Puerto Viejo Top Ten- Tours

November 21st, 2009

Top Ten Puerto Viejo Tours:

1.  Rafting the Pacuare-  Let Exporadores Outdoors take you for a thrill ride down the gorgeous Pacuare river. The fun rapids, deep tropical canyons and mystical waterfalls make this Costa Rica adventure a truly amazing experience. (This tour will also provide transportation between Puerto Viejo, San Jose and Arenal. Great bonus, great deal!)

2.  Guided tour of Manzanillo Gandoca wildlife refuge-  Hike through the impressive Manzanillo Gandoca wildlife refuge with one of the areas experienced local guides. In this vast track of protected forest you will discover many various jungle plants and animals and learn about the history of the unique old village of Manzanillo.

3. Chocorart-  Learn how the divine coco seed is grown, harvested and processed into chocolate. 100% natural, the chocolate you will sample during this tour is out of this world.  The old renovated cacao plantation is a 15 minute walk from Tierra de Sueños in Playa Chiquita and a favorite of many of our guests. For those who love chocolate this is a must do!

4.  Jaguar Animal Rescue Center-  At this rehabilitation center for animals located in Playa Cocles baby monkeys climb on you, sloths hug you and wild cats purr at you while snakes and spiders stay in their terrariums.  For animal lovers, this opportunity to interact with our rescued jungle friends of Talamanca is a very special experience.

5.  Canopy tour-  One of Costa Rica’s most popular tours, the zip-line of Puerto Viejo will have you screaming in excitement between 15 platforms high above the canopy.  It should be noted that this is pure adrenaline and not a wildlife tour.

6.  Cahuita National Park-  Walk the 7 kilometer stretch of the Cahuita National Park and explore the incredible variety of terrain the caribbean coast of Costa Rica has to offer. Around each bend is a different sight to behold.  Donations are accepted at the Cahuita entrance.

7.  Full day Bri-Bri waterfall tour- The great Terra Venturas tour company has created a day long trip to take a dip in the impressive 100ft waterfall, see the indigenous villages around Bri Bri (a town up in the mountains surrounding Puerto Viejo) and go to an iguana conservation center or see an indiginous woman chocolate by hand.  This tour is a perfect way to experience a bit of the indiginous Bri Bri culture and see more of the beautiful natural surroundings of Talamanca.

8.  Bird watching with Ricky- One of our personal favorites here at Tierra de Suenos, for the early risers this experience is wonderful. Ricky is a local man who has been watching and tracking birds for many years. He is a wealth of knowledge about the   incredible variety of tropical birds and has the eyes to find them. Bring your binoculars and you will be amazed at what you see!

9.  Kayaking-  Explore Costa Rican’s Caribbean coast by kayak. Either at Puna Uva or Manzanillo you can take to the sea by yourself or with a guide and see the coastline from afar.

10.  Snorkeling-  There are many beaches that offer impressive snorkeling from Cahuita all the way to Manzanillo. Rent gear and go out on your own or hire a guide to take you to the best spots. Rememer, depending on the time of year snorkeling is not always an option. September and October are the calmest, clearest months, November through February are the roughest.

Charity Drive

February 18th, 2009

Tierra de Suenos just organized our first charity effort. The flooding in November ended up displacing approximately 4,000 people and destroyed one of the largest banana plantations in the country which means loss of many jobs and security for a lot of people. This area is already one of the poorest in the country so damage like this is incredibly difficult to bounce back from. A few months ago we joined a group called AHCR (Adventure Hotels of Costa Rica). The goal of the organization is to work together to create more business for everybody in the group by recommending other AHCR hotels to people traveling to other places in the country. We have received 2 different couples sent by another member hotel so the membership has already paid for itself. This is a fairly new association which is nice because we are all, well the hotels interested, participating in how it’s going to work. Brendan and I signed up for the “charity committee” as each hotel was asked to join one of the 10 committees designed to help organize the members.

The damage done to our Talamancan neighbors deemed a perfect cause so we tried to inspire AHCR members to donate money, food, clothing and other supplies to the area. The awesome local association, ATEC (Talamanca Ecotourism and Conservation Association) was quite helpful in giving us a direct place to send these items. It took some teeth pulling but eventually we managed to raise quite a bit of money as well as food and clothing from the other member hotels. I spoke with Alaine, co-founder of ATEC, the other day and she says that the majority of the money donations send to her by AHCR members is being used to purchase school supplies that were lost in the flood. I can’t imagine better spent money. Although this is just a start of the kind of work we would like to be doing, with and without the AHCR group, it’s a good start and we are excited about all the possibilities for community building and service. I do encourage any of you interested in traveling to CR to check out the AHCR website, www.adventurehotelsofcostarica.com, and look into staying at one of the hotels listed. You get 10% off if you tell them we sent you!

On a side note, much to our disappointment and horror, our laptop was stolen recently which is a major setback for us. It really couldn’t be worse timing since we have entered the busy season and are getting consistent reservation requests via email every day. Not to mention the fact that ALL my photos of our first year down here are gone. Anyway, lesson learned. On the up-side, we are super busy and everybody loves the place. This month will be our best by far.

Mexico!

July 2nd, 2007

Tulum, Mexico

At last we are in Mexico! In Tulum we got our first glimpse of the Yucatan’s Caribbean coast and we were blown away. The sand is whiter and the water brighter blue than we have seen.

Our Experience here, however, was quite bitter sweet. The long strip of gorgeous beach had a number of overpriced, poor quality bungalos. We opted for the cheapest one and that was a mistake!

Our bungalow was the most atrocious excuse for a hut we had ever seen. It mainly consisted of sparsely arranged sticks leading to a poorly made palm roof and a half sand, half concrete floor. We thought it was pretty bad but decided to ruff it for the night.

The worst was yet to be discovered when we payed the twenty bucks, more than we had payed almost anywhere else in all our travels.

Brendan in the shack

Before bed we scoped the place out for whatever strange animals may be lurking, blew out the candles and it began. Smack, smack, smack! We were under attack! Mexican mosquitos were shockingly persistant.

No amount of DEET could desuade them from their feast. Not even the sand storm blowing in from the spaces between the sticks could distract them from their mission to devour us! Instead of sleeping, we spent the entire night fighting for our lives.

The following day we deliriously viewed the impresive ruins of Tulum. Those Mayans sure knew how to pick a spot! The rock temples look out over drastic cliffs onto stunning turquiose water. Iguanas sunbathe all over the ruins keeping a watchful eye and giving an even more ancient feel to the splendid sight.

Impressive Ruins of Tulum

Pez Quadro

After exploring the ruins we high-tailed it out of there on the first bus to Mahahual, a rapidly developing fishing village. There were few tourists but apparently during the high season three cruise ships a day stop and fill the place with thousands of people….glad we weren’t there for that.

The day we arrived there was a fishing tournament and Mexican families filled the restuarants and beaches, drinking, eating and having a good ol’ time. Men were posing with giant sword fish and various other beautiful fish while others cheered. We watched one woman impress her family by opening a beer bottle with her teeth. We happily joined in with margaritas, tacos and even a shot of Tequila on the house! We spent two relaxing nighs in a very comfortable, clean, mosquito free bungalo and took an over-night bus to Palanque.

Palanque —the most amazing of the Mexican Mayan ruins

Palanque is said to be the most amazing of the Mexican Mayan ruins. Tourists have been coming for years so it is very well set up. The town itself is 8 km from the ruins and is typical with street food, a popular central plaza called a ¨zoculo¨ in Mexico and people out and about everywhere.

We stayed at an old hippie/backpackers spot on the edge of the ruins called Panchan. Panchan is a group of bungalo operations set in the jungle. Our second floor bungalo was screen on all four walls with a deck and jungle surrounding. We observed two beautifully colored tucans chatting with each other for five minutes on a neighboring tree.

Palanque

We Spent an entire day climbing temples and catching blurbs about where we actually were by nearby tour guides. The ancient city of Palanque is actually 15 square Kms but only 7 have been excavated and made available to viewers. Although very touristy, one feels set back in time while experiencing the spectacular crumbling buildings set deep in the jungle.

The Street

We toured some of the areas incredible waterfalls en route to San Cristobal de las Casas. The drive was five hours up very winding, steep roads.

San Cristobal is in the heart of Chiapas. High in the mountains, the town is buzzing with a young, excited crowd. The constant music and art create a very colorful atmosphere. San Cristobal has a wonderful indiginous market with beautiful hand-weaved blankets and other crafts. We have spent most of our days walking around taking in the rich culture and drinking the region’s famous hot choclate.

We have also spent many hours philosophizing with a group of recently inspired Isrealis. The three of them just completed a four month yoga/meditation retreat in Guatemala and are full of very interesting concepts about the earth and it’s people (everyone will instantly attain enlightenment sometime after 2012 once NYC is buried under water). Two of them are joining us on the 12 hour bus ride to the Oaxacan coast tonight. Back to the heat!

Laundry

Market

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