The Best of Both Worlds

Is it a good idea to visit both locations of Academia Tica?

Emily CuretonThe Best of Both Worlds

El Sabor: Taste a la Tica

“El Sabor, el Sabor!” – This friendly shout fills Academia Tica’s patio every school day at noon, when hungry students flock towards the sound of Caribbean music and the wide smile of Don George. He emerges from a van and opens the side door to reveal baskets and coolers brimming with treats, which hungry students have been yearning for throughout the morning’s intensive Spanish classes. And … Read More

Susanna KowalzikEl Sabor: Taste a la Tica

Horsing around

The hand-painted sign showing two bridled horses does not point towards a fancy place. Turning down this stone driveway off the main road through Las Nubes will not deliver you to a state-of-the-art equine training facility. Nor are these lush pastures described in any Lonely Planet guidebooks. Yet, the animals grazing these hills speak volumes about the culture of Costa Rica’s Central Valley, where horses … Read More

Emily CuretonHorsing around

Las Cataratas – A day trip to the waterfalls

One Friday morning in Jacó Beach: Our group of seven Academia Tica students was being picked up in front of the apartments by Alan, our tour guide for the day. A 45 minutes drive southbound along the coast led us to the beginning of a narrow path through private farmland. First we passed chicken and horses, then the trail continued through the … Read More

Susanna KowalzikLas Cataratas – A day trip to the waterfalls

Un día en la vida: Volunteering at Carara National Park

In the tangle of cacophonous green that is Carara National Park, two types of forest meet, a mix of plants, animals and insects found nowhere else in the world. This convergence of Costa Rica’s dry Northern Pacific region and its much wetter Southern Zone is host to half the known animal species in a country famed for prodigious biological diversity. … Read More

Emily CuretonUn día en la vida: Volunteering at Carara National Park

A bittersweet tour of chocolate

As I tentatively sip a watery concoction of cacao, almonds and chili, the possibility that this bitter-spicy beverage is even a form of chocolate seems remote, let alone that under my crinkled nose froths the ancient precursor to all chocolate as we know and love it. But history is a lot like taste — surprising, born of the bitter stuff and prone to unlikely combinations. … Read More

Emily CuretonA bittersweet tour of chocolate

Changing face in Escazú

When we pull up to his Escazú home, Gerardo Montoya hits play. Parade sounds fill this sleepy neighborhood in the hills overlooking Costa Rica’s capital city. Crashing cymbals and snare drums punch off time as we walk down the driveway towards a garage workshop where our host awaits, dancing among the monsters he’s created, many of them large enough to swallow a man whole. He cuts the music and announces: “Meet … Read More

Emily CuretonChanging face in Escazú

Events: Football and more

Cool upcoming events include an international food fair in Coronado, more than 100 activities in the capital and of course the World Cup. Food: “Feria Internacional De Comida Típica” Sick of “Gallo Pinto,” yet?  Or maybe ready for another serving? The International Fair of Typical Food offers Costa Rican favorites, and also Caribbean and Latin American specialties from 10am to 6pm this Saturday, … Read More

Susanna KowalzikEvents: Football and more

A crocodile kind of day

If the crocodile cares when a tourist throws a coconut at him from the Rio Grande de Tárcoles bridge, his face betrays nothing. He lunges and snaps instinctively, but promptly discards it, coconuts being among the few things an American Crocodile won’t eat. Still, there is no trace of disappointment in his reptilian eyes, no sigh like annoyance in the breath he may … Read More

Emily CuretonA crocodile kind of day

A fresh take on fruit

Studying takes a turn for the delicious at Academia Tica’s fruit tasting class, where we sample some of Costa Rica’s most sumptuous offerings. After an hour at this mouth-watering table we know our mangos from our mangas, our guanabanas from our guabas, our nances from our elbows. In Costa Rica fruit is a USD $1.5 billion a year industry, accounting … Read More

Emily CuretonA fresh take on fruit