Jorge has spent a lot of time in San Jose, but now lives and works in Cartago where he grew up. He has worked in tourism for 11 years and knows a lot about Costa Rica and can give us some useful travelling tips…
‘There are so many reasons why people should visit Costa Rica! I like getting out of the city of San Jose to spend time in the environment to see the mountains, beaches, animals and so much more. Our most beautiful places to visit are Tortuguero, Sarapiqui, La Fortuna, Rincón de la Vieja, Monteverde, Sámara, Manuel Antonio national park, Cahuita and the coastal town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. You will need to bring with you to Costa Rica a sun hat, a toiletry bag including insect repellent against mosquitoes, trainers, shorts and a poncho.
I would recommend trying casado which is a traditional rice dish with black beans, plantains and tortilla that can be served with some sort of meat, as well as seafood and tamales. Tamales are made of maize meal, meat, vegetables and other ingredients wrapped in the leaf of a maize plant.’
Meet Fernando, who has worked in the tourism industry for 20 years, specialising in diving, lifeguarding and surfing among other water sports and can speak several languages including English, German, Spanish and Italian. He one day hopes of visiting the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Here Fernando tells us about his life growing up in Costa Rica and his top travelling tips…
‘I grew up here in Cahuita, a small city located on the coast. I am a very responsible person so if the weather conditions are too dangerous for snorkelling, for example, if there’s a current, I show the tourists other interesting things in the national park or take them to the gardens. However sometimes I get complaints because other tourists are seen being taken out by their tour guides during the bad weather. Those tour guides just want money and do not act in a responsible way.
Ashore, I do bird-watching tours, nocturnal tours, turtle watching and I look after snakes which are my personal passion. Furthermore, I am a medicinal plants master. I also have a little cooking school but it’s not for commercial purposes and at my office I have an art gallery with work from local people.
Costa Rica is a very eco-friendly country with a good preservation system, which is one of the best things about the country. There are also a lot of different cultures with rural zones where tourists can learn more about Costa Rica. For example, on the Pacific side of the country I can recommend ‘chorreadas’ which is a corn-like tortilla which is a little sweet and can be eaten with anything. However on the Caribbean side I would recommend trying ‘rondon’, a dish of vegetables cooked in coconut milk with either meat or fish.
I think it’s important that people pack light, long-sleeved clothing as insect repellent doesn’t always stop all mosquitoes, particularly to wear between 4 and 6pm when they are most active. Moreover, you should pack medicine for stomach upsets as it’s a common problem in the tropics when people eat food which is hard on their stomachs. Whilst they’re here I can provide them with some medicine but if they are elsewhere in Costa Rica they’ll need their own.’