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Living the Pursuit of Happiness? Forbes Says: Move to Costa Rica.

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Those of us who’ve already packed our bags and made Costa Rica home already know the answer – Costa Rica is a hell of a great place to live. Happiness, longevity and a healthy lifestyle are part of the game here. Residents live measurably longer lifespans and enjoy a blissfully calm, laid-back pace of life that keeps people grounded, centered and just plan happy the majority of their days.

 

According to a recent article published by Forbes Magazine, Costa Rica once again topped the list of happiest countries in an international poll. As part of a course called, “The Science of Happiness” put out by UC Berkeley, approximately 40,000 students across the globe took a survey reporting happiness levels. The outcome wasn’t surprising – Costa Rica scored high in cross-national happiness measures.

 

As the article explains, Costa Rica may not be the richest country out there when it comes to GDP, but all the research indicates a nation’s well-being and happiness may not be accurately measured using GDP as a standard. Even the US, which has a GDP about 4 times higher than Costa Rica, ranks 16th in the study based on subjective happiness – much lower than the content country of Costa Rica.

 

Costa Rica scored as the number one happiest country, followed by Croatia, Chile, Malaysia and Colombia. According to the study, these countries shared some similarities – primarily, residents felt less loneliness than reported in other nations. So, it turns out that social connection might indeed trump income when it comes to living a happy life.

 

Perhaps that’s no big epiphany for anyone – but you may still be asking why do people in Costa Rica feel less lonely? For our team at Las Mareas, many of us moved to Costa Rica from countries like the US or Canada and we can help try to explain: Costa Rica is a culture of connection. For those who were born here or those who move to settle, all experience the same strong community ties. Surfing, environmentalism and shared interest blossom in intimate beach towns like Tamarindo. The community is united by common interest among residents. Even if you don’t surf, everyone shares a collective love of the country’s beautiful natural landscape. That is a good feeling.

 

Living here, there is less isolation – less suburbia to separate and divide people from one another. The beach is a communal space and in order to survive here, we all must share and respect the land in every aspect of life. Social ties are strong; family is key and expats are accepted with open arms. It’s a welcoming, relaxed and comfortable social space. When you mix that in with the rejuvenating tropical breezes and crisp salty ocean air, you’ve got a recipe for happiness and longevity.

 

Costa Rica has been ranking one of the top “happy” nations for years. Back in 2009, CNN wrote, “Forget Disneyland! Costa Rica is the happiest place in the world.” Their reasoning came from a study that found, “Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the new world.”

 
That study concluded that Costa Ricans’ happiness comes from living in a place where the economy is centered on people and the environment. We couldn’t say it better ourselves. Like we just mentioned, our experience of Costa Rica is all about connections and the natural landscape. At the end of the day, if you’re fascinated by this research, we invite you to come check it out for yourself. The warm people, the spectacular scenery, the mellow vibes… You may just decide to stay forever!

 

 

Southwest Airlines Will Soon Fly to Costa Rica

Monday, March 18th, 2013

With the plan to build a new international terminal in Houston and the goal of venturing into international markets, Southwest Airlines will be flying to Costa Rica sooner than we might have thought.

According to an article published in the Costa Rican Times on Tuesday, March 12, Southwest set a goal of doubling its number of international flights over the next five years.

 

Southwest, a low-cost airline historically based in the United States, made its first move toward international expansion in 2010 when it acquired AirTran, a smaller rival airline that already flew short-distance overseas destinations.

 

More recently, Southwest announced its plans to build an international terminal in Houston. With construction already underway, we’ll likely be seeing Southwest flights from Houston to Costa Rica sooner than we thought and its safe to assume the prices will be much lower than average.

 

The article also states Southwest is developing several new routes for AirTran, mainly focused on destinations in Mexico, but is also considering opportunities in South America for the future.

 

With JetBlue adding direct flights to Costa Rica and several other airlines already flying straight into Liberia, these new Southwest flights are an exciting new step toward connecting Tamarindo, Guanacaste and Costa Rica as a whole to the U.S. and international travel market. Just a few months ago, the low-cost Canadian airline WestJet announced new direct flights to Costa Rica, and it seems that Southwest might be the U.S.-version next to follow.tian xiao cheng

 

Great news for anyone looking to visit Las Mareas and move a little easier back and forth between Costa Rica and the U.S.

 

Bon voyage!

 

 

Costa Rica: Quick Facts

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Everything you need to know about Costa Rica.

 

Costa Rica in numbers:

  • Population: 4,576,562
  • Area: 19,730 square miles
  • Highest Elevation: 12,533 feet at Chirripo Mountain
  • Average Daily Temperatures:  71°F to 85°F
  • Average Yearly Rainfall: 100 Inches

 

Location: Costa Rica is located 10° north of the equator in Central America and is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. 

 

Climate: No matter what time of year you visit, the weather in Costa Rica can’t be beat. There are two major seasons in Costa Rica – the rainy and the dry. Rainy or “green” season runs from May until early December and is characterized by sunny mornings followed by showers in the afternoons. Dry season, also known as “high” season due to the high numbers of tourists that visit, lasts from mid-December until April. During these months, rain is scarce. The only exception to these seasonal patterns takes place on the Caribbean Coast, where the rainy and dry seasons are opposite to the rest of the country.

 

Geography: From mountains to waterfalls, Costa Rica boasts a diverse geographic range. Volcanoes, lakes, rivers, salt water estuaries, beaches, rain forests and grasslands all help to make up the natural beauty of this unique country. Costa Rica features 5 main mountain ranges with over 50 distinct volcanoes. Today, five volcanoes are active:  Arenal, Irazu, Poas, Rincon de la Vieja and Turrialba. Like States in the U.S., Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces:  Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas and San Jose.

 

Language: The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish. But, in most tourist destinations, signs are translated to English and many people speak both Spanish and English.

 

Time Zone: From March to October, Costa Rica’s time zone is equivalent to Mountain Standard Time. But because there is no daylight savings time in Costa Rica, the rest of the year, the time zone is the same as Central Standard Time.

 

Currency: Costa Rica’s national currency is the colon (CRC), but U.S. dollars are accepted almost everywhere. Although colones have amounts in the thousands, it’s simple to convert colones to dollars by simply multiplying by two – i.e., 2,000 CRC (also written 2.ooo CRC) = $4 or $10.000 CRC = $20. 

 

What is a “Tico?” A ‘Tico‘ is the word Costa Ricans use to describe themselves. The term comes from the cultural custom of many Costa Ricans to  add “ico” or “ito” onto every word, which means “little.” For example, the word ‘perro’ means dog, but ‘perrito’ means little dog. Because Costa Ricans tend to speak this way more than in other Spanish-speaking countries, eventually the word stuck and is now commonly used to refer to someone from Costa Rica. A ‘tico’ is a Costa Rican man and ‘tica’ is a Costa Rican woman. A group of Costa Ricans would be a group of ‘ticos.’

 

Flora & Fauna: Even though its landmass takes up only .03% of the earth’s surface, Costa Rica is home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity including more than 9,000 species of plants, 34,000 species of insects and at least 850 species of birds.

 

Peaceful Relations: Costa Rica has been without an army for over 60 years.

 

 

Getting Here…

Monday, November 5th, 2012

As the cold sets in across North America, that little voice inside your head returns like clockwork – softly tugging on your subconscious migratory instincts begging you to head south for winter. You might find yourself aimlessly Googling things like “cheap Costa Rica vacation” or “tropical family getaway,” only to find yourself lost in the computer screen scrolling through dreamy images of  tranquil turquoise waters, white-sand beaches and lush tropical jungles… Once you rip yourself away from the paradise photo gallery, the list of prices (not including airfare) usually knocks you back to reality. Planning your vacation too often becomes a game of addition as you tack on extras – rental cars, adventure tours, hotel fees – and before you know it, there’s no room in your budget left for the most important extra – airfare to actually arrive at your tropical vacation destination.

 

This year, getting to Costa Rica’s north Pacific region doesn’t have to induce any extra stress. As tourism continues to grow in Guanacaste, so does the number of non-stop flights servicing the region’s newly improved Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia. The airport in Liberia is the second largest in Costa Rica and lucky for us, is located just under an hour’s drive from Tamarindo and Las Mareas.

 

To make your vacation planning process a bit easier, we did some research to come up with a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Liberia from popular hubs across the United States and Canada.

 

Here’s what we found:

 

Direct Flights to Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR):

  • New York, NY (United, JetBlue) – 5 hours
  • Houston, TX (United) – 3.5 hours
  • Atlanta, GA (Delta) – 4 hours
  • Charlotte, NC (US Airways) – 4 hours
  • Dallas, TX (American) – 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Houston, TX (United) – 3.5 hours
  • Miami, FL (American) – 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Denver, CO (Frontier Airlines) – 5 hours
  • Toronto, Canada (Westjet, Air Canada) – 5 hours 25 minutes

One of the most exciting flights on this list is WestJet’s new non-stop flight from Toronto to Liberia, the first to directly connect a major Canadian city to Guanacaste, Costa Rica. WestJet launched its new non-stop service to Liberia with its inaugural flight departing on October 29 at 9:10 a.m. The 5 hour 25 minute flight will depart Toronto twice weekly (Saturday and Monday)… We spoke to a woman today who actually flew on the inaugural flight and she had nothing but positive things to say about the experience. Our verdict… WestJet is the perfect option for Canadians looking to trade in their snowboard for a surfboard this winter.

WestJet

 

A personal favorite is the JetBlue non-stop service from JFK to Liberia, which despite being listed as a 5 to 5.5 hour flight, has never extended the 5 hour mark anytime I’ve made the trip. In fact, JetBlue’s efficiency usually means you’re only in the air around 4 hours and 45 minutes – a chunk of time that passes surprisingly quickly with their free in-flight entertainment system (yes you can still watch movies for free and  complimentary snacks just add to the perks of this airline).

 

Wherever you may be this winter, chances are you can hop a quick domestic flight to one of these international hubs connecting to Liberia. And flying directly to Liberia is well worth the extra effort when you’re closer to home as opposed to flying into San Jose and then figuring out how to make the 5-hour drive to Guanacaste.

 

Be sure to set up your shuttle from the Liberia Airport to Tamarindo before you take off. We recommend using Tamarindo Shuttle, a trusty service that will pick you up from the gate and deliver you straight to your Tamarindo accommodation (Las Mareas of course) for only $20. Contact them at reservations@tamarindoshuttle.com.

Bon voyage,

Suzanna

PS. Summer is here in Guanacaste – clear blue skies and sun, sun, sun!

 

Some other helpful links:

www.westjet.com

www.jetblue.com

www.aa.com

www.delta.com

www.continental.com

 

 

Welcome to Las Mareas

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Welcome to the official website of Las Mareas de Tamarindo!

It’s been years of prepping, planning and preparing every element of Tamarindo’s latest real estate project Las Mareas. From the efficiency measures placed in our villas’ design features to the farm fresh source of each local ingredient on the menu at Pangas Beach Club, all of the elements of this project have been hand selected to finally present to the public through the launch of our new website.

 

 

In 2005, a group of like-minded friends and business partners from across the globe got to talking. Each member involved had one critical factor in common – all had chosen to call Tamarindo home, be it a full or part time residence. They shared a love of Costa Rica’s rich natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, awesome surf and the all around laidback lifestyle of this country and Tamarindo in particular. But, as the group watched development soar in this Guanacaste beach town over the years, they noticed something was missing. As the town grew outward and through high-rise condos, quite literally upwards, it seemed a project that preserved and fostered the lifestyle that attracted so many to Tamarindo in the first place was absent from the town’s growing façade. Out of a common realization and shared vision, the concept for Las Mareas de Tamarindo was born.

 

In hindsight, the economic recession turned out to be somewhat of a blessing for this real estate project as it allowed the group to rework their business plan with the post-recession consumer in mind.

 

“The recession gave us time to abandon our original business plan that had been created when we had a very different market on our hands,” said Bruce McKillican, the project manager at Las Mareas. “It let us sit down and really study what would make a successful, sustainable project for the future in a market where very few people are actually building and selling properties.”

 

The goal and mission remained the same, but the way in which it would be accomplished adjusted to the post-crisis environment. In a risky economy, what was important to homeowners considering owning property in a place like Costa Rica? How could Las Mareas not only appeal to buyers because of its location and tropical beauty, but also – how could it appeal to buyers as a long term investment in a post-market economic climate? The answer was clear: low cost of ownership and competitive advantages in the rental market to position Las Mareas with the potential for true and measurable ways to realize appreciation in your long term investment.

 

“Our business model gives special attention to efficiency in our units and the rentability of those units,” McKillican said. “We’re offering a product in a market that’s looking for high quality and purchasing at an affordable price point.”

 

In addition to unique attention placed on efficiency and low cost of ownership, Las Mareas is poised to be the only project of its kind in the Tamarindo and greater Guanacaste market today. With unparalleled ocean views of Playa Grande and Las Baulas National Marine Park, exclusive access to Pangas Beach Club, the security and privacy of a gated community, Las Mareas de Tamarindo is unlike anything in the area.

 

But, you don’t have to take our word for it. We invite you to come stop by our sales office at El Tesoro and check out the progress on the group. Come up and see the ocean views for yourself and then treat yourself to a cold drink at our beach club – we guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Thank you for visiting our site and we hope you’ll check back soon to stay up-to-date with our project as the dream becomes a reality!

Article: Pangas Beach Club to Open this Month

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Flamingo Chef to bring Fresh Seafood, Laidback Luxury to Tamarindo

Article from the November 2012 Issue of the Howler Magazine

TAMARINDO – This November, Flamingo-based restaurateur Jean-Luc Taulere and manager Elizabeth Cole are bringing a fresh take on Costa Rican cuisine to Tamarindo’s northern shore.

    What’s in a Name? A small local fishing boat, also known as a “panga”

Taulere, an eighth-generation chef with roots in Le Perthus, a small town on the border of Spain in the south of France, is quick to clarify the concept behind the menu at Pangas Restaurant and Beach Club, set to open mid-month past the Best Western and across from El Tesoro on the hill.

 

“We’re not a Costa Rican restaurant in the typical sense,” he explains. “A French chef told me long ago when you have really great ingredients, the number one job of the chef is to not screw them up. The flavors are good from the earth and it’s important not to try to change themBouncy Castle Mini Jungle ouverte, but instead we want to take what’s naturally good and enhance those flavors – that’s always been my concept in the kitchen.”

 

By highlighting what’s naturally good from Costa Rica – fresh seafood, exotic fruits and local spices – Pangas will make a welcome addition to the Tamarindo dining scene. Playing up local ingredients in the kitchen through a mix of cooking methods from across the globe works well for Taulere – a fact evident in the success of his Flamingo-based restaurants Mar y Sol and Coco Loco. But this high season, the focus will be on showing the Tamarindo community just what makes Taulere’s approach to Costa Rican beachfront dining so popular in the Guanacaste region.

 

Earlier this spring, Taulere jumped on board with Pangas when approached by Bruce McKillican, project manager of Tamarindo’s newest real estate project Las Mareas de Tamarindo at El Tesoro – a residential community that will feature 3-bedroom ocean view villas and down the line, a beachfront boutique hotel on several lots within the El Tesoro gated community.

 

 

An extension of Las Mareas, Pangas Beach Club is the first element of the highly anticipated real estate project to open its doors to the public after years of planning. McKillican explained the unique relationship between the Las Mareas residences on the hill and Pangas on the beach.

 

“Pangas is absolutely the aspect of Las Mareas that all the owners and developers at Las Mareas are most excited about,” he said. “The members of our group have chosen to live in Tamarindo because we love the lifestyle – Pangas is an expression of that. We wanted a place to promote this way of life – a great place with great food and great people to spend the day surfing and hanging out with family and friends.”

 

The first residence at Las Mareas will be unveiled in December and the first six units are expected to be complete in March 2013. But even once the residential side of the project is complete, Pangas will continue to play an important role in the Las Mareas lifestyle as well as serving as the public beachfront anchor to the Tamarindo community.

 

“I think the number one thing that is going to set Pangas apart is the location and the concept, which is automatically established in the name,” Taulere said referring to the name “Pangas,” which refers to small fishing boats like the ones in the Tamarindo Estuary. “That tells you how fresh we’re going to be – we’ll get our fish right off the panga boats; we’ll have the fishermen coming up to drop off their catch while people are eating in the restaurant.”

 

Seafood is the staple at Pangas and an in-house fish market will be serving up freshly caught fillets and a variety of premade dishes such as ready-to-eat shrimp cocktail, Peruvian-style ceviche, calamari salad and lump crab cakes.

 

 

At the Pangas fish market guests can pick up the catch of the day to take home for dinner or grab a prepped seafood appetizer for entertaining. For restaurant goers, Pangas will be serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner overlooking the Tamarindo Estuary with a menu that’s casually elegant marked by simple sophistication at an affordable price point.

 

 

 

 

 

“We’re trying to create the best possible quality of service, the best cuisine, wine and beer in an atmosphere that’s easygoing and at a price that’s reasonable. I think that’s a big part of the formula,” Taulere said. “We have a beautiful design with quality features, but it’s not an expensive place – it’s going to be very approachable and very reasonable.”

 

With high season coming up, Taulere will be busy rotating between Pangas and his two Flamingo restaurants, but with Cole at the helm of management, the team hopes to cook up a recipe for succulent success at Pangas on the beach. For more information call 2653-0024.