoon meal the largest meal of the day on most days.

For exercise my goal is five hours of cardio a week with three days of weight training. I mix up my workouts with walking, rowing, hula hooping, circuit and core work. This week I will begin Body Flow classes at my gym.

To date I have lost eight pounds and am six pounds away from my first target weight. I will set my next goal after that.
The key for me is to keep it changing, no monotony.

I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer. This is what works for me. Find what works for you. If you want me to help you I can do that. Contact me for more information through my website, www.thefoodchick.biz

Click here to get you magic bullet from Amazon! Magic Bullet

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


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4th of July Celebration in Costa Rica

I was invited to a 4th of July celebration at a resort here in Costa Rica. The owner Jerry invited me and his lovely wife Maggie who I had yet to meet were wonderful hosts! The party, I think was a great success. He had his staff on hand to help everyone. There were a ton of people there. It was a pot luck type of event. People brought all kinds of side dishes to share. There was the normal BBQ fair of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and such. All the fixings. I got to meet some new people and some people I know sort of though facebook and who know me the same way.

That gathering was very eclectic as there were people there from all over the world. British, Canadan, US, Tico, etc. This just shows that no matter your nationality people will come together for a party and especially if there is free food involved! Even the British who we are celebration our independence were there. :-) I know after over 200 years its all water in the Boston harbor now. :-) I know I am only funny to me.

So of course I had to sample everything! I did just sample I only took a tablespoon of everything that was there. I have to say nothing was disappointing. I think everyone did a wonderful job. They had a really good grill master who handled the grill perfectly. My next BBQ I will most certainly use him.

The highlights of the dishes I tasted, for me were, the meat balls! They were cooked just right and the sauce was very nice. The beans were perfection on a plate. There were a number of sauerkraut type sides which all were tasty. Like I said there wasn’t a dish there that I went, “Oh hell no who made this crap”.

See my video of the day at YouTube Video of the Day  for how not so American our most American celebration really is.

Very nice night the views are amazing from the resort. I could see my house very clearly from his back and front viewing areas. Have to wonder if he uses that telescope he has to watch me nude sunbath? lol Just kidding Jerry.

Now remember I get nothing an accept nothing when I talk up a place be it a restaurant or a resort. This place is a great place to stay if you are coming to Costa Rica. It is a great couples resort no doubt. He put a lot of thought into the design of the rooms as well as how to maximize his views. So if you are coming I would most definitely recommend you stay at Barons Resort. Here are some photo’s of the resort from their facebook page. Barons Facebook

So looking for a nice place to stay while visiting or moving to Costa Rica this really is a place you should try! The view alone is well worth the price. So check them out on the Facebook link.
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


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Final Update on Budget report June Recap

Well I have to admit I have learned a lot from doing this blog. I have learned where to shop and where not to shop no doubt. Pricesmart was way over priced, but I kind of knew that, just didn’t want to admit it to my self. I am now shopping more at that local Coope. Here are the last few days of the budget.

day 24 thur 30

As you can see we did do a little exploring and really all it cost was lunch one day. The other day because I drove both days they treated us for lunch on the 2nd day. Which was very nice. I still haven’t had to fill my gas tank yet. I love my car!!!!! You can see I am $757.73 over budget, but I think you can do it for less.  You really can live for under $2k a month and even under $1k a month and it all depends on how you wish to live. Size of the house, employees, etc. So lets look at how we can trim this thing down and what I have leaned from all of this.

final summary

If we look at the final summary and see what I have removed. You would have $604.14 left on the $2k budget. Now if we add back an amount for additional food because of the eating home more and not out. I also added back 4 of the cheaper meals so you can eat out once a month. Really you could eat our more on that if you know where to go. As you can see I also added Rent of $700 and I still only failed the challenge by $211.12. Really if I would have shopped more local and not at the expensive places I would have come out of this under budget!

So what are the tings I have really learned? I eat out way to much. The place I eat are way expensive and I will now avoid them, as the food and service isn’t any better than the cheaper places. Some of the cheaper places like Dingo’s the food was amazing! Yes I know I owe you all a ton of restaurant reviews! I promise I will get to them. I have all my receipts right here to be sure I remember which ones I need to do. :-)  Dingo’s review is in our trip overview for Zarcero. You can find that blog here: Zarcero when I finalize the Cartago trip there will be two reviews in it since we ate out 2x. Now the dinner I did not include in my budget as it was hella expensive and I knew I would take it out and not include it at all in any of my calculations. I have learned I need to be smarter about how I shop and not just look for what I am familiar with. I’m not going to do and full blown budget like this one, but at the end of July I will give you an update on how well I did in July. See where we end up shall we. Did I really learn anything and could I put what I have learned into action and change my habits? Only time will tell. Oh wait I can’t do it for July we are going back to the states so that won’t be fair. Ok so August.

I think my Goal is going to be in July to find the cheapest and best places to eat in Costa Rica. Yep that is going to be my goal!

Well that wraps it up. I hope you have enjoyed it and have learned a few things. Keep following our blog and we will keep you updated on where we go and the things we do and the bargains we can find in Costa Rica. Have fun today and thanks for reading!!!!
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!


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July events happening around Costa Rica

Celebrate U.S. Independence Day at The American Colony Committee’s annual July 4 picnic at the Cervecería Nacional. Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Fourth of July Picnic

Hot dogs! Games! “The Star-Spangled Banner”! Celebrate Independence Day with the U.S. expat community on the grassy outskirts of San José. Hosted by The American Colony Committee, the Fourth of July Picnic has been a beloved annual celebration since 1961. Read more about this all-American event here.

The picnic takes place July 4 at the Cervercería Nacional, near the Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José. Gates open from 9 a.m.–1 p.m., entrance costs5,000 ($10). For more information, visit the American Colony website.

World Cup: Costa Rica vs. Greece

Costa Rica begins a new round at the World Cup by battling Greece this Sunday. Time to bust out that vuvuzela.

The game starts at 2 p.m. Visit designated “fan zones” in the Plaza de la Democracia or Avenida Escazú for public hi-def screenings. Check out all of our World Cup coverage by clicking on the hashtag #Brazil 2014.

LGBT Pride Parade

Celebrate sexual diversity at this massive, all-inclusive event. The parade features floats, music, and ornate costumes. Read our preview here.

Parade takes place June 29 on Paseo Colón, downtown San José. 10 a.m. Free.

Music: Sonámbulo Psícotropical and 11:11

Costa Rica’s favorite tropical jam band plays El Observatorio in San José, with amazing indie upstarts 11:11 opening. If you haven’t seen 11:11, check ‘em out!

Concert is June 27 at El Observatorio, Los Yoses, 9 p.m. Entry: 3,000 ($6). Info:Facebook event page.

Courtesy the BioFestival

Music: BioFestival 2014

This festival incorporates both music and environmental workshops in the Caribbean slope town of Pococí. Catch the last two days of this green-themed event.

Festival continues through June 29 at Casa de la Cultura in Pococí, Guapiles, Limón Province. Free. Fri., 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sat., 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sun., 12 p.m. Info: RedCultura site.

Music: Vocal Rinse

A cappella sextet Enjuague Vocal plays three-night engagement in Jacó.

Enjuague Vocal performs June 27-29 at Teatro Jacó, downtown Jacó, Puntarenas. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. General, 5,000 ($10). Residents and Students, 3,500 ($7). Info: Teatro Jacó website.

Music: Leaf.fm Music Festival

Thanks to the phone app “Leaf.fm,” San José hipster club Steinvorth hosts eclectic musical artists this weekend, including Zópilot!, Sr. Tijeras, Passiflora, and others.

Leaf.fm Music Festival plays June 28 at El Steinvorth, downtown San José. 9 p.m.3,000 ($6). Info: Steinvorth website.

Courtesy Festival Calypso

Music: Second International Calypso Festival

One of the Caribbean’s most revered musical genres gets center stage this weekend, thanks to the International Calypso Festival. Artists include Johnny Dixon, Cantoamérica, Calypso Limón Legends, and many more.

Festival performs July 4-6 at the Alfredo Gonzales Flores Park, Cahuita, Limón Province. Musicians perform all day. Free. Info: Event Facebook page.

Theater: “The Sad Girl and the Madman”

This drama won Best Latin American Play at the Escena Viva theater festival. Catch this Spanish-language production produced by The National Theater Company.

“El Loco y La Triste” performs June 27-29 at Teatro 1887, downtown San José. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. 4,000 ($8). Info: RedCultura.

Theater: “The Drummer” Children’s Festival

This children’s festival incorporates puppets, skits and storytelling. The story takes its name from Juan Santamaría, Costa Rica’s famous war hero and drummer boy.

El Tamborcillo Festival performs June 29 – July 13 at the Juan Santamaría Museum, Alajuela. Daily at 6 p.m. 500 ($1). Info: RedCultura.

Good Deeds: Reusable Bag Day at Auto Mercado

Bring a reusable shopping bag to Auto Mercado to help the environment.

Auto Mercado will encourage reusable bags on Sat., June 28.

More Good Deeds: Animal Rescue Collection

Drop off food, medicine, pet shampoos, and anything else that might help our furry friends. Hosted by Rescate Animal.

Collection takes place June 27 at the Law School, UCR Campus, San Pedro. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Info: Rescate Animal Facebook page.

Art: “Dirty Game”

Costa Rican artist José Miguel Rojas González explores the nature of winning and losing in this subversive series.

“Juego Sucio” continues through Oct. 11 at the Central Bank Museum, Plaza de la Cultura, San José. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11). Info: Museos Banco Central website.

Courtesy the Central Cultural de España

Exhibit: “Cathedrals of Soccer”

This photographic exhibit illustrates the beauty of the soccer field – not the game itself, but the stadiums where games take place.

“Catedrales del Fútbol” continues through Aug. 1 at the Spanish Cultural Center, Barrio Escalante. Mon.-Thu., 8 a.m.–4 p.m.; Fri., 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Free. Info: Centro Cultural de España website.

Theater: “Run for Your Wife”

What’s worse than one dysfunctional marriage? How about two? Teatro El Triciclo presents this polygamous farce by Ray Cooney. See how the jokes translate in a Spanish-language production.

“¡Corre Por Tu Mujer!” plays at Plaza Tempo, Barrio Lujan, San José. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. ₡5,000 ($10). Info: Teatro El Triciclo website.

Art: “The Day We Became Contemporary”

The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design celebrates 20 years of cutting-edge arts with a comprehensive, retrospective showcase.

“El Día Que Nos Hicimos Contemporáneos” continues through Sept. 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Downtown San José. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Residents ₡1,000 ($2), foreigners ₡1,500 ($3), students ₡500 ($1). Info: MADC website.

Drawings by Fernando Carballo

Master draftsman displays his diverse body of work at Casa del Artista.

Exhibit continues through June 30 at Casa del Artista, Guadalupe. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Free. Info: Official website.

Art: “A Family Portrait of Helvetica”

This dual exhibit features a fascinating exploration on the typeface Helvetica, by artist Mimiam Hsu.

“Retrato Familiar en Helvética” and “Ojalá el Sol Me Esconda” display through June 28 TEOR/éTica Gallery, Barrio Amón. Free. Info: TEOR/éTica website.

Art: Great Painters Exhibit

Paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Renoir and Andy Warhol arrive in Costa Rica. Presented by the National Gallery, this collection incorporates 158 artworks and celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture, based in the former penitentiary.

“Herencia del Arte” takes place April 28–June 28 at the National Gallery in Barrio México. Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Free. Info:National Gallery website.

Theater: “Journey to the Center of the Earth”

The classic Jules Verne science-fiction story receives an innovative Spanish-language adaptation at Teatro Espressivo. Enjoy this family-friendly afternoon adventure.

“Viaje al Centro de la Tierra” takes place May 8-July 13, Teatro Espressivo, Tres Ríos, Cartago. Sat. & Sun., 3 p.m. ₡6,000 ($12). Info: Teatro Espressivo website.

Theater: “Baroque Café”

A variety of Spanish-language one-act plays make up this comic revue.

“Café Barroco” takes place through July 6, Teatro Espressivo, Tres Ríos, Cartago. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. ₡5,000-10,000 ($10-20). Info: Teatro Espressivo website.

Enamorate de tu ciudad

Yes, you can get gaga for San José – especially when the Culture Ministry is sponsoring Enamorate de tu ciudad, or Fall in Love With Your City, a year-long celebration of art, culture and urban parks. Check back for games, workshops, presentations and surprise performances.

Fall in Love with Your City takes place on Saturdays in various parks in downtown San José. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Info: Enamorate de tu Ciudad website.

Originally posted on the Tico Times

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Solis Demands Explanation From ARESEP for High Gas Prices

The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Due to the constant increases in the price of gasoline that have been adopted in at least the past two months, President Solis shall request for the Regulatory Authority of Public Services (Aresep) to provide a precise explanation of why these increases have occurred.

“I want to know if the formula they are using is the best way. We will request a review of the tariff model because gasoline keeps rising. I am not a technician. I want someone to simply explain to me why we are paying so much,” said Solis.  

In particular, the president wants to know if there are alternative formulas for calculating the price of oil.. 

Franklin Chang, someone you know very well told me about this formula. He’s an astronaut and he can’t figure it out,” he added.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Best of Costa Rica’s Readers Top Restaurants

My top 10 list created such a stir with many of my readers as well as on some of the Expat Facebook groups I opened it up to everyone to send me what they had. So here is the list in no particular order and they are not ranked. This is just a comprehensive list to show you where our readers eat and to help give you an idea of where you may like to eat in the various areas. So I hope you enjoy it!  If you don’t see yours, I might not have received your list. Please feel free to comment on this post and tell us about your favorite place to eat in Costa Rica! Not all of these can you get a meal for 2 for under $60.

Here is a link to my top 10 list where you can get a meal for 2 for under $60, no including booze! The following are readers picks sent to me in email.

La Carreta – Atenas Centro – great Tico Food. Try the Aztec soup.

La Triilla, Atenas – Tico food. Favorite is grilled pechuga or fish with garlic

Hamburguesia – Escazu Plaza Tempo in the Holiday Inn Mall. Burgers, toppings and sauces make this a great place for lunch

 Sushi Kai – Santa Ana Via Lindora. Artistic Fresh sushi

Saga – Avenida Escazu . Fresh international food prepared to perfection.

 C-Vichito y Mas – Alajuela near Price Mart. Chef owned. Very creative and eclectic. He loves to add chocolate flavoring. Tell him what you want as your main and let him create your meal!

Tintos y Blancos – Multiplaza Escazu. Great Tapas and wonderful wine list.

Baccus – Santa Ana. Five Star food and service. Mediteranian food and hand made pizza. Great wine list.

Citron – Playas del Coco. Depending on what you order, you can get in under $60, but drinks are between $5 and $8 and wine by the glass is $5. Atmosphere and service is top notch. The best thing I like about this restaurant is that it has some imagination when it comes to food and the presentation and preparation have been consistently great.

Valero – Playa Hermosa near entrada two. Best value is on the nights they have their Parrilla set up. Then they offer a variety of specials that are between $10 and $18 including salad and side dishes. Atmosphere is right on the beach, so you’ll get great sunsets depending on when you go.

Toro Negro – Liberia (just across from the main church). They specialize in steaks, but have a wide variety of other things. The Hamburger Toro Negro was 4800 colones but was perfectly prepared and very tasty. Most steaks are around 8900 colones which includes salad and two sides.

Le Coc – Main street Playa del Coco. They have a small kiosk in front of the casino on the main street in Coco. There are no tables, so you pretty much sit at the counter or take it out to the beach. They feature basic menu of middle eastern wraps at vaery reasonable prices, and the food is amble and good.

El gusto de la vida – Playas del Coco. It is off the beaten path in a mall shopping center near the little luperon. Don’t confuse this one with La Dulce Vida – another Italian restaurant. Food is excellent and very reasonable – 4500 colones on the average. It is very small, only about 8 tables, but the service is good. They also bake their own bread.

La Esquina de Buenos Aires – San Jose

Hands down this is one of the best meals I’ve eaten in this country. The meat is amble and tender, presentation is perfect and service is excellent. Depending on drinks and wine it might go over the 60$ limit, but the food is terrific.

 Jalapeños Central, in downtown Alajuela – The food is tasty and quickly prepared to order and is moderately priced.  In addition to the Tex-Mex fare, there is some killer buffalo chicken on the menu plus some wonderful desserts.

 El Colibri in Puerto Carrillo – Argentinian barbeque everything is as fresh as can be

Mantras in Barrio Escalante 200 meters east of Farolito and 25 south – People who have never eaten vegetarian food before have commented that they never thought vegetarian food could taste so good, and this is what keeps people coming back again and again.

Jolly Roger near Dominical has excellent wings.

Galeria Steakhouse heir tuna steak is as good as it gets anywhere.

Restaurante  La Farola the gazpacho is out of this world, the Russian salad is unique and very tasty (sort of a potato salad with tuna)

Restaurante de Lucía –  Known for their succulent steaks you can choose your own cut and they will cook it to order.

Pecora Negra Puerto Viejo  – fantastic nightly specials

Graffiti in Jaco – we have eaten there three times and have had perfect meals each time. I had this dessert once that was amazing, it was Elvis something. It was on my husband’s bday, as I normally don’t get dessert, and it was to DIE for.

So you now have a few more selections, but that is all I got. So send me more or just comment on here and tell us the name, a link is always good, where it is, and what is best to eat there. So shoot us a comment to add to this list.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Food Chick tip of the day

Today’s Chick Tip…..an easy recipe for Greek style salad. Served here with Porterhouse steak and a gorgeous Bordeaux Rose! Also delicious with salmon and grilled chicken!

Greek Salad Recipe

1 can hearts of palm – cut into rounds
1 can artichoke hearts in water – quartered
1 pint grape tomatoes – halved lengthwise
1 English cucumber – cut into rounds and then quartered
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon of truffle salt
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
1 tablespoon garden herb seasoning
5 large basil leaves chiffonade cut
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Crumbled Feta cheese – sprinkle on top, as much or as little as you like!

Combine all ingredients except feta cheese and refrigerate.
Upon serving sprinkle with cheese!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

 

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CafePress 75% Apparel 1 day sale

1-DAY SALE: Up to 75% off apparel! Use code FAB75

I got this in an email so go to our shop and see if it works. If it does let me know and I will share more of these. The link to our shop is below or on the right side of the blog.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Zarcero, boy did you have a surprise for us!

Today we decided to take a trip to Zarcero and boy and I glad we did! I went with the wife and 2 friends. It was a really good trip. Good company beautiful town and just a wonderful feel. Boy if I knew about this place it could have been in the running for where we may live instead of Atenas, but I really do lover our town of Atenas.

Our morning started at 10:45 as we drove off out on our adventure. We stopped to pick up one friend, the other drove to our house. We went to the gas station to fill up. Not that it was that far, but I have learned that in Costa Rica you should always fill up before you go on any adventure to anywhere you have never been before. You just don’t know what will happen.

It was a pretty uneventful drive. We had good company so the drive went pretty quickly. The roads can be a little twisty and windy from Atenas, but during the day and when it isn’t raining its pretty easy.

We got there right at 12:00 on the dot! It was time for lunch and we really wasn’t sure where to go. As we drove into town one of our friends saw a little shop area that had 2 restaurants listed. One had fast food in its name so we figured we would check out the other. So we go in and can’t find the one that was listed that wasn’t fast food. I went upstairs and saw what could have been it, but it wasn’t open. So we decided to take a chance. Here are some photo’s of the little center.

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Oh my are we glad we took the chance. The food was amazing and the prices were just as amazing! Dingo’s fast food  is where we ate. Don’t let the words Fast Food fool you. It was nothing like fast food!

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Patacones were ok. So at this point we were not 100% sure this was a right decision, but than we tasted the salsa! It was delicious! So we had hope. The only problem with this was there was way too much breading and too little plantains. This was 1,450 colones.

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My friends call me the Salad Nazi and with good reason. I am very picky over my salads. Now this doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value to it, but let me tell you it was good. The chicken was a pleasant surprise. This was the Ensalada Dingo. I don’t think that was dingo on our plate! The croutons were toasted bread and not too soft but not too hard either. The dressing was a ranch and just ok, but he chicken was the hero here. The added ham and cheese was nice as well.  This was 2,950 colones and actually it was enough to be a nice lunch in and of its self. \WP_20140625_12_44_22_Pro

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Next up our friend got the Super Hamburgesa. This is a direct quote from our friend who ordered it, “This is the best hamburger I have ever had in Costa Rica.” This is high praise coming from her. It had 2 kinds of cheese, pickles and just a small piece of bacon, but it was about 1/2 lb of burger! It came with a side of fries. This cost 2,950 colones as well and well worth the price!

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There is that wonderful salsa again! This was a Burrito and again direct quote, “One of the best I have had!” So again another winner and it comes in at 2,800 colones.

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Ok so Alitas Buffalo and there are 7 of them here. I took some flack for putting Hooters on my top 10 restaurants list and this place knocks them off! I would have liked a little more heat, but there was enough to make me happy and not too much that some who doesn’t like a lot of heat wouldn’t want to eat them. They were crispy and the breading was very different, but wonderful. They were very generously sauced as you can see. 7 of them cost 1,900 colones. Amazing price!

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This was the Costilla BBQ which is BBQ ribs. They cut them into pieces which made it easier to eat. Left the bone so you have to watch when you bit them. Pretty good. Wasn’t a wonderful BBQ sauce, but it was good. Now these potatoes were amazing! I don’t know what they did to them, but they were very tasty and flavorful! This dish was 4,000 colones.

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Ok so I was a little skeptical about getting the Churrasco. I am glad I did. Again served with those wonderful potatoes! The side salad was the same minus the chicken as our main salad. So the steak I am going to let this video speak for me.

Yes it was that tender. It needed a little salt, but other than that it was really good! So very surprised and wasn’t not expected this from a little shop that had Fast Food in its name! It was a good 6oz cooked so a good size. It cost 3,450 colones. I was shocked!

We also got 2 Cafe Negro, 1 Te frio and 4 Coke lights. The cold drinks were 1,000 colones each and the coffee was only 600 colones. We also got a dessert that we shared. I didn’t get a picture of it. There was a cinnamon roll and a fruit roll and I swear it was made from angle food cake batter. We couldn’t believe it. Very nice and it was only 500 colones for each one. Very good deal.

So total for our lunch for 4 with all that food and drink was only 29,450 colones or $53.69 for those who don’t know the conversion. I was amazed! It is one of those great accidental finds that you just never know will happen. We are so glad we decided to take a chance and not go anywhere else.

Now we get to the reason we were in Zarcero. We went for the garden and the church. Both were amazing! Love the beauty of the gardens and the church. So here are the pictures I took at the garden.  Click on the images below to see larger views.

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The other reason we went was to visit the church. It is one beautiful place, no doubt. The art and paintings are amazing. So here are the photo’s I took while at the church. Again click on the images below to see larger views.

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Over all it was a very nice day. Good friends, Good food, beautiful town and a wonderful drive. If you get a chance you should go visit this wonderful place and eat at that wonderful restaurant. Here is the blog of one of the friends that went with us. Check it out. Keeping you in Stitches

The only downside was the drive home. The rain held out until we were ready to leave, but I had to drive those twisty windy roads in the rain. We made it home safe and sound and that is all that matter.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, News, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lightning kills 18 year old

So for those living here or just visiting you need to know about this story.

On Sunday 6/22/14 at Playa Penca in Costa Rica an 18 year old died when he was struck by lightning. He was identified as David Otoniel Rocha Rivera. It is said he was getting out of the water when the bolt hit. Rainy season is very beautiful and also can be very deadly as well. As soon as you see the clouds turn dark get inside! Do not take a chance.

This is a sad story and one that hopefully can be prevented in the future.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Medical Tourism in Costa Rica

 Medical Tourism in Costa Rica

As we all know, our bodies are far from perfect. At times, medical intervention is necessary for recovery. Other times, medical intervention is essential for our comfort. However, American healthcare can be quite costly and a pain to schedule. A root canal, hysterectomy, (removal of the uterus) rhinoplasty, (nose job) or a shot of Botox to smooth wrinkles may not be readily available to eager patients. Some patients have opted to travel in order to receive medical treatment. This is known as “medical tourism”. Many choose to seek it in Costa Rica.

 RESEARCH

Of course, medical tourism holds many unique challenges in obtaining quality medical treatment. Firstly, the tourist would have to research the procedure, the doctor, and facility thoroughly. Some cases of malpractice due to unqualified “doctors” have been reported. However, in the age of information, it is quite possible to gain knowledge and a honest reputation of any medical practitioner, even if (s)he lives in a different country.

 TRAVEL

Even if someone is traveling for medical treatment, it is still traveling. A plane ticket and luggage is essential (or a lot of money to cover all the costs). A passport would also be necessary. And, of course, a place to rest (before and after the procedure) may also need to be planned before the trip. Depending on the procedure, schedule, and recovery, it is possible to enjoy and explore a different country. It would be a shame to travel anywhere and fail to explore its beauty and unique culture.

 COSTS

It has been reported that costs for medical or dental procedures in Costa Rica is 40%-70% less than that in the USA. And this figure is a major reason for medical travel. However, there are other costs one must consider. There is the costs of the flight and travel, necessities during the trip, (such as toiletries and clothes) food, boarding, and anything else that may be needed for a successful trip, glitch-free procedure, and a full recovery. Costs should be carefully researched and considered.

 PROCEDURE

There are many procedures that could be obtained in Costa Rica, although cosmetic and dental procedure are among the most popular. Americans have sought treatment in fields such as dermatology (skin) and more serious medical issues. The need for any procedure cannot be life threatening as the patient will face an increased risk of death.

 RECOVERY

Although recovery can be an unpleasant time, it is just as essential to the patient as the procedure itself. There is no point in getting a gastric bypass surgery if the patient eats an entire pizza to him/herself daily. As with any surgery, it is important to follow instructions. Costa Rica has several ‘recovery spas’ to help patient recover. Of course, it is important to include those costs while planning the trip (or verifying coverage with your insurance company).

 RISKS

Every procedure carries potential risks every surgery has a risk of infection, for example. It is important to know these risks. Medical tourism, however, may present even more risks. As stated before, it is important to do thorough research on any doctor before receiving treatment from them. It is imperative that the patient confirms (or plans) that the costs for the procedure (and trip) is covered. Some insurance policies will dismiss the claim because the treatment did not take place in the USA, or in their network. Recovering in a foreign country may add stress to a patient, and that is never a good thing after a major medical procedure.

 BENEFITS

Obviously (as stated before) medical costs are much lower in Costa Rica than in the United States of America. Also, there is minimal waiting for procedures there. In the USA, patients could possibly wait a while before receiving treatment. And, you cannot ignore the excitement of being in a foreign land!

 CONCLUSION

There is much to think about when discussing medical tourism. Weighing the pros and cons is essential in deciding if it is the right move for you. But, with all the controversy in healthcare in the USA today, medical travel has the potential of becoming more popular than ever before!

source: http://www.anywherecostarica.com/travel-guide/medical-tourism

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Categories: Costa Rica Dave, Health, Healthcare | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cost of Living Update days 17 – 23rd.

Sorry for the lapse in updates, but really not a  lot to show. A few things and I was waiting on hearing from my Insurance guy on how much I pay for Ins. both house and car to post that for a monthly item. As it is in Costa Rica it took him forever to send it to me. So here is the update. Pretty boring!

day 17 thru 23

 

I can post pictures, but to be honest it really was a boring week. We had great lunch for the Expat’s group. Oh wait I have pictures of that I should post those. Hold on let me get them!

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I had the special This was yummy! and at 4,500 colones along with a piece of cake and all the ice tea I could drink a bargain as well!!!!!! He so should put this in as a regular special! Anywhere that gives you free refills is a place to go!

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Pretty good event. They handled all 20+ people very well. Food was good! Service was excellent. I think we could do it here again. If you are in Atenas you should stop by and see them and have a bite to eat!

So as you can see over budget by $700, but we still have month end to get to. We will evaluate the budget and see where we can trim without too much of a sacrifice and see where we land.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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This weeks speical at Kay’s Gringo Postres

This Week’s Daily Specials – Jun. 24 – Jun. 29 (all specials now come with coffee or tea (free refills), and Free baker’s choice of dessert)  

Tues. – Herb-roasted chicken with steamed rice and a side salad – ₵3,500

Wed. – Green salad with tomato, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, carrot, red cabbage and avocado, with choice of house homemade Ranch or Vidalia Onion vinaigrette – ₵3,500

Thur.– Kay’s famous chunky Gazpacho with a grilled cheese sandwich – ₵3,500

Fri.  –   Beer-battered shrimp with hand-cut Steak Fries and a side salad – ₵3,500

Sat.  –  Chili dog and French fries – ₵3,500

Sun. –  Breakfast buffet featuring omelet station along with frresh fruit, bacon, smoked pork  chops,  gallo pinto, scrambled eggs, home fries, biscuits with sausage gravy, and Lisa’s Home-Made Cinnamon Rolls  – ₵6,000.  Fresh orange juice ₵600 extra  Watch for new items on the menu, including Mexican Breakfast Tacos with Pico de Gallo, as well as Fresh Fruit Yogurt with Granola, for breakfast offerings.

You can find them at Kay’s Gringo Postres Facebook Page!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

 

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Eat Costa Rica Today!

I have decided to every now and again, unless you all want this more often, to post a days worth of meals starting with Breakfast and working our way though dinner. all Costa Rican Style meals and how to prepare them. So hope you enjoy it!

Breakfast or Desayuno

Costa Rican Rice and Beans With Fried Eggs

Not the actual dish there was no picture to go along with this dish. Sorry.

Ingredients: 

3/4 cup long-grain white rice
kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small yellow onion, cut into small dice
1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons Lizano sauce, more to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Step 1
Put the rice, a big pinch of salt, and 1 1/2 cups of water in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice has absorbed the water and is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside with the lid on.

Step 2
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened about 3 minutes. Add the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Step 3
Add the tomato sauce and stir for 1 minute. Add the beans and 1 cup of water and simmer until the liquid reduces to the level of the beans, about 4 minutes.

Step 4
Add the rice to the beans and mix well. Stir in the Salsa Lizano and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Step 5
Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, swirling the pan to coat evenly. Gently crack the eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook until the yolks’ edges have just begun to set, 2 to 3 minutes. (The eggs should cook gently, so lower the heat if needed.) Separate the eggs with the edge of a spatula.

Step 6
To serve, put a heaping spoonful of the rice and beans on a plate and slide 2 eggs on top. Sprinkle with the cilantro.

Time Prep 10 min. Cook 20 min. Serves 4

Lunch or Almuerzo

Hearts of Palm Parmesan Salad.

Ingredients: 

1 (14 ounce) can hearts of palm, drained & rinsed
2 medium tomatoes, seeded & chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 green onions, chopped (use white & green parts)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (Use fresh cracked pepper)
2 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly shaved
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

If you want this to be a meal add the following:

2 medium sized Cucumbers chopped, 1 Shredded carrot, 2 oz each shredded cabbage (Purple and green), 1 while onion chopped or sliced, optional but very nice to have is some sliced mushrooms.

Directions:

Chop and mix in a a large bow. Let sit in fridge for about 1/2 hour to marinade.

Serves 2 to 4 depending on your cutting abilities about 10 min. prep.

Dinner or Cena

Appetizer or Aperitivo

Black Bean Quesadillas

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed, mashed with a fork
1 whole wheat tortilla
1/4 cup spinach, cleaned and dry
1/4 cup shredded Monterrey jack pepper cheese
1/4 cup salsa

Directions:

Step 1
Spread black beans on half of the tortilla.

Step 2
Spread the spinach on top of the black beans.

Step 3
Spread the cheese on top of the spinach.

Step 4
Fold tortilla in half.

Step 5
When time to heat up, cover tortilla with a napkin and heat in the microwave until heated through 1 – 1.5 minutes.

Step 6
Top with salsa and enjoy

Serves 2 Prep to cook time about 5 min.

Entree

Corvina a La Chorillana (Peruvian Fish in Spicy Tomato Sauce). Photo by vvoci

Corvina a La Chorillana (Peruvian Fish in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Ingredients: 

1 tablespoon annatto oil, divided (see note)
2/3 large onions, thinly sliced, divided
1 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, divided
2/3 fresh hot chili peppers, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch strips, divided (red or green)
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
1/3 teaspoon salt, divided (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
1 lb sea bass (cut into 1/2-inch steaks)

Directions:

Step 1
Heat 1 tablespoon annatto oil in a heavy 4-quart pot over moderate heat, tipping pot to spread oil across the bottom.

Step 2
Spread half the onion slices, tomatoes, and chili strips in the hot oil.

Step 3
Sprinkle with half the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.

Step 4
Lay fish steaks on top of vegetable mixture.

Step 5
Cover with remaining vegetables and seasonings.

Step 6
Drizzle remaining annatto oil over top.

Step 7
Cover and simmer over low heat until fish is opaque and firm, 20-30 minutes. Do not overcook.

Step 8
NOTE: to make annatto oil, heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in 1/4 cup annatto (achiote) seeds. Stir for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and strain. This will keep several months if tightly covered and refrigerated, but it will lose flavor as it ages.

Dessert or Postre

Oven Baked Sweet Plantains. Photo by Sue Lau

Oven Baked Sweet Plantains

Ingredients: 

2 very ripe plantains (when the skin is yellow with spots of black they’re perfect)

Directions:

Step 1
Preheat oven to 450°F.

Step 2
Coat a nonstick cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Step 3
Cut the ends off of the plantains and peel.

Step 4
Cut each plantain on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.

Step 5
Arrange in single layer and coat tops with cooking spray.

Step 6
Bake, turning occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until plantains are golden brown and very tender.

Serves about 2 Prep and cook time about 17 min.

So there you have it! A complete day of meals Costa Rican Style! I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know if you try and how it turned out. Either comment here or send us an email. If you want us to show your creation email us what you did and the pictures and we will post on our blog. Thanks!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Unlock your iPhone?

How do you Unlock your iPhone? 

Well I had this same question just recently. I have and iPhone with a US phone number on AT&T. No one really calls me on it. I never really make any calls out on it. So why am I paying over $150 a month for a phone with an international plan with data on it? I decided to figure out this Unlock thing so I can use a local sim card.

I could not believe how easy it was!!!!

I can only tell you the way I did it on AT&T. I have no clue if there is a way to do it on the other service providers. AT&T will unlock for free up to 5 devices that have or have had their service. Now if you had it and you switch this won’t work and they won’t do it for you. The last or current service provider has to be AT&T. It has to be their sim card in when you do it. So here is what  you do.

Step 1:

You go to this website AT&T unlock portal fill out all requested information and submit

Step 2:

Wait for the confirmation email that looks like this


Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Service about unlocking your AT&T Mobile device. We have received your request to unlock your AT&T Mobile device. Your Request Number is: (some number here)

Please click here within the next 24 hours to confirm your request.

Your request is subject to AT&T Mobile device unlocking requirements. If we have further questions or instructions, we’ll contact you by email.

You may also check the status of your unlock request by clicking the link for AT&T’s Device Unlock Status Portal.


Sincerely, 

The AT&T Customer Care Team 

Now click on the line where it says click here and wait.

Step 3:

You will hopefully now get an email that looks like this:


Request number:

Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your AT&T Mobile device.

We have reviewed your request and confirmed that the device may be unlocked. You should complete the unlock process before porting out your number for use with another carrier.

Please allow 24 hours upon receipt of this notification to complete the unlock process.

1. Open iTunes on your Mac or PC and verify that you have Internet connectivity.

2. Ensure the original SIM card that came with this device is inserted in your iPhone.

3. Connect your iPhone using the dock connector to USB cable that came with your iPhone.

4. Backup and restore your iPhone using iTunes. For information on backup and restore, please visit http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1414.

5. After restoring, your iPhone will be unlocked.

Additional information on unlocking can be found at http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3198

For questions regarding AT&T Mobile device, please visit the Phone/Device Learning Center.

Thank you for your business. For other questions about our AT&T wireless service or other Mobile devices, please visit att.com.


Sincerely, 

AT&T Customer Care Team 

Follow these instructions and in less than 48 hours you phone is unlocked free of charge! I did it and it was simple, easy and no issues. I am now using my moviestar SIM card in my iPhone.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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In Search of Wild Costa Rica

Clockwise from top left: Rain forest in Corcovado National Park; a tapir in the park; a cabin at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge; spying on a toucan at the lodge. CreditScott Matthews for The New York Times

By the end of our fourth day on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, we had seen, according to the tally kept by my 9-year-old, Sasha, dozens of species of animals. We had peered at leafcutter ants, army ants and zombie ants. We had been deafened by howler monkeys, beguiled by squirrel monkeys and strangely stirred by capuchin monkeys, whose feet bear an eerie resemblance to human hands. That afternoon, in the national park that covers a third of the peninsula, we had even spied two tapirs, endangered mammals that look like hornless rhinoceroses with long snouts.

To sample this extravaganza of biodiversity, we had risen early each morning of our vacation. So when our guide informed us that he would be taking us out at 4:30 a.m. to witness the rain forest waking up, I — the motivating force behind, and thus bearer of responsibility for, this trip — glanced apprehensively at my family and swallowed hard.

“We’ll be up!” I said brightly.

I had shepherded Sasha and my husband, Scott, to Osa in hopes of a tropical wildlife experience that was, in fact, wild. But as we crawled into our tent that night, the beaten path from which I had so resolutely steered clear was starting to look more inviting.

Photo

Nito Paniagua, a guide, finds an anole lizard. CreditScott Matthews for The New York Times

Costa Rica, home to large tracts of untouched yet accessible rain forest, had seemed the obvious place to immerse ourselves in nature for a week in February. On Facebook, people responded with the Costa Rican phrase “pura vida!” (“pure life”) at the mere mention of the country. We had admired photographs of bright-colored birds, frogs and butterflies from the preserves near the capital, San José, which could be reached by direct flight from New York. The ubiquitous “canopy tours” through the treetops seemed a great way to indulge Sasha’s love of zip lining.

But as I researched where to go in the West Virginia-size country, I began to suspect that its popular ecotourist destinations might not quench my yearning for the untamed. On TripAdvisor, phrases like “well-developed” and the less-charitable “Disneyfied” arose in regard to the storied Monteverde Cloud Forest in the central highlands. Manuel Antonio National Park on the central Pacific Coast, widely loved for its beaches and restaurants, was reportedly better for night life than wildlife.

The more people who can enjoy the rain forest without destroying it the better, of course: The 70,000 or so who visit a sliver of Monteverde each year help pay to preserve the rest of it. But the remote Osa Peninsula, which juts into the Pacific Ocean from Costa Rica’s southwestern corner, seemed to hold an increasingly rare chance to observe the rain forest in all its fecund, carbon-storing, oxygen-producing glory, without quite so much human company.

Mostly mentioned in travel guides as an alternative for those who had hit the other highlights, Osa did not rank on Lonely Planet’s list of “Top 10 Costa Rica Spots for First-Timers.” To get there requires a second flight or a seven-hour drive from San José. And while the draw is the 160-square-mile Corcovado National Park, accommodations there are limited to a few dozen bunks and a tent platform at the Sirena Ranger Station.

I mapped a tentative itinerary that would bring us to each of two jumping-off points to the park, Puerto Jiménez to the southeast, and Drake Bay to the northwest, both of which have several excellent lodging options. In between, we would stay one night in the park, perhaps the last refuge in the country, I read, of the sweet-looking Baird’s tapirs Sasha and I had fallen for while searching online for “Costa Rica animals.”

An email from a well-traveled friend sealed the deal: “Costa Rica is very touristy,” he wrote. “Osa is not.”

Our first stop, Bosque del Cabo, was a 40-minute ride by taxi from Puerto Jiménez, the biggest town on the peninsula with a population of 1,780. I had chosen one of the two cabins at Bosque just steps from the rain forest, at the edge of a large clearing planted with native trees and plants. A half-mile away from the main lodge area, these “garden cabinas” are reached by a trail through the forest that crosses high above a river over a suspension bridge.

Photo

The author and her daughter in a tide pool near Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge.CreditScott Matthews for The New York Times

“We ask that only guests that feel they will be comfortable with the walk and the increased isolation of these accommodations book into them,” the lodge’s website warns.

Any pangs I might have had about passing up the dozen or so bungalows with ocean views disappeared as soon as we found ourselves in the company of spider monkeys, swinging from branch to branch at eye level on our first pass over the bridge. The lodge staff member escorting us waited patiently, albeit with the amusement of a New Yorker watching tourists marvel at pigeons.

“Do you feed them?” I couldn’t help asking. He assured me they did not.

A few steps off the bridge, we stopped short with the odd sensation that the earth was shifting under our feet. The highway of leafcutter ants hauling their leaf-bits toward the entrance to their underground caverns was our first inkling, repeatedly confirmed over the next few days, that they were in charge there. (“Are there more ants in Costa Rica than there are humans in the world?” Sasha would ask. Answer: many more).

Bosque itself sits on 750 acres that encompass some primary-growth rain forest and large swaths of “jungle,” rain forest that has grown back on land that had once been cleared — in Bosque’s case, for cattle grazing. We would have virtually no chance of seeing a tapir on the hotel’s trails, the staff told us candidly (even in Corcovado, we were told, our chances were 50-50). But we spotted poison dart frogs, lizards and monkeys dozing in the sun. A wild pig called a peccary often visited the lodge’s modest pool, where we cooled off and sipped ginger lemonades.

The hotel also offered nature-oriented activities: One morning we rappelled 70 feet down a strangler fig tree, another we hiked down the empty beach to a waterfall, splashing in the tide pools that form in the reef formations along the way. On an evening wildlife tour, the hotel naturalist taught us the trick of holding our flashlights against our temples, revealing the reflection of thousands of spider eyes shining in the grass.

Dinner, served buffet-style with a bounty of delicious choices (panko-crusted eggplant, roasted hearts of palm, crispy chicken with figs) was eaten at communal tables. And if I needed validation on my destination choice, we found ourselves dining more than once with others who had firsthand knowledge of Costa Rica’s well-traveled spots.

Photo

Capuchin monkeys near Drake Bay. CreditScott Matthews for The New York Times

“Osa is — crunchier,” said one civil rights lawyer from Washington, D.C., as Sasha and another girl her age excused themselves to look at the bats hanging from the bamboo light fixtures.

His wife, a judge, concurred about their desire for a less-processed experience.

“More what we had in mind when we thought about Costa Rica,” she said.

In our cabin, open on three sides, we felt less like observers than residents of the forest, along with monkeys playing in the trees directly above us and the leafcutter ants below. One late afternoon, a rainbow of toucans and scarlet macaws flew by a few feet away, on their way to the fruit trees in the clearing behind us.

Yet knowing that the trees had been planted to attract the birds undercut, just a bit, the pleasure of their proximity. Perhaps it was our own fault, too, for being diverted by rappelling adventures and poolside lemonades. But when we landed the next morning at the ranger station, the headquarters of Corcovado park, it quickly became apparent that there would be no distractions from the natural world. Other than lounging on the shaded porch of the low-slung ranger station, there was really was nothing to do but be in it.

Our guide, Nito Paniagua, who met us in Puerto Jiménez for the 15-minute charter flight, lost no time snagging us a spot on the tent platform at the station and heading out on a trail to the river.

The park has just started requiring tourists to be accompanied by a guide, but in any case we would have been lost without Nito’s six senses. He caught lizards and hung them from our ears, trained his scope on resplendent birds no one else could see and produced bats from furled-up leaves.

Photo

Tent platform at the Sirena Ranger Station in Corcovado National Park. CreditScott Matthews for The New York Times

“Look at the two species playing together,” he said at the trail’s entrance, pointing his viewing scope so we could see the howler and spider monkeys teasing each other in the branches above. “That’s so nice to see.”

Unlike the many hardy backpacker types who had walked 12 miles or more to camp at Sirena, we were not big hikers. But the walk down to the river where we ate lunch was not so much strenuous as it was intense. It took two hours only because we stopped every few steps for a new creature: the bird with the small heart, the carnivorous cricket, bright blue butterflies, the notorious fer-de-lance snake.

And because Nito had quickly divined that we were keen to see tapirs, he brought us to a spot where they are known to nap.

That we were lucky enough to see two of them through the trees from perhaps 50 feet away was one reason for the collective groan that night when Nito announced the 4:30 a.m. wake-up call.

What else, we wondered, did we have to see that couldn’t wait until dawn?

In my grogginess I left the tent without my glasses and had to run back to get them while Scott, Sasha and Nito waited for me on the grass beyond the porch of the ranger station. We stopped to admire a spider web at the start of the dirt trail, then traipsed on toward the beach where Nito wanted us to watch the sky grow light.

That was when the tapir came crashing out of the forest right in front of us. My heart beating hard, I held my breath, wishing I could freeze the moment. Scott and Sasha, too, stood transfixed. For just a split second, the large, strange animal seemed to register our presence. Then the tapir lumbered away from us, down the trail, toward the river as we followed, until it veered off into the darkness.

map ny times

I didn’t know it until then, but this, more than anything, was what I had hoped we would find on the Osa Peninsula. It wasn’t like seeing an animal lured to a spot by human guile, or to where all the guides know it’s likely to go on its own. If I hadn’t forgotten my glasses, we might well have missed it.

It felt wild.

There was no shortage of moments like that in our short time at Sirena. Sasha’s favorite siting may have been the anteater carrying a baby on her back all the way up to the top of a tree, spied that morning after a breakfast of eggs and ham that was, like our dinner there the night before, plain but tasty. We all oohed over the baby hummingbirds in the nest Nito found, and the baby hawks the ranger showed us through his scope in between his other chores at the understaffed station.

Before we left, we walked one more trail, cooler and less dense than the one we had taken the previous day because the soaring tree canopies blocked the light others might use to grow. The logging and slash-and-burn agriculture that had prompted the formation of the park in 1975, Nito told us, had never reached here. As we stumbled into a clearing where one tree, an espavel, or wild cashew, towered some 150 feet above us, we stood again in silent awe. That tens of thousands of acres of such forest are destroyed each day worldwide seemed inconceivable.

Most life in the rain forest, Nito reminded us, lives in the canopy, and never descends to the forest floor. Speaking of untamed, no one even knows entirely what’s up there.

We might have been happy staying longer at Sirena had our tent been pitched on the lawn, rather than the platform, which was hot and crowded at night. (Nito was scheming to go in with other guides on tents with rain flaps that could be used on the lawn.) The ticks, albeit not disease carrying, were also not a plus, especially for Sasha, who pried five off her legs.

As it was, we were happy to get to our final Osa destination, La Paloma Lodge on Drake Bay, after an hourlong boat ride from Corcovado that afternoon. It felt good to take a hot shower and to enjoy the rain forest as a view from the hotel’s elegant dining room, set high on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean.

At night, Tracie Stice, a local naturalist universally known as the “bug lady,” showed us a scorpion (“Don’t sit down,” she suggested as we leaned against the stone wall) and gently pried open the well-camouflaged home of a “trap-door” spider so that we could see the creature promptly slam it shut again.

On our last day, we went on a decidedly human-manufactured, 13-zip-line canopy tour arranged for us, a highlight of the trip for Sasha. But when Scott asked her which leg of the trip she would eliminate, if she had to lose one, she couldn’t choose. Like her parents, she could have happily lived for decades in our first cabin. She wouldn’t give up zip lining.

“And I can’t take out Sirena,” she said. “Because that’s where we saw everything.”

By 

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Youtube video of the day

Fishing in Costa Rica!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Marriage of pork, beans and rice was invented here as chifrijo

Chifrijo

Bar food, whether it´s fried, spicy or starchy, is a necessity with beer, friends and sporting events. This cultural fact is not lost in Costa Rica. The bars and restaurants have a litany of dishes to choose from, but one stands out because of its origins in the country.

The chifrijo is a dish that has been around since the early 90s when it started being served in local bars and restaurants in and around San José. Shortly after the genesis of the chifrijo, the dish began to spread through Latin America and was registered by the dish’s claimed creator Miguel Angel Araya Cordero, the owner of bars and restaurants.

The term chifrijo was coined by Cordero and comes from the combination of two terms. Chicharrones, or fried pork rinds, and frijoles, which is basically what the dish is at the core.

The combination of pork and beans is combined in a bowl with rice and then topped with diced onions, tomatoes, peppers and cilantro. After corn chips and a spritz of lime are added, the chifrijo is complete.

There are subtle variations on the dish from bar to bar, but the chain of Cordero´s restaurants maintains the original can only be tasted at their locations. The price is from 800 colons ($1.60) to 1,300 colons (about $2.60) depending on the restaurnt and the size of the serving.

To date, the chifrijo is the only culinary invention in Costa Rica to be patented in the Registro de la Propiedad, the bar owner said.
By Zach McDonald
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Youtube video of the day

Its Surf day Sunday!!!! Here is a beginers lesson on surfing. If you like to see more of these let me know and I will have more made.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

 

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Fun In Costa Rica’s Central Valley

Fun in Costa Rica’s Central Valley

Costa Rica is one of the safest and most exciting places to visit in Central America.  The Central Valley area has a wide variety of fun activities with something for everyone.  Whether you want to relax, have an adventure, or both, the following things to do will be sure to please novice and seasoned travelers alike.

National Theatre of Costa Rica

If you are flying into or out of San Jose, you will find that Costa Rica’s capital city has plenty of unique attractions.  The National Theatre of Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful and ornate buildings in the country.  With famous paintings, lavish furnishings, and a floor comprised solely of Costa Rican woods, this cultural landmark is not to be missed.

Jade Museum

Pop quiz:  where is the world’s largest collection of jade located?  Hint:  it is not in Asia.  This fabulous and famous collection can be found in the heart of San Jose.  The museum also features many pre-Columbian gold artifacts.  It is a must for everyone who loves rich and sparkly things.

WCCR2

Catch a Saprissa Soccer Game

Even if futbol is not your favorite sport, taking in a home game at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Ayma will give you a taste of local Costa Rican flavor like nothing else can!  Ticos are passionate about Saprissa and many of their players headline Costa Rica’s national team.

Our Lady of the Angels Basilica

Costa Rica is a Catholic country with no shortage of churches done in the old Spanish style.  If you love beautiful architecture, you will adore this Basilica in Cartago, outside San Jose.  Outside the church, a spring with healing waters can cure your ailments.  Inside, the statue of La Negrita the Black Madonna is usually covered with many charms shaped like body parts for Our Lady to heal.  There really is nothing like it anywhere else in the country!

Poas Volcano

Located in the Alajuela Province, this is one of the most active volcanoes in the country.  Scientists think that a new eruption is imminent given the noisy gas that can be seen rising from the crater.  The sulfur and other chemicals give the water in the crater an usual grayish hue.  Get there early because you will enjoy a lovely view of the Central Valley from the crater’s viewing platform.  However at about 9AM clouds will completely obscure it for the rest of the day.  It is called a cloud forest for a reason!  Despite standing on an active volcano, you should dress for the cold and wet.  The hiking trails offer many opportunities for bird watching.

Veragua Rainforest

What can’t you do at this lush rainforest?  Enjoy a tram ride, zip lining, and hiking.  Exhibits include hummingbirds, snakes, butterflies, and much more.  Explore the waterfalls and observe scientists at their work in the biological research station.  You will certainly achieve a better appreciation for this beautiful ecosystem after this fun and educational visit.

Doka Coffee Plantation

What trip to Costa Rica would be complete without a trip to a coffee plantation?  This plantation is unique to the especially immersive tours that are offered.  The tour begins at the seedbed and takes you all the way through the coffee making process.  There are also free samples of Costa Rica’s most notable export for everyone to try.

p8

Tarcoles Bridge

This bridge in the Alajuela Province is famous for its smiling crocodiles.  Enjoy these wonders of nature from the top of the bridge but don’t get too close!  Disney World this isn’t!

Botanical Orchid Garden

A stop at this beautiful location in La Garita will please any gardener you may be traveling with.  With hundreds of rare and beautiful orchids and other tropical flowers, something is always in bloom for you to admire.

Atenas Central Park

Get a taste of classic Costa Rica at this quaint park.  With lots of trails that wind through the palm trees and other tropical vegetation, you can work up quite a sweat!  Afterwords, grab a refreshing traditional repast at any of the little restaurants around the park.

Farmers Market

In Atenas on a Friday afternoon?  Get a taste of local culture and flair at this market.  Fresh produce and traditional handicrafts are on offer and haggling can be fun!

Atenas Swimming Pool

Atenas is more of a mountain town and is a little bit of a drive from the beach.  If you need to take a dip, there are two public swimming pools.  Bring a picnic lunch and prepare to spend the day swimming and sunning.

I think that about covers it. That is more than you can do in 10 days. :-) Well maybe. So come and enjoy!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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New service to our readers

for sale for rent

We have added a Houses for Sale and Houses for rent  links on the left side of our page. We currently only have one house listed in each, but nice houses! This does give you an example of what your listing can look like if you want to list with us.

We charge $25 a month for you ad to be listed. Houses are listed top to bottom in the order in which they were submitted and paid. For $150 a month you can be the top 5 listed houses. 10% of all listing fees collected for the month will be added to our charity pool for that month. If you want to be in the to 5 it is a 1st paid 1st get for the month. You can pay ahead and reserve your month. Or pay for more than one month at a time to save your space. We only accept US paypal as payment at this time.

You can add up to 15 pictures in the slide show. See the example for space regarding description and additional information. So check it out and let me know if you have a listing you want to list.

If you decide on one of our listing be sure to let them know where you saw it!

Pura Vida!

 

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Photo of the Day

Back Camera

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Costa Rica Ranked #1 vacation destination!

Selvatura Adventure Park, Monteverde Ronald Reyes/The Tico Times

Rain forests, volcanoes, world-class beaches, great weather, sloths, what’s not to like? A new global survey confirmed that tourists love Costa Rica, naming the country most recommended tourism destination in the world.

The Global Tourism Monitor Survey asked 23,000 globetrotters from 26 countries where they had traveled during the previous 12 months and which destination they would more recommend based on their experience there. The report, released Monday, ranked the top 65 most recommended destinations.

Austria came in second, followed by Israel, New Zealand and Italy.

Ukraine, Malaysia, China, Indonesia and Tunisia were the five least recommended destinations, according to the survey conducted by BDRC Continental.

While Costa Rica placed atop the list of most recommended destination, no other Latin American country made the top 10.

Latin America and the Caribbean placed among the least popular regions with only 6 percent of respondents saying they were “seriously” planning to travel to the region. Europe ranked the highest among potential travelers with 43 percent planning to travel there, followed by 27 percent in the Asian Pacific. Only 4 percent said they planned to take their holiday in Africa or the Middle East.

Costa Rica received a record-breaking 2.4 million tourists during 2013, according to the Costa Rican Tourism Board.

Here’s the list of the top 10 most recommended destinations (with a three-way tie for 10th place):

  1. Costa Rica
  2. Austria
  3. Israel
  4. New Zealand
  5. Italy
  6. Japan
  7. Croatia
  8. USA
  9. Norway
  10. Canada
  11. Greece
  12. United Kingdom

…and the 10 least recommended:

  1. Bulgaria
  2. Russia
  3. Albania
  4. Cambodia
  5. India
  6. Ukraine
  7. Malaysia
  8. China
  9. Indonesia
  10. Tunisia

Originally posted to the Tico Times

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List of the Festivals and Celebrations throughout Costa Rica.

Here is a comprehensive list of the Festivals and Celebrations throughout Costa Rica.

January
New Year’s Day
—Revelers who were partying in the clubs the night before gather in San José’s Parque Central and Buenos Aires, and Puntarenas to continue the festivities.  It’s a wild time.
Fiesta Palmares —Traditional (no bloodshed) bullfights, live music, folk dancing, carnival with rides and games take place the first two week of the year in Palmares
Fiesta Santa Cruz—The fiesta in Santa Cruz on the Nicoya peninsula takes place the second week in January and has a western flair with bullfights and a parade followed by a party with food, concerts and fireworks.
Día de Santo Cristo de Esquipulas—Popular religious festival celebrated with fiestas and dancing in Alajuelita.

February
Fiesta de los Diablitos—The festival of the little devils takes place in the second half of February. This celebration is a re-enactment of a battle between the toro (Spanish troops) and the diablitos (Boruca Indians).  The Baruka mask is beautifully hand carved.  You will see traditional costumes, great food and fireworks complete the scene in Rey Curre south of San Isidro.
Ash Wednesday—Again, given the Costa Rica’s Catholic faith, this is a very sacred day across all areas of the country
Carnival and Festival del Mar—A week of local celebrations in Puntarenas and Quepos including street fairs and fiestas, dancing and sporting events.

March
Día de los Boyeros
— Get you cameras ready in San Antonio in Escazú on the second Sunday in March! The  parade of beautifully handmade and painted oxcarts are surrounded by traditional costumes, food and dancing. There also is a driving competition.
Día de San José—Saint Joseph is the patron saint of the capital city, San José, and is a national holiday where banks, schools and businesses are typically closed. Special masses are said across the entire country in celebration of Saint Joseph.

April
Semana Santa
—Holy week is one of the biggest observed times in Costa Rica. Holy Thursday and Good Friday prior to Easter Sunday are celebrated with masses and processions.  There is NO Public transportation on Thursday and Friday and NO alcohol sales Thursday and Friday.  This is a very busy and crowded week to come to Costa Rica.
Fiesta San Vincente de Moravia—Another toro a la Tica (Bulls without bloodshed) street fair with music, dancing, and traditional food.
Easter—Family and religious observations are held throughout the country.
Día de Juan Santamaría—Although this is a national holiday the majority of activities are held in Alajuela.  The day honors a young fighter from Alajuela who defended Costa Rica to the death against William Walkers forces at the battle of Rivas in 1856.
Fiesta San Rafael de Santa Ana—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).
Fiesta Tarrazu—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).

May
Día de los Trabajadores
—This is Costa Rican Labor Day which is filled with parades, marches and traditional food.  This is also the day for  the “state of the union” address from the President to Congress and the people of Costa Rica. Costa Rica does NOT have an Army.

Fiesta Pattronale Desamparados—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed)
Día de San Isidro Labrador— This holiday is celebrated all over Costa Rica honoring the patron saint of farmers with blessings of animals and crops. There are street fairs and parades with music, dancing and traditional food.

Fiestas Pattronales San Marcos de Tarrazu, and Coronado—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).

June
Fiestas Pattronales Trinidad de Moravia, San Pedro de Montes de Oca, Leon Cortes, and San Jeronimo—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).
Día de los Padres—This is the traditional Father’s Day in Costa Rica
Fiesta San Juan de Tibas—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed)
Día de San Pedro y San Pablo—Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s are marked by a day with processions and masses.

July
Fiesta de La Virgen del Mar—The Fiesta of the Virgin of the Sea on the Saturday closest to the 16th is marked in Puntarenas by a procession of decorated fishing boats carrying the city’s patron Saint the statue of La Virgen del Monte Carmelo There’s also a celebratory mass. The secular celebrations include a week of parades, dances, regattas, parades and fireworks. Playas del Coco also celebrates the Virgin of the Sea.
Día de Guanacaste—Guanacaste Day celebrates the annexation of Guancaste from Nicaragua in 1824. Street fiestas, folk dancing, topes (horse show/parade), traditional bullfights, rodeos and cattle shows are colorful and great photo opportunities

August
Virgen de Los Angeles
— This National holiday celebrates the patron saint of Costa Rica; La Negrita. Pilgrims come from all over the country for the special mass at Cartago and a religious procession from San José to La Basilica de Cartago.  The sick come to her year round for she is said to have healing powers.
Fiesta Ciudad Colon (San Carlos)—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).
Día de la Madre, Feast of the Assumption—Mother’s day is a National holiday.  All banks, school and most businesses are closed. Fiesta Pattronale Aserri—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).

September
Independence Day—Costa Rica gained independence from Spain on the same day as the rest of Central America in 1821. The nationwide celebration starts with parades, traditional dancers, and street parties and culminates with the arrival of the Freedom Torch in Cartago (delivered from Nicaragua by relay runners) when everyone in the country stops and simultaneously sings the national anthem. Later in the day, children carry small lanterns through their towns.  This is one of Costa Rica’s biggest celebrations.

October
Fiesta Pattronale San Francisco de Dos Ríos
—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).
Carnival/ Día de la Raza —Think Río on the streets of Límon, Costa Rica. This celebration of Columbus’ arrival in the new world culminates on October 12.  It caps off several days of Carnival on the Caribbean coast. Although it is the rainy season, it is a must see event!
Fiesta Pattronale Escazú—One of the wealthiest areas of Costa Rica, this street fair has music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).

November
Día de los Muertos—(All Soul’s Day) A very religious and sad day observed across all of Costa Rica with Catholic masses and pilgrimages to visit dead loved ones.
El Desfile de Carretas—One of the largest parades of ox-carts takes place in San José.  Definitely a colorful celebration.

December
Festival de la Luz—(Festival of Lights) This is San José’s weeklong event is marked by lighting displays, concerts and fireworks.
Fiesta Pattronale Pavas—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).
Fiesta de la Yeguita—Bullfights and a parade followed by a party in the parque central of Nicoya with food, concerts and fireworks.
Misa de Gallo—(Mass of the Rooster)This is traditional Christmas eve.
Christmas Week—Not an official holiday but the week of Christmas is so commonly observed throughout the country.Christmas Day—Family get togethers after Christmas mass
Tope Caballos—The horses parade throughout downtown San José proudly displays the equine traditions and unique Criollo breed of horses.

Originally post here: AllthingsCostaRica

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Top Hotel Pools in Costa Rica

Here is my Top 5 Hotel Pools in Costa Rica.

nikima-ree.blogspot.com

 

 

Pura Vida!

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Cost of living Day 7, 8, 9 and 10!

Sorry for the long update, but 7th and 8th were pretty boring days. Just sat at home, watched some TV. Started to watch the Orange is the new black, and trying to catch up on American Horror story. We are starting season 3 The Coven. Hopefully it is as  good as the others were. We did some shopping and stuff on the 9th so lets get to that.

Day 9 was a busy day as Monday’s usually are. The housekeeper and Gardener was here. So that is when we do a lot of our running for the week as they will keep and eye on the dogs for us. We did happen to have a little mishap while we were gone. The gardener accidentally hit the pipe coming from the solar hot water on our rancho roof to the pool. :-( He ran down to the gate and had them call our pool guy who came right out and patched it. He fixed it today on the 10th. So won’t see that bill until next month. He only sends a bill once a month. Otherwise the house ran smoothly while we were gone.

We went to see the dietitian as we do on Mondays. Had a good week my wife and I both lost weight. So cheers! Even though I am no longer on the diet she till wanted to weigh me and measure me. She is interested in how I am doing. She follows me on facebook and looks at my fitbit auto post to my timeline that shows what my exercise is and what I am eating. Its a great tool for weight loss.

After we were done there we heading to Escazu to go to Pricesmart to pick up dog food. Well we decided to have lunch at the Avaneda. We scoped out a place we have never been before. You will see it on the budget. It is our 1st time there and I doubt we will be back. I will be writing a review in the next couple of days so look out for that as well.

Lunch ran pretty long about 2 hours so by the time we were done I was kind of done so I wanted to head home. Then I realized we really need dog food and really need to pay the electric bill. So we head off to the bank to take out some cash. We head to the local grocery store which is really nice and in expensive. I also realized once we were there I needed to pick up a few other things as well so we walked the entire store. We also pay our Electric and Cable/internet bills there. I did make a mistake on my internet bill and have corrected it on the budget sheet. It was $90 a month but $57 for my 5Mbps download and 500Kbps upload service. Here is what I got at the market.

IMG_2254[1]

29,205 colones or $52.67

This is a 66lb bag. I will last a good while. I would say almost a month along with the 50lb bag I buy at pricesmart of the Kirkland brand. I buy both so I can mix them as there are times when for whatever reason I can’t find one or the other. So mixing them allows me to be out of on or the other without upsetting tummies. I will need a bag of Kirkland soon so hopefully in he next day or two I will go pick one up.

IMG_2251[1]

739 Colones or $1.33

It takes about 3 of these to equal the amount I got at Pricesmart. So that puts this at $7.98 and I paid $11.93 at pricesmart. ok I’m convinced I will get my Broccoli from Coop from now on!!!!!

IMG_2252[1]

1034 colones or $1.86

The onions I bought at maxipali same amount and actually these are a little bigger cost me 788 colones or $1.42 not worth an extra trip to save a few pennies. So Coop wins again! These actually looked better.

IMG_2250[1]

1,800 colones or $3.25

Again looks like the coop wins! This is 10 for $3.25 and they are bigger than the ones I got at Pricesmart where I paid $2.12 for 5.

IMG_2253[1]

336 colones or $0.61

We have a very clear winner on this one. Coop! These were bigger then what I got at Pricesmart and I paid $1.03 for 3 smaller ones. I’m starting to see the light how about you?

The next expense on our budget is the vet bill. When we came home out housekeeper showed us a spot where one of our dogs made a mess. The reason she left it for us to see is that it had some blood in it. So we had to run our poor little gizzy to the vet to be checked out. Here is Gizzy!

Gizmo

Gizmo

We still as of yet don’t know what is wrong, but Dr. Solano thinks it is some sort of intestinal something or other.  He did put him on medication just in case. He wasn’t acting sick or looking sick. The bill was for the following:

Consult 9000 colones

Complete Hemograma 9500 colones

lopelisan shot 2300 colones

jeringa shot 1700 colones

poop sample 1150 colones

So the total bill was 23650 or $42.65

Most people say that Dr. Solano is one of the more expensive vets in town. That could be true, but he is well worth it! He is one great vet and is a pleasure to deal with and is very knowledgeable! We love, love, love him! That price is nothing compared to what I would have had to pay back it the states!

That pretty much covers I think everything. Here is the budget so far.

day 7 thru 10

As you can see we had lunch at Kay’s again! We do love the place. We were there from 11:30 until about 3:30 today. Ate and had some good conversation with friends. So its a little more this time. I only got 2 salads and my wife got her 2 egg veggie omelets, but we got a lot of Coke Zero and Gin Light. Again the food was good as always! The salads have gotten much better!

Oh and Friday I will have a cost for repair of our weed whacker that I dropped off today. The gardener has not been taken care of it the way he should and he refused to use it until I got it fixed. Which is why he cut our pipe with the machete. As the repair guy told me nothing really wrong with it, but he replace the part that had a piece that broke off and he did some maintenance that needed to be done as its not being handled well. You are suppose to mix oil and gas together and than put it in the machine??? I had no clue and apparently neither did the gardener. So I am taking him with me Friday so they can show him what he needs to do from now on!

Still have 20 days left and I know I am not going to make it for under $2k. Well we will see. Once I am done we will do a recap of the month and see where things could have been eliminated and or saved money and such and see where that lands our final budget. Have a great day!

Oh and drop me a comment if you want to see more pictures and instructions on the food I cook here at the house.

Pura Vida!

 

 

 

 

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Cost of living Day 6

Day 6 was pretty uneventful. We didn’t do much other than go out to Kay’s Gringo Postres again for lunch. Had some good conversation with friends who happen to stop in while we were there. I did go out and buy a bowflex used, but I’m not putting that in the budget as it is an expense that isn’t normal every day stuff.

I got it for $400. Its in almost new shape so I think I got a deal on it. Now if I can figure out how the damn thing works I will be good to go. Have my own personal gym at this point. I brought down with us a treadmill and stationary bike. Now the bowflex. I should be all buff in no time at all! :) So her is the budget to get you all caught up. Still have not gotten to the store to pay the electric or pick up the dog food. I should do that today! Or maybe go to a movie? Not sure we will see how the day goes. Have a great one!

Day 4 5 and 6

 

Oh and the lunch at Kay’s was higher because I had 3 of the garden salads instead of 1. I was hungry. They had no dressing on them and I had them grilled. So it was 3 garden salads, 2 veggie omelets, 1 gin light, 2 coke zero’s and a full size chocolate cake! I love their chocolate cake!

Pura Vida!

 

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Cost of Living day 4 and Day 5

The one thing you can count on while living in Costa Rica is your day will never go as planned. I think I have said that already. So, yesterday was going to be a stay at home day and thank I hear my wife’s knitting group is going to eat lunch at a local pizza place that I have been dying to try, but because of the diet I couldn’t. So I jump on that! Not a knitter myself, but figured I could catch up on some writing while they all talk knitting and I can sample some pizza. So we get there and guess what. Not open! They are suppose to be open, but they aren’t. Ok so plan B. We go to the next pizza joint. Again a place that opened while on the diet and have not tried them so cool. Guess what? Not open again! Ok on to plan C. We go to Antono’s. A place we have had a meal or two before. Good food and good prices. After lunch we headed to the Maxi Pali. A very controversial store that just opened in Atenas. Long story short Expats are upset as its a Walmart owned store. Read my blog titled Unhappy Gringo’s it kind of gives my feelings on Gringo’s telling people what they can and can’t do. Again still did not complete all of my shopping. I did pick up a few more items, but I still need dog food. Glad I don’t wait till the last minute or the dogs we be starving by now. :-)

Lets start with lunch Here is what we had. I was starving and I have no clue why.

IMG_2188

1100 colones or $1.98

IMG_2189

3700 colones or $6.67

IMG_2190

2600 colones or $4.69

 

IMG_2192

1800 colones or $3.25 I got it without the bun.

We also had a total of 5 Coke Lights @1000 colones each. So our total bill with tax and tip came to 17620 colones $31.79. Not a bad price really. It is a little more expensive but the food was really good. My salad was entree size. So with the burger and my wife’s meal we actually got 3 entrees.

Here are the groceries I bought on this day.

IMG_2193

Gin light 1,800 colones $3.25 and the Coke Zero 1,460 colones or $2.63. Which is pretty good prices.

IMG_2194

1,275 colones or $2.30

IMG_2195

788 colones or $1.42

IMG_2196

559 Colones or $1.01

IMG_2199

1,000 colones or $1.80 These were really, really good!

IMG_2216[1]

4,517.50 colones or $8.50 this is 1/2 kilo or 1lb of sea bass.

IMG_2217[1]

8,100 colones or $14.61 this again is 1/2 kilo or 1lb.

 Here is what we spend on day 4 $151.57 spent and a total left on the budget of $739.41.  Paid $59.73 for community fees which covers water, security and trash removal. Still have to pay electric once we get the bill.

Day 5 was a pretty much stay at home day. So nothing really spent. At this rate I may have to have more stay at home day. Lets see how it goes. I still need to go get dog food! When I go to Coop to do that on day 7 I will also pay the electric bill.

Here is some of the food I prepared on day 5 while I was home hope you enjoy it!

IMG_2209

 

So this is the start of Breakfast. 3 eggs, a couple slices of onion, 1/4 of a red pepper, and some mushrooms that were marinated in minced garlic. Yummy! I call it the Maryland Scramble.

 

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You put the onions and peppers in with just a 1/2 teaspoon of evoo. Let them cook until they are nice and tender.

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Than you add the mushrooms! Let it cook make sure you keep moving thing around so nothing burns.

IMG_2213

Here is what makes it Maryland. You put just a pinch of Old Bay. Yea right a pinch! You cover that shit with old bay!

IMG_2214

Scrabble your eggs and poor it in! Again keep that food moving so nothing stick or burns. Cook it to the point that you like your eggs. If you like them a little wet or completely dry. I like mine in the middle.

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Here is the final dish. It was very filling. You can use what ever veggies you want its all good.

Here are some of the pictures from dinner.

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That is onion, broccoli, tomatoes, red bell pepper and of course the garlic marinated mushrooms. Have I mentioned how much I love garlic and mushrooms?

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Place 1/2 teaspoon of evoo with the onions and broccoli. They take the longest to cook. Just cook until they are soft. Keep moving it around don’t burn it.

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Add the peppers! Add salt and pepper at this point.

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Now add the tomatoes and keep it moving.

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Now the mushrooms!

IMG_2206

 

The final product! It is very tasty! Sorry picture is a little blurry. So that is it for day 4 and 5.

Pura Vida.

 



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How to Avoid Personal Banking Disasters in Costa Rica

Coopenae Bank Costa Rica

Personal banking at the large state-sponsored institutions in Costa Rica is not for the squeamish. There are many horror stories among expatriates about frozen funds, incorrect account information, blocked debit cards, lost term deposits, excessive red tape, etc. Most of the time, these problems can be avoided in the first place with the assistance of a bilingual account executive who really cares. Asdrubal Zamora of credit union COOPENAE tells us more about this:

About 30 years ago, I remember going to a state-sponsored bank and standing in line for over an hour. More than 15 years later, I returned to that bank and endured a similar experience. In late 2013, I happened to visit that same bank and noticed that the building had been nicely remodeled, but the long lines and slow customer service had not changed at all, which did not surprise me.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity of listening to expatriates in Costa Rica talk about their experiences in dealing with state-sponsored banks. I am going to share some of them, and I should mention that they are not the usual complaints about long waiting lines, dubious service and excessive red tape: The following experiences are caused by the sad fact that major language and culture barriers persist at state-sponsored banks to this very day.

1 – Residency Status and the Future of Personal Banking in Costa Rica

Every day, I get inquiries by expats who ask about the possibility of opening a personal account or a fixed term deposit such as a Certificate of Deposit (CD). In general, this will require a residency permit; in fact, even some who opened bank accounts in Costa Rica with just their passports in the past may have troubles using the SINPE transfer system these days.

What everyone should be aware of is that inquiring about the possibility of opening an account is a good first step. Each case may be different, and there may be a chance to open an account, but it is highly recommended to do it. The current political climate is ripe for the creation of new taxes and levies, which in the future may very well apply to expats who wish to open bank accounts. Personal banking in Costa Rica is bound to get more restrictive and invasive in the future, which is why expats should try to get their accounts now so that they can be grandfathered later.

2 – The Frustration of Debit Cards Not Working Overseas

One of the most unfortunate situations travelers can run into is having their debit or credit cards declined abroad. Imagine going back home and trying to access funds deposited in Costa Rica, only to find out that it is impossible. On top of that, there’s also the likelihood of the card being blocked upon return.

Account executives must be notified when a debit card is intended to be used outside of Costa Rica, but this is something that many expat account holders are not aware of because they are never notified inasmuch. There goes the language and cultural barrier again, but the fact is that must be done at all banks, I always tell my clients to contact us before they travel to activate their cards overseas, and to also keep all their purchase and payment receipts, which must be attached to all claims and chargebacks within one month.

3 – Zombie Certificates of Deposit in Costa Rica

An expat couple once contacted me for assistance in transferring their CD, which was issued by a state-sponsored bank, into a COOPENAE account. On the maturity and expiration date of the contract, they personally went to their bank and were not able to get cash in their CD. The problem? It was set to renew automatically; the account holders were expected to notify the bank well in advance to prevent this feature from being triggered.

The couple was able to withdraw the funds and terminate the CD the next day; albeit by having to pay an expensive penalty. This is what I tell my clients: If you are going to be away from Costa Rica when your term deposit matures, it is better to be able to renegotiate the terms than to have renew by default. In terms of customer service, the bank should be making an effort to contact the CD holders beforehand to notify them of the upcoming maturity and expiration.

4 – Exorbitant Credit Card Rates and Unreasonable Collateral

Credit card rates in Costa Rica tend to be extremely high. We are talking about 23 to 52 percent, depending on the bank. Under such terms, I cannot recommend them. Still, some people like them and such was the case with this expat couple who wanted to transfer their money from their bank into COOPENAE so that they could take advantage of certain investments that were performing well at the time. It turns out that their money was tied up because their CD served as a collateral for their high-interest credit card!

Naturally, the couple’s request to cancel their credit card and liberate the funds in their CD was denied by the stuffy state-sponsored bank, which had created a Catch-22 situation by using the term deposit as collateral for the credit card. In the end, I went to the bank and performed the required, yet confusing, steps on behalf of the couple: Paying off the balance on the card with funds outside of the collateral, terminating the credit account, turning over the CD to my clients, and finally having them endorse it to my bank. It is important to remember that physical bonds in Costa Rica are as negotiable as check.

The lesson here is that complex personal banking transactions such as putting up term deposits as guarantees for credit cards should not be attempted by expats who are not familiar with the language or the system. It’s ok to handle certain basic transactions in rudimentary Spanish or English, but more involved procedures require bilingual assistance.

5 – The Case of the Lost CD and the Four-Year Wait

So an expat CD investor asked for a replacement since he lost the original paper certificate. It should be noted that CDs in Costa Rica, whether they are issued by a state-sponsored or private bank, can be obtained in physical or virtual (electronic) formats. Investors who take their physical CDs are responsible for their safekeeping.

By law, investors who lose their physical CDs in Costa Rica must wait four years until they see get their money, and only after filing a report with OIJ, sitting down with a notary to issue a public affidavit, and publishing the latter in the newspaper of record. This should not have to happen since:

  • Banks should be encouraging virtual CDs, which are eco-friendly and cannot be lost.
  • Virtual CDs promote savings and disciplined investing since they cannot be negotiated as checks before maturity.
  • Banks should offer physical CD investors to keep custody of their paper certificates in their safe or strongbox.

For more information about COOPENAE’s services and investment options, please contact Mr. Zamora directly.

Originally posted at http://news.co.cr/how-to-avoid-personal-banking-disasters-in-costa-rica/34452/

Pura Vida!

 

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Food Chick Tip of the Day

Go to The Food Chick Facebook page and give her a like!

Today’s Chick Tip….this is a fantastic mix that can take on many different forms; side dish, sandwich topping or salad topping! The best part, it is oh so easy to put together and no recipe needed!

Today’s mix combines cucumbers, mini bell peppers, tomatoes, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, rice wine vinegar (or your favorite), salt and pepper to taste and the juice of one lemon. All seasonings are to taste., so taste away!

As a salad, toss with your favorite greens – no additional dressing needed!

In a sandwich, combine with shredded chicken and pack in a pita!

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Cost of Living day 3

So you know that one thing you can count on in Costa Rica is that your day will never go as you planned, but it will go as it should be. I actually went out to have lunch at one of our favorite restaurants and thank finish my grocery shopping and look for some gym equipment. Well I got most of that accomplished in 5 hours. :-)

So lets start with lunch shall we. Got to Kay’s at about 12. Had a very nice lunch see pictures below. It was a much better price than we had the other day at Hard Rock Cafe and there was more food! it didn’t cost me 2 additional trips to the Treadmill to work it off either, so it was a win all the way around by eating local and not at a chain. The price of 10,500 colones in addition to what you are about to see 2 coke lights as well.

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This was the Mama’s Meatloaf special. It was very tasty. The meatloaf was seasoned well and it was not dry! Always a plus! The string beans were very good and the potato was a nice touch and there was bacon!!!!! The side salad was good as well.

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This was 2 veggie omelets that had a good taste, lots of veggies and very filling.

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That is the chocolate cake that came with my meatloaf special. It was good as usual, but a little on the small size. I know it was free with the meal, but a little bigger would be nice.  It was smaller than what is usually served. I’m sure Kay was looking after my diet for me! :-) Over all still a good price for 2 coke zero’s, and unlimited ice tea (came with my special) and a full size piece of chocolate cake my wife ate, that I forgot to show which was about 3x bigger or more than this one. Cost was 10,500 colones.  Much better deal than yesterday!

So, after lunch we went off to find the gym equipment store that a couple people told me about. Guess what! Its not there any more! Go figure! It always seems to work that way. When you want something it just all of a sudden goes away. So that wasted time. Ok so lets go to the mall and visit the GNC. I did not include those purchases as it is very special items for our diet. That really shouldn’t count in the budget. We did get everything we wanted to get there. Some protein powder and protein bars and such. Mainly for snacking. You will notice no fruit in my shopping. So finally we are off to the grocery store.

This trip I decided to shop at Pricesmart for the few items. I say a few items as I forgot to make a list and didn’t get everything. So I will be going out later today to get what I forgot yesterday. What I would like to do is pick up the same items in the same quantities at other places each week so you can see the difference. I should have bought less but its Pricesmart so everything is in bulk!  Here is what I bought and the cost. This will last me about 2 weeks. I still need to get me some eggplant, onions, fish, and dog food. Hopefully that will  happen today. May check out the dreaded Maxi Pali that just opened up yesterday. If its not too crowded.

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6500 Colones $11.73

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950 colones or $1.71

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1350 colones or $2.44

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2125 colones or $3.84

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5195 Colones or $9.38 I get these to handle my sugar drops. They are the best calories for the carbs.

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1175 colones or $2.12

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7173 colones or $12.95 this will make about 4 meals for us or more.

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5198 colones or $9.38 There are 60 eggs total. Yes I had 3 for breakfast today.

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3695 colones or $6.67 I buy this as I use mushroom in everything. i like fresh but a small tray of fresh is almost this price. They are good if you marinate them before you use them. I put them in a bowl in the fridge with garlic since I put them and garlic in almost everything I make.

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7295 colones or $13.17 in the states this would be under $10 a bit more, but really what else can you use? Never looked if there is a local brand?

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8995 colones or $16.23 Dog treats. This might last a week. Remember I have 10 dogs. :-) I’ve tasted them they are pretty good. :-) I wouldn’t eat a whole one, but I understand why my dogs love them!

 

So there are the groceries for the day. Yes you can get them cheaper other places and I will try to do that next time. I like the broccoli at pricesmart as it is precut and always looks good. Sometimes the local Ferria or Grocery stores have dark areas all though out so I don’t like getting it there. Ok now for the budget update.

day 3

Doesn’t look good for me. Still have electric, pool service, and community fees to pay. We are eating out again today for lunch. Again local place so cross your fingers.

Pura Vida!

 

 

 

Categories: Finance, Food, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Restaurant Review: Sisso Taste of Jerusalem

 

I want to 1st say really good meal at a very good price!!! This is a great find. It is in a strip center called Plaza Florencia in Escazu. My wife and I were looking for a place to eat before we went to the movies that had a nice veggie selection. Yes we got our wish here. Very clean place with lots of parking and an attendant. Lots of other places in this center as well to eat and we may have to go try them out. So let us get to the reason we are all reading this specific blog entry THE FOOD!!!!!

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So they started us off with this. On our diet we can’t really have it, but I was already to come off the diet. So as of today I am going to be off. I am however still going to try to use the tools the diet has given me to continue to lose some weight along with exercise. Back to the food. This is a crispy pita bread and I could taste the sunflower seeds in it! It was very tasty by itself. You add that tomato sauce to it and you have a nice flavor. The tomato sauce is a tomato reduction with chili dulce and herbs and spices. Of course she wouldn’t tell me what herbs and spices. :-) It was very good! I did eat all the tomato reduction, but only about 1/2 of the chips. :-)

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This was their version of a Greek Salad and they did a nice one. That was a big plate! The tomatoes and cucumbers were thick cut. They are hidden under the tomatoes you can see them peeking out. :-) Feta cheese and olives. I would have liked my items cut up, but this was worth the work of cutting things up. Had a very good taste and worth going back for.

 

 

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This was called Berenjena Baladi don’t ask me I don’t know. I don’t even know if I spelled it correctly. The hummus was very tasty!!!! The black things that have a sauce on them are eggplant. Again very nicely done. They roast them and than grill it some how. I think that is what she said I’m not 100% sure. Now the salad and the black glob on the left of the plate was a make your own type of thing. She has you come up to the counter and pick the items you want on your side salad. They had a nice selection! I think it was one of the best salad bars I have seen. The black glob is more egg plant. It was an eggplant dinner no doubt! This was my main meal. it was filling!

 

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This is their veggie platter and what my wife got as part of her meal. This is a meal. Again there is eggplant and we have huge tomato a piece of corn which I have to tell you was the best corn I have had in Costa Rica! It was tender and it was sweet! I would go back just for this corn!!!!!! Ant he other items is a potato. Grilled and some onions grilled. All of it had a nice flavor.

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This was the wife’s main meal. She ad to remove the potato and the corn, but she could eat the rest. Again very nice meal. She felt the chicken was under seasoned, but I felt it was nicely done.

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This I’m not sure which one of our meals it came with, but it was just torture having it sitting there. Very nice tasting pita. I had to try and and it was even better when you put it in the hummus!

So there is the food now for the prices:

We had 3 coke lights at 3000 colones, the Baladi plate I had was 3951.22 colones, The chicken plate my wife had was 4849.59 colones, The Greek salad was 4252.03 colones, and the veggie platter was 2252.03 colones. With tax and tip it came to 22,515.00 colones.  Now at today’s exchange rate that is $40.71 for our meal. That was pretty damn good for the amount of food we got and it being in Escazu. You walk away hungry and it is your own fault!!

So lets review: Good good at a fair price, parking is good, wait staff was nice, attentive and spoke some English. The place was clean and the bathroom was nice as well. So I give this place 5 seashell1out of 5. I don’t usually give this kind of rating as I can always find something wrong and take off one seashell, but really I couldn’t find anything! They do a great job and a fair price, who can ask for anything more than that! I will go back as it has now become one of my favorite places to eat!

Pura Vida!

 

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-man 2

Amazing spider-man 2

I am a fan of Spider-man no doubt. I loved the 1st 3 with  Tobey Maguire and really wished he would have been in these, but I understand why he wasn’t. I’m not really sure I like Andrew Garfield in this part. They did write in the humor that I remember from the comic book, but just don’t like him in this roll. He is a good actor don’t get me wrong, I just don’t think this is the part for him. His look just doesn’t match the comic book look of Peter Parker. 

Now I think casting Emma Stone as Gwen was great! However I do not like that they have killed her off already! She lasted really long in the comic book and there was a ton of surprise and shock when they killed her off and I think just as much when she died in this movie. Which I guess could be why they did it and I know that they may only have 3 movies so only one more left. So I get it, but it made me very sad and I really wanted to see more from her. 

Now where are they going to go from here? I mean they eluded at the end that there could be more than just 1 more left, but I’m not sure. Amazing Spider-man 3 is slated to come out in 2016! Damn that is too long to wait in my opinion. There are rumors of a 4, but not sure it will be an Amazing spider-man. So who knows what will come. We do know there will be more spider-man movies just don’t know what direction they will go in. Really there are so many to choose from.

What did I think of this movie? It was a good movie for what it was. It seem rushed to me to fit things in, but most of these movies that were comic books 1st seem that way to me. The acting was very good and the special effects were “Amazing” as always. Great fight scenes. I have to say I did laugh, and cry during this movie. So it took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions which is what I’m sure the directed wanted to do.

I would say if you saw the 1st one you must see this one as well. I would pay full price and I would pay to see it again.

Pura Vida!

 

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5 Top things Costa Rican Restaurants need to know

no inconsistency

In the wake of last night dinner and a friend making the suggestion to create a post about the top things Restaurants in Costa Rica need to know that they are doing wrong!

  1. INCONSISTENCY!!!!!! Yes please just say no! This if you listen to nothing else I say can save your Restaurant. Everything you serve should come out the same every time. If you salad calls for cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Make sure that is what it has on it every time. How do you combat this? Keep a recipe for every item listed on you menu. Say what you do and do what you say! Keep things measured. If one day your plate has 6oz of beef on it and the next there is only 4oz you will lose a customer or two or more when they talk to their friends or write a blog seen by hundreds  of people a day all over the world!  For the love of all that is the Food Gods if you have it on your menu be sure you have it at every service! Telling a customer you are out is bad! Yes it happens sometimes, but it shouldn’t always happen. Offer a discount on another option. They will lover you for it!
  2. Service believe it or not can actually make your restaurant a success even if you just have ok food and prices. A great wait staff that knows what they are doing, is attentive, knows when to play with the customer and when to leave them alone is golden! A glass should never go empty unless the customer says so. There should never be a dirty dish on the table. You should not have to ask for salt, pepper, napkins, or for gods sake silverware. You are in the service industry and you need to stand out above the rest! If a customer asks a question about a menu item you server should not have to run and go check for you. They should know the menu in and out.
  3. Price for Quality is again a big point and one of the hardest points for a restaurant to control. You are not going to pull the wool over a customers eyes buy charging more and serving less. I like most, but not all customers are willing to pay a little more if #1 and #2 are there and the quality of the food being served is there as well. In Costa Rica local fruits and veggies are the cheapest anywhere. You should be shopping and looking for those bargains. If you are selling a $12 salad it better be one amazing salad! If your steak dinner is $30 you better have over 8oz of meat and it better be tender and juicy. Don’t be greedy. Higher prices will kill your business. Restaurants thrive on repeat business not the one timers. If your price for the quality is way too high that is all you are going to get is one timers.
  4. Presentation of the food is the cherry on top of the Sunday. If what you are serving looks like you just slopped it on a plate it tells the customer you really don’t care. If you don’t care whey should they care to come back. I’m not talking big and fancy and swirls and stacks that like like you created a master piece, but something presentable. It should be neat and organized on the plate. There should be room and space for people to cut their food without it falling off the plate. This doesn’t mean give them less. See #3 it means get new plates! If it doesn’t look appetizing it may not be appetizing!
  5. Cleanliness is that which binds all these things together and makes you THE RESTAURANT to go to.  The tables should be neat and in order and bused. See #2. Utensils, floors, counters, etc should be clean. Here is a big tip! Bathrooms need to be clean, orderly and functional! Nothing will turn off a customer faster and have them not return than a bathroom that is disgusting. If that is  how you keep the bathroom, the customer is going to wonder how do you keep your kitchen! I have been to places where there is no running water to wash your hands, no toilet seats, no paper towels.

So in summary Good food, good service, good prices, good presentation, and a clean place will keep your customers coming back time and time again. They will also tell their friends who will tell theirs. People will blog your praises to hundreds of views a day all over the world! So please restaurant owners of Costa Rica heed my words and take care. You never know who is there and what reach they have to either praise you or bury you in the sand!

Want to turn your restaurant around? Email  me at info@bestofcostarica.net I would be happy to come in and evaluate (not review) your place and help you to make it the best place in town!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

 

Categories: Food, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Life in Costa Rica: “Just say No? I don’t think so!”

just say no

Recently a friend was in the car with me and said something that made me think. He said, “Costa Rican’s don’t like to say no!” So I thought about it. I can’t remember a single time in the last 14 months that I have been here that any Costa Rican or Tico (male) Tica (female) as they are called here,  has said no to me. Not sure how I feel about that. Can you be so polite and accommodating that you can never ever say “NO”? Is this possible to live this way? If I asked a Tico to do something that he doesn’t know how to do what will he/she do? They won’t say no or sorry I can’t do that. They will say, “No problem” They will than go and find a friend, relative, or even a stranger who knows how to do it and bring them on. Now that I think about it that has happened a number of times with me on the various projects I have had done around the house. Its like every Tico can do everything, with a little help from someone else sometimes. I will give you an example.

I have a guy who was referred to me to do some electrical work around the house. He came with a friend and they looked and said, “No problem we can fix that for you.” I have to admit they did a great job. I was told they were both electricians. So needed some other things done so I asked, “Do you know someone who can weld? My gate hinges need to be fixed.” his response was, “Sure we can do that no problem.” We work out a price and a time to come back and sure enough they fix it. OK this seems to be working out well so I say, “My house needs to be sanded and refinished. All the windows and doors do you happen to know someone?” Again he says to me, “Sure no problem we can do that.” Again work out a price and date they come back and this time there are 5 of them and the work gets done. Great job was done at that. So again I ask, “I have some plumbing issues know anyone?” He responds, “Yep we can do that.” So again he shows up with someone new and fixes the plumbing issues. So my last example is, “I am having a party do you know anyone who can BBQ, bar tend, and do karaoke?” His response and I bet you can guess what it is, “No problem I can do that.” So we work out a price and he shows up with a Bar tender, he cooks the food, a waitress, and a guy to run the music.

So I am thinking they really don’t like to say no. Each time he did a great job. I used him for many other things and each time I ask he said, “No problem”. It was no problem. He was good, fast, effective and not overly priced.

I always ask friend who they use and so far it has not been a bad experience for me. I have heard many horror stories from people who have hired people who said yes to everything and just really screwed it all up. So I know I have been very blessed to have round 2 guys who have done great jobs for me.

Now here is the problem. I have had 2 guys like this now. Why? Well something happens and you can no longer get in touch with them. Their number changes, they move, all sorts of reasons. Its a shame when you find someone who can find anyone to do what you need to do for a good price and good quality of work. So you can’t get in touch with them and more and  you have to go and find another guy, and I can bet you this guy won’t tell you No either no matter what task you ask him to do.

This is one of the many things I love and not so love about this country and its people. Elliot if you are out there and reading this call me. :-)

Pura Vida!

 

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Costa Rica Expensive? What? Part I 1/2 (Video)

So while I was out gathering up prices for my Part 2 I took some video. We went to he Friday Faria in the center of Atenas. It is always nice to get out and support the local community. You can shop, eat, meet people and just have a nice time. So I hope you will enjoy this offering until my Part II is completed. I want to be sure to bring you all the correct pricing and information that I can. So grab your favorite drink, be it coffee, tea, or something with a little kick, watch and enjoy the video is about 12 minutes long, but worth the watch. I want to thank Eunice for coming a long and helping me with this video. She was a dream and a pleasure and showed me many things! Enjoy!

Pura Vida!

 

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Garden, Travel, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Costa Rica Expensive? What? Part I Housing Costs

This will be post #100 on my blog! Wow I had no clue I have made this many posts! Thanks to everyone who has read what I have to say! You guys are great!

So I have had some discussion as of late about the cost of living in Costa Rica. Is it expensive? Well here is the truth from one expat to another. We have lived here for over  a year now and I can tell you that yes it can be expensive, but not as expensive as when we were living in the US. It can also be cheap if you know where to shop, how to shop and if you are willing to give up those things you are use to from your old life in whatever country you come from. So lets break this down into a number of different areas and talk about each one in detail. I will take different aspects of living in Costa Rica and break them down into individual posts. Today we are going to talk about:

 

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Housing Costs

 

There are a number of factors that you have to consider when you are talking about housing costs. What size home, what area, what amenities the house has, Gardener? will you have a housekeeper?, will it be in a gated community with fees? There is really no simple answer to any of these questions as far as costs go, but I will try to give you the range so you can figure out where in that range you want to be.

  • Electricity is expensive here. so I.C.E. is the electrical power supplier in Costa Rica. The current rates at the time of writing this blog are about .37 per kwh. Now this equates to anywhere from $40 a month to $2K a month in electric bill. The size of your house, the number of toys you have, like computers, laptops, iPad, TV’s, etc. Do you have a pool? Do you need A/C. Yep there you go the bill just went up even more. When you add a pool, a big screen TV, a couple of electronics and A/C you are talking big bucks. Do you have an electric water heater? Electric water heater is going to jump the costs as well. An on demand systems will be a little lower, but not much. Going propane for water heater I am told is much less expensive. Do you have a hot tub? Now that will jump your bill. I found that out the hard way. I did convert it to solar heating system with a propane heater to keep it hot at night when in use. That took off about $150 from my monthly bill. If you have a clothes dryer that will jump you bill. These are all things we don’t think about in the states until we come here. Oh and if you live way up high in the hills where it is cold a heating system will also increase your bill. If you are up there you won’t really  need A/C,  so its kind of washes out cost wise. OK, lets just say you have a 2500 sqft house with one large screen tv, a couple computers, couple  laptops, a pool, washer and dryer, electric water heater and A/C and or heat and that is going to run you about $1200 a month in electric. It could be more I have heard stories of $2K a month in the beach areas.  Now take that same house  with a number of TV’s and laptop and such, and a pool but no A/C, an on demand hot water system and it will cost you about $400 a month. A smaller house with 1 regular size tv and one computer and one laptop, no pool and no A/C, no dryer will run you about $50 a month. Things you need to think about when doing a budget. Estimate high for your bill, be pleased when it doesn’t reach that, and adjust your lifestyle when it goes above! Unplug anything that is not in use. Items like TV’s, computers and almost anything that plugs in draws energy as long as it is connected.
  • Water believe it or not, is not that expensive compared to the states. When I lived in the states I had a well on my property so pretty cheap, but before that I used public water and our quarterly bill for 2 adults and 2 teens was about $100. Here my bill is about $35 on average for 2 adults. I do have a pool and sometimes it is higher and gets even higher when you have to fill your pool because of a earth quake splitting the pipes and the pool going empty. That is another blog. Or your Gardener leave the hose run in a part of the yard you don’t go visit and its on for almost a day. Those are very unusual so water cost isn’t much of an issue for a budget. It is however an issue in some areas as you will have water outages a lot in dry season which is from Dec. to about May. My current house is on a well for the community so we have very few outages. The only time it goes out is when someone makes a mistake. One time they were getting service to a new lot that was being built on and they cut the line and had to shut it down. Another time someone left the valves open on the tanks and drained them so they had to cut it off to let the tanks fill. A friend went without water in one of the areas of Atenas (public water system Aya) for over a week. Others tell stories of it being out form like 8pm until 8am every day. So even though it isn’t expensive it could be a challenge. I have been lucky and I know it and count my blessings!
  • Renting is an option for a lot of people here. They like to move around to the different areas of Costa Rica and or just don’t want to be tied down. Again size plays a factor in what you will pay. You can find some very nice homes for as little as $300 a month (very small tico style home) to something with a little more room for $1800 a month. All depends on what you are looking for. Many of the rentals will include utilities such as cable and TV. Most won’t do the electric, but some do.
  • Buying a house in Costa Rica can be tricky and exciting and expensive or cheap. You have to 1st figure out what can you afford and go from there. Now I will leave most of this to the experts at Remax who will be doing an article for me. I will tell you this much don’t buy unless you know 100% that Costa Rica is the place for you and only go with someone you know or someone who you know, knows and trusts to take you though this process. Now if you are buying there is always going to be more costs associated with it vs renting. As an example my house has a lot of wood and every so many years it will all have to be sanded and re-varnished. This can be expensive. Keep maintenance and upkeep in mind when you are doing your budget and looking at the house you will buy. Don’t let the WoW factor of your house overwhelm you and cloud your judgement on what you can afford or the maintenance that will be involved in the upkeep of that house. Costa Rica does have unique maintenance issues not found in other countries.
  • TV and Internet  I am not going to talk a lot on this point just going to refer you to my blog post about this. http://bestofcostarica.org/2014/03/20/buffering-buffering-buffering/ In that post I talk mainly about internet and how you can get it. I also talk about you can get all your TV via the internet and have no need for real cable television. In my opinion this is a better option. Now for TV you can go with any number of services if you want real cable. The cost will vary greatly on the service plan and the service provider you use. I pay $30 for Cabletica as it is only a basic service, see my blog why I even have it, as I do not use it. Claro is running about $28 for basic cable and if you go with the movie channels and the HD service it is going to cost you about $55 a month. I know my cable TV with all the movie channels (now we had a lot more channels in the states mind you) and HD ran about $175 a month on Comcast. Comcast basic TV is running about $55 a month now.You will need un-block.us to use all the services out there.
  • Pool service isn’t too bad here. If you have a pool and don’t want to service it yourself you can get it for fairly cheap. Well here in Atenas anyway. I’m not sure about other areas what the costs is, I pay about $64 a month for the service and than chemicals add about another $20. This is the cost for service once a week. They come clean, treat, fill the pool and our hot tub which is attached to the pool. Now in the states I was paying $80 a service plus chemicals. So for service alone I was paying $320 a month plus chemicals. Now some people here allow their gardener to service their pool. Not a good idea people, but I guess if you have him trained by someone who knows what they are doing it can be OK, but most gardeners have no clue about pool maintenance.
  • Housekeepers are everywhere and just about everyone has one and it doesn’t  matter if your house is 1k sqft or 10K sqft. Some come once a week, while others come every day or like me I have our here on Mondays and Friday.I use this schedule to help with clean up before the weekend parties and than clean up after  the weekend parties! :-) So your cost will vary on the number of times you want your house cleaned. They do everything from the floors, to the windows and even laundry. Pretty much almost anything you need them to do while they are here, and they are willing to do it with no issues or additional costs unless you are asking them to stay later or come another day. So cost is about $3 an hour. Yes you heard me right $3 an hour. There are other costs involved as well such as Caja (gringo speak Health insurance) Costarricense del Seguro Social (gringo speak Social Security) and than there is vacation pay which I believe is 15 days a year and holidays. There is also something they call 13 month pay in December. This is where  you pay them 1 months salary before the end of the year. So, its like a year end bonus that is required. There is also workers comp insurance you can get that runs between $80 and $150 a year.  So once you factor in all those costs and if you want to do it right you are talking under $15 a hour. It can be a lot under in most cases, but that’s a pretty good number to do it right. You compare that to costs in the states of $45 to $90 an hour or higher and you now know why almost everyone has one. If we are being honest here most use housekeepers who are not legal and get them for $3 an hour flat or less. That is just how it works here for some people. I don’t suggest doing this, but people do all the time doesn’t make it right, but I pass no judgments. My advise is to use a service or share with a friend who knows what they are doing as all the rules get confusing and its not like it is in the states. If you fire them it can be a huge mess of bills for you and the cost can be high. Some people will put the money away each year into a CD just in case they have to fire them. If they quit not an issue. While others pay it at the end of the year for that years service. So, its like firing them and rehiring them on a yearly basis.
  • Gardeners are even cheaper than a housekeeper. You can get them for about $2 an hour or less again depending on if the are legal or not. All the same things apply for the Gardeners as the housekeepers. So the cost will be more once you add all the additional costs, but still going to be way cheaper than if you had one in he states. Especially in some areas. I know I pay almost $100 an hour to have a company come in and take care of my property while I am not there.
  • Community Fees vary from community to community. Some have no fees while others have many fees. Depending on the area and the house you are looking to rent or buy check into the fees! Not everyone or every agent will tell you about these fees upfront. They are not trying to deceive they just don’t think about it. So be sure to ask!  Our house is in a gated community, but the only fees we have is for the security guard at the gate which we pay about $40 a month for. In addition to that we have a trash pickup fee of $8 a month. Now we do not have this and other do pay what would be the equivalent of HOA fees in addition to all of  those. It can range from $10 am month to $100 a month. It all depends on what is offered by the community or what the builds want to make off of you each month. Again you must ask as they won’t always tell you. Is there a pool, playground, shared community center? All these things raise the price of the fees. There is one community here that offers nothing outside of your house and the lot and they still charge a fee for nothing. I guess it is for the privilege of living on the developers land.  Community fees are really no different here than in the states and I think these fees are pretty much the same and or lower. I owned a house once and the HOA fees were $125 a month and they really didn’t have anything to offer. Now if you are buying you are fully responsible for those costs. If you are renting you may want to verify all those costs are included in your monthly rental fee.
  • Homeowner or Renters Insurance like in most countries is a necessary evil. Doesn’t matter where in the world you live you have to have a number of types of insurance. I pay about $1200 a year for my homeowners policy and other have stated as low as $250 a year. I think I may be getting ripped off. My research for this article has me thinking. Again this varies with the house value and the options you select on your policy. This will be covered in full detail when we get our article from the owners of the Remax here in Atenas. Now I will say I was talking to some people in a Facebook group to get what they pay and the responses were “Whats insurance” So I assume not everyone has this. Some said too expensive for what was covered and etc. So same complaint we have anywhere in the world when talking about insurance. In another blog I will detail my 2 claims that I have had so far this past year. Not sure it is worth having really, as I have not been happy with what I have to do and how long it takes to finish a claim out. I’m stilling fighting with them over an issue that happened back in Oct. of 2012.

So that just about covers it for housing costs. We will go into more detail on some of these points when Remax does a write up. So look for that one in the coming weeks. This concludes part I. Just remember that living in Costa Rica sometimes requires you to make adjustments to get the most out of your life here. Some are easy and others are very hard, but Costa Rica is worth the changes you may have to make to your life. Not sure yet how many parts this piece will have, but we will see. My next post in this series is going to be on transportation costs and groceries. I guess it really all depends on how much I have to say, and as we all know by now I always have a lot to say! So to wrap this up Electric is high, water comparable to the US if not cheaper (but can be a challenge), renting can be cheaper than buying,  and buying is way cheaper when you look at what you get here verse  what you can get in the states for the same price. TV and Internet cheaper but slower, but more than what you will need to do the things you will do. Pool service, housekeepers, Gardeners are most defiantly cheaper here by a lot! Insurance is pretty much the same as it is in the states. It can be cheaper here, but claims are just as difficult to collect. .So over all housing costs in Costa Rica as compared to the US it is much cheaper!!!!! What do you think? Am I right or do you have a different opinion? Let me know what you pay for this by leaving a comment on this post. If you do state the area you live in and as much info as possible along with what the costs are. This will help people be better informed and get real life data. Not just variables and ranges. So I give Housing Costs in Costa Rica 3 seashell1out of 5. Only because of the Electric costs and the water outages some people will have to face. Otherwise it would be 4 if you move to an area that doesn’t have water issues and you don’t need A/C or heat.

Pura Vida!

 

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Internet, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Riu Palace Guanacaste Costa Rica

Rui Lobby

The lobby of the Hotel

RiU Lobby Riu Lobby

Let me start off by saying this is one of the best Lobbies I have ever seen. I have seen many. This hotel is just that a Palace. It is huge and so beautiful. It is a must see. It is also an all inclusive resort and you can’t beat that. Staying here is like going on a cruise ship and not being on the water. You will want for nothing at all hours of the day and night. There is food and drink everywhere.

Here take a look at the mini bar:

Mini-Bar

Not that is what I am talking about. Full bottles with single shot spouts. When you are empty they just replace them and you start all over again. Its going to be hard not to find a hard drink when you have a mini bar like this in your room.

So now that I have your interest. :-) Room rates vary from $320 to upwards of $800 a nigh. Keep in mind once there all your food, drink, and entertainment is included in the price. Really those are not bad prices.

So here are some pictures of the room we stayed in. It was an amazing room.

Riu Room Riu Room Riu Room Riu room Riu Room

It was a most comfortable room. Now the water in the room is not drinkable. So don’t drink it. They always make sure you have bottled water in your room. There is also free Wifi something every hotel should have in the room! So you can upload those pictures to your friends at all hours of the day and night. The shower was amazing. It had good water pressure and it just made you feel so good when you were done.

Now onto the most important aspect of the trip, THE FOOD!!!!! It was amazing. Now we were only there for a short trip and most of the restaurants require you to make a reservation. So we didn’t eat in those. There were a number of them. You have to make the reservation by 2 pm the day before your dinner. Now we did eat at the one restaurant you didn’t need a reservation. Again the food was amazing.  It was a buffet style and each night they had a different theme to the foods. Remember what I said about a cruise ship? Yes it is just like that. Here are some samples of the food that was presented one night.

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Shame on you if you leave this place hungry! This was all in just one night and I think I may have missed a few stations. There was a waitress who brought us our drinks and they were very attentive to our needs.

So the beach and the pool were very nice no doubt. We did not get in the water only because the pool area was so amazing and we were only there for 2 nights. They have 6 pools and there are pool bars in and outside of the pool itself. They have chairs and other items for the beach as well if you decide to be a beach bum instead of a pool bum like me. So here are pictures of the pool and beach area.

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So, my review wrap up is a great place to stay with amazing food, comfortable room, great pool and beach, and friendly attentive staff. So I give this place 4 1/2 seashells out of 5.

Just in cast you want to stay there, here is a link to their website:

Riu Hotels for Families with speacial activities

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

 

 

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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