Orosi Heading southeast of San Jose, you can find yourself in a small village - Orosi, hidden amid green hills. It’s one of the oldest settlements established by the first Spanish settlers in Costa Rica. The valley’s climate and soil were perfect for agriculture, while River Reventazon provided the locals with freshwater supply. Orosi is still inhabited with a population of around 5,000 people. It’s a very quiet place with a calm atmosphere - it feels like time here is frozen. In fact, this is where you can find Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi - the oldest still-active Catholic church, [...]
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Else Kientzler Botanical Garden We found information about an interesting place on TripAdvisor - Else Kientzler Botanical Garden which is not far from the capital. After reading plenty of positive reviews, we decided to pay it a visit. The Garden is part of a large agricultural company - InnovaPlant S. A., which cultivates and grows decorative plants for international export. In 1998, the company’s owner, Ludwig Kientzler, decided to establish a botanical garden and named it after his mother Else. At the moment, the 7-hectare park territory houses over 2,000 species of plants, including unique species from New Zealand, Japan, Madagascar, [...]
San Jose - the capital of Costa Rica Even though we decided not to live in San Jose, we still decided to set some time aside for a visit. After all, a country’s capital is the center of its life and culture. This was when we first experienced the unpredictable local weather. We drove in wearing t-shirts and shorts, since it was a clear, warm day. But people in San Jose, which was only an hour’s drive away, were wearing jackets - it was rather cold outside. The temperature suddenly dropped to 13-14 degrees, which we never expected, so we got [...]
Leisure with children First, we tried to hire a babysitter for the children, but we quickly realized that it was almost impossible. No one wanted to move out of the city away into the forest. So, we took care of the boy ourselves, always coming up with different forms of entertainment. The boys loved it in the new house. This was their first house without a bathtub, so we bought plastic tubs, where Robert and Michael Jr. could splash around gleefully. https://youtu.be/xr9liLlKmww It was around this time that their interest in music reached new levels. We gathered all the pots, [...]
While planning our travels, we tried to keep up with the summer, so we continued to go south. And so, our next stop was Costa Rica - one of the greenest countries in the world. As we get to a new country, we often stop in the capital so we can immerse ourselves deeper into local culture. But the idea of settling in San Jose, one of the top 10 most polluted and ugliest capitals in the world, didn’t sound great. At first, we thought of living by the sea, and we were even choosing between cities on the Caribbean and [...]
Chichen-Itza Perhaps, the most famous Mayan complex in Mexico is Chichen-Itza - a large city covering over 80 hectares. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit what is recognized as one of the seven wonders of the world. It is believed that the first Mayan settlement was founded right here in 455 AD. The city quickly developed and expanded, and by the end of the 9th Century it became a strong State, controlling almost all the northern Yucatan territories. In the 10th Century it was taken over by the Toltecs, becoming the capital of these tribes. The influence of Toltec [...]
Mexico is a large country divided into a few dozen states. Cancun and Playa del Carmen are located in Quintana-Roo. We decided not to limit ourselves to this region, so we planned a trip to the northern areas of the peninsula and explore the Yucatan state territory. After all, that’s where you can find one of the largest ancient Mayan complexes in Mexico - the city-state Chichen-Itza. History of Valladolid Halfway between Cancun and the ancient Chichen-Itza complex lies a little town called Valladolid. At first glance it may look like yet another provincial town, but it actually has a rich, [...]
Tulum Tulum is one of the most prominent archaeological sites in Mexico. Despite its relatively humble size (it’s significantly smaller than the Mayan Chichen Itza site), the settlement is unique in many ways, since it’s practically the only settlement built by the shore. The Mayans preferred to settle farther from the shore and deeper in the jungle. The first settlement in the area was constructed in the 12th Century. By then, the majority of the Mayan settlements were in decline, but Tulum continued to thrive and develop, as it was the only sea port and the largest trade center. This is [...]
Cancun’s environs are famous for their unparalleled nature and the number of historical sites related to, first and foremost, the mysterious Maya civilization. We’d dreamt of seeing these ancient Indian sites with our own eyes, so the instant we settled in Cancun, we decided to begin exploring the surrounding areas. Thanks to our rental car we were free to travel the peninsula at our leisure. One of the sites on our list was an archaeological site - Tulum, and Playa del Carmen - a small tourist town located half-way, which tourists often prefer to Cancun. Playa del Carmen: History Playa del [...]
Island of Women (Isla Mujeres) Island of Women (Isla Mujeres) is located 13 km east of Cancun. It’s small — 7 km long and about 650 m wide — and very beautiful. It takes about half an hour to reach the island by ferry (there are both private and municipal ones). https://youtu.be/lC1bWue4XwU The island settlement is very little and consists of five quarters. Medina is the main pedestrian street lying along the west coast of the island. That’s where all cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, and tourist centres are concentrated. The infrastructure of Isla Mujeres is certainly less developed than that [...]