Tag Archives: costa rica

My uncle treated me to a helicopter ride last week. And I had the better view. He was med-evacuated from Samara to Hospital Clinica Biblica in San Jose, where we spent a week.  After surgery, he's home again and doing fine. But, let’s get back to the flight. We headed (a little north of) east from the football field in Samara, crossed the peninsula and the Gulf of Nicoya, skirting Puntarenas and then headed through the hills towards the Meseta Central. We veered a little south as we approached San Jose, crossing the new highway and hugging the hills above Santa Anna and Escazu. We then re-crossed the river to land at the airport in Pavas. Read More

Many of our guests ask about volunteer opportunites while they are on vacation here in Samara.  Here are some ideas.

1. Teach English – I volunteer one hour a week in the Escuela Santo Domingo, just 4 kilometers from my house.  It’s a pretty village of about 40 families.  Even though English is a required curriculum in Costa Rica, the government doesn’t always send a teacher to smaller schools.  It’s especially difficult  if the road is rough as in Santo Domingo or if there’s a river to cross as in Buena Vista.  Call me if you’d like to join me for a school visit.  There are also some volunteer organizations in Samara that will train you and set you up in a school, for a fee.

crear  crear       

2. CREAR – Creatividad, Arte, y Responsabilidad Social is mostly an after-school program for local kids.  Their mission is to provide supplemental educational, recreational, and career opportunities for community members, primarily youth with limited resources”.  They have computer classes, art and dance.  The program is varied and innovative, focusing on academic and artistic education, environmental consciousness, health, and socio-cultural development.  The opportunities for volunteering with CREAR are endless, and depending on your strengths, interests, experiences, and skill set they will find a place for you.

beach cleanup

3. Clean the beach – CASATUR (Samara Chamber of Tourism and Community Development) organizes frequent community beach cleanups to collect the detritus that comes in with the tide.  Watch the CASATUR blog for upcoming projects or contact them at

spay clinics4. Spay and neuter dogs and cats – CASATUR (see above) holds periodic castration/vaccination clinics to keep pets happy and healthy.  Visiting veterinarians provide the medical treatment but volunteers are always needed to lift the animals, provide transportation and help with post-op recuperation.  Watch the CASATUR blog for upcoming clinics or contact them at

turtle conservation5. Conserve Sea Turtles – Playa Buena Vista, just outside Samara, is home to The Sea Turtle Conservation Project.  Volunteers protect the female turtles which lay their eggs in the soft sand of the beach.  The eggs are then moved to an incubation nursery where they are protected from predators.  When the baby turtles hatch, they help them get to sea safely – this is the critical time of life for sea turtles.  Volunteers camp in cabins on the beach.

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