new road Avellanas

new road Avellanas

The road from Tamarindo going south turned out great, no asphalt yet, but a solid smooth base with lastre (gravel).

After Tamarindo, Hacienda Pinilla through San Jose de Pinilla, Avellanas, Los Pargos, Playa Negra, Paraiso to Junquillal.

In general the road improvements in the entire country are well in progress and the roads had never been as good as they are today.

Take a stroll down the beach

How could you not want to live here?

The Holwer Mag
By: Robert Provencher

For many years now my wife and I and our daughter Danielle have travelled all over Canada, the US, the Caribbean Islands and Europe, and the one place that tops our list of favorite places is Costa Rica.

We recently spent a week in Tamarindo, our third time there, and our fourth time in Costa Rica. It was 2006 when we last saw that dusty little town, with its spectacular beaches, great restaurants and friendly people. The first thing we asked ourselves on our first day was: “why did we wait so long to return?” We had forgotten about how much we loved this place, and vowed never to let that happen again.

There is something special about Costa Rica. Especially Tamarindo, where the magic and ambiance that prevails the whole country seems magnified. I can’t say it in so many words, and my wife, the most eagle-eyed travel critic, is sensitive to travel experiences, and would spot any problem areas in a heartbeat. She is Tamarindo’s biggest fan.

If we had to define and quantify the Tamarindo experience with words, we’d have to talk about the uncrowded beaches. The friendly atmosphere. The mood, attitude and relaxed way of life that seems to live within the locals and tourists alike.

The first thing we did when we arrived at Tamarindo was to stock up our fridge. We were staying on the beach at Casa Cook and planned on cooking one meal a day, the other meal at a local restaurant. The local restaurants such as Pedro’s and Nogui’s were my personal favorites. Breakfast was always the same: fresh fruit and fresh Costa Rican coffee.

Waking up early every morning was pure bliss. The sun, the wind, the monkeys, the walkers and joggers heading down the beach all add to the early morning euphoria. It doesn’t get any better.

After fruit and coffee, a run down the beach for some early morning exercise starts the day off right. Nothing like jogging barefoot on the beach, with the rising sun streaking across the vast ocean bottom revealed by the low tide. We always felt safe when in Costa Rica, even at night in pitch dark, walking this same beach under the stars back to our cabin. This was always an amazing experience punctuated by the sounds of the surf and the occasional shooting star in the night sky. Pure poetry.

Sometimes I like to sit back and people watch. Whether in the airport waiting for my plane or in the heart of Tamarindo at night, watching the locals carry on was of particular interest to me. They smiled a lot, and laughed. I had little idea of what they were talking about, but it sounded interesting, given the bantering and laughing. “These are happy people,” I always thought to myself. Generous, caring and open. I hoped that those who visited Costa Rica or moved here would be impressed and positively affected by their unpretentious ways.

You often hear the expression “pura vida” which, as I understand it, means pure living. I believe it goes deeper than that. The ecological wonders, the magnificient scenery and the geography, which are all part of what makes Costa Rica special, are only a part of the picture. The best part that is expressed in ‘pure living’ goes much deeper and extends to the unseen.

It’s part of that ambiance, the soulful and gentle ways of the people who make up this country. One needs to experience it to know it. My hope is that this way of life that defines who this country is remains immune to outside, and possibly destructive, forces and remains the way I appreciate it: peaceful, quiet, uncommercialized, affordable, and safe.

I know of no other place that offers all these things rolled into one. After meeting many other tourists, and expats and locals, it seems they all feel the same way as I do: that this place is like no other. To me, it’s heaven on earth.

Photo By Toh Gouttenoire - BiDrop.com

Photo By Toh Gouttenoire - BiDrop.com

Tamarindo News
By Patricia Duran K.
The National Council for the Administration of Highways (CONAVI, Spanish) is a public institution specialized in road infrastructure, committed to the welfare and development of Costa Rica. It is capable of ensuring the sustainability of the National Road Network, through contracts and agreements with third parties. These aim at ensuring optimal conditions of operation, through a process of continuous improvement, in harmony with the environment.

The entity is meant to plan, program, manage, finance, implement and monitor the conservation and the construction of the National Road Network, in compliance with the programs that the Office of Planning of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport may prepare. The entity is also responsible for entering into contracts running the projects, supplies and services required for the process of maintenance and construction of the totality of the national road network.

It also has to supervise the correct completion of the works, including keeping to quality control, fostering research, development and technology transfer in the field of construction and maintenance of roads and fulfilling contracts or providing the services necessary for the pursuit of its objectives and completion of the tasks.

However, although the tasks and responsibilities are clear, the works are not always fulfilled in the times established. Just look at the stretch from Tamarindo to Langosta, for instance, a road that, as many others, is still on the waiting list, on the lookout for solutions and, to gotten down to business.

According to Francisco Mairena, press officer of the Municipality of Santa Cruz, this stretch is CONAVI’s responsibility, since it is a national road. Therefore, the municipality has no responsibility, whatsoever. “The only sector considered as a municipal responsibility is the one that goes from the second crossing in Tamarindo turning on the way to Los Jobos. The roads connecting one place with another are state or national routes; the alternating or regional roads are the municipalities’ responsibility,” said Mairena.

As for the stretch going from 27 de abril to Villarreal, Wasser Matarrita, engineer from Conavi in zone 2-3 of Carrillo and of the zone 2 – 4 Nicoya, Nandayure, Ojancha and the Peninsula, said “there is a design of a businessman that was issued to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport; however, it must be reviewed and approved by Conavi, and then seek funds for the construction of this road.”

According to Edgar Manuel Salas Solis, Director of Engineering of CONAVI, the stretches from 27 de abril to Villarreal and from Langosta to Tamarindo are national routes, and, therefore, they are under the responsibility of this entity.

Salas stated that, in the case of the stretch from 27 de abril to Villarreal, a group of entrepreneurs donated the design and presented it to CONAVI, where it was analyzed and pertinent observations were made for its correction.

“These people hired a company that developed the design, which consists of about 9 kilometers. In the first revision, they analyzed every detail in order to comply with the technical rules established and the environmental details, in addition to road safety and geometrical design matters,” said Salas.

The Director of Engineering at CONAVI, added that the comments were sent in writing and that they are waiting for corrections to be made in order to begin with the approval process and permits. “We returned the design a month ago and as soon the changes are done and the design is submitted once again, we will revise it, and if everything complies with the regulations established, we could start with the procedures for the permit granting.”

This process is carried out before different institutions, such as the National Technical Secretariat of Environment (SETENA, in Spanish) and the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (Minaet) as to riverbeds in protected areas and the possibilities of tree felling. They work in coordination with public service institutions in order to avoid obstacles when embarking on the works or benefiting from the collaboration in case of relocating the project, if necessary. “What they do is to initiate the bidding and permits processes at the same time, since you may need several weeks or months for obtaining permission. Therefore, they would make the most of their time and start searching for funds to finance the work.”

The Administrative Council is responsible for collecting the funds. They must indicate whether the money is public or not, or if it is necessary to request an international loan. “The cost of this work could be about 8 to 9 billion colones. For that reason, it might be supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) or the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI)”, added Salas.

The stretch from 27 de abril to Villarreal would be an asphalted road with two 3.65m lanes, vertical and horizontal demarcation and their corresponding retaining walls. Salas Solís was emphatic in saying that this route is under process. However, due to the pending procedures, the works will not start this year. During the remaining months of 2009, they will be devoting their time to permits, bidding processes and fund search.

As for the Langosta-Tamarindo stretch, there is no green light, yet.  “There are no instructions or information from the Office of Engineering.”

According to Salas, every road is important for CONAVI’s engineers because they imply the development of each area. If there is a chance of collaborating and improving the current conditions, they will always be there supporting the cause, like in the case of Cañas-Liberia, whose road widening project will be initiated in a few weeks.