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Arenal Volcano Watching in Costa Rica

June 14th, 2011

Arenal VolcanoThose of you who subscribe to my Twitter account (right side >>>) received the word about ten days ago that tha Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico, the volcano watching people, have set up a web cam so they can see what’s a happenin‘. You can too.  Just click here!

Arenal is a favorite tourist spot.  It is always erupting and has been for years… though some eruptions are more interesting than others.

During the rainy season (now) Arenal volcano watching can be pretty boring… but if that thing goes off, it’s a good show. Also, it is often clear late at night.  Worth an occasional visit.  It refreshes every ten seconds.

Hint! If you want to get my other updates that do not sometimes make the blog immediately or ever, Follow Me on Twitter.

Travels to Monteverde, Costa Rica

June 2nd, 2008

Karen HangingAs my regular readers know, Luisa and I enjoy mini-vacations around Costa Rica. We do these regularly, and I often like to blog about what we did, the hotels where we stayed, and general info that may be useful if you are traveling or living here and are looking for an escape.

Recently, my daughter Karen, 40 something mom of three, well actually two but we often count her husband as one of the kids, came a visitin’ from Chicago, and we all made the four hour trek to Monteverde, Costa Rica. With us was son Bill, his wifey and my granddaughter, Lucy all of whom live here.

I had the cool idea of renting a van and driver for the trip. Normally I drive, but there is a 10-15 miles stretch of nasty road and I figured I’d save wear and tear on the car and use taxis when we got there. Turned out to be a great idea. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every so often!

If this interests you, read on!

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Getaway Weekend and Bird Watching Pt 2

July 22nd, 2007

q2.jpgI was so tempted to go back and change my last post promising Part 2 for the next day… but I figured someone would bust me in about two minutes… so here is PART TWO. Sorry for the delay… my BLOG was not displaying properly and I chose to update it before posting again. Not sure if this was necessary as most of my readers get updates by email or by RSS… but it makes for a good excuse.

On we go…. Part 2

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Getaway Weekend with Maria Part 1

June 8th, 2007

As a lot of you know, Maria Luisa and I are fond of taking weekend trips to places in Costa Rica that neither of us have been to before. For me, that is easy, but for my Tica wife, you would think she would have been everywhere after living for about a half a century. Not the case. One of the truly amazing things about Costa Rica is that for such a tiny country, it abounds in places that even Ticos do not know exist. Some are getaways just for weekends, while others are places you might really like to live! This is one of the reasons why I advise those moving here to not buy right away. Explore! You will find treasures and likely pay half of what you will pay of you don’t do this. The place we visited falls into the getaway category.

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Visit the new Real Costa Rica

June 10th, 2006

RCRI am not sure what on earth possessed me to do an entire re-write of The Real Costa Rica, but I did and it is now online for your viewing pleasure or displeasure. The most obvious thing you will notice is the new color scheme and menu system. There are also a lot of new pages, new pictures, about 500 new links… ugh. I still have to install the new search engine though the olde one seems to be working perfectly. Go figure!

Thanks to those who tested the site. Reading the same old pages for errors is booooring, but you really helped!

Anyway… here it is: The REAL Costa Rica

Enjoy!

The REAL Costa Rica (redux)

May 23rd, 2006

Every since I published the Real Costa Rica web site, I have received a zillion emails and comments in the Guestbook. Most are complimentary and a few are from people who have really dug into the RCR and found errors (precious few!), typos (a LOT) and have made suggestions on how to better the web site.

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Urban Planning – Costa Rica Style

May 12th, 2006

The study by the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) concludes that if the disorderly growth of the Greater San José area continues, “we face contamination on a massive scale and quality of life will become practically unsustainable”.

Well DUH!

Jut kidding…

I say “kidding” not because this article did not appear but because even the dimmest bulb who lives here in the valley has known about this forever! Continue reading »

Monteverde, Costa Rica

January 26th, 2006

My program has arranged for our group to spend a week of our orientation in Monteverde which is much more rural than Heredia. It took about 4 hours to get here by bus, mostly because the roads are rough and driving is slow going. But, it was worth every bumpy minute, because it is spectacular here!

We’re attending classes at the Monteverde Institute, and living with a new family for the week that we’re here. The closest town is Cerro Plano, which is a very small rural town. The town really consists of one street, along which there are a few hotels and restaurants. It’s about a 20 minute walk from Santa Elena, which is a small town that is only slightly bigger than Cerro Plano.

I love it here! The town is nestled amoung beautiful rich rolling hills, and has some of the most spectular sunsets I’ve ever seen. Everything has a small town feel, and all the pepople here know each other by name. The Ticos here are especially nice, and life runs at a much slower pace than in Heredia. Many of the other students in my group prefer Heredia, because there is more to do. I, however, am a country person at heart and fit in really well here.

There is a pretty booming (relatively) tourist industry here, and there are almost as many Gringos as Ticos. There is plenty to do in the way of nature walks, but not much of a night life.

Yesterday we went on a skywalk, which consists of walking through rainforests on suspended bridges. It was very beautiful, and we had a guide who was very friendly and knowledgable about the flora and fauna. We took a guided tour through a cloud forest today, which was also a lot of fun. The tour through the cloud forest reserve was much longer, and I would only recommend it for those who can walk uphill for more than 2 hours. I thought the latter tour was more interesting than the first, mostly because it was longer and we saw more of the forest. We spotted a lot of birds, including the endangered Queztals (sp?) and various different types of wrens and hummingbirds.

If you’re thinking about coming to Monteverde, I would certianly encourage you to do so, and I have three tips:

1. Bring a raincoat! There are only two seasons here, rainy and windy. It’s the windy season right now, and it still rains at least once a day.

2. Because of the above mentioned rain, bring more than one pair of shoes, and be sure to include at least one pair of hiking boots.

3. Be sure to take the time to stop and talk to the locals here. They are very knowledegable about the area, and love to talk about their culture. Many of them speak English if you need it (especially those who are younger), and if you are trying to improve your Spanish they will take the time to slow down their Spanish and help you with the words you need.

We are going back to Heredia on Monday, so hopefully I’ll be able to post a link for pictures of both Heredia and Monteverde then. Until then Pura Vida!

Costa Rican Frogs Wiped Out?

January 16th, 2006

Harlequin Frog - Poison Dart FrogEDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA – Disease induced by global warming is to blame for a mass extinction of frog species in Costa Rica.

I stumbled upon this copyrighted article the other day, and have been trying to verify the facts a bit before I wrote this. Sadly, neither the University of Alberta nor the magazine Nature seem to make any reference to this important information. I am presuming there is only one Nature magazine.

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