Aquí los dejo con algunas fotos favoritas. Muchas son de mis andanzas en el mundo, aglunas para clientes. En fin que las disfruten.
Here are a few of my favorite shots. Most are from my wanderings some other for clients. Hope you enjoy.
Ladies, let’s talk about shoes. Fellas don’t leave me just yet this concerns you as well, plus I promise no Blahnik or Louboutin talk (ladies are you impressed I know them?).
Mostly I’m concerned about you. You flew many miles and spent tons of money to come visit us in Costa Rica. You’re probably packing cameras, iPhones or iPads worth hundreds or thousands of dollars so you can capture great memories of all those places you spent hours meticulously researching, and yet despite all this research your main shoe choices seem to be flip-flops.
I’m going to go ahead and assume this is some sort of information black hole that even Google can’t penetrate because I can’t conceive that if you’d done your research you would do this consciously. So I’m here to help you out. Don’t get me wrong I don’t have anything against flip-flops, in fact I’m wearing some as I write, they just make terrible travel footwear, especially in Costa Rica.
Since you’ve done your research you know we have some infrastructure issues, mostly regarding terrible roads. A logical extension would be that if the roads are bad than the sidewalks are as well. Yep. Awful. Missing manhole covers, missing paving stones, sudden level changes or just the absence of sidewalks all together are routine sites in any town in Costa Rica. All these things could potentially lead to bodily harm or at the very least toe-ily harm, especially when you’re busy looking up at every corner for a street sign that isn’t there to guide you to your hotel.
Then there’s the rain. Ewe. There’s nothing quite as foul as getting caught in the rain in the city in open toed shoes. Remember those infrastructure problems—not just sidewalks and roads, but often waste-water and rain water issues too. Eeeewe! Since most of the worst flip-flop offenders seem to come during North-American summer please take into account that it’s rainy season for us ’round here. You’re much better using those waterproof shoes you wear in winter or hiking or when it rains there.
Also Jimmy Buffet warned us against flip-flop-failure related injuries while drinking in paradise back in the late ’70′s (kids Google Margaritaville Lyrics) so we really should heed a wise man’s advice and wear shoes that are less prone to sudden failure. College kids I’m talking to you. Parents, I’ll take the time your kids are using to Google Jimmy Buffet to remind you our legal drinking age is 18, sorry.
Ok the ranting is over. You may pack your flip-flops, just don’t use them as you walk-around shoes. You can use them on or around most of our beaches, as was intended by the flip-flop deity. Of course you may want to just go barefoot, as I prefer, in the sand. If you are on a plane, a bus, sidewalk, zip-line or volcano you really should have something more substantial. You can compromise with a set of all-terrain sandals, but I still recommend something with a toe guard (Keen & Teva make some really nice ones) for hiking and urban environments.
Now that you are properly prepped in the way of footwear I’ll leave you with some other travel tidbits. You will pleasantly surprised to find out that unlike some other Latin-American destinations our water is very drinkable so there’s no need to worry about that. Bring your own sunblock because it’s crazy expensive here. Bring a good hat and sunglasses. Someone please tell what else you guys are carrying in those backpacks? If you are planning on spending time in the central valley or the mountains you will be plenty comfortable in jeans year round, they are also much more socially acceptable than shorts, particularly for men.
Finally, you can get flip-flops just about anywhere, including most grocery stores, just in case you should find yourself making an impromptu Margaritaville fan video for Youtube.
For those of you that don’t know I write a semi-regular blog for The Costa Rica Star online newspaper. I’m going to start posting them for my English speaking followers. Enjoy and thanks for taking the time to read. Cheers
I’ve run into a few people who claim to have gone to Manuel Antonio National Park and didn’t see monkeys. I don’t know how that happens, in fact it’s so unlikely it makes me think that perhaps they screwed up the name or didn’t make into the park itself. I’ve heard stories of exchange students that ate little more than cereal while here—I thought you were legally obligated to eat gallo pinto before exiting the country. Lots of folks wonder what that pretty flower-tree-fern-bush is called. If for some reason your trip to Costa Rica is missing flora, fauna or food I have a quickie family friendly solution: La Garita.
Just about 15 min from the Juan Santamaria Airport you and your family (text-addicted-iPod-encrusted teens included) have a chance to squeeze in a great afternoon while filling in the gaps in your vacation photos. If you live here in Costa Rica it makes a great afternoon getaway or a great place to take out of town guests. La Garita area of Alajuela is easy to get to (follow the highway from the airport towards San Ramon, exit at Recope, turn right, enjoy), lined with lovely estate/vacation homes, nurseries, restaurants and a very interesting animal rescue center.
For the hungry bunch in your group (even the teens may just unplug for a moment) there are a number or typical restaurants but my personal favourite is Las Delicias del Maíz. The food here is well executed classic local cuisine and I’ve noticed that the portion sizes have increased recently. This is a big restaurant that can get quite busy on weekends—often with locals. If this is where we go for our typical lunch it’s definitely the place you need to be, plus they have the stones to put their kitchen on full display right as you walk in. If you have a sizable group try some of the sampler platters (arracache picadillo—score!) and share. No alcohol is served so things stay family friendly, but they have plenty of natural fruit juices to cool you off–try the cas it’s always a hit.
Whether you need to work up an appetite or work off that lunch the countless nurseries in the area offer a great option to stroll, browse and get info. In my case I rarely make it home without some new greenery for the house since prices are very reasonable and the variety is excellent. The big momma nursery here is Vivero Central featuring a giant fountain visible from the highway, beautiful grounds and the main “showroom” in the shade of a massive tree. If you are local be sure what you buy fits in the car before you get carried away.
If you have some of those aforementioned teens in tow the nursery portion of your trip may be the part where you get the most eye rolling, but fear not you have an ace up your sleeve: Zoo Ave. While not a cheap attraction ($20 for foreigners, $10 locals), your admission fee helps fund a number of animal conservation, rescue and breeding programs so don’t complain too much. The zoo houses many more types of animals than the bird-themed name would imply. On site you can find reptiles, birds, big cats, and of course monkeys—who doesn’t love monkeys? Those pesky chain-link fences are the only give away your photos will have that you didn’t actually venture deep into the rain forest to capture rare animals.
As far as those photos go, it’s a tricky place to get good shots. The thick foliage means there isn’t much light and you will have to have your flash off–O-F-F. If you don’t know how to do this consult your teen (if you don’t have a teen, it’s the little button that looks like a lighting bolt). Besides the lighting issues the chain-link fencing will often confuse your auto-focus system meaning that that fence will be lovely focus but the really cool crimson-crested-whatever will be blurry. Bummer. Keep it in mind and review your photos carefully before moving on or use manual focus if you have that option.
With a full belly and a full memory card you’re ready to head home. La Garita is a great place for a relaxed family afternoon and really shouldn’t be skipped if you aren’t booked full, and if you’re local it’s a reminder of just how cool it is to live in Costa Rica. Stop by, you won’t regret it.