Air France Direct to Costa Rica

Air Costa Rica -- Taking Off Soon

Say Bon Jour to direct flights from France!

Bienvenue to Air France whose first direct flight lands on Wednesday, November 2nd from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport.  The airline will operate two weekly flights into and out of Costa Rica’s capital at the Juan Santamaria Airport on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Almost 400 million Europeans travel to Costa Rica every year and this is increasingly annually.  British Airways and Thompson added direct flights to Costa Rica in 2016.  Swiss Air have also introduced new routes into the country for 2017 to cater for the increased demand for vacations to the Central American, eco-friendly nation.

Costa Rica is in on the action!

The Pura Vida airline, Air Costa Rica, is finally expected to begin operations with a scheduled inauguration flight to Guatemala in November of this year.  The country’s first international airline has four aircraft.

Air Costa Rica -- Taking Off Soon

They are expected to compete with other Latin American airlines, such as Avianca and Copa.  Routes and pricing have not been officially announced for the flights planned into San Andres and Cartagena in Colombia, Roatan in Honduras, and the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana to link some of the most popular tourist destinations in the region.

And what will be on Air Costa Rica’s in-flight menu?  Gallo Pinto, of course!  😉

Read the original story in Spanish @

Additional Sources:

Solo Costa Rican Road Trip? These Gizmos Will Help

iPod Classic

A lone road trip is just the way to explore Costa Rica at your own pace!

Consider a number of gadgets to take on the road for the ultimate solo experience.

Binge-Watching Galore

Wi-Fi Amazon TV Shows
"Streaming Shows" photo © Amazon

There’s no way you’re going to let a little coast-to-coast roadtrip get in the way of your favorite bad habit.  Plug your Amazon Fire Stick ($40) into the motel or AirBNB TV and freak yourself out with Mr Robot, Stranger Things and House Hunters all night long.  It has Alexa now, so she can help you find other things to watch — as if you needed help to fritter time away, right?  😉

Audio Perfection

Car Audio Processor
"Car Audio Perfected" photo © Alpine

If you’re any kind of audiophile, factory audio systems make you want to claw your face off.  But the systems in today’s cars are often integrated into the dashboard, which makes replacing them next to impossible.  The Alpine PXA-H800 Digital Signal Processor ($750) significantly cleans up the signal from your factory stereo, tunes it for your interior’s acoustics, and even compensates for road and wind noise.  It’s audio performance even a snob like you can get behind.

Rock All Day Long

iPod Classic
"160GB of Pure Music" photo © Apple

The good old iPod Classic is still the best way to play music in the car.  Dust off your trusted old friend, rip all your music in a lossless format, and build days and days of relevant playlists to help you through your trip.  Official WIRED Playlist Ideas:  “Will I Ever Get Through This Cornfield?”, “I Can’t Believe I Slept There Last Night,” and “I Shouldn’t Have Eaten that Big Mac.”  Find one cheap on Amazon or eBay.

Enjoyable Drinks

Insulated Coffee Cup
"Insulated Mug to Go" photo © Miir

It’s 10pm and the next motel is an hour away.  Where’s that coffee you bought a few hours ago?  It must be ice cold by now, no?  Don’t rely on cardboard Starbucks technology.  Keep your wide-awake coffee hot and your daytime water cold with the Miir Insulated Pint Cup ($22).  Bonus:  a portion of what you pay helps fund a clean water project that you can track on Miir’s website.

The solo road trip can be a lot of fun, too.

Read about more must-have road trip gadgets @

100% Renewable Energy — 76 Straight Days

Ocean Waves Breaking on Beach

Costa Rica is forging forward on its ambitious route to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral country.  It’s unusual for a country to find a direction where it can promote green practices while developing economically.  But the tiny Latin American nation is making it work by selling its natural resources as a tourist attraction while generating fuel from them.

Ocean Waves Breaking on Beach
"Corcovado National Park" photo © Rolf Schulten/Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

Costa Rica’s electric grid ran exclusively on renewable energy for 150 days so far this year, the country’s power operator said late last week.  Half of those days were achieved in only the last few months.

The Central American nation was powered for 76 straight days on carbon-free electricity from June 16 to September 2, according to the Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE).

It’s easy to point to Costa Rica’s clean energy success as a model for fossil fuel-dependent nations to follow.  However, it’s not an example that the big polluters of the world can easily emulate anytime soon.

Map of Central America
"Map of Central America"
photo ©Wikimedia Commons

First, there’s Costa Rica’s physical size.  At just 19,730 square miles, Costa Rica is about twice the size of the state of Vermont, meaning it only needs a handful of large power plants to light up substantial swaths of the country.

Second, there’s the matter of the country’s rather paltry electricity appetite.  This nation of 4.9 million people generated about 10,713 gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2015, according to a July report from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The United States, by contrast, generated about 373 times more electricity, with roughly 4 million gigawatt-hours of total generation in 2015, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

And third, Costa Rica is rich in hydroelectric resources.  The majority of the nation’s clean power comes from its four main hydropower facilities, which are fed by multiple rivers and abundant seasonal rainfall.

Hydropower alone accounted for about 80 percent of Costa Rica’s total electricity generation in August, according to National Energy Control Center data cited by ICE.

Geothermal plants provided about 12.6 percent of electricity generation in August.  Wind turbines supplied 7.1 percent, while solar power accounted for just 0.01 percent.

Costa Rica’s stretch of fossil fuel-free days this year follows its even cleaner results from 2015.

Last year, Costa Rica logged 299 total days without burning oil, coal or natural gas for a single megawatt of electricity.

Hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal and biomass accounted for over 98 percent of its total electricity output in 2015, according to the regional economic commission report.  Natural gas-fired cogeneration and thermal power plants supplied the remaining 1.8 percent.

Hydroelectric Dam
"Hydroelectric Dam in Siquirres, Costa Rica"
photo ©Ezquiel Becerra/AFP via Getty Images

Carlos Manuel Obregón, the executive president of ICE, said Costa Rica could enjoy even more months of carbon-free power once ICE’s massive Reventazón hydroelectric project comes online this month after six years of construction.

Reventazón is the largest public infrastructure project in Central America after the Panama Canal.  The dam’s five turbines will have a generating capacity of 305.5 megawatts, enough to power around 525,000 homes.

The project will bring "stable and renewable energy for the benefit of all sectors in the country," Obregón said in the ICE press release.

Read the full story @

9 Reasons to Take a Trip Labor Day Weekend

Couple on Vacation

A road trip could be a make or break for a budding relationship.  So make it easy on yourself and your SO by choosing a destination where romance can blossom with minimal effort.

Couple on Vacation
"Alone Time with Your SO"
photo © Universal Pictures

Costa Rica has so much to offer with volcanoes, rainforests, and beaches that to stay in one place for the whole vacation would be a waste.  Plan to see two destinations that can be combined into a long, weekend road trip of a lifetime!

Flying into Liberia’s international airport (LIR), in the popular region of Guanacaste, gives visitors access to white sand beaches and the Rincon de La Vieja Volcano — which is less than an hour’s drive away.  Imagine sunset strolls on the beach, couple chocolate massage, and relaxing in thermally-heated hot springs…romance at its best.

But even the drive time can provide fantastic opportunities to move that relationship to the next step.  See what the Love on the Road survey found about couples and road trips:

It will give you time to talk things out.

  • Ford and YourTango recently teamed up to conduct a study called Love on the Road.
  • One of their findings was that a whopping 78 percent of respondents confessed to having had a serious discussion about their relationships in a car.
  • Maybe your Labor Day road trip will be your chance to finally get to talk about that big elephant in the room you’ve been avoiding for so long.
  • Even if you don’t necessarily go on a road trip, the uninterrupted quality time together will serve as a great space for you two lovebirds to really have all of those ~intimate~ conversations.

It could be a huge milestone.

  • The same Ford/YourTango study found that over half of their respondents (57 percent) admitted to having some sort of first with their partner in a car.
  • Whether it be a first kiss, a first heartbreak, or a first “I love you”, the intimate time together in the car seemed to be the perfect space for many respondents to engage in these pivotal relationship firsts.
  • Maybe your road trip to that deserted Pacific beach or jungle retreat could also be the first time your BAE tells you he loves you?
  • Again, even if you don’t necessarily go on a road trip, the intimate time spent between just the two of you while on vacation is definitely grounds for a lot of firsts to take place.

It’s a chance for the two of you to enjoy each other without interruption.

  • Between friends, families and jobs, day-to-day life is filled with interruptions.  Your relationship happens when you have time for it.  And, more often than not, you don’t.
  • So, instead, you try to make the most of it by dragging each other along to events with friends, families and co-workers and, when you do have a chance to spend some one-on-one time together, you’re so exhausted you spend most of it at home watching a movie and scrolling through your Instagram feeds.
  • A vacation is the perfect chance for you to hang up and HANG OUT with each other again.
  • Put your phone away, you’re not at work and nobody needs you.  All your friends and family are too busy on their own vacations to need you anyhow.  Now is your time to just focus on each other.

Your relationship happens when you have time for it.  And, more often than not, you don’t.

It will help you reconnect.

  • All of these interruptions and distractions have a way of distancing you from your partner.
  • Sure, you physically spend a lot of time together, but penciling in time to really appreciate each other gets tricky between happy hours, birthday dinners and work parties.
  • Take this vacation as an opportunity to fall in love all over again or maybe for the first time!

It will be a nice change from your routine.

  • It’s easy to fall into a rut when you’ve been with the same person for awhile.
  • You sleep at their place or yours, you argue about where you’re going to order take out from and you take each other as dates to each others events.
  • A Labor Day vacation is a chance to do something different that will really wake up your relationship and get it going back in full-throttle mode.

It’s your last chance to get some fun in the sun before it starts cooling down.

  • Don’t stay at home!  Instead, you could be out catching some rays and letting your body snag its last chance at some color before it kisses the sun goodbye for the next few months.
  • Save the snuggling with your SO for when its your only option (i.e. when its negative five degrees outside).  Take this time to enjoy life outside together.
  • If Labor weekend is too short to take a flight outside the country, then pencil in a vacation road trip for the depths of winter.  Nothing beats the blues like a week in the sun, and driving to tropical beaches and waterfalls in Costa Rica will soon put a smile back on your face.

It will put your relationship to the test.

  • Spending some uninterrupted time together is no joke.  It’s basically a chance to play house for 72 hours.
  • Now’s your chance to find out if your significant other is really someone you enjoy playing that game with or not.

Even if you’re single, it could be the start of something new.

  • If you’re single, DON’T WORRY.  This article is for you, too.
  • Topdeck recently conducted research that found one in eight millennial men hope to find their significant other while traveling.
  • Beyond that, one in 11 postgraduate Millennials actually have met their significant others while traveling abroad…
  • Start packing your bags, people.  It’s time to find LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE.

Read the whole story @

Sleep Your Way to Costa Rica

Business Class Cuisine

If you want to begin your Costa Rican vacation in style — consider paying a little more for that upgraded, direct flight to get substantially more comfort.

Fully Flat Bed
"Fully Flat Bed for a Good Night’s Sleep"
photo © British Airways

Unisex Sleep Suit
"Embroidered Cotton Sleep Suit"
photo © Air France

Skincare Kit
"Airline Skincare Kit"
photo © British Airways

Business Class Cuisine
"Spanish Cuisine"
photo © Iberia

Air France, British Airways, and Iberia Airlines all offer beds in their first class cabins so passengers can stretch out and sleep through the night.  Way better than trying to doze with a blow-up neck rest!

If that sounds good to you — and why wouldn’t it? — consider some of these other benefits to first class, long haul flights:

Air France doesn’t just provide the nearly 7-foot bed, their La Premiere customers even get PJs!  The embroidered cotton sleepsuit, which comes in a felt pouch, may be taken with you after the flight, was announced by Air France a few days ago.  And forget those sweaty sneakers…slippers, socks, shoehorn and a shoe bag are all provided as part of the comfort kit.

Pull the thick curtains around the bed to enclose the area into a private sleep suite, once a steward has set up the mattress — complete with duvet and pillow!

British Airways similarly offer a flat bed with the bonus of a memory foam pillow for optimum neck support for a good night’s rest and a cozy blanket in their sleeper service.  The skincare set of Elemis products ensures that your complexion won’t suffer from air cabin dehydration during the long flight.

Iberia’s seat beds are longer than both Air France and British Airways to really stretch out your toes.  The adjustable shoulder and back pillow even comes with a massage setting to ensure complete relaxation on board!

All three airlines cater for their customers’ appetites; each offering distinctly regional flavors and specialities from English afternoon tea with Earl Grey to the very French foie gras for a full stomach before bedtime.

However you arrive to Costa Rica, the sights, sounds and experiences will soon distract you from any jet lag!

Learn more about Air France’s recent announcement @

Learn more about British Airways’ Business Club @

First Vacation with Sig O

Couple Enjoying Time

You don’t really know somebody until you’ve traveled with them.  For young people especially, seeing the world with a new significant other is an unparalleled learning experience.  You get to see a new part of the globe, and you get to learn new things about your partner.

Couple Enjoying Time
"Romance Blossoms on Vacation"
photo © Studio Firma

Let’s speak plainly:  How you vacation reveals a lot about your character.  Vacations can be fun, but they can also be a source of stress and how your SO deals with that stress can be very instructive.

If you’ve decided to travel with your partner, the destination you decide on can make all the difference.  Keep it easy for yourself and your SO by choosing a destination that’s stress-free…like Costa Rica

According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica is the world’s happiest country.  What better way to celebrate a new love?

Part of what makes Costa Rica such a harmonious place to visit is its deep connection to the natural world.  While you’re there, be sure to visit Proyecto Asis, which offers a sanctuary for rescued animals and tours and feeding opportunities for visiting tourists.

If you’re adventurous, you should check out Arenal!  You can zip-line across a tree canopy, or go horseback riding if you’re more comfortable a bit closer to the ground.  Wherever you decide to go in Costa Rica, it’s sure to put a smile on your face!

Costa Rica has long been a honeymoon and destination wedding favorite location.  How could romance fail to blossom with strolls along the beach, waterfall swims, and thermally-heated hot springs?

We recommend an intermediate SUV as the perfect car for two.  Spacious enough for your luggage and SO to enjoy the roadtrip in comfort, and with enough ground clearance to make it down the less traveled roads to the deserted beaches and unexplored corners…

Wherever you decide to go with your new SO, make it somewhere you’ll never forget.  If all goes well, these are memories you’ll be reminiscing about for the rest of your lives.

Find more destinations for you and your SO for the first time @

Sweet Spa Treatments

Chocolate & Champagne Facial at Sibö Spa, Los Sueños Ocean & Golf Resort in Costa Rica

With spas eager to find more holistic solutions to providing the best treatments for their clients, what was once considered a trend is now as ubiquitous as Pokemon GO.

The healing effects of natural herbs and fruits have been employed by the Chinese for more than 2,500 years.  Many more countries are jumping on the edible-healing bandwagon, incorporating natural ingredients in the form of food and beverage components into their spa offerings.

And as chocolate and coffee are probably Costa Rica’s most famous exports, it stands to reason that they’re both making an appearance in resorts too!

Kuö Spa at Costa Rica Marriott Hotel in San José
"Kuö Spa at Costa Rica Marriott Hotel in San José" photo © Fox News

With the Kuö Spa located in the country’s capital; why not begin your vacation with a relaxing and tasty treatment, before heading off on adventure?  Or if you can’t wait to hit the beach, the spa at Los Sueños is close enough to the ocean to hear the waves — the perfect way to unwind…  Both locations are easily accessible with a sedan, although for exploring the beaches, volcanoes and national parks that are further off the beaten track, consider renting an SUV for more space, comfort and clearance.

Costa Rica is a popular location for spa and wellness breaks to detox, relax and de-stress from the hectic routine of 21st century life.  So consider extending the feel-good sensation into a yoga retreat and return to your normal life as a new you!

In Costa Rican culture, the phrase "Pura Vida" is used to say that life is good — and to express the love of the country, its culture, peace and nature.  Created with this in mind, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and 1,100 acres of tropical rainforest, Sibö Spa at Los Sueños Ocean & Golf Resort incorporates the antioxidant properties of cocoa, champagne grapes and orange essential oils into this facial to firm skin, hydrate and restore balance.$140 for 1 hour

Chocolate & Champagne Facial at Sibö Spa, Los Sueños Ocean & Golf Resort in Costa Rica
"Chocolate & Champagne Facial at Sibö Spa, Los Sueños Ocean & Golf Resort in Costa Rica" photo © Fox News

Los Sueños is located near to the very popular beach town at Herradura beach.  From the airport, look out for signs to Orotina.  Follow these onto the Route 27 towards Caldera.  After the second toll, follow signs to Jacó.  Before reaching Jacó, there are signs for Herradura and Los Sueños.

Inspired by the landscape, scents and flora of Costa Rica, the Kuö Spa at Costa Rica Marriott Hotel in San José focuses on all living things in the ancient and indigenous Costa Rican culture of Cabecar and Bri Bri.

"Kuö" refers to the skin of the body, bark of a tree or unique harvesting process of the coffee bean, and translates to the spa’s journey of revitalization, restored energy and achieved balance through coffee-infused treatments.

Try the Coffee Scrub which uses the stimulating and antioxidant properties of the coffee bean to leave skin rejuvenated while reducing the appearance of wrinkles and cellulite.$110 for 50 minutes

Coffee Scrub at Kuö Spa, Costa Rica Marriott Hotel in San José
"Coffee Scrub at Kuö Spa, Costa Rica Marriott Hotel in San José" photo © Fox News

The Courtyard Marriott is located near the capital city but retains a certain old-world charm, with its hacienda-style buildings.  Located just three miles from the airport, this is the perfect place for an overnight stay at the start or end of your vacation.

Find even more edible spa treats @

Finalist Photo of Costa Rica

Costa Rica Weather - Photo Contest Entry

We are blessed to have a Costa Rican locale as one of the featured finalists in the 2016 Weather Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by The Royal Meteorological Society and The Royal Photographic Society.

Punta Banco is one of Costa Rica’s undiscovered beaches.  Located on the Pacific coast, this tiny village of just 200 people lies within three miles of the famous Pavones Beach — which is where surfers can ride the second longest wave in the world.  Surfing Fact:  Chicama, in Northern Peru has the longest wave.

However back in Costa Rica, Punta Banco was the setting for the image below — showing a very rare type of lightning called a sprite.  (click image to view larger size)

Costa Rica Weather - Photo Contest Entry
"Lightning over Punta Banco"
photo © Ben Cherry

As photographer Ben Cherry explains, "The storm was far out at sea during a new moon, so there was very little light.  And, as a result, the stars were spectacular.  I set up the frame to include the pulsing storm and the Milky Way as I liked the contrast.  Just after I started the 30-second exposure, this sprite strike illuminated the sky, shooting up into the atmosphere, my jaw dropped, and I assumed that it would have blown out the image, but I was thrilled to witness it."

The waves of Punta Banco still offer surfers a chance to hang ten, and without the crowds that sometimes collect in the waters of Pavones.  The black sand beach of Punta Banco is more than just a surfers’ hangout though.  Between the months of July and December, it’s a valuable nesting ground for Olive Ridley turtles.

The area is a nature-lover’s dream year-round.  The rainforest surrounding the beach are home to all four monkey species found in Costa Rica, and a diversity of other flora and fauna.

The road into the Punta Banco from Pavones is about a thirty minute drive from Pavones despite the distance.  This gives a clear indication of the road conditions — consider renting at least a mid-sized SUV to get there.

Pavones is almost an eight hour drive from San Jose.  Drive first to Quepos and then down the coastal Route 34.

From Dominical, drive back inland to Palmar Norte and onto Rio Claro.  Head back to the coast towards Golfito.  Take the short ferry ride across the Rio Colorado and then onto Pavones and Punta Banco.

Either way, it’s well worth the journey!

Cast your vote today to promote Costa Rica to the world by visiting the Short List and clicking on the image you like the best — hopefully it’s Ben’s.  😉

Do hurry though as the voting closes August 28th at midnight…to be continued!

World Surfing Games in Jacó

Carlos Munoz Surfing

With excitement building ahead of the beginning of the 2016 International Surf Association’s World Surfing Games will be held in Jacó in Costa Rica tomorrow, authorities are keen to prepare the beach for an influx of visitors and competitors.  Extra police officers will be patrolling the streets for increased security.  Street vendors won’t be tolerated.  And the town council will be working to ensure that environmentally sound measures are in place for garbage disposal and to maintain water quality.  Inevitably accommodation prices are higher than usual with the increased demand, but it should be a competition to remember!

Costa Rica hosts the Games following the team’s victory at the 2015 tournament held in Nicaragua.  The country last held the games in 2009 when they were located in Playa Hermosa.

Winning Costa Rica Surf Team
"Costa Rica’s Winning Team in 2015"
photo © ISA/Nelly

The World Surfing Games have been held since 1964 with competitors striving for the coveted individual and team titles with teams of a maximum of four men and two women.  Last year’s championship saw 27 countries and 132 surfers compete, with 2016 expected to be bigger and better.

Costa Rica is an internationally recognized surfing country with beaches on both coasts offering world class surf, and weather that allows year-long participation without a wetsuit.  The Games are expected to increase surf-related tourism this year.  The Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) reported 200,000 surf tourists entering the country in 2013 alone, and generating over $300 million for the local economy.

Carlos Munoz Surfing
"Last Year’s Champ — Carlos Muñoz"
photo © Surf Magazine

Costa Rican names to watch include Emily Gussoni and Anthony Finnigam who are the current number one rankings in female and male surf respectively.  There’s high hopes for Carlos Muñoz, last year’s champion, but veteran Caribbean surfer, Gilbert Brown isn’t out of the running.  Lisbeth Vindas and Leilani McGonagle are among the female surfers fighting for a place in the team.

Jacó Beach is an ideal location for the surf championship with consistent waves along a mile and a half in length.  The beach break reaches chest height to a foot overhead.  Catch the best waves a couple of hours before high tide.  Jacó’s popularity can be its downfall with the waters becoming crowded, but for those wishing to surf outside of competition time, nearby Playa Hermosa has great waves too.

The town is well-developed with accommodation and dining options to fit every taste and budget, but book hotel rooms in advance to avoid disappointment.  Nightlife is plentiful for those looking to party once the sun goes down with clubs, bars and casinos making this the liveliest beach town in the country.  The town’s proximity to San José and the international airport, just a 90 minute drive, has been fundamental in its growth and makes a few days at the tournament a possibility if time’s limited.

Bringing your board?  Ask your Vamos rep for your free roof racks on the rental vehicle and you’re good to go!  There’s also an option to rent-a-board here along with your car…that is if you can be without it that long.  😉

Read the full story @

Brits Love Costa Rica

Punta Uva Beach

Now that both Thompson and British Airways are scheduling direct flights to this little Central American country, British interest in Costa Rica is sparked.  So what’s the appeal?

Punta Uva Beach
"Punta Uva Beach"
photo © Cahuita Info

Here’s the opportunity to get away from the grey drizzle of a British winter to the bright sunshine of the tropics.  Let’s face it, with British summertime being a pretty dismal affair, why wait ‘til winter?  Costa Rica is close to the Equator and so is bathed in sunshine and high temperatures year round.  And even if it does rain, it’s not cold!  Imagine that…

Forget shivering behind a windbreak on a stony beach with a flask of tea with hundreds of other Brits waiting for the sun to break through the clouds.  Costa Rica’s two coastlines total almost 1,000 miles of sand and warm inviting ocean waters.  It’s easy to find a quiet spot away from all the crowds — Blackpool couldn’t be further away.

It isn’t just Brits that are amazed by the diversity and abundance of wildlife that Costa Rican visitors can see and all without setting foot in a zoo.  Imagine seeing toucans flying, monkeys swinging through the trees and tiny, red tree frogs jumping across your path.  And then there’s the cute sloths…

Friendly People
Brits love the warm welcome visitors receive in Costa Rica.  There’s no newspaper held high to avoid conversation here!  People here love to talk and share their country with others.  After all, when living in paradise, a smile comes easily.

Costa Rica isn’t known for its cuisine, but a week or two of fresh tropical fruit and smoothies is a real health boost.  Forget microwave meals and fast food to enjoy dishes cooked from scratch with fresh, local products served in restaurants overlooking the ocean or the jungle.  With all the activities to enjoy, the extra calories won’t even show!

And with cheap prices available, what’s stopping you from booking your Costa Rican holiday?