Monday, June 12, 2017

Aloe Vera Miracles and Uses

Aloe Vera - also called aloe, burn plant, lily of the desert, elephant’s gall. I think it should be named the miracle plant. Aloe Vera produces at least six natural antiseptics, which are able to kill mold, bacteria, fungus's, and viruses. In fact, the plant is so powerful that researchers and scientists are looking into its potential as an AIDS and cancer-fighter. The inner cellular tissue of aloe is soft and spongy, in order to hoard aloe vera water and prevent evaporation. This tissue also includes mucilage (a vegetal, gummy, water-absorbing substance) that nurtures the plant and facilitates photosynthesis. Opposite to most plants, Aloe has the peculiarity to absorb carbon dioxide during the day and expel oxygen during the night.

It has the appearance of an agave plant and its utilization goes back in time as far as humanity. Best of all aloe can be grown from a pot, a garden, on a hillside and in areas with little rain. If you are a beginner gardener, aloe is the perfect plant to wet your future green thumb. Furthermore, aloe is hearty and stubborn and very cool to look at, hosting a world of benefits, both orally and topically. Please see the map below and basically, if you live in the green zones and/or orange zone, you probably have aloe growing around you already. I purchased my plant from my neighbor's nursery. He grows the best plants in Costa Rica. If you live further North, South or just higher in altitude, you might need to search harder to find an aloe vera plant, although many grocery stores sell them. 

You need to find a plant because aloe does not produce seeds. But the good news is that aloe can live happily indoors next to a window with plenty of sun, making it the perfect apartment or kitchen plant. Many cooks keep them in or near the kitchen because they are known to sooth burns. Plant your aloe in wide containers with a well-draining potting mix, such as those made for cacti and succulents, or do like I did and add some rocks and compost to the bottom of your planter with a good bit of sand in the mix. Aloe vera plants are hardy, but a lack of proper drainage can cause rot and wilting. Water aloe deeply, but in order to discourage rot, allow the soil to dry completely between watering. Water even less often during the winter months. Aloe vera plants produce offsets or shoots, also known as plant-lets or “babies” that can be removed to produce an entirely new plant. This is another way to find a starter plant, if you have a friend who happens to already have a mature plant growing, just bring them some cookies and ask to harvest a baby shoot :) it will require some deconstruction, but the aloe will not mind, in fact, this will keep it healthy. Knock the aloe vera out of its pot and find where the shoots are attached near the root. Carefully sever them from the mother plant with a knife. Put in a sunny location, do not water for at least 1 week and forget to water occasionally. Like I said, aloe is the perfect beginner plant. If you can't grow aloe, then look for an all natural gel and be sure to read the label. I can't imagine not growing my own aloe and cultivating it as well. I use it for everything under the sun and I also use it for nightly remedies as well. For almost a year, I have not purchased shampoo. I simply blend the gel of one whole stem and mix it with one can of coconut milk, plus a few drops of essential oils if needed. Pour the mixture into an ice-cube tray, then keep the cubes in a bowl covered. Take one cube out a few minutes before your bath or shower for an awesome, all natural, replenishing shampoo. This does wonders for dandruff and psoriasis too. Personally, I prefer without essential oils because the little cubes are great in my teas and coffees. One of my newest obsessions is making my own hand sanitizer in place of the store bought choice. I just mix 1/2 cup aloe vera gel (blended), 1/4 cup alcohol, and about 10 drops of my favorite essential oil and pour into a spritz bottle. To use, spritz once and rub between hands. The alcohol kills bacteria and is super inexpensive while the aloe soothes my dry hands. This works great on tired feet after being cooped up in a pair of shoes, for men and teenage boys as well! 

Before you start making your own recipes, it is first important to know what part of the miracle plant to use. Did you know there are two parts to an aloe vera leaf: Gel and leaf juice (not to be confused with aloe juice in stores). The gel is what most people are familiar with. It’s the odorless and clear, slime at the innermost part of the leaf. Aloe latex, or juice, seeps from the leaf when cut. It’s yellow in color and has a bitter taste. When ingesting aloe, the gel is the safest part of the plant. The latex has laxative properties and can cause serious health complications if used too often. To make use of the aloe vera plant’s soothing properties, remove a mature leaf from the base of the plant, close to the stalk. It is best to pick aloe from mature plants. When the tips of the leaves attain a rosy tinge, the leaf is ripe and ready to harvest. The plant is fairly slow growing, so be cautious when aloe harvesting not to take too many leaves in a condensed period. Additionally, avoid removing the lower smaller leaves and focus on the larger upper foliage. Choose a thick, smooth large leaf and use a clean, sharp knife to cut it as close to the trunk as possible. A knife is the best way to harvest the leaves, as hand picking aloe vera may cause tissue damage to the leaf and the plant. Unblemished leaves are the best tasting and contain the most aloe gel. Slice the leaf along the stem. I like to hold the leaf and run a small knife parallel to the counter top. Try not to use any of the green skin as it contains the latex. The gel chunks can be placed in a bowl or Tupperware in the refrigerator for up to a week. Ice cubes are the best way to store aloe. I like to make a fresh batch about every 2 weeks.

Aloe vera is one of approximately 420 species of the genus Aloe; the botanical name of aloe vera is Aloe barbadensis miller, and it belongs to the Liliaceae family. Aloe vera is considered to be the most biologically active of the Aloe species; astonishingly, more than 75 potentially active components have been identified in the plant, including vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, lignin, saponins and salicylic acids. It provides 20 of the 22 human-required amino acids and eight of the eight essential amino acids. Aloe vera contains many vitamins and minerals vital for proper growth and function of all the body’s systems. Aloe vera contains antioxidant vitamins A, C and E + plus vitamin B-12, folic acid and choline. It contains eight enzymes, including aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase and peroxidase. Minerals such as calcium, copper, selenium, chromium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc are present in aloe vera. It provides 12 anthraquinones or compounds known as laxatives. Among these are aloin and emodin, which act as analgesics, antibacterials and antivirals. Four fatty acids are present, including cholesterol, campesterol, beta-sisosterol and lupeol - all providing anti-inflammatory results. The hormones called auxins and gibberellins are present; they help with healing wounds and have anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe vera provides sugars, such as monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides.

Wikipedia will tell you that all the studies by the FDA are inconclusive about the benefits of using aloe, but history and experience out-way the lack of studies approved by the FDA. Besides, there is no FDA in Costa Rica. Traditionally, aloe was used in Indian medicine for constipation, skin diseases, worm infestation, infections and as a natural remedy for colic with babies. Aloe was used in Chinese medicine for fungal diseases, and over 6,000 years ago, the Egyptians found used aloe vera as an offering to deceased pharaohs as a burial gift calling it the “plant of immortality”. The succulent has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes. The plant is native to North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Canary Islands. Today, aloe vera is grown in tropical climates worldwide. From relieving heartburn to potentially slowing the spread of breast cancer, researchers are just beginning to unlock the benefits of this universal plant and its many byproducts. So why is the Western world using it in cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries? Actually, the manufacturing of aloe vera extracts is one of the largest botanical industries in the world.

Many Uses of Aloe Vera

  • Sunburns Of course - rich in antioxidants and vitamins to combat and neutralize the effects of (UV) ultraviolet radiation, but it also can help combat acne and fine lines and wrinkles, eczema and psoriasis flare-ups. Aloe seems to be able to speed wound healing by improving blood circulation through the area and preventing cell death around a wound. 
  • Strengthens the Immune System with its ability to detoxify
  • Heartburn Relief & reduce swelling of gastric ulcers
  • Alternative Mouthwash - Aloe vera contains an anti-inflammatory compound called B-sitosterol that soothes acid indigestion, a common cause of bad breath.
  • Lower Blood Sugar
  • Lower Cholesterol
  • Arthritis Pain Relief
  • Diabetes Treatment by lowering glucose levels
  • Muscle and Pain Relief with its anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities can relieve muscle and tendon pain and is used widely in sports medicine.
  • Helps treat Cold Sores
  • Aid Digestion especially for people with (GERD) Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Breast Cancer
  • Skin Care, treat acne, rejuvenate skin and lighten dark spots and blemishes. 

My Recipes

  • Hand and Foot Scrub - I make a rub out of the gel, a squeeze of lemon or lime and a tablespoon of sugar. The sugar exfoliates and the lemon helps lighten the dark spots, while the aloe replenishes the skin with vitamins and hydration, leaving a healthy, shiny glow. I use this at least once per week. 
  • Doctor Green - I apply leaves to mosquito and bug bites and small cuts. My children love playing doctor with the leaves.
  • Facial Mask - Combine the aloe with some honey for a facial mask. The mixture helps to combat acne as well. The natural porteolytic enzymes found in aloe repair dead skin cells. 
  • Shampoo - Mix blended aloe gel with coconut oil and apply to the scalp and hair, leave for several minutes for an all natural hair miracle. I also make ice cubes by mixing aloe with coconut milk, walnuts and mint for variety. The natural porteolytic enzymes found in aloe repair dead skin cells on the scalp, acting as an all natural conditioner, promoting hair growth, preventing itching and combating dandruff while naturally conditioning the hair and scalp. 
  • Drinks - A good mix of Aloe vera gel and coconut juice or pipa fria can help re-hydrate and detoxify the body by optimizing the body's organ output. Alkalinity can help balance an acidic pH body. This aids in assisting liver functions enriching the liver with hydration and phytonutrients. Also it increases water content and healthy bacteria in the gut and intestines which can help aid constipation.
  • Fruit and Vege Spray - Aloe also keeps your produce fresh! You can make a dip or spray for your fruits and veges. It naturally keeps microorganisms from forming on the skin of the fruits and veges, but it also inhibits the fruit from ripening so be sure to only use it on already ripened fruits and vegetables. I use it on my tomatoes and apples regularly.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Is Costa Rica the Future?

Several years ago, we decided to take a leap and quit our jobs and move to another country, preferably a Spanish speaking country. While we were trying to decide where to move our family and open a business, I ordered 3 books; all Frommer'sCosta RicaNicaragua and Ecuador. All books, needless to say were great reads and loaded with valuable, unbiased information which is more than I can say for the internet alone. Undaunted, I continued spending countless nights browsing the internet and reading studies on civics and government; history and growth; economics; potable water and energy development; child safety enforcement laws and schools; agriculture imports and exports; the law in general for expats; residency and immigration law; requirements to start a business, etc.  We studied for 2 years before making the leap. We knew we wanted to live in Latin America, but where? Mexico, too dangerous and while the food is probably the best in my world, you can't drink the water. The beaches are incredibly beautiful, but it is so dangerous - simply out of the question. Ecuador, years of political unrest and very far from our home state of Texas making family visits more stressful, plus private school prices are outrageously high - out. Nicaragua, cheap, but not much infrastructure, there are the Sandanistas and not much of a market for a new business, plus the economy is crippled by the current government leaving most of the citizens impoverished, hungry and jobless. Costa Rica maintains a stable government since the mid 50's and the population has grown from just over 800,000 people to just under 4 million in 2012  (now over 4 million) plus an influx of tourism between 1.5 and 2 million more people per year. They abolished their military in the 1950s to redistribute more funds into the social services, healthcare and education system. There was also countless reports on water safety and safe water practices and efforts in reducing carbon emissions, plus a ban on hunting and further deforestation. Perfect. The more I read about Costa Rica, the more I cared about the efforts this tiny country was making for a better and brighter future, not only for its land, rivers, streams and oceans, but for its people; which significantly is a symbiotic relationship only more so benefiting the humans so focused on destroying the environment. 

A bit of history that I found valuable before making a decision. Costa Rica is only about the size of West Virginia at just over 51,000 sq kilometers and has a volcanic mountainous topography bordering Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South with both the Caribbean Sea coast to the East and the Pacific Coast to the West. The unique fact is that the marine territory of Costa Rica is more than 10 times its land mass at 573,000 km². The tropical climate boasts temperatures from 60°F or about 18°C in the mountains to a high of  about 97°F or 36°C at the beach with an average of about 80°F or  26°C. The country offers a diverse climate from tropical jungle to dry forests to cloud forests with a variety of local micro climates in between due to different levels of altitude and a varied distribution of precipitation in the atmosphere between the dry season and rainy season. The country is divided into 34 river basins and over 200 volcanoes with 5 being considered active.  The average rainfall in Costa Rica ranges between 1,200 and 7,500 mm a year, which places Costa Rica among the countries with the largest availability of fresh water in the world. The slopes of the land allow water to flow from the rivers into both the Caribbean and Pacific as well as the San Juan River that borders Nicaragua to the North. This river has been a constant area of dispute between the two countries for hundreds of years. Since more than half of the water into the San Juan comes from the run-off of the rainy season, Costa Rica has laid claims to the rights, diverting a tributary into the Colorado River to aid the drier Guanacaste region. In 2009, the UN returned the sovereignty back to Nicaragua upholding the original Cañas -Jerez treaty of 1858. Costa Rica maintains unrestricted use of the river for transportation only. 

With so much rainfall, why is the ever-growing population of Costa Rica beginning to experience pressure on its valuable water resources? With no ability to capture the excess of water running into the oceans and the recent acceleration of agricultural use of land and livestock, combined with a bustling metropolitan growth, the basic natural environmental balance is broken. All this has generated more problems like erosion, loss of ecosystems, and flooding with a reduction in the capacity of the soil to retain water from rains, also common in other parts of the world. What makes Costa Rica different from other Central American countries? Between 1950 and 1980, the GDP (gross domestic product) grew annually 6.5%, surpassing even industrialized countries. They created a larger middle class by improving health and sanitation services, offering primary education available to all, and increasing access to secondary and university level education. These economic and social reforms gave birth to ICE- The Costa Rican Electrical Institute and UCR- The University of Costa Rica, among others. So in less than 60 years, Costa Rica reduced its poverty level, doubled its life expectancy rate, reduced infant mortality by more than 10 times, and constructed democracy , all while living in peace while neighboring countries endured heavy conflict for over 60 years. ICE has since committed to powering the country with hydro-electricity using the abundance of water, placing Costa Rica at the top of the green energy platform proposing a carbon free future. 

Historically, the Costa Rican economy has based development on agriculture: coffee, sugar cane, bananas, rice, beans and cattle. Over the decades, the industrial sector has surpassed the agricultural and service sector and since 1980 has become the most important sector of the GDP. This rise gave way to policies in the 1990s developed to strengthen the sectors that created wealth, tourism and micro-electronic components, bringing large foreign companies to do business in Costa Rica like Intel, Amazon and Microsoft. Recently Costa Rica has even been called the next Silicon Valley. With this new sector of business came a rise in municipality and local governments and needs for local offices. The first Mayors were elected in 2002, changing budget appropriations and responsibilities to the municipalities. This deferment of authority creates a new consideration for local governments regarding zoning for, water, housing, commerce, industry, education, recreation, and public uses provided for by the constitution and National Institute of Housing and Urbanization. This creates a whole level of supervision regarding how to manage the actual water supply system for the population and how to supervise and control exploitation of materials from rivers and beaches as well as any and all contamination, pollution and or protection. There is also Hydro-Electrical Energy production in many of the lakes that has allowed Costa Rica to advance into the carbon free era, but consumes the largest amount of available water. The potential water availability of Costa Rica varies, but constantly has the opportunity to be replenished with each rainy season. This is important because who wants to live in paradise without water? Paradise is relative, but water is essential. 

This is where it gets really cool. Costa Rica is divided into 7 provinces of which are divided into 82 counties. There are three major drainage basins encompassing 34 watershed with many rivers and tributaries, one major lake used for hydroelectric generation, and two major aquifers that serve to store 90% of the municipal, industrial, and agricultural water supply needs of Costa Rica. The water tables are divided into 2 major aquifer systems, the Barva Aquifer and the Upper and Lower Colima. These aquifers are separated by a low permeability layer that acts as an aquitard, which allows for the descending and ascending vertical transfer of water. This has formed naturally and mainly from the Barva Volcano over millions of years. With each eruption and layer of lava, a complex system has been created underground distributing water throughout most of Costa Rica. The water then shoots up, literally percolating from the ground! How awesome is that? The volcano naturally created an aquifer for about half of the rain water to be disbursed. The other half gets dumped into rivers and streams then eventually to the ocean and we haven't figured out how to harness it, yet. Take it from me, we live in a rural area called Cebadilla and fresh spring water runs constantly around us, into lakes, streams and rivers. Just in our backyard there is a fresh water stream that flows constantly. Strange though, just across the Rio Grande, I see the twinkling lights of Atenas and wonder why they sometimes endure a water ration during the dry season, but they are separated by the Rio Grande from the Ojo de Agua, part of the water shed on our side. Guess we chose the right place to live in the event of a doomsday. The owner of the farm where we live actually harnessed the water by building a series of dams and holding wells that he uses for irrigation for his horticulture nursery, or vivero and ranch style subdivision, or quintas

In a perfect world, gas, diesel and coal are no longer needed; plastic is recycled, not produced; farmers will rotate their crops, not use harmful pesticides; the masses can rely on the municipality to manage and treat wastewater instead of relying on the overuse of septic tanks that leak into the groundwater; and we can harness water and solar more efficiently than ever to drive our energy needs. Subsequently, rains will not flood, but seep into the earth regenerating the water tables for that land, and the water naturally underground will be safe, fecal free, nitrate free and abundant, but we are not there yet. Deforestation, overgrazing and human interference has changed the face of the Earth, and Costa Rica. So what does the future hold? Currently, Costa Rica has plenty of water, only using approximately 5% of the available fresh water supply annually. So why are we worried and why do so many people complain that Costa Rica is behind the times and the government does not know what is going on. From my perspective, the government has charged forward and should be proud of the amount of progress and the swift rate of progress. Currently Costa Rica has a Blue Zone in the Nicoya Peninsula boasting more centenarians per capita than anywhere else in the world. That means more men, in particular live over 100 years old, and the national paper recognizes them on the cover.  Is something in the water? Yes! High levels of calcium and magnesium proving that hard water is good for you to drink, but not your appliances and shower heads, go figure. So before we discount the good people governing Costa Rica, remember we are a step ahead of the rest just by caring, because what is more important in life, Keeping up with the Kardashians or sustainable drinking water? 

As I mentioned, we just moved into our new home in a small rural town called Cebadilla located just outside San Jose. Water literally bubbles up out of the aquifer directly under us. This got me thinking what, why, where and how? We have a pool, should I worry about filling it? We are on a well with a pump, but does the entire subdivision run on a well? No, because we are in the first home on what was a farm, we have a well and pump. The subdivision will be managed by the municipality. There are 2 large hydroelectric lakes nearby, one of which is owned by ICE. There are several small community lakes nearby for swimming and recreation, all fresh, spring-fed and abundant. Join my quest, learn more about your drinking water. Find out where it comes from and who manages it and what elements or chemicals it possesses. The more you know, the better the chance for a bright future for your kids and grand-kids. Fundamentally our future depends on clean, available water. Pura Vida!

To learn more about where we live, please enjoy our video. 

I would like to thank the following Sites for their hard work and research: 
The Agricultural Groundwater Revolution: Opportunities and Threats to Development by Karen Vilholth and Mark Giordano
Tárcoles River Basin Costa Rica by Maureen Ballestero 2003

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Valle Verde Quintas, Ranch Style Subdivision Best Climate

Have you ever dreamed of moving to Costa Rica? Not sure where to go? A casita on the beach sounds so romantic, but such high prices and it is so hot, oh and the bugs! A cabin in the jungle sounds like pure serenity, but where do you go to shop or the doctor? Are there any roads in the jungle? We have the perfect solution in Valle Verde Quintas. We offer ranch style acreage lots in the Central Valley, just minutes from San Jose and the airport and just 1 hour to the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica. Our lots are nestled in the mountains across from Atenas, best climate and La Garita, but you can have more land for a fraction of the prices offered in both cities. We are situated in a lazy ranch town called Cebadilla just outside of Turrúcares which sits on Highway 27 across from Atenas. We have shopping, schools, medical facilities and most of all, perfect weather!

You can build your dream home in paradise with beautiful mountain views, picturesque ranches with horses, smatterings of huge volcanic rocks behind picket fences among rolling pastures, all smacked between lush green jungle. There are several fresh springs running through the property offering a wildlife corridor to view tropical birds of every color and size! The subdivision adjoins the Rio Grande river that runs from San Ramon down to Turrúcares. The area boasts the best climate with cool nights in the 60's needing no air conditioning, but with days warm enough for a pool at about 83° year round. During the dry season, you can enjoy the mountain breezes and views of the private reserves that surround the subdivision. That is right, the reserves maintain the viability of the green jungle surroundings forever! During the rainy season, feel the cool misty air from your porch or balcony with a fresh cup of Costa Rican coffee from the local cafétal.

Valle Verde Quintas are the perfect place to retire, or build a family; close enough to all the shopping and major hospitals; fancy restaurants and museums; and enjoy all the big name music shows and nightlife of San Jose. Valle Verde Quintas is also a great place to raise a family with the school just 1 kilometer away for the little ones. Just a quick drive away to some of the best schools in the country.  No matter what your dream is, you can build it in Valle Verde Quintas. There is no Homeowners' Association to approve your build, your canvas is free to your creativity. You can have horses! And the lots are big enough for meandering driveways and all the privacy you could ever want. Take a look at our Plat Map for lot sizes and dimensions. We also have 180 degree videos of each lot. The land is situated on a large aquifer so water is plentiful. The owner of the property offers a landscaping package with your lot purchase. Take a look at his private vivero (nursury) and contact us to start building your oasis in Costa Rica! I live on the property and can assist you with any questions you might have. I am happy to schedule a private tour of the property and area at your request. Pura Vida!

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Best Way to Watch US TV in Costa Rica

During the first year living in Costa Rica, our family watched CableTica and it was pretty good. The best part was the Music section, with over 50 different included music channels offered, it was not great, but it was good for about $60 per month, way too much. Only some of the US channels were in English, but we needed the practice so it worked for the first year. When we moved, we signed a contract with Claro for about $30 per month. Claro offered a DVR, which we did not opt for, but the remote included an Audio button, which was great! Most of the channels offered either a Spanish or English audio and allowed perfect closed captioning, allowing us to read the Spanish CC while hearing the movie or show in English. This was awesome! The down side with Claro is that the commercials were very twice as loud as the program and in Spanish which is irritating because you are constantly holding the volume button to turn it up or down. We were able to watch Animal Planet and NatGeo, our favorites and learn Spanish at the same time. We also love Graham Norton on BBC. 
We never even knew about Graham Norton in the states because we were so consumed with abundance and news, we forgot to ever check BBC for the news or best new funny guy.

Now we are in our 5th year and we are using USTVNow. We love it. We can stream it from the computer, tablet or laptop and from our smartTVs, which are old Vizios, but work like a charm. It is only about $20 per month and the basic package offers all the regular channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS, plus the news channels like CNN, and Fox News. In addition, you get Discovery, Animal Planet, National Geographic and the History Channel to name a few. 

Since we watch Netflix, DVDs and Amazon for most of our movies, we really do not need the premium HD service or DVR. We are very happy to be able to stream from all of our old smart televisions though. When we moved here we shipped our stuff, including 2 large televisions. We were positive thinkers saying, maybe we will not watch TV anymore, but let's face it, we have 3 kids and it rains 6 months out of the year in Costa Rica, so we watch some TV. Before USTV Now, it was guesswork, but now we can take a look at the TV Guide and pick something to watch together instead of endless browsing through crap and commercials. We are more focused. We also moved the large TV out of our living room and created a TV room, helping a lot. We spend less time in front of the TV now, but it is more quality time since we peak at the nifty TV Guide and pick a show and time, just like back in the day at Grandma's house. Before you can watch, you need to order the Roku device, which is about $50, a streaming device. If you do not have a TV yet, I recommend the Roku television, eliminating the need for the box. Especially if you are an expat or travel the world, take your Roku TV or Roku box with you to be able to constantly stream. Just plug it in and pick a show or movie! Now that we have good internet options and fiber optic in some places, Costa Rica can be a great place to stream HD! Pura Vida!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Trunk or Treat Costa Rica 2016

Since Costa Rica does not typically celebrate Halloween, we created a trunk or treat event for the kids. There is no door to door trick or treating here, in fact, the typical Costa Rican holiday is Festival de las Mascaradas, Festival of the Mascarades. The kids were encouraged to bring a mask to school and they participated in an Activo Civico with singing and dancing. Halloween is more of an adult scene in Costa Rica, in fact, one of the busiest nights for clubs and bars. We wanted to teach the tradition to the local neighborhood kids and let our kids enjoy some good old fashioned trick or treating. So we invited our friends to decorate the trunks of the car, line up and offer a condensed Halloween celebration and it was a big hit! 

We had zombies, witches, pirates, Smurfette and Shrek and Fiona! We also had a Grandma in her rollers, a nerd, 2 Queen Elsas a Geisha and characters from Spirited Away, Nightmare before Christmas and other scary monsters and Scary Movie folks. There was an array of Supers, Superman, Flash, Batgirl, Bumblebee from the Transformers, a Gladiator and Spiderman, of course. Our friend Rebecca brought homemade Halloween cookies and cupcakes and the Devil eggs were gone in 60 seconds! We had green chips and party dip and candied beans! The car themes were great and we packed quite a bit of fun into a 2 hour party. The fiesta ended with everyone being slimed with green goo! Enjoy our photos and Pura Vida!