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Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast

  Many people think that the Pacific side of Costa Rica is the better coast to visit. The remote Osa peninsula, the monkey-filled area of Manuel Antonio, and the touristy Nicoya coast all beat the Caribbean, which has more rain, less wildlife, fewer “modern” conveniences,…

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Many people think that the Pacific side of Costa Rica is the better coast to visit. The remote Osa peninsula, the monkey-filled area of Manuel Antonio, and the touristy Nicoya coast all beat the Caribbean, which has more rain, less wildlife, fewer “modern” conveniences, and uglier beaches. No matter where you go, the Caribbean side just won’t be as nice. Having now been to both coasts, I’m not sure what these people are talking about. Traveling down the Caribbean side, I did find it to be rainier, but it was no less beautiful and had many wonderful places to explore.

 

 

Tortuguero, the Costa Rican version of the Amazon rainforest, dominates the northern coast. This massive area is a series of rivers and canals that crisscross the jungle. It rains all the time, and although the beaches are beautiful, a full day of sunny beach weather is rare. To top it off, the currents are strong, and toothy barracudas and sharks roam the waters. Despite all that, there are many reasons to come here. The biggest draw is the large numbers of turtles that come to nest along the shoreline. The best time to see them nesting is in April and May. But even during the off-season, Tortuguero offers a few places to go hiking, lots of canal cruises, and an abundance of wildlife, this area is known for its birds. Tortuguero is not easy to get to nor is it cheap. It takes five hours to get there from San José and supplies are brought in by boat. It’s not a budget destination. But if it’s something remote and off the typical backpacker trail you’re looking for in Central America, Tortuguero is the place to go.

 

 

You’ll find great surf sites, deep sea diving, lots of people, and parties galore down the coast toward Panama. This part of the coast is a lot easier to get to and much cheaper than Tortuguero. Most travelers head for Puerto Viejo, the region’s main hub. This is backpacker central, and it’s easy to get sucked into the surfer/party life here. Puerto Viejo is a rocking seaside town with a strong Caribbean feel. The town is small, it’s easy to get around, there are beaches everywhere, and there are a ton of good restaurants, ranging from local “sodas” where you can buy cheap food, to amazing Western places with delicious baked bread or good sushi. You’ll be rocking to reggae as you wander along streets, as there are more Caribbeans than Spaniards in Puerto Viejo.

Near Puerto Viejo are two other towns worth seeing: Cahuita and Manzanillo. Cahuita, a tiny town situated right next to a stunning national park with the same name, is about an hour north of Puerto Viejo. Like Tortuguero, this is a place to relax. There’s one bar that gets lively on some nights, but for the most part, after a day of hiking, swimming, or surfing, most people just sit and read.

Manzanillo is only 12 kilometers from Puerto Viejo, which makes for an easy day trip. In fact, you can walk here from Puerto Viejo in about two hours, just follow the beach. The town is even smaller than Cahuita, and no one ever really visits. The reef system there is close to the shore, and this is the area’s main diving spot. Most of the people who come here are older couples, families, or retirees. Come here to dive and relax after all the partying and noise of Puerto Viejo.

 

 

After visiting Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, I can say that it’s just as beautiful, interesting, and majestic as the Pacific coastline. And since it rains more on the Caribbean coast, you’ll find far fewer people on this side. The huge resorts, overpriced meals and tours, and thousands of expats that flood all parts of the Pacific, especially the Nicoya Peninsula, are hardly anywhere to be found. So let them do what they want while you enjoy fairly empty beaches, cheap seafood, and lots of wildlife.

 

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Don’t Believe Everything You Hear: Debunked Caribbean Myths

There are a lot of myths out there about the Caribbean. And we’re here to debunk every one of ’em! 

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When you hear “the Caribbean” what do you think of? Most people stop after pirates and nice beaches. And while there are plenty of beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, you certainly won’t be running into Jack Sparrow while you’re there. And that’s just one myth about the Caribbean!

There are actually a lot of other myths and assumptions floating around these days about the Caribbean. Some of them are true, and some of them are most certainly false. So we thought we’d help you out and break down the more common myths that are definitely not true. It’s time to learn the truth and put the Caribbean back on your list of future vacation destinations!

IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE

I think many people assume that, because it’s an island getaway kind of place, the Caribbean must be expensive. Just getting there must cost a fortune because it requires landing at weird airports or traveling by water. And for some places in the Caribbean, this can be true. But there are plenty of options that are pretty cheap!

If you fly out of Fort Lauderdale on Spirit Airlines, you can find flights as cheap as $200. And as long as you visit in the quieter seasons, it’s very easy to find cheap enough lodging. Not to mention, in places like Cuba and Haiti, the exchange rate will make you feel like a millionaire with all those precious U.S. dollars!

YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PASSPORT TO VISIT

Nope! You definitely don’t need a passport to check out parts of the Caribbean. Specifically, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are official U.S. territories. So you can take a trip to either of those same as you would take a trip to visit Grandma in Ohio! It’s starting to sound pretty easy, isn’t it?

YOU BASICALLY CAN’T ISLAND HOP

Another common assumption is that it’s basically impossible to hop from one island to the other. At least in terms of cost, let alone anyone actually having the physical ability to do it. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are a bunch of ferries that go from one place to the other that can give you a round trip for the same cost of a cheap flight.

And if you have a few extra bucks, it’s really not that hard to charter your own boat! There are plenty of catamaran owners in the area that are more than happy to take a lower-than-you’d-think rate to take you and your family or friends around the Caribbean. And especially if you’re with a group of friends, splitting the cost will make it feel like you’re practically a pirate yourself.

THERE’S NOTHING TO DO EXCEPT SIT ON THE BEACH ALL DAY

Come on now, people… you’re smarter than this! Of course, there are still lively communities and culinary traditions in the Caribbean! So, while relaxing on a beautiful beach is probably at the top of the list of things to do while you’re there, there is still plenty of other things to enjoy in many parts of the Caribbean.

There’s the annual Carnival in Trinidad, The St. Lucia Food and Rum Festival, the Barbados Concorde Experience (where visitors can experience what it feels like to fly a French jet), and the amazing Museum of Art in San Juan, Puerto Rico. So don’t be so foolish as to assume the Caribbean is only a bunch of beaches.

THE HURRICANES IN 2017 BASICALLY DESTROYED IT ALL

While it’s true that the numerous hurricanes that hit the are in 2017 did their fair share of damage, the Caribbean is still alive and well. There are plenty of hotels that have still unfortunately been unable to reopen in places like Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, and Puerto Rico. There are plenty of others in places like Aruba and Jamaica that were basically untouched.

And even places like St. Barts that were hit pretty hard have seen many of their local business rebuild and reopen and are quickly returning to their former glory.

What else do you need?! It’s as good a time as any to visit the beautiful Caribbean. Because it’s always been a good time to visit the Caribbean!

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Why You Should Live in the Rivertowns

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If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of New York, a quick jaunt upstate to the Rivertowns is the perfect place. The Rivertowns, straddling the Hudson River, is a collection of picture-perfect villages that combines laid-back living with the convenience of amenities and easy transport options.

The Rivertowns in Westchester County consist of cozy and picturesque towns. It is resplendent with typically 19th-century architecture, stunning views of the river, and thriving centers full of creative and artistic individuals. As more people look to make the break from urban living in New York and trade skyscrapers for tree-lined streets and spacious homes and gardens, interest in the Rivertowns has grown.

In this blog post, we will look at four communities in the Rivertowns to consider moving to. If you’re looking for a quaint and historic community in which to raise a family, grow old in comfort, or get back to nature, you’ll find it all in the Rivertowns.

1. Ossining

Further out from the city than many of the other communities within the Rivertowns but if it’s good enough for Don Draper and his family, it’s good enough for us. This stunning community is famed for its architecture and historic buildings. Ossining is an affordable location within Westchester, which has drawn many young professionals from the city. 

Ossining features a wide selection of houses, from historic to new constructions. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or looking to upgrade or move location, Ossining has it all.

2. Sleepy Hollow

A 40-minute train journey from the city, Sleepy Hollow is known worldwide for its connection to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. A mixture of new constructions and historic homes, the charming community is popular with creative types, history buffs, and people looking for a more laid-back environment that is still close to New York.

3. Yonkers

The city’s sixth borough, with a population of around 200,000, has excellent education options, easy transportation to Grand Central, and recreation options (including Untermyer Park). The largest of Westchester’s cities, Yonkers has an urban feel that offers the benefits of suburban living. There is a wide mix of Victorian homes and luxury apartments on the market in Yonkers.

4. Hastings-on-Hudson

With a creative and environmentally conscious ambiance, Hastings-on-Hudson boasts a lively downtown and impressive views of the Hudson. 35 minutes by train to Grand Central, this community is packed full of high-regarded amenities, including restaurants and public parks. Popular for families due to its excellent schooling options, it has a close-knit population of around 8,000.

Click here to learn more about the Rivertowns and its appeal to those looking to move out of the city.

Find a New Lease of Life in the Rivertowns

Experience the benefits of suburban living with easy access to New York City. Embrace your creative and artistic side in the Rivertowns. Choose from stunning 19-century homes to new, luxurious apartments and condos.

Did you like this blog post? For other great articles on travel, living, and food, check out our blog.

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This Camper That Doubles As A Boat Is A Game Changer

The future of road-tripping has arrived and it’s a camper that is also a boat.

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There are a lot of different ways to vacay. Some people love to travel the globe. See new countries, experience different cultures, and, of course, try new food. Some people don’t need all that and can enjoy themselves just escaping a couple hours out of town for a day or two.

Then there are those “free spirits” I keep hearing about. Those people that just jump in the car and start driving. No real destination in mind. No idea how long the latest adventure will last. More often than not these people are either expert campers… or they have an actual camper. And there’s a new one out there that’s about to blow their minds.

Introducing the Sealander Caravan. Doesn’t look like much, does it? Actually looks kind of small, doesn’t it? Well, there’s more than meets the eye with this mini camper. Because in addition to having wheels and the fact that it can easily be hitched to the back of a truck, it also doubles as a boat!

That’s right. You heard me. This thing operates as both a camper and a boat. So you can cruise down the highway and pull over whenever you like and sleep in your camper. Or you can take that thing out in the water and have a beautiful candlelit dinner with your sweetie in the middle of a lake.

While on the water it’s controlled by an outboard motor and can go up to 20-25 miles per hour. And the inside is practically a transformer. There’s a bench and table configuration that can accommodate seating for four. Then you can remove the table and fold out the benches to make a bed that easily fits two people. You can even get yours upgraded to include a bathroom and cooking utilities!

Now I know what you’re thinking. How much does this brilliant invention cost? Well, it’s actually pretty reasonable! The most basic model runs at around $17,000. And then the price will obviously go up from there as you customize and add more features.

And that’s not all! While you need a special license to drive most boats, there is no special license required to take this beauty out on the water! It meets all safety requirements for both land and water around the world. Be right back, I’ve got to buy one of these like now!

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