2014’s Hottest Winter Destinations

Written by: Russel Lang

Sometimes all you need to cure your winter blues is a white-sand beach and sunshine. There’s no better way to get started on your New Year’s resolution to travel more and break out of your comfort zone than to hit the road (or air) for an escape from the dark wintry months from January to March.

Your getaway doesn’t have to break the bank. You can often actually save by planning your vacation during the winter months.

Costa Rica

Whether you’re an outdoors aficionado or just want to get away to some sunshine, Costa Rica has something to offer. A relatively brief flight will land you in a tropical oasis. The winter months offer the best weather. You’re less likely to get rained out, and visibility is especially good for those who plan to spend time snorkeling or diving. Costa Rica’s laid-back local culture and myriad all-inclusive resorts makes this Central American country a no-brainer when you’re looking for a relaxing, easy-to-plan trip that everyone in the family will love.

Photo by jmenard48 via Flickr Continue reading “2014’s Hottest Winter Destinations”

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La Pura Vida! Zip lining through the jungle in Costa Rica

La Pura Vida! Zip lining through the jungle in Costa Rica

Hola amigos! Cómo estás? I knew you’d be back.

As most of you know, over Christmas I spent 7 wonderful days at the all-inclusive Riu Palace Costa Rica where I soaked up as much sun as I possibly could, sipped on some of the best coffee I’ve ever had, and made my way through the Cloud Forest in Monteverde where I fraternized with butterflies and sang with the hummingbirds. Well, there was one other thing we did that I think (considering it was probably the funnest thing we did outside of sipping on dirty monkeys and watching our tan deepen) may be useful for travelers headed South; we zip-lined.

The history of Zip Lining

According to USA Today travel tips, zip-lining in Costa Rica started with a pair of graduate students named John Williams and Donald Perry, both rock-climbing enthusiasts seeking a better view of their botanical and entomological subjects. In order to shorten the distance between them, William and Perry clipped themselves to a line and created the world’s first first zip line.

Up up… and away!

Knowing that we wanted to zip line since before arriving in-country, we arranged an excursion through our hotel that was operated by Sunwing Vacations. That being said, for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the tour. The good news is that no matter where you’re located in Costa Rica, you’ll find somewhere to zip line. In fact, many people choose to combine a visit to the Cloud Forest in Monteverde with zip lining in the region! There are so many forest and jungles scattered through the country, that you’re bound to find something that’s right for you.

After arriving to the zip line park which consisted of 11 ropes to zip from, the first thing we had to do was strap ourselves in. Our gear was hard core – so we liked to believe – and included a diaper like harness, protective gloves and an oh-so flattering helmet.

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Continue reading “La Pura Vida! Zip lining through the jungle in Costa Rica”

Living the Pura Vida: Exploring the Cloud Forest Reserve at Monteverde, Costa Rica

Living the Pura Vida: Exploring the Cloud Forest Reserve at Monteverde, Costa Rica

Onward and… upward? Absolutely. After 3 days of what was a blissful 7 day stay at the all-inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica, we had just completed a tour of a coffee plantation where we learned the secret behind the perfect cup of Costa Rican coffee and we were ready to stretch our legs! After 3.5 hours of driving through the most beautiful of micro-climates, we had reached our final destination: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Finally.

Fly like a butterfly, sting like a…

The minute we stepped out of the van, we could feel the change in temperature, and or the very first time since landing in Costa Rica, I was cold! Not only was their a serious nip in the air, but it had also started to rain.

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After buying a few purple ponchos which made us look like giant grapes, we headed to our first stop at the reserve: the butterfly conservatory. The conservatory itself was quite big – well, more high than big – and filled with 32 species of butterflies (although the guide explained that one or two species, the most brightly decorated like the blue one pictured below, dominated since they were the favoured among tourists. Sad, I know.). Continue reading “Living the Pura Vida: Exploring the Cloud Forest Reserve at Monteverde, Costa Rica”