COSTA RICA NEWS & ARTICLES
COSTA RICA IS REGARDED AS THE MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY DESTINATION SPOT
In response to a survey done by CMI Green regarding which destination spot has done the most with respect to the environment, Costa Rica came in first place. Questions were based on the green experience of visitors to the country and relied on their own methods of assessing the environmental practices publicized worldwide.
“This acknowledgement of our country is extremely important because it shows that we are working in accordance with environmental practices, which is the foundation of our campaign abroad, and helps other people recognize us as a green and environmentally friendly destination spot” said Allan Flores, the tourism minister.
The surveys revealed our country as the only destination spot with market awareness at 6.8%. This comes as no surprise since 26% of our country is made up of national parks and reserves; likewise, the country stands out for preserving its national heritage over the last 50 years with the government’s investment of 1.92 million dollars in the tourism industry.
Among the most noteworthy policies, according to those who filled out the survey, is that Costa Rica offers visitors the opportunity to participate in the carbon reduction program during their travels in order to assume some responsibility for the tourism industry’s CO2 emission. This program was developed by the National Eco-tourism Chamber (CANAECO) with the goal of making Costa Rica carbon-neutral by 2021.
For more complete information: http://www.greenlodgingnews.com/downloads/cmigreentraveler2010v1.pdf
COSTA RICA TO HOST THE ADVENTURE RACE WORLD SERIES
In 2010, Costa Rica will stage one of the races of the Adventure Race World Series, a world circuit adventure sport event. From August 20th to the 28th, the country will be at the center of one of the most important extreme sport events.
Since 2001, there have been events in Australia, Sweden, Brazil, Switzerland, and France, among others. The race on Tico soil will be one of the nine championship dates, which will result in the grand finale playoffs (Adventure Race World Championships) that will take place in November in Castilla, Spain.
Each one of these classifying events will consist of a 310 mile journey in which the relay (made up of three members from the same sport and a fourth person from another) will cover mountain biking, trekking (mountain climbing), rappel (cords), rafting, and kayaking. The entire trip must be uninterrupted. From the starting line to the finish line, each team can decide if they want to rest or not. If they decide to do so, it will have to be done in the open air.
Likewise, no type of satellite navigation will be permitted. Only a map, compass, and survival instinct will be allowed.
Costa Rica Remains a Top Choice for Travelers Wanting to Escape the Winter and Get the Most for Their Money
With the growing economic uncertainty and the cold, winter months just around the corner, Costa Rica has become the ideal place where families can warm up, learn about their natural environment and be green without spending a lot of money this season.
Due to its wide variety of activities, hotels, restaurants and impressive leadership in the sustainable tourism arena, this small Central American country is sure to satisfy every type of personality and offer the experience of a lifetime allowing travelers to make their dollar stretch farther this season.
While most North Americans prepare for the chilly, holiday months, Costa Rica is getting ready to welcome summer, or what the locals call "dry season." This wonderful weather lends itself to one-of-a-kind experiences and breath-taking views of the beaches, volcanoes, waterfalls and rivers that interweave through the country's rain and cloud forests. Regardless of your location on the Caribbean or Pacific side, Costa Rica is sure to deliver relaxation and adventure for a very attractive price.
North American travelers flock down south to Costa Rica in large amounts, and the country continues reporting growth in the number of international tourist arrivals - from the almost 1.9 million tourists that the country received last year alone, almost 50 percent were from North America. In 2008, Costa Rica will have hosted more than two million visitors. Costa Rica's proximity to major hubs in the United States and the multitude of flight options makes it easy for travelers to vacation there. It is a two and half hour filght from Miami airport, a five-hour flight from New York, a four-hour flight from Dallas and a six-hour flight from LAX.
An added appeal for Costa Rica and its position as a Central American tourist destination has been its commitment to giving back to the planet and to its people. Due to these efforts, the country has become an ecological haven which is hosted by warm people who are proud and eager to show visitors their wonderful land. Their pride is translated into the vast amount of knowledge that they individually possess, turning any vacation to the country into an educational experience, in addition to being adventurous and relaxing. This attention to detail is what keeps visitors coming back to enjoy its natural wonders.
Trading Winter White for Summer Green
The trait that makes Costa Rica one of the most sought after eco-destinations is its 32 environmentally protected national parks which include tens of thousands of acres of rain forests and cloud forests, active volcanoes, beaches and waterfalls. The conservation of the land allows visitors to experience nature in its most pristine state through activities like hiking, rafting, canyoning, canopy tours, rock climbing and surfing. If scuba diving is what the traveler seeks, Costa Rica offers miles of coastline on the Caribbean and Pacific coast that are ideal for the avid scuba diver. For the ultimate diving experience, visit Cocos Island National Park, a destination so rich and pristine in marine biodiversity that it is nominated to be one of the Natural Seven Wonders of the World. www.new7wonders.com. Wherever the traveler decides to go and no matter how long they stay, Costa Rica offers them the ultimate ecological and educational experience, all rolled into one.
A Vacation that Gives Back
When it comes to sustainable tourism offerings, few can compare to Costa Rica. The Costa Rica Tourist Board has implemented a program called Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) designed to promote the implementation of sustainable practices throughout the entire tourism sector, including hotels, tour operators, transportation providers, and best of all, the community. A large portion of the industry participates to some degree and some of the services they offer include recycling, solar heated water, reforestation initiatives and creating jobs for the people in the surrounding area, among others.
The CST program gives a zero through five "leaf" rating to those operations that meet strict guidelines for sustainable practices - the higher the score, the more green, efficient and sustainable the operation is. The CST program has become one of the most widely respected sustainable certificate programs and it has been adopted by the United Nations and the World Tourism Organization as a model, and many countries around the world are employing similar standards. When visiting Costa Rica, travelers can select from the 99 tourist companies that have been certified since the creation of the program. For more information, visit http://www.turismo-sostenible.co.cr/EN/home.shtml.
Sustainability and conservation in the country also extends out into the community through its Blue Flag Ecology (BAE) program. Communities in Costa Rica are given the BAE certification through an evaluation of the quality of the ocean water, quality of drinking water, waste disposal and availability of sanitary facilities. This distinction is given to those communities who safeguard the environment and maintain necessary sanitary conditions of the water and the areas around it.
About Costa Rica
Costa Rica is located in Central America, nestled between Nicaragua and Panama, and bordered on the east by the Caribbean Sea and the west by the Pacific Ocean. This small country represents only .01 per cent of the planet's surface yet its land shelters 3 percent of the world's biodiversity and its waters are home to 3.5 percent of the planet's marine life. It has given priority to the conservation of its natural resources, protecting 26 percent of its national territory through the creation of National Parks and other natural areas.
The country also offers world-class eco-tourism and adventure travel. The options are unlimited for any discriminating traveler: horseback riding on a secluded beach; hiking through the lush whispering greenery of a rainforest; having an exhilarating experience on a white-water rafting trip; observing the tropical forests from a canopy tour; surfing the blue waves of either coast; experiencing a quiet, close encounter with different species of birds and wildlife; and enjoying the diverse culture and hospitality of the Ticos.
About the Costa Rica Tourist Board
The Costa Rica Tourist Board, created in 1955, is an autonomous institution of the State responsible for regulating the tourism activity in Costa Rica and promoting Costa Rica's tourism attractions and destinations nationally and internationally. The Costa Rica Tourist Board creates tourism norms, regulations, incentives and grants the tourist declaratory for Costa Rica's hotels, travel agencies, rental cars and other tourism organizations and service providers.
Date: December 17, 2008
Planning a Destination Family Reunion
What better way to gather loved ones than at a family reunion? Whether your family is large or small, consider getting help from the start by calling in the experts. Travel agents can take care of details ranging from recommending appropriate destinations to arranging for airline tickets, and making hotel or car rental reservations.
They are well acquainted with cruise ships and resorts that specialize in family travel. Travel agents can help families with last minute itinerary changes and cancelled flights, as well as arranging for family members with special needs. For large groups, a travel agent may have access to pre-negotiated airfare and hotel rates otherwise unavailable. And, a travel agent can serve as a friendly and patient third party to help prod those family members who may not be quick to decide on travel plans.
START PLANNING EARLY
Planning a family reunion can become complicated, especially a large reunion involving lots of people. Experienced reunion planners recommend that families begin planning up to two years in advance.
Allow time for your guests to plan. Give them enough advance notice to adjust their own schedules in order to attend. If you are planning a reunion that involves traveling long distances, or an adventure like a cruise or a trip out of the country, many family members may need time to save money and make special arrangements for extended leave from work.
Be prepared for guests who require special consideration. Everyone has different needs and it is important to the success of your event to be aware of those needs and have adequate time to plan accordingly. Disabled guests may need special equipment or accommodations. Others may need to arrange for pet care. Whatever the circumstances, leave yourself enough time to ensure suitable arrangements can be made to accommodate everyone.
SELECT A DATE AND STICK WITH IT
Picking a date that works for everyone can be one of the most difficult - but one of the most important - steps in planning a family reunion.
Avoid the obvious busy times of the year. Try not to schedule your family reunion on major holidays, or during prom and graduation season.
Ask for suggestions and select a date that will work for everyone.
Communicate plans to host a family reunion far enough in advance that attendees will be able to avoid conflicting events.
Avoid changing the date. Once you announce the date to family members, they will immediately begin planning other activities around it. Changing the date mid-stream, even once, will affect everyone and some guests may be forced to cancel.
COMMUNICATE EARLY AND OFTEN
By communicating your plans to organize a family reunion early, your guests will have adequate time to plan to attend, and you can generate interest in catching up with family and creating new family memories at the reunion.
Distribute a newsletter. A reunion newsletter is an excellent way to keep the family up-to-date on the planning process, who will be attending and what activities are planned.
Use e-mail to keep guests informed and interested. E-mail is an inexpensive way to maintain communications with reunion guests and provides an easy way for guests to ask questions and provide feedback.
Solicit ideas from guests. To keep everyone involved and excited about attending the reunion, allow family members the opportunity to submit ideas for planned activities, venues and menu options.
PLAN ACTIVITIES FOR EVERYONE
Family reunions are unique in that they can involve people from all over the world, each with different interests. Your guests may span up to four generations and it is important to consider ages and physical limitations when planning activities. Grandparents may not want to participate in activities like scuba diving or water-skiing. Likewise, children may not enjoy ballroom dancing or a mahjong tournament.
Consider holding the family reunion on a cruise ship or at an all-inclusive resort. Each offers entertainment options for every generation and can take much of the stress out of planning activities around varying interests.
Ask your guests. Since they will likely have different interests, you will be better able to plan activities if you know what they enjoy doing.
Choose a venue that is large enough to accommodate activities for everyone and offers a variety of things to do.
BE SURE TO ENJOY YOUR OWN PARTY
The best reward for organizing a large get-together is being able to enjoy the day when it arrives. Planning a family reunion can be a stressful endeavor. Ask for help so it does not become so burdensome that you are not able to spend time with your guests and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Recruit helping hands. One way to ensure you have time to enjoy the reunion is to recruit willing family members to take care of last minute details. You will be surprised how much help is available if you just ask
Date: December 2009
Costa Rica continues promotion of Caribbean province as a destination
The Government of Costa Rica will continue to promote the province of Limón, located on the Caribbean coast, as a travel destination for Europeans and North Americans especially in light of the recent success experienced during the Transat Regata.
The province of Limón was the finish line for the prestigious Jacques Vabre Transat Regata, one of the most important sporting events of France that finished this past November 23rd with the victory of the multi-hulled Crepes Whaou.
According to Minister of Tourism Allan Flores, this successful experience with Transat spurred the organizers to select Limón as the finish line for the 2011, 2013 and 2015 editions of the event.
"The exposure for Costa Rica in Europe as a consequence of the event has been estimated to reach a value of over 30 million Euros, which is a substantial sum for the attraction of tourism from Europe", said the Minister.
The Minister also stated that Limón will be the stage for other important events for tourism attractions such as the International Festival of the Arts and the first EcoFest Festival; both scheduled for next year.
Date: November, 2009
SARCHI - A TOWN OF ARTISANS
Be it as a gift for others or a treat for you, a souvenir obtained during your travels will later become a reminder of the far away and exotic places the we have had the opportunity to visit.
Despite being right at hand, the small gift shops of the majority of hotels have a limited selection - and occasionally an expensive one at that - of local handcrafts. So, if the travel itinerary allows the time, it is well advised to provide your clients to Costa Rica, with the opportunity to visit Sarchí.
Nestled in the hills bordering the Central Valley and surrounded by coffee and sugar cane plantations, the town of Sarchi, is both an encounter with handcrafts as well as with the traditional agriculture of Costa Rica.
Many years ago, with the expansion of coffee production towards the highlands surrounding the Central Valley and the consequent accumulation of mud along the roads during the months of harvest; farmers of the region were forced to replace the traditional spoke wheels of Spanish colonial origin, with more massive wheels built with six to ten triangular hardwood wedges, to brave the roads. At the turn of the 18th century in the town of Sarchí, a tradition of painting the wheels and ox-carts began. Initially with rustic arabesque designs and later with colorful floral and geometric shapes, the typical Costa Rican Ox-Cart came to dot the countryside and to become a tradition that has been declared by UNESCO as Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Since then, the custom of adorning ox-carts with colorful designs has been handed down from generation to generation. Unique designs and products produced by many families seem to display an infinite array of styles, colors, sizes and uses. Today, local family owned shops of Sarchí will even package the ox-cart and send it any where in the world.
Local artisans branched out into the production of furniture achieving such high standards of production that upon learning that a specific chair was made in Sarchí, any Costa Rica will recognize it to be a piece of extremely good quality and production. And this is why many visitors seek them out.
As Sarchí grew into a town of artisans, it soon began to add to its vast catalog of souvenirs. Woodworking began to include woodturning with articles that range from glasses, cups, centerpieces and hostess tables to fine game boards and pieces for chess and checkers, jewelry boxes of all sizes and shapes as well as fantastic wall mounts that highlight the flora and fauna of Costa Rica.
Sarchí has also become a showcase to exhibit handcrafts from many other regions of Costa Rica. From San Vicente and Guatíl, Chorotegan potters send their most exquisite indigenous ceramics while the leather artisans of Puriscal send fine leatherworks for equestrian use, of special note are their beautiful saddles. From Boruca in the South Pacific region of the country, Indians send precious balsa wood masks, carved and painted for the yearly Los Diablitos Festival while 'palos de lluvia', evocative of the torrential storms of the Caribbean, adorn the display with the unique colors of that coastal region. With a little luck, one of the visitors might encounter a sample of local embroidery, proudly displayed by one of the local women of Sarchí. These are rare pieces and real works of art.
The great majority of tour operators have included the town of Sarchí in their product offerings. It is a short trip to the northeast of the capital city and is usually combined with a tour to the Poás Volcano or the Juan Castro Blanco National Park. A visit to Sarchí is without a doubt a journey into the unique world of shapes, colors and textures that make up the cultural heritage and identity of Costa Rica.
Source: Agenda del Turismo