Central America Travel

Unspoiled Nature in Panama’s Darién National Park

On the great planetary picture window that is Google Earth, at coordinates 7.75, -77.5, there is a large swath of undifferentiated green. Undifferentiated, as in, virginally unmarked. Pristine. If you use the controls to scroll around and zoom in, names of villages and other landmarks will pop up on the surrounding terrain. But on this […]

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Costa Rica’s Ox Carts: Rolling Art Works And National Symbols

“Hwee!” hollered my carreta driver, swatting at the ox team’s rumps to spur them on. Then, when we arrived at our destination: “Haysa!” (“Stop!”) These and a dozen other words are integral to the ox driver’s lexicon, and as I rode through Costa Rica’s coffee country, I was learning fast. But the driver’s slang wasn’t […]

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Snorkeling And Dolphin Watching In Bocas Del Toro, Panama

Snorkeling over the coral reef is a surreal experience; gliding weightless over alien structures populated by hundreds of colorful creatures. Dozens of fish species dart in and out of the formations, seeking food or shelter from larger fish. The inundated forms on the sea floor include brain coral, fan coral, lettuce coral, feather stars, and […]

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Cahuita: Costa Rica’s Caribbean Getaway

The nighttime jungle cacophony blended with the sound of the Caribbean surf, forming an exotic symphony.  A full moon peeked through a gap in the clouds and the jungle went quiet for a moment. Outside my room, the river estuary was home to howler monkeys, caiman, green iguanas, tree frogs, parakeets and macaws.  All these […]

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Art And Artists Of Costa Rica’s Pura Vida

Victor Chavarria Venegas is typical of Pura Vida artists.  He says, “My art is from my heart, and my heart is from Costa Rica.” His colorful and realistic acrylic and oil paintings depict animals, birds, frogs and reptiles in their habitats. Venegas’s roadside studio and gallery outside of Jaco is a work of art in […]

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Turrialba: Costa Rica’s Garden City

The ride through the highlands was spectacular. From the high plateau we descended a series of switchbacks down into the valley. The scene could have been the Appalachians or the Mediterranean Alps, except the valley floor was tropical with farms, fields, and forests. It is a couple of hours by bus from San Jose to […]

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Casco Viejo: Panama City’s Historic District

Panama City’s skyscrapers tower over the highways, shopping malls and subdivisions. Tucked into a corner of the harbor is the historic district called Casco Viejo (aka Casco Antiguo or San Felipe). Panama City was founded in 1519 by Pedro Arisa De Avila. For a hundred and fifty years, boatloads of gold from Peru were carried […]

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A Gecko For Good Luck

While pouring a coffee for my Costa Rican friend, Oscar, I strain to identify a rhythmic croaking noise coming from somewhere inside my hotel room.  It sounds like a tiny ratchet wrench. “Gecko,” says Oscar, helpfully.  “It is good luck.  If there is no gecko, ask for a different room.” He explains that a Gecko-free […]

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Why Travel To Costa Rica In The Rainy Season?

People usually try to avoid traveling during the rainy season.  You have to carry more gear.  It isn’t as pleasant to go on walks, and there are some activities you may not be able to do.  And, let’s face it, most people like to see vacation photos from sunny days. However, there are some good reasons to make […]

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Guatemala Exceeded Our Expectations

I recently returned from a family and working vacation in Guatemala, where we traveled as guests of INGUAT, the country’s tourism promotion department.  Guatemala vastly exceeded our expectations!  The people were friendly, the Mayan and Spanish colonial histories were fascinating, and the landscapes were breathtaking. We began our adventure in El Peten, the jungle-covered lowlands […]

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New Costa Rica Photos And Videos Added To Our Facebook Page And YouTube Channel

I recently returned from a wonderful family and working vacation to Costa Rica.  We visited Arenal Volcano, Sarapiqui, and San Jose, and had a great time.  Highlights of the trip include whitewater rafting on Rio Sarapiqui, horseback riding with Wilson in Chilamate, and the Tirimbina chocolate tour.  I have uploaded two photo albums and numerous videos to our Facebook […]

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Best Of Costa Rica Tours Added To Our Website

We recently added the following four Best of Costa Rica Tours to our website: Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio 8 D/7 N Tortuguero, Arenal, and Monteverde 8 D/7 N Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio 10 D/9 N Corcovado, Arenal, and Monteverde 10 D/9 N With high season (Dec-Mar) fast approaching, now is a good […]

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New Passport Fee Schedule For U.S. Citizens

New passport fees for the U.S. Passport Book, the U.S. Passport Card, and other passport services went into effect July 13, 2010.   The most significant changes are increases in standard adult passport fees from $75 to $110 and standard minor fees from $60 to $80.  Passport cards will increase in cost from $20 to $30 […]

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