Costa Rica Entertainment

Let’s go bowling in Cariari

Let's go bowling in CariariWhen I was 12 years old, our neighborhood gang used to play baseball in a large commercial property under construction near my home. The owner of the building under construction invited us to keep visiting after the building would be done.

That was when I was first introduced to 10 pin bowling (boliche in Spanish), the first one in Holland (Europe). When I moved to Costa Rica, I was soon invited to play the American League in the Boliche Dent in San Pedro, the only bowling alley in Costa Rica back then.

That was before the first and only terrorist attack in Costarican history took place. Tico terrorists (can you believe that?) placed a car bomb against the American embassy downtown San Jose. Since some playing in the American League were US marines, people working at the US embassy and a few teachers who worked at Country Day School and The Costa Rica Academy (now International School), we were not allowed to play for the rest of the year. This was in the beginning of the 80’s.

Prohibition during Easter week in Costa Rica


Prohibition during Easter week in Costa RicaThe United States had Prohibition from 1920 – 1933, promoted by a "dry" crusaders movement and led by rural Protestants and social Progressives in the Democratic and Republican parties.

82 Years later, 26 municipalities in Costa Rica still prohibit the sale of liquor in bars, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and  liquor stores during Thursday and Friday (2nd and 3rd of April 2015) in Easter week. The local police will make sure the liquor department in the grocery stores will be covered and taped off with plastic or some other smart way to stop you from buying it (as shown in photo at the end of this blog) and there will be no beer or other liquor expended anywhere. (Administrative court has ruled against the ban in August 2016 - Editor)

Of course, that doesn’t mean you will not see anybody drinking during those days. Those who live in those municipalities prohibiting the sale of liquor during Holy Thursday and Friday will make sure they purchase their rum, whiskey and beer on Wednesday. It is the unsuspecting foreigner who will be in trouble when they run out of their favorite alcoholic drink.

Put a lock on your house in Costa Rica when you go on vacation


Put a lock on your house in Costa Rica when you go on vacationIt is summertime again in Costa Rica and that means trips to the beaches and national parks for those who live here. For sure, you will have family and friends from back home visiting. They will want you to take them to see Lake Arenal and the Poas Volcano or maybe even a couple of weeks to get to know this beautiful country from coast to coast.

When you do so, you want to make sure you put a lock on your house, and not like the one in the photo. What is the reason for the need of locking your house? Well, there are several, but the main one is that you would like to find your personal belongings to still be there when you come back.

I know, in some countries, you can just leave the back door open, especially if you live in a rural area when the crime rate is very low. In the rural areas of Costa Rica it is kind of the same way, but don’t count on it. There are several ways of protecting your property against thieves while you are away.

Try tango, wine and bife de chorizo in Costa Rica


Aqui Es, an Argentinian steakhouse in San JoseI had never heard of this Argentinian restaurant in San Jose, though I had driven past it many times. I don’t go to San Jose that often anymore, but it looks like the city is becoming a good place for great restaurants again. One in a while, when I find a good restaurant that is worth writing about, I will tell you all about it here.

Last time we went to an Argentinian restaurant was to La Esquina de Buenos Aires, where we had great food and a lovely evening. This time, our friends suggested going to Restaurante Aqui Es, which means “Here it is”.

The restaurant is really easy to find, it is 100 meters south of Subway restaurant on Paseo Colon. You can either park on the street, where there is a guachiman or half a block further south is a 24/7 parking lot. If you are not used to Tico addresses, turn onto Paseo Colon from Sabana Park, take a 2nd right (at Subway) and you’ll see it at the end of the block on the left. Reservations at phone 2221-5727.

American Football in Costa Rica sports bars


Where to watch American Football in Costa RicaThere are a lot of die-hard American football fans in Costa Rica. I have to admit I belong to that group and when not working will be at a sports place - restaurant watching a game. Some places are great because they have the ability to show 2-3 games playing at the same time schedule. And most serve you real good burgers as a bonus.

Also now many restaurants have installed televisions and games can be seen. Even Denny’s restaurant by the airport has multiple televisions and if you can afford Denny’s prices you can catch a game. I would like to share with you some of the places I go and perhaps you can check them out and if you go to a place not mentioned here you can share. 

Fiesta Casino - Alajuela

The casino has a sports bar-restaurant that if in America would be packed every Sunday. There are many televisions and there are big and medium screens. They can show a variety of games at the same time and you can request what game you want and they try to show those games.

Expats and InterNations in Costa Rica


Expats and InterNations in Costa RicaNobody Stands Alone is one of InterNations’ slogans and the expat community in Costa Rica is no exception. Costa Rica has well-established expat communities in many of its towns and cities; as an InterNations’ member, you are able to connect with fellow expats and share the wonderful experiences that come with living in a foreign part of the world.

What’s an expat?

The dictionary may define an expatriate as simply “a person who lives outside their native country” but we at InterNations see expats as so much more! An expat is someone brave and adventurous, someone who has dared to leave the safe and easy confines of their natural environment and, instead of just venturing out into the world, has made the planet his or her home!

Property for sale around the Cariari Golf and Country Club offer an exciting lifestyle


Property for sale around the Cariari Golf and Country ClubThe Cariari Golf and Country Club is Costa Rica’s premier and in the most beautifully designed master planned community in the Central Valley that features the perfect location right between the cities of San José, Heredia and Alajuela.  Ciudad Cariari, a lifestyle community, or commonly called just Cariari, is a wonderful and exciting environment to live close to your work and features convenient and direct access to everything offered in the area by highway 1, also called the Pan American Highway.

Located in the friendly and welcoming town of Belen, residents of Cariari enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle that includes golf, tennis and swimming, at only 1 hour from the warm beaches of the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Our Cariari real estate agent, Shell Johanson, lives in Cariari himself and is member of this well-known country club, an easy way to be introduced to other members of the club.

The Cariari Golf and Country Club organizes the DHL Golf Tournament in March and the Summa Golf Tournament in April every year, as well as the couples’ tournament and the Copa Presidente in December. During the whole year there are several Golf Clinics for juniors, seniors, small children, women’s as well as the Mother’s Day Tournament

What is needed for a Costa Rica housewarming party?


What is needed for a Costa Rica housewarming party?When you purchase a house in Costa Rica, you have to organize a housewarming party. A couple of months ago, TicoNuevo was planning his housewarming party and asked me where to find musicians to turn this into a real happening. Who else to ask than your Costa Rica real estate agents? Well, I didn’t have a clue and since I thought everything is available online now, I started searching on Google, coming up with nothing.

In Costa Rica, private parties are a big happening and live music is really important. You have a huge choice of solistas (one musician), dúo’s (two musicians), trío’s (three musicians), mariachis, organists, DJ's and many other ways of making music.

Usually, when you are looking for a musician or anything related to entertainment, you’ll have a hard time finding what you are looking for. That was what happened when TicoNuevo asked me to help. He lives in a totally different area of the Central Valley than I do, which makes the search a lot harder. My son Andres came up with some musicians who were charging an arm and a leg to go out there to play for a couple of hours.

TicoNuevo dodging obstacles at the horse parade

TicoNuevo dodging obstacles at the horse paradeA little-known fact for novice “topegoers”: you can actually rent a horse and join the riders in most Costa Rican topes. We had this offering at our parade and some of the renters, to be delicate, “detracted somewhat” from the aura surrounding my vision of participating in a horse parade.

Some topes have also gotten a bit of a bad reputation for public drunkenness among both “topegoers” and riding participants—a few of them were from the horse rental crowd, I’m sure—thankfully there was very little blatant insobriety.

However, I had been warned to watch out for obstacles: other horses that were not as well-mannered as Bronco, potholes and obstructions that your mount might stumble into or onto. I was to also keep my distance from one of the other horses on our team, Junior (Bronco’s grandson) as the two did not get along. (I guess family squabbles are even present in the horse community.)

There was a bit of a challenge in keeping my distance from Junior as this was the first time I’d ridden with this team: the first time in 50 years that I’d ridden with other horses; and the first time ever on a public street crowded with people.   

TicoNuevo experiences his first Tope in Costa Rica

TicoNuevo experiences his first Tope in Costa RicaAs my practice riding sessions continued on schedule, I recalled the team’s uniform requirements mentioned weeks ago during our get acquainted dinner (a black cowboy hat, white dress shirt, black jeans, western belt and buckle, and a pair of black boots).

I realized that if my participation in the tope or horse parade in English, actually took place, I had a bit of shopping ahead as the only piece of attire I owned on the list was a Stetson western hat, and it was brown.

I acquired a used “Kirkland” brand white dress shirt at a local Ropa Americana store. A pair of black jeans in my size was a little harder to find, but a new pair with the right waist size was purchased in San Jose and the legs shortened by my local seamstress. I found a western belt and buckle at the feria in Grecia. Hosting visitors during a trip to Montezuma produced a custom ornament for my hat made from an old silver Costa Rican Colon coin.

The boots were the biggest challenge as my difficult-to-fit feet had prevented me from ever finding a pair of boots I could wear.