Friday, January 19, 2018

Helpful Tips for Selecting the Right Hotel Resort


As vacation season approaches, it is time to start making your vacation plans. You do not want to put off the details until the last minute. Putting off the details could result in being forced to accept less than you want.

Choosing a hotel resort should be one of the first decisions you make. The resort you choose will be your “home away from home” while you vacation. You want to make sure it fits all of your needs.

When choosing your hotel resort, remember to keep a few things in mind:

  • Level of luxury – your resort of choice depends on how much luxury you expect. Choose a hotel that fits your luxury needs.
  • Budget – make sure your luxury needs fit your budget. Define your budget in advance, so you can avoid looking at resorts that you simply cannot afford.
  • Attractions – choose a resort that offers easy access to area attractions to ensure that you have the most enjoyable vacation. Also, make sure the resort you choose has their own attractions. This will allow you to enjoy yourself in the peaceful, relaxing environment of the resort when you do not feel like going out. 


Helpful Tips for Selecting the Right Hotel Resort syndicated from

Thursday, January 18, 2018

87-Year-Old Costa Rican To Bike Across The Country

Costa Rica News – An impressive 87-year-old Tico is to travel the country from border to border by bike.

The total distance will be 572 kilometers and it will be done over six days, from Paso Canoas to Peñas Blancas.

The man, Javier Barrantes, is a neighbor of Ciudad Cortés, in Osa. His trip will start on Friday. He has done many recreational races and cycling competitions before. His son, age 57, will accompany him in the bike tour. They have been partners in riding.

They have gone annually, since 2014, from Ciudad Cortés to Santa Cruz by bike to visit family. Javier says he felt very good on those trips. He calls it a “golden dream,” because getting to Santa Cruz was a dream and golden because of his age.

Javier is dedicating this next ride to the Costa Rican Gerontological Association. It’s a team effort, with one son riding with him and another driving a motorcycle in front and yet another driving a bus in back.

His wife also goes along and cooks for him. He thinks, “the more the merrier.” He will also be accompanied by the national ex-cyclist Efrén Castillo, 65 years old.

Enjoying the San Jose’s Art City Tour in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Entertainment – Art City Tour, one of my favorite San José activities, continues to grow. Last year, it took 7,286 people to more than 20 cultural spaces in the city. It started in 2010, with 6,070 visitors.

Over 70% of the attendees at each edition are first-time participants, according to  Henry Bastos, director of GAM Cultural and Art City Tour.

The most successful edition in 2017 was the “Noche en blanco” in which 6,813 people enjoyed over 100 activities in 35 participating spaces.

There are still some challenges, including the long rainy season that makes everyone want to stay home as well as a lack of parking near the museums. There is, however, a bus that takes guests from one spot to another free of charge.

The activity is always free, a big plus. Here are the dates for the Art City Tours of 2018:

  • February 14: For the love of Chepe
  • March 14: San José Unites Us
  • May 9: Chepe Fashion
  • July 11: Vacations in Chepe
  • September 12: Chepe in the Rain
  • November 16: Night in White

When a Great Nation Loses Its Soul

A long-time friend of this column in Tanzania, where ‘Meditation’ appeared for 15 years until the Arusha Times went under in 2016, emailed me a heart-wrenching question.

Emmanuel was born in a village outside of Arusha, and is, like many Tanzanians, a kind and good-hearted person. He’s also a well-educated professional in the environmental field, and keeps informed about world events.

“Martin, Thursday January 11, 2018 President Trump described Haiti, El Salvador and parts of Africa as “shithole countries” in a meeting with lawmakers in the White House. From your view Martin, “Why has Trump decided to describe those countries as “shithole countries”? (Italics his)

Dear Emmanuel,

I doubt I can convey to someone in Canada, much less a young man in Tanzania, why President Trump called African and other countries “shitholes.” Before I make the attempt however, I want to apologize on behalf of all Americans for this vile and deeply hurtful remark by our venal and vicious president.

Most Americans will tell you that Trump’s views do not represent the majority of Americans, much less the “values America stands for.” That is a truth at one level that Americans use to deny the truth at the core level.

The Republican Party did not produce this cretinous president; the American people as a whole did. Though Trump’s base is only a third of the electorate, a moribund body politic is what allowed Trump to manifest. Until that’s acknowledged and adequately addressed, Trump’s shit will continue.

America is now ruled by a president who says white people are welcome, while black and brown people, who often come from poorer countries, are not.

When a nation loses its soul, especially a nation that prides itself on being a paragon of human rights and “leader of the free world,” evil steps into the vacuum.

As obvious as that is, American political, media and academic elites are still in denial, saying things like, “this threatens the soul of the nation.” They refuse to face the fact that it was the loss of the nation’s soul in the first place that allowed this malignancy to ascend to the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth.

This is about real human beings, not just America’s image abroad. Even under George Bush, the United States accepted 200,000 El Salvadorans on “temporary protected status” after two devastating earthquakes. Trump is now deporting the El Salvadorans.

(As you know, Bush and Cheney illegally and immorally invaded Iraq after 9.11—an event foretold by the American Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania—thereby giving the world an endless “global war on terror.”)

The earthquakes were a natural disaster, but as one prominent writer put it, “a man-made disaster did befall this unfortunate country of El Salvador not so long ago, in the form of United States support for a murderous right-wing dictatorship that the administration of President Ronald Reagan regarded as a bulwark against Communism.”

The truth, my friend, is that America has become a spiritual shithole, which is a far more serious state than the material and physical conditions of poverty to which President Trump bigoted remarks supposedly refer.

The chance to improve one’s material conditions has always been a driving force behind the desire of immigrants from all over the world to come here. But prosperity is not what gave rise to the phrase, “American exceptionalism.”

I can remember a time when the United States, as imperfect a union as it was, was still a beacon of hope that held promise for people from other lands, and for the future of humanity.

America once stood for something larger, for vision and values, for accepting and imperfectly assimilating the widest diversity of immigrants. Even other prosperous countries of the world, such as the overwhelmingly white Scandinavian nations that Trump prefers, sought to imitate us.

Of course slavery was the great stain on the founding of America, since even Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” could not bring himself to free his slaves during his life, or even upon his death.

Martin Luther King, who is now celebrated in America (Trump went through the motions in the White House on MLK day), understood and gave voice to the contradictions at the core of America better than anyone.

White Americans who have any feeling for the true equality that King valiantly and non-violently fought and gave his life for, feel deeply ashamed of this president and all he represents.

As our correspondence attests, we live in a global society now, where the sovereignty of nations is no more relevant than the sovereignty of kings. Nationalism must become a thing of humankind’s past.

Even so, I’m sorry to tell you that America, the idea and the actuality, is dead. I feel we can recover our soul, but only when enough Americans admit that we have lost it.

Your friend, Martin

Martin LeFevre

Surf Photos & Costa Rica Weekend Surf Report- January 19th & 20th

Costa Rica Surfing – (Surf Report January 19th & 20th) – We are going to give you the surf forecast for Costa Rica and we have Costa Rica surf pics.  There are going to be smaller sets on the Pacific side  &  a nice swell will be filling in on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. We have also added surf video from Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica.

North Costa Rica & Central Costa Rica & South Costa Rica Forecast for the Pacific

FRIDAY: Old SSW swell slowly trends down Thursday into Friday with knee-waist high surf for many breaks. Standouts likely go slightly better during favored tides.

WEATHER/WIND: Central Costa Rica will see calm to light offshore AM winds, followed by light+ onshore flow through the later morning into the afternoon for most areas. Keep an eye on the Central America Hi Res Winds when planning your session.

Friday 01/19 – 2-3ft – knee to waist high – Lingering SSW swell.

Saturday 01/20 – 2-3ft – knee to waist high – Modest SW swell builds in as the old SSW swell fades

Video of the Surf at Playa Hermosa – Equipment From Reel Cameras

Caribbean Costa Rica Forecast

Small short period wind waves from the east-northeast holding during the next few days. Light and variable west winds with smooth seas until Saturday. Small short period wind waves from the east-northeast rising later in the early part of next week. Light and variable southwest winds and switching to the west-northwest.

Friday 01/19 – 3-4ft – Knee to shoulder – Small short period wind waves from the east-northeast rising slightly later in the day. Light and variable west winds with smooth seas all day.

Saturday 01/20 – 5-6ft – Head high to 1ft overhead – Small short period wind waves from the east-northeast holding during the day. Light and variable west-southwest winds all day and switching to the south.

Now Some Costa Rica Surf Pics (Photos Taken By Una Ola Surf Camp (

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Facebook Marketplace for Costa Rica Launches

Costa Rica News – Facebook has launched “Marketplace” in Costa Rica. This function is already active in 37 countries.

It allows people to buy and sell locally. Of course, people already use Facebook groups to do so but Marketplace makes it much easier.

Marketplace was started in 2016. In May of 2017, 18 million new items were published in the Marketplace in the US alone. The goods most frequently sold and bought are vehicles, furniture and electronics.

To use it, interested parties simply click or touch the Marketplace icon, which is now visible in the social network. To find an article you can filter results by location, category or price. To sell, you just upload a picture, description and price.

The platform facilitates easy communication through the Facebook Messenger application.

Additionally, Facebook offers support to users to learn how to operate Marketplace securely. There are privacy controls and easy reporting tools.

Costa Rica’s Parque de Diversiones Not Just for Kids

Costa Rica Entertainment – Costa Rica’s Amusement Park, Parque de Diversiones, offers a new opportunity to senior citizens. Many employers want to hire young people, under age 45, in general, but here at the park age and experience is welcome.

The park put out advertisements and the word spread that seniors would be hired to fill positions for high season. “It’s never too late to have a job!” said a poster promoting the campaign.

The Continuous Employment Survey of the National Institute of Statistics and Census indicates that out of a total of 740,105 people over 60, only 175,066 are employed. That’s less than a quarter. 557,232 are excluded from the labor force (pensioners and retirees, or people who care for other older adults) and another 7,807 are unemployed.

Many seniors face unemployment, job instability or economic ailments. Even those retired with a pension often feel the need to leave the home and stay active in some way.

Some of the jobs available at the park include receiving groups of visitors, working as an aide at the entrance points, measuring the height of children, giving out passes, operating rides, driving the train, and maintenance and mechanical jobs.

This opportunity builds an atmosphere of camaraderie. It’s welcoming and fun. One new worker says he feels like the grandfather to the children at the park. He also notes that it’s nice to feel loved, that you still have something to give and that you are busy.