Tag Archives: Costa Rica

27 December 2018:
Puntarenas, Costa Rica:
Pura Vida

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We arrived in hot and muggy Puntarenas this morning and I went with a group of guests into the rainforest where we jumped off about a dozen perfectly good trees.

We were, of course engaging in the entertainment known as zip-lining. It’s a lot of fun and not nearly as scary as bungee jumping or parachuting.

Strapped into a harness and attached to not one but two separate steel cables above, participants glide through the jungle as if we we belonged there.

Just to make things interesting more interesting, at the bottom of the zip-line course was the Tarcoles River, it’s banks lined with crocodiles. An active imagination might lead you to think they were hoping for someone dropping off the zipline, but we did not oblige them.

Photo by Corey Sandler, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

Costa Rica, like Panama–and Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, the United States, and Canada–has ports on both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

There is only one canal, though.

The other countries have done the best they can with roads and railways to transfer products from one ocean to another.

Puntarenas here in Costa Rica was once the country’s principal port, but it was on the wrong side when it came to trade with the east coast of the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe. Over the past century, a railroad and then highways were built to climb up and over the Continental Divide to bring bananas, other agriculture, minerals, and more from one side to the other.

Modern Costa Rica has devoted much of its economy to sustainable and green industries and ecotourism. And the country–not quite perfect in its government and social services, but far ahead of nearly all of its neighbors–is doing well,

In fact, they have their own all-purpose expression of contentment: Pura Vida. Think of it as “all is well” or hakuna matata.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

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Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

17 October 2017:
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica:
The Atlantic Side of the Rich Coast

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Buenos dias.

¿Cómo vas?

¿Pura vida?

Muy bien, gracias a Dios.

There’s your basic meet-and-greet for Ticos, also known as Costa Ricans.

Good day.

How are things going?

Pura vida?

Very well, thank God.

The one phrase you might not have recognized is one that pretty well sums up the Costa Rican character.

Pura vida.

Literally, it translates as pure life, except in proper Spanish that would be vida pura.

He looks cool, at least from a distance.

The Costa Rican expression is the rough equivalent of “full of life” or “real life” or “cool.” Or perhaps, hakuna matata.

It’s an all-purpose phrase, used as a greeting and a farewell. You can use it to say thanks, or to express satisfaction. It’s hard to use it wrong.

The phrase arrived in Costa Rica in 1956 in a Mexican movie. In that film, pura vida was the expression of eternal optimism by a character who can’t seem to do anything right.

Here is Costa Rica, though, they seem to be doing many, many things quite right.

It’s a special place, notably different from its neighbors in Central America in lots of good ways.

Since 1948, Costa Rica is arguably the most stable democracy in Central America and among the better-functioning longstanding governments in the world.

Nearly universal literacy, national health care, an economy that has moved on from agriculture to ecotourism.

No army, no navy, no air force. Just a civilian police force.

It helps to have some friends with benefits, including the United States, available in an emergency.

We’re coming in to the Atlantic or Caribbean side of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica (the Rich Coast) is one of eight countries to have ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific: Canada, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia…and Panama.

And when we leave Puerto Limon, it is to Panama where we shall head, for our luxurious passage between the seas.

A STEAMY FIELD OF DREAMS

In a typical Major League Baseball game in the United States and Canada, an average of 100 baseballs are used.

Why so many? Some become scruffed or dirty in play, some go into the seats as foul balls, and a few make their way over the fence for a home run. The average lifespan of a baseball is just two plays.

And it is essential that—as much as possible—that all baseballs are close to identical: the same size, weight, and construction.

A Rawlings factory was established in Costa Rica in 1987, and it served as the exclusive provider of baseballs for the major leagues until 2013.

The factory is in Turrialba, east of the capital city of San Jose up in the mountains of Costa Rica and they make about 2.4 million baseballs per year, the vast majority of which are shipped to the United States.

The baseballs are mostly made by hand by three hundred qualified sewers, the best of whom can make three balls per hour. They earn less than $100 per week, making balls for athletes who earn many millions of dollars throwing, catching, or hitting.

The balls are made of horsehide or cowhide, tightly held together 108 hand stitches around a rubber wrapped cork center. Each ball, between 9 and 9¼ inches in circumference, weigh 5¼ ounces. must have 108 perfect stitches.

Despite the major production of baseballs, the sport itself is not very popular in Costa Rica. The leading sport is football, although many athletes here are very well aware of the success of players who have come from nearby Panama (Mariano Rivera), Nicaragua, Cuba, and hundreds from the Dominican Republic where the production of baseball players is a major industry.

Earlier this year, the Houston Astros signed 19-year-old pitching prospect Bryan Solano, born and raised here in Puerto Limon. He likely will have five or more years of work in the minor leagues, with hopes of someday taking the mound in a major league game.

But I could not pass up the chance to visit El Estadio de Beisbol in steamy Puerto Limon today to pay homage to a field of dreams.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

23 April 2015
 Puntarenas, Costa Rica: Living La Pura Vida

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We arrived at our first port in the Pacific on a steamy morning in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. And then it got hotter: 92 degrees,  and if there is such a thing as more than 100 percent humidity,  this must be what it feels like.

We have been here many times,  up in the mountains,  along the rivers,  tothevolcanoes.  Today we stayed local,  slowly making our way around the town of Puntarenas,  a place that does not see all that many tourists. But we know we can count on friendly times amongst the Ticos.

Pura Vida, no matter the heat.

23 APRIL 2015, PUNTARENAS

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Costa Rica means “rich coast.”

Yet another thing that Christopher Columbus got wrong.

First of all, Costa Rica has two coasts: Atlantic and Pacific.

And secondly, Columbus was a guy who believed in wishful thinking.

As we know, he was looking for India when he landed in the Bahamas, and so he called the islands there the West Indies.

And when Columbus sailed through the Caribbean to the dead end of Central America, he was looking for the Panama Canal…or a natural strait through the isthmus.

On September 18, 1502, Columbus set anchor offshore of Costa Rica, and Carib Indians paddled out in canoes to deliver a peaceful greeting.

Columbus was looking for gold, and that’s the “rich” part of the name: there just had to be gold somewhere.

Costa Rica has managed to survive the Spanish Conquistadors, the American filibusters who came south in hopes of annexing Central America, corrupt or venal politicians, United Fruit and its “banana republics” and various other indignities.

Today, the gold in Costa Rica is green. To their great credit the Ticos have decided their future lies in gently making use of the vast ecological treasures of the nation: rain forests, estuaries, mountains, volcanoes, and wild life.

A PUNTARENAS ALBUM

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All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS