Friday, March 30, 2012

NatureWalk 3 - view from lot 54

Mountain Biking in NatureWalk

NatureWalk is a centre for Mountain Biking in Costa Rica and mountain biking (single track and group tracks) will be an important part of the NatureWalk Adventure Centre.






Thursday, March 29, 2012

Further road improvements at NatureWalk (in the area of Estancia Montana)

Below you can see some images of the culvert work being carried out at the roadside of NatureWalk Parkway, Estancia Montana, NatureWalk



Monday, March 26, 2012

Rendering of the Bambu Eco Homes, NatureWalk







To find out more about these homes visit http://www.costaricainvest.ie or e mail us at info@costaricainvest.ie

360 degree view from home pad of lot 28, Estancia Montana, NatureWalk


This is a 360 degree view from the Home Pad, of Lot 28, Estancia Montana, Costa Rica.

To find out more about this lot or NatureWalk visit http://www.costaricainvest.ie or e mail us on info@costaricainvest.ie

Thursday, March 22, 2012

December surge helps Costa Rica break tourism records


Hotel occupancy in the Central Pacific, Guanacaste and Puntarenas hovered around 70 percent during the month of December.
Tourist 1
Ronald Reyes

Last December 16,000 more tourists visited Costa Rica than in December 2010.

Costa Rica closed out a record-breaking year for tourism with a strong December. Hotel occupation in the country rose 6.1 percent compared to December 2010, with hotels having on average 62 percent of rooms occupied, according to a press release from the Costa Rica Hotels and Resorts Association.

The country took in 2.2 million tourists in 2011, the most ever. The number represented a 4.6 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Costa Rican Tourism Board. In December 2011, 16,000 more tourisms visited Costa Rican than in December 2010.

For hotels in December, the Central Pacific saw 70 percent occupancy in the region’s hotels. Guanacaste and Puntarenas also neared 70 percent occupancy. The lowest occupancy numbers were in the Central Valley (56 percent), the Caribbean (58 percent) and the Northern Plains (58 percent).

Beach resorts hosted the most visitors, reporting 67 percent occupancy.

The newly opened terminal at the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia, capital of northwestern Guanacaste province, helped bring the airport a 31.4 percent increase in arrivals compared to the previous year.

“We are working diligently to attract more airlines to our country, position the destination at international fairs and trade shows and promoting our one-of-a-kind attractions in our core markets,” said Costa Rica Tourism Minister Allan Flores, in a press release.

OCCUPANCY PERCENTAGES BY REGION, December 2011

RegionOccupancy percentage
Caribbean58%
Guanacaste68%
Northern Plains58%
Central Pacific70%
Southern Pacific60%
Puntarenas67%
Central Valley56%
Average62%


Monday, March 19, 2012

Dental Tourism in Costa Rica

By Dr. Deepika Garg for the Tico Times

Thanks to uncertainties about healthcare reform, rising healthcare costs, and an increase in the number of the uninsured, many Americans have begun looking outside their borders for high quality and affordable medical care. Medical tourism is a booming industry – expected to generate $100 billion globally in 2012 – and some sub-categories are leading the pack.

In fact, thousands of patients needing dental work have been spilling over the border in search of care, mostly driven by a desire to save money. Dental Tourism in Costa Rica may be a good option for patients in the United States, thanks to its close proximity, remarkable doctors and facilities, and low-cost, high-quality services, which is making the Central American country a favored destination for thousands seeking treatment abroad.

In 2010, for instance, PROMED — the Council for International Promotion of Costa Rican Medicine – estimated that 36,000 medical tourists visited the country, pumping nearly $300 million into the economy. But it is not only Americans and Canadians who have discovered Costa Rica as a dental tourism destination, but patients from as far away as Europe and Australia, too.

What You Can Expect to Pay
According to International Magazine, Costa Rica offers the highest quality medical and dental care in Latin America, often at prices 50 to 70 percent less than elsewhere. And these savings are all inclusive, meaning they factor in x-rays, prosthetics, lab work, and other related expenses. So what kind of dental procedures can you get in Costa Rica, and at what cost?

If you have a cracked or otherwise damaged tooth that you would like to save, a dentist may recommend a crown, which is a tooth-shaped cap placed over the existing one to prevent more damage. In America, a trip the local dentist for this kind of work could set you back as much as $1,000 per tooth in some cases, but in Costa Rica the cost is between $250 and $400 per tooth – a potential saving of 60 to 70 percent.

Root canals are another complicated and expensive procedure. In America, you could expect to pay $800 or more to have a dentist drill out the pulp and nerve inside a bad tooth and seal it with protective filler. But in Costa Rica? Not so much, only about $350. And the saving is about 55 to 60 percent.

For patients without insurance or the financial means, dental implants can be prohibitively expensive – somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,500 per tooth. In some cases, that is comparable to the price of a car. But thanks to lower cost of living, more reasonable salaries and other factors, the price for a dental implant in Costa Rica may only be about $700 to $900 for the same tooth.

Destinations of Choice
Patients seeking the highest quality dental care can find what they are looking for in the capital city of San Jose, which not only features amazing tourist destinations, but three Joint Commission International accredited hospitals – the only three on the country – plus a facility with a dentist on staff who is the only Accreditation Candidate for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) through Latin America.

But what makes San Jose such a draw? The city is the heart and soul of the country, its political and economic center and, as a result, the main hub of cultural activities within Costa Rica. Founded by the Spanish in 1738, it sits with the Central Valley, providing easy access to transportation, accommodations, food, shopping – everything to make a dental tourist’s time in the country well spent.

San Jose is home to several well known museums — the Gold, Jade, National, Costa Rican Art, La Salle Natural Science, University of Costa Rica Insect and Children’s Contemporary Art and Design Museums – plus five national parks within the region. Buffeted by mountains and volcanoes, San Jose features two areas regarded for their extraordinary beauty, Turrialba and Valle de los Santos. Dental tourists also can experience a touch of history, as some of the neighborhoods and buildings date back to the city’s founding. Activities abound, such as tours of coffee plantations, sugar mills and dairies, horseback riding, hiking to the mountains and through pristine forests, as well as cave exploration, or spelunking.

Must See Locations
But there is more to see in Costa Rica outside of the capital city of San Jose. While thousands of people have chosen the country as their dental tourism destination, they also visit it for its world-renowned tourist attractions in a safe environment, from breathtaking beaches to pristine forests and stunning mountains. The country offers something for everyone – from boating and fishing to hiking and historical tours to exquisite dinning and shopping experiences. The country’s exchange rate also is favorable with one U.S. Dollar worth about 500 Costa Rica Clones (CRCs) and one British Pound worth a little more than 1,000 CRCs, offering more buying power for the same goods and services that you would get elsewhere. Here are few of the top sites to consider during your stay:

ñ The Poas National Park, about an hour’s drive from San Jose, offers adventurous but easy hikes through the cloud forest. It is about 15 minutes walking distance from the Poas volcano.

ñ The central market in San Jose, known as Mercado Central. It sells everything a “foodie” loves — from fresh fruits, vegetables, and souvenirs to native herbs, Costa Rican coffee, and inexpensive meals at its roadside restaurants.

ñ Manuel Antonio National Park offers miles of white sand beaches bordering pristine evergreen forests. Land and sea lovers can enjoy canopy tours, sport fishing, bird watching, golfing, and beach activities.

ñ Drake Bay & Corcovado National Park is located on the stunning Osa Peninsula and has been referred to as one of the most “biodiverse places” on earth. Together with Drake Bay, this region has become an ecotourism hot spot for those who want to enjoy the best nature has to offer.

ñ Grecia and Sarchi – Located in the highlands of San Jose, both picturesque towns of provide tourists with a welcomed escape from city life. Here, you can get a close view of Tico culture.

Travel Information and Other Money Saving Tips
As a tourist coming in from the United States, Canada, or another country, your primary model of travel to Costa Rica will be by plane. There are many airports in the country, including two in San Jose — Juan Santamaría International Airport and Tobías Bolaños International Airport. If you want to save more money, travel off season between June and August, which is the rainy season and may cut down on outdoor activities.

ñ Eat at “sodas.” These are small, family run restaurants featuring inexpensive meals for $2, which also includes a drink.

ñ Use public transportation to get around, unless you are on a vacation arranged by a travel agency.

ñ Do not wear or display expensive jewelry, and keep your wallets, purses, and other valuables on your person at all times.

ñ You do not have to tip, as a 10 percent service charge is included at most restaurants and other establishments.

ñ Get a map through the Costa Rican Tourist Board.

ñ Citizens of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and most European nations may visit Costa Rica for a maximum of 90 days without a visa but must have a valid passport.

ñ No shots or inoculations are required to enter the country, unless you have recently travelled to a location where yellow fever is present, in which case you will need proof of a yellow fever vaccination.

Many patients who go to Costa Rica for dental work invariably get more for their money, but also take advantage of shorter travel time, faster treatment and follow-up care, English speaking staff, and a country with more than a 90 percent literacy rate among adults. Beyond amazing dental and medical care, this history rich country is an amazing tourist destination well worth a visit.

Author Bio – Dr. Deepika Garg – Dentist, Internet Enthusiast – Chief Editor Dental Implants Costa Rica.


Click here to read the full story in the Tico Times

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dental Tourism in Costa Rica

By Dr. Deepika Garg for the Tico Times

Thanks to uncertainties about healthcare reform, rising healthcare costs, and an increase in the number of the uninsured, many Americans have begun looking outside their borders for high quality and affordable medical care. Medical tourism is a booming industry – expected to generate $100 billion globally in 2012 – and some sub-categories are leading the pack.

In fact, thousands of patients needing dental work have been spilling over the border in search of care, mostly driven by a desire to save money. Dental Tourism in Costa Rica may be a good option for patients in the United States, thanks to its close proximity, remarkable doctors and facilities, and low-cost, high-quality services, which is making the Central American country a favored destination for thousands seeking treatment abroad.

In 2010, for instance, PROMED — the Council for International Promotion of Costa Rican Medicine – estimated that 36,000 medical tourists visited the country, pumping nearly $300 million into the economy. But it is not only Americans and Canadians who have discovered Costa Rica as a dental tourism destination, but patients from as far away as Europe and Australia, too.

What You Can Expect to Pay
According to International Magazine, Costa Rica offers the highest quality medical and dental care in Latin America, often at prices 50 to 70 percent less than elsewhere. And these savings are all inclusive, meaning they factor in x-rays, prosthetics, lab work, and other related expenses. So what kind of dental procedures can you get in Costa Rica, and at what cost?

If you have a cracked or otherwise damaged tooth that you would like to save, a dentist may recommend a crown, which is a tooth-shaped cap placed over the existing one to prevent more damage. In America, a trip the local dentist for this kind of work could set you back as much as $1,000 per tooth in some cases, but in Costa Rica the cost is between $250 and $400 per tooth – a potential saving of 60 to 70 percent.

Root canals are another complicated and expensive procedure. In America, you could expect to pay $800 or more to have a dentist drill out the pulp and nerve inside a bad tooth and seal it with protective filler. But in Costa Rica? Not so much, only about $350. And the saving is about 55 to 60 percent.

For patients without insurance or the financial means, dental implants can be prohibitively expensive – somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,500 per tooth. In some cases, that is comparable to the price of a car. But thanks to lower cost of living, more reasonable salaries and other factors, the price for a dental implant in Costa Rica may only be about $700 to $900 for the same tooth.

Destinations of Choice
Patients seeking the highest quality dental care can find what they are looking for in the capital city of San Jose, which not only features amazing tourist destinations, but three Joint Commission International accredited hospitals – the only three on the country – plus a facility with a dentist on staff who is the only Accreditation Candidate for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) through Latin America.

But what makes San Jose such a draw? The city is the heart and soul of the country, its political and economic center and, as a result, the main hub of cultural activities within Costa Rica. Founded by the Spanish in 1738, it sits with the Central Valley, providing easy access to transportation, accommodations, food, shopping – everything to make a dental tourist’s time in the country well spent.

San Jose is home to several well known museums — the Gold, Jade, National, Costa Rican Art, La Salle Natural Science, University of Costa Rica Insect and Children’s Contemporary Art and Design Museums – plus five national parks within the region. Buffeted by mountains and volcanoes, San Jose features two areas regarded for their extraordinary beauty, Turrialba and Valle de los Santos. Dental tourists also can experience a touch of history, as some of the neighborhoods and buildings date back to the city’s founding. Activities abound, such as tours of coffee plantations, sugar mills and dairies, horseback riding, hiking to the mountains and through pristine forests, as well as cave exploration, or spelunking.

Must See Locations
But there is more to see in Costa Rica outside of the capital city of San Jose. While thousands of people have chosen the country as their dental tourism destination, they also visit it for its world-renowned tourist attractions in a safe environment, from breathtaking beaches to pristine forests and stunning mountains. The country offers something for everyone – from boating and fishing to hiking and historical tours to exquisite dinning and shopping experiences. The country’s exchange rate also is favorable with one U.S. Dollar worth about 500 Costa Rica Clones (CRCs) and one British Pound worth a little more than 1,000 CRCs, offering more buying power for the same goods and services that you would get elsewhere. Here are few of the top sites to consider during your stay:

ñ The Poas National Park, about an hour’s drive from San Jose, offers adventurous but easy hikes through the cloud forest. It is about 15 minutes walking distance from the Poas volcano.

ñ The central market in San Jose, known as Mercado Central. It sells everything a “foodie” loves — from fresh fruits, vegetables, and souvenirs to native herbs, Costa Rican coffee, and inexpensive meals at its roadside restaurants.

ñ Manuel Antonio National Park offers miles of white sand beaches bordering pristine evergreen forests. Land and sea lovers can enjoy canopy tours, sport fishing, bird watching, golfing, and beach activities.

ñ Drake Bay & Corcovado National Park is located on the stunning Osa Peninsula and has been referred to as one of the most “biodiverse places” on earth. Together with Drake Bay, this region has become an ecotourism hot spot for those who want to enjoy the best nature has to offer.

ñ Grecia and Sarchi – Located in the highlands of San Jose, both picturesque towns of provide tourists with a welcomed escape from city life. Here, you can get a close view of Tico culture.

Travel Information and Other Money Saving Tips
As a tourist coming in from the United States, Canada, or another country, your primary model of travel to Costa Rica will be by plane. There are many airports in the country, including two in San Jose — Juan Santamaría International Airport and Tobías Bolaños International Airport. If you want to save more money, travel off season between June and August, which is the rainy season and may cut down on outdoor activities.

ñ Eat at “sodas.” These are small, family run restaurants featuring inexpensive meals for $2, which also includes a drink.

ñ Use public transportation to get around, unless you are on a vacation arranged by a travel agency.

ñ Do not wear or display expensive jewelry, and keep your wallets, purses, and other valuables on your person at all times.

ñ You do not have to tip, as a 10 percent service charge is included at most restaurants and other establishments.

ñ Get a map through the Costa Rican Tourist Board.

ñ Citizens of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and most European nations may visit Costa Rica for a maximum of 90 days without a visa but must have a valid passport.

ñ No shots or inoculations are required to enter the country, unless you have recently travelled to a location where yellow fever is present, in which case you will need proof of a yellow fever vaccination.

Many patients who go to Costa Rica for dental work invariably get more for their money, but also take advantage of shorter travel time, faster treatment and follow-up care, English speaking staff, and a country with more than a 90 percent literacy rate among adults. Beyond amazing dental and medical care, this history rich country is an amazing tourist destination well worth a visit.

Author Bio – Dr. Deepika Garg – Dentist, Internet Enthusiast – Chief Editor Dental Implants Costa Rica.


Click here to read the full story in the Tico Times

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pineapple and Coffee Plantation Investment Opportunity


NatureWalk has an interesting Coffee and Pineapple plantation investment opportunity.

This combines coffee and pineapple agricultural returns with tourism revenue.

The minimum investment is US$200,000 and returns are uncapped and projected at return of capital within 4 years and thereafter 2o% per year.

You can read more on our website at this page


Or alternately contact us on info@costaricainvest.ie

Monday, March 12, 2012

Investing in Latin America's Green Energy Growth Market

By the Costa Rica News


Biofuels is on the rise… again. The first time some painful lessons were learned for fast-in investors. This time the focus is on second generation biofuels and Central America.

First generation:

Why so bad? Some of it´s obvious and has been covered before: using petroleum-based fertilizer to grow corn, which is sprayed with petroleum-based pesticides and then shipped using fossil-fuel based transport (before and after it´s turned into ethanol), doesn´t make a lot of sense. This is also a problem with sugarcane ethanol exported from Brazil and soybean biodiesel produced in the US. Add to these standard issues like displacement of agriculture onto previously unused land, which contributes to carbon dioxide emissions when the land is cleared, and things start to get messy.

For second generation biofuels, the first investment wave that started in 2005 was short lived, and was already seeing problems before the 2008/9 global economic decline. Fast-in investors pushed their money into any available project based on talk of political capital, market capital, the Green Marketing Movement, and talk of cap & trade carbon markets.

Unfortunately the only investors that really benefited were initiators of large commercial projects. The small to mid level investors, suffered as a whole.

One example is D1, rushed into planting Jatropha on large scale, with very little agronomic research. First billed as a wonder crop, Jatropha, as a non-food crop that grows on marginal was hailed as the cure to Global biofuel shortages. And while Jatropha does grow on marginal lands, any farmer will tell you that marginal inputs mean marginal outputs.

But biofuels, like Jatropha have been quietly developing knowledge, experience, and success stories over the past 3 years.

Where most of the first investment/development projects were developed overseas in Africa, and South Asia, savvy developers have now turned their eye to Central America; where biofuel/oil feedstock are indigenous, vast amounts of available land, rich and fertile soil, cheap labor, time zone benefits, and CAFTA (Central America Free Trade Agreement) have illuminated barriers.

In the mean time the demand continues to growth. Mandates on production or blend continue to put pressure on refineries, and other companies in oil production, both upstream and down-stream, to meet demand. Companies in USA are complaining that they are being fined for not using biofuels that don’t yet exist!

Beaker or Barrel:

Now the second and more sustainable wave has begun. The main factors driving biofuel develop:

The continuing rise of fossil fuel prices; Russia needs $110/barrel just balance their books, Average Middle Eastern per barrel requirement is between $75 and $85 per barrel, just to balance the books.

29% of the global vegetable oil production’s increase and 68% of the global sugar cane production’s increase are expected to go to biofuels. Food for fuel simply doesn’t work; it’s not a sustainable strategy.

China and India are quietly capturing more oil supplies, both fossil and bio fuels, and their demand is outpacing the #1 consumer, USA.

The aviation industry is starting to see blend mandates, and many European airlines (USA soon to follow) will start receiving fines for not using blends, but like the US refineries they will being fined for not using bio-fuels that don’t yet exist in the market. Here is a perfect example, Lufthansa airlines, just completed over 1800 test flights between European cities using a 50% blend with bio-synthetic Jatropha fuel (the #1 drop in replacement choice for airlines). The results: a huge success, emissions using bio-fuel cut by up to 80%, costs dramatically reduced… the problem? Lufthansa said the jatropha and bio-fuel supply was not yet sustainable at the levels only one airline would require let alone all of them.

So here we have a mandated product in a mandated market, countries and industries have to by law purchase your bio-fuel product at fair market value. Mandated markets and products make investors feel secure.

These are just a few of the reasons bio-fuel investors are on the rise.

It’s a more intelligent market, the demand as expected by analysts has continued grow exponentially and now there are investment options for the small and mid level investor to play as well, it’s an opportunity for everyone now, not just for the big boys.


Click here to read the full story by the Costa Rica News

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jatropha planting in NatureWalk

Jatropha planting has begun in earnest in NatureWalk and you can see some pictures and a short video below










video

Monday, March 5, 2012

NatureWalk Office in Quepos


The new NatureWalk Office in Quepos has just opened. If you are in the area and want to find out more about NatureWalk, why not call in and see us.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Costa Rica ranked 5th Greenest Country in the World


Costa Rica ranks as the fifth greenest country in the world, according to the study “Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2012,” conducted by the universities of Yale and Columbia and published last week.

Costa Rica is the only country outside Europe in the top 10 list that includes: Switzerland, Latvia, Norway, Luxembourg, Costa Rica, France, Austria, Italy, U.K. and Sweden.

Other countries of the region ranked are: Nicaragua in 35th place, Panama in 39th, Hondurasin 71st, El Salvador in 75th and Guatemala in 76th (Belize did not appear).

The United States was noteworthy as a developed country with a poor ranking, although since 2010 the U.S. has moved up in ranking -it was in 60th place- and now stands in 49th place.
Experts who conducted the research expressed concern about poor results for water resources and the effects on ecosystems and greenhouse-gas emissions implicated in climate change and urban air pollution.

At the bottom of the list, countries with the worst environmental records are Kuwait, Yemen, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iraq.


Read the full story on the Tico Times