viernes, 15 de octubre de 2010

Making Costa Rica the Next Silicon Valley

Costa Rica’s Central Valley is already home to some of the world’s leading companies in computer and biomedical technology. Its dominant export is Intel’s microchip and boasts an array of other multinational companies such as Cisco Systems.

As part of a forum meant to push the country further ahead in research and development, Stanford University’s Ximena Ares made a presentation last week at the University of Costa Rica on technology transfer – or the process of getting ideas off paper and into practice.

Ares works in a specialized area at Stanford, acting as the liaison between university researchers and industry. She said Costa Rica has a lot to gain from streamlining technology transfer, in that it can help develop skilled workers for the country’s industries and boost Costa Rica toward its often-stated goal of being the first developed country of Latin America.

She said the greatest handicap to innovation in Latin American countries is an excess of bureaucracy. “If Latin American countries are really going to do this, it is key that they get rid of bureaucracy because bureaucracy kills the process. Inventors need to be quick in publishing. Companies can’t wait for the time it takes multiple government agencies to OK something.”

She also said policies should be developed to clarify whether the fruits of research done in universities belong to the researcher, the university or the company providing the funding.

Despite its small size, Ares said Costa Rica has the potential to grow as a center for research and development.

“I would concentrate on the core expertise of a country,” she said. “It you find that your country is very good in agriculture or bio-resistant genes, focus on that and there is huge potential.”

From her experience, she has found that companies need to be “spoon fed” opportunities by universities. “You really need to have a person that can go out and reach out to industries. They are very busy, but the fact is, in order to maintain excellence, these companies need to look for ideas elsewhere. They are not going to have all the good ideas in house.”

lunes, 11 de octubre de 2010

Fishing For Costa Rica’s Marlin – Striped, Blues and Blacks

Marlin fishing is considered by many game fishermen to be the pinnacle of big game fishing, due to the size and power, relative rareness and difficulty of capture. In Costa Rica, fishing for the striped, blue and black marlin fishing season is year round and why the country is becoming the hot place to fish for these big gamers.

Marlin has been billed as the battler of literature and legends. Author Ernest Hemingway, so loved the marlin that he wrote about it. The Old Man and the Sea, one of Hemingway’s most famous works, centers upon Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin.

In past years, it was a customary “trophy” carcass hung in offices and seen in fishing magazines and executive office-wall photographs. However, that has since change in Costa Rica. Costa Rica was the first country to practice the catch and release program, and other conservation programs, like the banning of billfish meat. And because of this, an angler’s bragging rights have been reduced to nothing but videos or photos. A Costa Rica marlin will rarely be hung on some wall or cut up into steaks. Only on rare occasions will the fish be brought in and that is usually when the fish is dying due to a tail hook up (causing drowning) or the hook has some how damage the fish.

Circle hooks are used in Costa Rica for their catch and release capabilities. After a fish takes the bait, they usually turn away to kill their meal. The circle hook slide back through the fish’s mouth to the jaw corner and then hooks the fish in the mouth. Circle hooks reduce the chance of a deeply hooked fish. Catching the fish by the jaw makes it easier to unhook and release.

Marlin are known for their amazing strength, which is only exceeded by the giant bluefin tuna. Once a marlin is hooked, the fight will be one you will remember for the rest of you days.

This 400lb marlin was caught and release by World- Record Captain Bobby McGuinness off the Southern Pacific coast
Marlin love Costa Rica’s year round tropically warm temperatures and are usually found in deep waters, anywhere from 10-30 miles off shore. They are easier to catch on clear days, when the water is clear as well. Since Costa Rica has a raining season (May through mid-Nov or “green season.”), so this is a time when fishing tends to be below average, when the water is murky.

The marlin prefers hooked bait to artificial lures, because it can smell a potential meal when the bait is natural. Costa Rica captains will either fish with frozen bait and/or fish for it, thus filling up their bait tanks before picking up their anglers. Once outside, big game teasers are use as an attraction because they mimic a bait fish with its flash, sound and water commotion. These teasers are placed in close proximity to your bait. Each captain has his own secret of what teaser to use. Many times, the teaser is changed doing the trolling stage.

Costa Rica is broken down into four sports fishing areas;

Caribbean Coast (Tortuguero, Barra del Colorado) – When you can get outside to blue water you can find the occasional Atlantic sailfish and equally occasional Atlantic blue marlin throughout the year. Best time is from February through September.

North Pacific Coast (Tamarindo, Flamingo, Guanamar/Carrillo) - Marlin are caught every month of the year, with mid-November to early March exceptional, then slowing a bit from April into early June when the fishing picks up again, peaking in August and September.

Central Pacific Coast (Los Sueños Marina and Quepos) - October is normally the top month for marlin in this area, but action is also good in September, October and November, and occasional blues and even blacks can be found any time of the year, although they are usually out farther than anglers targeting sailfish are likely to be.

South Pacific Coast (Golfito, Puerto Jiménez, Drake Bay) – August through December is the peak season, but striped, blue or black are caught most any month when the water is warm.

Sport Fishing charters tend to vary in costs; it all depends on the time of the year (the green season less expensive) where you are fishing from (Hotel/travel booking agent charter or local fishermen) and size and luxury of boat. For example, an air-condition boat will cost more than an open 32’ boat.

For a full day charter, you can expect to pay between 800-$2300US, which will include lunch, beer, soft drinks, tackle, cleaning of the fish (Dorado, tuna, and Wahoo which are normal caught also for your night’s meal) and fishing permits.

Please remember, it is customary to tip the captain, whether you catch any or not and that is why they call it, “fishing.”

viernes, 8 de octubre de 2010

General Traveling Tips to Costa Rica

We get emails all the time about traveling in Costa Rica, so we thought it might be a good ideal to point out some of our top 20 tips about a vacation and/or maybe retiring in Costa Rica.

One thing you must understand is the culture and society; manners and respect play an important role and sometimes a simple misunderstanding can become a big deal.

Costa Ricans by nature do not like auguring and confrontation; so knowing about the basic life, culture, customs, and laws of a country can help you to be prepared and have an enjoyable vacation.

1) Costa Rica legal system is based on Napoleonic law; Guilty until Proven Innocent. If you get into a confrontation, do not tried and bribe the officer. Give respect and unless you are portraying the ugly American, you should not have a problem.

2) The most cost efficient transportation is the community bus, shuttle bus, taxi and then rental car, which is the most expensive. If you do rent a car, the new vehicle laws have changed. Get caught passing on a double yellow line, and expect to pay around a $500 fine.

3) Business hours in Costa Rica are much like that in the United States. Typically they run from 8 or 9 AM to 3 or 5 PM. Many will shut down for lunch 12-2, so do not expect a shop to be open after 12, unless it is in a main tourist town like Jaco or Tamarindo.

4) The healthcare system in Costa Rica is very advanced and rated higher than that of the US. They have an excellent system that offers up-to-date medical care in modern hospitals. Costa Rica 911 emergency system is fairly good in the main cities, but lacks response time in the rural areas.

5) Alcohol Drinking and Prostitution is legal for those over the age of eighteen.

6) When leaving the airport all are required to pay Exit Fees (about $27USD) before you check in your baggage and get your boarding pass, make sure you allow time for this. I have seen an hours wait to pay this.

7) The busiest time in Costa Rica is during what is called the high season (Nov-May) and the lowest is the rainy season, (June-Oct). During the rainy season prices on hotels and airfares usually will be discounted.

9) The water system in Costa Rica is treated and safe to drink, but bottle water is provided everywhere. Do not buy the bottle water in hotels; go to the nearest corner store where it is usually 2/3s cheaper.

10) The electricity in Costa Rica is the same as in the United States (110w). They do not use the grounding prong in some locations, so bring an adapter for this reason.

11) Dress for tropical environmental, and if planning to go into the high mountains, bring along clothing for cooler temperatures. Always bring along something for rain.

12) Laundry mats are not common in Costa Rica. Most people send their laundry out to be washed. Some vacation rentals offer a washer/dryer as an amenity and most hotels do provide a laundry service. However, if you plan on washing those smelling T-shirts in a shower, due to the high humidity, it may take hours, if not days to dry.

13) If you plan on making a lot of calls, international calling is expensive. Your best bet is to bring along a lap top or a Net Book and have MagicJack installed and/or Skype. Skype is Free from Skype to Skype and works well with WiFi, providing you are close to the source.

14) WiFi service at most hotels is free and Internet cafes are just about everywhere. Cost is between 1-$8/hour. So using your computer for emails and calling is easy to do. However, Costa Rica internet service is good, but nowhere to that of the US. After 9am, is about the time when the Internet is used less among the locals. In other words, trying to email or make a phone call at 7am, you may have problems connecting.

15) When available always lock you valuables in the hotel safe and carry ONLY what you will need for cash that day and a color photo copy of your Passport.

16) Do not exchange your money at the airport (it is a rip off and the damn machines are always breaking down it seems), do it at the hotels and/or local bank where the exchange rate is higher, but expect to wait in long lines.

17) Learn a few words in Spanish, like thank you, good day, and pura vida (pure life).

18) Use common sense, do not flash money around, this is an open invitation to get robbed. Costa Rica has crime just like the US so be alert and mindful when traveling around.

19) Be patient, remember you are on Costa Rica time, the rat race of US city life is not practiced in Costa Rica.

20) The best travel advice of all times is just smile

viernes, 1 de octubre de 2010

Playa Manuel Antonio: The Ultimate for Destination Weddings in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio is one of the most beautiful places in the world to have a romantic destination wedding in Costa Rica. With its pristine white-sand beaches and tropical landscape, it comes as no surprise that Playa Manuel Antonio, one of Costa Rica’s top beach vacation destinations, has been recognized as the ultimate place for destination weddings in Costa Rica.
The September issue of the top-selling American magazine, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, includes an article about Kerry Bardwill and Richard Coke who got married in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica in December, 2009. “Costa Rica was an incredible wedding destination because of its ecological diversity, beautiful beaches, tropical forests, magnificent animals and birds, as well as the warmth of its people”, said Bardwil. “We stayed one month, but we could have stayed longer”, reports Destination Weddings & Honeymoons.
With a spectacular sunset wedding ceremony on the beach and luxurious rental accommodations in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica is the prime location for a beachfront wedding in paradise. Regardless of the budget, options are endless when planning a wedding in Costa Rica.
Imagine walking down the beach at Playa Manuel Antonio as the sun sets, surrounded towering palm trees and vibrant tropical flora. Costa Rica’s exotic wildlife is hidden all around with tropical birds flying overhead, monkeys swinging between branches and lizards wandering along the coast. Costa Rica is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. To commemorate the wedding ceremony, celebrate by having an island-themed tropical BBQ and beachfront bonfire with loved ones!
Perhaps you would enjoy a spectacular sunset ceremony on the beach followed by a gourmet dinner in a beautiful villa with spectacular views of the surrounding Manuel Antonio landscape? Or, you could take your wedding ceremony to amazing heights and invite 40 guests to join you in an intimate roof top ceremony at Casa de las Brisas, Manuel Antonio with breathtaking ocean views. The incredible Casa Fantastica caters for up to 75 people and Casa Nova’s spectacular rooftop with all round amazing views caters up to 100 guests. Rest assured, Escape Villas has the Costa Rica destination wedding you are looking for.
The expert concierge at Escape Villas can help plan your destination wedding in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica. Offering an expansive portfolio with all the contacts you need to make all your wedding dreams come true and ensure a stress free day. Wedding packages are available for Playa Manuel Antonio Costa Rica with Escape Villas. “We have been hosting events in Manuel Antonio since 2001, and have the experience to handle all the logistics; from transportation to menu design, flowers to music, food and beverages, we will attend to all the details and allow you to anticipate your special day with pleasure and confidence.” said an Escape Villas spokesperson.
A dedicated team of Manuel Antonio wedding professionals will organize your important day as you sit back and relax with your loved ones. To get ready for your all important wedding day in Costa Rica, the in-house full service spa will be on hand to help pamper and de-stress the wedding party.
Additionally, a gourmet chef will work with you to create your dream wedding menu drawing from influences including tropical fusion, French, Latin and the Caribbean. Escape Villas offers a choice of top rated caterer’s service in Costa Rica. Bartenders will be on hand to keep your wedding party refreshed and entertained. Local bands are available and play a range of musical styles to suit all tastes. A professional photographer will also be there every step of the way to capture those important moments of your Costa Rica wedding at Playa Manuel Antonio.
The Escape Villas full service concierge prides itself on tailored and personalized service. Multilingual staff is on hand to organize adventure travel and eco tours suitable for all your wedding guests. Whether you are looking for a destination wedding ceremony of grand design or a more intimate gathering in Manuel Antonio, Escape Villas will make all your wedding dreams come true! Playa Manuel Antonio Costa Rica is the ultimate destination for memorable weddings in paradise!
Contact Luna Tours to start planning your Tropical wedding in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica. Email Luna Tours at or call toll free 727-462-5982.

jueves, 30 de septiembre de 2010

Why a Vacation to Costa Rica is Good for Your Health

There are many reasons why a person may choose Costa Rica as their vacation destination. The fact that it’s a tropical paradise is the most obvious reason, but what you probably don’t know, is that a vacation to Costa Rica could be the best thing you’ll ever do for your health.

Spanish for Rich Coast, Costa Rica is “head of the class” in ecology, containing 5% of the world’s biodiversity. And, according to the Happy Planet Index, (HPI) Costa Rica is also the happiest and greenest country in the world.

For those of you who might be wondering, the HPI is measured by the New Economics Foundation (NEF.) The HPI works by assessing how much of the Earth’s resources our nations use; then, they compare these results with the happiness and longevity of their citizens lives. Costa Ricans top the list because they find the most satisfaction out of life- and, they live longer than Americans do.

We’ve all been guilty of taking pleasure in a few bad vacation habits (i.e. excessive sun-bathing, binge drinking, and staying out all hours of the night) but, if you’re truly seeking rejuvenation, than a Costa Rica vacation is just what the doctor ordered.

Brought to you by the eco-conscious country of Costa Rica, here are some of nature’s own prescriptions:

Sunshine- With nearly 365 days of sunshine a year, Costa Rica offers an abundant amount of free and all natural vitamin D. (Just be sure to bring the sunscreen!)

Flora and Fauna- About 25% of Costa Rica’s land is protected by national parks, wild life refuges and private reserves. (Think of all the rainforests in Costa Rica.) Together, this protects about 4% of the world’s total land and animal species. Take a deep breath in and prepare to feel purified!

Healthy, Fresh Food- You won’t find any processed food in Costa Rica. Costa Ricans pride themselves on their fresh produce, fresh seafood, and their raw organic diets- this kind of diet helps to ward off cancer and maintain heart health, among other things.

Waterfalls- Relaxation is usually the first word that comes to mind when you hear or envision a waterfall, and there’s a good reason for this. According to a 2008 Costa Rica based press release, “waterfalls produce tiny particles known as negative ions, which have been proven to have a positive impact on health, mood, and energy, affecting serotonin levels in the brain. Negative ions also bond with impurities in the air, adhering to suspended particles and removing them.”

Vacations alone are a de-stressor, but why not take full advantage of the situation and make your health a top priority? In any of the great Costa Rica vacation destinations, you’ll experience the ultimate blend of paradise and good health. has several eco-friendly vacation rentals in Costa Rica for you to choose from. The only question left to ask is, which destination stirs your curiosity most?

Don't delay!!!

Discover Costa Rica... Discover Luna Tours !!!

We are a full service tour operator, vacation planners,sportfishing packages and executive concierge company which specialize in making your dreams a reality.

Your friend from Costa Rica
Stephanie Gazo

martes, 28 de septiembre de 2010

So much to see and do in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is so small yet very big at the same time — sort of like a “little giant.” Simply put, there is a lot to see and do in this country. Tourists flock here to view the country’s many natural wonders. As one of my clients remarked, “The country is a nature lover’s Disneyland.” So, if you plan to live or retire here you shouldn’t get bored.

Recently Costa Rica’s famous Monteverde cloud forest was selected as “one the 100 best” places to see by the prestigious Newsweek Magazine. Costa Rica was number thirty-eight on the list and Kauai, Hawaii was number one. Newsweek describes Monteverde as a habitat for a multitude of animals and plants where there are more than 100 species of mammals, 400 types of birds and thousands of insects.

Monteverde is just one of the many places to visit if you choose to move to Costa Rica.

Wonders never cease here.

Hope you enjoy this article!
Stephanie Gazo

miércoles, 8 de septiembre de 2010

Language, Mindset and Retiring in Costa Rica

The other I was reading a recent post from a major Costa Rica news group. It really really started me thinking. It was about the relationship between language and culture. Basically, language is responsible for every culture’s mindset. It is why we are all different and it also factors in to how well we understand another culture. That is to say it is easier to get a handle on another culture’s mindset the more of their language that we understand.

If you come to Costa Rica to live or retire it is of paramount importance to learn the language and interact with the people. As I have said before on repeated occasions and probably sound like a “scratched record” as they say in Spanish, “If you don’t know some Spanish you will always be a foreigner.” You are also increasing the chances of failure here. Don’t get me wrong! I have seen people live here for ten or twenty years without knowing the language and survive. However, they are really missing out on experiencing the best things about living in a different culture and will always be “strangers in a strange land.”

Being bicultural can makes all the difference in the world. One of the reasons I have had such a fantastic life in Costa Rica over the last thirty years is because I speak the language. All of the success I have had here is a direct result of my linguistic background. Hundreds of doors have opened for me and opportunities have presented themselves.

Cervantes said, “To know another language is to know another world.” Nothing could be truer.