Tags: AMResorts, Romance & Weddings << Previous PostNext Post >> Share MIAMI — AMResorts has launched a new wedding package specially designed for South Asian couples in search of fully personalized nuptials in Mexico and the Caribbean.According to the company, the rate of Indian weddings is growing 25% annually. With this in mind, the new ‘Dulha & Dulhan’ package – available at select properties – was launched to meet this increasing demand, featuring elements that include a one-hour Welcome Cocktail Party with a bar and hors d’oeuvres station, and a 1.5-hour Wedding Ceremony, complete with an elegant ‘Mandap’, beverage station and shoe check station for ceremonies held on the beach.Couples will also receive a four-hour ‘Sangeet & Mehndi’ private event, which includes an intimate stage area with coloured draping, food stations and tables, a ‘baraat’ (groom’s wedding procession), and a four-hour Dinner Reception featuring a stage area for the couple, buffet and dessert station, and a private bar with bartender.In addition to the private wedding events, couples booking the package will receive additional perks including: a dedicated on-site wedding coordinator who’s been certified in South Asian weddings; sparkling wine and fresh fruit for the wedding couple and their parents in suite (up to three rooms); and romantic turndown service the evening of the wedding.More news: A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerPlus, wedding couples are given a complimentary return stay on anniversary nights at Secrets, Dreams, and Now Resorts & Spas. Couples who stay five or more paid nights over their first anniversary date will receive two additional nights free.The ‘Dulha & Dulhan’ is priced at US$7,500, inclusive of four events for up to 50 guests. For more details go to SecretsResorts.com, BreathlessResorts.com, DreamsResorts.com and NowResorts.com. Posted by AMResorts unveils new South Asian wedding package to meet increasing demand Travelweek Group Monday, March 13, 2017
Tampa Bay to get its first five-star hotel CLEARWATER BEACH — It looks like all systems are a go for a brand new JW Marriott in Clearwater Beach, Tampa Bay’s first ever five-star hotel.The 166-room, 15-storey property, which will be managed by Marriott, will boast an infinity pool, outdoor decks and a Spa by JW. Other features include two restaurants, a 300-foot private beach as well as 36 fully furnished JW Marriott Residences – the first of their kind in the United States – on the four upper floors.Early last year, hotelier Uday Lele, whose DreamView Resort will be replaced by the US$120 million project, was in initial talks with Marriott International about the new property. At the time, Marriott could not confirm specific plans for Tampa Bay.That all changed on Monday when the company confirmed it had given Lele the green light to launch sales of the condos under the JW Marriott Name. The one-, two- and three-bedroom units will be priced from $550,000 to $1.3 million and, when rented out, will serve as suites for the hotel.More news: Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsConstruction could start as early as this fall after the existing hotel is razed, and will take approximately two years to complete.The new $100 million JM Marriott comes at a time of unprecedented hotel development in the Tampa Bay area. It recently welcomed two large resorts – Opal Sands and they Wyndham – in addition to 27 other bay area hotels that are under construction, adding a total of 4,000 rooms. Posted by Tuesday, April 11, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Share Tags: Marriott Interntaional
Share Emirates launches Fly Better 2019 sale Posted by TORONTO — Emirates’ new seat sale runs until Jan. 8 with fares from Toronto to Dubai and beyond starting from $949.The airline’s Fly Better 2019 Sale applies to both economy class and business class fares, on close to 80 routes.Here’s a look at what’s available:Economy Class pricing to top destinations includes:Dubai from $949Delhi from $1,199Tehran from $1,219Mumbai from $1,229Islamabad from $1,229Business Class pricing to top destinations includes:Delhi from $4,919Mumbai from $4,919Hyderabad from $4,969Johannesburg from $5,469Dubai from $5,999The sale runs through 23:59 EDT on Jan. 8 and is valid for 2019 travel Jan. 27 – June 4 and Sept. 9 – Nov. 19. Travel must be completed on or before Nov. 26. Travelweek Group Thursday, January 3, 2019 Tags: Emirates, sale << Previous PostNext Post >>
Share Tags: Cuba, Gaviota Posted by Cuba aims for 5 million+ visitors in 2019 TORONTO — Gaviota Tourism Group and the Cuba Tourism Board are making sure the Canadian travel trade knows all about the extensive upgrades and improvements currently taking place in Cuba and driven by the Cuban government and Gaviota.Frank Oltuski, Vice President of the Gaviota Tourism Group, along with a strong showing of Cuba hotel and resort representatives are in Toronto and Montreal this week, with a media lunch and travel agent night in Toronto yesterday, followed by Montreal today. The presentations are also tributes to the 500th anniversary of Havana, says the Cuba Tourism Board.Gaviota started 2019 with a focus on improving the country’s accommodation offerings across all of its destinations, says Oltuski. This was a follow up from 2018 when “we worked particularly hard on hotel infrastructure, products and services,” he said.Cuba has invested in its tourism industry significantly, he added, expanding property capacity and redesigning hotels. “We want to ensure Cuba grows and diversifies” its tourism product, said Oltuski.Investment and development will continue for the remainder of 2019, with key developments for the year including… Easier access to a diversity of nature, cultural and historic productMore accommodation capacity in properties across the countryNew transit infrastructure, marinas, recreational facilities and cultural institutionsWiFi accessibility broaden throughout CubaNew hotels including the International Melia Varadero Hotel and the Hotel Paseo Del PradoEnsuring a diversified tourism experience in CubaPromoting the 500th anniversary of HavanaPromoting FITCUBA 2019, taking place next monthMore news: War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upCuba welcomed over 4.7 million visitors in 2018, including 1.1 million Canadians. Cuba is projecting 5 million+ visitors for 2019. Wednesday, April 10, 2019 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>
Thursday, June 27, 2019 Posted by MIAMI — Bookings are now open for a number of port-intensive cruises aboard Norwegian Cruise Line ships, including the Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Sun.The cruise line has announced four new ports, including the new homeport of Athens for its 2020 season. Here are the highlights:NORWEGIAN SPIRITFollowing a multi-million-dollar, bow-to-stern revitalization in January 2020, Norwegian Spirit will return to Asia for a series of itineraries.From May 9 through Dec. 21, 2020, it will sail a mix of nine- to 15-day voyages that include four new ports of call for the brand. These include Beppu, Kumamoto, Niigata and Nagoya, Japan. The ship will also overnight in Tokyo and Kyoto (Osaka), Japan; Shanghai, China; and Hong Kong.NORWEGIAN SUNFollowing a three-year hiatus in the region, Norwegian Sun will return to Alaska on May 21, 2020, joining Norwegian Bliss, Joy and Jewel. It will offer the brand’s most extensive itineraries in the area with nine- to 12-day voyages from Seattle with calls to Sitka, Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Holkham Bay, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska, as well as a stop in Victoria, B.C. Guests can also spend a full day exploring Icy Strait Point.More news: Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedNorwegian Sun is fresh off a bow-to-stern renovation in April 2018 that included refreshed staterooms and public spaces, as well as three new venues: Los Lobos Cantina, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge.NORWEGIAN JADEBeginning Sept. 8, 2020, Norwegian Jade will offer a variety of one-way, 10- to 11-day Greek Isles, Italy and Mediterranean cruises departing or returning from Barcelona, Venice and Athens, where the company will homeport for the first time. Calls include Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Naples and Messina in Italy, and Olympia, Santorini, Rhodes and Mykonos in Greece, as well as Kusadasi, Turkey. Share Books open on NCL’s new 2020 itineraries Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Norwegian Cruise Line
Speaking before an appeals court on Monday, former Costa Rican President Miguel Ángel Rodríguez asked judges to overturn a corruption conviction against him, saying the Prosecutor’s Office “convicted [Rodríguez] with illegally obtained evidence.”Rodríguez, president from 1998-2002, was sentenced in 2011 to five years in prison for aggravated corruption in a case involving the former French telecom company Alcatel and the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, or ICE. ICE officials were convicted of accepting bribes in exchange for the awarding of 400,000 GSM cellphone lines to Alcatel.The former president and secretary general of the Organization of American States was released from jail and is currently serving his sentence under house arrest.He is now trying to get the conviction overturned. Rodríguez said the Prosecutor’s Office never should have called former ICE board member José Antonio Lobo as a witness, “as all his statements were false.” Rodríguez, who has consistently maintained his innocence, criticized prosecutors for refusing to investigate payments received by Lobo.The ICE-Alcatel trial began on April 23, 2010, and the final verdict was delivered on April 27, 2011.Also convicted in the case on charges of of aggravated corruption, fraud and illicit gain were Edgar Valverde (former Alcatel manager, sentenced to 20 years), Luis Adrián Quirós (attorney, 15 years), Guido Sibaja (ICE consultant, 15 years), Eliseo Vargas (former lawmaker, two years), Joaquín Fernández (former ICE board member, five years), Rodrigo Méndez and Eduardo Fonseca (ICE officials, two years each). Facebook Comments No related posts.
Police in the southern U.S. state of South Carolina arrested a Costa Rican man, Michael Portilla, 29, on Thursday, and charged him with possession of child pornography, South Carolina News Channel 15 reported on its website.According to the news report, the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, made the arrest.On July 16, deputies assisted the Department of Homeland Security in executing a search warrant at the Costa Rica native’s house in Myrtle Beach.During the search officers found multiple images on a computer showing children engaged in sexual activity.South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said Portilla was charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor in the third degree, a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.The computer and other computer-related items were seized.Portilla was released after posting a $10,000 bail bond, the report stated. Facebook Comments No related posts.
Inequality and access to education are Costa Rica’s most pressing issues, according to the United Nations Development Program’s 2014 Human Development Index (HDI), released Thursday.The report measures human develop through three factors: life expectancy, access to education and the ability to live a dignified life.Costa Rica ranked 11th in Latin America and the Caribbean and 68th out of the 187 countries surveyed. The 10 regional countries that scored higher than Costa Rica are: Chile (41), Cuba (44), Argentina (49), Uruguay (50), Bahamas (51), Barbados (59), Antigua and Barbuda (61), Trinidad and Tobago (64), Panama (65) and Venezuela (67).Norway topped the 2014 list while Niger ranked last in the HDI.“Costa Rica has shown important advances in its human development during the last several decades. Since 1980 average age rose 7.4 years; the average year of schooling and expected schooling has grown 3 and 3.9 years,” said UNDP Resident Representative Yoriko Yasukawa in a statement.The report highlighted Costa Rica as an example of how to provide universal services to the public despite limited resources and lower levels of development. Costa Rica was in good company, listed alongside Sweden, Norway, Denmark and South Korea, when it came to recognizing long-term investment in education, health and social security.The UNDP considered inequality a huge mark against Costa Rica. Yasukawa stressed that the country should work to ensure that Costa Rica’s economic growth is more equally distributed, especially when it comes to women and minorities, including Afro-descendent Costa Ricans, indigenous peoples and the LGBT community. The UN representative said that these groups struggle with access to political participation, employment and dignified salaries.The report lauded Costa Rica for its relatively high female participation in politics and the workforce, where it reached 46.4 percent.Costa Rica’s indicators have continued to improve over the years, according to the report, but improvements in other countries in the Americas are overtaking the Central American country’s progress.Costa Rica ranked 96th in the world for average years of education at 8.4 years. The United States and Germany tied for first place in average years of education at 12.9 years each. In the region, Bahamas (10.9), Trinidad and Tobago (10.8), Cuba (10.2), Argentina and Chile (9.8), Panama and Barbados (9.4), Belize (9.3), Bolivia (9.2), Peru (9.0), Antigua and Barbuda (8.9), Venezuela, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Granada (8.6), Guyana, Mexico and Uruguay (8.5), reported higher average years of schooling.Per capita Gross National Income (purchasing power parity in 2011 numbers) rose to $13.012 in 2013, exceeding the figure in 2012. Bahamas, Chile, Cuba, Antigua and Barbuda, Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, Brazil, and Barbados all outscored Costa Rica. The Gulf Arab nation Qatar topped the list for GNI at $119.Costa Ricans’ average life expectancy of 79.9 years was behind Chile (80) in the Americas, but still outpaced Cuba (79.3), Dominica (77.7) Panama (77.6) and Mexico (77.5).“Even though the country has important challenges like ensuring access for all people to public services, especially health and education, Costa Rica’s results are historically hopeful and make us optimistic that the country will take action to achieve this soon,” said Yasukawa.Read the full report here. Facebook Comments Related posts:President Solís reaffirms carbon neutrality goal in UN Climate Summit address Costa Rica meets Millennium Development Goal for hunger reduction UN secretary-general hops on a bike to promote urban cycling Costa Rica top ‘out-performer’ in 2016 Social Progress Index
Previous Image https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/bungalow-22g.jpg Next Image Price: $135,000Cellphone: +(506) 8814-0614Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgBedrooms: 2Bathrooms: 1Lot: 400-1,000 M2Construction Area: 75 M2PROPERTY FEATURES:Villagio del Rio BungalowsLocation: Distrito 27 de abril, Guanacaste, 20 km southeast of Santa Cruz, Highway 27 de Abril to Junquillal, Lagarto and Marbella.Bioclimatic architecture project, surrounded by flora and fauna, with beautiful view to the mountains and tropical gardens.Followed by reacreative areas and swimming pool.1 bedroom: $95,000.00 – 2 bedroom $135,000.00OPTIONS:Private access, near mall and beautiful beaches such as Avellanas, Negra beach, Junquillal, Tamarindo, and others.Check out all of our offerings in our new real estate section here. https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/bungalow-17g.jpg https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/bungalow-10g.jpg Related posts:Reserva Conchal Carao Condo Casa Mía – Your new home in Guanacaste Private new home on the East Side Amazing home with beautiful garden, lots of space info heading info content https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/bungalowg01.jpg Facebook Comments https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/bungalow-21g.jpg
Wildflower fans love collectingSanta Lucía (Ageratum spp.) for the home and garden, while visitors to Costa Rica also delight in their pastel-blue flowers, which carpet many pastures around the country. The Santa Lucía flower is a hallmark of New Year’s celebrations. Courtesy Wikimedia CommonsCosta Ricans are fond of Santa Lucía flowers, too, and have an interesting tradition of bestowing bouquets of these flowers to friends during the New Year to ensure prosperity. Another version goes like this: when you receive a bouquet, place a sprig of dried flowers in your wallet or purse, and you will always have a steady supply of cash on hand. By the way, you have to receive Santa Lucía flowers for this to work; you just can’t go out and pick them yourself. You may be grinning with disbelief, but all I can say is that it sure has worked for me!Santa Lucía is easy to identify by its flowers, which are actually a composite of many flowers bunched together – a characteristic of the aster family. If you look very closely, the “petals” are actually little flowers, while the center consists of another type of flower.Daisies, sunflowers and marigolds also have this type of flower structure. The flowers have a pubescent or hairy appearance that makes them look sort of fuzzy. There are about half a dozen species ranging from pastel blue and lavender to pink. The leaves are opposite and ovate with dentate edges.Ageratum flowers are found throughout the neotropics and are abundant in the coastal, intermediate and highland regions of Costa Rica. If you would like to introduce some of these flowers into your own garden, you can collect flowers, dry them for a day on a cookie sheet in the sun, and then sow them on a square-meter plot of ground in the flower garden. Mulch the area lightly and wait a month or two for them to emerge from the soil. Another method is to transplant young plants from the field into your garden.These plants do well in average soil in full sun or partial shade. No special care is needed, since they are hardy to insects and diseases.Santa Lucía is an annual plant that will reseed itself in your garden year after year. It also does a good job of attracting butterflies and makes nice flower arrangements for the home.Try your luck with Santa Lucía this year. Who knows? You might even win the lottery.Read more of Ed Bernhardt’s monthly Home Gardening columns here.For more information on tropical gardening – naturally – visit Ed at http://thenewdawncenter.info/blog.html or contact him at email@example.com. Facebook Comments Related posts:Versatile superfood thrives in tropical climate Not a gardener? No space? Try this simple at-home salad bar The most Earth-friendly way to supercharge your soil Seven easy, natural pest-control recipes to debug your rainy season
Uncanny Valley – Federico Heller (Argentina)This fictitious story combines digital animation with live action while exploring the theme of virtual reality and its effects on people with violent behaviors. Asunder – Nathalie Álvarez (Costa Rica)Álvarez tells the story of a young woman named Linnea and her family and friends. Facebook Comments The SHNIT Shortfilm Festival showcased screens cinematic gems from around the world in Costa Rica last weekend. The festival takes place simultaneously in the cities of Bangkok, Bern, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Moscow, and San José. Internationally, the festival has had 14 editions; Costa Rica has participated in six of those, to what organizers say is increasing acclaim.“The general interest for short films has grown,” Josué Fischel, general director of the SHNIT “playground” in San José, told The Tico Times. “People are noticing that short films are exciting. We’re trying that show that SHNIT is an experience that goes beyond watching short films; it’s about celebrating… originality, creativity and an integral cinematography.”From Oct. 6-10, Cine Magaly in Barrio California was the place to be. The program included films from ten international competitions, three national competitions and an exclusive screening of the Peeping SHNIT, which dealt with an erotic theme. The two Costa Rican short films “Asunder” by Nathalie Álvarez and “Beauty, Courage, and Strength in the Occupied West Bank,” a documentary by Glorianna Ximendaz, were awarded best short film and an honorary mention, respectively. The national jury was made up of Karolina Hernández, Roberto Jaén and Ernesto Jara.But check them out for yourself: here are four of our favorites of the films screened during the festival.Very Lonely Cock – Leonid Shmelkov (Russian Federation)This animated film portrays the life of a lonely rooster in a farm, searching for something to do. Manoman – Simon Cartwright (United Kingdom)Cartwright’s fictitious story focuses on the psychological development of its main character, Glen, combining animation with marionettes. Related posts:5 questions for film director Juan Feldman Arts and culture at a glance: the week ahead in Costa Rica 5 questions for Costa Rican actor Radek Lord What not to miss at Costa Rica’s National Arts Festival
Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series – the view from your home or favorite Costa Rican spot, or any other image you care to share? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to see the sights with you. As the annual arribada of sea turtles continues in Ostional, Guanacaste, we’re sharing one of our favorite images by Lindsay Fendt of a turtle coming ashore to nest.According to videos and news posted on Facebook by the Association of Local Ostional Guides, so many turtles came ashore at Ostional this year that they ran out of room on the beach; some turtles have continued on to the nearby roadway and even homes.Local efforts to protect turtles have intensified since an infamous incident in 2015 when tourists eager to watch the turtles’ arrival interfered with their nesting. New turtles arrive at Costa Rica’s Ostional beach, testing efforts to control tourists Related posts:When you shop in Costa Rica, take a friend Time for some more sloth therapy Baby turtles on a mission On the Caribbean coast, a lizard messiah Facebook Comments
Compelled by various biological triggers and a heavy rainstorm, nearby male frogs will all gather near a pool suitable for breeding and wait for a mate to pass by. The first female to come along is mobbed by hordes of overeager males looking to get lucky. Female frogs are often killed during explosive breeding events, and a recent study showed that in at least one species of frog, the males are able to harvest the eggs from the female after her death.The competition for females is so fierce that some studies estimate that as few as 5 percent of male frogs breed successfully. To make the cut, males will attempt to pull other mating males off of female frogs, and in some cases two males will even mate with the same female at the same time.A number of Costa Rica’s well-known frogs are explosive breeders. The red-eyed leaf frog (Agalychnis saltator) and the gliding leaf frog (Agalychnis spurrelli) have both been studied for their explosive breeding habits in the wild. But as more and more frog and toad species are decimated due to climate change and the spread of a deadly fungus, witnessing an explosive breeding event is becoming increasingly rare. The golden toad was one of Costa Rica’s famous explosive breeders. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)The Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki), which used to turn out by the hundreds during breeding season is now critically endangered. Another explosive breeder, Holdridge’s toad (Incilius holdridgei), was believed extinct due to its failure to turn out for its characteristic breeding sessions, but the toad was re-discovered in 2009.The country’s most famous explosive breeder is now extinct. Characterized by its shiny, orange skin, the golden toad (Bufo periglenes) breeding season drew a crowd every year in Monteverde. Despite its conspicuous color, the beautiful toad stayed underground for most of the year only appearing after the first big rain of the season for a fornication fiesta.The toad has not been seen since 1989 after a deadly fungus wiped out the entire known population in a matter of years.Originally published on June 6, 2015. Facebook Comments The secret lives of leaf-cutting ants Related posts:It’s frog orgy season Looking back: A microscopic wasp and other amazing Costa Rica wildlife stories 6 Costa Rican animal names decoded The secret lives of leaf-cutting ants The search for Costa Rica’s extinct golden toad The rainy season is upon us. For many of us that means hiding indoors for the next few months, but for Costa Rica’s frog and toad populations this means it’s time to party.Most species of amphibians use an explosive breeding strategy, which is a polite way of saying that they engage in massive orgies over short spans of time. In Costa Rica, frog orgy season falls during the rainy season, when storms create temporary pools of water that serve as amphibian breeding grounds.During this time, a hiker in a wet patch of forest can come across dozens, sometimes hundreds of frogs and toads all in one spot. To a casual observer, these frog congregations look relatively tame, but for many species these breeding hooplas can get violent.
No related posts. From perfectly cooked garlic shrimp, to oysters, to whole grilled fish, Puntarenas has no shortage of maritime cuisine. You’d expect as much from the capital city of the province with the most coastline, but there’s another land-based dish that’s emblematic to El Puerto: vigorones. It’s almost like an ice cream cone of banana leaves filled with yuca, pork, cabbage and chimichurri.Dozens of carts line city streets and the beach in Puntarenas offering this local dish. Some heavily transited areas have clusters of older women advertising vigorones. One of them, Grace “Chinita” Gomez, has been selling vigorones in Puntarenas for nearly 30 years. Alexander Villegas / The Tico TimesAside from the typical list of ingredients, Grace says the key is to add both yellow and purple onions, vinegar, salt and sugar to the chimichurri. On top of that, she likes to add a special dose of love and care to her vigorones. We couldn’t taste the love, but we did love the blend of textures and tastes this dish offers.It’s served on a plate, which is easier to eat, or you can have the full experience and have all the ingredients funneled into a cone of banana leaves. You’ll probably need a plastic bag if you chose the latter, because things get a bit messy, especially when you start digging into this pile of crunchy refreshing goodness. Alexander Villegas / The Tico TimesThe dish, including the pork, is served cold, which is perfect for hot beach days. A bed of cold cabbage lines the bottom followed by boiled yuca. This root vegetable is soft and starchy, giving a nice neutral and absorbing balance to this dish. Then comes the pork. You can pick pork belly, pork rinds or both. Alexander Villegas / The Tico TimesWe recommend both, of course.The pork belly adds the goodness all meat does, and the rinds give the vigorón a nice crisp crunch, like pork nachos. To top it off, you got a nice dollop of limey chimichurri.Now you’re ready to take your beautiful bag of vigorón on a romantic sunset walk along the beach. Like most summer loves, it’s over way too quick, and you’re left with nothing but a soggy bag of limey memories.Luckily, chances are you’re only a few meters away from the next vigorón cart.As with gallo pinto, there’s a longstanding and fierce debate about whether this dish is traditionally Costa Rican or Nicaraguan. Regardless of its origins, it’s something the people of Puntarenas have come to strongly identify as a food that represents them and their port city. Facebook Comments
Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Love, sweat and humility atop Chirripó The following is an excerpt from a Tico Times feature on Cerro Chirripó, Costa Rica’s tallest mountain.Indigenous groups who lived in the shadow of Chirripó allegedly referred to the peak as “the magic mountain.” On a clear day at the summit, it is said that you can see both the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. Momentarily, you are hovering above Costa Rica, looking down at the layers of rolling mountains as they descend toward the sea.The mountain’s magic, as I interpreted it, is its geographical distinction from the rest of tropical Costa Rica. Jagged mountain formations, thin cold air, oak forests and fern groves are not traditionally associated with this country, where surfboard shorts significantly outnumber winter parkas.Formed by glaciers that melted tens of thousands of years ago, the park’s ashen rock cliffs spiral and jut from the earth above small lakes and marshes in the valleys below. Clouds frequently roll through and cover the peaks. At night, stars glow just beyond the mountains. And if you watch the sky for a few minutes in the early morning, you’re likely to see stars cascade across the atmosphere.Once you hit base camp, the bulk of the climb is behind you. Cerro Chirripó’s summit is an additional two-kilometer ascent, preceded by a four- to five-kilometer hike across the Valle de los Conejos (Rabbit Valley).The final trek up to the peak is difficult, requiring some all-fours hand-and-foot climbing up the side of the ridge, but once you’ve gone that far, turning back is no longer a viable option. Plus, there’s a log book at the summit to write your name, securing your place in the illustrious society of Central American mountaineering legends. If that isn’t motivation to finish, I don’t know what is.Most hikers summit Chirripó in two days. A first-day, 14-kilometer hike to the albergue, or base camp, is the first step. After a night at the base camp, with Spartan barracks, cold water and a kitchen for guests to prepare meals, most set out early the following day to scale the peak in the morning hours before heading back down to the small towns outside Pérez Zeledón, the region’s largest city.Read our 2012 feature story on the climb: Related posts:Three days of mountain biking through Costa Rica Pic of the Day: Costa Rica from the air Tico Times Pic of the Day: The stunning Nauyaca Waterfalls Pic of the Day: Costa Rica’s underwater wildlife
Comments Share Sponsored Stories It is estimated that people across the country still own some 3 million small weapons, and the United Nations have criticized the slow progress in carrying out the disarmament program.Former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat after it was determined Alassane Ouattara won at the polls in November 2010, which led to violence that killed thousands.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) – An official says authorities in Ivory Coast are starting to destroy hundreds of small arms collected since the end of the postelection violence that claimed some 3,000 lives.Spokeswoman Laetitia Dia Allou of the West African nation’s commission against arms proliferation said the destruction of some 600 weapons started Thursday.She says a total of about 2,000 weapons were collected from former militants and civilians since October 2011. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice 4 must play golf courses in Arizona The vital role family plays in society
Top Stories NEW DELHI (AP) – To understand why people are so cautious with their money five years after the financial crisis, The Associated Press interviewed consumers around the world. Here is what one person said:Name: Pradeep KumarHome: Varanasi, in northern IndiaAge: 41Job: Owner of a factory that makes water pumps and parts for electric fansBusiness is booming for Pradeep Kumar, but he still feels he’s struggling. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Parents, stop beating yourself up New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments Share He also has bought insurance policies for himself and his wife and has put money into a fixed-deposit account at a bank in the names of his two sons. He plans to use the money in the account to pay for their education. The fixed-deposit accounts earn higher interest than ordinary savings accounts if you don’t withdraw the money for a set number of months or years.Kumar’s fixed deposit is yielding about 9 percent a year, he says, which means he is roughly keeping up with inflation. Consumer prices rose 9.5 percent in August from a year earlier.As for stocks, he says he’s not interested.“I don’t understand how (stocks) work,” Kumar says. “I will not venture into something I don’t understand.”(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The problem: inflation.“Prices of basic necessities such as food and clothing have gone up by 50 to 70 percent in the past five years,” he says. “Although my business has taken off and there’s more money coming in, my savings have remained roughly the same.”Kumar has benefited from a growing middle class eager to buy new homes and fix up old ones in his hometown of Varanasi. Homeowners frustrated with the city’s low water pressure have been buying his pumps to help move water to overhead storage tanks.Inflation notwithstanding, Kumar’s lifestyle has improved. His wife stays home now to take care of their two sons, 10 and 4. And he can afford a family vacation once a year to some favored spots, like nearby hill resorts. In 2011, the family even splurged on a vacation to the beach state of Goa, 1,085 miles to the southwest.Like many other middle-class Indians, Kumar has shunned stocks and put his money into gold, real estate and bank accounts instead.India is the biggest consumer and importer of gold. In 2010, Kumar bought gold cheaply and sold it two years later. With the profit, he bought a second home to rent out for additional income. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home 4 must play golf courses in Arizona
Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Four benefits of having a wireless security system The Finns’ maverick leader, Timo Soini, was appointed foreign minister and deputy prime minister, and the justice ministry went to the party’s Jari Lindstrom. Two other party members were handed responsibility for defense, social and health affairs.The anti-immigration Finns Party was the second biggest in Finland’s April election, ahead of the conservative National Coalition Party, which led the previous government. It has become known for the many controversial statements by its members.In 2011, European Parliament member Jussi Halla-aho suggested a military junta was needed in the financially-troubled Greece “to rein in the strikers and demonstrators … with tanks.”On Thursday, Lindstrom said he believed the death penalty should be used in “some circumstances” in Finland for “extremely heavy crimes, such as against small children.” He stressed that it was a personal view and not on his political agenda.The death penalty has been banned in Finland since 1949 and is abolished in all EU countries.Soini on Thursday said being in the government “won’t be an easy ride.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement HELSINKI (AP) — The populist, EU-skeptic Finns Party, known for its opposition to bailing out Greece and its political gaffes at home, on Friday joined the Finnish government for the first time.President Sauli Niinisto appointed the Nordic country’s new center-right Cabinet, a three-party coalition made up of the Finns, the pro-EU conservatives and the Center Party, whose leader Juha Sipila was named Finland’s new prime minister. Sponsored Stories Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Check your body, save your life Comments Share New Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila, centre, Finance Minister Alexander Stubb, left and Foreign Minister Timo Soini his cabinet attend a press conference in Helsinki, Finland on Friday May 29, 2015. Finland’s new three-party coalition government took office on Friday. ( Antti Aimo-Koivisto/LEHTIKUVA via AP) FINLAND OUT
More than 2,500 people have been accused in connection with the scandal and around 1,900 of them have been arrested.Dozens of people, either witnesses or accused participants in the scam, have died over the last five years in inexplicable circumstances. Congress leaders have alleged that some top state bureaucrats and politicians accepted millions of dollars in bribes to facilitate the admissions.The scandal has come to be known in India as the “Vyapam scandal,” after the Hindi language acronym for the state-run employment agency in Madhya Pradesh. For the past couple of weeks, Indian media have given wide coverage to the sudden deaths of a number of people connected to the scam.The scandal hit the front pages of newspapers once again last weekend after the death of an investigative journalist who had gone to Madhya Pradesh to speak with witnesses.The following day, the body of a medical college dean was found in a New Delhi hotel. The official, Arun Kumar, headed a medical college in Madhya Pradesh that was involved in the admissions scandal. Kumar was helping the state police in its investigation.The many suspicious deaths of people linked to the scam have raised concerns among civil society groups who feel the deaths were in some way connected. Many of the dead were younger than 40 and autopsy reports in most cases were inconclusive. Top Stories NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s top court Thursday ordered a federal investigation into a multimillion-dollar college admission and government job recruitment scandal in central India said to be linked to dozens of mysterious deaths.The Supreme Court ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation, India’s FBI, to take over from the state police the investigation into the alleged irregularities in job recruitment and college admissions as well as the deaths of nearly 50 people associated with the scam. Police have arrested hundreds of parents and students for paying bribes and officials for allegedly rigging eligibility tests for admission to medical colleges and recruitment for jobs in the police force, schools and banking sector in Madhya Pradesh state.The court also directed the Madhya Pradesh government to respond to a petition demanding the removal of the state’s federally appointed governor after questions were raised about his involvement in the scandal. Gov. Ram Naresh Yadav’s son Shailesh Yadav died mysteriously in May after the younger man was alleged to have accepted bribes in the governor’s house.Opposition Congress party leaders had been demanding a federal inquiry into the scam, accusing the Madhya Pradesh government of trying to influence the outcome of the inquiry by the state police.Congress leader Digvijay Singh demanded the resignation of Madhya Pradesh’s top elected official, saying Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan should step down to allow for a free and fair investigation.“Students who have been arrested in connection with the scam should be made witnesses for the state,” Singh said. “Isn’t it strange that hundreds of students and their parents are in jail, while those who took the bribes are roaming free,” he told reporters Thursday. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments Share Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Madhya Pradesh home minister Babulal Gaur dismissed the opposition’s charge that witnesses and whistle-blowers were being targeted to shield top politicians and bureaucrats. He said most of the deaths were due to natural causes.The scam dates to 2007, but investigations began only in 2013 after details emerged that many unqualified and undeserving candidates had been admitted into medical and engineering colleges. Medical school entrance test papers were leaked before the examination, impersonators were allowed to appear for exams, or the marks of undeserving candidates were enhanced — all for a fee.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall
HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Tens of thousands of pilgrims taking part in a Hindu religious bathing festival surged forward and triggered a massive stampede on a riverbank in southern India, leaving at least 27 dead and dozens injured in chaotic scenes in which rescuers struggled to respond quickly.The stampede Tuesday along the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh stampede was triggered by some pilgrims who were trying to retrieve their shoes, which had fallen off in the rush to the riverbank, police said. Comments Share Sponsored Stories Festival participants believe a bath in the river can rid them of their sins, and many believe it is more auspicious to bathe on the first day of the 12-day festival, called Pushkaralu.“It was a frightening situation, with women and children crying for help,” said pilgrim V. Satyanarayana, adding the mayhem lasted nearly 20 minutes. “The policemen on duty were helpless and it took more than an hour to bring the situation under control.”With the bodies of victims lying around, relatives wailed and cried for help. At least 34 people were hospitalized, said Andhra Pradesh’s chief minister, Chandrababu Naidu.Some pilgrims said ambulances took time to reach the site because the roads were overcrowded with people. Officials said that a small place like Rajahmundry, the disaster scene 450 kilometers (280 miles) east of Hyderabad, could not cope with the rush of hundreds of thousands of people, and that the situation became almost unmanageable.Thousands of pilgrims, riding in buses, trains and other vehicles, started reaching the pilgrimage center two days ahead of the start of the festival.“There is a false belief that taking a holy dip in the river on the first day of the festival will be more auspicious,” said Swamy Swaroopanand, a Hindu holy man. “It’s the same as taking dip on any other day.” Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the tragedy, tweeting that he was “deeply pained” by it.About 24 million people are expected to take part in the festival at varying points along the Godavari River, which flows through Andhra Pradesh and newly created Telangana state.Deadly stampedes are fairly common during Indian religious festivals, where large crowds gather in small areas with few safety or crowd control measures.In October 2013, a stampede in Madhya Pradesh state in central India killed more than 110 people, mostly women and children.___This story has been corrected to show that the festival’s name is Pushkaralu, instead of Kumbh.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist