Costa Rica Real Estate, Del Pacifico at Esterillos

Seaside Town, Tropical Soul

Where does the word Tico come from?

This is a question I get asked a lot! Tico is a word that you will hear used a lot in Costa Rica. It is a colloquialism used to refer to native Costa Ricans. You will also hear the ticos refer to North Americans as "gringos". Don't worry- gringo is not a pejorative term and is meant only as a description.

The prevailing theory that I've heard on where the nickname tico originated is that in the past, Costa Ricans would refer to each other as "hermantico" (little brother) as a sign of affection.  As is the habit as words are used more and more frequently, they are shortened, eventually the word became tico.


Feliz Día de Juan Santamaria! Happy Juan Santamaria Day!

Today Costa Ricans honor a very unique hero from history. On this day in 1856 a 12 year old drummer boy from Alajuela made the ultimate act of bravery to help ensure freedom for his country.

William Walker, a mercenary from Tennessee, organized a private military to enter Latin America, conquer and enslave its Spanish-speaking citizens and implant a English-speaking colony with Walker as its President. In 1853, Walker succeeded to take over Baja, Mexico for a matter of about 3 months before being deposed by the Mexican army and sent back to the US to stand trial for filibustering. 


In 1855 Civil War was raging in Nicaragua (between the Legitimist Party & the Democratic Party) and Walker returned to Central America at the behest of the Democratic Party leader, Francisco Castellón. Walker's army of mercenaries defeated the Legitimist Army, conquered the capital city of Granada and won the civil war for the Democrats. Walker allowed Castellón to rule for a period time before declaring himself President of Nicaragua and beginning plans to move his regime further south into Costa Rica.

Meanwhile in Costa Rica...President Juan Rafael Mora declared war on the usurping government and began the Campaign of 1856-1857. While Walker was busy sending troops to invade Costa Rica, Mora had the Costa Rican army, composed of about 9,000 volunteers, defend the Nicoya Peninsula and push the invaders back into Nicaragua.

Juan Santamaria Statue in Alajuela

Juan Santamaria Statue in Alajuela

Which brings us to Juan Santamaria & The Battle of Rivas. Both armies were back in Nicaragua and had been fighting for days. The Costa Rican army had thus far been unsuccessful in driving Walker's army out of a wooden fort in which they had taken shelter. After several attempts from soldiers to burn down the fort and force the invading troops out into the open, twelve year old Juan Santamaria volunteered to try with the understanding that should he not return from his mission, someone would take care of his mother. The drummer boy took a torch and ran towards the fort, enduring gunfire and mortal wounds but managing to throw the torch to burn down the fort. His heroism, helped to clinch victory and ensure continued independence for Costa Rica.

5 Ways to Live the Spirit of the International Day of Happiness Everyday

Today marks the celebration of the very first International Day of Happiness! Last June, the United Nations established March 20th as the International Day of Happiness. Their resolution establishes this new holiday as a day to celebrate the pursuit of happiness as the "fundamental human goal."

Costa Rica has been considered the Happiest Place on Earth since 2009 in the Happy Planet Index, a study by the New Economics Foundation.

In the spirit of the day and of Costa Rica, here are 3 Ways that You Can Celebrate International Day Of Happiness:

1. Spend quality time with loved ones. Can you think of anything that makes you happier than spending time with the ones you love? A great way to bond with family is a new experience- I suggest a horseback tour or a zip line. Even after the tour is over, you have a wonderful memory!

2. Put down the camera/cell phone/tablet/laptop/etc. and BE WHERE YOU ARE! One of the keys to happiness is losing yourself completely to the moment. So, even if just for today, put down your technology and take the time to look at the world around you. Our Endless Summer Surfing Package includes photography, so you won't need to take your own pics!

3. Watch the Sunset. Join us at the Beach Bar at Alma del Pacifico Beach Hotel & Spa to watch the sun sink below the Pacific. It is a sight not to be missed!

4. Pura Vida. Do you know why Ticos are so happy? Because they have a way of looking at life from which we could all learn a thing or two. Literally translated, Pura Vida means "pure life" but that doesn't even begin to explain what it means to live a Pura Vida life. To live a pura vida life, you need to slow down, enjoy each moment, focus on the good and make family & friends a priority. Just for today, focus on what really, laugh & love one another.

5. If number 4 seems too daunting of a task to take on today, then book a vacation to Costa Rica. I don't know about you, but I'm happiest when I am anticipating an exciting trip. Book here or give us a call at 410-727-6444 for help planning your Costa Rica vacation.

Pura Vida & Happy Happiness Day!

Delta Adds a Direct Flight From LAX to SJO

Delta 757

Great news for our friends in Southern California! Planning a Costa Rica vacation has never been easier! Delta has announced that the airline is expanding service from Los Angeles to include a daily non-stop between the two cities.

It looks as if the service will begin just in time for the holiday week in December of 2013. It appears as though the flight from LA will be a red eye, arriving in San Jose just before 6 a.m. and the return will leave SJO around 7 a.m. and get you back in California before lunchtime. Both flights will be operated on a Boeing 757, which has a passenger capacity of about 200 seats.

Book your stay at Del Pacifico here or call us at 888-960-ALMA or +1-410-727-6444 for help planning your trip!

Alma del Pacifico Beach Hotel & Spa Honored in the 2013 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards

We are pleased to announce that our hotel, Alma del Pacifico Beach Hotel & Spa, was chosen by TripAdvisor as 9th place winner in the Small Hotels of Costa Rica category and 21st place winner in the category of Small Hotels in Central America in TripAdvisor's 2013 Travelers' Choice® awards.

Now in its eleventh year, the annual TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards honor the world’s best hotels, earning their distinction from those who know them best – real travelers. Unlike any other hotel honors, TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice winners are based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions from travelers around the world.

“TripAdvisor is once again thrilled to recognize the world’s most outstanding hotels with the help of more than 75 million reviews and opinions from travelers around the globe,” said Christine Petersen, president, TripAdvisor for Business. “From the best bargain hotels to top luxury properties, outstanding service, value and quality are the hallmarks of our Travelers’ Choice winners.”

For reviews of Alma del Pacifico Beach Hotel & Spa, go to our TripAdvisor page