Tuesday, October 31, 2006

 

CENTRAL AMERICA ONLINE FREE DIRECTORY

ADD YOUR SITE BY FREE TO OUR CENTRAL AMERICA ONLINE DIRECTORY, CLIK HERE:
http://centralamerica.01dir.com then choose your category and click on Submit URL.
Thanks a lot.


Friday, October 27, 2006

 

Ciencia y tecnologia en Costa Rica

Costa Rica estratégicamente aspira a posicionarse internacionalmente como una economía basada en conocimientos que atrae inversiones externas y se inserta en mercados mundiales más efectivamente. Esta estrategia no es quimérica si se considera que la expectativa de crecimiento económico e índices de desarrollo humano de Costa Rica son ya más altos que los de México, Brasil y Panamá (World Economic Forum y PNUD).
La ciencia y la tecnología son componentes estratégicos del modelo de desarrollo de cualquier país. La investigación científica y tecnológica desempeña un papel vital en el crecimiento económico y en la consecución del objetivo primordial del desarrollo humano integral.
La innovación integra los conceptos y las acciones de desarrollo científico-tecnológico con su impacto en el desarrollo productivo y en el crecimiento económico del país; necesarios para sustentar los mejores niveles de calidad de vida de la sociedad costarricense. El desarrollo de una capacidad de innovación permanente es una condición de viabilidad para garantizar la sostenibilidad de la competitividad nacional.
Por eso la educación de la población nacional constituye un eje que atraviesa todos los sectores productivos, considerándose como la inversión necesaria, que requiere del financiamiento adecuado, el cual se ha establecido en el 6% anual del PIB, según Ley de la Republica.
En el Proyecto de Ciencia y Tecnología para la Competitividad, planteado por la actual Administración, se evidencia la necesidad de concentrar esfuerzos que resulten en el mayor valor agregado a la producción nacional y se fortalezca la capacidad de transferir y generar conocimientos que apoyen la creación de ventajas comparativas. En este sentido, se deben enfatizar ciertos sectores de conocimientos estratégicos con potencial y crear más eslabones en la cadena productiva.
El esfuerzo innovador del país permitió una evolución positiva, ocupando la posición 28 de 59 países en el índice de innovación, ubicándose por encima de Chile, Brasil, México y Argentina.
Según el estudio del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo – BID (realizado para efectos del Proyecto de Ciencia y Tecnología para Competitividad); se denota que del lado de la ciencia y tecnología, Costa Rica tiene ventajas significativos por ello, ha podido atraer inversiones extranjeras directas estratégicas como las de INTEL, Abbott Laboratories y Procter & Gamble.

El estudio continua, enumerando las siguientes condiciones en ciencia y tecnología en el país:

  • El potencial científico y tecnológico se deriva de fortalezas relativas específicas, notablemente en las ciencias agrícolas, biológicas, y de información, así como al sistema de educación nacional. También se deriva de las políticas económicas que, por ejemplo, han facilitado que los centros de TIC estén ubicados en la zona franca, posean fuerte patrocinio del gobierno, y tengan apoyo activo de la comunidad académica.
  • Sin embargo, los productos innovadores y los aportes de la I+D han sido limitados, en gran parte, por la baja inversión (0,3% del PIB, 1999) en I+D –los países avanzados invierten de 2-3% del PIB por año. De esa inversión, en 1998, sólo 25% provenían del sector productivo; 10% de organismos internacionales; y el resto del sector público. La norma en países pequeños industrializados es que de 50%-60% de la inversión proviene del sector privado.
  • Sin embargo, costa Rica presenta un bajo posicionamiento en el Índice de Tecnología, posición 46 –en el Cuadro 1 vemos además que no mejoró su posicionamiento entre el 2000 y 2004. Este índice refleja la capacidad de innovar, utilización de las últimas tecnologías, y de I+D, por lo cual fija un lugar muy poco favorable desde el punto de vista de la creatividad de empresarios y tecnólogos para promover la innovación tecnológica.
 
 

Thursday, October 26, 2006

 

The pace of life in Costa Rica

The pace of life in Costa Rica is considerably slower than it is in the United States. Part of this was undoubtedly because we traveled as tourists, mostly in rural Costa Rica, in the low season. I'm sure that it would have been somewhat different in San Jose in the high season, or working at Intel's plant in Heredia. Still, people in Costa Rica aren't as frantic about getting things done on time as people are in the US. Costa Ricans act as though people are more important than deadlines, and people expect to make time for each other, and to wait for other people and to have other people wait for them. Expatriates, and some Costa Ricans, call this living on Tico Time. Punctuality is not next to godliness, and waiting is not seen as offensive, or as a waste of time. We ran into this all the time. The best example of this was one day when a hotel owner offered to take us and some other people in the hotel up to see turtles coming ashore to lay eggs at Ostional (a fantastic trip). He said that we would leave the hotel after lunch, and I asked him exactly when after lunch we should be ready to go. He shrugged his shoulders, looked at me and slapped his empty wrist and said "you see a watch? We will leave when everybody is ready to go." It worked both ways -- once we were about to go out to dinner and another hotel owner stopped us and asked if we would help her middle-school aged son with his homework, because he had a test the next day but was still confused about the difference between the comparative and the superlative. Having made her house into a home for our family (mi casa es su casa), she expected that we would do no less for her family. So we happily postponed our dinner for an hour to tutor her son.
 
 

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

 

Welcome to Costa Rica Central Valley Information

Welcome to Costa Rica Central Valley Information

The main entryway to the country, the Central Valley offers a variety of tourist, cultural and natural attractions, including Costa Rica best museums: the Gold, Jade, National, Costa Rican Art, La Salle Natural Science, University of Costa Rica Insect and Children Contemporary Art and Design Museums.

In addition, this region is home to the architectural jewel of Costa Rica: the National Theater. All of these are located in the country capital. The national parks located in the Valley Poas, Braulio Carrillo, Irazu and Turrialba protect the region main volcanoes. All have road infrastructure so that visitors can enjoy their birds, natural landscapes, craters and forests.

The country capital, San Jose, is the seat of most government services; however, the provincial capitalsAlajuela, Heredia and Cartagooffer a variety of quality commercial and tourism services. As a tourism zone, the Central Valley features two extraordinarily beautiful areas that in and of themselves are true tourist destinations: Turrialba and Valle de los Santos.

The rural towns, for their part, are highly picturesque, and offer a glimpse of old Costa Rica, with their houses of bahareque (a building material similar to adobe but made of cattle dung and straw), large coffee plantations, sugar mills and dairies. ACTIVITIES Tourist activities abound in this region, and may take in culture, adventure or nature.

HORSEBACK RIDING Outside the big cities, in the Central Valley rural zone, getting about on horseback is commonplace. Tourists can enjoy this activity in communities such as Turrialba, Santa Maria de Dota, Atenas, Zarcero, San Ramon, Palmares, upper Cartago, Heredia and Alajuela, as well as in the south and west parts of San Jose: Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon, among other places.

HIKING There is no limit to the variety of hikes available for observing the region natural, historical, architectural, cultural, religious and commercial attractions.

RECREATIONAL CYCLING The region offers a variety of picturesque roads and adventure or leisure sites that allow touring on regular or mountain bikes. Interesting routes include San Antonio de Escazu to the University for Peace, Turrialba to La Suiza, and Cañon del Guarco to Copey de Dota.

SHOPPING In recent years, a variety of new shopping centers have been developed in Curridabat, Zapote, downtown Alajuela, Escazu and Heredia, offering interesting shopping options for international tourists.

ART GALLERIES Art galleries have experienced a significant increase in recent years, not only in tourist and hotel districts but also in major commercial centers. Examples of Costa Rican art may be seen in cultural houses and in all the provincial capitals. In association with the Ministry of Culture, a few municipalities have created Culture Offices to discover local artists, which has encouraged an increase in artistic endeavors.

ARCHITECTURAL AND HISTORIC SITES The Central Valley contains a wide variety of sites and buildings declared National Monuments or of architectural or historical interest to appeal to tourists appreciative of the country national heritage.

SPELUNKING The cavern system in the outskirts of Patarra offers adventure and the chance to learn about the fossils found in the mountain.

CUISINE Many modern shopping centers and typical towns have restaurants and sodas (small, usually family-run restaurants serving local food) where visitors can sample Costa Rican cuisine. Communities with traditions in traditional food and drink include Zarcero, Ciudad Quesada, Santa Maria de Dota, Aserri, La Garita, Poasito de Alajuela, Monte de la Cruz, Heredia, Pacayas de Alvarado, Santa Cruz de Turrialba, Atenas, Orosi and Grecia, as well as El Empalme, La Trinidad and Copey.

PLANT AND WILDLIFE OBSERVATION Visitors can observe nature and wildlife in several public protected areas, such as Braulio Carrillo, Volcan Poas and Tapanti-Macizo de la Muerte, as well as in the Lankester Botanical Garden, the Simon Bolivar Zoo, the Santa Ana National Zoo and the zoo in La Garita de Alajuela. Added to these, a few theme parks offer enjoyable experiences with nature.

SUGAR MILLS Sugar mills are used for one of the most traditional processes in the country: manufacturing products from sugar cane. Mostly located in rural areas, sugar mills are places where entire families get their livelihood, and where grandfathers, parents and children alike participate in the work. Old sugar mills in good working condition are found in Piedades Norte, Bajos de la Paz and San Ramon de Alajuela; some of these are powered by oxen. Water-powered mills can be found in San Antonio de Escazu, Jaris de Mora and Grecia. Several sugar mills have been converted into tourist attractions for travelers wanting to try sugary treats such as perico, sobado and espumas, breathe in the sweet aroma or learn about the production process.

MUSEUMS The most culturally and historically diverse selection of museums in the country are located in this region, including the National Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Children Museum, Museum of Costa Rican Art, Gold Museum, Popular Culture Museum, Juan Santamaria Museum, Orosi Museum, Entomological Museum, La Salle Museum, Jade Museum and others.

BIRD-WATCHING The Central Valley offers several bird-watching sites, including Copey de Dota and Macizo de la Muerte on the southern Interamerican highway, El Rodeo Protected Area, the environs of the University for Peace, the Tapanti area, Paraiso and the upper regions of Coronado. Birds in captivity may be seen in the Simon Bolivar Zoo and the Bird Zoo in La Garita, Alajuela.

TREETOP AND TRAIL ADVENTURES Several companies and organizations have developed facilities for visitors to enjoy adventure activities on nature trails and in the forest canopy: INBIO in Santo Domingo de Heredia; the Central American Livestock Farming School in Balsa de Atenas; the TURU BA-RI Tropical Park in Turrubares, which has facilities with an ecotourism focus, gardens with exotic species, a herbarium, a garden maze and butterfly garden; and the Butterfly Garden in the outskirts of Varablanca, with trails between several waterfalls on the Rio La Paz, a hummingbird garden and butterfly garden.

PHOTOGRAPHY Photography is a promising activity thanks to the varied cultural, architectural and scenic options available, as well as the wealth of flora and fauna, waterfalls, rivers, volcanoes, coffee and sugarcane plantations and dairies.

LANGUAGE TRAINING As a complement to the tourist activities available in the Central Valley, language training is offered in some state universities, as well as through a few private institutions and travel agencies. Courses may be taken not only in the capital but also in towns such as San Isidro de Coronado, Ciudad Colon and Paraiso.

BUTTERFLY AND SNAKE GARDENS Visitors to these places can observe a variety of butterfly species or learn about the natural history of snakes. There are gardens in San Jose, Heredia and Turrialba.

TRAIN RIDE TO THE PACIFIC Tourists can take the train from San Jose to the Pacific on the â€Å“Paseo en Tren a la Tica departing for Caldera every Saturday and Sunday at six a.m. This unique activity started up a few years ago after a group of friends had the idea to somehow revive those unforgettable train trips that started in 1910, when the Maria Cecilia locomotive first began direct train service between San Jose and Puntarenas. With a total capacity of 130 passengers, the train departs at six on the nose. The route has not changed; behind the tracks are the Numar factory, La Sabana, Pavas and Belen. Loitering in the aisles is not permitted, as vendors pass through selling coffee and refreshments, followed by newspapers, oranges, mangos and sweets. At Rio Grande, a serenade begins and is repeated from car to car. The Cambalache tunnel indicates the train approach to Mata de Limon, and at ten a.m. it arrives at its last stop: Puerto Caldera.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES In the provincial capitals, especially on Sundays at around ten a.m., concerts by the National Bands of Cartago, Heredia, Alajuela and San Jose may be enjoyed. This traditional activity normally takes place in the Central Park of each province. In addition, throughout the year communities celebrate historical, religious, sporting, civic and artistic events, and hold fairs to raise funds for community development. JANUARY. First week. Copa del Cafe International Tennis Tournament. Weekend closest to the 10th. Public Festivals, Alajuelita. First half of January. Palmares public festivals. Latter half of January. La Naranja Expo-fair, Ciudad Colon. All month. Quetzal-watching, Macizo de la Muerte. FEBRUARY. Second weekend in February. Macizo Tourism Expo-fair, Copey de Dota. All month. Quetzal-watching, Macizo de la Muerte. MARCH. 9. Dia del Boyero, San Antonio de Escazu. 1-2, 7-9. Onion fair, Centro Agricola Cantonal, Santa Ana. 19. San Jose Obrero Artisan Fair, San Jose. 19-23. Llano Grande Costa Rican flower festival, Cartago. All month. Quetzal-watching, Macizo de la Muerte. APRIL. 11. Hero Juan Santamaria Tourism Expo-fair, civic cultural celebration, Alajuela. Last weekend in April. Cafe Los Santos Tourism Expo-fair. Last week. Outdoor Art Exhibition, San Rafael de Escazu. All month. Quetzal-watching, Macizo de la Muerte. MAY. 1. Labor Day. 15. Feast of San Isidro Labrador, San Isidro de Heredia, Coronado, San Jose, Tierra Blanca, Pacayas and San Isidro de Grecia. EXPOTUR, International Tourism Exchange. All month. Quetzal-watching, Macizo de la Muerte. JUNE. All month starting on the 5th. Madre Fertil-Tierra Nuestra Environmental Festival. All month. Quetzal-watching, Macizo de la Muerte. JULY. International Brass and Trombone Festival of Costa Rica. Second week, Thursday. EXPO-OSA TURISMO, Tourism Marketing Exchange, San Jose. AGUST. 1. Pilgrimage to Cartago. 2. Virgin of the Angels Day. First week. Cheese Expo-fair, Santa Cruz de Turrialba. 24. National Parks Day. Last weekend of August. Procession of the Saints, San Ramon de Alajuela. SETEMBER. 14. Lantern parade. 15. Costa Rican Independence Day. 29. Feasts of Archangels San Miguel, San Gabriel and San Rafael. 26-28. Orosi Colonial Tourism Expo-fair, Cartago. OCTUBER. 12. Cultures Day. 9-16. International Bowling Tournament, La Raza Tournament. Latter half of October. Manos Creadoras National Handicrafts Fair. Feast of San Rafael in San Rafael de Poas, San Rafael de Heredia, San Rafael de Oreamuno and San Rafael de Escazu. NOVEMBER. Last week. Fair in Atenas. Third weekend in November. Rural Tourism Fair. Last Saturday in November. Procession of the Saints and ox-drover parade. La Ruta de los Conquistadores mountain-bike race. DECEMBER. 1. Army Abolition Day. 1. Nativity scene inauguration and Christmas carol week, National Theater. 3. Christmas festival, CENAC. First weekend in December. Coffee Expo-fair, Cachi, Cartago. Second weekend in December. Outdoor Art Festival, San Pedro. Second Saturday. Festival of Light, San Jose. 24. San Jose public festivals. 26. San Jose carnival. 27. Tope Nacional horse parade.

RURAL TOURISM ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES Rural tourism activities and services offered in the Central Valley and their corresponding locations within the region are as follows: A wide variety of attractions and activities are offered around La Cangreja Lodge in Puriscal, one kilometer south of Mastatal. Activities: Nature-trail hiking, visits to a sugar mill, horseback riding to Del Rey waterfalls or La Cangreja hill, tobacco tours, visits to the Quitirrisi Indigenous Reservation. San Jose Rural Lodge, located three kilometers east of the Escuela de Palmichal de Acosta, offers several activities and attractions. Activities: Trips through a 42-hectare preserve, visits to a coffee refinery, bicycle tours and visits to the Quitirrisi Indigenous Reservation. Located 15 kilometers northwest of San Ramon in Bajo La Paz, Bajo La Paz Student Hostel allows guests to enjoy nature and communal life. Activities: Trails through primary and secondary forest, horseback rides to Las Placas hill, visits to sugar mills and waterfalls and trout fishing. La Flor de Paraiso Tropical Agro-ecology Farm and Language School is located in the community of La Flor, in Paraiso de Cartago. Activities: Tours of the property, with farm animals, organic crops, forest in regeneration, a crafts workshop, botanical garden and sugar mill. Copal Lodge is located six kilometers from Humo de Pejibaye, Jimenez; the last stretch of road requires an all-terrain vehicle. Activities: Forest trail hiking and bird-watching, visits to the sugar mill, horseback and oxcart rides.

ATTRACTIONS TURRIALBA Several cities developed and prospered as a result of the building of the railroad to the Caribbean; Turrialba is one of these, and its architectural, spatial and ethnic makeup is different from other towns. Declared a City of National Archeological Interest, this town is the entryway to the Costa Rican Caribbean. Two universities are located here: the Tropical Agronomy Research and Learning Center (CATIE), of international influence, and the University of Costa Rica. Turrialba outskirts contain appealing rural communities such as Santa Cruz, where homemade Turrialba cheese is produced, La Suiza and Aquiares, as well as the rapids of the Reventazon and Pacuare rivers.

RIO PACUARE Flowing out of the Cordillera de Talamanca, this river offers excellent rafting. The run is suitable for big and small whitewater rafters, and parts of the trip offer stunning scenery.

VALLE DE OROSI This highly scenic tourism circuit features a series of viewpoints showing two different areas of the valley, including the towns of Orosi and Ujarras, the first two Spanish settlements in the era of the Conquista. Here, visitors can see two of the only colonial buildings in the country: the renamed Ujarras Ruins and the beautiful Iglesia de Orosi, with its considerable treasures in altarpieces, sacred images and other historical elements. Because of its strategic location, the Reventazon Valley, as it is also called, is a mandatory stop with many travel agencies, which find here a high-quality tourism destination where tourists can enjoy fishing for trout and langoustines, rent boats, soak in hot springs and take in agricultural plantations and works of engineering. In addition, many lodging facilities have been established in this area over the last few years.

RIO REVENTAZON At 152 kilometers long, the Reventazon features stretches perfect for rafting, fishing or canoeing. The thick greenery on the river banks adds to the enjoyment of a trip down its waters. The mid zone of this river is the Cachi Hydroelectric Plant largest water supply source.

CACHI HYDROELECTRIC DAM AND RESERVOIR This dam began operating in 1966, generating 32,000 kilowatts of power, which doubled one year later. Its innovative use of the Reventazon waters makes it the first of its kind in Central America. The reinforced-concrete structure, 79 meters tall and 186 meters wide, draws the attention of both national and international tourists traveling through the Ujarras Valley. Several leisure and eating establishments have arisen around the reservoir to facilitate visits from local and foreign tourists.

OROSI HOT SPRINGS According to the Romanian specialists who assessed Costa Rica hot springs in 1981, these waters are effective for relieving muscular pain and reducing stress. Orosi has two pools with good facilities for the national tourists who come to bathe in the waters. Around the Mirador de Orosi, a large outfit has been established that offers a number of quality services and taps into other hot springs highly beneficial to the body.

OROSI CHURCH AND COLONIAL MUSEUM Built in 1743 by Franciscan missionaries, this is the only colonial building in good condition in Costa Rica. Many works of art can be admired inside, including paintings, sacred images and the altar. The adjacent museum houses pieces and artifacts used by the Franciscans during the evangelical period, displaying something of the lifestyle of that era. The site was declared a National Monument in 1985.

LOS NOVIOS WATERFALL Known for the many anecdotes about the origin of its name (â€Å“The Couple), this waterfall adorns the slopes of Picacho hill, and can be viewed from the highway to Ujarras Valley or the Costa Rica Tourism Board Ujarras viewpoint.

RUINS OF THE IGLESIA DE LA PURISIMA CONCEPCION IN UJARRAS This church construction was ordered during the second half of the 16th century by the Governor of Costa Rica at that time, Miguel Gomez de Lara. The Franciscan missionaries carried out their labors in Ujarras around the church. Declared a National Monument in 1920, today the church is a visitor attraction of great architectural and historical interest within the Reventazon Valley circuit.

CARTAGO The Very Noble and Very Loyal City of Cartago was Costa Rica first capital, a distinction the city held until 1823. Cartago enjoys a good level of commercial development and state services. Despite seismic activity that has caused considerable damage throughout the city history, several important architectural structures still remain. Cartago is home to Costa Rica patron saint, Our Lady of the Angels. OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS BASILICA Built in 1921, this church houses a small shrine where the faithful go to worship Costa Rica patron saint in hopes of a miracle, to be healed or to give thanks for prayers answered. A mixture of Roman, Arabic and Gothic styles, the basilica has Italian floors and 32 stained-glass windows from Germany depicting the Virgin, Heart of Jesus and the 15 Stations of the Cross. PILGRIMAGE IN HONOR OF OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS Each year, starting several days before August 2, Costa Ricans from all over the country make pilgrimages from their homes to Our Lady of the Angels Basilica in Cartago, to fulfill a promise or ask for help with health or financial problems. COLEGIO SAN LUIS GONZAGA Founded as a learning institution in 1842, San Luis Gonzaga has produced several noteworthy Costa Rican political and professional figures. Several earthquakes destroyed the original facilities, with the earthquake of 1910 finally spurring the move to the school present-day location. Dating back to 1920, this building demonstrates a neoclassical influence, and was declared of Historical and Architectural Interest in 1989. The facilities house a museum featuring archeological, colonial-furniture, scientific and ethnological collections. IGLESIA DE QUIRCOT Located in the community of Quircot, this church is around 100 years old. A typical adobe construction, it was declared a Relic of Historical-Cultural Interest in 1986. CASA DE LA CIUDAD DE CARTAGO (PIRIE BUILDING) The first floor was built in 1882, with the second added in 1900. This is one of the few buildings to survive Cartago earthquakes. Today it is used for a number of Cartago artistic and cultural activities. PARROQUIA DE SANTIAGO APÓSTOL (CARTAGO RUINS) Construction resumed in 1904 after thirty years of stoppage; however, the Santa Monica earthquake on May 4, 1910, put a definitive end to Cartago interest in completing the building. The site is visited by various travel companies bringing a constant stream of international tourists wanting to learn about the ruins history and see the architecture, bells and colonial streets. CRISTO DE OCHOMOGO Located in Cerros de Ochomogo, this monument commemorates the Costa Ricans who died from March to April of 1823, when the â€Å“imperialists who supported union with Mexico Iturbide Empire did battle with the republicans who believed in complete independence from other countries. As a result of this confrontation among Costa Ricans, Cartago lost its title as the country capital to San Jose.

CORDILLERA DE TALAMANCA Made up of tertiary sedimentary marine rock, plutonic rock and volcanic domes from the upper Miocene, this mountain range runs on a northwest-to-southeast axis. Oak forests cover some areas, with other noteworthy species including magnolia, cacho de venado and pagoda. Plains bare of trees also exist, inhabited by squat shrubs, lichen, grasses, bamboo, ferns and myrtles. Common wildlife includes tapirs, ocelots, jaguarondis and wildcats, as well as mountain hares, goats, kinkajous, raccoons, coatis and agoutis. The range highest peaks are Chirripo at 3,821 meters above sea level and Kamuk at 3,554 meters above sea level.

RIO SAVEGRE, SAN GERARDO DE DOTA In this river cold waters, just a few kilometers from its source, visitors can fish for rainbow trout, or simply take refuge on its banks to relax or capture the river beauty on film or video. The Savegre features lovely scenic areas, as well as bird-watchingespecially quetzals.

CERRO BUENA VISTA OR DE LA MUERTE Part of the Cordillera de Talamanca, this mountain has an altitude of 3,451 meters. If the weather is kind, both Pacific and Caribbean coasts can be seen from its heights. The mountain features an interesting dwarf forest, and temperatures here can drop to zero degrees Celsius. The upper part of the mountain features a possible sub-volcanic dome, Cerro Jaboncillo (3,000 meters), the result of lava emplacement during the Miocene.

LOS JULIANES WATERFALL Main entry is through the Santa Maria de Dota area. The access road to Los Julianes runs through a region of virgin mountains called Fila Bayoneta. The waterfall is around 90 meters tall.

SAN GERARDO WATERFALL To get to this 40-meter waterfall, visitors walk approximately two and a half hours through primary forest, observing spectacular plant and wildlife species.

VALLE DE SANTA MARIA DE DOTA Seat of the Dota canton, Santa Maria is set in a valley surrounded by mountains. Converging here are the access roads to other communities such as Copey, San Marcos de Tarrazu and San Pablo de Leon Cortes. The population is concentrated on the banks of the Rio Parrita, in blocks like those used in old Spanish towns. Historical and natural attractions include: Santa Maria National Park, with its Monument to the Fallen in the Revolution of 1948; the Escuela Republica de Bolivia, which was the General Barracks for troops during the revolution; and the Dota hills offering lovely panoramic views of the valley.

FEAST OF SANTA MARIA DE LA CUEVA This traditional religious feast involves activities very uncommon in the rest of the country, such as fireworks, typical foods for sale, running with the bulls a la tica and various competitions: carreras de cintas, el palo encebado, juego de la bruja and others. Events go on for a week, ending with the chinga, in which everyone involved in the activities participates. The celebration takes place on February 2 of each year.

VALLE DE COPEY At 1,853 meters in altitude, this small valley is home to the community of Copey, and features unique conditions for hiking, photography, horseback riding, fishing, bird-watching and other leisure activities. Visitors can enjoy flower farms and apple orchards, typical architecture, natural landscapes and more. Lodging and dining options are offered.

SANTA MARIA DE DOTA PICTURESQUE ROAD The first access route to Santa Maria de Dota, this historic road features forests, rivers, agricultural landscapes and interesting communities such as La Cima and Copey, up to its final destination of Santa Maria.

OJO DE AGUA REFUGE, DOTA Ojo de Agua was built in 1910 as a rest stop for travelers making the trip between San Isidro de El General and San Jose. It has been declared a Historical Relic, and may be visited at its location at kilometer 76 on the southern Interamerican highway. Today, the place is used as a rest stop where groups of riders break their journeys throughout the year.

MONUMENT TO THE HEROES FALLEN IN 1948 Located in Santa Maria de Dota Central Park, this piece by artist Luis Umaña Ruiz depicts a woman protecting a group of men and women within her arms, symbolizing Costa Rica safeguarding its citizens. The piece weighs around 90 tons.

SAN JOSE At 1,149 meters above sea level, San Jose enjoys an average temperature of 24 degrees Celsiusan ideal climate for short trips to the Carmen, Catedral, Merced and Hospital districts. Here, visitors can admire the lovely architecture of several buildings that have been declared National Monuments of cultural, historical or architectural interest, including the Post and Telegraph Building, the National Theater, the Children Museum, the Blue Castle and others. The city offers high-quality options in dining and accommodations, from bed and breakfasts and popular sodas (small restaurants serving local and fast food) to fashionable bars for nightlife, complemented with cinemas and theaters. San Jose December religious feasts and public festivals are traditional events that may be enjoyed by visitors.

NATIONAL THEATER Built between 1890 and 1897, this edifice construction costs were paid for by the Costa Rican people through import taxes. The National Theater is home to valuable pieces by Italian artists, and is still in good condition after 100 years. The pride of Costa Ricans, the Theater is the center of the country main cultural, artistic and political activities, and was declared a National Monument in 1965.

MELICO SALAZAR THEATER The Melico Salazar Theater is housed in a building that has been declared of Historical and Architectural Interest. Its purpose is to promote the artistic expression of popular culture, and to provide access to its shows to the broadest possible sector of the population..

METAL BUILDING This hundred-year-old architectural jewel of metal has been used from its beginnings as a house of learning for boys and girls. It was declared of Historical and Architectural Interest in 1980.

TEMPLE OF MUSIC Located in Parque Morazan, this 1920 neoclassical building made of reinforced concrete features almost perfect acoustics. For many years it was the meeting place for the San Jose community, where concerts by the Symphonic Orchestra and the Military Band were enjoyed and the traditional new year greeting was exchanged.

NATIONAL MONUMENT Inaugurated on September 15, 1895, at what was known as the Plaza de la Estacion, the National Monument is a piece by French sculptor Louis Carrier commemorating the heroic deed of the campaign of 1856-1857. The figures represent the Central American countries pursuing a North American invader attired like the slavers represented by William Walker.

NATIONAL MUSEUM (OLD BELLAVISTA BARRACKS) Construction of the Army General Barracks took place between 1916 and 1930. In 1949, after the abolition of the army, the building was converted into the National Museum. Its fundamental purpose is to promote the study, conservation and display of the country flora and fauna. Currently, the museum main themes are archeology, national history and natural history. Located on Calle 17 between Avenidas Central and Segunda, the museum is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

CHILDREN MUSEUM Dating back to 1910, this modern museum is designed especially for the children of Costa Rica. The cultural and scientific activities that take place in its more than 50 display rooms are of great impact to the country. Located 800 meters north of the Banco Central in San Jose, the museum is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

JADE MUSEUM This museum houses a collection of pre-Columbian art (gold, ceramic, jade and stone), and is the only museum displaying indigenous jade artwork in the Americas. It is located in the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (National Insurance Institute) building.

GOLD MUSEUM The collection of indigenous gold objects displayed at the Gold Museum is considered one of the most valuable in the world. The museum is located in the Plaza de la Cultura, adjacent to the Tourism Information office of the Costa Rica Tourism Board. Located on Calle 5 at Avenida Central, the Gold Museum is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

OUTDOOR ART FESTIVAL, SAN PEDRO, MONTES DE OCA This nonprofit event only goal is to take art to the streets. The event takes place in San Pedro de Montes de Oca, on Calle 9 in San Pedro opposite the Banco Popular, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Outdoor Art Festival is organized with growing success by the Galeria de Ulises. According to Ulises Castillo, the event driving force, for two days the streets and sidewalks become a display area for the work of 80 plastic artists, including Ángel Lara Gonzalez, Rafael Garcia, Domingo Ramos, Emilia Cersosimo, Joaquin Rodriguez del Paso, Olger Villegas and Fernando Carballo. Event production is undertaken by the participants.

MUSEUM OF COSTA RICAN ART The old La Sabana Airport building is the home of this museum, which normally displays diverse collections of plastic art. On the second floor of the building, the Salon Dorado features a wooden mural depicting the country history from the Amerindian era to the year 1940. Located on Calle 42 at Avenida Segunda, La Sabana, the museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

PHILATELIC AND NUMISMATIC MUSEUM OF COSTA RICA Located in the San Jose Central Post Office building, this museum displays a collection of postage stamps produced in Costa Rica, as well as a recreation of an office from the last century, complete with equipment used for the first communications in the country.

UNIVERSITY OF COSTA RICA INSECT MUSEUM This museum displays an example of Costa Rica entomological diversity, and is located in the basement of the Faculty of Musical Arts at the University of Costa Rica.

LA SALLE NATURAL SCIENCE MUSEUM With an outstanding ornithology, entomology and malacology collection, this museum displays around 18,000 attractive specimens. Four display rooms exhibit mammals, fish, reptiles and shells; there is also an archeological display room. Located on the southwest side of La Sabana Metropolitan Park, the museum is open to the public Monday to Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART AND DESIGN The administration that designed this project defined it as the first space set aside specifically for circulation, research and reflection on national and international contemporary art in its diverse manifestations. Since 1994, the museum has put on more than 50 exhibitions generated by national and international curators, and has organized important traveling displays, including the first exhibition of contemporary Central American art. Located in San Jose in the Centro Nacional de Cultura (CENAC)a complex of restored buildingsthe museum is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

POPULAR CULTURE MUSEUM This museum is located in Santa Lucia de Barva, Heredia, in the house of former president Alfredo Gonzalez Flores. Its fundamental objective is to disseminate and preserve the traditions and identity of the Costa Rican people. The museum also shows visitors the building methods of colonial houses made with adobe and bahareque. A National Heritage, the Popular Culture Museum is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

INBIO (BIODIVERSITY INSTITUTE) Dedicated to natural research in the country, INBIO achievements have won the institute several international awards. Located in Santo Domingo de Heredia, the campus features tourist facilities and a Biodiversity Park.

NATIONAL CULTURE CENTER â€â€œ CENAC (OLD NATIONAL LIQUOR FACTORY) One of the oldest buildings in the country, dating back to 1853, CENAC is made up of several facilities, including the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Fanal Theater, Theater 1887 dedicated to dance, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, the Stone Gateway and the Sundial.

IGLESIA DE SAN ISIDRO DE CORONADO This structure of German origin was unloaded in late 1930 at the Pacific train station; from there it was transported in oxcarts and deposited in the plaza of San Isidro, Vazquez de Coronado canton, in front of which the neo-Gothic church was erected. The arrangement of the building principal façade shows that it has three naves. A series of images adorn the main entryways and the lateral facades. The building was finished in 1934; however, the date of completion is considered to be 1937, when the bells were blessed in a solemn consecration ceremony.

JOAQUIN GARCIA MONGE MUSEUM This museum displays a house from the 19th century made of adobe and caña brava (a giant grass) secured with bejuco and cucharilla (types of liana), colonial-style windows and wood fastened with hand-forged nails. The museum features a series of rooms distributed by geographic and historical context of Garcia Monge time.

OUTDOOR ART EXHIBITION, SAN RAFAEL, ESCAZU The Outdoor Art Exhibition takes place in San Rafael de Escazu once a year, showing a variety of paintings and sculptures by almost 200 artists, in addition to the participation of several art galleries that strengthen the exhibition. Jewelers, photographers and restorers are also present, using the opportunity to sell their work. The event allows new artists to interact with nationally recognized artists.

SANTA ANA Situated between the Escazu and Mora cantons at the foot of the Escazu and Puriscal hills, Santa Ana sits at an altitude of 904 meters above sea level, and enjoys a warm, dry climate. Its proximity to the capital, as well as Escazu, Belen and Alajuela, has enabled the development of a variety of dining and lodging options, including bed and breakfasts. The community combines agriculture, especially onions, with clay handicrafts, making Santa Ana a must-visit destination that can be enjoyed along with typical towns such as Piedades and Rio Oro.

UNIVERSITY FOR PEACE The administration of President Rodrigo Carazo (1978-1982) got the ONU to establish the University for Peace in Costa Rica in 1980. Today the campus has ample facilities, and studies there are directly related to aspects of peace and democracy. Also found here is the Monument to Peace, which highlights the work of different Costa Rican leaders in the interest of peace. The area around the monument is a lovely place for picnics and walks along nature trails featuring educational signs. The university is located seven kilometers from Ciudad Colon in the community of Rodeo.

PURISCAL. West of San Jose, Puriscal features irregular topography. Santiago, the seat of the canton, has an altitude of 1,105 meters above sea level. Puriscal is a great place to visit, thanks to its various attractions. The Quitirrisi Indigenous Reservation, just before Santiago, offers handicrafts made by members of this ethnic group. There are also typical villages, traditional food and drink, tobacco plantations, natural landscapes and various handicrafts made of wood and other materials. A new attraction is La Cangreja National Park, which features a variety of natural attractions, some of which are unique in the world.

PROTECTED AREAS VOLCAN TURRIALBA NATIONAL PARK This 1,257-hectare park most important feature is Volcan Turrialba. With an altitude of 3,340 meters above sea level, Turrialba shares a foundation with Volcan Irazu, which is why they are often identified as twin volcanoes. Turrialba features three well-defined craters as well as others misshapen by volcanic activity. The central crater is the deepest, at approximately 50 meters. On its slopes are two possible cones, Tiendilla (2,791 meters above sea level) and Armado (2,750 meters). Current activity consists of gas and steam eruptions with sulfur deposits. The average temperature here is 16 degrees Celsius, and rainfall varies between 3,000 to 4,000 millimeters per year. Visitor services include trails and several natural viewpoints.

GUAYABO NATIONAL ARCHEOLOGICAL MONUMENT The Guayabo National Monument archeological site represents one of the highest degrees of socio-cultural development achieved by the country pre-Hispanic societies. Declared a National Monument in August 1973 for being the largest and most important archeological site discovered up to that time, Guayabo was occupied through four cultural phases from 1000 B.C. to 1550 A.D. Based on the type of constructionsaqueducts, roads, retaining walls or bridgesand the area, it is estimated that between 1,200 and 1,600 people inhabited the site. The architectural complexity and extraordinary artistic design of the features and artifacts found among the ruins suggest that the site was home to individuals of high social, political, economic and religious standing. The site is located 19 kilometers northwest of Turrialba; however, it may also be accessed via Santa Cruz de Turrialba by all-terrain vehicle. Visitor services include information, a park ranger station, trails, restrooms, drinking water, signage and several natural viewpoints.

VOLCAN IRAZU NATIONAL PARK This park protects colossal Irazu, which, at 3,432 meters above sea level, is the tallest volcano in Costa Rica. The active volcano has a long history of eruptions and eruptive cycles. The protected area many geological features include the Playa Hermosa, Principal and Diego de la Haya craters, as well as the Sapper formation, the highest point in the massif, from which both Caribbean and Pacific coasts may be seen. Visitor services include information, a park ranger station, trails, restrooms, signage, a cafeteria, parking and several natural viewpoints.

BRAULIO CARRILLO NATIONAL PARK Created by Law 8357-A of April 5, 1978, this park is located northeast of the Central Valley in the central Cordillera Volcanica, between the massifs of Poas and Irazu volcanoes. Covering more than 44,000 hectares, Braulio Carrillo is one of the largest protected areas in Costa Rica. Nearly the entire landscape is made up of tall volcanic mountains swathed in forest, with countless great rivers running through deep canyons. Several extinct volcanoes have been identified: Chompipe, at 2,259 meters tall; Turu, at 2,139 meters; Cerro Cacho Negro, at 2,250 meters; and Barva, which has several craters collectively known as Tres Marias with an average height of 1,725 meters. Visitor services include information, a park ranger station, trails, restrooms, drinking water, signage and several natural viewpoints.

VOLCAN POAS NATIONAL PARK Rising 2,708 meters above sea level, this volcano gas emissions have notably increased since 1989, causing acid rain that has damaged plant life in some areas of the park as well as neighboring agricultural plantations. The summit features two craters: the main one, at one and a half kilometers in diameter and 300 meters deep; and Laguna Botos, a cold, rain-fed lake that feeds the Rio Ángel, a tributary of the Rio Sarapiqui that flows into the Caribbean. Currently the volcano emits a great quantity of gases and steam from the various fumaroles located in the crater inner cone. Visitor services include information, a park ranger station, trails, restrooms, drinking water, signage, a cafeteria, souvenir shop and several natural viewpoints.

BOSQUE ALEGRE WILDLIFE REFUGE This group of volcanic lakes is made up of Bosque Alegre, Congo and Hule lakes, as well as a tropical wet forest. An organized community watches over protection policies and conservation of the refuge. Visitor services include trails, restrooms and natural viewpoints.

TAPANTI-MACIZO DE LA MUERTE NATIONAL PARK With a 58,323-hectare area and altitudes ranging from 1,220 to 2,560 meters above sea level, this park is located in one of the rainiest parts of the country and is home to 45 species of mammals, 260 bird species and 30 reptile species, as well as ancient oak and alder forests. Fed by several tributaries, the Rio Grande de Orosi runs through the area; its waters are used to produce hydroelectric energy and to provide part of the metropolitan area water supply. Macizo de la Muerte is home to Historical Heritage site La Picada de Calderon, a trail still used by horseback riders at various times of the year. Visitor services in the Tapanti area include information, a park ranger station, trails, restrooms, drinking water, signage and natural viewpoints.

LOS SANTOS FOREST PRESERVE Stretching west from the Interamerican highway between El Empalme and the little village of Division, this preserve 62,000 hectares are rich in natural attractions and a large variety of flora and fauna. Among its treasures is the quetzal, a spectacular bird with majestic plumage. CERRO VUELTAS BIOLOGICAL PRESERVE Located in Copey, Cerro Vueltas contains 1,500 hectares. The preserve highest point is 3,156 meters above sea level; its lowest is in the vicinity of the community of Provincia de Dota. The most characteristic type of forest here is paramo (dwarf forest), with its great biodiversity and, in some cases, endemic species.

Suggested equipment: Hat, light jacket, hiking shoes, insect repellent, binoculars and camera.

 


Monday, October 23, 2006

 

Tortuguero Costa Rica

GENERAL INFORMATION Tortuguero is a very important area for its remnants of the Tropical Very Humid Forest that practically covered all of Costa Rica northeast only 50 years ago. One of the reasons for its creation was the protection of green turtles, since this is the most important spawning area of the West Caribbean.

The park has a terrestrial and maritime zone. Its mean annual temperature is 26°C.

LOCATION The park is located on the Caribbean region, 80 km north of the city of Limon and is included in the Tortuguero Conservation Area.

MAIN ATTRACTIONS Here there is an abundance of rivers, canals and lagoons, which are used by locals as well as tourists to navigate through the Park, where nature lovers can admire the exuberant flora and fauna. There are over 400 tree species and around 2,200 species of other plants. The park has a great diversity of fauna, including endangered mammals, such as the jaguar, ocelot, tapir, manatee, tayra, sloth and three species of monkeys. There are 405 species of birds, approximately half of all there are in Costa Rica.

One of its main attractions is the spawning of marine turtles, as the gigantic leatherback, the green turtle, the loggerhead, of a brownish color and the hawksbill turtle, which is the smallest. All are in danger of extinction.

SERVICES OFFERED General information, restrooms, trails, fluvial port. The town of Tortuguero has a runway, local guides, and food and lodging services.

REGULATIONS Please remind the guide to be aware of abuse of speed. The noise that outboard engines make scare animals away, cause erosion and tend to disrupt nature equilibrium and quietude. All the protected wildlife areas of Costa Rica have legal regulations on visitors` activities and resource protection. Ask the guides about this. In case you need help, look for the Park personnel. They will be ready and willing to help you. Don`t litter. Nature does not know what to do with garbage. It is forbidden to feed the animals. Feeding animals favors their aggressive behavior and make them dependent up to the point they stop looking for their own food and die. All living beings share this planet with you. Respect their lives.

For your own security, please stay only on the trails. Protect the banners and any other sign you find. Nature sounds are unique. Keep silence, avoid noisy activities when sailing or hiking in the forest. Don`t disturb the environment. Denounce any anomaly concerning guides services to the park administration office.

 

 

GANDOCA COSTA RICA

GENERAL INFORMATION Gandoca Manzanillo is a National Wildlife Refuge of a mixed type. Its most important ecosystems are the yellow sand beaches and wetlands, including swamps, lagoons, inundated forests, coral reefs, banks of marine flowering plants and algae.

The combination of landscapes of land, beach, and sea, add to the local culture and make it very attractive for visitors. It protects the habitat of endangered species such as the manatee and marine turtles. To the south of Mona Point, remains the only a remnant of the rubber tree forests in the South Caribbean part of the country. The conservation and sustainable management of these ecosystems is carried in conjunction with the participation of the communities, since this is the central axis for the management of this Refuge.

In the Refuge there is only one life form: the Tropical Moist Forest which follows the general climatic pattern typical of the South Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, with a decrease of precipitation between January and April, September and October.

LOCATION The Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge is located on the southwest of the Costa Rican Caribbean coast, between the river mouths of the Cocles and Sixaola rivers, in the province of Limòn, county of Talamanca, district of Sixaola. It belongs to the Amistad Caribe Conservation Area. The Manzanillo sector is accessed by following the Puerto Viejo road 71 km from the center of Limòn, while the sector of the Gandoca Lagoon is accessed by the road that communicates Bri-Brì­ with Sixaola 95 km from the center of Limòn.

ACCESS The Refuge is located 203 Km from San Josè and 71 km from the city of Limòn (Manzanillo sector). It is also possible to access it via the Gandoca sector, located 95 km from the city of Limòn, using the road communicating Bri-Bri and Sixaola.

RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES Guided tours for the observation of the leatherback turtles spawning during the months of February through May. Observation of dolphins. Diving in the coral reef sectors. Hikes in the forest. Horseback rides. Boat trips. Bird watching. Sun, sea and beach. Kayak in the sea and creek. Visits to Indigenous Reserves. Strolls in the town

SERVICES OFFERED General information, restrooms, potable water, lunch area, access by paved road, restaurants, hotels, cabins in the vicinity and local guides.

REGULATIONS Do not bother, maltreat nor trap the wildlife. It is prohibited the extraction of plants and animals, without the official authorization. Do not drive on the beach. At Sector Punta Cocles - Punta Mona it is prohibited to ride aquatic motorbikes. Bonfires are allowed only at indicated sites. Fishing is allowed only with string and hook. Avoid walking on corals.

 

Saturday, October 21, 2006

 

Al Gore - La verdad Incomoda - Calentamiento Global

En el año 2000, Al Gore saltó a la palestra como candidato a la presidencia de los EEUU. Tras haber sido vicepresidente con Bill Clinton, y obtener medio millón de votos más que George Bush Jr. en los comicios, un polémico recuento le hizo perder las elecciones (para lamento de la mitad de los americanos, y de muchos más de la mitad de los que no lo somos).
Después de ello, dejó la política y organizó un espectáculo ambulante que recorría las ciudades avisando de los efectos que el cambio climático y el calentamiento global están teniendo sobre nuestro planeta.

Las charlas de Gore llamaron la atención de activistas medioambientales y de productores cinematográficos. El mensaje de Gore era que hay que hacer algo YA contra el calentamiento global. Y para ello, nada mejor que difundir sus consecuencias no a cientos de personas en una charla, sino a millones de ellas con una película. Así nació Una Verdad Incómoda.

La película tiene un blog oficial, en el que varias asociaciones como Greenpeace expresan su opinión sobre el cambio climático.
A continuación te presentamos una entrevista con Al Gore, en el que nos explica su visión sobre la situación:

-Hace tiempo que le interesa y le preocupa el tema del calentamiento global. ¿Cuál ha sido su implicación y en qué momento decidió montar un espectáculo itinerante?

Empecé a estudiar el tema a finales de los sesenta por lo que me dijo Roger Revelle, uno de mis profesores en la universidad. Participé en la organización del primer debate sobre el tema en el Congreso a finales de los setenta después de ser elegido congresista. Empecé a hablar con líderes extranjeros en los ochenta y organicé una red internacional de legisladores dedicados al tema. En mi calidad de senador estadounidense y posteriormente como vicepresidente, participé en numerosas negociaciones al respecto, como por ejemplo la Cumbre de Río de Janeiro en 1992 y el Protocolo de Kioto en 1997.
A medida que los estudios científicos confirmaban y aumentaban mi preocupación, comprendí que era necesario hacer entender la urgencia de la crisis y lo tomé como una especie de misión. Pero aún no he terminado. Cada día aprendo a comunicarme mejor y con más eficiencia acerca de este tema.

-¿Puede hablarnos del accidente de su hijo y de cómo le afectó en su particular misión?

La posibilidad de perder a un hijo fue una experiencia terriblemente dolorosa y una lección muy dura. Por ejemplo, no había entendido que uno de los secretos de la condición humana es que el sufrimiento une a las personas. Lo aprendí cuando otros que habían pasado por una experiencia tan dolorosa como la mía me hablaron, conectaron conmigo de alma a alma, de una forma que me transformó y me curó. Después entendí de un modo totalmente diferente que podíamos perder esta preciosa Tierra (o al menos su habitabilidad para los seres humanos tal como la conocemos desde hace miles de años). Creo que antes no habría podido concebirlo emocional o espiritualmente del mismo modo.

-¿Por qué cree que Participant es la productora adecuada para realizar este documental? ¿Participará en la campaña de acción social que realizan para cada película?

Jeff Skoll vino a una presentación mía. Luego hablamos de la posibilidad de hacer una película. Me impactaron sus conocimientos y su pasión. Tiene una productora única y admiro lo que hace. Y sí, participaré activamente en la campaña de acción social.

-En la película, dice que no se debe pasar de la negación a la desesperación. ¿Puede decirnos qué significa?

Nuestra civilización sigue en plena negación “de categoría 5” referente al tema. Pero, poco a poco, se abren brechas en la negación y deja paso a la comprensión de que nos encontramos ante una emergencia planetaria inminente. Al mismo tiempo, no debemos creer que la crisis es demasiado grande y no puede solucionarse. Sólo falta la voluntad política, y eso es una fuerza renovable.

-En el documental habla de Una Verdad Incómoda, que también es el título. ¿Puede decirnos qué significan exactamente estas palabras?

Hay verdades que uno prefiere no oír porque si se oyen, y si se entiende que son verdades, hay que cambiar. Y el cambio puede llegar a ser muy incómodo.

-Es un tema muy urgente; sin embargo hemos perdido mucho tiempo al no querer reconocerlo. A pesar de eso, sigue luchando y tiene una actitud positiva. ¿Puede explicarnos a qué viene este optimismo?


 

Costa Rica General Information

Area - 50,895 square kilometers
Capital - San Jose (pop. 300,000)
Population - Three million
Language - Spanish
Location - Central American between Nicaragua and Panama (between 8 and 11 degrees north of the equator)
Currency - Colon (Floats, currently $1 US = about 240) in notes of 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100 and 50
Religion - More than 90 percent of Costa Ricans are Roman Catholic.
 

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

 

GANDOCA COSTA RICA - GENERAL INFORMATION

GENERAL INFORMATION Gandoca Manzanillo is a National Wildlife Refuge of a mixed type. Its most important ecosystems are the yellow sand beaches and wetlands, including swamps, lagoons, inundated forests, coral reefs, banks of marine flowering plants and algae.

The combination of landscapes of land, beach, and sea, add to the local culture and make it very attractive for visitors. It protects the habitat of endangered species such as the manatee and marine turtles. To the south of Mona Point, remains the only a remnant of the rubber tree forests in the South Caribbean part of the country. The conservation and sustainable management of these ecosystems is carried in conjunction with the participation of the communities, since this is the central axis for the management of this Refuge.

In the Refuge there is only one life form: the Tropical Moist Forest which follows the general climatic pattern typical of the South Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, with a decrease of precipitation between January and April, September and October.

LOCATION The Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge is located on the southwest of the Costa Rican Caribbean coast, between the river mouths of the Cocles and Sixaola rivers, in the province of Limòn, county of Talamanca, district of Sixaola. It belongs to the Amistad Caribe Conservation Area. The Manzanillo sector is accessed by following the Puerto Viejo road 71 km from the center of Limòn, while the sector of the Gandoca Lagoon is accessed by the road that communicates Bri-Brì­ with Sixaola 95 km from the center of Limòn.

ACCESS The Refuge is located 203 Km from San Josè and 71 km from the city of Limòn (Manzanillo sector). It is also possible to access it via the Gandoca sector, located 95 km from the city of Limòn, using the road communicating Bri-Bri and Sixaola.

RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES Guided tours for the observation of the leatherback turtles spawning during the months of February through May. Observation of dolphins. Diving in the coral reef sectors. Hikes in the forest. Horseback rides. Boat trips. Bird watching. Sun, sea and beach. Kayak in the sea and creek. Visits to Indigenous Reserves. Strolls in the town

SERVICES OFFERED General information, restrooms, potable water, lunch area, access by paved road, restaurants, hotels, cabins in the vicinity and local guides.

REGULATIONS Do not bother, maltreat nor trap the wildlife. It is prohibited the extraction of plants and animals, without the official authorization. Do not drive on the beach. At Sector Punta Cocles - Punta Mona it is prohibited to ride aquatic motorbikes. Bonfires are allowed only at indicated sites. Fishing is allowed only with string and hook. Avoid walking on corals.

 

Saturday, October 14, 2006

 

ISLA DEL COCO - BUSEO EN COSTA RICA

ISLA DEL COCO Parque Nacional establecido en 1978, de gran relevancia a nivel mundial. Fue declarado por la UNESCO Patrimonio Natural de la Humanidad en 1997. Ubicada en el Pacìfico, a 543 km de Cabo Blanco, la Isla del Coco es un verdadero tesoro que ha sido salvaguardado donde usted puede ingresar mar adentro para descubrir toda esa riqueza natural tan inolvidable.

Para visitar la Isla del Coco, debe contactar un tour operador que le organice su viaje. Le tomarà aproximadamente un dìa y medio llegar a la Isla, donde encontrarà servicios de anclaje, charlas, caminatas, senderos y agua potable. Gracias a las condiciones propias de su origen geològico, a su ubicaciòn geogràfica y por ser una isla oceànica, la Isla del Coco cuenta con diversidad de ambientes naturales. Su flora y fauna tanto marina como terrestre son excepcionales y aunque son parcialmente conocidas, estudios recientes han determinado que esta isla alberga aproximadamente 600 especies de moluscos marinos, 300 especies de peces y 32 especies de corales, 9 de ellos de aguas profundas. La gran cantidad de tiburones punta blanca (Triaenodon obesus y Carcharinus albimarginatus), las migraciones formadas por agrupaciones de tiburones martillo (Sphyrna lewini) en las estaciones de limpieza, los atunes (Thunnus sp.), peces loro (Scaridae), moluscos y otras variadas especies de coral, convierten a esta isla en uno de los lugares màs maravillosos para explorar.

PACIFICO CENTRAL A pocas horas de San Josè, esta zona es ideal para bucear en verano por su gran visibilidad de peces, langostas y del tiburòn punta blanca (Triaenodon obesus). Sus sentidos quedaràn maravillados al observar las impresionantes formaciones rocosas y la cueva submarina en el Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, en donde podrà explorar las aguas de Punta Catedral, Puerto Escondido, Isla Mogote e Isla Olocuita. El acceso a esta zona puede ser por la carretera que va hacia Orotina, en un recorrido que tiene una duraciòn aproximada de 90 minutos desde San Josè.

Tambièn se puede llegar por medio de vuelos locales a las pistas de aterrizaje ubicadas en Playa Hermosa, cantòn de Garabito, y en Quepos, cantòn de Aguirre. El acceso por mar a Playa Hermosa es posible gracias a la marina localizada en Playa Herradura, mientras que el acceso a Quepos es por medio de Puerto Quepos.

PACIFICO SUR Sumèrjase en todo un jardìn submarino lleno de formaciones de coral y un colorido impresionante. El lugar de buceo màs representativo en esta zona es La Reserva Biològica Isla del Caño, ubicada aproximadamente a cuarenta y cinco minutos de Bahìa Drake en la Penìnsula de Osa, en donde encontrarà todo un ecosistema marino de difìcil comparaciòn. En este hermoso lugar podrà observar tiburones martillo (Sphyrna lewini), tiburones punta blanca (Triaenodon obesus), tiburones ballena (Rhincodon typus), manta rayas y podrà realizar su viaje junto a la agradable compañìa de los delfines y la migraciòn de las ballenas jorobadas (Megaptera novaeangliae) o yubartas, como tambièn se les llama. Estas se pueden ver casi todos los meses del año, pero su mejor època es durante el invierno del hemisferio norte del continente americano.

Un atractivo especial es que esta zona es el ùnico lugar en el mundo donde las ballenas arriban tanto del hemisferio norte como del sur en diferentes èpocas del año. Tambièn podrà explorar las Islitas Tres Hermanas y la zona marìtima protegida del Parque Nacional Marino Ballena, que alberga una gran diversidad de especies de coral. Este parque se complementa con la abundante vida marina existente, de la cual sobresalen las migraciones de ballenas jorobadas (Megaptera novaeangliae).

CARIBE SUR Acompañadas de una exuberante vegetaciòn y de la exòtica cultura caribeña, estas fantàsticas y mìsticas aguas que muy pocos han explorado, se caracterizan por su ecosistema de formaciones coralinas, protegidos por el Refugio de Vida Silvestre Gandoca Manzanillo y el Parque Nacional Cahuita. Aproximadamente a 4 horas de San Josè, los bellos paisajes marinos de Cahuita atraeràn a todos aquellos que desean descubrirlos. La profundidad de las formaciones de coral varìa desde muy pocos metros hasta formaciones de 11 metros verticales. En este gran mundo coralino, la biodiversidad està formada por màs de 123 especies de peces multicolores, como las isabelitas, el pez reina (Holacanthus sp.), el pez loro (Scaridae) y el pez erizo o cuerpo espìn (Diodontidae), entre muchos otros. Ademàs se registran màs de 35 especies de coral, las cuales abarcan desde Cuernos de Alce (Acropora palmata) hasta Corales de Cerebro (Diploria sp.).

MAS ALLA DE LAS AGUAS La pràctica del buceo en Costa Rica està rodeada de condiciones que le facilitaràn su experiencia: Empresas profesionales con servicios de tours de buceo, equipos y accesorios completos, botes especiales acondicionados para buceo y reparaciòn de equipo. Todo ello le brinda la oportunidad de traer su equipo, o bien alquilarlo, sin restar seguridad y profesionalismo. Cursos de aguas abiertas avanzado con todas sus especialidades, rescate y salvamento, primeros auxilios, oxigenoterapia, reanimaciòn cardiovascular, cursos hasta el nivel de instructor y otras especialidades de buceo para personas con discapacidad fìsica, todos reconocidos por PADI (Asociaciòn Profesional de Instructores de Buceo con sede en California, Estados Unidos), NAUI (Asociaciòn Nacional de Instructores de Buceo) y SSI (Escuela Internacional de Buceo) entre otras. Hospedaje de gran comodidad y calidad, en diversos hoteles que se adaptan a todo tipo de presupuesto. Posibilidad de otras aventuras como pesca deportiva, ràpidos en las corrientes de los rìos, tirolesa (conocida como canopy), visitas a Areas Silvestres Protegidas, observaciòn de aves, kayaking, caminatas en la montaña y muchas atracciones màs.

Es importante tomar algunas precauciones para hacer màs segura y placentera su experiencia de buceo en Costa Rica: Se recomienda buscar empresas reconocidas que representen asociaciones establecidas y operadores que cuenten con certificaciòn del I.C.T. Corrobore que las naves cuenten con todos los equipos de emergencia exigidos por ley. Esta actividad està regulada en Costa Rica por el Reglamento de Turismo de Aventura, el cual puede ser consultado en www.visitecostarica.com. En este mismo sitio puede consultar sobre los tours de buceo disponibles en Costa Rica.

 
Bernardo Escobar A.
Hotel Capital
Calle 4, entre Ave. 3 y 5
Tel. 506-221-8497
Fax. 506-221-8583
www.hotelcapital.org
costarica@hotelcapital.org
San Jose - Costa Rica

 

BUSEO EN EL CARIBE DE COSTA RICA

CARIBE SUR Acompañadas de una exuberante vegetaciòn y de la exòtica cultura caribeña, estas fantàsticas y mìsticas aguas que muy pocos han explorado, se caracterizan por su ecosistema de formaciones coralinas, protegidos por el Refugio de Vida Silvestre Gandoca Manzanillo y el Parque Nacional Cahuita.

Aproximadamente a 4 horas de San Josè, los bellos paisajes marinos de Cahuita atraeràn a todos aquellos que desean descubrirlos. La profundidad de las formaciones de coral varìa desde muy pocos metros hasta formaciones de 11 metros verticales. En este gran mundo coralino, la biodiversidad està formada por màs de 123 especies de peces multicolores, como las isabelitas, el pez reina (Holacanthus sp.), el pez loro (Scaridae) y el pez erizo o cuerpo espìn (Diodontidae), entre muchos otros. Ademàs se registran màs de 35 especies de coral, las cuales abarcan desde Cuernos de Alce (Acropora palmata) hasta Corales de Cerebro (Diploria sp.).

MAS ALLA DE LAS AGUAS La pràctica del buceo en Costa Rica està rodeada de condiciones que le facilitaràn su experiencia: Empresas profesionales con servicios de tours de buceo, equipos y accesorios completos, botes especiales acondicionados para buceo y reparaciòn de equipo. Todo ello le brinda la oportunidad de traer su equipo, o bien alquilarlo, sin restar seguridad y profesionalismo. Cursos de aguas abiertas avanzado con todas sus especialidades, rescate y salvamento, primeros auxilios, oxigenoterapia, reanimaciòn cardiovascular, cursos hasta el nivel de instructor y otras especialidades de buceo para personas con discapacidad fìsica, todos reconocidos por PADI (Asociaciòn Profesional de Instructores de Buceo con sede en California, Estados Unidos), NAUI (Asociaciòn Nacional de Instructores de Buceo) y SSI (Escuela Internacional de Buceo) entre otras.

Hospedaje de gran comodidad y calidad, en diversos hoteles que se adaptan a todo tipo de presupuesto. Posibilidad de otras aventuras como pesca deportiva, ràpidos en las corrientes de los rìos, tirolesa (conocida como canopy), visitas a Areas Silvestres Protegidas, observaciòn de aves, kayaking, caminatas en la montaña y muchas atracciones màs.

Es importante tomar algunas precauciones para hacer màs segura y placentera su experiencia de buceo en Costa Rica: Se recomienda buscar empresas reconocidas que representen asociaciones establecidas y operadores que cuenten con certificaciòn del I.C.T. Corrobore que las naves cuenten con todos los equipos de emergencia exigidos por ley.

Esta actividad està regulada en Costa Rica por el Reglamento de Turismo de Aventura, el cual puede ser consultado en www.visitecostarica.com. En este mismo sitio puede consultar sobre los tours de buceo disponibles en Costa Rica.

 


Thursday, October 12, 2006

 

PESCA COSTA RICA

 

BIENVENIDO A BORDO! Gracias a su gran diversidad de fauna marina, Costa Rica se ha convertido en todo un ùcono en el deporte de la pesca, el cual reporta mas de 3 rècords 'Grand Slam' por año. Esto le otorga el privilegio de ser sede de importantes torneos que cuentan con gran reconocimiento. Algunos de ellos son el Torneo Nacional de Pez Vela, Torneo Internacional de Pez Vela, Torneo Abierto de Pez Vela para Mujeres, 'Los Sueños Signature Billfish Series' y 'Presidential Channel', que se realizan durante el transcurso del año.

Desde la costa Pacùfica, hasta la exòtica costa caribeña, usted encontrara gran cantidad de sorprendentes especies, para que elija cual de todas sera la presa y dònde tirara su anzuelo.

TODO LISTO PARA LA PESCA Llegar a sus destinos de pesca preferidos es posible gracias a los vuelos directos de Estados Unidos a San Josè y Guanacaste; tambièn tiene la opciòn de desplazarse por vùa terrestre a las zonas costeras. En cada punto de pesca, tendra a su disposiciòn hoteles, equipos de pesca, guùas y botes, para que usted haga su viaje ya sea por cuenta propia o con operadores especializados, quienes promueven y practican la liberaciòn de la mayorìa de las especies (atrapalo y libèralo) contribuyendo con la conservaciòn y el ecoturismo. La marina existente cuenta con todos los servicios de electricidad, agua potable, telèfonos, seguridad, succiòn de desechos, servicio de mantenimiento y reparaciòn de botes, ademas de pequeñas embarcaciones y motos acuaticas. Tambièn existe la opciòn de los atracaderos.

En algunos lugares especializados puede solicitar que le fabriquen sus señuelos. Segùn la regiòn podràn encontrar campos de golf y otras actividades que complementaran su viaje de forma ideal.

PACIFICO NORTE Excelente zona para disfrutar de una buena y consistente pesca a lo largo del año. Sobre todo si lo que quiere es una cita con el marlin; este es uno de los mejores lugares para capturarlo. Usted no tendra que esperar mucho para lanzarse al mar, ya que esta zona cuenta con facil acceso, gracias a los vuelos directos del aeropuerto Internacional Daniel Oduber en Liberia y/o conexiones procedentes de los Estados Unidos. De esta forma, estara en una hora o dos en los diferentes sitios desde donde puede zarpar. Ademas, cuenta con la oportunidad de llegar mediante vuelos internos o por carretera desde el Pacùfico Central o San Josè.

Los principales puntos donde podra disfrutar de la pesca deportiva en esta regiòn son: Playas del Coco y Ocotal que se ubican a 30 minutos del Aeropuerto Internacional de Liberia; Tamarindo, Samara y Carrillo que estan aproximadamente a una hora y media de dicho aeropuerto. Ademas hay pistas de aterrizaje para vuelos locales en Tamarindo, Nosara y Carrillo.

PACIFICO CENTRAL Complementada por la belleza natural de los Parques Nacionales Carara y Manuel Antonio, esta zona le ofrece la oportunidad de disfrutar intensamente en sus centros de actividad pesquera. En Playa Herradura encontrara una Marina, con los servicios y condiciones para todos los amantes de este apasionante deporte. Entre algunos de los servicios que la marina pone a su disposiciòn estan los 250 embarcaderos, suministro de combustible y reparaciones, un dique seco que posee una grùa para soportar hasta 10 toneladas, lo que la hace ideal para guardar los jet skis o pequeños botes recreativos. La marina tambièn esta equipada con internet, telèfono, centro comercial, servicios bancarios, renta de autos, ademas de los equipos para emergencias, electricidad y suministro de agua potable. La cercanùa de esta zona con el aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamarùa le hara llegar aproximadamente en una hora a estos puntos. En el caso de que se encuentre en Guanacaste, tambièn tendra acceso por vùa aèrea o terrestre.

PACIFICO SUR Descienda a los maravillosos rincones de Costa Rica y encuentre importantes centros de operaciones para la pesca como: Drake, Puerto Jimènez, Zancudo, Golfo Dulce y Golfito, siendo este ùltimo, el principal puerto de la zona donde puede encontrar las facilidades que su viaje requiera. Esta zona cuenta con pistas de aterrizaje en Golfito, Drake, Coto 47 y Palmar Sur, que brindan acceso por medio de vuelos internos desde San Josè y/o conexiones.

CARIBE NORTE Viva una experiencia inolvidable en la zona del Caribe, donde encontrara especies muy diferentes a los peces que habitan la costa Pacùfica tales como el Robalo. Ademas, mientras se divierte en la practica de este deporte, podra admirar la exuberante naturaleza y el paisaje natural único, que ofrece el Caribe costarricense. Esta regiòn dispone de facilidades de hospedaje en hoteles que ofrecen paquetes completos. Incluyen tours a las zonas de pesca y el transporte desde San Josè, ya sea aèreo o por medio de embarcaciones a travès de los canales. De esta forma, usted podrà comprobar la cantidad y diversidad de especies que hay en los rùos, canales, en la Barra del Colorado y en la Barra del Parismina.

VARIEDAD DE ESPECIES En la variedad esta el gusto. Usted puede escoger entre las mùltiples alternativas para pescar, ya sea en agua salada, como en los rùos, lagos o canales de agua dulce del Pacùfico o del Caribe. El Lago Arenal es el mas popular para la pesca del Guapote ,que tambièn se puede pescar en el Lago Coter, la Laguna de Hule, Congo en Sarapiqui , Lago Rìo Cuarto en Grecia, Laguna Bonilla en Turrialba y Caño Negro en los Chiles, en donde la actividad en los ùltimos años ha venido en crecimiento. En Caño Negro tambièn podra pescar el Gaspar famoso por su boca de lagarto y cuerpo de pez ,que es conocido como una de las especies mas antiguas de nuestro continente .

Los expertos le conocen como el fòsil viviente y por ello su pesca tiene algunas restricciones. Si lo que busca es una experiencia familiar, en varios puntos del paùs encontrara pequeños hoteles y lugares dedicados a la pesca en laguitos artificiales. Estos sitios, ademas de tener especies como las tilapias en zonas calidas y las truchas en zonas frùas, ofrecen la preparaciòn de platillos ahù mismo, para completar de forma ideal el momento familiar.

Bernardo Escobar A.
Hotel Capital
Calle 4, entre Ave. 3 y 5
Tel. 506-221-8497
Fax. 506-221-8583
www.hotelcapital.org
costarica@hotelcapital.org
San Jose - Costa Rica

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

 

COSTA RICAGENERAL INFORMATION

Within Costa Rica 51,200 square kilometers there is a wider variety of species of birds than in all of Europe or North America. With a relatively small population of roughly three and a half million inhabitants, Costa Rica also boasts of one of the oldest and more consolidated democracies in Latin America.
 
In 1869, primary education for both sexes was declared obligatory and free of cost, defrayed by the State. In 1882 the death sentence was abolished. In the 1949 the armed forces were abolished and in 1983 Perpetual Neutrality was proclaimed. Prestigious international human rights organizations have their headquarters in Costa Rica. Because of this, and of its lush 1500 kilometers of tropical sun-bathed beaches and the wild diversity of flora and fauna to be found in its wide array of microclimates (most present in one or more of its National Parks), Costa Rica has justifiably earned its reputation of paradise regained.
 
Climate Costa Rica's microclimates vary from the barren cold volcanic tundra to the exotic cloud forest, from the deep dense jungle of Talamanca to the tropical dry forests of Guanacaste, from quiet gold-hued beaches where the Baulas Tortoises build their nests to the winding Tortuguero Canals where the crocodile is king. Even so, Costa Rica's overall climate can be best described as mild. Being located within the tropics, seasonal changes in Costa Rica are not as dramatic as they are in countries on other latitudes. There is a 'dry" season (equivalent to summer and spring) during which temperatures hover pleasantly in the high 60 to low 70 (20 - 23 degrees C), which goes from December to May, and a "wet" season from June to November during which mornings are usually sunny and showers might be expected in the afternoon.
 
On areas near the coasts, temperatures may be as much as ten degrees higher, where as at Chirripo Peak, the highest mountain in Costa Rica (3800 meters), temperatures may drop down to the freezing point.
 
Tourists should bring light clothes: a jacket and a raincoat is all the protection you'll need unless you plan to go hiking in the higher mountains. Time Costa Rica is six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is equivalent to Central Time in North America. There is no daylight saving time.
 
Language Costa Rica's official language is Spanish. On the Caribbean Coast a small minority of Jamaican descendants speak a local version of English, and most Costa Ricans can understand and speak a bit of English. Quite recently all public schools made mandatory the learning of a second language.
 
Religion As in the rest of Latin America, Roman Catholicism is Costa Rica main religion, but there is a very wide margin of tolerance and the constitutional freedom of creed is always respected. Costa Rica religions by percentage of practicing members: Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%.
 
Legal System Costa Rica is a civil law country which means that the organization of the legal system is derived from the French Napoleonic Code as opposed to English common law. The Government of Costa Rica has 4 branches: The Judicial, Executive - President and cabinet ministers, Legislative - Elected members and Electoral Tribunal - takes over police and all government functions dealing with elections before each election. Members are usually unpaid volunteers who are judges. This is to ensure all elections are completely democratic and free.
 
Currency The national currency is the colon and dollars are easily exchanged at all banks, other foreign currency can be exchanged through private agencies. All mayor credit cards as well as travelers checks are widely accepted. The colon exchanges at 519 per dollar (as of October 2006) and can be expected to increment by 0,17 on average per day.
 
Electricity The standard in Costa Rica is the same as in the United States: 110 volts AC (60 cycles). However, three-pronged outlets can be scarce, so it's helpful to bring along an adapter.
 
Business Hours Most banks are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 3:30pm, although many have begun to offer extended hours. Offices are open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm (many close for 1 hr. at lunch). Stores are generally open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 6pm (many close for 1 hr. at lunch).
 
Communications There are postal and telegraph offices in cities and villages throughout the country. The Central Post Office is located in San Jose on Second Street between Avenues 1 and 3, and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 12 noon. Radiografica Costarricense is located on Fifth Avenue between Streets 1 and 3. This company provides telex, fax, international data transmission, and many other services (including Internet access). The country code for Costa Rica is 506, and there is no area code inside the country.
 
Transportation International Air Transportation: Most air traffic to and from Costa Rica is handled through the Juan Santamaría Airport, located 29 minutes from San Jose, in the city of Alajuela.
 
Domestic Air Transportation: All flights leave from the International Juan Santamaria Airport or the Toias Bolaños Airport. There is a network of internal airports which not only serve important cities, but special interest tourist areas. Among the most important are: Liberia, Palmar Sur, Tamarindo, Barra del Colorado, Limon, Quepos, Golfito, Coto 47, etc. From the Tobias Bolaños Airport, located to the west of the capital city, private airlines offer flights to most areas of the country.
 
Domestic Bus Service: The country, in general, offers adequate bus service. The majority are private companies which link San Jose with the principal provincial towns and cities, seaports and tourist areas. With good-quality vehicles and frequent itineraries, the user can easily travel by bus throughout the country. In the main cities and villages nationwide, there are taxicab companies that service the user to the more remote places in the country. Four-wheel drive vehicles are typical for the rural areas. International Bus Service: Leaving from San Jose, there is bus service to Central America and Panama. The companies: TICA BUS, SIRCA and TRACOPA have scheduled trips to Panama, Nicaragua and other countries.
 
Automobile Circulation: Costa Rica has a good highway network, the majority of which, for tourist use, is paved. In most places there are adequate traffic signs. In the major highways there are toll booths (San Jose-San Ramon, San Jose-Gua¡piles, San JosÃe-Cartago, San Jose-Ciudad Colon). Throughout the country there are many gas stations, some of which offer round-the-clock service. Costa Rica does not have self-service gas stations.
 
Driver Requirements: A foreigner may drive with a current license from his country of origin and his passport, during the three months that his tourist visa is valid. Warning triangles should be carried at all times by all drivers, and seat belts are also required for drivers and front-seat passengers. The use of helmets for motorcycle conductors is required.
 
Entry/Exit Requirements With a valid passport and round trip or continuing ticket, citizens of the United States of America, Canada, Germany, Spain and Italy can travel to Costa Rica for a 90-day stay without a consular visa. To stay legally beyond the period granted, travelers will need to submit an application for an extension to the Office of Temporary Permits in the Costa Rican Department of Immigration. Tourist visas are usually not extended except under special circumstances, such as academic, employment, or medical grounds, and extension requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. There is a departure tax for short-term visitors. Tourists who stay over ninety days without receiving a formal extension can expect to pay a higher departure tax at the airport or land border, and may experience some delay at the airport. Persons who have overstayed previously may be denied entry to Costa Rica.
 
Vaccinations As of this time, Costa Rica does not require visitors to have any particular vaccinations, although you should make sure that all your normal vaccinations are up to date.
 
Medical Facilities & Services Any foreigner who is temporarily in the country has the right to receive health attention at hospitals and clinics in case of an emergency, sudden illness or a chronic disease. Costa Rica boasts a modern and renown medical health system, under the administration of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS)
 
Mmore information Emergencies Costa Rica has a 911 system for reporting emergencies. Crimes that are no longer in progress should be reported in person at the nearest police station. In the event of a traffic accident, vehicles must be left where they are, and not moved out of the way. Both the Transito (Traffic Police) and the Insurance Investigator must make accident reports before the vehicles are moved. Although sometimes slow to respond after notification, these officials will come to the accident scene.
 
Emergency telephone numbers:
 
Emergencies . . . . . . ....................................... 911 (Metropolitan area)
 
Fire Department and Rescue Units. . . . ........ . .118
 
Traffic Police. . . . ............................................ .222-9330/ 222-9245
 
Police Department . . ....................................... .117
 
Rural Police Department ...................................127
 
Red Cross . . . . . ............................................. .128
 
Airports Juan Santamaria International Airport Phone: 441-0744.
 
Limon International Airport . Phone: 758-1379
 
Tobias Bolaños International Airport. Phone: 232-2820
 
Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (Liberia, Guanacaste) . Phone: 666-0695
 
 

Monday, October 09, 2006

 

COSTA RICA GUANACASTE PROVINCE INFORMATION

North Guanacaste harbors an important portion of the costa rican cultural and natural patrimony. Not in vain there is a significant number of protected areas, including coastal, mountainous, terrestrial, and aquatic ecosystems, where life develops with exuberance.

It is situated in the northern part of the country, and covers the pacific coast of Costa Rica, since the limit with Nicaragua to Punta Cerritos, located 22 km. west from de city of Santa Cruz. It covers an extension of approximately 100 km. of the Pacific Coast. In the past, this region has had its natural vocation in the cattle raising and in the agriculture. Currently, nevertheless, the incomparable beauty of its landscapes, that go from the tropical dry forest to the forest montano low and its hot climate, as well as its fertile nature, have done of Guanacaste one of the most concurred places by the local and international tourism.

Besides an important backup in the Pole of Tourist Development of the Papagayo Gulf, there is the Daniel Oduber International, where a large quantity of flights arrives charter and regular flights from the United States. North Guanacaste has two main tourist centers that are Liberia (central of stopover distribution, scale and excursion) and Santa Cruz, and three other tourist centers: El Coco, Tamarindo and Flamingo. The landscape of the coast is exceptional. There are beaches of white sands and a peaceful sea qualified by intense blue, especially the ones located inside Papagayo Gulf (Nacascolo, Virador, Iguanita and Panama). It is one of the regions of greater development, based on hotels of high investment with potentiality of direct demand.

ACTIVITIES The possible tourist activities to develop are diverse; they can relate to the vacation, the health, the culture, adventure and nature thus with recreational and sports aspects.

HORSEBACK RIDING A pastoral region, Guanacaste offers this activity in coastal areas and in the mountains and their communities. Horseback-riding tours are available through tourism operators or family-owned farms that rent horses.

HIKING There is no end to the diversity of hiking options available for observing various natural, historical, architectural, cultural, religious and commercial attractions.

RECREATIONAL CYCLING The region offers a variety of picturesque roads and adventure or leisure sites that allow touring on regular or mountain bikes. Beaches and mountains are among the most interesting riding destinations.

ARCHITECTURAL AND HISTORIC SITES There are sites and buildings of architectural or historic interest and National Monuments that are considered must-see places, mainly in Abangares, Bagaces, CaÑas, Liberia, Santa Cruz and Nicoya.

CUISINE Typical towns are characterized by sodas (small restaurants serving local food), cafes and restaurants where visitors can sample the cuisine of Guanacaste. Cañas, Tilaran, Liberia and mainly Santa Cruz stand out as communities with traditions in typical food and drink.

BIRD-WATCHING Bird-watching is possible mainly in protected areas. Many sites offer the opportunity to get with the birds, with Palo Verde, Cura, Isla Bolaños and Tenorio among the biggest.

TREETOP ADVENTURES There are several options for visitors to observe the goings-on in the forest canopy, including various monkey and bird species.

PHOTOGRAPHY This is a most popular tourist activity owing to Guanacaste climatic conditions and wealth of flora and fauna, as well as its varied natural, cultural and architectural landscapes.

DIVING This adventure or recreational activity is becoming more and more popular in Guanacaste, thanks to its excellent dive sites and the specialized companies that normally offer services abroad. Important sites include the Gulf of Papagayo and the Santa Catalina islands.

SHOPPING FOR HANDICRAFTS The handicrafts of Guaitil de Santa Cruz and San Vicente de Nicoya are made of pure clay using the traditional and ancient techniques of the Chorotega indigenous group. Ornaments, urns, flowerpots, vases, plates, decorative whistles and other figures are fashioned and may be bought for their fine finish and interest in several parts of Guanacaste. Visitors can also acquire other kinds of handicrafts fashioned out of caro (a kind of gourd) or the thipa plant, from which various paper products are made.

SPORT-FISHING This is one of the Northern Pacific region main attractions. Artisan and recreational fishing are possible, but of greater interest are the tournaments in which several world billfish records have been broken. The fish are returned to the water after weigh-in.

 


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