When thinking on the history of Guanacaste, it’s hard to believe a glitzy tourist town like Tamarindo is arguably its most popular destination. Chorotega native… Continue reading →
When thinking on the history of Guanacaste, it’s hard to believe a glitzy tourist town like Tamarindo is arguably its most popular destination. Chorotega native americans lived in this Tico territory before the Spanish conquest, but closer to the eastern shore of the Nicoya Gulf. The 18th Century saw cattle farms and the baptizing of the province as Guanacaste, named for the famous sprawling tree.
This province was also originally in the hands of Nicaragua following the Spanish exit, but was annexed to Costa Rica in 1824 — perhaps the beginning to political boundary disputes between the squabbling national neighbors. In fact, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega has even apparently said he wouldn’t rule out seeking an International Court ruling to get Guanacaste back. (Spoiler alert: That would never happen, Danny Boy.) Meantime, some Guanacasteco politicians have even pondered separating from Costa Rica due to what they claim is unfair treatment from San José considering the tourism dollars the province brings to the nation.
Politics aside, all 6,000-some square miles of mostly arid land and 400 miles of coastline continue to remain with Costa Rica. And in Tamarindo, you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know you were in Costa Rica. Continue reading →
The world is huge. There’s so much to see in a lifetime, that you could easily avoid the rougher edges if you wish. Foreign excursions can be limited to all inclusive resorts or just Canada.* That’s fine if that’s your bag.
For me, it’s not enough. In fact, I find a certain lure in a discouraged destination. These are typically places that are discouraged because of leftover baggage from older generations (Cold War nostalgia) or due to overly simplistic international representations in local media. If there’s one thing American media doesn’t do well (and there are too many to list here), it’s solid international coverage. Thus we’re unfairly left with a bad image of the world, at best exploring postcard destinations.** Continue reading →
It was about 7:30 in the morning when Volcán Arenal’s alarm clock went off on Monday July 29, 1968, blanketing a region of 15 square kilometers in volcanic rock, lava and ash. A whopping 232 square kilometers were damaged in some respect, including crops and surrounding forests. 82 people in Arenal’s path lost their lives that day as rocks spewed as far as a mile away. These rocks reportedly hit speeds of 600 meters per second — a geological fastball that sounds as utterly terrifying as any other horror Mother Earth is able to cook up.
In the aftermath, the villages of Tabacon, Pueblo Nuevo and San Luis were gone. La Fortuna, appropriately named given the circumstances, survived to become the center of the region. Tourism has since flourished in the region as the volcano has since simmered down, notwithstanding a handful of smaller explosions through the start of the 21st Century. Today it remains closely monitored as one of the most active volcanos in the world as tourists continue to flock in record numbers to Arenal, or as the local indigenous populations once knew it, the God of Fire. Continue reading →