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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.

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

New Flights to San Jose Announced!

Great news for anyone planning a Costa Rica vacation at Del Pacifico! In the past couple months, 6 new non-stop flight routes have been announced between North America and San Jose, Costa Rica. 

United, the world's largest airline, is adding 2 new weekly routes to San Jose. Non-stop flights from Washington's Dulles Airport and Chicago's O'Hare Airport will begin in April.

JetBlue will begin daily non-stop service between Ft. Lauderdale & San Jose on June 27th.

Air Canada has launched a new discount getaway airline, Air Canada Rouge, which will operate non-stop flights from both Montreal & Toronto to San Jose beginning in July.

Sunwing, a Canadian discount airline, has already begun a new non-stop route between Toronto & San Jose.

All of this seems to be good news for the tourism industry in Costa Rica! See you here in 2013!

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

5 Tips for Combining Your Vacation with a Real Estate Scouting Trip

Many pre-retirement Baby Boomers like to combine their dream eco-tourism vacation in Costa Rica with a preliminary scouting trip to see what's available in Central American real estate. This is very easy to accomplish, but some advance planning can help you to best utilize your time.  Here are some tips: 

1)  Call our US office at +1-410-727-6444 to get an overview of the current market and also to talk about your objectives and some reasonable expectations.  We can help get you up to speed on the different regions of Costa Rica  and the terminology. Unless you're an Indiana Jones wannabe, the odds are that you will want to either look at the Central Pacific region (where the Del Pacifico and Los Sueños resorts are located), the Nicoya peninsula (Guanacaste and where the Four Seasons resort is found) or the Osa Peninsula (down near Panama- very pretty, but also very hot and very, very humid). If you're looking to retire full time in Costa Rica, you might want to look in the Central Valley (the areas around San Jose) This is popular with US retirees who want to live full time in Costa Rica because of the very mild weather and proximity to good hospitals.

2) Come stay in either a condo or house at Del Pacifico or at our Alma Del Pacifico Beach Hotel & Spa. We can arrange to have a rental car delivered to you; take 1 full day to explore the Central Pacific coast.  We can help you with an itinerary and can give you the scoop. Since there is essentially just one road, it's very easy to navigate the area.

3) Should you work with a Costa Rica real estate agent? Not really for your first visit. The level of professionalism and ethics is much different than in the US.  We'd recommend that on your first time, you look around the larger resorts such as Del Pacifico and Los Sueños and get a feel for what's available and whether it meets your needs.

4)  Plan a half day to tour Del Pacifico. Given some advance notice we can arrange a leisurely horse back tour of the resort, ending up at the beach bar at Alma Del Pacifico. Since sunset is pretty much at 6 PM year round, don't plan a real estate tour at 4 PM! The sun sets quickly.  To arrrange a tour, call our local office +1-410-800-4773 or our US office +1-410-727-6444.

5) Remember, we are here to help so give us a call (410-727-6444) or shoot us an email with your questions.