Turtle Season in Costa Rica

When thinking of Costa Rica, your thoughts probably turn to the beautiful sandy beaches of and the picturesque sea shore, fresh with vibrant, tropical plant life. A place for a most relaxing vacation. However did you also know that there are sea turtles nesting and hatching around our local Manuel Antonio beaches?

 
Nesting on the beaches near Manuel Antonio National Park, on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific region, the Olive Ridley will come on shore and dig up to two feet into the sand to lay up to 150 eggs. The best time to observe the Olive Ridley is during the months of July through November, especially when the moon is in its last quarter and during high tide.

 
The Olive Ridley is listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Federal Endangered Species Act and International Union for Conservation and Natural Resources. From August 1 through November 30, you have the unique opportunity to take part in seeing these endangered species by scheduling a Turtle Tour. During the tour, you are accompanied by a bilingual guide who gets you up close and personal with the Olive Ridleys.

 
On the other side of Costa Rica, Tortuguero, better known as the “Land of Turtles,” is a village on the Northern Caribbean coast of the Limon province, which is surrounded by rivers and canals on all sides. Turtle season there runs mostly from April to October, and Tortuguero is the Atlantic nesting site for the Green Turtle. If you visit Tortuguero early in the season, you may have the opportunity to take a guided tour to see the Leatherback Turtle, the largest of the sea turtles. Leatherbacks can grow up to nine feet long and weigh approximately 1,900 pounds. They nest about four times per season and can lay between 50 and 80 eggs.

 
When visiting Makanda by the Sea between September to early January, you may be able to see nests of baby turtles making their first run to the ocean. This can best be observed in the early morning or the late evening, when the sun is not hot. You can observe this with a guided tour or independently. If you do choose to observe this independently, you should not dig up the nesting babies before they are ready to hatch, as this puts them at unnecessary risk. Also, never touch a turtle or get in its way. It needs to learn how to make it to the ocean on its own.

 
Whether you are observing the Olive Ridleys, Leatherbacks, or baby turtle nestings there are a few precautions you should keep in mind. Never disturb a nest or pick up turtle hatchlings. Any sudden movements, noises, sights, or smells may frighten the turtles or hatchlings, causing them to scatter in different directions. It is best to wear dark clothing, keep your distance, stay quiet, and avoid using flashlights or flash photography.

 
If you are interested in participating in a turtle tour during your Costa Rica vacation at Makanda by the Sea, please let our front desk staff know and they will be happy to coordinate the activity for you.

Costa rica national flag against beautiful orange and blue sky

Independence Day in Costa Rica

Costa rica national flag against beautiful orange and blue skySeptember 15th, Independence Day in Costa Rica, is a day of celebration and patriotism in Costa Rica.  Patriotism and pride is on display throughout Costa Rica as everyone, in every walk of life, pauses and celebrates freedom and nationalism in parades, dances, and festive celebrations.

Christopher Columbus discovered Costa Rica in 1502 and claimed the lush and tropical land for Spain. However, Costa Rica was mostly ignored due to its lack of natural metals and difficult terrain.  Costa Rica remained generally self-sufficient, as a nation of farmers that developed extensive tobacco plantations for export.  In 1821, Costa Rica and other Latin American nations declared independence from Spain.

The most common sight on Independence Day in Costa Rica is the street parade the night before, which is lit up with the faroles, or handmade lanterns.  School children often practice for months preparing and perfecting their routine and making their faroles.  Parade marchers often deck themselves out in traditional dress with the nation’s colors of red, white and blue.  Local marching bands are featured throughout the celebration and folk dancing is commonly highlighted.

At 6 PM the national anthem, is performed throughout the nation, and televised on nearly all channels.  Musical performances are common at local civic and community centers highlighting both traditional, classic songs and local artists and up and coming bands.  Historical lectures and displays are offered at museums and historical societies that examine the efforts the nation put towards establishing freedom within the borders, as well as the short lived civil war that followed independence.

On both the 14th and 15th, throughout the parade routes, you will find food carts and vendors selling traditional foods such as tamales, fried plantains, and flan.  Tres leches is a dessert that every tourist must try, as it is a traditional flavor for this celebration. The entire day is themed around being family friendly and supportive.

If you happen to be staying with us at Makanda by the Sea in Manuel Antonio during Independence Day, we would be happy to coordinate the day for you so that you can partake in our festivities and learn more about our culture and traditions.

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Costa Rica’s Caffeine Fix: Coffee Day in Costa Rica

5Want to feel really awake on September 12th? Then take a vacation to Costa Rica to celebrate National Coffee Day!

Coffee Today

Coffee has always been one of Costa Rica’s most important exports. The nation ranks 13th among other world coffee producers, with almost 2% of the world’s entire coffee production coming from the small country. It exports 90% of its coffee produce, which is about 15% of the country’s total exports. That’s a lot of coffee!

Historical Brews

According to many sources, farmers started growing coffee in Costa Rica during the late 1700s after Arabica coffee seeds were brought by traders coming from Africa. They found most success in the Central Valley, where the soil has a light grade of tropical acidity and is rich in organic materials. This allows coffee plants to have good root distribution, which is important in retaining moisture and facilitating oxygenation–a key part of growing coffee. The country is also quite mountainous and high elevations ranging from 3,900 and 5,600 ft. have cooler climates that are perfectly suited for growing coffee plants. As revenue from coffee exports exceeded that of tobacco, sugar, and cacao beans, the Costa Rican government quickly started to offer free land to coffee farmers in the 19th century. Initially, coffee was only exported to other countries within Central and South America until a British captain discovered the beans and sent hundreds of bags back to England, which increased Costa Rican exports by twofold.

Fun Facts About Costa Rican Coffee…

There are:

  • More than 78,000 coffee farmers in Costa Rica
  • 101 processing plants that wash, sun-dry, and filter the beans
  • 73 roasters that toast and grind the beans
  • 30 exporting companies

Also…

  • Coffee grows on more than 100,000 hectares of land within the country
  • Around 45,000 of the coffee farmers belong to Fair Trade organizations, which work to secure better rights and salaries for small farmers
  • Costa Rica produces 2.5 million sacks of coffee every year, each weighing 60 kilograms
  • It is the only country in the world that has a Presidential decree (on November 4, 1989) stating that only Arabica coffee may be harvested

When you stay with us at Makanda by the Sea, we hope you’ll enjoy a cup of our quality Costa Rican coffee and maybe even take some home with you!

Manuel Antonio National Park

Turtle Season in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National ParkThe Manuel Antonio/Central Pacific coastal region is one of the most visited destinations in Costa Rica and famous for its national park, beaches, and most impressive landscapes.  It is an ideal location to observe the different species of sea turtles that come to nest in Costa Rica.

Olive Ridley sea turtles, also known as Pacific Ridley and also the smallest of all marine turtle breeds, nest between July and November in the waters near Manuel Antonio.  These turtles move in quietly from the sea and dig a hole up to two feet deep into the sand, where they can lay up to 150 eggs.

The best times to witness Olive Ridleys nesting is when the moon is the last quarter; the chance of spotting them is almost five times greater than any other moon phase during turtle season in Costa Rica.  Olive Ridleys tend to ride in on the waves of high tide at night.  Large groups of them can be seen hovering together near their nesting beach, and they tend to exit the water together in a large group.  The females also tend to nest at the same beach where they were born.

Olive Ridleys have been listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Federal Endangered Species Act, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources classifies them as critically endangered.  It is because of this that all tours to observe these turtles must be accompanied by a guide.

If you are considering taking a tour to observe Olive Ridleys at night, you should wear dark clothing, stay quiet, and keep your distance, as many sights, sounds, and smells may frighten them.  You should avoid making any sudden movements or disturbing their nest.  Hatchlings should never be picked up, as it is important that they learn to crawl on their own and make their way to the ocean.  It is very important to avoid using flashlights and flash photography, as the hatchlings may scatter in different directions.

Should you spot any sights of nesting turtles, dead turtles or unmarked nests, it is very important to report this to us in order to help protect this beautiful species.

Makanda by the Sea in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica provides the perfect setting for a tropical and luxurious vacation with our ideal location and quality amenities.

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National Parks in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National Park 2With the establishment of Manuel Antonio National Park in 1972, the people of Costa Rica decided to preserve, for future generations, one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse areas in the world. Although it is the country’s smallest national park, the stunning beauty and diversity of wildlife in its 683 hectares is unequaled. Manuel Antonio contains a charming combination of rain forest, beaches and coral reefs. These beaches are some of the most beautiful in the country, lined with lush forest, and the snorkeling is excellent too. The forest is home for sloths, iguanas, the endangered and adorable squirrel monkeys along with the white faced capuchin monkeys howler monkeys and millions of colorful little crabs. There is also a trail that winds around Punta Catedral which affords some spectacular views. Manuel Antonio is one of the most well known National Parks in Costa Rica and easy to reach, just a few minutes drive from Makanda by the Sea.

Visiting the park, one is treated to an abundant diversity of wildlife. Cathedral Point, with its forest topped cliffs was once an island, but is now connected to the coast by a thin strip of island. This land bridge now forms the spine separating the parks two most popular beaches, Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio. The southern facing beach, Playa Manuel Antonio, is a picturesque half mile long, white sand crescent bisecting deep green foliage to one side and a private, secluded cove to the other.

During National Parks Day on August 24th, there are often special ceremonies and events, as well as free entrances to parks around the country. You may get to experience some exciting events and learn about how we regard these parks as national treasures and how to preserve them.

Set in the jungle with views of the beaches near Manuel Antonio National Park,  Makanda by the Sea offers guests a variety of tours and activities to enjoy on their Costa Rica vacation.

romantic dinner in Manuel Antonio

Celebrating Mother’s Day in Costa Rica

romantic dinner in Manuel AntonioMother’s Day in Costa Rica is celebrated as a national holiday on August 15th each year. This date was chosen because it coincides with the Catholic feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The religious significance of this day is a time honored tradition in Costa Rica. On this day, mothers are presented with flowers, gifts and other treats such as dinner at their favorite restaurant or a trip to the beach.

Treat Mom to some of Costa Rica’s Finest Cuisine

There are many excellent restaurants in Manuel Antonio, including our very own Sunspot.  Our front desk team would be happy to help you coordinate a romantic dinner under the stars.

Visit one of the Many National Parks

Costa Rica is home to over twenty national parks as well as many protected areas including rainforests and marshy woodlands. There are plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the country’s wildlife whether you choose to go for a hike or sit back and enjoy a little wildlife and birdwatching.  A trip to one of Costa Rica’s many national parks is a great way to spend some quality time with Mom.   In our very own backyard is Manuel Antonio National Park, considered the most beautiful park in the country.

Costa Rica’s society centers around family and the relationship that relatives have with one another. A mother’s role is considered to be sacred and should be honored in a very special way. Residents of the area and visitors alike can agree that spending Mother’s Day in Costa Rica is a special treat that any mom is sure to remember and cherish for years to come.

Makanda by the Sea in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica provides the perfect setting for a tropical and luxurious vacation with our ideal location and quality amenities.

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10 tips for your Costa Rica Vacation

canopy 2Traveling to Costa Rica will give you a firsthand experience of our customs, foods, music, art and wildlife/environment.  We invite you to get to know us and learn more about our “pura vida” lifestyle.

Before setting off on a fun filled adventure, here are a few tips for your Costa Rica vacation:

  1. Do a little homework on which areas you want to visit.  Costa Rica is a small country but there are different weather patterns that can be found throughout the various regions of the country depending on the time of year.
  2. Research and learn about the area you are visiting and have some idea of what activities you’d like to do while you’re here
  3. Before leaving, learn a few key words in Spanish that will help you travel around the country easier. While in Costa Rica, take every opportunity to use the language.
  4. Ensure that you have extra money to cover any excursions and sight-seeing activities.
  5. Remember to respect the environment…it’s super important to us!
  6. Make all travel arrangements as early as possible. If direct flights are not available, try to arrange the least number of connections as possible to make travel simpler.
  7. Before departing, make a checklist of things to do and mark them off when completed.
  8. Packing tips: Besides clothing, toiletries and medications, handy general items include: plastic bags, earplugs (our howler monkeys can be heard up to 2 miles away!) and an umbrella if visiting during our green season.
  9. Be prepared for delays, which are often inevitable when traveling and have back-up plans in place.
  10. Have fun – it’s a great opportunity and Costa Rica is a beautiful place – so make the most of it.

Our team at Makanda by the Sea in Manuel Antonio is happy to help you answer any questions you may have so that your vacation in Costa Rica is not only relaxing but unforgettable as well.

Set in the jungle with views of the beaches near Manuel Antonio National Park,  Makanda by the Sea offers guests a variety of tours and activities to enjoy on their Costa Rica vacation.

Costa Rican flag

Guanacaste Day in Costa Rica: A Unique Celebration of Freedom

Costa Rican flagGuanacaste Day celebrates when Costa Rica took control of the Guanacaste province in 1824. The holiday is celebrated on the 25th of July.

Celebration Specifics

This holiday is celebrated with events such as folk dances, parades, cattle shows and traditional Costa Rican music. One of the parades involves children doing a march through the center of town to a park. They wear masks and dress up as various people. It’s also common to see rodeos happening during the celebration.

Rodeos in Costa Rica are not the same as bullfights in Spain or Mexico, however. People travelling through Costa Rica can expect to see something different since the Tico style of bullfighting is not about killing. Instead it’s about the spectacle of unarmed men trying to play around with the bull for a few minutes while avoiding harm.

Celebrations during the day also involve a lot of craftwork and food. This includes meat that’s been grilled or food such as tamales. You might see fireworks as well, and there’s always a lot of dancing. Examples of dances common to the area include the Punto Gunacasteco, or the Caballito Nicoyano. You’ll hear music played from an instrument that’s actually the national instrument of Costa Rica, called the marimba.

History

Guanacaste actually joined Costa Rica by their own choice, which is a source of pride in the region. No one forced them into the country, they chose to be there. AS a result, the celebration commemorates the power of choice and democracy that was often not afforded to other areas nearby that were conquered and dominated by foreign powers like Spain. So in a way, Guanacaste Day is similar to the United States’ 4th of July in that it celebrates freedom and independence

Overall, the day is bound to be a memorable one for anyone taking a Costa Rica vacation and who’s never seen celebrations quite like this before. Costa Rica, and in particular Guanacaste, has a way of celebrating that it all their own.

Set in the jungle with views of the beaches near Manuel Antonio National Park,  Makanda by the Sea offers guests a variety of tours and activities to enjoy on their Costa Rica vacation.

Costa Rica’s Blue Flag Program

blue flag programProtecting the environment from seen and unforeseen dangers is still a great concern for humanitarians, and ordinary citizens. Our waters provide life sustaining elements, and resources that are vital for human growth and development. When those resources are threatened, considerable measures are taken to ensure that waters are safe.

Blue Flag Program Improves Water Quality for Costa Rican Environment

One program that takes water quality seriously is the Blue Flag Ecology Program. The program exists due to a joint merger between Costa Rican authorities, the Ministry of Environment and of Public Health, the National Water Service and other organizations in Costa Rica with a strong interest in keeping the beaches free from unsanitary conditions.

The Blue Flag Program in Costa Rica addresses the criteria needed to maintain the water quality of beaches and oceans. The program also focuses on the quality of water usage and maintenance in such areas affecting drinking, tourism, sanitation, and community usage. Beaches with a high rating of 90% are awarded with the Blue Flag status. These beaches are also monitored on a regularly basis.

Blue Flag Awareness

Beach communities that wish to participate in the Blue Flag Ecology Program can do so by joining the Blue Flag Program. Since the program has started, there is healthy competition among community beaches. Authorities are also inspired to help promote the importance of improving the water quality for life sustaining purposes, and entertainment / tourism.

Tourists can enjoy their stay in Costa Rica knowing that their vacation can be spent on any one of Costa Rican’s great eco friendly beaches. The Blue Flag Ecology Program meets and exceeds the needs communities have in transforming their beaches environmentally and naturally. Residents, businesses, and tourists in Costa Rica are all part of a growing eco friendly environment, that keeps giving back. As the program continues to be a success, more and more communities are taking an active role in making their beaches eco safe and friendly.

In Manuel Antonio, we have several Blue Flag designations on our neighboring beaches.  Come for a visit to Makanda by the Sea and experience not only our rainforests but also our warm tropical water and beautiful palm tree lined coastline!

Makanda by the Sea is the perfect romantic destination for your honeymoon in Costa Rica!

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Costa Rica Makes an Impression at the World Cup

DSC04339The Costa Rican national football team has provided lots of opportunity for celebration at this year’s World Cup. Despite being considered an underdog by many other countries, the football team representing Costa Rica this year provided many reasons to remember why the team from Costa Rica has proven to be a formidable competitor.

This year’s Costa Rican team is the current Central American champions after winning the 2013 Copa Centramericana. In fact, historically, Costa Rica has the most successful national football team in the Central American Region. They even unexpectedly beat Uruguay, the world champion winning team. For fans and non-fans alike, this achievement seemed almost impossible. Yet Costa Rica did it.

Costa Ricans were extremely proud as the Costa Rican national football team defeated Italy and England. This type of victory caused schools in Costa Rica to close down in an effort to allow school children to join the celebration taking place in San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital. Excitement was felt throughout the country with celebrations in every town.  Even the Costa Rican president, Luis Guillermo Solis, showed his pride with his people, running to join the party.

Although the Costa Rican national football team was defeated by Holland on Saturday after Holland successfully landed each of their penalty shots, Cost Rica has still made a region, and the world, very proud to have witnessed their team’s successes.

Supporters around the world have taken to showing their Tico pride on every major social media network. A quick search on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter reveals how supporters are still showing their support in photos and positive messages to celebrate the Costa Rican national football team. Their success, even if it was unexpected, has really resonated with fans across Costa Rica, the Central America region, and the world.  Sí se pudo!  Viva Ticos!  Viva Sele!  Viva Costa Rica!

 Set in the jungle with views of the beaches near Manuel Antonio National Park,  Makanda by the Sea offers guests a variety of tours and activities to enjoy on their Costa Rica vacation.