Transat releases new Weddings brochure with special Weddingbells feature

first_img MONTREAL – Destination wedding planning is in full swing, made all the more easier with Transat’s new 2017-18 Weddings brochure, available now.New this year is a 17-page special feature by ‘Weddingbells’ that presents the hottest wedding dresses, the most beautiful tropical flower arrangements and tips on how to best capture the special day in photos. There’s also a wedding checklist, a comparison between destination weddings and weddings at home, wedding requirements for each destination and much more.Transat offers a number of advantages and perks for wedding couples, including an upgrade to Option Plus with Air Transat (with a compartment reserved for the wedding gown), a $500 future travel voucher, and a $100 credit for pre-booked excursions.Plus, the first 30 wedding guests who book with Transat will not be required to pay a deposit until 90 days after the booking date or 60 days before departure, whichever comes first.For couples looking for a more off-beat ceremony, a cruise has become an increasingly popular option. Today’s luxury liners offer venues that rival some of the best on land, in addition to providing complimentary wedding planning and a variety of inclusions. Even more, Transat’s new one-stop cruise packages include roundtrip flight, transfers and cruise.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckGroups who book with Transat will also benefit from its Price Drop Guarantee, which states that should a package become available at a lower price than the one paid, Transat will refund the difference. Posted by Travelweek Group Tags: Transat, Wedding, Weddings Transat releases new Weddings brochure with special ‘Weddingbells’ featurecenter_img Share Thursday, November 3, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Goway has a new Downunder agent incentive

first_imgGoway has a new Downunder agent incentive TORONTO — Agents who book an air and land inclusive vacation Downunder now qualify for up to $55 per two-person booking on their Goway rewards card.The promotion runs until March 31. Agents who book their clients on a Goway air and land inclusive vacation to Australia or New Zealand will receive a bonus $25 per new booking on their Goway Rewards Card.That’s in addition to the $15 per person incentive already paid out for air and land getaways booked with Goway. Based on two adults per booking, the incentive works out to $55 per booking.Bookings must include roundtrip international airfares from North America to Australia or New Zealand, and a minimum of seven nights land arrangements.Goway is also reminding agents about its Passport to a Free Fam promotion. Agents who book each of Goway’s six regions – Africa, Asia, Australia or New Zealand, South America, Europe, and the Idyllic Islands – qualify to start their Passport to a Free Fam. “Book a group to anywhere in the world and you can apply it to any destination,” and then claim a free fam trip, says Goway. Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Goway Travelcenter_img Tuesday, February 27, 2018 Travelweek Group Posted bylast_img read more

Now accepting reservations Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas

first_img Share Tags: California, Four Seasons, Los Cabos, Resort Travelweek Group Now accepting reservations: Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas LOS CABOS, MEXICO — The all-new Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas is now accepting reservations beginning Nov. 1, 2019, inviting guests to experience Los Cabos in a new way.Situated on the East Cape of the Baja California Peninsula, the 405-hectare resort community of Costas Palmas stretches along 3.2 kilometres of swimmable white sand beach on the shores of the Sea of Cortez.“We are truly breaking new ground here, being part of this community that, while only 45-minutes from Los Cabos International Airport, presents an undiscovered paradise like no other on the Baja Peninsula,” says Vince Parrotta, Four Seasons President, Hotel Operations – Americas West.The grounds offer five dining options, seven hectares of organic farm and orchards, a Spa and Wellness Centre with 10 stand-alone treatment rooms with two couples suites; four expansive pools; a Robert Trent Jones II 18-hole golf course; a Sports Complex that includes tennis, volleyball and basketball and fitness facilities; and a well-stocked Teen Centre and Kids for All Seasons program.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureThe resort features 141 guest rooms, including 23 suites, all with views of the Sea of Cortez and private terraces. The interiors include sunlit bathrooms with sea views and free-standing oversized bathtubs. Four Seasons Private Residences will also soon be available for short-term vacation stays.The on-site culinary team is led by Chef Tonatiuh Cuevas, who most recently introduced the Nayarit-inspired restaurant Zanaya at Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City. Dining venues include Casa de Brasa, a Baja-inspired brasserie; El Puesto, for sea-to-table ceviches; The Cove, an al fresco bar and grill; and Ginger’s, an all-day eclectic café. There’s also an extensive collection of local tequilas and mezcals to complement the food and beverage offerings, as well as an impressive collection of Greek, French and regional wines from Baja Mexico, the oldest wine-producing nation in the Americas.“Costa Palmas and now Four Seasons Resort truly introduce a new way to experience Cabo. Our vision from the outset was to create a fresh and mindfully planned community in the natural beauty of the East Cape for those of all ages who appreciate a natural setting, a refined approach to design, a spirited sense of adventure and of course, impeccable service,” adds Jason Grosfeld, Chairman and CEO of Irongate (Costa Palmas developer).More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionFor more information, visit Posted by Wednesday, May 22, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Pearlman joins Travel Leaders Network as Sr VP International Leisure

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Pearlman joins Travel Leaders Network as Sr. VP, International Leisure Tags: Travel Leaders Network Share Travelweek Group center_img Posted by Wednesday, July 10, 2019 TORONTO — Travel Leaders Network has appointed Lindsay Pearlman to the newly-created position of Senior Vice President, International Leisure.Pearlman reports to Travel Leaders Network President Roger E. Block, CTC.“Lindsay will work with our International Partners to expand Travel Leaders Network leisure programs throughout Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific,” said Block. “Many of our international partner agencies have a very large leisure operation in addition to their corporate division and we are pleased that Lindsay will bring his years of industry experience to help us grow our leisure division with partners across many countries.”Pearlman most recently served as Co-President of Ensemble, where he worked for 12 years, including as executive vice president and general manager of the retail travel group. Prior to Ensemble, Pearlman was with American Express Global Travel Services for 11 years in a variety of roles. Based in Toronto, Pearlman will work closely with Angeles Yugdar, Senior Vice President of International Markets for Travel Leaders Group.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJTravel Leaders Network now counts travel agency members in more than 60 countries worldwide as it continues its international expansion.last_img read more

Go golfing for a good cause at Costa Ricas luxurious Four Seasons

first_imgNo related posts. On Nov. 10, the Children’s Well Being Foundation (CWB), the nonprofit organization Creciendo Juntos and the Guanacaste Community Fund are hosting a golf tournament open to the public to benefit a children’s health clinic in Comunidad de Carillo, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. The Four Seasons Resort is donating the use of its golf course and offering special room rates for participants.Treating more than 3,500 children and adolescents who would otherwise have limited access to health care, the award-winning community children’s health clinic in Carillo is a creative and successful example of very different organizations joining together to meet a pressing need.Before 2011, the children of Comunidad, an economically depressed crossroads town at the northern end of the Nicoya Peninsula, had very limited access to health care. The local clinic, built by the Social Security Administration, or Caja, and operated by the local Community Development Association, was only open one day a month, meaning its impact was almost nil.In March of that year, Creciendo Juntos, the social responsibility program of Ecodesarrollos Peninsula Papayo, the Caja, and the CWB entered into an innovative tripartite agreement to manage the clinic so that it would be open full-time. Creciendo Juntos assumes the task of renovating and managing the clinic, CWB pays for the salaries of a full-time doctor and part-time psychologist, and the Caja provides medicines and laboratory tests.This model – which joins private business, a public sector agency and an international nongovernmental organization to meet a pressing community need – can easily be replicated in other parts of the country.The Second Annual Children’s Welfare Golf Tournament seeks to raise funds to cover a substantial part of the operating costs of the Comunidad clinic, which are approximately $70,000 per year. The Guanacaste Community Fund, an initiative of The Costa Rica-USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), is offering $15,000 in matching funds.Those interested in playing on one of Costa Rica’s premier golf courses while contributing to a very important cause can register online here. Hole sponsorships are still available. The cost of playing in the tournament is $300, including a practice round the day before and a gift bag. More than $20,000 worth of prizes has been donated and will be awarded or auctioned to participants.The Four Seasons Resort is offering a special rate of $250 per night for players. Other lodging nearby at special rates is also available.For more information regarding the tournament, please contact: Landy Blank, at Mack is the executive director of the Guanacaste Community Fund. He can be reached at Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Tamarindo Talk

first_imgNo related posts. Under the new parent-led board of trustees, Country Day School Guanacaste (CDS-G) has reduced tuition by 26 percent for students who will attend during the 2014-15 school year. In addition, they will apply these new rates those students who transfer into the second semester beginning Jan. 15, 2014. Parents with more than one child at CDS-G will receive an additional 10 percent discount on additional tuition.According to Bruce McKillican, co-chair of the board of trustees, the school’s lower tuition and monthly payment plan will make it possible for many more families in the community to access quality education and put their children on a path to a good university.“Country Day School Guanacaste has just become a more attractive alternative for local families who may want to consider a U.S. college in the future,” McKillican said. “Country Day’s definitive curriculum, U.S. diploma and flexible advanced placement courses will create options for a wide range of students with varying GPAs, not only the overachievers with an A average and an SAT score above 2000.”The new tuition plan is integral to CDS-G’s vision of becoming known throughout Costa Rica as Guanacaste’s college prep school. For more information, contact Principal Sarah Haun at 2654-5042 x 6100 or email    Amigos de la Educacion is a registered nonprofit organization in Costa Rica supporting education within a 20-mile radius of Tamarindo. Students in need receive scholarships based on academic performance, attendance and social responsibility. Schools may receive assistance for building materials, teaching supplies and books for student use. Amigos de la Educacion helps students and schools in Cartagena, 27th de Abril, Villa Real, Huacas, El Lanito, La Garita, Matapalo and Portegolpe. The organization has also recently added four new high school scholarships, and its first university student will be graduating next year. Amigos is currently seeking volunteers from within the community. For more info, call 2653-1945 or email, a flower shop has landed right here in town. Colette and Nick Holmes have opened the place in the Sunrise Plaza, next door to Monkey N Croc toy store. Not only can you find fresh cut flowers, but also balloon bouquets, as well as gifts for any occasion. Stop in or call 8418-0006.The fantastic Patagonia Argentinian Grill & Restaurant, and its sister restaurant Bamboo Sushi Club, have extended their hours for the high season. Both will now be open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.   -Ellen Zoe Facebook Commentslast_img read more

La Nación editorinchief quits

first_imgRelated posts:Top investigative editor Giannina Segnini quits La Nación after 20 years Costa Rican investigative reporter, data journalism pioneer Giannina Segnini wins prestigious Maria Moors Cabot Prize Grupo Nación begins charging for online content Costa Rican journalist attacked, injured by mob at crime scene La Nación Editor-in-Chief Yanancy Noguera announced her resignation Tuesday in the second high profile resignation from the news daily in as many months.Noguera handed in her resignation letter Tuesday morning after 24 years with the publication. She will remain on the roll until March 25, according to a report from the newspaper.The outgoing editor-in-chief said in her letter that recent changes had reduced her role directing news at the newspaper:The business has a new work flow under the concept of an integrated newsroom, in which the role of editor-in-chief at La Nación lost relevance and has produced different visions of journalism and management of the newspaper with the corporate management.Noguera came under criticism in January because her paper canceled a presidential poll days before the Feb. 2 presidential election, although other management likely was involved in the decision.Investigative Editor Giannina Segnini, best known for her reporting that helped topple two former Costa Rican presidents, and her work in bringing data journalism to Latin America, also resigned after a dispute with La Nación’s management, saying that the spaces for independent journalism at the newspaper had been shrinking during the last two years and especially leading up to the 2104 election.La Nación Corporate Director Armando González will assume the role in the interim, according to the newspaper. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Cuba US see good first day of historic talks

first_imgRecommended: What the new U.S.-Cuba travel rules mean for US citizens hoping to visit CubaHAVANA, Cuba – U.S. and Cuban officials launched historic talks to shed their Cold War-era hostility Wednesday, complimenting each other on the first day’s progress despite persistent differences over migration policy.Each side described the first of two days of talks as productive and constructive even though they remained deeply at odds over the exodus of Cubans to the United States.The meetings in Havana follow the historic decision by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro in December to seek normal ties.Roberta Jacobson, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, landed in Havana around midday to participate in Thursday’s talks on reopening embassies and returning ambassadors for the first time since 1961.She is the highest-ranking U.S. official to set foot in Cuba since 1980.Her deputy, Alex Lee, represented the U.S. side on the first day in Havana’s Convention Center, sitting across from the head of the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s U.S. Affairs Department, Josefina Vidal.“The productive and collaborative nature of today’s discussion proves that despite the clear differences that remain between our countries, the United States and Cuba can find opportunities to advance our mutually shared interests,” Lee said after the talks.For her part, Vidal said: “Cuba aspires to have a normal relationship with the United States, in the broader sense but also in the area of migration.”But Vidal criticized U.S. migration policies that she said encourage a brain drain, saying that they “don’t correspond with the current bilateral context of relations between Cuba and the United States.”On the eve of the talks, Obama urged the Congress to end the decades-long embargo against Cuba, which the Castro regime has blamed for the country’s economic woes.“In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date,” Obama said in his annual State of the Union speech late Tuesday. “When what you have done doesn’t work for fifty years. It’s time to try something new.”A Cuban Foreign Ministry official sought to downplay expectations of major breakthroughs this week.“We can’t expect that everything will be resolved in one meeting,” the official said, according to state media, adding that normalizing ties was “a much longer and complex process.” Alan Gross, center, recently freed after being held in Cuba since 2009, pumps his fists after being recognized by U.S. President Barack Obama during the State of the Union speech in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFPMigration, embassy negotiationsThe migration talks tackled an issue that has vexed both nations for years, with Cubans regularly hopping on rickety boats to reach Florida, 145 kilometers (90 miles) away.U.S. policies gives Cubans who set foot in the United States quick access to permanent residency while those caught at sea are deported back to their island.The United States has seen a surge of Cuban migrants who apparently fear that the U.S.-Cuba negotiations will end the policy. The number of sea intercepts doubled in December compared to the previous year. But Lee said the Obama administration was “completely committed” to upholding the current rules.For Thursday’s embassy talks, the U.S. side wants Cuba to reaccredit its diplomats, lift travel restrictions for them within the island, ease shipments to the U.S. mission and lift a cap on personnel. Both nations currently have “interests sections” in each other’s capitals.In a throwback to Cold War days, a Russian spy ship docked in Havana on the eve of the talks. The Russian intelligence warship Viktor Leonov CCB-175 docks at the port of Havana, on Jan. 20, 2015, on the eve of historic U.S.-Cuba talks aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations. Francisco Jara/AFPCubans hopefulOrdinary Cubans hope the rapprochement will improve their lives in a country where supermarket shelves often lack basic goods and people make $20 a month on average.“Things could change for the better, giving us a little more than what we normally have in the material and spiritual sense,” said Dayron Herrera, 27, an artist who was drawing Old Havana while sitting on a street near the capital’s Cathedral.The island’s dissident community has had a mixed reaction, thanking Obama for his attempt to improve their country while voicing concern that too much was conceded to the Castro regime without getting much in return.In Washington, some U.S. lawmakers have criticized Obama’s decision, with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American, saying it was “enriching a tyrant and his regime.”The two countries have already taken steps to thaw their once glacial relations.The Cuban government completed this month the release of 53 political prisoners demanded by Washington.Days later, the U.S. Treasury Department eased travel and trade restrictions, though the U.S. Congress has final word on lifting the embargo, which prevents U.S. tourism. Facebook Comments Related posts:US officials in Cuba to discuss embassies In Havana, Pelosi delegation promotes Obama’s Cuba thaw US says next round of Cuba talks to take place in Havana on Monday US, Cuba resume talks amid Venezuela tensionslast_img read more

Cocorí a racism debate and a brief history of controversial childrens lit

first_imgRelated posts:Black Costa Rican congresswomen report racist threats Guatemalan rapper sued for racist Twitter post about country’s genocide Book exchange to ‘liberate’ paperbacks in Cariari UN committee asks Costa Rica to remove ‘Cocori’ from grade school classrooms citing the book’s ‘racist connotations’ ‘Peter Pan’In many ways, “Peter Pan” both celebrates and critiques the nature of youth: A boy who never grows up is always vibrant and fun, but he remains immature his entire life. Neverland is exciting and full of adventure, but the “Red Indians” of J.M. Barrie’s novel don’t sit well with a modern adult. Concerned parents might accept an 8-year-old pretending to beat a tom-tom, speaking in broken English and claiming to be of the “Piccaninny tribe,” but they might object to this portrayal of Native Americans in a public school classroom. And in case you aren’t current on your Edwardian slurs, “Piccaninny” was not a flattering word, even in 1911.‘Tintin’Overall, the Belgian journalist Tintin is a globetrotting do-gooder, and he interacts with all kinds of different people. He’s a brave and accepting little rascal, and his natural curiosity makes him a worthy hero – until he arrives in the Congo. Tintin’s African adventure is one of the most infamous episodes in popular comics, and Tintin’s creator Hergé later expressed regret over his embarrassing portrayal of Congolese people. As expected, provides a hilarious, NSFW analysis of exactly what’s wrong with “Tintin in the Congo.” The not-funny part of this story is how thoroughly the Congolese suffered at the hands of the Belgians.‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’Like most of Rudyard Kipling’s books, there are at least two ways of looking at the children’s story “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”: On the one hand, it’s the tale of a heroic mongoose who dutifully protects his home from venomous snakes. He cares about his adoptive human family, and he fearlessly fights off the home invaders. On the other hand, “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” is a nonsense name for an animal that could easily represent the loyal Indian servant. Just as British imperialists invaded India and violently subjugated its people, the English family builds a house and must fend off “natives,” here represented as conniving serpents.‘Little Black Sambo’Much like “Uncle Tom” and “Mammy,” the very name has become a synonym for racism. In the United States, even uttering the phrase “Little Black Sambo” is to invite a long and passionate argument about race relations. But it’s safe to say that most people have never even read “Little Black Sambo,” the original book by Helen Bannerman. The plot itself is harmless, even a little trippy, with talking tigers that turn into butter. (No, really.) If the protagonist’s name were changed to “Eustace,” it might not receive a second glance. Weirder still, the story takes place in southern India, and Bannerman was Scottish. In this case, the name has become far more significant than the original text.How will “Cocorí” seem to Costa Rican readers in 60 more years? Only time will tell. Facebook Comments Not long ago, legislator Epsy Campbell Barr took issue with one of the most famous works in Costa Rican literature, “Cocorí.” Written in 1947 by Joaquín Gutiérrez, the book is required reading in public schools. But Campbell objects to this requirement, because she says the book has racist content. She also objected to a newmusical adaptation by the National Music Center, which led to a freezing of the project.The book concerns an Afro-Caribbean boy who stumbles into a blonde girl from a distant land. She gives him a rose, then asks Cocorí to find her a monkey as a gift. He spends most of this book embarking on this quest, interacting with talking turtles, crocodiles and snakes. He narrowly avoids getting eaten in the jungle, and meanwhile contemplates the fleeting nature of happiness.Whether you find “Cocorí” racist may depend on how you perceive the image above. Since its publication, Cocorí has become a beloved classic of Costa Rican literature. There is a Cocorí bookstore in Escazú, a Hotel Cocorí, and, a tourism information site. An English-language version of the book presents a more stylized illustration, reminescent of artist Romare Bearden. Courtesy of Goodreadscenter_img But you might also look at a large-lipped, wide-eyed, kinky-haired boy with an unbuttoned shirt searching for a monkey and feel uncomfortable – or even horrified – by the caricature. Many different artists have illustrated their version of Cocorí, and in many different styles. Yet “Cocorí” has enflamed debate since at least the 1990s. An art exhibit last year at TEOR/éTica gallery took its inspiration from “Cocorí” and the ways that Afro-Caribbeans are represented in Costa Rican media.Predictably, the disagreement has become a polarizing debate about racism versus censorship, and everyone from Facebook users to the president have weighed in. Children’s books are always a sticky issue, because they are often the first stories a child ever encounters. The literature we read in youth, say critics, might impact our worldview for years to come. Throughout the world, concerned parents and politicians have disputed the appropriateness of certain works, duking out their philosophical differences in newspapers and courtrooms.In honor of this ongoing debate, here are some examples of beloved children’s books that have caused controversy or fallen completely out of favor. Most of these authors probably did not consider their depictions racist, but their words and illustrations have become more controversial over time.‘Uncle Remus’When the first “Uncle Remus” book was published in 1881, people loved it. Like Costa Rica’s own Tío Conejo, Br’er Rabbit was a wacky bumpkin who liked to play jokes on his fellow mammals. The idea of publishing African-American folktales might have seemed progressive for the time, considering lynching was a routine pastime in the U.S. South during Reconstruction, and phrenologists viewed African-Americans as an inferior species. (Even Mark Twain allegedly read “Uncle Remus” tales to his children.) The stories were so beloved that Walt Disney Studios produced its film adaptation, “Song of the South,” in 1946. Today, the movie is widely viewed as unwatchably offensive – so much so that Disney no longer distributes the film in the United States. You can easily find the book, but it isn’t read in your standard U.S. kindergarten.last_img read more

Costa Ricas culture minister sacked over failed international arts festival

first_imgCosta Rica’sCulture and Youth Minister Elizabeth Fonseca Corrales and two of her vice ministers were fired this week over the failed 2015 International Arts Festival (FIA). The government invested some ₡782 million ($1.4 million) in the two-week festival, even though most of the scheduled events and presentations were canceled following a series of failures in coordination and logistics.President Luis Guillermo Solís confirmed the three officials’ exit Tuesday at a press conference following the weekly Cabinet meeting at Casa Presidencial. The president also confirmed that Fonseca had dismissed FIA Director Inti Picado on Monday.In recent days Fonseca had said she would not leave her post despite widespread outrage over the implosion of the traditionally successful festival. However, she submitted her resignation letter at the president’s request on Tuesday morning.Read all The Tico Times 2015 FIA coverageOn Monday evening, the now ex-minister sent Solís a report he had requested on the festival failures. (Download the 15-page report, in Spanish, here. It’s quite a read.) She also was scheduled to appear before the Legislative Assembly at 3 p.m. Tuesday to explain what went wrong.In her resignation letter, Fonseca said: “I hope that whoever replaces me in the ministry will preserve the vision we have been developing. A vision that calls for opening opportunities for cultural rights for all citizens throughout the country and not just in the Central Valley. A vision that all communities in the country deserve cultural infrastructure and not just the country’s capital.”President Solís said he will announce replacements for the ministry’s top officials in the coming days. Facebook Comments Related posts:FIA conspiracy? Former culture minister blames ‘plot’ for festival failure Lawmakers to probe Culture Minister about International Arts Festival fiasco Ousted culture minister blames subordinates for arts festival woes How Costa Rica’s 2015 International Arts Festival floppedlast_img read more

Costa Ricas famed Manuel Antonio National Park will close on Mondays starting

first_imgThe Environment Ministry (MINAE) recently issued an executive decree to change entry schedules at Manuel Antonio National Park, the most visited national park in Costa Rica. As of last week, the park is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.Executive Decree No. 39048 was published last week in the official newspaper La Gaceta following recommendations from the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC). It responded to an increasing number of park visitors. SINAC data from last year show that over 360,000 tourists visited the park, which is located in the Central Pacific region of Puntarenas province.In a press release, SINAC Executive Director Julio Jurado said that “closing the park at least once a week is required for restoration, recovery and rehabilitation of ecosystems at Manuel Antonio, and it also is a preventive measure for the conservation of the natural resources that led to the creation of this national park.”SINAC spokesman Francesco Di Palma on Monday confirmed that the park previously had closed once a week during low season only, and that at some point the measure was revoked due to pressure from business owners in the area.“The new decree allows SINAC to take the right steps to prevent excessive pressure on natural resources and maintain a sustainable use of the park’s services at the same time,” Di Palma said.Earlier this year, SINAC also issued protective measures and banned the entry of food into Manuel Antonio. Visitors’ habits of feeding wild animals were causing problems including severe pollution, changes in eating habits of several species and facilitating the transmission of diseases, the agency reported at the time.Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s most well-known touristic attractions. Specialized travel site TripAdvisor ranked Manuel Antonio beach 17th among the world’s most beautiful beaches, and Forbes magazine included Manuel Antonio among the 12 world’s most beautiful national parks. Facebook Comments Related posts:Manuel Antonio National Park administration moving to comply with Health Ministry orders Health Ministry extends deadline to perform improvements at Manuel Antonio Costa Rica’s INBioparque to remain open Health Ministry orders improvements at Manuel Antonio National Parklast_img read more

VIDEO Rebooting Costa Rican cuisine at Al Mercat

first_imgRelated posts:Rodrigo Brenes wants to take over the world, one ice cream cone at a time Barrio Chino aims to be San José’s next big food spot Tourism entrepreneurs oppose license, royalty payments to canopy patent holder Renovation of Hotel Costa Rica sparks criticism Elevating Costa Rican food for visitors and locals alike is no small feat. Despite recent efforts by the government to promote Costa Rica as a foodie destination, Costa Rican food doesn’t have a great reputation.Rice and beans get served ad nauseam and the Tico palate tends to veer toward the bland. The national dish, casado, is actually a varying, mixed plate of food (with yet more rice and beans!) and hamburger and pizza joints seem to outnumber classic sodas.Often, traditional food is reserved for roadside stops off the highway or touristy spots hawking “pura vida” t-shirts. A 2013 Huffington Post article made a side-eyed snipe at Costa Rica when it recommended travelers go to Hawaii instead where “the food is actually interesting.”González acknowledges the reputation, but he’s determined to overcome it. “We’ve never had a fine dining culture but we’ve always had the raw ingredients,” he said from the edge of the farm where chickens scratched in the dirt.Emphasizing locally-grown or little-known ingredients is a cornerstone of Al Mercat. Walking down the washed-out gravel road to the Tirrases farm that supplies more than 30 percent of Al Mercat’s ingredients, González stopped to pick up a reddish-orange flower from the poró tree. He popped it into his mouth after offering another to taste. The flower has a bitter but not unpleasant flavor.Growing on the edge of a row of cucumbers he points out some menta criolla, or native mint, which looks like spearmint but comes with an unexpectedly strong lemony punch. José González shows off some beets grown at Al Mercat’s farm in Tirrases, Curridabat. Andres Madrigal/The Tico TimesEating weeds is a far cry from the picky eater González was as a child but spending weekends with his aunts and uncles in the countryside, González was introduced to some of the edible plants and herbs that he uses today in his cooking.His father was in the banana industry and González grew up in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Ecuador. After working as a lawyer for several years, González started cooking as a hobby and eventually traveled to France to study at the Cordon Bleu in Paris.Traveling and working as a chef in Spain and France, González fell in love with the food culture there. After graduation, he worked in Paris for a year before he found a job as a personal chef for a U.S. couple living in Landes, France. For three years, González went to the market everyday to shop for ingredients, using fresh produce and growing some of his own on the estate. He said the experience helped lay the foundation for his approach to food at Al Mercat.When González returned to Costa Rica in 2012 he took to the road. Driving around Costa Rica, he met with farmers and country cooks to build on the initial knowledge he gleaned from his family about traditional Costa Rican ingredients and dishes. Inspired by what he learned, González said he took many ingredients already available and gave them a “twist” at Al Mercat.“Costa Rican food is bland,” González said, “I love it. It’s the base of my cooking, but you need to kick it up.”That “kick” often comes in liberal use of citrus and spice and non-traditional preparations of traditional ingredients. Raw, julienned chayote takes on the texture and sweetness of a green pear. Tecaco, a vegetable typically boiled in Costa Rican beef stew, or olla de carne, takes on the refreshing crisp of a cucumber.González said he delights in serving someone something they don’t immediately recognize so they can “try and find out what’s going on with the dish.”The another thing that sticks out about González’s cooking is his abundant use of vegetables. For González, the quality of the produce in Costa Rica far exceeds much of the protein raised here. Sourcing good chicken or pork is a constant challenge, he said. So instead of resorting to imported meats, González took his food in the direction of what was already available.Back on the farm, the Al Mercat team has been experimenting with producing eggs, and raising chicken, quail and pigs for the restaurant. But González said they currently can’t raise enough to meet demand. A cucumber salad with heart of palm, radish, mint and a ginger dressing at Al Mercat restaurant. Andres Madrigal/The Tico TimesAfter lunch service one day in February, González sat down in the dining room still in his chef’s whites. Al Mercat’s dining room is industrial chic. Exposed brick walls are lined with green vines in small pots. Mismatched chairs sit at tables for four. Metal electrical boxes are repurposed as lampshades.Leaning back in his chair González betrayed some fatigue before finding a second wind.The restaurant started off as a more formal dining experience but González has since toned it down. The setting is less formal but González said that his treatment of the ingredients is still in line with fine dining.“I want to give a little less formality to our food and just enjoy food like Costa Ricans do in a beautiful way of passing things at a table, eating, not big amounts, but enough food. Just being happy,” he said.“I think the state of Costa Rican cooking is a little numb,” he said. International tourism is an important part of Costa Rica’s economy but catering to the tastes of foreign visitors for the last several decades has pushed out local cuisine in favor of pizza, french fries, hamburgers and tacos, he said.“I like to please my customers but you can’t give them the right to choose what’s going to be on your menu.”But González said that chefs are starting to insert more individuality into their menus. “There’s a bunch of chefs working on this. Not just one,” he said. “It’s been really cool trying to open that path, but we need more chefs to get out of that state of numbness that we’re in right now.”Besides running the kitchen at Al Mercat, González used to manage the farm in Tirrases and he participated in a project to promote native corn varieties before other projects took over his time. Now he’s trying to launch a Costa Rican food guide and offer tours of his farm.“I got to keep changing,” he said, “otherwise I get bored.” Facebook Comments Chef José González has a frenetic passion about food, if anyone couldn’t tell from the beet he had just pulled out of the ground and was now shaking like a leafy exclamation point at the end of his sentences.González also can’t sit still. Wearing gym shorts, a t-shirt and backpack, he bounded from one end to another of his family farm in Tirrases, Curridabat on a December afternoon, taking pictures of the beets, lettuce, cucumbers and other produce with his smartphone and talking with the farm manager.Here in the dirt, González isn’t far from the small kitchen of his restaurant, Al Mercat, in the Escalante neighborhood of San José. The farm and many of the ingredients grown there — including that beet — are part of his farm-to-table style of cooking that started with his travels in Europe but came to fruition in his native Costa Rica.Al Mercat opened its doors two years ago serving Costa Rican food with a rigor typically reserved for European fare or better-known Latino cuisines, like Mexican or Peruvian. González said he is trying to “empower the Tica kitchen” through a refinement of technique and rediscovery of traditional ingredients that have been lost or cast aside to cater to a more international audience.last_img read more

Costa Ricas snakebite research pioneers save lives worldwide

first_imgWhile the film shows families in Kenya and India suffering through the death of a family member or the mutilation caused by snake poison, Reid also introduces six “pioneering snakebite changemakers” who are leading the fight to save lives worldwide. These include Dr. Jose Maria Gutiérrez, speaking for the ICP.In the film, Dr. Gutierrez speaks about the possibility of world recognition and support for producing antivenom so that “not one person has to suffer death or disfigurement from snakebite.” The ICP produces and sends approximately 100,000 bottles of antivenom per year, accessibly priced, and works with educational and health agencies in 115 countries. Dr. Guitérrez. Mitzi Stark / The Tico TimesHere in Costa Rica the ICP provides education to clinics and hospitals, and instruction on how to administer the antivenom. Programs to teach rescuers and firefighters how to capture snakes are also part of the institute’s programming.There are about 300 snakebites a year in Costa Rica, but very few deaths – some years, none. According to the institute, Costa Rican antivenom saves the lives of 10,000 to 20,000 people worldwide each year. Meanwhile, the institute continues research into venoms and their antidotes.What is now a complex for researchers and personnel – and 500 snakes, of course – began as a laboratory in the basement of San Juan de Dios Hospital, where Dr. Clodomiro Picado began his research to create antidotes to snakebite. “Clorita,” who died in 1944, was recognized around the world for his work in biology.The documentary “Minutes To Die” was shown here at the University of Costa Rica and is a tool to educate viewers about the seriousness of snakebites. For more information, visit the film’s website. Related posts:Tico Times readers share their goals for Costa Rica Costa Rican entrepreneur launches swimwear line to empower women This week in the Peace Corps: Moving Out in Costa Rica This week in the Peace Corps: Jumpstarting English with Peace Corps Volunteers The Clodomiro Picado Institute is spread along the main road of Dulce Nombre de Coronado, northeast of San José. Its green-blue buildings appear to be another office complex, giving no hint that within its walls live 500 venomous snakes.Nor is it commonly known that the work done here is saving thousands of lives in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. The ICP produces antivenom for snakebites. About 120,000 ten-milliliter bottles of the serum produced here are shipped to Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Nicaragua and other countries.Inside the complex, bushmasters, terciopelos, rattlesnakes (cascabelas) and coral snakes are ‘milked’ for their venom, their fangs pushed into a glass cup so that the liquid venom is collected. But that is just step one in producing the life-saving serum. The extracted liquid is then injected into horses who develop the antibodies. Blood samples are then extracted and filtered for the antibodies, which are then processed and bottled for shipping.But the plot thickens in another part of the ICP complex: there, research is conducted into the types of snakes in infested areas, and how their venom acts on humans. An antivenom must be developed to counteract each type of venom. Research is continuous, because snakes of the same genre living in different climates produce differences in their venom. For example, coral snakes in Panama produce a slightly different venom than coral snakes here, says University of Costa Rica biologist Arón Gómez, who works in the snake laboratory. Mitzi Stark / The Tico TimesThe ICP is part of the University of Costa Rica and borrows biologists, immunologists, veterinarians, chemists, researchers other personnel. Veterinary studies now include wildlife that covers snakes and reptiles, says Gómez.“Minutes To Die,” a recent documentary film directed by James Reid, shines a light on what it calls “the world’s most ignored health crisis.” Snakebites kill 125,000 people per year, the film points out, but because the victims are mostly rural poor, there is little concern among health organizations. Most victims live far from a clinic or hospital. Adding to this, the cost of a commercial treatment is way beyond the means of most victims, around $140-150.The film, which debuted in March of this year, brings attention to he need for education and a cure. Disclaimer: The Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) and Amigos of Costa Rica sponsor the Tico Times Changemakers Section to provide a space for stories and information about philanthropic work in Costa Rica. CRUSA and Amigos do not endorse any of the organizations, individuals, fundraising solicitations or opinions shared in this space unless otherwise stated.Mitzi Stark graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee with studies in social work and journalism. A longtime Tico Times contributor, she came to Costa Rica years ago for a change of pace and still live on a coffee farm near Alajuela. She’s also a volunteer helping transporting cats and dogs to spay-neuter campaigns in the Alajuela area and once had 8 cats, 2 dogs and 5 people in her old Land Cruiser. Facebook Comments Why do snakebites harm humans? Costa Rican scientists investigatelast_img read more

South Africa police accused in murders

first_imgIn 2011, the newspaper alleged that the unit had committed “scores of assassinations, some in retaliation for suspected cop killing and others related to ongoing taxi wars.”Using witness testimony, death scene photographs and expert ballistic reports, the newspaper linked the unit the police officers worked for to many suspicious deaths.Police spokesman McIntosh Polela said police officers of various ranks were arrested, and that authorities seized counterfeit cash, ammunition and crime scene photos during the arrests.The accused officers are to report weekly to their nearest police station. They are due back in court Aug. 23.Polela says that more arrests are likely.South Africa has a high rate of violent crime and some citizens, in calls to radio talk shows and letters to newspaper editors, have praised members of the alleged death squad for cracking down on criminals.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressJOHANNESBURG (AP) – Eighteen South African police officers have been arrested on charges of murder, assault and possession of ammunition, an official said.A spokesman for prosecutors, Mthunzi Mhaga, said that during a court appearance on Friday in the eastern port city of Durban, the officers were freed on 5,000 rand (less than $600) bail each.The arrests earlier this week followed an investigation that began in January 2012 after allegations of a police “death squad” operating in the Durban area appeared in the Sunday Times, a Johannesburg newspaper. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Comments   Share   More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familycenter_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Longtime Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem buried

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Manoogian previously led the Armenian church in the United States and was outspoken about the 1915 Armenian genocide committed against his people.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Top Stories center_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix JERUSALEM (AP) – Hundreds of cloaked clergymen have marched through the narrow alleyways of the Old City of Jerusalem to lay its longtime Armenian Patriarch to rest.Torkom Manoogian died Oct. 12 after being hospitalized since January with cardiac problems. He was 93.Since his election in 1990, Manoogian led a dwindling following of Armenians in Jerusalem. One of the four quarters of the Old City belongs to them. Armenians have a 1,600-year presence in the city. But a combination of political forces and the draw of a better life elsewhere have seen their numbers quietly drop below 1,000 people. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Despite challenges Zimbabwe showcases artists in Venice

first_img The vital role family plays in society Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Stone and wood carvings displayed by street vendors in Zimbabwe reflect a long tradition of sculpture, and despite economic and other challenges, the country’s artists are forging new paths and even have displays at one of the world’s most prestigious art fairs.Zimbabwe has a national pavilion at the Venice Biennale for the third consecutive time, making it an African standout at the Italian event that Raphael Chikukwa, curator of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, describes as “the Olympics of the visual arts.” Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Chikukwa spoke in Harare last week to The Associated Press after returning from Venice, where the work of three Zimbabwean artists is displayed at the waterfront church of Santa Maria della Pieta.The artists include Chikonzero Chazunguza, who draws inspiration from 18th century local leaders who opposed British colonialists, and Masimba Hwati, who incorporates Twitter, Coca-Cola and other brand logos into his work. The third, Gareth Nyandoro, portrays Harare’s street vendors, whose large numbers reflect Zimbabwe’s high unemployment.“Continuity in these international forums is key,” Chikukwa said in his gallery office. He praised state support and cited efforts to nurture young artists.The Harare gallery is currently displaying the work of “Born Frees,” artists born after Zimbabwe became independent in 1980. There is also an exhibition of portraits of prominent actors, academics, politicians and other local figures. A huge painting shows Robert Mugabe, the 91-year-old president who has ruled since the end of white minority rule.The gallery opened in 1957 and the first exhibition, titled “From Rembrandt to Picasso,” showed original works by European artists. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories The Venice Biennale, which ends in November, features 89 national pavilions. Other African participants include Angola and South Africa. The fair curator is Nigerian Okwui Enwezor, the first African to hold the post.Zimbabwe’s economic woes have left artists struggling for funding. Chikukwa also contrasted the big crowds at the Biennale’s opening week to the lack of strong interest in Zimbabwe for art exhibitions. He remains motivated, however, by his mission to have the artists’ work be seen.“Giving voice to artists, it’s a very important element in any society,” he said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

5 die in eastern Ukraine despite ceasefire

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Two civilians were killed and five injured in shelling on Sunday, according to the Donetsk News Agency, a rebel mouthpiece. One of them died in the village of Shyrokyne, an epicenter of fighting in the recent weeks, and the other was killed in the town of Horlivka.Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko in Kiev said three Ukrainian troops were killed in fighting and four injured in the past 24 hours. Two other Ukrainian soldiers were captured outside the village of Maryinka, according to Lysenko.The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, said there are “alarming reports of summary executions by armed groups” and his office is “looking into similar allegations against Ukrainian armed forces.” He added that there are “horrific accounts of torture and ill-treatment in detention” by both sides.Observers from the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe on Monday issued a report, documenting the scale of cease-fire violations and saying that its employees heard a total of 253 explosions from the rebel stronghold of Donetsk during 48 hours ending Sunday evening.The explosions, the OSCE said, were “consistent with heavy and light weapons fire” including tanks and large-caliber artillery that should have been withdrawn by now from the front lines in compliance with the cease-fire accords. MOSCOW (AP) — At least two civilians and three Ukrainian troops have been killed in eastern Ukraine despite the ongoing cease-fire, officials on both sides of the conflict said Monday.The hostilities have subsided since the September cease-fire, but fighting between Russia-backed separatists and government troops still continues across the front line.In a new report released Monday, the U.N. human rights office said that the number of people killed in more than a year of fighting in the east has risen to more than 6,400 people. Patients with chronic pain give advice New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Comments   Share   ___Geir Moulson contributed to this report from Berlin.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Quay Grand Suites Sydney Voted Best Luxury Hotel

first_imgQuay Grand Suites Sydney has been named the South Pacific’s Best Luxury Hotel in the Trip Adviser 2010 Travelers’ Choice Awards AND also voted one of the top 5 Luxury Hotels of the World! The eighth annual competition has been the largest ever, and unlike any other hotel awards program in the world, the winners are based on the millions of real and unbiased reviews and opinions on“Receiving this recognition from our guests demonstrates that Quay Grand has set a new benchmark for a 5-star hotel experience which is truly unique. From the impressive service to the impeccable facilities, this hotel is the epitome of luxury and the flagship property in the Mirvac portfolio,” said General Manager, Paul Donnelly. Set majestically on the eastern shore of Circular Quay, Quay Grand is an apartment style hotel boasting spectacular views over Sydney Harbour and the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. With the choice of 1 and 2 bedroom self contained apartments, guests enjoy the convenience of separate lounge, dining and bedroom, fully equipped gourmet kitchen and integrated laundry, bathroom with spa bath and opening windows.In Quadrant Restaurant, Executive Chef Ross Barrett serves a distinctive Australian style menu with Mediterranean, Asian and French influences. Or for casual elegance, ECQ Bar is  sun-drenched by day and cosmopolitan by night and features a range of creative cocktails, superb wines and casual dining overlooking Sydney Harbour. Set in the midst of Sydney’s key attractions, Quay Grand is only moments away from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Opera House, and Sydney’s financial district and shopping precincts.Quay Grand Suites Sydney is the pinnacle of Mirvac quality.  The hotel is part of the Mirvac group of over 45 hotels and resorts in Australia and New Zealand, under such well known brands as Quay West Apartments & Resorts, The Como, Sea Temple Resorts & Spas, Sydney Marriott Hotel, The Sebel Hotels & Resorts, Citigate Hotels, Cairns Harbour Lights, Hotel Lindrum, Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney, and of course Quay Grand. QGSS exterior Source = Mirvac Hotels & Resortscenter_img Quay Grand Suites Sydney ECQ barlast_img read more

AA suspends Tokyo flights postquake

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J American Airlines has announced it will suspend two of its six daily flights to Japan to meet decreased demand after recent natural disasters.The airline will cease operations on one flight between New York to Haneda and the other between Dallas to Narita Airport from 6 April until 26 April, The Associated Press reported.According to the source, the move comes after US carrier Delta Airlines also suspended flights to Haneda but continues to push its services into Narita. Earlier this week, Japan Airlines said it would suspend 74 international flights as it focuses on domestic services to assist recovery post-quake.last_img read more

Daydream Island 50 million redevelopment brought forward

first_imgDaydream Island $50 million redevelopment brought forwardDaydream Island Resort and Spa has announced that in the wake of substantial damage caused by recent Tropical Cyclone Debbie that the popular Whitsundays Resort would bring forward its planned refurbishment for 2018.The resort will now stay closed ahead of a continuing clean-up and the beginning of works later in 2017.Daydream Island Resort & Spa announced in January that they will spend more than $50 million on a significant refurbishment next year which will see major infrastructure upgrades including accommodation refurbishments as well as renovations to existing attractions and installation of new features which will transform Daydream into an upscale 4½ star world-class resort.It is anticipated that the newly refurbished Daydream Island Resort & Spa will be opening for guests in mid-2018.Daydream Island Resort General Manager Dawson Tang said that following an assessment it was not feasible to invest money in reopening Daydream Island in the next few months only for it to close again for the refurbishment.“We are determined to bring Daydream Island back to its spectacular best,” Mr Tang said.“The level of support we have received from past guests and the community has been overwhelming.“This decision for an extended closure has not been an easy one but will enable us to concentrate fully on restoring Daydream Island back to the top of the Queensland tourism industry.”Daydream had previously announced that it would not accept guests until at least April 30th 2017 whilst it carried out a full assessment of the impact of Cyclone Debbie. Guests with forward bookings are being contacted to arrange the provision of refunds.Major works will include redevelopment of the Arrivals pavilion, Reception, main Atrium area, Waterfalls restaurant, Lagoons bar, all room types and Mermaids Restaurant. Additionally, the Lovers Cove function area will be expanded and a new Asian-inspired restaurant will be built overlooking Mermaids Beach.The resort’s conference facilities will be significantly revamped and expanded.Over recent days, Daydream Island’s management team have met extensively with representatives of the State Government and other tourism industry bodies.As part of these discussions the State Government has offered to assist in developing processes that will allow us to fast track the re-development of Daydream Island, particularly in relation to the various approvals that will be required.“We want to work together with the Queensland Government to get the newly renovated luxury Daydream Island opened as soon as possible” Mr Tang said.In line with this closure decision, Daydream is in the process of reviewing its resource and staffing needs to carry the resort through the refurbishment process. Many staff have already moved on to other jobs, and Daydream is working closely with other operators including Hamilton Island to assist with possible redeployments.“Our staff and resort managers have to be commended for the professional way they implemented our cyclone procedures in very difficult circumstances. We have received so many positive comments from guests about how they were looked after and reassured by our resort staff,” Mr Tang said.“Whilst some redundancies will be necessary in the short term, we are doing everything possible to minimise this.“We look forward to welcoming many of our staff back as well as guests old and new to the rebuilt Daydream Island next year.” Daydream Island ResortSource = Daydream Island Resortlast_img read more