Costa Rican Spotlight: Five of the Best Beaches in Costa Rica

While there are many aspects that draw tourists to Costa Rica including the wildlife and culture, the pristine beaches are the main draw for a lot of tourists. Some love the buzz of a popular beach and all the fun activities that come with it, while others search for their isolated piece of beach heaven. We have put together a list of the Top Five Beaches of Costa Rica to help you navigate the over 800 miles of coastline.

Playa Avellana, Tamarindo

If the surf has brought you to Costa Rica, then Playa Avellana is a great choice. Known as “Little Hawaii”, due to the constant scattering of surfers in the water, this famous break sits on the northern end of the undeveloped beach and can see swells reach 18ft. For those more inclined to relax than thrill seek, head over to Lola’s Beach Bar, the main watering hole on the beach. Lola’s is named after the Bar’s pet pig who has been known to join surfers in the waves.

Cano Island, Corcovado Bay

A short boat ride off the coast of Osa Peninsula takes you to the protected biological reserve of Cano Island. Take a day tour over to the island and enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving with the sea turtles, dolphins and colorful fish that inhabit the vibrant coral reefs.

Playa Guiones, Nosara

Like Playa Avellana, Playa Guiones is another renowned surf spot. This beginner-friendly spot is known for its consistency. Keep in mind that this is a secluded spot and lacks many of the usual beach amenities. However, its natural beauty makes up for this.

Playa Virador, Papagayo

For those after a more luxurious day at the beach, Playa Virador is a good option. Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo resides within the 15 mile stretch of white sand coastline.  Here guests of the peninsula can enjoy Playa Virador with the comfort of the hotel amenities.

Manuel Antonio National Park

South of the town of Quepos lies the four beautiful and unspoiled beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. The lush tropical forest grows right to the edge of the beach where local wildlife, including sloths, are often seen by tourists. The national park draws surfers and sunbathers alike.  A limit is placed on the amount of people allowed to visit per day, letting you to find a quiet spot all to yourself – just make sure you arrive early in the day or you risk being turned away when they reach capacity.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Surfer at Sunset on Playa Guiones – Costa Rica” by Chris Goldberg is licensed by CC by 2.0

 

Incentive Travel Spotlight: The Allure of a Pura Vida Incentive

What is it about the glamour that seems to be built into the words ‘Costa Rica’?  This country nestled at the base of Central America between Nicaragua and Panama, bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, elicits feelings of mystery and exclusivity to most travellers on an Incentive Travel escape.  For the most part, these well-travelled individuals have explored the likes of Mexico, Hawaii and islands within the Caribbean, but making the journey just a bit further south is unchartered territory.  The draw of a Pura Vida lifestyle is instantly appealing and motivating making it a perfect destination choice for companies choosing an Incentive Travel location.

Aside from a year-round tropical climate, Costa Rica shares little else with her Central American neighbors.  One of the most stable and prosperous economies in Latin America makes for a very safe excursion.  This coupled with the reassurance of Resort brands like Four Seasons, Marriott and Westin, travellers are met with a sense of well-being and comfort that is not always guaranteed when traveling throughout the region.

What other mysteries does this country hold?  To start, 25% of the land is dedicated to conservation and protected National Parks.  Costa Rica is a land of extreme natural beauty.  With a priority placed on the commitment to preservation, visitors will forever be in awe of the lush green forests, pristine waterfalls and a plethora of unique animals like sloths, monkeys and over 50 species of hummingbirds.  Our travel programs always include local flowers in guest rooms, activities that bring our participants a first hand experience with Costa Rica’s natural surroundings and even fresh fish from the local waters caught and cooked in time for dinner.

When looking for things to do zip lining is synonymous with the Costa Rican landscape and a must do on all Incentive Travel programs.  The canopy of the jungle becomes your playground as you fly from platform to platform on tours ranging from 50 to 800 meters in length.  Tarzan swings, waterfall hikes and superman cables are just a few of the options you’ll be faced with as you take on this extraordinary adventure.  These aerial tours test your bravery as you soar through the skies getting a true birds eye perspective of this beautiful country.

One of greatest features of Costa Rica is its variety. With only a short amount of time spent driving across a country smaller than Lake Michigan visitors can experience volcanoes, rainforest, beaches, national parks, cloud forests and hot springs.  Over 800 miles of coastline give tourists plenty of beach space for a fun in the sun getaway and with water temperatures in the 80’s, there is no excuse for visitors not to dive in.  We tend to stay on the Caribbean side of the country but the beauty of this excursion is that you can see it all in a very short amount of time.

With Pura Vida at its core, it is no surprise that Costa Rica ranks at the top of the Happy Planet Index.  Taking into consideration factors such as life expectancy, overall well-being and a highly favorable ecological footprint score, Costa Rica has some of the happiest people on the planet.  The pride for the country is so evident that it can even be heard each morning at 7am when every radio station plays Noble patria, tu hermosa bandera (Noble homeland, your beautiful flag)- the national anthem for Ticos and Ticas to sing along with as they start their day.

 

If you would like more information on how your sales organization can motivate with “the Pure Life” experience please contact JNR.  We would love to set up a travel incentive program custom tailored to your organization’s needs.  Give us a call at 800.343.4546, or email us at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

 

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Barbara Williamson

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Hold it Right There!” By Steve Corey is licensed by CC by 2.0

Costa Rican Travel Spotlight: Dia Nacional del Boyero

Just over a week ago in the upscale suburb of San Jose’, Escazu’, Costa Ricans celebrated the 32nd annual Dia de los Boyeros, or the Day of the Oxcart Driver.   Brightly painted oxcarts used to be the primary mode of transportation for pulling crops from farm to market.  These carts were also seen regularly hauling coffee beans, Costa Rica’s first major export.

In the early 19th century most of the coffee grown was harvested around the main town centers in the Central Plateau and then transported by oxcart through the mountains to the Pacific port town of Puntarenas. From there, it would be sent off to Europe and eventually throughout the world.  For many years the country relied heavily on their agriculture.  Bananas, pineapples and coffee were once major cash crops for Costa Rica.

Although today, tourism earns more for the country than all of these items combined, the people of Costa Rica still hold farming in high regard.  In this annual celebration up to 500 brightly-painted oxcarts gather in front of the church in the center of San Miguel de Escazu’.  The community then makes the pilgrimage to a small mountain town called San Antonio de Escazu’.  Once arrived, a priest gives a blessing to the crops and the animals brought along with the farmers and the celebration begins.  This day long traditional gathering is filled with food, marimba music, dancing and fiesta.

You can see more from this year’s celebration on their Facebook page or contact JNR directly to learn how we can organize a trip to Costa Rica, where you can bring your top performers to see first hand the beautiful colors of Dia de los Boyero.  Please call us at 800.343.4546 or email to info@jnrcorp.com.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Barbara Williamson

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Costa Rican Spotlight: Tres Leches Cake Recipe

Costa Rican cuisine is distinct in its flavorful, yet mild, taste. Rice, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables are key players in many dishes and the culture has a high reliance on home cooking. Family gatherings and celebrations will often revolve around meals.

The national dish of Costa Rica is Gallo Pinto, which translates to “spotted rooster” due to its appearance, and contains stir fried rice and beans, seasoned with cilantro, red pepper, onion and celery, and can be served with eggs, sour cream and cheese.

Other national dishes include Casado, which translates to “married man” due to wives making to dish for their husbands who worked the fields, Arroz con Pollo and Salsa Lizano. Tres Leches, a three-layered custard flan is the national dessert dish and today we are sharing a contemporary take on this dessert with Tres Leches Cake.

 

Tres Leches Cake

Total Time:     1 hr 30 min

Prep:     1 hr 10 min

Cook:    20 min

Level:    Easy

 

Ingredients

Cake

7 eggs (separated)

7 tbsp white sugar

7 tbsp flour

2 ½ tbsp baking powder

½ tsp vanilla extract

 

Milk Mixture

1 ¾ cup evaporated milk

1 ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup eggnog

 

Icing

1 cup white sugar

3 egg whites

Juice of one lime

Directions

 

Preheat oven to 480 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on low until stiff peaks form. Continue mixing while adding egg yolks one at a time. Add the sugar, flour, baking powder and vanilla extract. Continue beating until mixture forms into a dough.

Place the dough into a medium, square glass baking dish. Place in the lower section of the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Move to the upper section of the oven and bake for another 8 minutes.

Blend the all ingredients of the milk mixture in a mixing bowl.

Remove cake from the oven and punch with a fork across the top of the cake to allow the milk mixture to penetrate. Pour the milk mixture over the cake and allow to soak for 20 minutes or until the cake is cool and the milk mixture has been absorbed.

Beat egg whites with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Continue to beat while adding the sugar and lime juice. Spread the icing over the cake and serve immediately.

The cake should be refrigerated and can be kept for three days.

 

If you would like to find out more about how JNR can organize an amazing travel program where your top performers can experience the wonders of Costa Rican cuisine, please give us a call at 800.343.4546.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Tres Leches” by Chuck Wojack Jr is licensed under CC by 2.0