Tag Archives: costa rica

My Tico friends tell me that a Tope, which always accompanies the holidays, is about the horses.  but I'm not so sure.  My Spanish dictionary says tope means a collision or encounter.  To me, it looks like a really great party.

A tope in Costa Rica is a country party hosted by a ranch on a summer Sunday afternoon, inviting ranchers and cowboys from all over the province of Guanacaste.  It’s an opportunity to collide with your neighbors and encounter people you don’t see so often.  It’s an occasion to eat and drink.  The only thing served is barbecued beef – no side dishes, no salads.  And two beverages are offered:  Imperial beer and Johnny Walker Red. Read More

A lot of sailors, especially "round the buoys" racers, dream about sailing off shore.  I’ve only been out there once.  A hundred miles off the Pacific coast in a little known regatta called the Cobb Seamount, drifting for a week in fog and light winds, I found it exceedingly boring.  The highlight of the week was a small tuna that jumped into my lap on a wave surge.  But I don’t think these guys are bored. Read More

First Friday is tradition in Samara.  Essentially cocktail hour at a local bar, the venue changes each month.  Everyone is welcome but truthfully it’s an English-speaking crowd.  Living in a Spanish-speaking country can be exhausting – David Sedaris said it best with “Me Talk Pretty One Day” – and  sometimes you just need the comfort of a common tongue, where you can express yourself clearly, where your puns are understood.  I can only guess that the Italian, German, and French speakers in our community get together somewhere else for gnocchi, schnitzel and brie.

Yesterday we met at Hacienda del Mar, in their open restaurant facing the courtyard garden and pool.  The deep overhangs protected us from the rain showers that persist off and on through the first half of this month.  Conversation was accompanied by a good blues duo.  The first week of November brings a lot of snowbirds back from the north so yesterday showed a nice crowd of nearly 50.  We were about 50/50 full-time residents and part-timers.  Mostly retired but a few business owners like us.

First Friday is a chance to catch up on the latest news (the Arts & Crafts Fair is scheduled for 10 December), to share opinions (there’s a new tax proposed by CR government), and to meet new people (Lisa and Heather have just moved to Carrillo).

But really, it’s just an excuse to dress up.  Polished nails and jeweled sandals.  That’s about the limit here.  And some folks don’t even go that far.

Fresh fruit - Costa RicaShould you rent a vacation house or a hotel room?  That depends.

Do you want breakfast delivered by a bellhop to your bedroom door each morning?  Do you want gourmet dinner served to you in a 5-star restaurant every night?  Then you should stay at an all-inclusive resort.  There are some lovely ones in Costa Rica but you’ll pay for the luxury.

romantic vacation rentalDo you want to stumble home from the bar each night to a hotel room 50 meters away?  Do you want a  24-hour concierge, to sell you tours and give you their restaurant recommendations based on commission?  Do you want to hang with other tourists, around the pool or in the gift-shop?  Do you want to eat every meal in a restaurant and sip every cocktail in a bar?  Then you should stay in one of the small hotels in downtown Samara.

But if you want  . . . . Read More

There’s been some recent activity at Volcan Rincon de la Vieja in northern Costa Rica.

A.M. Costa Rica reports that the activity has been going on since mid-August, spewing smoke and rocks.  It sent a vapor plume 800 meters high Sept.16.  Some of the jetsam has caused Fishkill in local rivers.  The trail to the crater has been closed and  the government is asking locals to keep an eye on it and report their observations.  Seismic experts think the awakening was caused by a small earthquake 10 kilometers (6 miles) away in July.

A group of expats living in San Ramón, Costa Rica is polishing their Spanish skills with a new program to help non-Spanish speakers learn what to do during a medical emergency.  Since many ambulance drivers and medics in Costa Rica don’t speak English, a few important Spanish phrases can go a long way to saving a life.  A recent Tico Times article illustrates.


It’s an emergency: “Es una emergencia”.
I need an ambulance: “Necesito una ambulancia”.
I don’t know what’s wrong: “No se cuál es el problema”.
Pain or ache: “dolor”

Heart attack: “ataque cardiaco”
Injury: “una herida”
Headache: “dolor de cabeza”
Bleeding: “sangrando”
Fever: “fiebre”
Swelling: “hinchazón”
Throbbing pain: “un dolor constante”.