Surviving Costa Rican culture What students wish they had known

first_imgFrom sprinting ridiculously across the street to avoid becoming the nextpanqueque al Gringo, to getting served beer at a college function, there are many things that foreign students may find a bit shocking about living and studying in Costa Rica.One of the big differences students must adapt to is driving.“Beware of the traffic,” warns Winthrop University Spanish major Antonio Artis, currently studying at Universidad Veritas in Zapote, a southeastern district of San José.It is sound advice. Unlike in the United States, where pedestrians have the right-of-way, the laws in Costa Rica are a bit different. Drivers aren’t required to stop for pedestrians, and this can make for some very interesting experiences. While there are crosswalks, they are fewer in number. Be careful when crossing the street and make sure to look all around you.Another thing to be aware of is the pricing of goods and services. Costa Rica is one of the most expensive countries in Latin America, and prices truly add up. Many students don’t realize this and equate Costa Rican prices with those of poorer countries in the region.Lauren Gabauer, a student from Winthrop University majoring in Spanish and education, says, “I ran out of money at the end [of a Costa Rica trip], and if I would have known more about the actual prices of lunches and taxis and things like that, I could have planned better.”Students often end up phoning home to ask mom and dad for money. Make sure to budget well in advance. Jordan Lent | Special to The Tico Times No related posts. Watch out! Crossing the street in Chepe is a special art. Taxis in San José, unlike some cities in the U.S., are plentiful. As a tourist you never really have to worry about getting home if you’re lost, provided you have money for a cab.Upon entering your chosen taxi, make sure it has a meter, or “María” as it’s known in Costa Rica. Once you know your way around the city a bit more, be sure to pay attention to where the drivers take you. Not all of them are dishonest, but some will take you the long way to get as much money as possible. Just be aware.Sophomore biology major Colleen Keller from Western Michigan University advises, “Always make sure to take note of the company and number, in case you leave something, which I did.”Here is something teenagers will find particularly interesting: Costa Ricans have a hard time saying “No.” In the U.S., people tend to say what they mean and mean what they say. Such brusque talk is not as commonplace in Costa Rica. When Ticos want to say no to you, they often will seem to talk around the subject.“Oh you want to go out? Well how late do you think it will be? Are you sure it won’t be too cold? Do you think it’s a good idea?” etc.Of course, it varies with each individual. (Kids in the U.S. could learn from this, i.e., perhaps it’s time to talk your parents into making a move down south.)One final piece of advice about visiting Costa Rica: Embrace the Tico concept of time. It is very different than in the U.S. (the absence of clocks in many places is sure to be noticed), and it does take some getting used to for those from a culture obsessed with punctuality.In Costa Rica, being late is not a faux pas as it is in the U.S. Although a bit taxing and frustrating at first, once you learn to focus less on your watch and more on taking in the moments, it can help you lead a more relaxed lifestyle.So embrace “Tico time” and make the most of your trip to the country of “no artificial ingredients.”Jordan Lent is a senior at Winthrop University, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, United States. She studied Spanish in Costa Rica for three months and hopes to one day become a foreign correspondent. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

SANTA BARBARA Calif – This festive season Four

first_imgSANTA BARBARA, Calif. – This festive season, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is spreading seaside holiday cheer with a variety of great values, lavish traditions and unforgettable experiences.Stay. There’s never been a better time to spend the holidays basking in the warm sunshine of the American Riviera. With unprecedented room rates starting as low as $375 per night and a variety of enticing value package offerings such as a free third night, Resort credits and more, ‘tis the season to enjoy Santa Barbara’s gorgeous beaches, magnificent wine country and world-class golf. Call 1 (805) 565-8099 or visit for rate details and reservations.Play. A historic wonderland at this special time of year, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara has been creating cherished memories for generations. This festive season, the Resort is offering an array of holiday experiences to make the season merry and bright. In December, guests can sip on a hot toddy or spiced apple cider while “dashing” along scenic Butterfly Beach and through the quaint village of Montecito on a romantic and exhilarating “sleigh” ride in a horse-drawn carriage. At Saks Fifth Avenue in downtown Santa Barbara, exclusive VIP gift shopping offers an opportunity to check your list twice.Children can take part in engaging experiences like complimentary cookie baking and decorating workshops led by Mrs. Claus, or creating their own ornaments in the Kids For All Seasons Program. On select evenings, they can gather around the cozy fireplace for storytime with Santa, complete with milk and cookies. On Christmas Eve, all children will receive a personalized stocking amenity – delivered to their doorstep by Santa’s elves – to ensure an extra joyful holiday experience.Relax. Treat yourself to everything nice this holiday season in The Spa, with their “Sugar & Spice” menu of holiday treatments. Relieve holiday stress with a relaxing full-body organic Sugar Scrub featuring extracts of chamomile, myrrh and passionflower. The deeply moisturizing organic sunflower oil based scrub will leave your skin with a delightfully spicy scent (50 minutes, $160). Pamper yourself with a Spice Massage, which combines any full-body massage with a deliciously aromatic massage oil made exclusively for The Biltmore. An enticing blend of orange, patchouli, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, pine and rosemary essential oils, it’s sure to spice up the season (50 minutes, $160 / 80 minutes, $225)! For a true holiday treat, enjoy Sugar & Spice – featuring both services together in an indulgent scrub and massage combination treatment (80 minutes, $225).Family-style Thanksgiving – You’ll feel right at home with a home cooked Thanksgiving feast served in your very own guest room or private terrace.Thanksgiving Day Dinner – Bella Vista offers its annual Thanksgiving dinner, featuring all the traditional favorites. Choose from a four-course plated dinner or expansive buffet.Christmas Eve Dinner – Enjoy a four-course dinner menu at Bella Vista, where guests can savor an extensive selection of seasonal items and holiday dishes.Christmas Day in Bella Vista – Each Christmas, Bella Vista presents an elaborate buffet spread featuring traditional favorites and seasonal specialties – including fresh seafood, hot entrées, a carving station, and an array of salads and desserts. Or, choose a four-course menu boasting many lovingly prepared seasonal and holiday specialties.New Year’s Eve Gala – Ring in the New Year in Four Seasons style, where the midnight moment is spectacularly anticipated. The perfect place to celebrate with friends and family, Bella Vista will host an all-evening affair, including a set five-course gourmet dinner, live entertainment, dancing, late night dessert and champagne toast. In Ty Lounge, guests can toast to the New Year with festivities until 2:00 am, including DJ sounds and champagne.www.fourseasons.comlast_img read more