Proposed Canal Seco Could Be Approved Before End of 2017

The Costa Rica Team, Charles Boyd

It is the most ambitious project in the country’s history. It is Canal Seco, a Dry Channel that would include 315 kilometers of a road with10 lanes and 2 rail lines to mobilize cargo. That would make Costa Rica a world leader in product transportation.

The plan of the Costa Rican authorities is to build a system capable of unloading the goods, transporting them and reloading them in less than 30 hours, said the secretary of the National Council of Concessions (CNC) Tico, Silvia Jiménez. Costa Rica’s Cansec company already has foreign investors that will finance the 16 billion dollars, according to press secretary Lucía D’Ambrosio, Cansec’s executive president, without publicly identifying them.

 

International Advantages

“There are advantages in the international situation, such as the low interest rates that make it attractive to invest in this project,” Jiménez told EL PAÍS.

Costa Rica is very close to the shipping routes, it has an ideal topography in its northern plains. In addition, being a dry channel, would allow to handle very large ships that right now do not pass through Panama despite its recent expansion….it would reduce the waiting times, because they only have to download or load, and this is a huge difference in their costs,” added the secretary of the CNC.

The authorities at all times avoided referring to the project as a competition to the newly remodeled Panama Canal, and considered both complementary. In the other neighboring country with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the plan to build a wet canal between the two oceans is still underway, with a project commissioned in controversial conditions by Chinese businessman Wang Jing.

 

Feasibility To Be Determined

Pre-feasibility studies are now ready. The National Concessions Council asked the company for an update of the data, as well as establishing a trust to keep control over expenses.

“We made the determination of the costs that we require to do the technical accompaniment of the project and we are waiting for the confirmation from Cansec. The total amount of the trust is provided by private companies and exceeds $ 10 million, “said Silvia Sánchez, of the National Concessions Council.

Cansec must submit the pre-feasibility study before one year.

“Once the feasibility is demonstrated in the legal, environmental, technical, economic and financial area, the administration will decide whether to tender the project,” said Silvia Sánchez of the National Concessions Council.

“Development borders the reserve areas. There is an important capital destined and technology of tip to increase the conservation. The way in which it is sustained reflects with all the certainty of the case that conservation and development can exist, “said Lucia D’Ambrossio, representative of Cansec.

By the end of 2017 Costa Rica will know if the country will have a dry channel. If the project progresses as planned and if accepted by the authorities, it could become a reality in 2023.

Watch the fascinating video of the visualization of project CANSEC at this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueWx7heWdKU

 

 

New International Metropolitan Airport Gets Green Light

The Costa Rica Team

The new airport will be built on 1500 hectares in Orotina

Last month it was widely reported that Costa Rican government officials had received the “Overall Design and Masterplan” for the New International Metropolitan Airport from Mott MacDonald Limited. The British global management firm is also well known for its engineering and development consulting. The location study and master plan includes 2,829 pages on 24 technical studies. At least 120 professionals participated, including 80 Costa Ricans.

 

In most recent news, plans have been confirmed that the first stage of the project is ready to be implemented in 2018. Estimated completion of the first stage is 2027, when the airport is expected to achieve operating status. The 3.5 billion dollar project in the the Alajuela canton of Orotina is just 60 km, or 37 miles, away from San Jose. Carlos Villalta, Minister at MOPT (Public Works and Transportation) explains that it is being financed through a public-private alliance as the government does not have all the resources to fund it.

 

WHY OROTINA?

According to MOPT`s Technical Council of Civil Aviation, the location of Orotina is ideal for an airport of the proposed magnitude. Building a terminal on a site just slightly above sea level allows a succession of both aerial and business advantages like the allowance of more cargo on planes. Further destinations can also be reached. Wind studies, topography, land availability, terrain, flight procedures, environment factors and acoustic obtrusion all play a role in the determination of location and orientation of plans. Access and the developments in surrounding areas are also considered. The experts at Mott MacDonald conclude that Orotina offers unique opportunities for developing the project in ways that will enhance connectivity between ports and airports through infrastructure.

Charles Boyd

Studies conclude that Orotina is an ideal location for the New International Metropolitan Airport

The proposed project will cover an area of 1500 hectares (15 square km) and be completed in three stages. The government will buy three hundred and seventy private properties for building the project, according to a decree signed by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solìs late May.

Carlos Segnini, a former Transport Minister and the project coordinator, estimated a budget of $41.3 million for all the properties. This is based on the technical report by Mott MacDonald.

 

INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIREMENTS

The study confirmed the necessary expansion of Route 27 for the operation of the new terminal. The firm estimates that Route 27 currently allows passage of up to 2,165 people during rush hour. This needs to increase to an allowance of at least 3,685 people. Mott MacDonald recommends building a new highway in Alajuela to connect Pozòn and San Ramòn. Additionally train infrastructure to connect Orotina to San Jose, ideally near La Sabana Par, will be necessary.

 

“Our country builds its present and its future with responsibility and optimism.” – Luis Guillermo Solìs, President

HOW WILL SJO BE AFFECTED?

Departure level – Juan Santamaria Airport SJO

The Juan Santamaria Airport SJO) in Alajuela endured renovation and expansion this year. The terminal administrator alluded to a $100 million investment in coming years, including the expansion of the runway. Tourism Minister Mauricio Ventura acknowledged that of the almost 3 million people entering Costa Rica in 2016, 70 percent arrived by air.

Today, SJO operates flights from 27 airlines to some 70 international connections.Once the new international terminal begins operating, Juan Santamarìa Airport will be used chiefly for local flights, and flights made by small aircrafts and jets. It would also act as an alternative in case of emergency situations. 

“Air terminals are the main ports of entry to our country and for that reason we applaud this effort.”  –  Tourism Minister, Mauricio Ventura 

 

THE LONG HAUL

According to the study, when the first stage is concluded the traffic estimated is 7.8 million passengers for the first year of operation. In twenty years this number could grow to 15.2 million people, perhaps even 20 million in 2047, and 50 million by the end of the century. The new airport would have the capacity to operate at least 38 flights per hour: 21 departures and 17 arrivals.

Charlie Boyd

“Night view” of the proposed New International Metropolitan Airport

Once the airport is operating at full capacity it is expected to generate close to 80,000 direct, indirect, and related jobs. This could ultimately contribute $1.5 billion to the GNP, ironically the same amount of money initially paid to the Mott MacDonald firm for the Overall Design and Master Plan.

Mauricio Ventura applauds the New International Metropolitan Airport and reinforces that the project is supported by the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT). “ We will continue to grow as a first-class tourism destination. It (the airport) will provide the appropriate conditions to attract investment and the growth of exports.”  he stated.

*New airport photos via Casa Presidencial*

 

 

 

Medical Tourism Directory: Helping International Patients in Costa Rica

Claire Charnock and her husband David, founders of MediTourDirect S.A., have been living in Costa Rica for almost nine years. They were attracted to Costa Rica’s biodiversity and the fact it is a great place to raise children. Having grown up in Ireland, Claire draws a similarity between the people of both countries. “The people here are God-fearing. They are welcoming, respectful and have a great level of education on how to treat people,” she says.

The Costa Rica Team supports the Medical Tourism Directory

David and Claire Charnock, Co-Founders of MediTourDirect, enjoy family time in Costa Rica. “It´s a great place to raise children.”

In early 2013 they noticed the changes in the U.S. Healthcare System. They looked at the different websites which promoted Costa Rica as an ideal place for medical tourism. The Charnocks discovered a need for a medical tourism directory that would provide potential clients with quality information in English. There are many variables to consider when planning a medical procedure overseas. Having answers and options at your fingertips is invaluable. The couple attended several medical tourism conferences in both the U.S. and Canada to promote the quality health services offered in Costa Rica. By combining Claire’s background in international business, logistics and finance with David`s international management, sales and marketing skills, MediTourDirect S.A. was formed. Medical Tourism Costa Rica now holds the page one Google position for Medical Tourism in Costa Rica and worldwide.

 

Why More U.S. and Canadian Citizens Choose Costa Rica

The healthcare system in Costa Rica is ranked slightly higher than that of the U.S. The savings on most procedures when compared to the costs in the U.S. are significant. Additionally, Costa Rica has an abundance of retreats and hotels offering prime post operative care in exquisite locations. Why wouldn´t you choose Costa Rica for a medical tourism trip?

THe Costa Rica Team and Medical Tourism Directory

More medical tourism travellers continue to choose Costa Rica. Accredited healthcare professionals meet the highest standards.

Many citizens of the U.S. pick choose Costa Rica as their medical tourism destination simply because it is less expensive. With savings anywhere from 30% – 80%, a large number of clients pay out of pocket. In Canada, there can be anywhere from a 1 ½ to 2 year waiting for certain procedures, such as weight loss surgery and orthopedics. As a result, many Canadians come to Costa Rica to get quicker attention and quality service at an affordable price.

“Costa Rica has a wealth of quality providers equipped and ready to make the medical traveller to Costa Rica, feel both welcome and extremely well-cared for. We aim to bring you quality information on quality providers of medical tourism so you can easily plan your medical trip to Costa Rica.”

  • Claire Charnock,  CEO  and Co Founder of MediTourDirect S.A.

 

How To Use Medical Tourism Directory

The Costa Rica Team supports Medical Tourism Directory

Verdeza, located in Escazu, is one of the best post-operative recovery facilities

Everything to consider when planning a medical tourism trip can be found in one place.  Discover listings of accredited U.S. and Canada healthcare facilities along with post recovery options. Depending on the type of procedure or surgery, your trip may entail ample time set aside to recover. The website includes post surgery recovery options, like Verdeza, only two blocks from CIMA, the leading hospital in Costa Rica. Las Cumbres Inn is a recovery center with many years of experience just 10 mins from CIMA in the hills of Escazu.

 

Retreats, Spas and Tours 

If the treatment you undergo does not require surgery and extended care, you may opt to spend some down time at a retreat center or spa. If you want to explore some of the beautiful attractions of Costa Rica, you can find tour operator information on the Directory page..

THe Costa RIca Team supports Medical Tourism Directory

Medical Tourism Directory includes listings for retreats and spas

Medical Tour Agencies are also featured. These agencies can assist you with all the details of your trip from the moment your plane touches down. Conclusively, MediTourDirect serves as a liason between the traveller and the people he or she should be in touch with. Quality contacts at your fingertips.

Most of the people that Meditourdirect  help use the toll free number on the website or email the providers directly via one of their 7 websites including www.medicaltourismcostarica.com Phone calls and emails are returned within 24 hours. The toll free number is 1-888-743-3201. In Costa Rica call (506) 8335-1737.

 

Transworld Health

In November 2016, Claire and David were appointed as the Central and South American CEOs and Vice Presidents of Sales & Marketing of Transworld Health. This appointment and commitment to Transworld Health was the result of a visit to Costa Rica by its leadership team. The team recognized the quality contacts and relationships that the Charnocks have established through MediTourDirect during the last 4 years.

Claire and David are now an integral part of Transworld Health’s unique global health solutions. Costa Rica is esteemed highly as a Transworld Health center of international excellence. Consequently, Transworld Health has contracted the finest hospitals, clinics and well being centers, as ‘partners’ in the provision of global health solutions. Soon Transworld Health will be sending patients to Costa Rica from Australia and New Zealand followed by US and Canada and then Europe.

 

We are delighted to have joined Transworld Health’s global venture and excited to be part of a team delivering quality medical care and health services here in Costa Rica.”

David Charnock, VP Sales & Marketing, Central and South America Transworld Health.

Claire adds, “We are amazed and delighted how Medical Tourism Directory has led to so many opportunities for us to help international patients here in our adopted country of Costa Rica’.

 

Medical Tourism in Costa Rica: Questions For Doctors

The Costa Rica Team is proud of Costa Rica´`s reputation for medical tourism

Costa Rica is home to some of the finest medical professionals in the world

You may have already decided to have one or more medical procedures or surgeries done abroad in Costa Rica. In our last article we compared the costs for various treatments performed here with the costs for the same procedures in the U.S. Overall, the savings average anywhere from thirty to seventy percent. With the worldwide medical tourism market growing at a rate of 15 to 25%, why wouldn´t you choose Costa Rica? Ranked in the top five countries for medical tourism among Americans, cosmetic surgery and dental care are still the most popular. As with any medical procedure, the medical professionals are a key source of information.

What To Ask Doctors

Patients Beyond Borders provides some important questions you should ask when considering treatment abroad.

How many patients with my condition have you treated?

Find out how many general procedures a hospital has performed, and ask how many specific treatments for your condition your doctor has personally conducted.

What are the fees for an initial consultation?

Some consultations are free, while others require a flat fee that is deducted from the bill if you choose to have treatment.

■ Do you practice alone or with others? Do you practice in a clinic or hospital?

Find a physician who practices among a group of certified professionals with a broad range of related skills.

Who does the surgery, you or other doctors in your practice?

Get written assurance that the surgeon you specify, and not an associate, will perform the procedure.

 

Should You Bring A Companion

You may prefer to travel with a partner, family member or friend when embarking on a medical tourism excursion. Even if you prefer not to, you can still be assured of remarkable quality of care and attention. The best hospitals offer low nurse-to-patient ratios and a host of staffers. Orderlies, physician’s assistants, and dieticians will attend to you diligently.

“If you’re not planning to travel with a companion, we strongly recommend you engage the services of a health travel agency that offers concierge services. A good agent is with you almost daily, particularly at the more stressful junctures, such as arrival in-country, medical consultations, and immediately before and after a surgical procedure.”

—Excerpted from Patients Beyond Borders World Edition

Please enjoy the following video courtesy of Placidway Medical Tourism.

Video 

 

 

 

Medical Tourism In Costa Rica Part 1: Comparing Costs

This is a follow up to the overview we did on the health care system in Costa Rica, including Medical Tourism. As the first of a three part series, we compare the difference in costs of various medical procedures performed in the United States and Costa Rica.

The Costa Rica Team

Costa Rica`s health care system in ranked slightly higher than that of the U.S.

Costa Rica has a quality health care system that ranks among the top Latin American countries. The World Health Organization ranks Costa Rica’s health care system slightly above that of the U.S. This is the result of a large government investment in the health sector. The location is an ideal destination for medical tourists from the U.S. and Canada. English is spoken by the doctors, so a language barrier is not an issue. Finally, the family oriented culture of Costa Rica makes it a friendly place. Visitors can be assured of a warm welcome and top notch hospitality.

So how do costs compare and what kind of savings can you expect? The following chart compares costs for medical procedures in both countries, which includes the average savings.

 

Cost of Medical Treatment in Costa Rica

 

Medical Procedures
Procedure USA Costa Rica Average Savings
Heart Bypass Up to $130,000 $24,000 70-80%
Heart Valve Replacement Up to $160,000 $15,000 80-90%
Angioplasty Up to $57,000 $9,000 70-80%
Hip Replacement Up to $43,000 $12,000 60-70%
Hysterectomy Up to $20,000 $4,000 70-80%
Knee Replacement Up to $40,000 $11,000 60-70%
Spinal Fusion Up to $62,000 $25,000 50-60%
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Procedure USA Costa Rica Average Savings
Facelift $7,000-$9,000 $4,600 $5,000 30-40%
Rhinoplasty $8,000-$12,000 $3,500 $3,900 50-65%
Breast Lift $5,000-$8,000 $3,000 $3,400 40-55%
Breast Augmentation $5,000-$8,000 $2,700 $2,900 50-65%
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery) $4,000-$5,500 $2,000 – $2,200 50-60%
Brazilian Butt Surgery Up to $10,000 $3,000 – $3,300 55-65%
Tummy Tuck $6,000-$8,500 $3,900 $4,200 45-50%
Facelift $7,000-$9,000 $4,600 $5,000 35-45%
Male Breast Reduction Up to $6,000 $2000 – $2600 50-60%
Bariatric Surgery
Procedure USA Costa Rica Average Savings
Laparoscopic Gastroplasty Up to $30,000 $10,500 55-65%
Laparoscopic Gastroplasty Up to $30,000 $10,500 55-65%
General and Cosmetic Dentistry
Procedure USA Costa Rica Average Savings
Bridges $1,000+ per tooth $250 $400 per tooth 60-70%
Crowns $1,000+ per tooth $250 – $400 per tooth 60-70%
Implants $3,500+ per tooth $700 $900 per tooth 70-80%
Porcelain Veneers $1,500+ per tooth $300 $500 per tooth 65-80%
Root canal Up to $800 $315 55-60%
Teeth whitening Up to $700 $250 55-65%

Medical Tourism Savings Summary

The largest savings are found in the first category including major medical procedures like a hip replacement, heart bypass, hysterectomy and angioplasty. You can expect a savings of between 50 – 90% for these procedures. The largest savings noted is for a heart valve replacement, which can cost up to $160,000 in the U.S. In Costa Rica, however, the same procedure costs as little as $16,000.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, savings range from 30% for a face lift to 65% for breast augmentation. An eyelid surgery that costs $4000 to $5500 in the United States can be accomplished for $2000 – $2200 here in Costa Rica. These are significant savings. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, growth in the area of cosmetic surgery increased 3% in 2016,

Finally, you can save 55 – 70% on cosmetic dentistry procedures. According to Toursim Review Online Magazine, the most common dental procedures in order of popularity are dental crowns, bridges, implants, root canal work and veneers.

The Costa Rica Team

Cosmetic Dentistry continues to surge in popularity in Costa Rica

 

Around 15 percent of international tourists come specifically to take advantage of Costa Rica`s medical services. Cosmetic surgery and dental care are the most popular. The nation is among the top five visited by Americans for medical treatment. Patiets Beyond Borders estimates that the worldwide medical tourism market is growing at a rate of 15 . 25%

 

 

New Infrastructure Celebrated At Volcano Irazu National Park

The Costa Rica Team supports the new infrastructure at Irazu Volcano

Irazu Volcano has the highest point in the Central Valley

The inauguration of the new infrastructure in Volcano Irazu National Park was inaugurated by the Costa Rican government last Friday. Tourists can now enjoy the new facilities including access control points, parking areas, an exhibition room, and the Potrero Cerrado Viewpoint.

The total investment of $872,809.00 USD was executed by the Tourism Program Strengthening Project. It was consolidated under a loan contract by the Costa Rican Government and the Inter-American Development Bank. The objective of improving the current touristic infrastructure and the development of new construction projects was successfully reached. 

The Costa Rica Team supports the new infrastructure at Volcano Irazy

More visitors are expected this year at Volcano Irazu National Park

The Costa Rica Team enjoys taking time to explore the national parks of Costa Rica

Volcano Irazu National Park is located almost in the center of Costa RIca

More Visitors Expected

“With this new infrastructure, the Environmental Administration expects to attract more visitors. As a result, it will have higher income and financial sustainability for both the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and the Protected Wildlife Areas. All these improvements translate into a social-economic and environmental benefit for the municipality and the nearby communities”, stated Mario Coto Hidalgo, Executive Director of SINAC.

Make sure to see the beautiful crater Diego de la Haya

The small crater of Volcano Irazu, Diego de la Haya

 

Highest Point in the Central Valley 

The Irazú volcano is the highest volcano in Costa Rica, standing at 3,432 meters above sea level. In fact, it is the highest point in the Central Valley and almost in the center of the country. Besides, you can find easy access to the city of San Jose because the park is close to the city. It is 31 km or 20 miles from Cartago.

Irazu flourishes on 5,705 acres of forest comprised mostly of primary, secondary and cloud forest. There are five craters yet two principal ones near the Volcano`s peak. The larger of these is 900 feet (275 meters) deep and gives visitors at viewing stations an amazing sight as steam rises up into the air. The smaller crater, Diego de la Haya, is 300 feet or 91 meters below the surface. Itss mineral rich lake changes in color from emerald-green to crimson-red.

Visit the volcano in the early morning between December and April to get a good view of the craters. Bring a sweater to take to the summit as it gets cold at such a high elevation. Make sure to take some sunblock too. On a clear day, visitors can see views of both the Pacific and the Caribbean.

 

Costa Rica Secures Second Place For Prosperity

The Global Prosperity Report, based on the Legatum Prosperity Index 2016, places Costa Rica as the second most prosperous country in Latin America. Costa Rica showed the largest improvement in Business Environment and also has the highest export qualities. It is among the most competitive for regulatory environment, which can be defined as bringing order to business practices. The tenth consecutive study by the prestigious Legatum Institute includes the evaluation of 149 countries on variables such as economics, education, entrepreneurship, government, health, individual freedom and security.

Costa Rica performs best in categories of Personal Freedom and Governance

Costa Rica performs best in categories of Personal Freedom and Governance

Personal Freedom

Costa Rica performs best in the Sub- index ratings of Personal Freedom and Governance. Personal Freedom measures the national progress towards basic legal rights, individual freedom and social tolerance. Governance measures effective governance, democracy and political participation. The country earned 19th place overall for Personal Freedom while the U.S.A finished in 26th position. Costa Rica scored 31st in the Governance category out of the 149 countries assessed.

Global Prosperity

According to the report, Uruguay holds the number one spot for prosperity in Latin America. With Costa Rica in second, third place honors go to Chile, followed by Panama and finally Argentina. New Zealand is the most prosperous nation of all 149 countries evaluated. Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Canada furthermore comprise the remaining top five.

Business Environment contributes to Costa Rica`s Prosperity

Multi-national food company Cargill employs 5000 in Costa Rica

Global Prosperity is at its highest point in the past decade, up three percent from 2007. Driving this trend are improvements in Health and Education, Personal Freedom and better Business Environment. Costa Rica is certainly pulling its weight by ranking 29th overall of all the countries evaluated.

In related news, multi-national food company Cargill confirmed investment in Costa Rica by 2020. It produces for local consumption as well as for export through Central America. Cargill already has two successful facilities in Costa Rica and is still growing. More and more companies are moving their businesses to Costa Rica which might be attributed to its lucrative business environment.

Costa Rica Proves Its Pura Vida Reputation

To help expats find success fast in the move abroad, the global community network InterNations recently conducted their annual Expat Insider 2016 survey.  Respondents made up of more than 14,000 expats from 191 countries, rated a number of aspects about life abroad. Costa Rica finished in sixth place overall out of 67 countries. Topics included how easy it was to settle in, a country’s friendliness and ease of making friends.

Costa Rica welcomes expats in Pura Vida style

Costa Rica welcomes expats in Pura Vida style

“We talked to residents in the countries ranked high for friendliness to find out what makes these places so hospitable to newcomers,” says InterNations in its report.

While English is widely spoken, learning Spanish will get you far with the locals, said David Black. Black is an InterNations Ambassador who lives in Santa Ana, 15km west of the capital San Jose, and is originally from the UK. “If you make an effort to understand and embrace the Costa Rican culture, you are very much welcomed with open arms and considered a friend.” he noted.

Playa Jaco continues to be a popular expat destination

Playa Jaco continues to be a popular destination for expat

Popular Destinations

While expat retirees flock to beach locations like Guanacaste in the northwest and Jaco and Manuel Antonio, both in the central west, many professional expats live in the Central Valley near San Jose.  According to the InterNations 188 page report, 35% of the respondents stated that their main motivation for relocation is career-related. Escazu and Santa Ana are both popular areas particularly among North American and European expats.

Escazu´s Central Valley is a popular choice among North American and European residents

Escazu´s Central Valley is a popular choice among North American and European residents

Costa Rica received an overall ranking of 6th among 67 countries included in the 2016 survey. Forty three different aspects were graded on a scale of 1 – 7. Personal satisfaction was stressed in the rating process which gave equal weight to emotional topics, like friendliness of the locals, and factors such as the affordability of healthcare.

 

The Welcoming Attitude of Pura Vida

Costa Rica scored in the top five for the categories of Feeling Welcome, Friendliness, and Finding Friends. The Pura Vida country finished fourth in the ranking of Feeling Welcome. Additionally,  the country moved from a sixth place score for Ease of Settling In to a second place finish in 2016.

 

Nine out of ten respondents claimed to be pleased with the friendliness of the locals (in Costa Rica). This is noteworthy since globally only 26% reported being completely satisfied with this factor. Furthermore, Eight out of ten people admitted to feeling at home.

Taiwan finished in first place out of the 67 countries surveyed, taking down Ecuador. Ecuador held the top spot in both 2014 and 2015 but dropped to third. Rounding out the top five countries are Malta, Mexico and New Zealand. Costa Rica´s sixth place ranking puts the Pura Vida paradise among the cream of the crop. We encourage you to come check it out for yourself.

Rumors Put To Rest About Irazu Snowfall

You may have heard through social media that it snowed last Friday at the Irazù Volcano. Snow in Costa Rica? Photos were published of the white layer of ice that covered the areas surrounding the gigantic landmark. It definitely looks like snow. Nonetheless, Eladio Solano of the National Meteorology Institute, declared that the phenomenon was caused by a strong hail. The hail fell over the region of Santa Rosa de Oreamuno, in Cartago. Solano stated, “Our atmosphere does not have the kind of conditions needed for it to be able to snow.” Irazu is the highest active volcano in Costa Rica.

A giant hail storm created the appearance of snow at Irazu Volcano

A giant hail storm created the appearance of snow at Irazu Volcano

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

The news of the strong hail that fell Friday afternoon on Irazù Volcano spread yesterday on facebook. The official Facebook profile of Irazù Volcano National Park published some photographs in which you can see what clearly appears to be snow. Rumors circulated about the white mantle that covered sidewalks and public accesses. Solano confirmed that the appearance was created by a great quantity of small hailstones. which looked like snow.

 

Daniel Nuñez, Irazu National Park official, also reported that the hailstorm began around 3:30 pm. He said it was very intense and lasted about twenty minutes. Nuñez added that the phenomenon will increase the visitation to the park. Yesterday around 400 people showed up for entrance inside. People seemed very surprised and made inquiries when there was no snow to be found.

 

One of the beautiful craters of Irazu Volcano on a clear day

One of the beautiful craters of Irazu Volcano on a clear day

Seeing Clearly Now

To the disenchantment of the spectators, the volcano remained clear. However, it only rained a little between 11:00 and 1:00 p.m. This is not the first time for a strange occurrence of nature like this in Costa Rica. Two months ago, a strong hailstorm surprised the residents of Heredia and also generated comments through social media.

Go To Irazu Anyway

The Costa Rica Team encourages tourists to visit Irazu Volcano and get a glimpse of its beautiful craters and see breathtaking views. Irazu has the reputation of being the most visited national park in Costa Rica. There are tours, trail and lodges available nearby. In order to get the best views of one of the craters you should go early morning. With this in mind, between December and April are the ideal months. Irazù Volcano is often above the clouds due to it´s high elevation. As a result, the sun may be shining on one of its craters although it neglects the rest of the valley.

The volcano Irazu last erupted in 1963, coinciding with former U.S. President Kennedy´s first visit to the country. Not surprisingly, it continues to be a must see destination on any visit to beautiful Costa Rica.

The Allure of Orchids: 14th Annual Show This Weekend:

orchidsmonteverdeguriantheskinneriHave you ever met anyone who does not like orchids? Orchids have an allure that sets them apart from other flower species. Considered to be among the most beautiful flowers of the entire plant kingdom, orchids are exotic. They have three brightly colored petals with the middle petal enlarged into a lip, differing from the others in shape and color. Costa Rica is famous for being the home to more than 1400 species of orchids. This weekend, the Acosta Orchid Association will hold its 14th Annual Orchid Show in the gymnasium of the Desamparados Olympic Village from Friday, February 17th through Sunday, February 19th from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 pm. The is show is one of the country´s largest orchid displays and open to the public.

One of the many species of orchids in Monteverde´s Orchid Garden

One of the many species of orchids in Monteverde´s Orchid Garden

Orchids can be surprisingly difficult to see in the wild. Usually you need a guide just to spot a dozen after a full day in the forest. Most orchids are epiphytic, which means they grow high in the canopy attached to tree trunks and branches out of sight. Orchids are not parasitic; they are actually air plants that attach themselves to a tree´s bark. Each type of orchid has a special fungus that is an important part of its lifecycle. Without the fungus, the orchid seed cannot grow. You can find over 50 orchid species growing in a single tree in Costa Rica.

orchidsmonteverde1

The well known Monteverde Cloud Forest has its own Orchid Garden where you can discover a collection of more than 460 species of orchids. On average, 120 plants bloom each day. They offer a guided tour that teaches about the structure of the plant, natural habitat and various fragrances. You will also learn some basic tips for taking care of orchids. 80% of natural orchids around the world are miniature and can be smaller than two cm (centimeters) wide. The largest part of Monteverde´s orchid collection is made up of small orchids that are native to the region of Monteverde. The tour is outdoors and the staff tries to maintain all the plants in a natural habitat. They assimilate the forest where the orchids are originally from.

orchidharvard-papers-in-botany-ln_lncima20170110_0006_1_0

This species of orchid called Sobralia turrialbina was cultivated in the region of Turrialba

For those of you who really love orchids, you should visit Lankester Gardens, near Cartago, San Jose, where they have more than 800 species on display. Furthermore, they are leading the fight to protect orchids and educate the public.

It’s quite common for orchid thieves to chop orchids out of their native habitat so they can take them home to grow in the garden. Just like putting wild parrots in cages, this is illegal in Costa Rica.

orchidflyer

The Acosta Orchid Association (ASACO) meets regularly throughout the year. Many orchids are plain until they flower, and many only flower for a day or two in a year. If you head to this weekend´s exposition you will have an exciting opportunity to have an up-close study of these exquisite and exotic plants. General admission to the exposition is 2000 colones (less that $4) while senior citizens pay 1500 colones. Although we are doubtful there will be orchids for sale, perhaps you will be inspired to grow your own.