The Surfer's Guide to Costa Rica - Costa Rica Surf Travel News
Blue Flags Back at Manuel Antonio
Good news for Manuel Antonio surfers and beachgoers. The beaches at Manuel Antonio National Park
got their Ecological Blue Flags back, per a March 12, 2009 announcement from the Environment, Energy
and Telecommunications Ministry (MINAET). The Blue Flags are recognition of beach and ocean water
cleanliness. In February, the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) revoked the Manuel Antonio’s
Blue Flags, citing sewage contamination risks. But that was more of a precautionary measure. The Blue
Flags were returned after MINAET put forth a plan to improve sanitary conditions by installing new
bathrooms and a sewage treatment facility for the park.
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Costa Rica Happiest Place on Earth?
Has Disneyland been upstaged? According to a recent poll by the New Economics Foundation, the land
of Pura Vida is the happiest place on earth. In fact, Latin America did pretty well scoring nine of the top 10
spots. Maybe it's the surf? More at Yahoo!
Bus Dives Into Rio Tarcoles
October 2009 - Six people died and 15 more were hospitalized when a 50-meter bridge over the Río
Tárcoles collapsed because the driver decided to ignore the weight restriction sign and go for it. The
wooden suspension bridge, built over 80 years ago, had been marked as “seriously fatigued” by the
MOPT, and an iron beam was procured to reinforce the bridge seven years earlier. The drop to the river
was about 20 feet, but the bus managed to land on its wheels, so they actually got lucky. The bus was
traveling from Turrabares to Orotina and the accident occurred at Puente Angosto de Turrabares.
New Traffic Fines Take Effect
Getting pulled over in Costa Rica has never been fun. But now it is downright expensive, too.
It used to be OK to just pay a small fine on the spot and be on your way. Frustrating, but inexpensive. Now
there's a fine for attempting a bribe ($415), which is the same price as driving without your license - a
pretty typical thing to do when trying to minimize "stealables" when driving for a surf. It all went into effect
Other new fine increases include:
- Rolling a stop sign: $300
- Toll evasion: $42
- Talking on a cell phone while driving: $300
- Illegal U-Turn: $399 (not $400?)
- Driving without appropriate papers: $83
- Blocking the road: $165
Avoid Horses, Use Deet
Costa Rican authorities issued a warning due to an outbreak of horse encephalitis, a viral disease which
can be transmitted to humans. The outcome of encephalitis varies. Some cases are mild and short with
full recovery. Others are severe, and permanent impairment or death is possible.
Encephalitis is not exceptionally unusual in NW Costa Rica, Guanacaste, but the warning was issued
because it has been detected outside Guanacaste in the northern zone as well as Panama to the south.
Guanacaste and the north border Nicaragua, and both borders have stepped up cross-border horse
Dengue Fever Up
Authorities reported a big jump in denguecases. In 2010 year, over 8,300 cases have been confirmed, a
450 percent increase over the same period last year. An official warned that the chances of hemorrhagic
dengue (HD), which can be fatal, are up now that three of the four types of dengue are here in Costa Rica.
HD, which causes internal bleeding and needs immediate hospitalization, results from reinfection with a
different strain of dengue than that of the victim’s first infection. Highest dengue rate areas are found in
Corredores and Buenos Aires in the Southern Zone; Carrillo, Abangares, Nandayure, Santa Cruz and
Canas in Guanacaste; Aguirre in the Central Pacific; Atenas, Alajuela Central and San Sebastián in the
Central Valley; and Pococí in the Caribbean lowlands.
Car Rental Warning
We've been getting emails complaining about Costa Rica car rental company Tricolor. In the past, we
received very good cars and service from Tricolor, but things have changed.
The most recent email said that their credit card was double-charged, and when they complained they
were billed another $900. The whole thing started bad as when they picked up the rental car it was
already low on gas. We posted the actual complaint on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Please visit
those pages or email us with your experiences.
Dengue Fever Up Again
January 2012 - After a big jump in reported cases in 2010,
the trend increased for 2011. Costa Rica's Social Security
System reported that it treated 14,399 cases last year, a
42% increase over 2010. Most of these cases were part
of an outbreak in the Limon province along the Atlantic
Coast, which is typically a hotbed for breeding Dengue.
Only 74 of the cases were deemed serious, per the
report, but we're not exactly sure what that means, as
Dengue is serious in any form. Regardless, our advice is
to take the usual precautions: long sleeves and pants at
night, avoid standing water, and don't forget the Deet.