10 Interesting Facts About Costa Rica

Here are some interesting facts about Costa Rica!

1. Costa Rica provides free education until grade 11 to each citizen, as well as health care.

2. Prices in Costa Rica, as compared to those in other Central American nations, are actually rather high, due to the comparatively high standard of living.

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A tropical waterfall in the Corcovado National Park

3. There is drinkable tap water in most areas of the country, especially those where tourists frequent.

4. Costa Rica is a small country that encompasses just 0.03% of the world’s land mass but with over 500,000 plant and animal species, Costa Rica represents close to 4% of the total biodiversity on Earth.

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I spy with my little eye a monkey perched in a tree.

5. It rains year round in Costa Rica, so make sure to bring a light rain jacket on a trip here!

6. The busiest times of year are Christmas, New Years and the week leading up to Easter Sunday, which is locally known as Semana Santa.

7. Costa Rica has been a peaceful democracy without a military for more than 60 years, and as a result is often referred to as the Switzerland of Central America.

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Celebrating Childrens Day at Lapa Rios

8. Costa Rica has a literacy rate of 96% and an average life expectancy of 78.

9. Around 25% of Costa Rica is protected as national parks, a percentage which ranks among the highest in the world!

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10. Costa Rica is on track to become the first carbon-neutral country, with 99% of the country’s energy needs meet through a combination of geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind power.

 

A Day at a Tropical Ecolodge

Ready to see a day at Lapa Rios Ecolodge? Here we go!

Wake up to the call of this little bird, and many others like it. With Lapa Rios being set back in the beautiful Corcovado National Park, the hotel comes alive with the wildlife that surrounds it.

Screen Shot 2014 07 08 at 4.52.23 PM 300x226 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeIndulge in a sweet morning with a cup of freshly brewed local and organic coffee, accompanied by our famous pancakes and some fresh tropical fruit on the side!

Pancakes 300x225 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeNow it’s time to get out exploring. Take a hike into the vibrant and beautiful national park, and enjoy natural waterfalls, lush foliage and all sorts of exotic wildlife.

Waterfall low res 199x300 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeAfter some tiring hiking through the wilderness, it’s time for some lunch! Delve into the volcano salad. Loved by guests for being light, nutritious and packed with flavour, this is a great selection from our extensive menu!

 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeNext you can enjoy some tortilla making classes right at the hotel! This is a perfect way to learn a little about the culture of Costa Rica, while acquiring a new skill to show off when you return home. This simple staple food is easy and delicious to make.

Tortilla 2 199x300 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeNext, it is time to soak up some sun in the best way imaginable. Enjoy a massage on the beach right out in front of our property. While your muscles are tenderly massaged, enjoy the sounds of the ocean crashing onto the warm sandy beach.

spa 200x300 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeNow it is time for a relaxing and beautiful horseback ride along the beach. With the sea to your right and the jungle to your left, this is truly a fantastic experience.DSCN2772 300x225 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeAnd finally, we drink, and we eat!

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gazpacho soup 300x225 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeWe hope you enjoyed your visual tour of a day at Lapa Rios Ecolodge!

 

 

What To Do at Lapa Rios

Lapa Rios Ecolodge is world renowned for offering guests memorable and inspiring tours into the wilderness that surrounds this sustainable hotel. What some people don’t expect, is to enjoy a host of other cultural and educational tours during their stay with us! Here are three of our favourite tours:

1. Local Medicine Tour
The local medicine tour takes guests through the rainforest surrounding Lapa Rios, and teaches them about some of the traditional medicinal uses of various plants and seeds. This tour is great for everyone, covering topics from nature and medicine to culture and customs. The tour takes about three hours to complete, and is rated medium for difficulty, requiring guests to hike into the tropical hills.

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2. Plant a Tree
Lapa Rios is proud to involve their guests in the reforestation program they run. Guests transplant a primary rainforest seedling to an area of secondary growth, while learning about the tree they have planted and its role in the ecosystem. Guests also each receive a certificate to show that they have done so, becoming a meaningful and fun souvenir for their time in Costa Rica. Trees can also be planted on behalf of others who are not present, and certificates are awarded for those as well. This activity is usually available in the morning or the late afternoon, and only takes about 20 minutes.

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3. Visit the Carbonera School
Lapa Rios Ecolodge lives and breathes sustainability, aiming to achieve not only environmental sustainability, but social and economic sustainability too. The construction of the Carbonera School in the early 1990’s is an integral part of our mission. Having helped offer children education in this remote part of Costa Rica for more than two decades through this school, hotel staff truly are proud to be a part of this amazing enterprise. Guests are encouraged to take a trip to this school, and converse and play with the local children during one of their breaks. It is a great way to learn more about the local culture, and test our your Spanish too!

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Costa Rica Climate

Lapa Rios Ecolodge is located on the Osa Peninsula, in the southern part of Costa Rica. Costa Rica is classified as a rainforest or very humid tropical forest, and is covered in booming ecological areas. Being fairly close to the equator (between 8° and 11° North latitude), Costa Rica doesn’t really experience the four seasons that North America does, and rather, has only two. The dry season, and the green season (or rainy season).

waterfall 300x200 Costa Rica ClimateThe dry season lasts from December to April, and the rainy season goes from May to November. Despite the daunting name for the North American summer and autumn months, Costa Rica is truly a year-round destination. The rainy season, or as it is often called, the green season, brings a renewal of the wilderness. Many animals are found to be more active during this time. The forests are rejuvenated from the long warm dry season, and a balance is established.

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During the green season it rains about 3-4 times per week, and typically in the late afternoon, leaving the morning as a lovely time to explore. The rain is also warm and pleasant, so it’s actually quite exciting when it happens. Temperatures in Costa Rica remain relatively constant throughout the year, generally fluctuating between 22 and 30 degree Celsius (70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit).

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Packing List for Lapa Rios Ecolodge

“AHH! My flight leaves for Costa Rica tomorrow morning at 5:40 am!” Says Lapa Rios guest at 11:12 pm the night before.

2013 10 10 12.30.41.jpg 300x225 Packing List for Lapa Rios EcolodgeWell, have no fear, we’ve got you taken care of! Here is a packing list for our Ecolodge.
-2 swimsuits
-comfortable walking shoes/hiking boots (for those jungle adventures)
-sandals/flip flops (for around the resort)
-socks
-undergarments
-2 pairs of shorts (quick drying material is great, avoid heavy cottons)
-1 pair of pants (quick drying material is great, avoid heavy cottons)
-3 tee-shirts
-1 long sleeve
-1 sweater
-1 rain jacket
-toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, make-up)
-sunscreen
-a book (preferably one you don’t mind getting wet, because all that time by the pool might result in it getting wet!)
-a flashlight
-rubber boots (useful but not essential)
-a Gopro or other waterproof and durable camera (for documenting all your adventures!)

Here is a short list of things you won’t need to bring.
-shampoo/conditioner (we provide it)
-electronics (there is no internet here, so minimizing the number of these you have is an easy way to keep your baggage light)
-high heels

Now get packing!

Sustainability in Costa Rica

Sustainability is truly at the core of everything at Lapa Rios Ecolodge! Since our hotel opened, we have been committed to preserving and protecting the incredible wildlife and wilderness that surrounds us.

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Our property from above.

Being the first hotel in Costa Rica to earn five-leaf status, we are incredibly proud to say that we have been running a sustainable hotel for almost two decades. So what qualifies us as a sustainable property? Among many other things, we have pigs on-site that eat up all our food waste!

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Just some cute pigs on our property!

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Getting a little love.

We also try to educate guests during their stay with us, through guided tours and general conversation, on the positive effects of acting in sustainable ways. With many tours focusing on everything from our environmentally friendly practices to exploring the wildlife, we know that one of the best ways to make change is to educate.

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Learning about the rainforest on the medicine tour.

We are passionate about the environment and its protection. We want future generations to get a chance to see all the beautiful and humbling wilderness that we see every day. To learn more about our sustainability practices go here!

 

What is Veranito in Costa Rica?!

Veranito is the name for the temporary lull in the green season that comes in late July and early August in Costa Rica. These precious three or four weeks bring a reduction in the level of rain, giving way to sunny hot days and cool, misty evenings. So, if you’ve been thinking about making a trip down to Lapa Rios in Costa Rica, now is the time!

Screen Shot 2014 06 11 at 3.17.31 PM 300x292 What is Veranito in Costa Rica?!What is the green season?
The green season here begins in May and goes until mid-November, and is a magnificent time to see the country. During this time, the rainfall all over the country increases, bringing about the rejuvenation of ecosystems and habitats.

IMG 2845 225x300 What is Veranito in Costa Rica?!Why is the green season a great time to go to Costa Rica?
Well, fortunately for those interested in traveling here, there are many misconceptions about the realities of this season! This means that prices are often lowered, so you can get incredible value for your dollar. The green season is truly a wonderful time to visit. Flora and fauna flourish, the sounds of the rainforest reverberate through refreshed soil, rivers thrive, the rainforest grows more mystical, and certain parts of the country which during the high season are dry and bland come alive with color and vitality. Another advantage is that the wetness tends to come at the same time each day, being in the late afternoon, so planning activities with this in mind, is very doable!

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What are downsides of travel during this time?
As the increased rainfall brings increased wetness, driving can be a little more difficult. However, for guests coming to Lapa Rios, the roads taken to reach us are well travelled, so they are fine, even during this time of year. In addition, because Lapa Rios is surrounded by rainforest, guests never have to go far to see the natural wonders of the Osa Peninsula. They’re often right outside your jungle bungalow!

white nosed Coati 300x155 What is Veranito in Costa Rica?!Ultimately, don’t be disillusioned.
Even during the dry season here it rains! Costa Rica is covered in rainforest… after all. The immense wilderness will captivate, the friendly people will warm and the stunning wildlife will inspire, during any time of year.

Edwin 300x247 What is Veranito in Costa Rica?!Check out this blog for a detailed outline of when to travel in Costa Rica and what you’ll experience at different times of the year!

Eight reasons to come to Lapa Rios!

Here are eight words to sum up some of the amazing things about Costa Rica!

Lapa Rios management team 300x225 Eight reasons to come to Lapa Rios!People – The Costa Rican people are welcoming, warm-hearted and good humored. Eager to ensure that each visitor has a positive experience, you will find that everyone from surf instructors to street vendors is hospitable, accepting and warm.

Unexplored – Much of Costa Rica remains extraordinarilly untouched by modern life, so while you’re trecking through the rainforest, you truly come to feel that you’re in another world.

froggy Eight reasons to come to Lapa Rios!Rainforest – The rainforest will play host to all your dreams and adventures while in Costa Rica. You can search for creatures of all kinds while learning a little about them too! Monkeys, 3-toed sloths, birds, iguanas and frogs are just a few commonly sighted members of the animal kingdom.

Adventure – Surfing, whale watching, snorkeling, kayaking, zip-lining. These are just a few of the activities you will love to take part in while staying with us at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge.

Waterfall low res 199x300 Eight reasons to come to Lapa Rios!Vibrant – The colors of the jungle, ocean and all their inhabitants are stunning, and serve as inspiration for everything from art to action. Seeing these animals and their ecosystems up close, in all their glory, is one of the best ways to encourage people to care about their well being.

Screen Shot 2014 07 08 at 4.52.31 PM 300x229 Eight reasons to come to Lapa Rios!International – Costa Rica is well versed in the tourism industry, and has an incredible blend of nationalities, cultures and ethnicities visit each year. In addition, with an always improving economy, international trade is of growing importance for local businesses.

Delicious – Food here is so darn good. At Lapa Rios our open-air Brisa Azul restaurant keeps guests full of fresh, nutritious and tasty meals. Our chefs are passionate about creating top quality meals, and it shows in the quality of each dish.

Tortilla 2 199x300 Eight reasons to come to Lapa Rios!Always an awesome time – Whether you’re here for just a few days or months on end, everyone who leaves Costa Rica is a little more bronzed, a lot more relaxed and a definitely happier than when they came!

Screen Shot 2014 06 11 at 3.18.13 PM 300x293 Eight reasons to come to Lapa Rios!P.S.The first letter of each of these eight words forms the phrase “Pura Vida”. This is the law of the land in Costa Rica, serving as a means to say practical and concrete things like hello and goobye, but also used in expressing more profound and meaningful feelings. Synonymous with “Hakuna Matata”, a life lived by Pura Vida encourages one to enjoy life and all the happiness, sadness and surprise it brings.

29, 32, 63, 1

29 days, 32 teams, 63 games, 1 winner. As the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup came to a close over the weekend we think it’s fitting to look back on the tournament, and Costa Rica’s legendary involvement!

The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, bringing one nation and a handful of players the glory of being world champions of the great game (until the next tournament). Unfortunately this year Costa Rica was not number one, but advancing to the quarter-finals to mark our nations best ever performance in the tournament, is an achievement that has gone far from unrecognized!

476898563 300x150 29, 32, 63, 1In group play our Ticos tied England 0-0, beat Italy 1-0, and Uruguay 3-1. We then beat Greece in shoot-outs to advance to the final eight! After an incredibly hard fought defensive game against the Netherlands in the quarter finals it came down to penalties once again, and unfortunately it didn’t go our way this time.

12.7 300x224 29, 32, 63, 1Luckily for Costa Rica our loss to the Netherlands was bitter-sweet. Yes, we were out of the running for winning the tournament, but the efforts by our men were so impressive and inspiring, we couldn’t be too distraught. Beyond just the soccer, the World Cup truly illustrated some of the best characteristics of Costa Rica and our people.

IMG 06571 300x225 29, 32, 63, 11. We are the underdog – Being a small country, with about 4,579,000 people and a total area of 19,730 sq mi (51,100 sq km), we may not seem as big or strong as other nations, but we definitely proved that desire, spirit and passion often win out against bigger opponents. This same philosophy translates to every aspect of life in Costa Rica. Though we may sometimes seem small, we are mighty, and so often compete on the world stage, in everything from culinary tourism to developing environmentally sustainable practices.

Staff5 300x225 29, 32, 63, 12. We play to win – Though the odds may have been stacked against us, we never once dropped our heads or doubted ourselves. Similarly, though we may face challenges as a nation, our foundation is strong with an army of dreamers and doers, and we have proven that we can truly rank among the top destinations in the world for agriculture, tourism, wildlife and more.

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The house-keeping staff at Lapa Rios Ecolodge

3. We love every moment – Though our team didn’t come home with the trophy, they created incredible memories for their countrymen and women, as well as for themselves, to share for many years to come. Here in Costa Rica, we like to live by the saying “pura vida”. It literally translates to “pure life”, but to us it means so much more than that. It means that no matter what you have or where you are, you must enjoy life. You must take the good with the bad, and find a way to still be happy. It is used generously in day to day interactions between Costa Rican’s and is one of the ways we remind ourselves of this lovely way of life.

School girls 300x168 29, 32, 63, 1Until next time, pura vida!

Birds, Birds and More Birds at Lapa Rios

As one of Central America’s top birding destinations, Lapa Rios is proud to be nestled in more than a 1,000 acres of primary and old re-growth rainforest. Having recorded more than 325 bird species, a vacation to Lapa Rios entails sightings of lots of rare, exotic and beautiful birds.

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Golden Naped Woodpecker

In a 4-5 day stay at Lapa Rios, guests statistically have been found to see and hear more than 100 new bird species! We have three main structured birding tours, but of course, all guests are encouraged to do as much birding as they would like, even if it just means looking out their bungalow and spotting the wildlife!

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Ruddy Breasted Seedeater

Early Bird Tour
Difficulty Level: Easy
Duration: 2 Hours
Location: On Property

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Black Cheeked Ant Tanager

Sunset Birds Tour
Difficulty Level: Easy
Duration: 2 Hours
Location: On Property

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Scarlet Macaws

Corcovado National Park Tour
Difficulty Level: Hard
Duration: Full Day
Location: Off Property

Come on down and enjoy your stay full of adventure, relaxation and bird watching!