I (Vicki Skinner - aka "THE Sarong Goddess") created this blog in 2007 to share DETAILED Finds•Lists•Info•Events•Experiences to help bring more EASE to people living in, visiting or thinking of moving to Costa Rica since DETAILS are NOT easy to find!
I’m NOT an expert (an "expert" 2 ME knows 101%-NOT me). I believe in sharin info•helping where I can! And with over 2,200 entries, so some things might be out of date, so if you find old info PLEASE help each other by getting the updated info & sharing it with me to revise. At least you have some basic info to get you started.
Better yet - do you have extra time on your hands & looking for a volunteer project? Since this blog is a labor of love & RARELY does anyone share a donation (even though MANY have said how much it's helped them), I could REALLY use help updating info. Spanish speakers ESPECIALLY welcome since my VicLish can be somewhat limited at times!!

Has my blog helped in any way? Helped find something•brought more EASE? More exposure or business?
I welcome you to show YOUR appreciation for my efforts!
(see below other ways to show your appreciation)
The easiest way is with PAYPAL - Attn: LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com
(you do NOT need to have a PayPal account to do this - just a credit or debit card)
Do YOU have/know of a Business•Event•News•Place•Things 4 Sale•Rent to add? Email:


• APPLE LAPTOP - Do you have a Laptop you're not using? Mine recently broke so I'm using a lender. Must be new enough to run current Skypes & have an SDCard slot.
• Amazon.com or GoDaddy.com Credit•Gift Certificate (attn: SarongGoddess@gmail.com)
• Something else to share?? A gift certificate or invite for your business? I'm open!! (at times I'll add other things here that I'm seeking)

Friday, November 30, 2007

CALENDAR - WHAT’S HAPPENIN’ Around Costa Rica (especially the Central Valley)

Keep watching this post as it will be updated as we find new activities/events!!

Do you know of something or have an event to post? Please Email me with two versions - one just the ultra basics - date, time, name, BRIEF 1-2 line description, contact name, email address, website, cost. The other DETAILED!! Send it to me at CostaRicaEvents@gmail.com


Sat. Dec. 1 - 9am-?? - YARD SALE - Multi-Family (including Vicki with some REALLY COOL STUFF though because of Bingo/Bake Sale benefit, I’ll only be there from around 8:30-11:30am!!).

10am-3pm - CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL at the American International School – Cariari

10am-4pm – CORRECTIVE BREATHING & MOVEMENT – Working your body smarter, not harder” Workshop with Paul Tank. Contact him at crmax21@yahoo.com / 533-1775

2-5pm – BINGO & BAKE SALE BENEFIT & TOY DRIVE hosted by Helping Hands (http://endpoverty.meetup.com/44 & coming soon - www.HelpingHandsCR.com / HelpingHandsCR@gmail.com) at The House of Self Empowerment. They’ll have LOTS of prizes (many make great holiday gifts) & will be selling many tasty Baked Goods & Treats!!
This is a benefit for Gail Nystrom’s CR Humanitarian Foundation (www.CRHF.org) - to help raise MUCH NEEDED $$$ for a few holiday parties/presents for VERY needy kids & many of her other projects!! Please consider bringing an unwrapped toy for a less fortunate child's Christmas, shoes (gently used or new) for their "Walk a Mile In Their Shoes Campaign" or any other "stuff" (clothes, household goods you no longer need, basic food staples, etc.).
The House of Self Empowerment serves as a Donation Drop-Off Point for MANY charities in/around Costa Rica so feel free to drop off ANY donations at any time. For more info email LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com or call 378-6679.

Starting Dec. 4 - Hanukkah Menorah Lighting in La Sabana Park behind the Leon Cortes statue. 296-6565

Dec. 5-7 - UNPUBLISHED WRITERS’ FESTIVAL - Ferrer Cultural House-Barrio Escalante & the Chilean Cultural Center-Los Yoses. 360-0342 / 235-1045.

Thurs. DEC. 6 - PRANIC HEALING CIRCLE - www.SatYogaInstitute.org for more details.

Fri. Dec. 7 - 6pm – SCULPTURE EXHIBIT featuring works by Margreet Wielemaker-Postma / 228 4242 / 385 3724 / mwielemakerpostma@gmail.com

Sat. Dec. 8 - 9am-noon - YARD SALE BENEFIT hosted by HELPING HANDS in front of Out of Bounds Lodge/B&B. They’re in Escazu - ON Calle Vieja – heading West towards Santa Ana, on the South side of the street, just West of Taj Mahal Restaurant (directions at - www.bedandbreakfastcr.com/location.htm).
They have room for 2 more people to sell their stuff. You’d donate 20% of your proceeds to Helping Hands. You bring your own table. If you’re interested, contact Meranda at 288-6762 for more details

6:30-11:30pm - ARCR CHRISTMAS DINNER DANCE - http://forums.arcr.net/index.php?act=calendar&cal_id=1&code=showevent&event_id=551

Dec. 8-9 - SEMINAR/WORKSHOP ON PHYSICAL INJURIES for massage therapists & trainers at Casa Ames in Los Yoses. 224-7113 / 224-3678 / www.CasaAmes.com

Sun. Dec. 9 - 9am-6pm - GAY FESTIVAL/ SEXUAL DIVERSITY/Festival de Orgullo - Parque de la Paz-San Sebastian www.cipacdh.org / 800-247-2227 (though their website has different info. THIS is correct).

Fri. Dec. 14 - One of the BEST METEOR SHOWERS of the year – after midnight in the Eastern skies! (though good from Dec. 6-19)

Dec. 28-Jan. 24 - CRICS – CR INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY is having a month long gathering (The Aristotle Gathering) of like-minded thinkers of sustainability!! www.CenterForSustainability.net

Jan. 12 - BAZOOKA FEST (http://www.costa-bazooka.com) – An all day outdoor Rock Music festival near Quepos benefiting the Roberta Felix Foundation.

In time I’ll be starting a Calendar also but in the meantime – if you have something new to add – email me at CostaRicaEvents@gmail.com

IMPROVISE! How to work with what ingredients we have in CR (especially when you're craving something!!)

Costa Rica isn’t the States & we can’t get everything we CRAVE or miss, but my philosophy – don’t sit back & kvetch & moan (unless they’re GOOD moans!!) – IMPROVISE!!

This is going to be a post where WE share the ways we improvise so we’re not depriving ourselves!! Please submit your goodies to Vicki at LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com

This is NOT limited to just food! Are there any HOUSEHOLD HINTS you’d like to share??

The things I improvise on the MOST are with ICE CREAMS!!

So what’s a gal to do without her Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey?
I toast some walnuts (we all like it different so do it to YOUR taste. I toast it at 350º) & let them cool. In a separate bowl, mush up some REALLY RIPE bananas, add the walnuts & chunks of chocolate (I like semi-sweet but you do whatever YOU like) & fold them in to the soften store bought vanilla ice cream & freeze!

My FAV!!! Peppermint Stick Ice Cream - Melt down a bunch of candy canes in a little water, chunk up a few more for texture & after the candy cane syrup has cooled down a bit (you don’t want it to cool down too much as it hardens) fold into vanilla ice cream. (I buy a BUNCH of candy canes around Christmas time to last me throughout the year)

Rocky Road - You can use Hershey’s style syrup, but I LOVE the organic chocolate I get from Gary (see below). Cut up & toast almonds & let them cool. Fold them into regular store bought vanilla ice cream (I’m not into marshmallows – especially because the CR ones tend to be flavored but if you are, you can cut up some marshmallows).

Tropical Pleasure!! For this I use dehydrated or fresh mango, pineapple, papaya, toast some macadamia nut & shredded coconut & fold into vanilla ice cream (though this I mainly use with almond milk & make it myself).

Special Treat – Cut up & toast almonds & fold into vanilla ice cream. I put it in a nice decorative glass & then pour Amaretto over it – YUMMMM (be careful though as it could knock you on your tush!!).

NOTE: Lactose Intolerant like me – Dos Pinos makes Delactomy (99% lactose free). OR – instead of ice cream, make your own with Soya, Almond or Vanilla Milk! For this you need an ice cream maker so have someone bring you one from the States (BUT do NOT get one where you need to add Rock Salt as I don’t know if that can be found in CR). I have a DeLonghi & it’s FAB & SOOOO EASY!!

CHOCOLATE: I LOVE the Organic chocolate slabs (some of the BEST I’ve EVER tasted!!!) I get from Gary with http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CostaRicaChocaholics / costaricachocoholics@yahoo.com / 308-1127 (though I think Big Mike has some for sale - calchef2002@yahoo.com / 289-6087).

NUTS: BY FAR PriceSmart has the cheapest prices on nuts that I’ve found!!

YEAHHHHH!!! Euphy saw my psuedo Ben & Jerry's post on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CostaRicaLiving and emailed me this link of knock-off Ben & Jerry's recipes - http://hubpages.com/hub/Ben-and-Jerrys-Ice-Cream-Copycat-Recipes!!!! YUMMMM!!! I'm going to HAVE to try MANY of them!!! ENJOY!!! THANX Euphy!!!

Do you have any other hints on where to find things????

Thursday, November 29, 2007

ART CLASSES - Where to find Art Classes around Costa Rica

This is just the start of a list of people and places that give various art classes around Costa Rica (mainly in the Central Valley).  It's soon to be updated!!!

If you know of anyone or person to add, please e- me at LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com with ALL the details you can get (questionnaire at the BOTTOM of this page).

Connect with other Artisans
Costa Rica Expat Artist Community


Gerardo Hidalgo (2-444-6333) - Acrylic, Oil and Art for Kids

Ana Griselda Hine (2-225-9851) - Watercolor and Anatomy

Xinia Matamoros (2-276-8916) - Acrylic

Flora Zeledon (2-273-6634) - Watercolor, Oil, Acrylic, Drawing, Pastel

Yolanda Garcia (2-234-1502) - Watercolor, Pastel, Acrylic, Oil and Drawing

Carmen Zuniga (2-259-0351) - Acrylic, Watercolor, Pastel, Art for Kids

ART CAMP - Rosario (8-815-6573 • ArtCampCR.com / ArtCamp07@gmail.com) and Norah (8-382-5604) - Art for Kids - 4-12 - more than teaching, they introduce them to different mediums and then allow them to explore THEMSELVES to FLY!! Watercolor, paper mache, collage, clay, mosaics. I spoke with Rosario and she’s an AMAZING Spirit. During “summer” they also have a “camp” also.

Max Rojas (2-215-1201) - Watercolor, Oil, Acrylic, Wood Carving and Art for Kids

Manuel Jimenez (8-392-4760) - Oil, Watercolor, Acrylic and Art for Kids

Noemy Leon (2-289-8015) - Oil, Acrylic, Drawing

Guiselle Arias (2-289-5489) - Acrylic, Oil, Mixed Technique and Pastel

Mario Parra (2-228-1050) - Sculpture

Elena Alpizar (8-384-6993 / 2-215-1892) - Art for Kids 5-10 y.o.

Zoraya Gorgochea (2-228-9634) - Oil

Nelly Eyo (2-289-7489) - Pastel

Jorge Araya (2-288-6759) - Watercolor, Oil, Acrylic and Pastel

Hernan Ramirez (8-302-9741) - Art Classes at home, Oil, Drawing, Acrylic

Odette Neveu (2-241-4382) - Wood Painting, Rosemailing, Repousse Work (also Moravia?)

Milagro Carrillo (8-382-9375) - Drawing, Acrylic, Watercolor and Art for Kids

Arian Garnier (2-228-6541) - Acrylic-Mix technique

Diana Arrieta (8-399-7580) - Oil

JUDE Maceren
Learn how to draw & paint in acrylic, oil, watercolor of florals, landscape and figure subjects  (I LOVE LOVE LOVE his work!!!  One of my FAV artists in Costa Rica)
San Rafael de Heredia (2-260-5720 - tell him Vicki Connected you!!!)
Jose Vargas (2-260-5720) - Oil

Pedro Serech (2-231-2947) - Oil, Acrylic, Art for Kids

Juan Camacho (8-384-2423) - Watercolor

Ulises Jimenez and Xochit Sierralta (2-665-3129) - Oil Sculpture

Community Arts Center (http://MVInstitute.org / 2-645-6121 / MViarte@MVInstitute.org) - Sunday classes for kids.

Gilberto Aquino (2-297-0797) - Watercolor, Oil, Acrylic

Odette Neveu (2-241-4382) - Wood Painting, Rosemailing, Repousse Work (also Escazu)

Diana Robles (2-231-3206) - Oil, Acrylic, Drawing, Pastel and Watercolor

Luz Letelier (2-232-1220 / 2-289-4693) - Kids 3-12

Elisa Morera (8-361-1411 / 2-296-4682) - Oil and Acrylic for 15+

Mercedes Pinagel (2-232-0624) - Watercolor, Oil, Drawing, Chalk Pastels

Edith Castro (2-227-1382) - Oil, Acrylic and Drawing, Art Classes at Home

(http://NexusVisions.com  •  milford_59@hotmail.com)
Adam paints Mandalas and says he can teach pretty much teach anyone to do the same.
PRICE:  $10/hr plus materials.

During the “Summer” (actually the gringo “winter” - when the kids are off on summer break - about mid-Dec. till Feb.) - many of the museums do classes - especially for kids. Check with their Education Centers
Children’s Museum / Museo del Niño (2-223-7003 / 2-258-4929)
National Museum / Nacional Museo (2-257-1433 / 2-257-1434 / 2-222-1229 / 2-221-0295)
Arts and Contemporary Design Museum / Arte y Diseño Contempraneo (http://MADC.ac.cr / 2-257-7202 / 2-257-9370 / educacion@MADC.ac.cr)
Costa Rican Art Museum / Artes Costarriccenses (2-222-7155 / 2-222-7247)
Central Bank Museum / Numismatic Museo (http://MuseosDelBancoCentral.org / 2-243-4202 / ACTIVITY CALENDAR: http://MuseosDelBancoCentral.org/ENG/actividades/calendario.php)

Galeria Valanti (2-224-0994 / 2-253-1659 / http://GaleriaValanti.com/pages/artclasses.htm / info@galeriavalanti.com) - Classes in Oil on Canvas, Acrylic on Canvas, Painting for Kids, Drawing, Human Figures as well as Musical Appreciation.

Guillermo Porras (8-387-1023 / 8-356-8567) - Oil, Acrylic

Jim Theologis (2-225-6565) - I here Jim is a 'Master' award winning, famous pastel artist. Acrylic, Oil and Pastel
University of Costa Rica offers some non-credit classes when schools are out on vacation.

Arte Espacio Studio (inside Hotel Milvia) - Florencia Urbina (225-4543 / 383-7735-c / Urbinarte@hotmail.com) - Tutorial-customized one-on-one classes for each students desires. Watercolors, Acrylic, Oil, Pencils, Pastels, Charcol, Spray Paint, Ceramics, Art Appreciation (geared towards Costa Rican Art). She also takes people to other artists studios and galleries.

Anais Morera (2-203-4692 / Anais_delaribera@yahoo.es) - Ceramic Making &/or Painting. She also has a Kiln to cook your pieces and she can do Ceramic Painting parties at her house in Salitral or your place!! FUN!!
Carmen Maria Lira (2-282-8655 / 8-828-5531) - Acrylic, Oil, Watercolor, Pastel, Sculpture, Art for Kids

Carmen Guillen (2-203-3315) - Oil, Acrylic

WATERCOLOR CLASSES - Was holding classes at Rancho Macho Restaurant - with beautiful views of the Central Valley. All abilities are welcome from beginners to advanced. A British teacher with over 25 experience as an illustrator and university lecturer. 
 Amanda Blake 2-203-7202 / amandablake33@yahoo.com

Margie found a sign in Spanish that was about Drawing and Painting Classes (2-282-9259 / 8-335-8359)


(a bunch of this list is thanx to the folks at Art Depot in Escazu)

Do you have something to add/change?? Please e- me at LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com



Free Listings will just be your city and Name and Phone number.

Would you like to have MORE INFO posted here - the questions below?
(since this IS one of THE TOP sites when you google - art classes costa rica)?

Just make a "DONATION" - of whatEVER size you feel it's worth to you (or have) and send your answers to the questions below.

If you know of anyone or person to add, please  with ALL the details you can get:
Business•School Name:
Phone NumberS (cell and home/business):
Email Address:
Facebook Page: 
Where Classes are Held•City-Barrio (or if you go to them):
Language Classes are taught in•you speak:  Bi-lingual - English/Español.  English Only.  
Español Only (if classes are ONLY in Español, please submit all these answers in Español)

Any other tidbits•information to add:

And email
it to me at: LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com






Was this list helpful to you?  Did it bring you more ease?  Did it help your business?
PLEASE consider making a
to help keep this site/me alive since Donations are my only source of income these days.  ANY amount of appreciation you'd like to show is welcome!
See the top right corner of this blog for how to do that.


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Friday, November 16, 2007

THANKSGIVING in Costa Rica - 2007

The 2013 site for listings of LOTS of U.S. Thanksgiving Dinners around Costa Rica:

GAY Costa Rica - MANUEL ANTONIO - Things To Do


Costa Rica is an AWESOME for eco-tourism, surfin’ and outdoor adventures and chillin! Costa Rica is a country that is pretty open and welcoming to most people – though, what I’ve observed and/or heard from MANY locals/Nationals, like MOST Latin countries – everything/one is fine as long as they don’t use the “G” word.

With that said – you only have a handful of gay clubs and accommodations – mainly in San Jose (in the Central Valley - a VERY frenetic city that’s not overly safe in many areas so PLEASE take taxi’s from point-to-point) and Manuel Antonio.

Manuel Antonio is located on the Central Pacific Coast – much of it perched above the beach/ocean. It is the most popular areas in Costa Rica with the gay community and has the most gay guesthouses in one area (though only a handful), daily Gay Activities between U.S. Thanksgiving and Easter, a semi-gay beach (see note below), some restaurants (CR is not New York, San Francisco or Puerto Vallarta so be open to going with the flow), a gay Circuit Party for Thanksgiving and New Years and every other month in the off-season. Unfortunately currently they have no gay clubs. I like hiring a Driver/Guide to get there (so you can enjoy the ride and see all sorts of things you NEVER would have seen driving through the horrible roads and scary rickety bridges!! My #1 FAV is Oscar with Enjoying Costa Rica Tours - 8-871-2900 / FrankChicasTours@yahoo.com) and I FLY BACK on NatureAir http://www.NatureAir.com / 1-800-235-9272-US / 2-299-6070-in CR) to/from Quepos (and then take a taxi, local bus or their shuttle).

GAY GUIDE - "Playita Gay Guide" - a gay guide for M.A. produced by Gay Tours Costa Rica - You can find it in San Jose at the gay clubs La Avispa, Club O, Pucho, Al Despiste (Zapote) and the hotels Colours, Kelkoldi. In Manuel Antonio - at Bar Tutu and the gay hotels. It comes out every 2 months in Peak/High season - Dec., Feb, April and then June-Nov. (8-305-8044 / Jose@GayToursCR.com)

GAY BEACH - Playitta - THE “nude/gay beach” is NO LONGER NUDE - I hear the new owner is quite fast to call the cops on people – mainly that are nude so keep the pants!

Tutu's Gay Bar and Gato Negro Restaurant (tasty Italian-style food) HAD pretty much been IT for gay things to do in M.A. BUT, they’re now going mixed/Straight-Friendly (sadly that's what often happens when the gay community doesn't support their own! People - go visit M.A). HOURS: 8pm-2am.

Barba Roja had been doing Gay Night on Thurs. BUT - they close for low/green season and we’re not pos. on the ’08 season!

The Lounge no longer has their Gay Night (something about they couldn't get the permits for live music)

In Peak Season (after U.S. Thanksgiving till Easter) – 2007 Schedule (2008 Schedule Pending)
Jose with Gay Tours Costa Rica is your Manuel Antonio contact (www.GayToursCR.com / 8-305-8044-cell / 2-294-4205- SJ-Spanish / Jose@GayToursCR.com) for FUN gay activities (in PEAK/HIGH season ONLY-about U.S. Thanksgiving till Easter). Jose also does some gay events and produces "Playita" - a gay guide for M.A.

Mon. MANGROOVE TOUR - PickUp (PU) at hotel depends on tide - $65 (includes hotel PickUp/return, lunch)
Tues. WHITE WATER RAFTING - PU 11:30am - $79 (includes hotel PU/return, equipment, open bar, lunch and drop-off)
Wed. SUNSET SAIL - PU-1pm - Return 5:30-ish - $69 (includes hotel PU/return, open bar, snack and light dinner at sunset)
Thurs. CANOPY TOURS - PU -1pm - Return 5:30pm-ish – $65 (includes hotel PU/return, equipment, guides and late snack)
Fri. HORSEBACK RIDING - PU-7:45am - Return 3pm-ish – $65 (includes hotel PU/return, lunch)
Sat. SUNSET SAIL - PU-1pm - Return 5:30-ish - $69 (includes hotel PU, open bar, snack and light dinner at sunset)
Sun. CANOPY TOURS - PU-1pm - Return 5:30pm-ish – $65 (includes hotel PU/return, equipment, guides and late snack)

Feb. - Valentine's Day - Red Party – Salsipuedes

Easter - End of Season Party Villa Rocco

Nov. 20 (Tues.) - White Water Rafting - 7:30am Hotel Pickup – Return 3pm - $79 (includes hotel pickup, equipment, open bar, lunch and drop-off)
Nov. 21 (Wed.) - Sunset Sail - 1pm – Return 5:30-ish - $69 (includes hotel pickup, open bar, snack and light dinner at sunset)
Nov. 22 (Thurs.) - Canopy Tours – Pickup 1pm – Return 5:30pm-ish. $65 (includes hotel pickup/return, equipment, guides and late snack)
Nov. 23 (Fri.) - Horseback Riding – 7:45am – Return 3pm-ish - $65 (includes hotel pickup/return, lunch)
Nov. 24 (Sat.) - Sunset Sail - 1pm – Return 5:30-ish - $69 (includes hotel pickup, open bar, snack and light dinner at sunset)

Dec. 1 (Sat.) – 4-9pm - Villa Roca – Opening Season Tea Dance / Pool Party – 2,000-c.
10pm-3am - After Hours / Body Painting Party with DJ Eddie B from Italy - Salsipuedes Bar– 2,000-c

Dec. 15 (Sat.) - Summer Time Party (opening of the season) with Belly Dancers and DJ Eleazar – 10am-3pm – Tutu Bar – 2,000-c

Dec. 28 (Fri.) - 4-11pm - Tamale Fest - Salsipuedes Bar Salsipuedes Bar

Dec. 28 (Fri.) – 9pm-3am - Dolce Vida Fashion Show with 2 djs – Bar Tutu – 3,000-c.
Dec. 29 (Sat.) – 10pm-3am - HouseKnowledge - Salsipuedes Bar (across from Banco Promerica) – 3,000-c
Dec. 30 (Sun.) – 9-11pm – 911fm Radio Station DJ – Sweet Bo - Salsipuedes Bar – 3,000-c
10pm-3am – Flashback Showtime 80’s and 90’s – Tutu Bar – 3,000-c
Dec. 31 (Mon.) - 8pm-3am – New Years Eve Jungle Party with a Circus Show with people hanging, fireworks, fire show,, laser lights and MORE – Tutu Bar – with 8 of the Best DJ’s in Costa Rica!!! 3,000-c
CONTACT: DJ Eleazar (CRCircuitParties@hotmail.com / 8-869-5908 / 2-777-0543)

(have anything to add, more info/help and PLEASE tell JOSE that Vicki Connected you - email me anything new to add at LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com)

GAY Costa Rica - MANUEL ANTONIO - Accommodations


NOTES: Here's what I've pulled together so far on accommodations that are either Gay, Gay-Friendly or Gay-Owned with comments based on doing my own Site Inspections or feedback from other guests.
NOTE: I’ve found having an Owner that actually lives ON SITE CAN OFTEN DOES make a BIG DIFFERENCE in the quality of the place, details with clean and staff!!!!!

(http://www.HotelDelMar-CostaRica.com / 2-777-0543)
12 Ultra-Basic rooms with private baths, safe at office, park, small pet ok, no pool (for now). Lots of stairs in all but 3 rooms. 200 meters/2 block from the beach and Mar y Sombra Restaurant – though they’re further from the action. Continental Breakfast (fresh local fruits, coffee, tea, pastries+ 7-10am). Credit Cards (AmEx, MC, V, Diners, JCB). (I've NOT inspected)
SEASONS: Green/low: 5/1-11/30. Peak: 12/1-4/30. 3rd price is Holidays.
GO/SF - OWNER David lives on site.
2 D beds with Fan $45 / $65 / $90 (12/20-1/3)
2 D beds with A/C $55 / $75 / $100 (12/20-1/3)
K Bed, Private Balcony, A/C $60 / $85 / $110 (12/20-1/3) + 16.39% tax
Check-In: 1pm. Check-Out: Noon

No longer around

(http://www.VillaRoca.com / 2-777-1349 / 2-777-2335 / info@VillaRoca.com)
11 different kinds of rooms and 3 apartments. Rooms have private bathrooms, telephone, fridge, private terraces with a spectacular view overlook the rainforest and the Pacific Ocean, some are air-conditioned. Infinity swimming pool, big Jacuzzi. LOTS of stairs. Some have expressed that some staff can give off some attitude (hey, some people like that!). WAS near to the now former gay beach. Near Si Como No so you have their spa and art gallery nearby. I've inspected.
GO/GAY. Owners not in country.
RATES: 11/15-4/15 - $90-$165. 4/15-11/15-$49-$105 + 16.39% tax (Full Breakfast)

(http://www.CostaVerde.com / 2-777-0584 / 2-777-0187 / 1-866-854-7958 / reservations@CostaVerde.com)
BEAUTIFUL, nice views, jungly with monkey’s running around.
SEASONS: Peak - Jan. 2-April 30, '08. Green/Low - May 1-Nov. 17.
Efficiency - jungle and ocean views, kitchenette, 2 Q/Q beds, A/C, ceiling fans, post and beam hardwood construction. Max 4 people. $79/$104.
Studio - 520 sq feet, jungle and ocean views, kitchenette, 2 Q, cable TV, A/C and ceiling fans, larger than efficiencies. Max 4. or CV II - 750 sq feet, jungle and ocean vistas, kitchenette, 2 Qs, ceiling fans. Max 4. $115-$135.
Studio+ $125/$149 - 520 sq feet, panoramic ocean views, kitchenette, 2 Qs, cable TV, A/C and ceiling fans, larger than efficiencies. Max 4. Studio Plus CV II - 750 sq feet, panoramic ocean vistas, kitchenette, 2 Qs, ceiling fans. Max 4.
Penthouse - Panoramic ocean views, kitchen, 2 Ks, 4 ceiling fans, master bathroom . $150/$185
Casa Quinta - separates entrances, 2 1/2 bedrooms, 2 F baths, a big living room with cable TV, a huge terrace, dining area and an ocean view. 2 bedrooms, each with Q, as well as living room with an extra Q. 1 bedroom has an air-conditioner. A small, 1/2 bedroom has a T bed. $150/$185
Bungalow A-13 - bedrooms with separate entrances and balconies for each bedroom. The main room contains 2 Qs, kitchenette, F bath, AC, cable TV and WiFi. 2nd room - 2 Ts and F bath. 5 ceiling fans, one balcony has a small ocean view. $150/$185
Bungalow A-11 - large studio containing 3 Qs, a kitchenette and 2 F bathrooms (one is quite small). 4 ceiling fans cool the room. $115/$135 (all PLUS 16.39% tax)
Costa Verde features 3 different Restaurants!! Across the street you have La Cantina Bar/Restaurant featuring seafood, chicken, steaks and ribs on an open wood fire and LIVE MUSIC (Reggae with The Jungle Boys) nightly from 7-11pm!! El Avion is set in a 1954 model C-123 airplane and features informal dining and great for sunsets! Anaconda features jungle and ocean views and Tipico CR and international cuisine, fresh fruits and seafood.

CASITAS ECLIPSE, Restaurant and Spa
(http://www.CasitasEclipse.org / 2-777-0408 / eclipseh@racsa.co.cr)
Large (30 spacious detached casitas), mainstream stark (to me – sort of South Beachy) Mediterranean-style hotel/casitas perched on a hilltop a kilometer from the beach (GREAT views!). Each villa has hot water, fan, a/c, phone, cable tv, mini-fridge, safety box, balcony or terrace. I believe they have a few pools. They are home to THE Gay (though turning more mixed) Bar Tutu and Gato Negro Restaurant.
RATES: 12/16-4/15 and Easter – Standard $112 / Suite – D $155 / Suite – Triple $172. Casita (max 5) $275. April 16-Dec. 15 - $86 / $103 / $116 / $172 + 16.39% tax. GF.

(http://www.SiComoNo.com / 2- 777-0777 / information@ SiComoNo.com)
BEAUTIFUL! Large - Mainstream, Serenity Spa, Family and Adult Pools (Family Pool includes a whirlpool spa, cascading waterfall, a 30’ water slide and swim-up bar. Adult Pool 80,000 gal., swim-up pool), MultiMedia THX/DTS Theatre (for 46) with nightly movies/ documentaries. Restaurants - Rico Tico Bar ‘n Grill (their own version of Tico/Tex-Mex (lunch/dinner). Claro Que Si Seafood restaurant featuring authentic Caribbean dishes. LIVE Acoustic MUSIC by Tres Caciques. Includes a F Buffet Breakfast, Free entrance to the Butterfly Garden, 1 hour free internet gift certificate.
SEASONS: Green/Low – May 1-June 30 and September 1-November 14.
Standard - Jungle view, bath with shower, kitchen or wet bar, stocked mini-bar, K or Q size bed, A/C, ceiling fans, telephone and security box. Max 4 $165/$190.
Superior - Ocean and jungle view balconies, bath with shower, kitchen or wet bar, stocked mini-bar, K or Q size beds, A/C, ceiling fans, telephone and security box. Max 4. $195/$225
Deluxe Room - Panoramic ocean and jungle view balconies, high beam ceiling, bath with shower, kitchen or wet-bar, stocked mini-bar, K size beds, sitting room or extra bed, A/C, ceiling fans, telephone and security box. Max 4. $220/$240.
Deluxe Suite - Spacious D size room with large balcony, sitting area with sofa bed and large bathroom with F amenities overlook panoramic jungle coastline. Max 4. $260/$275.
Honeymoon Suite - Spacious D size room with deluxe amenities, sitting area, private Jacuzzi and large balcony with panoramic jungle and ocean view. $290/$310. (all plus 16.39% tax)

LA MANSION HOTEL and Jacques Cousteau Restaurant (they have REAL MAIN lobster all the time), The Cave Bar and VIP Room
(http://www.LaMansionInn.com / 2-777-3489 / 2-777-5011 / 1-800-360-2071 / reservations@lamansioninn.com)
ULTRA Luxury, VERY EXPENSIVE set high on a hill in a jungle setting (with such daily visitors as monkeys, sloths, anteaters, large iguanas, over 200 species of birds and pizotes!! 18 VERY elegantly appointed guestrooms www.LaMansionInn.com/roomrates.asp.htm
GO (owner lives ON premise)/GF
Presidential Suite (has a Jacuzzi with 24-carat gold faucets, D-headed shower, bidet, dining and living room - $1250 / $1500 / $1600)
2 Penthouse Suites - (Penthouse #1 - $650 / $750 / $850
Penthouse #2 - $550 / $650 / $750 [for up to 4 people])
Romanoff Suite (no view - $550 / $650 / $750),
3 Junior Suites ($225 / $325 / $425), the Garden Suite ($200 / $300 / $400)
10 Deluxe Rooms ($150 / $250 / $350), Standard Deluxe with Ocean View ($125 / $187.50 / $287.50).
All suites/rooms have a/c, tv, telephone, outside sitting area, desk, hair dryer, iron, mini-bar, electronic safe. REALLY unique and Common areas include a patio with b’bque, Infinity Pool with Jacuzzi. A Continental Breakfast is included. Water is heated by Solar Energy!
Jacques Cousteau Restaurant has REAL Lobster and other FRESH seafood! Their Cave Bar is a REAL underground Bat Cave with an in-cave waterfall and bats hang from the ceiling while sipping their specialty cocktails (and check out their hunky waiters!!)!! Now this is a MUST SEE/DO!! MANY MANY famous people have been guests here!! OWNER: Harry holds court here!!

(have anything to add, more info/help - email Vicki at LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com in Escazu)

APPLIANCES•APARATOS #1a - Where to Buy Appliances like Refrigerators, Stoves, Dishwashers, Clothes Washer & Dryers++ in Costa Rica • Dónde comprar electrodomésticos como refrigeradores, cocinas, lavavajillas, lavadoras de ropa y secadoras en Costa Rica - PLUS HINTS & INFO on how to pick the best ones • PLUS CONSEJOS & INFO sobre cómo elegir los mejores!

This is a list I've started starting with IMPORTANT HINTS and INFO on Buying Electrical Appliances in Costa Rica as this is a VERY different country with VERY DIFFERENT circumstances and VERY VERY different conditions and prices!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


SANTA ANA - MOPREM PILATES STUDIO (282-0285 / ErickasSaom@msn.com) - EQUIPMENT like Reformer, Wall Unit, Cadillac, Barriel & Wund Chair. Mats & Balls. GyroTronic. Private, Duet, Group Matt Classes. COST: Group Classes - $10/class. Buy 10 classes (private) - $45 per class, $50 for 1 class. OWNER: Ericka Sanchez was the first people in Costa Rica certified in Pilates. HOURS: Mon-Fri. 6am-8pm DIRECTIONS: 15mts. Norte of Cruz Roja

ESCAZU-MultiPlaza area - PILATES FITNESS STUDIO - (http://www.PilatesFitnesStudio.com / 201-9038 / 201-9018 / info@PilatesFitnesStudio.com) - Pilates EQUIPMENT like Reformer (4), Cadillac, Barriel & Wund Chair. Mats & Balls. COST: Packages - Introductory Package - 4 private machines classes & 3 private mat classes-$250. Mat classees - Group (up to 6 people) - 10 classes-$120. 20 classes-$200. HOURS: Mon.-Thurs. 7am-7pm. Fri. 7-11am. Sat. 8-10am. They also have Teaching Classes. OWNER: Ali Sain. DIRECTIONS: Plaza Aquarium 2nd Floor - 500 mts South of the Multiplaza Rotonda

I believe international instructor & teacher Michael Miller (www.hermit.com ) will be returning to the Pilates Fitness Studio Feb. 29-March 2, '08. For more info email PFS (info@PilatesFitnesStudio.com) or Michael at MichaelMiller@hermit.com

ESCAZU-Trejos Montelegre - (843-7701 / kblawson03@yahoo.com) - Affordable yet excellent pilates mat classes at my home studio. COST: 4,000 colones for group classes (3+), 7,000 for semi-private (2), 12,000 for private. 1,000/class discount when prepaying for 4+ classes. Classes in English or Spanish. OWNER: Katherine Lawson (Note - she’s out of town till around Nov. 25)

GUACHEPELIN - IF my memory is serving me, I swear I heard there was a BIG one. What I’m thinking is it was on the road from Escazu towards Guachepelin - I think AFTER the Pista - possibly a silver/metal, ultra-contemporary at least 2 story building - possibly on the right. But I’m not finding any info on it (do you?)

http://www.ArenaTrekGym.com (228-7667) - Escazu (San Rafael) - Paco Plaza
http://www.WorldGymCR.com (201-8510 / 201-8513) - Escazu (San Rafael) - NEW location SOON on Calle Vieja just West of Paco Plaza
http://www.Multispa.net (Escazu 289-5051, San Jose 258-2220, Cipreses 271-0357, Corobici 231-5542)
http://www.Fitsimons.com/schedule.htm (296-0264) - San Jose
Complejo Furati (www.Furati.com / 203-4570 / 203-5205) - Santa Ana - DIRECTIONS: 400 m West and 250 m North of Panadería Musmanni

HEREDIA - Palacio de Deportes. - Thurs. 9am & Fri. 7am. Day Pass - 2,500c.

Do you know of any other places?? Please share details!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

FINDS - Need a GOOD House &/or Dog Sitter

Josh is no longer in Costa Rica but email me for leads on some GREAT Pet Sitters and House Sitters

Are you Seeking a WONDERFUL House &/or Dog Sitter - I use Josh Voeks

If you’re looking for a House &/or Dog Sitter - may I suggest mine who’s watched over my guesthouse so far, 4 times (as well as been a guest in between his jobs). Here’s my schpeel:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

HINTS - On Working with Realtors & Fees - Real Estate in Costa Rica

Here are some hints/observations I've gathered while talking to people in Costa Rica as well as Puerto Vallarta, Mexico & I share them with you.

MANY people visit Costa Rica (or other vacation destinations) & LOVE IT & get caught up in the "honeymoon phase" with how wonderful their trip is & dream about one day moving here!!

OFTEN, they decide to call a realtor to help them see how possible that is - what's available, etc.

The realtor takes time, drives/chauffers them around, shares info about neighborhoods, the ins/outs of life in Costa Rica that's taken them time to learn about. They connect you to people, businesses, etc.

Some people are looking for something to do, sort of turn looking for real estate into just another "tour" - free entertainment - a way to amuse themselves (it's sad how many of those there are).

There are those that are looking because they have that dream (or even a serious intention) but it's not going to happen for a few months - heck, even a few years but a LOT WILL change in the situation in Costa Rica between now & then RARELY will an owner be willing to hold a rental property (or sale pending the sale of your home else where [which just aren't moving that well in the States at least]) more than a month if that (especially with the pending season coming up). And OFTEN, between now & when you're FINALLY ready to do something about it, you've made other connections/contacts, you've decided on a different area to live or whatever, but the bottom line is you don't go back to that realtor that gave you their time.

Then you have " those kind of people" that live "less than in integrity" that want to let the realtor do the ground work & then they (the consumer) goes back to the owner to negotiate a better price (I LOVE to watch how that unfolds in other aspects of their life/business!!).

Those that are TRULY SERIOUS & ready to put the cash (full cash is what's needed OFTEN - especially in not new developments & funding sources here - though they're getting better - still aren't overly easy) down NOW are VERY few & far between!!!!!!

Quite frankly, realtors are a dime a dozen in Costa Rica & guess what - Costa Rica has NO regulations/ associations or licensing for them hence it seems that every third person & his uncle are "realtors."

Finding a good HONEST realtor - one that's done their homework especially to see if the house is even available free & clear is not an easy task from what I've heard OVER & OVER from MANY

This is CRUCIAL as MANY homes throughout Costa Rica do NOT have the deed &/or are NOT free & clear/available & it OFTEN WILL take YEARS to clear up. Often it's because a neighbor is claiming they own part of the land for sale (now would you REALLY want to live in a place where you're going into it with negative feelings with your neighbor?? Might you have some warnings ahead of time of potential problems? Amazing how often we have "signs" - don't listen & go do it anyways [& then there are those that play "victim" when the problems arise!!]).

I like asking for referals on Message Boards like http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CostaRicaLiving

Once I've found a realtor I feel good about, I look on their website (to me, the more professional ones HAVE a website - to make your life as well as theirs easier!!) to see if there's anything that jumps out at me (granted many of their sites aren't totally updated & things change fast).

Then I email the realtor with LOTS of DETAILS on what I'm looking for & who I am along with my timeframe on when I'm coming to visit & when I'm looking to buy/rent. This way I'm respecting their time as well as making it a much smoother experience for all!

Even if I don't see something on the site, I'd still email the agent as something new might have just come in & not made it up yet!

I find emailing MUCH more efficient communications than phone calls (ALWAYS - not just here) as you don't know what the realtor is in the middle of doing, etc.

I think it's VERY professional of realtors to charge a "fee" for their time/efforts ($100 that is applied towards their rental or sale to me it kosher. Most doctors or lawyers charge a fee [& LOTS more than $100] to help you. Why shouldn't someone that you're expecting to help you find the home of your dreams - for a long-term commitment & ease - charge something????)

The realtor is doing something for YOU. What are you giving back to them (other than just taking/wasting their time)???

Added to all this, gas, a vehicle & repairs ain't cheap in Costa Rica.

With all that said, even if the realtor hasn't gotten to the point of honoring/validating their time with having a fee, I SERIOUSLY welcome you GIFT them with something for their time!! IF you buy/rent from them, it WILL be deducted so you'll get it back.

Bottom line, my (& ALL of us) time is worth money so if someone else is willing to do the legwork for me, I'm MORE than appreciative & show it (i.e. paying a fee).

To me, based on what I've observed with LOTS of people in Costa Rica & Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (where I think the lookie loos are even worse [where my other business is]) - IF someone is TRULY serious & in integrity with their intentions, they will not balk at paying a fee & GLADLY honor ALL that assist them!!

(FYI - I am NOT a realtor - just a Spirit that believes in HONORING those that help bring me more EASE & JOY into my life & I like to treat others as I'd like to be treated!! Another excerpt/chapter from "The World According to Vicki!" [blog coming soon!!]).

FINDS! Wonderful Realtor in Western Central Valley (Escazu, Santa Ana area)

Based on MY experience - an AWESOME, QUITE HONEST (this can be quite rare in CR from what I've seen/heard - especially since there is NO regulation/association/licensing for realtors in CR & it seems that every other person & his uncle are "realtors") realtor for Rentals or Sales is:
Daniel with Zucaes Realtors
zucaes@racsa.co.cr / 826-6858

He found me my PERFECT home in an area that was BEYOND perfect for my needs (even though it wasn't where I was initially looking at but he LISTENED to me) AND negotiated a REALLY good price to meet my budget (even though that meant less commission to him [something some realtors aren't willing to do I've noticed]).

Daniel specializes in the West Central Valley (Escazu, Santa Ana area) but they have other resources/contacts elsewhere they can hook you up with.

Do you have a favorite that is HONEST, detailed & conscientious?? Please share details!!

Friday, November 9, 2007


WONDERFUL BLOOD LABORATORY in Escazu (Centro) & Clown!

I also found an AWESOME laboratory for Blood Work with GREAT prices AND he's a WONDERFUL phlebotomist!!!

I had a BIG TIME blood workup that also included some "extra tests" (that are wise for people "out there" shall we say!!) & everything was just 55,000 (ALL results came up GOOD!!)

My friend paid almost double for most of the same tests (except for the "out there people tests").

The BEST PARTS - my veins are REALLY HARD to find!! Most of the time they have to poke a couple+ times or dig around while inside but Gilberto got a gusher the first poke & I didn't even feel ANYTHING - going in or out!!!

Not only that but he said he could tell I was still a child so I got a cherry (my favorite flavor) sucker AND he made me a poodle balloon (now named Fifi La Pue!!!) as on the side - Gilberto is also Mangongo the Clown (available for parties!! 374-5091 / 289-4611 / mangongo17@gmail.com in case you know someone that's seeking such a person).

He has GREAT energy!!!! Unfortunately he doesn't speak English but I had my AWESOME taxi driver there helping.

HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 6am-6pm, Sat. 6am-noon

LAB - Laboratorio Clincio San Miguel - directly in front of the bell on the north side of the church/iglesia in Escazu Central - 289-8415 / 228-9086 / Emergencies - 374-5074 - Gilberto

(tell him Vicki sent ya)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


 AURICULOTHERAPY - AKA EAR ACUPUNCTURE - for MY body has been an AMAZING tool & kept me from needing to do Western Medicine for AGES!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

RESTAURANT - One of my FAVS - Rock & Roll Pollo

Sadly Bill and Lizette Russi from Rock and Roll Pollo fame closed my FAV restaurant a few years ago!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

SOLUTIONS to the lack of special Ice Creams in Costa Rica

It's becoming easier and easier to find gringo goodies in the market here but one of the things that I haven't seen yet and REALLY MISS - Ben and Jerry's - heck GOOD ice cream with VARIETY!!

Being a "Solutions Oriented Person" and not one to sit back and play poor me/martyr - I've come up with some solutions - make some variations myself!! BIG GIRL!!

My bod doesn't like dairy so I use the Delactomy Vanilla Ice "Cream" (99% lactose-free) or you an use regular ice cream and just let it soften a bit and fold in:

• "CHERRY'S GARCIA"  -  Take a 1/2 can of cherry pie filling and maybe add some chocolate shavings.

• MOCHA ALMOND FUDGE  -  add STRONG coffee, chocolate sauce (fudge sauce is even better) and I toast some almonds.

• "CHUNKY MONKEY"  - mush up a bunch of really ripe bananas, toast some walnuts and chunk up some pieces of chocolate.

• MINT CHIP - I use Creme de Menthe (it doesn't freeze though) and chips/shavings of chocolate.

• PEPPERMINT  -  My FAV - I melt down a bunch of Candy Canes and crunch up a bunch of Candy Canes - YUMMMM!!!

I also bought a GREAT little EASY (and cheap) ice cream maker - a DeLonghi so I make my own sometimes treats with soy/almond milk!

Do you have "recipes"/ideas to share?


TongueGasmic Pies, Cakes & other Desserts - La Cocina de Robin

has closed!!  (yeahhhh for her in her new endeavours of enjoying life!!)
HANDS DOWN!! Some of the YUMMIEST sweet morsels I’ve had (especially here in Costa Rica!!)

Friday, November 2, 2007


TRADITIONALLY - I've found (after 15 years in the travel industry) that the MOST EXPENSIVE times to travel to Costa Rica will be holidays - Xmas, New Years, Easter & the month of Feb.

TRADITIONALLY - The cheapest DAYS of the week to travel:
Going TO Costa Rica - Sun., Mon., Tues., Wed.
Leaving Costa Rica - Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri.
So if you want to be in Costa Rica for 7 nights/8 days - the CHEAPEST days would be to travel on a Tues. or Wed.

Next lump of time - when the Snowbirds are wanting to escape their bad weather for something nice (hence since the planes are so booked, they don't need to offer as much incentive to get people here & why prices are much higher in accommodations often since many places only have about a 4 or so month window to recoup their investment [the bulk of the "peak" season in CR is basically from Christmas to Easter & 2008's Easter is an EARLY one - in March!]).

Traditionally in the travel world - the CHEAPEST CHEAPEST time to travel are between U.S. Thanksgiving & Xmas because many people travel one holiday or the other - or for the rest of the world - lets just say - the first 2 weeks in Dec.

Next, what I found when I was in the travel industry - the first 2 weeks in Sept. (after all the kiddies are back in school) & then the first 2 weeks in June (just before the majority get out).

In between when you can find some good specials is between Easter & June & Sept-Oct. (November can be more up there because many of the longer-term Snowbirds go down to warm-weather destinations from Nov.-April).

Bottomline - YOU the consumer basically dictates the price - when the airlines needs to fill the plane (ie; fewer people are traveling) - you'll of course get better prices!! When they don't - you won't!

A hint I've OFTEN (not always) found & use when purchasing airline tickets:
I call the airlines (or look online [fyi - buying online does NOT always guarantee the cheapest fares! If airlines come out with specials - the cheap online companies don't always get those fares]) between around 6-8am. The reason for that is OFTEN (not always) there are only a certain amount of cheaper seats available on each flight. Those people that had tickets held & didn't ticket them by the night before - once their computer systems cleans out all them, means more seats are available hence often more cheaper tickets!!

If you're having to make a stop within the U.S. to get here (I can only talk about how it is for those people), if you ticket less than 2 weeks (normally that's what the cheaper tickets are based on - booking/ticketing at least 2 weeks before travel THOUGH - if you're ONLY traveling internationally - say from Houston non-stop to SJO - that rarely affects the price) - you'll pay for it.

(again - this is just MY observations after 15 years in the travel industry on various levels).