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Zika Virus – A Travel Alert but NOT for Costa Rica… Yet!

January 19th, 2016

ta2I am getting a ton of email asking about the Zika Virus.  In fact… so many emails that I felt I needed to post the hot skinny on this disease.

Most important is the Zika has not yet arrived in Costa Rica.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that it is now in about 19 other countries, and I know that a lot of folks visiting Costa Rica have travel plans that will take them to one of these other countries.

The next important thing is that Zika has very few symptoms, BUT can have devastating affects to the unborn children of pregnant women who contract this disease in any other other other countries.  Babies are born with very small skulls and apparently some brain damage.

If this topic is of interest to you… read on! Continue reading »

Cost Rica Caribbean Coast is Pretty Much Isolated

June 27th, 2015

Weather conditions have worsened and for all intents and purposes, the Caribbean side of Costa Rica has been cut off not only for travel but much of communications.  The most affected are Siquirres, Matina, Sarapiqui, Turrialba, Limón, Talamanca and Valle de la Estrella.

The only way to the Caribbean area is Route 10 (Paradise-Turrialba-Siquirres) and is regulated.

rt32floodingOn Route 32, at KM 25, a landslide of an estimate  4 billion cubic meters  has closed the highway completely.  Other massive flooding has temporarily affected the fiber optic line disrupting the cellular and fixed phone service near Sarapiqui.

Obviously my readers here in CR know all about this, but folks visiting Costa Rica may well want to find out the current situation on the Caribbean side before setting off. Conditions are dangerous.

Below is a video sent to me by a friend near Guapiles. It pretty much shows the incredible flooding and while in Spanish, it is not hard to understand what he is saying.

YouTube Preview Image

Tim

Route 32 San Jose to Puerto Limon Closed

June 24th, 2015

32This major route suffered landslides and will be closed likely until Monday and perhaps longer. Travelers to the Caribbean costs should check the status of this highway before traveling route 32. Rains will continue, so even if open, take extreme caution when traveling along this road.

While there are other routes, they take much longer and may be affected by the heavy rains.

Photo courtesy of La Nacion

Chikungunya has Arrived in Costa Rica

December 15th, 2014

I am never fond of travel advisories because far too often, people overreact to things that are just not all that serious.  On the other hand, I delayed blogging about these two topics until I could get the full picture. Neither is, in my opinion, reason to change travel plans.  Both, however, should be read and absorbed so you can enjoy your time in Costa Rica.

The first is about the chikungunya virus now having arrived in Costa Rica.

The second is about the death of an 11-year-oldchild from a brain infection last July that prompted the Florida Health Department to issue an advisory alert after tests confirmed the infection was caused by an amoeba he contracted while vacationing in Costa Rica. If these subjects are of interest to you… read on! Continue reading »

Using a GPS and Waze in Costa Rica

December 3rd, 2014

gpssatFor the longest time, I have wanted to blog about the use of GPS devices in Costa Rica. I actually asked and received some GPS maps from companies (located in Costa Rica) to test on my Garmin Nuvi. These are pretty much the same maps available online and when you rent a GPS at car rental  agencies in Costa Rica. For tourists especially, a GPS can be pretty handy as this country is well known to have no street names nor addresses. Pretty daunting for many travelers. Anyway, I tested several, and all worked adequately, especially for location hotels and common tourist destinations, they did not work so well once you got off major highways.  In fact, I found it to be common for at least two of the maps to cheerfully tell me to “turn right” from where I was driving on the Pan American Highway!  Only problem? I was between exits!

Another more personal issue was that NONE of them showed MY street… like the one where I lived.  If I entered my GPS coordinates, it happily took me to the street running behind my home and suggested I enter my driveway via my neighbor’s living room. In fact, the entire subdivision where my wife’s daughter lives (for three years now) shows as empty farm field.

It was then that I decided to write this article covering not only GPS systems in general but Waze as well as that is the future of GPS.  Interested?  Read on… Continue reading »

Thanksgiving in Costa Rica – 2014

November 26th, 2014

tgThe ultimate in laziness for a blogger is to reprint an olde post.  OK… Here is a re-print plus maybe a bit new. Check prices!  They may have changed.

Trying to find a good and comprehensive list of restaurants that offer a good Thanksgiving feast in Costa Rica is difficult.  Several sites and user groups offer a few, but nothing really complete.  Hotels often offer Thanksgiving Dinner… quality can GREATLY vary.  Interested in this topic? Read on!

Continue reading »

Costa Rica’s Airport Exit Tax to be Included in Ticket Price

November 24th, 2014

Forever its seems, when you left Costa Rica by air, you paid the ($29.00) exit tax at the airport in a special area to the right of the main entrance at SJO. I am not sure where it was paid in Liberia (LIB). Technically, you could also pay it at at Bancrédito bank branches, or at travel agencies, but I know I never did that nor did many folks I know. The line was actually fairly efficient in SJO, so it generally did not bother many people.  I guess this is now changing! If this topic interests you, read on! Continue reading »

Cameras and Humidity in Costa Rica

October 19th, 2013

nikonPhotography has always been enormously popular not only with the tourists but with many ex-pats living here in Costa Rica.  It is one of my favorite pastimes. I have had and used several excellent film and digital cameras here in Costa Rica including an Olympus, a Mamiya, and my current cameras, Nikons).  What I am going to discuss in this post is probably more directed to ex-pats who live here full time, but may be of interest to those staying here for shorter periods.

The topic is humidity and its affect on cameras in the tropics.

If this topic is of interest, read on….

Continue reading »

Costa Rica Rains Causing Death and Destruction

October 5th, 2013

ta2This is a travel advisory for those visiting Costa Rica but might also be of interest to anyone living here and experiencing their first “green season“.

While Costa Rica does not suffer from hurricanes (we are too far south) we certainly get some torrential rains every year during the rainy season (mid-May to maybe mid-December ).  October is the wettest month. This year is no exception, and in fact the rains have been just incredible the attendant flooding has been wiping out roads and bridges all over the country.

If this topic is of interest, read on…

Continue reading »

Dengue Fever Costa Rica 2013

September 29th, 2013

Aedes_mosquitoSome records are good to break… others… not so much. As of September 21, 2013 the Ministry of Health announced that they have recorded 38,497 cases, 699 more than 2005, the year with the heretofore highest incidence of dengue. Some areas such as Atenas seem to have been affected worse than others, but one should use caution wherever mosquitoes are biting in the daytime.  Why daytime?  Because the mosquito (Aedes aegypti) that transmits dengue fever only bites during the daytime hours.

Tourists or anyone visiting areas frequented by mosquitoes should use and good bug spray.  Bring some from your home country as you’ll pay ripoff prices in CR. Remember the pump spray or cremes will not get confiscated in airports as might the spray cans..

Rather than starting from scratch, I have posted below the FAQs form the Center for Disease Control website and you can also check out this info from the Real Costa Rica.

Click  to continue reading Continue reading »

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