Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Etymology

Historians have classified the indigenous people of Costa Rica as belonging to the Intermediate Area, where the peripheries of the Mesoamerican and Andean native cultures overlapped. More recently, pre-Columbian Costa Rica has also been described as part of the Isthmo-Colombian Area. The oldest evidence (stone tool making) of human occupation in Costa Rica is associated with the arrival of various groups of hunter-gatherers about 10,000 to 7,000 years BCE in the Turrialba Valley. The presence of Clovis culture type spearheads and arrows from South America opens the possibility that, in this area, two different cultures coexisted. [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

academiala – One of the first initiatives focused on professional updating in the digital area. Focused on professionals and students who wish to update their knowledge with new techniques or technologies. Our goal is to provide an option where the student can expand and develop in new areas of work or in which he is currently. [meetup]

Central Valley Boardgames and Cards – I started this group for all adults who enjoy board games and cards. We can have meet ups at public venues and members’ homes. While the group is named “Central Valley”, you can join and I can help you arrange meet ups in your area if coming to Atenas, Grecia,  San Ramon or Escazu, etc. is too far for you. [meetup]

Costa Rica Outdoor Adventures and Travels – We will explore the mountains, rivers and coasts of Costa Rica doing unique multi day expeditions with hiking, rafting, sea kayaking and other activities and stay with Costa Rican families. See the world through the eyes of adventure! Go to places where few people have been! [meetup]

Desarrollo de Videojuegos en Guanacaste – Oscar Loría and Juan Navarro (I) will do a brief review of books, presentation of new projects and plans that we plan to develop in Liberia and Nicoya in 2017. We will be in Casa Real in this first session of development, introduction of topics and terms. [meetup]

Hongos y Plantas- Wild Edibles – This group is for those who enjoy foraging, wild edibles, mushrooms (like chantrelles), medicinal plants of Costa Rica and so on. Ese Grupo se ubica en San Ramon! This group is based in San Ramon! [meetup]

Volleyball Costa Rica Meetup – This is a group for people interested in playing volleyball. The idea is to organize regular games so that the interested parties can participate. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Badoo – A massive worldwide online dating site launched in 2006, Badoo is an OK option for Costa Rica. On face value, if you do a search of let’s say, women between 25 and 35 years old, you will turn up a lot of women in your search results. The problem with Badoo though is that you will have to weed through a lot of low quality profiles in order to locate real people. The quality is just not as good as you will find on Latin American Cupid although the selection is a lot larger. Because of my issues with the quality of profiles on Badoo, I would not focus on it as a starting point for my dating search. [visa hunter]

Latin American Cupid – Latin American Cupid would be the site that I would focus 90% of my attention on. It is the best site for online dating in Costa Rica in my book. If you run a simple search of women 21-35 who live in Costa Rica, you will be able to browse through more than 1000 profiles. The selection of women and men on this site is not near what you will find at the site I mention below, but for what you lack in numbers, you more than make up for in terms of quality. I’m also a big fan of the site’s interface and identity verification tool. [visa hunter]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Barrio Bird Walking Tours – San José might not look like a cultural center, but it’s actually quite rich with history, art, and culinary tradition. Barrio Bird Walking Tours has a special jaunt for each of these topics, and as the city grows and changes, so too do the tours. The knowledgeable guides can explain everything from the history of the National Theater to the state of local politics. [travel and leisure]

Choco Art Chocolate Tour – On the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, cacao plantations used to dominate the landscape. In the 70s, a fungus decimated those crops and made way for bananas to take over, but recently, cacao has been making a comeback. Touring a cacao farm like Choco Art gives travelers a lesson in both history and agriculture, with lots of delicious taste testing. [travel and leisure]

Los Santos Ecotrail – This new, 31-mile trail through the Dota region of central Costa Rica takes brave travelers off the Inter-American Highway and through cloud forests and family farms, connecting them with homestays on the way to the Pacific coast. A project called Heart of Gold runs the small group trips, which help support the rural community and teach visitors about the real Costa Rica. [travel and leisure]

Palmitour at Finca Guarumo – By the Río Frio de Sarapiquí, in a small town called Finca Agua, this tour is an encounter with Costa Rican permaculture on a small family farm. It’s also a lesson on where heart of palm comes from. The farmers guide you through their operation, explaining everything from how they wound up homesteading on the land to how they cultivate worms to enrich the soil. You can even stay in adorable little cabins on the property. [travel and leisure]

Romería – Every August, a pilgrimage takes place to Our Lady of Los Angeles Basilica in Cartago, where the sacred Catholic statue La Negrita is kept. People walk from all over the country—but especially the 15 miles from San José—to ask the statue for various favors and miracles. No, this isn’t a guided tour, but it’s one crazy walk. [travel and leisure]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Arenal Volcano – Arenal, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, stands more than 5,000 feet high. For the latter half of the 20th century, admirers traveled to its base in droves to catch a glimpse of glowing rocks and molten lava tumbling down its sides. But Arenal wasn’t always spewing fiery lava, rocks and ash. The volcano sat dormant for hundreds of years, but on July 29, 1968, Arenal awoke from its slumber. [us news travel]

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge – Bird-watchers rejoice: This swampy wildlife refuge houses thousands of water birds, including Jabiru storks, cormorants, ducks and roseate spoonbills. This haven sits near La Fortuna and you’ll notice an abundance of sea dwellers as you stroll along the Caño Lake and Frío River. [us news travel]

Corcovado National Park – Travelers come to this nearly 11,000-acre misty rainforest for its diverse wildlife. Buzzing insects and chirping birds can be seen and heard as you stroll through the verdant jungle. [us news travel]

Guanacaste – Costa Rica’s “Gold Coast” is one of the nation’s most unique destinations and that’s not just because of its secluded beaches. The region’s dry, sunny savannas contrast the misty cloud-covered rainforests found in other parts of the country. To the east, you’ll admire volcanoes comprising the Cordillera de Guanacaste. [us news travel]

Jacó – Far away from northern Costa Rica’s foggy rainforests lies Jacó, a beautiful town teeming with shops, restaurants and beachfront hotels. Surfers should venture to Hermosa and Esterillos Este’s sprawling palm-lined shores for the best waves. [us news travel]

La Paz Waterfall Gardens – Short for “Catarata La Paz” (or “peace waterfall”), La Paz may seem quiet and still at first glance. But take another look, and you’ll find this rainforest buzzing with activity. From croaking frogs and fluttering butterflies to rumbling jaguars and howling spider monkeys, there are plenty of creatures to be found in this wildlife-lover’s paradise. [us news travel]

Manuel Antonio National Park – Manuel Antonio National Park is the smallest of Costa Rica’s protected green spaces, but don’t let its size throw you off. Within the park’s 3 square miles, you’ll find untamed beaches, secluded coves, nature trails and a thick rainforest. You can stretch out on the park’s coastline or wander along one of the walking paths to spot rare birds, camouflaged iguanas and purple-and-orange crabs. [us news travel]

Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve – Imagine winding through a misty oasis; strikingly tall trees wrap you in a sea of green. Add to that more than 100 mammals, 400 types of birds and 2,500 plant species, and you have Monteverde’s lush 25,700-acre reserve. While wandering along one of the hiking trails, you may spot a small hummingbird or a resplendent quetzal feasting on a ripe aguacatillo (a fruit similar to an avocado). [us news travel]

Nicoya Peninsula – The Nicoya Peninsula’s sparkling 80-mile shoreline boasts beach-centric towns with cream-colored shores and dense forests. Nosara Beach’s powdery sands line the Nicoya Peninsula’s western edge. You’ll also find fishing and cattle-ranching communities east of the rustic coastline. [us news travel]

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca – The village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, comes alive with reggae music, funky bamboo bars and a wild nightlife. Surfers crowd coconut-fringed Cocles Beach; nature-lovers venture inland to explore rainforests; and foodies check out downtown’s delectable cuisine. Off the beaten path, you’ll find dusty biking and walking paths running through tropical farms and gardens. [us news travel]

San José – San José, Costa Rica’s vibrant capital, serves as a central base for exploration. You’ll likely want to stop here before heading to the country’s magnificent rainforests and beaches. Soaring offices, apartment buildings and museums will tower above you as you roam through the city’s interconnected barrios (districts). [us news travel]

Tabacón Hot Springs – If you trek to Arenal Volcano to witness its looming presence for yourself, save time to bathe in the Tabacón’s luxurious thermal springs. With its serene flowing waterfalls, tropical foliage and mineral-rich natural springs, it’s no wonder the Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort costs a pretty penny. [us news travel]

Tortuguero National Park – Tortuguero National Park sits tucked away in a northeastern pocket of the Caribbean coast. Tied to Costa Rica’s mainland by weaving rivers and canals, this isolated park lures nature-seekers looking for a remote piece of jungle paradise. The park houses white-faced monkeys, toucans, jaguars, bright lizards, red-eyed frogs and blue morpho butterflies. [us news travel]

Festivals

Festivals

Envision Festival – Do you like to cover yourself in glitter and dance with abandon? Have you used the word “manifest” as a verb? If you responded yes and yes, this gathering of the world’s trustafarians and psychedelia enthusiasts might be just the festival for you. A campsite and a bunch of stages and booths comprise the four-day hippie extravaganza, which involves art, yoga, music, crunchy food and sacred movement, whatever that is. [travel and leisure]

Fiestas de los Diablitos – Translated to mean Festival of the Little Devils, this event takes place in two indigenous communities, Boruca and Rey Curre, in December and in February, respectively. The villagers don masks and costumes representing ancestral spirits, and then reenact a victory over the Spanish conquistadors via dancing. They also drink chicha, a fermented corn beverage, out of hollow gourds. [travel and leisure]

Fiestas Palmares – This is Costa Rica’s biggest cowboy party, and it lasts two whole weeks. With horse parades, rodeos, musical performances, carnival rides, and a seemingly infinite supply of beer, this festival attracts close to a million people from all over the country. Take the trip, but be sure to keep your wallet in a safe place; Palmares is a pickpocket’s dream. [travel and leisure]

Fiestas Zapote – During this annual festival in January, the fiercest bulls from all over Costa Rica descend on the city’s capital to compete in the biggest rodeo of the year. Additionally, entire blocks are closed off, booths and fair rides are constructed, and the sweet aroma of meat-on-a-stick wafts in the warm air. [travel and leisure]

Límon Carnival – Picture Brazil’s Carnival, transport it to the Caribbean port city of Límon, subtract a few thousand people, and there you’ll have Costa Rica’s Carnival. Every year, the costumes and floats that parade through the town seem to grow more elaborate, showcasing the country’s Caribbean culture, fun-loving vibe, and festive people. [travel and leisure]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Bus – Local buses operate chiefly in San José, Puntarenas, San Isidro de El General, Golfito and Puerto Limón, connecting urban and suburban areas. Most local buses pick up passengers on the street and on main roads. For years, these buses were converted school buses imported from the USA, but they have slowly been upgraded and now include coaches. [lonely planet]

Taxi – In San José taxis have marías (meters) and it is illegal for a driver not to use it. Outside San José, however, most taxis don’t have meters and fares tend to be agreed upon in advance. Bargaining is quite acceptable. In some towns there are colectivos (taxis that several passengers are able to share). Although colectivos are becoming increasingly difficult to find, the basic principle is that the driver charges a flat fee (usually about US$0.50) to take passengers from one end of town to the other. [lonely planet]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Costa Rica Developer Meetup – You should join if you’re a beginner to ReactJS, AngularJS or enthusiast who just wants to see what it’s all about. Veterans are also welcome to help improve the quality of code produced by Costa Rican developers. [meetup]

Costa-Rica-Developers-NET – Community of developers in .NET and related technologies. With the objective of sharing knowledge and supporting us in the development of software on the Microsoft framework. [meetup]

Costa Rica Lean Startup Circle – The Costa Rica Lean Startup Circle group aims to be the best resource for entrepreneurs in Costa Rica with the intention of promoting innovation and continuous improvement. We are a group of entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. [meetup]

Mobile Costa Rica Developers – Community of mobile developers for Costa Rica, aimed at students, beginners and developers interested in how to build applications for Android, iOS and UWP (Universal Windows Platform). [meetup]

San Jose Salesforce Developer Group – Connect with local developers building on Salesforce Platform. [meetup]

Solteros y Solteras Profesionales (Solpro´s) – Group dedicated to people without a partner who wish to share and meet other people with similar interests, to dance, to travel, to have a social gathering, to socialize and to carry out any other activity of social, cultural, sports or other recreation. [meetup]

Tableau Costa Rica – This is a group for anyone interested in learning more about Tableau Software, both users and evaluators of Business Intelligence tools. We will have meetings with people who have already worked with Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server and want to share their experiences and best practice tips. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

And ViceVersa: English Spanish Teaching Exchange – People who have the knowledge, skills, empathy and/or will to prepare a lesson in exchange for a lesson, let’s get together, and pool our resources. I have experience teaching English. I want Spanish lessons and I want to connect people interested in finding the same. [meetup]

Your Expat Community in Costa Rica – Hola! and a warm welcome to our expat community in Costa Rica! Relocating to a new country can be both challenging and fun, but whether you’re confused or excited, InterNations members are happy to share and help each other out using their knowledge and experience about living abroad. When considering your move, you may have questions like, “what is the education system like in Costa Rica?” or “what healthcare precautions do I need to take before moving to Costa Rica?” or “which area of San José is safe for a family?”. [internations]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

LGBTI+ Social Network Costa Rica – LGBTI + Social Network CR is a group of professionals in different fields that accepts and encourages diversity of thought and growth through social networks. Having fun while making connections to a purpose is ours. [meetup]

Resources

Resources

Places in Costa Rica

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