Monday, November 23, 2009

Boruca Indian Masks Costa Rica

La Fortuna Costa Rica gets invaded by Boruca Indians and the Danza de los Diablitos (Dance of the Little Devils)

D'Angelo and myself fell in LOVE with the Boruca masks at first sight, but NOT just any Boruca mask, as some are MUCH better than others, but the ones from the Ismael Gonzalez family, and in particular the son, Melvin Gonzalez Rojas, which for our taste seem to be far and away superior in craftsmanship and detail from other Boruca masks we've seen (not sayin there's not others out there just as good....just sayin). Actually we collect Boruca masks... although we only have 2 since they cost a months rent for us. Funny, we're not even into 'masks' per se, but the artistry of these masks are just so AMAZING we couldn't resist.

FYI:The Boruca are an indigenous people living in Costa Rica. The tribe has about 2,000 members, most of whom live on a reservation in the Puntarenas Province in southwestern Costa Rica. You can find more INFO on the Boruca Indians on our TravelCostaRicaNOW site- HERE.

CHECK-OUT these Boruca Masks (the pics are GOOD, but still don't do them enough justice):

Love the vibrant colors in these Boruca masks.

Close UP of the top, left mask- CHECK OUT the detail.

Costa Rican wildlife is a popular theme found on many modern-day Boruca masks.

Frogs, such as the Poison Dart Frog, are also depicted on a variety of Boruca masks.

Another GREAT example of the detailed artwork that's put into these masks.


What I really dig about Boruca masks is that EACH one is UNIQUE even though the themes are similar.... What's that saying about a box of chocolates?

D'Angelo made this VIDEO some time ago about the Boruca Indian masks and it's DEFINITELY worth CHECKING OUT (you can get a glimpse of Melvin Gonzalez Rojas doing his thing:)

TONS of Costa Rica Travel Info and VIDEOS on our website: Travel Costa Rica NOW and if you want to visit our YouTube Channel: iCostaRica24 Oh, and we also have all the INFO about GAY Travel in Costa Rica. ENjoY!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Referral FEES- BEWARE!

The tourism industry in Costa Rica is not unlike every other in the world; which means it's FUELED by 'referral fees and commission checks' that are paid to middle-men, go-betweens and other entities trying to make an EASY buck by merely pointing YOU in a certain direction. *I'm not saying this is necessarily a BAD thing... I'm just sayin.

I know you probably already know that, but making the connection when you're actually in the 'situation', it's really easy to me. Take the below and 'add personality' to the people doing the referring:

- the taxi driver who tells you your hotel is booked solid, but of course knows another one JUST as good.

- the VERY likable tour guide who tells you he knows the BEST place to buy souvenirs.

- the tour operator who recommends one 'tour' over another.

- the gregarious gringo at the bar who tells you he knows a GREAT deal on some property in the area.

...AND pretty much ANYONE steering YOU in one direction over another.

It can be extremely difficult to decipher INFORMATION, when really you have NO CLUE and you're literally at the mercy of whoever happens to be dishing the info out... and you can BET there's an AGENDA attached, usually in the name of a NICE little referral fee.

The information given could be accurate or could NOT be, it really may be one of the BEST restaurants in the area, but what you CAN be SURE of- YOU WILL BE GRINGO PRICED! Referral fees and commissions are passed on to YOU the tourist, it's not like it's coming out of restaurant's own pocket. Case in Point: A large group eating at a more 'touristy' restaurant the tour guide 'happen' to recommend- do you really believe the prices on the menu are cheaper than the Soda (what they call small little mom & pop diners here) down the street? *Tour guides do particularly well in the 'referral' business.

REMEMBER: Keep this in the back of your mind when talking to taxi drivers, tour operators, tour guides or ANYONE for that matter, who are seemingly providing FREE information... and don't let your guard down just because they seem SO nice.

Check out our video about and SEE what we do to combat referral fees and commissions:

TONS of Costa Rica Travel Information and Videos on the links to the RIGHT. ENjoY!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

David Gimelfarb and Michael Dixon MY THOUGHTS

David Gimelfarb and Michael Dixon are both missing in Costa Rica. David’s been missing from the Rincon de la Vieja area since mid-August and Michael Dixon who was (supposedly) last seen with swim trunks and towel leaving his hotel in Tamarindo on October 19th and hasn't been seen since.

I’ve written about David Gimelfarb numerous times since he went missing and took some serious ‘HITS’ for my last post: David Gimelfarb- What's the STORY? It was not intended to be offensive, on the contrary, it was meant to raise questions, raise awareness about the situation and keep David in the forefront of people’s thoughts. I stand by the post but see why MANY people took offense.

That said, the Gimelfarb situation is still somewhat perplexing to me. It appears, or at least hoped; he’s roaming the area, somewhat living off the land but confused, possibly from some sort of head trauma. I can’t help wonder about David. It’s said this would “not fit his personality” from the people closest to him.

So I have a few ‘new’ questions.

*Was there any indication David was not happy with his life before he left for Costa Rica?

* Is David a survivoralist of some sort, is he even CAPABLE of ‘living off the land’ so to speak… and in Costa Rica where the terrain and rain forest etc can be unforgiving?

* Is there any reason David would want to fall off the grid?

* Same question, sort of, if David is ‘confused or frightened’ does he have the survival skills to stay 2-steps ahead of his rescuers indefinitely?

* Has some sort of amnesia been considered?

I BELIEVE some pieces are missing from the David Gimelfarb STORY, something just feels 'wrong' and I’m sorry, I can’t help it, I think he's dead, but of course I would love to be WRONG, but as one commenter pointed out about my opinions after my last ‘frustrated’ post about David:
“Boy, are you a narcissistic douchebag that believe the world revolves around you or what? Who gives a shit if you are "frustrated"- especially in light of the emotions his family and friends are feeling….”
So, I realize my ‘2-cents worth’ is exactly that.

And I SWEAR, I’m not being *glib* but if David Gimelfarb is in fact found ALIVE, it would be one hell of a ‘Movie of the Week’…… just sayin.

I fear the worst for Michael Dixon, the evidence, or lack thereof, seems to point to only ONE likely outcome- probably a causality of a riptide or some other type of bizarre swimming accident, but I wouldn’t necessarily rule-out a random act of violence yet either. If the latter, friends and family must have the HELP of local law enforcement, without them it will be near impossible to get answers. The family, along with help from the British government or any other outside influence, may have to apply serious PRESSURE to receive more than lip-service from local officials. Costa Rica is all about perception. They do not like their country coming across as having ‘any’ problems and will do or say just about anything to guard the ‘paradise’ perception. If you don’t live here you may not understand just how far Tioc’s are capable of sticking their heads in the SAND. *We got hate mail for this video about the driving conditions in Costa Rica because they thought if people really ‘knew’, they wouldn’t want to VISIT. Like a few bad roads would keep us from such a beautiful and diverse country.

I like what the folks at, ‘Help Find Michael Dixon’ are doing. I’m certain they ‘understand’ the reality of the situation, but nonetheless are leaving no stone unturned - getting the WORD out, keeping the WORD out, enlisting volunteers, raising money and awareness; and hopefully ‘applying’ pressure to local Costa Rican officials.

I hope both the David Gimelfarb family and the Michael Dixon family find the answers they deserve.

*Not really appropriate for an entire post at this time, but David's and Michael's stories should be a WAKE-UP call for people considering traveling to foreign countries alone. Not saying you shouldn't, just saying you need to be doubly AWARE of your surroundings at all times and have an understanding of the potential dangers.

For up-to-date INFO about David and Michael and how you can HELP, visit their FACEBOOK pages:
Help Find David Gimelfarb
Help Find Michael Dixon

Friday, November 6, 2009

Don't STAY at Casa Caletas Hotel, but WHY?

Casa Caletas Hotel on the Nicoya Penisula in Costa Rica- "Obviously YOU don't CARE."

I haven't heard word 'one' from Casa Caletas Hotel. "Bet you thought I forgot about you, didn't you Casa Caletas?"

Why shouldn't you stay at Casa Caletas Hotel? The short answer- the owner doesn't seem to CARE about some LAND that he is ASSOCIATED WITH and is important to the sea turtles. But there's MUCH MORE to the story.

Don't KNOW? You can get up to SPEED:

It started HERE:

* Another Company tells Costa Rica to F-OFF

Then I heard from the folks at Pretoma and wrote the second installment:

* time to SPEAK-UP and do SOMETHING

Then I personally asked Casa Caletas or the owners to respond to a few questions I had:

* Casa Caletas Hotel- tell me it's NOT true

So, it's time to seriously BOYCOTT anything to do with the owner(s) of Casa Caletas and possibly two other hotels, Hotel Fuego del Sol in Playa Hermosa and Lake Coter Eco Lodge in Nuevo Arenal, which may ALL be owned by Sylvester Feichtinger or his company(s). (If they'd answer my emails I would know for SURE), but since they pretty much told Costa Rica to 'fuck off' when ordered to 'cease and desist' stripping the wetlands, I'm fairly certain I'm not HIGH on their 'need to respond to' list.

It would also be COOL if you could email them and ask them 'WHAT'S UP with that?' is their email.

'Sea turtle's already have a tough BEGINNING, but at least they have a place to START... don't let it disappear.'

BE the CHANGE YOU want in the WORLD, the sea turtles will thank-you for it.