Playa Guiones Beach, Nosara, Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
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Bananas, coffee, cocoa, tobacco and honey all come out of Costa Rica, a country with no army and compulsory education. Here orchids bloom all year round and there are forests of rosewood, cedar and mahogany. Visitors can climb volcanoes and view two oceans, hunt jaguar, tapirs, ocelot and deer, go mining for gold, or fish for black marlin, tarpan, sawfish and lobster.
Size: 19,883 square miles
Capital: San Jose
Climate: The dry season, December - May, is the best time to visit, but the climate is agreeable all year round.
Government; A republic.
Language: Spanish. English, German, French, Dutch and Italian frequently heard.
Religion: Roman Catholic, but other denominations represented.
Public Holidays: New Year's Day, 1 Jan; Feast of St Joseph, 19 Mar; Anniversary of the Battle of Rivas, 11 Apr; Easter, Labor Day, 1 May; Corpus Christi, June; St Peter and St Paul, 29 Jun; Anniversary of the Annexation of Guanacaste Province, 5 Jul; Our Lady of Angels, 2 Aug; Assumption and Mother's Day, 15 Aug; Independence Day, 15 Sep; Columbus Day, 12 Oct; Immaculate Conception, 8 Dec; Christmas Day, 25 Dec
Santa Maria International Airport is 11 miles from San Jose. Buses are frequent. Taxis plentiful. Airport departure tax, Duty free shop and hotel reservation counter.
For help in finding accommodations there is the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo, Calle Alfredo Volio, Avenidas 4 / 6, Apartado 777, San Jose. Inexpensive pensiones available.
Hotels in San Jose
Balmoral Avenida Central, Calles 7/9
Europa Calle Central, 5a Avenida
Irazu PO Box 962
President Avenida Central, Calles 7/9
Royal Dutch PO Box 4258
Crystal PO Box 5570, Autopista Wilson
Amstel Calle, 7, Avenidas 10/12
Gran Costa Rica 3a Calle, Avenidas Central / 2
Diplomat Calle 6, Avenidas Oriente / 2
Pension Canada Calle 9, Avenida 9, Casa No 779
Plaza Avenida Central, Calles 2/4
When giving directions the Costa Rican will give distances not in blocks, or yards, but in varas - a vara is some 33 inches.
Passport or Tourisst Visa Card (valid for 30 days) available from Costa Rican Consulates, plus means of identification and tickets for onward travel and a smallpox vaccination certificate. The visa is free for US and UK citizens. No currency restrictions and no customs declaration necessary for passengers carrying only personal effects. Duty free allowance; up to three liters of wine or spirits: half kilogram tobacoo in any form, and other items not exceeding USD 500 as a taxable amount.
Chicago and Southern Air
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Chicago is a gigantic industrial and economic center. Fond of large scale fairs and shows, proud of its tall buildings, it is typicaly American in its delight in anything big - commercial buildings, parks, zoos, conventions. The central business and shopping area is called 'The Loop' for there the city bound elevated trains make a complete circle before heading back in the opposite direction. This district contains most of the department stores and tall office buildings.
Principal sights are the Adler Planetarium and Astronomcal Museum; Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago Academy of Sicences; Chicago Historical Society, Chicago Natural History Museum; Museum of Science and Industry; Oriental Institute; Museum of Contempoprary Art. See the 50 foot high sculpture by Pablo Picasso outside the Civic Center and the huge bronze sculpture by Henry Moore at the University of Chicago. Chicago was the home of Frank Lloyd Wright and boasts 60 of his works. For a small fee, the public can view the Chicago panorama from four of its skyscrapers (Hohn Hancock Center, the Board of Trade Building, Prudential Building, Tribune Towers.). Other points of interest are Buckhingham Fountain, Chinatown, Marina City riverside circular apartment, the graceful French Renaissance Wrigley Building, the blue glass Lake Point Town (70 stories) and the Merchandise Mart. The Union Stock Yards are no longer what they once were, as most cattle are now slaughtered at source. The yards are still, however, the capital of the United States' meat industry and merit a visit. The Wall of Respect in Lawndale, a ghetto community, reflects the Black struggle for power and self respect.
Chicago is justly proud of its 386 public parks. Outstanding are: Grant Park and Jackson; Lincoln Park features a children's zoo; 14 miles west of downtown Chicago is Brookfield Zoo, where animals are exhibited in natural settings. Illinois Beach State Park, about 50 miles north, offers swimming and picnic facilities. O'Hare International, Chicago's major airport, is the country's busiest; 17 miles northwest of center of city. Average travel time about 45 minutes.
Palm Tree on the Beach, Salomon Beach, Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, US Virgin Island
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St Thomas: The Capital, Charlotte Amalie, a pirate rendezvous in the 17th and 18th centuries, is still a lively town of narrow cobbled streets and steps, villas and a lovely harbor. The best view of the town and far out to sea is from Flagg Hill, reached by a 1000 ft aerial tramway. The oldest building is te 17th century Fort Christian with a small museum in its cells, and the most attractive is Crown House on top of the 99 Steps, and 18th century colonial residence on Blackbeard's Hill. The reception rooms of Government House have a collection of paintings including two by the impressionist painter, Pissarro, a native of St Thomas.
The Orchidarium, off Hardwood Highway, has tropical plants and hundreds of orchids. Explorer Sir Francis Drake's Seat, high above Magen's Bay. Near the bay is the Indies House luxury hotel, with a popular children's zoo. Alonf the western coast of the island are hote colony resorts of Bluebeard's Beach Club, Pineapple Beach Club, Pavilion and Pools (each cottage unit with its own swimming pool), Sapphire Bay Beach Club and Bali Hai.