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International Adventure Guide 2013: Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio National Park

International Adventure Guide 2013: Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio National Park Apr 16th, 2013 at 11:00AM: When you're lying in the shade of a towering palm tree on Playa Espadilla Sur, a glorious, often empty beach backed by thick forest in Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio National Park, the temptation to remain inert can be irresistible. But it would be a shame to travel all the way to this fascinating corner of Central America and do nothing but lie on the beach. Costa Rica has a whopping 26 national...

How (Not) To Walk Across The Costa Rica/Nicaragua Border

How (Not) To Walk Across The Costa Rica/Nicaragua Border Mar 8th, 2013 at 10:00AM: You can learn a lot about a country by walking into it across a land border. VIP's enter at the airport or zoom through in a car, but when you walk across the frontier, especially in a developing country, you get a window into how ordinary people and traders travel. Before leaving on a recent trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, I tried to research the logistics of how we would get from the...

An Evening Of Costa Rican Rodeo Madness

An Evening Of Costa Rican Rodeo Madness Mar 7th, 2013 at 10:00AM: The reed thin drunk was just barely sober enough to avoid being flattened by a rampaging bull. The crowd roared when he broke into a nifty little dance, complete with somersaults and a crash but many were also hoping that he'd be trampled (see video). I was rooting for the harassed bulls to teach the dozens of insane men in the ring a lesson, but I dared not admit that to anyone. Costa Rican law...

Braving The Back Roads Of Guanacaste In Costa Rica, The World's Happiest Country

Braving The Back Roads Of Guanacaste In Costa Rica, The World's Happiest Country Mar 3rd, 2013 at 1:00PM: Take a look at a road map of Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula and you'll see a jumble of squiggly lines that seem to meander in circles with no clear pattern. Before setting off in a rental car from Santa Teresa, at the foot of Nicoya, heading towards Rincon de la Vieja National Park near the Nicaraguan border, I was a bit intimidated by the navigational task at hand. And I'd heard that the roads in...

Florblanca: Rock Star Luxury In Costa Rica

Florblanca: Rock Star Luxury In Costa Rica Mar 1st, 2013 at 1:00PM: I was lying in a hammock with my two little boys, getting ready to sleep off lunch. We could hear the melodic, crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean on the golden beach at our backs and were enveloped in the luxurious shade provided by soaring trees on a perfectly toasty February afternoon. An invigorating breeze tempered the afternoon sun and my typical urge to habitually check my email had...

Meet Pabrö Sanchez, Costa Rica's Monkey Whisperer

Meet Pabrö Sanchez, Costa Rica's Monkey Whisperer Feb 28th, 2013 at 9:00AM: A good guide can help a traveler interpret the local culture. But sometimes a guide can sanitize and filter your experience by telling and showing you only what they think you want to hear and see. Pabrö Sanchez, a guide I hired through the Florblanca Resort in Costa Rica to take me to the Curu Wildlife Refuge on the Nicoya Peninsula, is not such a person. Before we'd even arrived at Curu,...

The World According To A Costa Rican Cab Driver

The World According To A Costa Rican Cab Driver Feb 27th, 2013 at 10:00AM: I would never think of getting in a cab in my hometown of Chicago and asking for a lift to Indianapolis, Iowa City or Milwaukee. But when I'm outside the U.S. without a rental car, I sometimes resort to long-distance taxi rides as a way of getting from point A to point B. On a recent trip to Costa Rica I took a three-hour taxi ride from Heredia, near San Jose, to Manuel Antonio National Park and...

Monkeys Are Big Business At Manuel Antonio National Park In Costa Rica

Monkeys Are Big Business At Manuel Antonio National Park In Costa Rica Feb 25th, 2013 at 10:00AM: It was 6 a.m. and I was hiking alone in the lush, tropical forest below the Hotel Parador near Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica when I heard a noise that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a deep, throaty guttural call that almost sounded like an animal clearing its throat. I was on the so-called "Monkey Trail" on the hotel's extensive grounds, so I was expecting to see howler monkeys....

Releasing My Inner Gringo In Costa Rica

Releasing My Inner Gringo In Costa Rica Feb 21st, 2013 at 10:00AM: I try not to be the stereotypical ugly gringo when I'm in Latin America. I tolerate leisurely or downright rude service, I use my poor but functional Spanish, and I try to go with the flow, bearing in mind that things are just different south of the border. But no matter how hard I try, there are occasions when I can't help but act like a gringo. My first, and hopefully last, real gringo moment...

An Unforgettable Coffee Tour At Finca Rosa Blanca In Costa Rica

An Unforgettable Coffee Tour At Finca Rosa Blanca In Costa Rica Feb 18th, 2013 at 12:00PM: Coffee! It's the most addictive drug in the world. Many of us could barely function without it, but have you ever toured a coffee plantation? I hadn't until I stumbled upon a coffee plantation and inn called Finca Rosa Blanca near San Jose last week. We were set to arrive in Costa Rica just before nightfall and the idea of immediately heading south to our first stop, Manuel Antonio National Park,...

Mandatory Car Rental Insurance: Watch Out For Bait-And-Switch Pricing

Mandatory Car Rental Insurance: Watch Out For Bait-And-Switch Pricing Feb 15th, 2013 at 12:00PM: Mandatory insurance. Those are two words that I hate to hear when I'm renting a car outside the U.S. On Thursday night, I spent an hour and a half in a Thrifty Rent a Car location near the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica, trying to understand how an eight-day rental that I expected to pay $394 for was somehow going to cost me either $786 or $946. I'm an experienced traveler and I should have known...

There's A Barbie Hotel Room In Costa Rica, And It's Like, Totally Cool

There's A Barbie Hotel Room In Costa Rica, And It's Like, Totally Cool Sep 25th, 2012 at 2:00PM: It's pink and girly and awesome! We jest. But Barbie lovers disappointed that the new Royal Caribbean cruise packages are just for kids can now get their fill of the blonde doll's signature color with a new themed room at the DoubleTree by Hilton in San Juan, Costa Rica. It isn't the first time Hilton has partnered with Barbie - themed rooms pop up around the world, generally for a few months...

Human Hammocks And Howler Monkeys: Visiting Costa Rica's Jaguar Rescue Center

Human Hammocks And Howler Monkeys: Visiting Costa Rica's Jaguar Rescue Center Jul 27th, 2012 at 9:00AM: "Why don't they like me?" my travel companion huffed in frustration, abandoning what he had hoped would be a welcoming hand gesture toward a group of rehabilitated baby howler monkeys. Maybe they sensed our initial apprehension. After all, we had been nervous to visit the Jaguar Rescue Center, given the world's alarming amount of faux sanctuaries that operate more akin to zoos and tourist...

Costa Rica Named Happiest Country In The World

Costa Rica Named Happiest Country In The World Jun 19th, 2012 at 4:00PM: Looking for a travel destination where the people are always smiling? You may want to consider Costa Rica for your next trip. The New Economics Foundation has announced the findings of their Gallup World Poll in their Happy Planet Index. First the poll asked people to rate their quality of life on a scale from 1 to 10. Then, life expectancy and the amount of land necessary to sustain the...

Doomsday Bicycle Tour Lets You Ride To The End Of The World

Doomsday Bicycle Tour Lets You Ride To The End Of The World Jun 7th, 2012 at 4:00PM: What do you want to be doing when the world ends in December? If your answer is exploring Mayan temples ruins, gazing upon volcanoes and waterfalls, and basking in Central America's warm autumn sun all from the seat of your mountain bike, then Tour d'Afrique has a pretty epic tour for you to consider. Tour d'Afrique's Doomsday Ride is a 2,300-kilometer (1,429-mile) transcontinental bike...

10 best places to live for avoiding world conflict

10 best places to live for avoiding world conflict Mar 13th, 2012 at 5:00PM: Expatify.com asked the question, "Where would you be the safest if World War III broke out tomorrow?" The answers arrived in a post titled "10 Best Places to Live for Avoiding World Conflict." Irrelevant as it may seem to you, the claws of conflict affect a revolving roster of nations. The knowledge of where not to go because of conflict, or better yet, where to go to avoid it, can be useful if...

VIDEO: Visit a guinea pig village in Holland

Feb 10th, 2012 at 6:00PM: If you prefer cute and cuddly animals to the Big Five on safari, you may want to consider a trip to the Netherlands. VICE's Cute Show takes a look this week at a guinea pig village in Holland, where the hairy rodents go to "retire" when their owners can no longer look after them. You can adopt a guinea pig or just visit them (I'm partial to the scrappy and long-haired Droopy). The guinea...

The world's most ethical tourism destinations

The world's most ethical tourism destinations Jan 18th, 2012 at 3:30PM: Each year, non-profit organization Ethical Traveler conducts a survey of the world's developing nations, analyzing their progress toward promoting human rights, preserving their environment, and developing a sustainable tourism industry. The study, run by Ethical Traveler's all-volunteer staff, factors in country scores from databases like Freedom House, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and...

Key to Costa Rica offering 10% discount on Fall tours

Key to Costa Rica offering 10% discount on Fall tours Oct 1st, 2011 at 1:00PM: Key to Costa Rica is offering a 10% discount on tours going to Costa Rica now through November 30, 2011. The focus of these tours is eco-tourism, with itineraries being planned by green travel consultant Beatrice Blake who has not only lived in Costa Rica for 13 years, but has been advising travels since 1996. For those who may not be familiar with eco-tourism, it is a type of travel, usually to a...

Scared to visit Mexico? How about Panama?

Scared to visit Mexico?  How about Panama? Jun 25th, 2011 at 7:00AM: News reports of ongoing crime and attacks on travelers in Mexico have land vacationers looking for alternative destinations and cruise ships headed in the opposite direction. Sure, those beheadings, murders and shootings are happening in remote areas of Mexico for the most part, but stories of such activity combined with travel warnings by trusted sources are enough to shift our focus elsewhere. ...

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