Birdwatchers and novice wildlife watchers alike tend to catch their breath at the site of the bejeweled fliers who can hover indefinitely and fly backwards—making them unique among all other birds of the world. In Costa Rica, they range from very small to surprisingly large, with tail streamers, bright colorations and fancy head plumes.
When it comes to developing the land, Costa Rica is a country deeply committed to preserving its natural resources – particularly its wildlife and its resources. This was a commitment embraced by Gerald Baum, president of Florida-based Costa Rica Land Capital Partners, LLC, and developer of Arenal Hills, located in Tres Esquinas, San Ramón.
Traveling solo is one of the best ways to discover yourself and see the world at your own pace. If adventure is on your mind, then Costa Rica is the perfect destination for you. The ‘happiest country in the world’ has been an American tourist hotspot for decades. Surf the Pacific Coast or go white water rafting on the Pacuare River, take a day trip in the cloud forest or spend time in the beauty of the Arenal Volcano – the choices are endless. Traveling solo, however, comes with its own set of challenges. The good news is you can easily dodge these by keeping the following tips in mind:
Take American Currency on Your Trip
Most Americans who travel to Costa Rica commit a rookie mistake – they exchange all their money for Costa Rican colones. This is a bad idea for several reasons. First, the exchange rate is horrible. Next, due to the influx of American tourists, lots of restaurants and shops in Costa Rica, especially the ones in the tourist areas, accept US currency. However, if you plan on taking the public transportation, you might need the Costa Rican coins.There’s an easy way to get them rather than visiting the currency exchange store. Pay for something in dollars you buy and receive the change in colones. You’ll have a small stack of coins in no time. See, it’s that simple!
Carry Mosquito Repellent
A vacation in Costa Rica means exploring a mélange of terrain and landscapes. You would definitely want to carry your mosquito repellent spray, especially if a cloud forest trip is on your list. Moreover, it’s a good idea to wear long-sleeved clothes and bottoms when you’re hiking.
Drink Plenty of Water
The climate of Costa Rica is different from the US, and you will have to drink sufficient amount of water to avoid heat exhaustion. It is easy to forget about drinking water when you’re preoccupied with sightseeing activities. Set the alarm on your phone to be on the safe side. On hot days, make sure you limit your exposure to the sun, wear sunscreen, and dress appropriately.
Traveling solo in Costa Rica can be so much fun. In case you want to make the country your second home, call us at Arenal Hills on 1-844-My-Hills.
If you visit Costa Rica often, chances are you have fallen in love with the land. What’s the next step? Well, you could try applying for residency. This is a major step, and it indicates your commitment to staying in the country for a long time. Before you hire a lawyer to look after the residency process on your behalf, you need to have a clear idea about the types of residency available. This blog will discuss the most important residency types that people consider in Costa Rica.
This type of residency is applicable only when you are the recipient of a certain amount of retirement money or pension every month.
You can opt for this type of Costa Rican residency when you have invested a specific amount of money in the country. This could be either through the opening of a business, purchasing a piece of real estate, or any other form of a sizeable investment.
Rentista is a residency category that you are applicable for only when you have put in a specific amount of money in a bank in Costa Rica for renting and living long-term.
Permanent Residency vs. Temporary Residency
The above mentioned three residency types, when granted, necessitate that you be a temporary resident of Costa Rica for a period of three years. Only then will you be allowed to file for permanent residency.
Compared to temporary residency, permanent residency has several other benefits to offer. For starters, permanent residency provides you with all the rights of a citizen, minus the voting rights. You are also allowed to legally work as an employee in Costa Rica. On the other hand, temporary residents are capable of running or owning a business in the country, but they need to hire employees for labor. It is important for both permanent and temporary residents to pay into the country’s healthcare system, known as the Caja.
Alternative Method for Permanent Residency
It is possible to achieve the permanent resident status without first having temporary residency. This is known as Residencia Permanente PorVinculo. It requires you to have a first-degree blood relative like a child, a sibling, or a parent, who is Costa Rican.
Becoming a permanent Costa Rican resident is a wonderful idea. Do you know what the next best thing is? Making Costa Rica your second home. Consider living in one of our luxury villas to experience five-star comfort during your stay. Contact Arenal Hills today by calling 1-844-MY-HILLS and we will love to have you as our neighbor.
Topics: Costa Rica In The News
Does paradise on Earth exist? It surely does! And if you happen to be a see-it-to-believe-it type of person, you have to visit Costa Rica at least once in your lifetime. Chase the volcanic trails, go zip lining in the dense forest, or just relax on the beach sipping on an exotic cocktail. Ah, that’s life! There is ABSOLUTELY nothing that you won’t love about the land of Pura Vida, but you will have to come prepared. Here is a list of the items you must pack to make the most of your tryst with this breathtaking destination:
“What’s exotic must be exorbitant” – that’s what many people think about paradises like Costa Rica. However, you must validate the truth of the statement before jumping on that bandwagon. In fact, you can experience Costa Rica’s verdant rainforests, rich animal life, stunning beaches, breathtaking waterfalls, museum tours, self-guided hiking, and local events without breaking your bank. Here are three things you can in Costa Rica on a backpacker’s budget:
For vacationers in search of thrill and excitement, the Arenal region in Costa Rica offers recreational activities like zip lining, bungee jumping, rafting, and more. With varied topography from verdant rainforests, spectacular volcanoes, natural caves, and gushing waterfalls, this central American country has a wide variety of exciting activities. Here are three of the most thrilling activities for you in Arenal, Costa Rica:
Topics: Arenal Area Attractions
Here at Arenal Hills, we are fortunate to be at the epicenter of one of the most bird-rich ecosystems on earth. Costa Rica is home to 600 species year round and more than 200 that migrate from temperate zones. That’s an amazing variety when compared to the 700 species that can be found in all of North America. Here is a list of the best birdwatching attractions to inspire you:
Topics: Ecotourism in Costa Rica
Arenal Hills is located at the heart of one of the most family friendly parts of Costa Rica.
There are many things that make the La Fortuna area so appealing to families. Most importantly, it’s safe and the people are very welcoming. A recent U.S. News and World Report article reported that Costa Rica topped the list for the Best Family Vacations in Central and South America because of its wide-array of family friendly tours, hotels and restaurants. “In Costa Rica, you can hike active volcanoes, zip-line through cloud-covered rainforests and surf warm turquoise waters within the span of a few days," the article reported.
So, whether you plan on enjoying your Arenal Hills villa as a vacation or investment home or plan on living there year-round, here are the top 10 things you will want to treat your family to again and again.
- Paddle a Jungle River or SUP on Lake Arenal
There is no secret that people come visit the La Fortuna area because it is known as the Epicenter of Adventure and there are lots of fun activities for the whole family, like paddling for instance.
Doing a Safari Float in a raft-style inflatable boat down a quiet, gently flowing river through the rainforest makes the top of the list of things to do with small children. They will be wowed by hearing the boisterous howler monkeys and seeing crocodiles in the river (from a safe distance of course!). Have your young kids practice their counting abilities by pointing out the numerous birds you'll see along the way.
If you have teenagers, you will want to head to the Río Balsa or Río Sarapiqui for exciting whitewater rafting tours. The Arenal Volcano area is lucky to have so many wild rivers, suitable for every level of paddler. The Río Balsais a class 2-3 river, and is recommended for ages 10 and above, while those 13 and up should try the heart-pounding San Miguel Jungle Run section of the class 3-4 Río Sarapiquí.
Another fun water-based activity is stand up paddling on Lake Arenal. If you've never tried this sport, there's nothing more enchanting than standing up on a board and paddling in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano on pristine, beautiful Lake Arenal.
- "I Spy With My Little Eyes" the Arenal Volcano
You and your kids will love trying to catch a glimpse of the Arenal Volcano. When you’re driving around and see the impressive Arenal Volcano peaking through the clouds, call out to your kids "I spy with my little eyes, something that looks like a great big triangle!"
The Arenal Volcano is Costa Rica's most-iconic volcano with a perfect cone-shape visible from just about anywhere in the area. Don't be disappointed if it's clouded over a lot. The clouds roll in and out during the day. There are numerous hiking tours that get close to the base of the Arenal Volcano. The Arenal Volcano National Park hike includes a visit to the section of lava rocks left over from the major eruption of 1968. The entrance fee to the Arenal Volcano National Park is $10 and a round-trip taxi ride from the center of La Nature guides are great at pointing out the fascinating wildlife you can find along the trail and you and your kids will learn interesting facts about volcanoes in general and the vibrant history of the Arenal Volcano.
Do you have kids who are okay with taking a nice, easy-going hike along a rainforest trail filled with colorful, tropical birds and monkeys up in the trees? The El Silencio Nature Reserve is a great place for an informative guided-hike bordering the Arenal Volcano National Park and is looked after by a local family who uses their $10 entrance fee to keep the trails clean and protect the wild animals found there. The area forms an important biological corridor from Arenal to the cloud forests of Monteverde including the Children's Eternal Rainforest Reserve and Arenal National Park Conservation Area.
- Hanging Bridges Way Above The Tree-top Canopy
The Arenal Hanging Bridges is a highlight for kids in the Arenal area. This natural wonderland has a series of solid, well-constructed bridges that connect above deep jungle canyons with almost 2 miles of trails. You'll get great views of the Arenal Volcano and a waterfall. You'll enjoy the natural beauty of Costa Rica as you walk the trails on your own, but you're bound to see more wildlife and thoroughly enjoy the walk if you do a guided hike with a nature guide.
- Ziplining Above The Rainforest Canopy
It is rumored that the canopy zipline tour was actually invented in Costa Rica. So if you and your family are looking for a little more adventure, from s birds-eye perspective above the tree-top canopy, then ziplining is a must! Ziplining tours are found in just about every popular destination in Costa Rica, so there are many to chose from. Most canopy zipline tours are suitable for all ages. The ziplines in the La Fortuna area will give you great views of the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. Ziplining is definitely one of the most-interesting things to do within minutes of Arenal Hills with your family.
- Go Chasing Waterfalls
If you don't visit the La Fortuna Waterfall, you’re missing out on one of the most magical things about being in Arenal! This 200-foot waterfall is impressive and the entrance fee ($10) goes to support local infrastructure projects and community activities. The path down is newly built with easily accessible steps, suspension bridges and platforms to get great photo ops of the waterfall. There is a nice, little restaurant that sells lunches, ice cream, drinks and snacks at the top with nice restrooms.
Once you make it to the bottom of the trail to the waterfall, there is an area for swimming to the left-hand side of the waterfall (due to strong undertows, it is not permitted to get close to the cascading waters). There are a couple hundred stairs leading back up to the top, so you'll want to take your time, especially if you have small children. There are also horseback riding tours to the La Fortuna waterfall with a visit to an indigenous Maleku village.
Waterfall rappelling, also known as canyoneering or canyoning, is one of the most adventurous La Fortuna activities for teenagers. Guides give thorough safety talks on how to descend the waterfalls and use your equipment. This is recommended for ages 13 and up. For older teenagers, you may want to opt for a new-style of canyoning that is now considered Costa Rica's most extreme tour: Gravity Falls waterfall jumping! And you do just that… jump from waterfalls into deep crystalline pools in nature's ultimate playground.
- Play Farmer For a Day
Take the Campesino Farm tour for an interactive look at rural Costa Rican country life. You can help out with the care and feeding of the farm animals and learn about sugar cane production. This tour is educational and your family will learn all about the importance of taking care of our natural resources and can see how people can take advantage of nature without compromising future generations. There is a delicious lunch provided here too – you'll be amazed how your kids will try new and different foods like handmade tortillas, fresh natural local vegetables, locally-sourced meats and of course Costa Rica’s famous rice and beans. Fried plantains are always a hit with kids, plus they can't get enough of the fresh fruits such as pineapple, watermelon and papaya.
- Best Bet for Toddlers and Young Children
Ecocentro Danaus is a biological reserve near La Fortuna. This is one of the best ways to see wildlife in this area. You might see the two- or three-toed sloths, red-eyed frogs, Jesus Christ lizards and alligators. There are lots of colorful birds to see here too. There is a butterfly farm where the kids can learn about their life cycle.
Arenal Natura is another family favorite La Fortuna. The marvels of nature come alive in this well-maintained private reserve area with nice trails, gardens and aquariums to get up close and personal with amphibian life of the Arenal area.
- Enjoy Your Lifetime Day Pass to The Springs
Every home at Arenal Hills comes complete with a lifetime day pass to world-renowned The Springs Resort & Spa. In conjunction with the MINAE (Ministry of Environment and Energy), they operate a preserve for Costa Rican wildlife that has either been confiscated from poachers or donated by other private preserves or individuals. Here your kids can marvel up close at jungle cats, monkeys, sloths and more.
- Go Boating Through The Jungle
Enjoy a boat ride with the kids at the Caño Negro Wildlife Reserve. You will have a great time spotting the sloths, monkeys, toucans, iguanas and more! This relaxing boat ride makes a stop at Las Iguanas restaurant on the way. Watch the hundreds of iguanas hanging out on the tree.
- Explore Using Pedal Power
The Arenal area of Costa Rica is a great place to explore on two wheels. You’ll find top-of-the-line suspension bikes for rent like Trek and Cannondale and even small-enough bikes to fit five-year-olds who are ready to brave the windy, rural roads around the Arenal Volcano area – a far cry from the hustle and bustle of La Fortuna. We recommend the moderate Volcano and Lake Trail for most families for great riding and wildlife viewing.
There are literally hundreds of more fun things to do for families within minutes of Arenal Hills. Choosing what to do depends on the age of the children, the interests of the parents, and level of adventure you seek!