Category Archives: Costa Rica

Sunset Saturdays (aka #SunsetSaturdays)

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Costa Rica sunset

Photo courtesy of GreenSpot traveler, Eric Asch

sunset and palm trees

Palm trees: A sunset’s best friend

Every day, in every part of the world, the sun falls below the horizon. This happens rain or shine, in summer and through winter. We might be stating the obvious; however, the spectacle of a truly beautiful sunset is something that most of us do not take for granted. In fact, I wonder if you can remember some of the most striking sunsets you have seen in your lifetime. I bet you can. You might even be able to remember what you did that day or something that made that moment special. Maybe you have spent time chasing a sunset or put a lot of thought into the best place to see the sun go down. You might even have a picture of a sunset that capped off a special day.

The beauty often requires no filter and perhaps the most splendid can be seen amid stormy skies, when the colors can reflect upon the clouds. Yet, most people would agree that it is less about the photography and more about the moment. It is true that each sunset is unique in color and hue, yet they are also unique to each onlooker. We are most interested in what is happening on the other side of that vibrant glow…a couple holding hands; friends sharing cocktails; a family relishing a much needed break; the traveler reflecting on the adventures of the day…

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Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand

For example, the photograph to the left is a favorite of mine. Usually the one pressing the shutter, I am rarely the subject of a photograph, yet my husband snapped this picture of me (left), gazing at the sunset on the Thai island of Ko Pha Ngan. I remember, I was not only captivated by the beauty of the sky, but by the overwhelming gratitude I had for that moment. This photograph always reminds me of that feeling.

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Costa Rica sunset

A sunset often generates a sense of tranquility that many of us wish we could capture more often. This is what Sunset Saturdays are all about. If you can’t be on the beach, with your toes in the sand and a drink in your hand, we hope to offer you the next best thing: A moment to daydream. You might be reminded of a beautiful sunset you have witnessed in the past (and we hope you might send it our way!) or you might be dreaming up your next adventure, to a place where sunsets blaze orange and red every night. For a moment, you can transport yourself there. Breathe and surrender to the daydream, conjuring up ways to make it a reality.

Let us help you get there! And when you do, please send us a photo! We hope that the next sunset photograph we receive is from your happiest of places.

Where the Wild Things Are: Why you Should Expose Kids to Wildlife

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Like most children, I grew up with a love for all things small, innocent and fluffy. For years, I begged my parents for a puppy, but since we traveled a lot, I ended up with fish, gerbils and rabbits, as they were easier to pawn-off on people when we went away.039_36

Yes, I would consider myself an animal lover from a young age. However, it wasn’t until young-adulthood, while traveling abroad, that I had the chance to see exotic animals in their natural habitat. Although I was in my mid-twenties and did not yet have children of my own, I remember thinking what an amazing opportunity it would be for a child to experiences true wildlife encounters.

Recently, as my daughter and I watched in awe, as two wild stags fought antler to antler, she expressed it perfectly when she said, “Wow! This is way better than Animal Planet!”  Wildlife documentaries are wonderful, but here are some reasons to expose kids to the real thing.

Encourage their Caring Nature20140809_114016_Android (2)

As many parents will tell you, connecting children with wildlife helps to develop kind, thoughtful, considerate and caring qualities. As children begin to realize that not all animals are respected and cared for, they can learn about the people who are working fervently to preserve wildlife. You can discuss what your family can do to help and even visit a wildlife sanctuary to see caring in action. (Contact us and ask about such experiences!)

Promote Environmental Values

Respect for wildlife and the environment go hand-in-hand. Develop this knowledge in your kids and produce great role models and advocates of future preservation.

Do it for Health

Studies show that getting outdoors is healthy for our body and our mind. Whether you are going on a nature hike in your area, or hopping on a plane for a wildlife expedition abroad, getting children (and ourselves) to abandon computer screens will keep us moving and reduce stress.

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Education

The world is a living classroom (we can’t say it enough). Even your backyard can support a love for wildlife and educate kids about local flora and fauna. Take them on a family wildlife expedition abroad and they will return with a treasure chest of knowledge that they will never forget.

An Opportunity to Bond

A love for nature and wildlife is something that is stimulating to people of all ages. Through learning and discovering the natural world, you will find boundless wild activities to do together.

How do I find out more?

Contact us and ask about the best family itineraries for optimal wildlife viewing. Experiences can range from staying deep in the rainforest, surrounded by nature and animals, to visiting wildlife sanctuaries or locations where endangered sea turtles are nesting.

Travel Tips to make the Most out of Your Trip

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You are perhaps thinking about visiting Costa Rica. Or maybe you’re headed to the country with the happiest people on earth soon! Your smile will fit right in.

While on your trip, your focus is on relaxing, having fun and soaking in your surroundings – a vacation. But we’ve found out that using some of our most important green travel practices below sets the stage for the kind of experience that changes you a little bit – the kind you remember and talk about for a long time afterward:

Children boating Costa Rica

  • Converse with the locals! Use  HOLA, POR FAVOR and GRACIAS with at least one non English speaking Tico (Costa Rican). 
  • Capture the moment! Take a picture of your most adventurous moment in CR and consider sharing it with us (por favor??), so you can inspire other travelers!
  • Sample the exotic! Try a cajeta, pejivaye, or – one of Irene’s favorite tropical fruits – mamones, especially if you have never had one before. 
  • Think green! Be ready to spread the word with family and friends about the “greenest” experience of your trip, and help to make the world a better place.
  • Fill up! Don’t forget to take your GreenSpot water bottles with you so you can refill instead of landfill.
  • Perhaps most important of all – Respect traditional culture. Everybody is working very hard to make your trip an unforgettable experience. You are in a different country with different priorities and ideas about values, time, and even daily life. So patience, an open mind and flexibility all let you learn something new about yourself and others.

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High Season, Low Season and Whale Season in Costa Rica

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The dry Costa Rican “summer” is high season in Costa Rica for North Americans looking to escape a cold winter. Low season on the other hand, can be a great time to visit. During this time there is more rain, but the crowds are thinner and the forests lush. Whale season is a little different, and it takes place around the second week of September,

In the beach area of Punta Uvita, part of the Marino Ballena National Park on Costa Rica’s Southwest Pacific Coast, locals host a special celebration called the Whale Festival. The area around Punta Vita is a pristine wildlife refuge with gorgeous beaches, a distinct Costa Rican feel, and great tourism potential.

Costa Rica Beach

The Whale Festival is something like what many of us might call a local whale “country fair.” Ticos (Costa Ricans) from all over the country, and local vendors gather at this festival for a week-long celebration of local flavors, religious festivities, and most important of all – to witness the incredible Humpback whales as they migrate south with their babies!

Boat tours are available to witness this spectacular event, though tickets must be purchased in advance, as there is a limited amount of tickets available each day in order to avoid stressing the large mammals. Private boat tours can also be arranged in advance.

Don’t be afraid of the rain, contact us, pack your bags and witness an experience worth getting  a little wet for!

 

Postcard from Costa Rica

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We’re thrilled to be sharing another postcard from a trip we arranged for Zaria and her family to Costa Rica:

“Irene planned the PERFECT trip for my father and I! We had the perfect mixture of adventure and relaxation, jungle and beach. My family has traveled extensively all over the world, and our trip to Costa Rica was certainly one of the very best.

We stayed at Finca Rosa Blanca in their GORGEOUS master suite, overlooking their organic coffee plantation. We went to Arenal and stayed at Kioro Hotel, enjoyed their wonderful spa, hot springs, an insanely gorgeous and CLOSE view of the volcano, zip-lining, hanging bridges, and horseback riding to a beautiful waterfall. We had a wonderful, intelligent, sweet guide named Donald for our 3 days there.

We then drove down to Nosara and spent a week at the Harmony Hotel which I could not praise enough… Irene was spot-on with all locations and hotels.. and was extremely helpful in the planning process. Always efficient and attentive to emails, and always making herself available for questions/concerns. Thank you Irene!!!!”

ZARIA

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