Archive for the ‘Adventure Tours’ Category

5 Top Tips for Costa Rican Whitewater Rafting

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Riding-Rapids-Costa-RicaSome of the most exciting and thriving wild rivers in the world are found in Costa Rica. This is a whitewater rafter’s fantasy. Whether you take on the thrill of whitewater rafting for simple joy and the experience of something new or you are a Class V rafter, there are few things that compare to the adrenaline rush of whitewater rafting. In Costa Rica there are a variation of rivers to be found for all different types of experiences and rafters of all levels. You can take on the intense, Class IV rapids of the Pacuare River or opt for something more leisurely and family-friendly like paddling gently down the Sarapiqui River. During Costa Rica’s green season (typically May through October), the water levels are more than likely higher and will provide more of a challenge for those that enjoy higher swells.

Before setting off on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, ponder these practical tips:

  1. Be prepared to get wet! It is best to leave all valuables or things that you do not wish to get ruined back at your hotel, rental house, or villa. Anything that isn’t waterproof should be regarded as valuable; this incudes fancy jewelry, purses, watches, cell phones, etc. Also ask your guide if they offer water-tight bags to safeguard any last moment items you may have on hand.
  2. Quick-dry clothing and sturdy river sandals are the most proper attire for whitewater rafting. Even if you do not tip or capsize, you will be occasionally spritzed and even blatantly splashed from head to toe. Sturdy river sandals are important for entering and exiting your raft since you will most likely stumble upon rocks or need to climb over slippery rapids.Picturesque-Costa-Rica-Waterfall-Cascades
  3. Contemplate acquiring a waterproof camera (such as GoPro) for your every photographic desire. Whether strapped to your helmet or held by a chain around your neck, this small and convenient camera captures every enthralling moment of your excursion through lush terrain and past majestic waterfalls that cover dramatic canyons. Helmets offer the optimal amount of camera use and sun resistance, but if you choose to not wear a helmet, apply sun screen liberally.
  4. Anyone, whether or experienced or amateur, should always consult with an experienced tour guide about the difficulty and differences in whitewater rafting levels before heading out into any river. With the help of a tour guide, chances are you can take on any class of river but some are better suited for beginners or those with families and young children. Take note of your comfort zone as well if you wish to try a more challenging class of whitewater rafting. Costa Rica is a fantastic place to take on this new adventure as it offers options for travelers and explorers of all ages and abilities.Mastering-Rapids
  5. Pre-safety talk is a must. Your tour guide should have all of this outlined for you but just to clarify, make sure you are aware of the basics. This includes: lifejacket safety and fastening, duration of the tour, location, currents and rapids, snacks, rest time, headgear, etc. But most importantly, remember to have fun and ask for tips on conquering any fear you may have about enjoying this adventure.

Cocos Island: Hotspot for Scuba Diving with Sharks

Friday, January 15th, 2016

If you’re searching for one of the world’s greatest locationcoco-island-divers to scuba dive with sharks, you can easily find Cocos Island approximately 340 miles off the pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is a lavish and secluded island that can only be found with the help of a trusty tour-guide. To get to this beautiful destination you will need to acquire transportation to San Jose, head south approximately 3 hours to the region of Puntarenas and from there you will get aboard a live-aboard dive boat

Situated 340 miles off the coast of Costa Rica, Cocos Island is one of the world’s greatest spots for scuba diving with sharks. A 34-hour boat ride takes thrill seekers to this lavish and secluded island, where scalloped hammerheads and whitetips school in billowing masses amid the nutrient-rich currents. This UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site was declared a national park in 1978, and offers divers unparalleled opportunities to swim with large numbers of marine predators.

Cocos Island fast facts

  • The island is uninhabited
  • Cocos receives approximately 275 inches of annual rainfall
  • Best time to see large numbers of hammerhead sharks is May-November (rainy season)
  • Visitors dive from a custom live-aboard boat for the 10-day trip
  • Accessible via San Jose to Puntarenas, where live-aboard boats depart
  • Named the world’s most beautiful island by Jacques Cousteau
  • Recommended for advanced divers due to strong currents
  • Most of the dive sites are volcanic islets with a max. depth of 130 feet
  • Average water temperature is  72-83 degrees; wetsuits required

Diversity of aquatic lifediving-with-rays-coco-island-costa-rica

Circling masses of hammerhead sharks are the main draw of Cocos Island, but divers can also expect to cross paths with other species including tiger, silky, Galapgos, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks that scour the underwater seamounts for food. Though slightly less common, whale sharks – some reaching over 18-feet in length –also swim through the strong currents surrounding Cocos Island. Divers often glimpse graceful manta rays, marble and eagle rays, as well as green sea turtles, dolphins, parrotfish, moray eels, jacks and snapper.

Popular dive sitesdiving-isla-del-coco

There are nearly 20 dive sites around this volcanic seamount, which is home to some 260 species of fish. Pelagic sea life among the submerged pinnacles is especially abundant between 60 and 90 feet. Bajo Alcyone is the most notable site for massive manta rays and scalloped hammerheads, which can number in the hundreds at this cleaning station. Dirty Rock is another dynamic site known for its pelagic marine life and thriving masses of hammerheads and other apex predators. Night dives at Manuelita promise close encounters with unbelievable numbers of whitetip reef sharks as they hunt their prey.

Costa Rican Stand Up Paddle Board

Friday, January 1st, 2016

 Stand-Up-Paddle-Board-Couple Stand up paddle board, more commonly referred to as “SUP” is a new and innovative form of exercise and an incredible thrill if you love the water and have a desire to put your skills to the test on the Pacific Ocean. Paddle board is not only an amazing workout but it can be an incredibly leisurely activity as there are many different levels to accommodate all levels; from beginners to the more experienced. Stand up paddle board takes many forms. You can usually book a tour to explore mangroves and picturesque waterways, work on your balance before taking on waves to surf, or even join a SUP yoga class that allows you to experience original and challenges forms of exercise. There are all sorts of inventive waves to explore SUP and if you’re just beginning, you may want to take advantage of the following tips.

SUP Beginner’s Guide: Avoid the Waves

Stand up paddle boarding can be extremely challenging so it is a must to start off where the water is calmest. Often times you can find a class or an instructor in your specific area that already knows the hidden beaches or bays that offer the gentlest waves. Even if you’ve engaged in other forms of water sports throughout your life, it is never a bad idea to learn how to maintain your balance and properly paddle all within the realm of safety. Within no time at all you will be balanced, flexible and paddling with ease. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to paddle with the pros!

Everyone Falls So Get Back Up!Stand-Up-Paddle-Board-Sunset

It is important to remember that everyone is prone to falling off their board at one point or another. Even the most experienced stand up paddle boarder has had their fair share of wipeouts. This, however, is not discouraging as falling off is expected and can actually be quite fun. By falling off, you are engaging in an extra workout by getting back on the board every time, cooling off in the water, swimming amongst fish, and learning to laugh at yourself as well as taking note of your mistakes. If you have concerns or worries, you can modify your SUP experience by paddling on your knees, wearing a life-vest, and attaching an ankle leash for safety precautions.

Choose a Skilled Guide or Teacher

When you are first starting off as a student in stand up paddle board, it never hurts to go with an experienced, veteran paddle boarder. A good SUP instructor gives you safety instructions, shows you proper operation of your board and paddle, guides you into calm waters, can prepare you for what you may experience, and supports you every step of the way. Encouragement can be really important when taking up a new hobby or trying to enhance skills that you may already possess. There is nothing quite like the help of a professional to cheer you on and keep you safe.

Focus on the Horizon or a Non-moving ObjectConquering-Waves-Stand-Up-Paddle-Board

There is a rule of thumb while paddle boarding: don’t look down. When you are solely focused on the waves or the placement of your feet, it is easier to fall of your board. By starting at the horizon or concentrating on a focal point that doesn’t move, you will be able to manage to stay on your board longer and concentrate. This is particularly important if you are engaging in a sport like SUP yoga where balance is key.

Common Destinations for SUP in Costa Rica

The following places are both great places to learn the fundamentals of stand up paddle board and put your skills to the test:

    • Playa Herradura, Jaco
    • Lake Arenal, La Fortuna
    • Playa Manuel Antonio, Manuel Antonio
    • Maracas, Quepos
    • Playa Avellenas, Tamarindo
    • Pavones , one of the longest beach breaks in all of Costa Rica

 

 

 



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