Monday, October 31, 2005

The Scarlet macaw

The Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) is a large, colourful parrot.
It is native to humid evergreen forests in the American tropics, from extreme eastern Mexico locally to Amazonian Peru and Brazil, in lowlands up to 500 meters (at least formerly up to 1000m).

It is about 81 to 96 cm (32 to 36 inches) long, of which more than half is the pointed, graduated tail typical of macaws.

Average weight is about a kilogram (2 to 2.5 pounds). The plumage is mostly scarlet, but the rump and tail-covert feathers are light blue, the greater upperwing coverts are yellow, the upper sides of the flight feathers of the wings are dark blue as are the ends of the tail feathers, and the undersides of the wing and tail flight feathers are dark red with metallic gold iridescence.

There is bare white skin around the eye and from there to the bill. The upper mandible is mostly pale horn in color and the lower is black. Sexes are alike; the only difference between ages is that young birds have dark eyes, and adults have light yellow eyes.

Scarlet Macaws make loud, low-pitched, throaty squawks and screams.
Wild Scarlet Macaws eat mostly fruits and seeds, including large, hard seeds. A typical sighting is of a single bird or a pair flying above the forest canopy, though in some areas flocks can be seen.

Like most parrots, the Scarlet Macaw lays 2 to 4 white eggs in a tree cavity. The young hatch after 24 to 25 days. They fledge about 105 days later and leave their parents as late as a year.
(Text: Wkipedia.org / Photo: Juan Amighetti)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Costa Rican president unfazed by death threats

"There have been threats, some strong, others weaker. I came with a commitment to Costa Ricans to do a job and I will do my duty. If it costs me my life, so be it."

Costa Rican president Abel Pacheco on the death threats that he has received for sending the CAFTA to Congress.

http://insidecostarica.com/dailynews/2005/october/26/nac03.htm

Thursday, October 27, 2005

EU banana tariff declared illegal

A Costa Rican worker harvests bananas on a plantation near La Guacima, Costa Rica, some 120 miles east of San Jose, in this Oct. 1, 2005 file photo. The World Trade Organization ruled today that a new European Union tariff on imported bananas is illegal, siding with eight Latin American banana producing countries who said Brussels' proposal would seriously limit their ability to export the fruit. (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert, file)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Costa Rican movie in contention for Oscar

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Movies from a record 58 countries are in contention for this year's foreign-language Academy Award, including the first entries ever from Iraq, Costa Rica and Fiji.

The previous record was 56 films for the 2003 Oscars. Each country is allowed to submit one film.

From Costa Rica comes director Esteban Ramirez's "Caribe," about oil development that threatens a tropical paradise.

Caribe played for over 12 weesk in Costa Rican box offices, where it far surpassed any other Costa Rican-made movie in sales and critical praise. It was also lavished with international awards, including four in Spain's 2004 Huelga film festival, where it was given the people's choice award for the best movie, and has shown well in film festivals throughout Latin America.

http://www.caribelapelicula.com

Information from the AP and the Tico Times was used for this blog entry

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Picture of the Day

A Costa Rican Borucua Indian plays a musical instrument during the second day of an indigenous rite known as "the little devil's game" in the village Rey de Curre, 200 miles south of the capital San Jose, February 7, 2004. Residents of this small indigenous community perform each year "the little devil's game" dressed with banana leaves, sacks and traditional masks they've made since colonial times when they were known as one of the groups in south Costa Rica that most resisted the Spanish Conquistadors. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Monday, October 24, 2005

Things to remember while driving in Costa Rica

You must be 18 years of age to drive in Costa Rica. A driver's license from your home country is valid for three months.

Traffic proceeds on the right-hand side of the road. Speed traps are common on the Pan-American highway, and speed limits are enforced rigorously in many areas of the country.

Unless otherwise indicated, minimum speed on highways is 40 kilometers per hour (k.p.h.). The speed limit varies and is posted by the road. On highways and secondary roads the speed limit is 60 k.p.h., unless otherwise indicated.

In urban areas, the speed limit is 40 k.p.h., unless otherwise indicated. Around school zones and in front of hospitals and clinics the speed limit is 25 k.p.h.

Driving on beaches is strictly prohibited everywhere, except when there is no other path connecting two towns.

Motorists with expired licenses and vehicles that have not undergone the mandatory vehicle inspection, (revisión tecnica) will get a ticket.

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is strictly prohibited. The law enables police officers to perform alcohol test on drivers. Officials issued a reminder that more than two beers can put someone over the legal limit of 0.49 grams of alcohol per liter of blood. If a motorist registers between 0.50 and 0.99 grams per liter of blood, he or she is considered to be pre-ebriedad, the Costa Rican equivalent of driving while abilities are impaired.

Drivers who register 1.0 grams of alcohol per liter of blood are considered drunk and run the risk of having their vehicle confiscated and losing their license for six months, officials said.

Talking on a hand-held cellular telephone while driving will earn you a ticket. Motorists have been encouraged to use a hands-free type of cellular telephone device.

The law requires all car passengers to wear a seat belt.

Pull over if a police officer signals you to do so. Police officers may ask you to stop if there is an accident ahead, a checkpoint or if you are violating the law by not carrying a license plate or exceeding the speed limit, for example.

Your personal documents and the vehicle's registration papers are private property and may not be retained by police officers for any reason.

If you are involved in an accident, always wait until a police officer arrives. Do not move your vehicle. The officer will prepare a report. You may also report the accident by calling 911 or 800-0123456.

Under no circumstances give money to traffic police or other police officers. If you believe a traffic police officer or any other police officer acted inappropriately or you have questions regarding their behavior, call 257-7798, ext. 2506, and ask to be referred to the nearest police station.

If a police officer insists on stopping you or retaining your documents for no apparent reason, ask him to escort you to the nearest police station to clear the problem.

Drive defensively and stay alert. Do not stop for people making signals and never stop for hitchhikers.

Do not drive through or park your car in poorly lit areas. Never leave your car on the street; always park it in a safe parking lot. Do not leave any belongings in the car where they might be spotted by passersby.

Keep your car doors locked at all times. If you are driving in downtown San Jose, keep the windows shut.

Check your car and make sure you are carrying the proper documents before you begin to drive. If you are given a ticket, please pay it at the nearest stateowned bank and present a copy of the receipt to the car rental agency when you return the car.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Picture of the Day

Baby turtles are seen crawling into the sea after being freed by residents of Ostional Beach in Santa Cruz, 350 miles north of the capital San Jose, Costa Rica in this October 23, 2003 file photo. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate/File

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Homegrown cas for a delicious fruit drink

by Ed Bernhardt - Tico Times Newspaper

This time of year, many sodas (mom-and-pop cafés) and homes around Costa Rica serve a natural fruit drink called fresco de cas.

The cas fruit is blended with a sweetener to make a creamy, delightful, sweet-acid drink that has a hint of guava flavor. That's because cas belongs to the guava family.

Known as Costa Rican guava in English, Psidium friedrichsthalianum has many different names in Latin America, including guayaba ácida (Guatemala), guayaba agria (Colombia), guayaba de danto (Honduras), guayaba de agua (Panama), guayaba del Choco (Ecuador), guayaba montes (Mexico), guayaba (Nicaragua) and arrayán (El Salvador).

To read the whole article click here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

United Airlines launches service to Liberia

CHICAGO, Ill. (PRNewswire-FirstCall) - United is launching a new service from Dec. 17 through April 29 from Chicago to Liberia, Guanacaste in Costa Rica, just in time for the winter holidays.

"The new service is exactly what our customers in the United States are seeking, particularly during the winter vacation season," said Greg Taylor, United's senior vice president-Planning. "The Pacific side of Costa Rica and its growing resort community is an extremely popular vacation destination."

The new flights are timed for convenient connections in Chicago. The service will be operated with an Airbus 320 aircraft, configured with 12 United First and 126 Economy seats.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

New Guanacaste luxury hotel to open in 2007

The construction of a new luxury hotel in the province of Guanacaste will begin in 2006. The project will be launched in June the coming year and end by September of 2007.

The complex will feature 180 exclusive rooms, Spanish colonial style buildings and an 18-holes golf course, of use for international tournaments in an area of 1,800 hectares.

It will also have 4 restaurants, bar, swimming pools, convention centers and service areas, among others.

Grupo Real, in charge of the development, announced that the new hotel will be part of the Hacienda Pinilla Complex. The initiative will unite hotels already established in the capital, San Jose, as the Real Intercontinental and Quality.

The firm counts with 14 hotels in North and Central America.

The company chose the province of Guanacaste for being one of the tourist zones of greater success in the country.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Public school calendar for 2006 released

October 11, 2005

By Uri Ridelman

Classes for Costa Rican public schools will start on February 7 and end on december 20, according to the official calendar for the 2006 school year released yesterday by The Board of Public Education.

There will be no classes from July 3 to July 14 due to the mid-term vacations, nor from the 10 to the 14 of April due to Easter.

The national exams, administered to students of 6th, 9th and 11th grade, were scheduled as follows:

October 3-11: 9th grade.
November 1-9: 11th grade.
November 28 - December 1: Sixth grade

The date for the test of ortography and writing was set for August 8th, while graduation will be December 21.

Manuel A. Bolaños, head of The Board of Public Education, announced that for the first time ever the calendar will be printed in "La Gaceta", the goverment's official newspaper.

The 2006 school calendar, released four months ahead of schedule, will have a total of 205 days (43 weeks)of classes.

Bolaños said that the calendar was released ahead of schedule, taking into account a request from the academic unions; which asked for an open dialogue regarding matters such as total days of classes, teachers' preparation, among others. The dialogue between the unions and the Board of Public Education should begin in the next few days.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sarapiquí adventure race

Do not miss the best opportunity to experience the thrills of the first edition of the adventure competition “Sarapiqui Adventure Race: Let’s Aid the Green Macaw,” to be held the days of October 14, 15 and 16 and will take place in the Sarapiqui area, province of Heredia.

This activity is the first of its kind to be held in Sarapiqui and its goal is to promote the area and its great natural attractions including pristine water rivers, mountain areas and private forest reserves.

Competitors will have to cross inhospitable areas and cover great extensions of land to be able to admire the most beautiful places of Sarapiquí.

This adventure may be experienced by amateurs, cyclists as well as persons with a good physical condition. There will be a special category for beginners and those who are interested.

The place where it begins will be the community known as Chilamate, Puerto Viejo, 5 km west of the center of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. The finish line will be known by competitors when they receive the details for the last stage of the race.

The Elite category, the race will begin Friday October 14th at 12:00 midnight and end on Sunday October 16th. It is expected that the first teams begin arriving to the finish line approximately by 12:00 noon. The competition is programmed to last approximately 36 hours, counting the dark zone.

The Adventure category (rookies) will compete on Sunday October 16th at 7:30 a.m. It will last approximately 6-8 hours. The route for the adventure category is marked and includes the following disciplines: mountain biking (25 kms), hiking in the forest (3 kms), horseback riding (1 km), canopy and rafting (11 km).

More information on the web page http://www.sarapiquiadventurerace.com/ and e-mail sarapiqui@racsa.co.cr

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