Tours Chanteclercs first English brochure features Tahiti

first_img Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Tags: Tahiti Tours Chanteclerc’s first English brochure features Tahiti Posted by Sharecenter_img Travelweek Group MONTREAL — Tours Chanteclerc has launched its first English-language brochure, ‘Island Dreams’ with a focus on Tahiti.The brochure includes a group section with departures from $4,999 per person including taxes from L.A. An early booking promotion is available on these programs until Aug. 31.The brochure also features several hotel chains and island combinations. Clients can also add excursion packages to complete their trip to Tahiti. There are also 14-day Marquesas Islands cruises onboard passenger freighter Aranui 5.Tours Chanteclerc’s Evelyn Cassis, “well-known in the travel industry for her love for Tahiti, dedication and expertise”, can be reached at ensure a presence in the English market, Tours Chanteclerc has also added Fred Heinrich to its team. Heinrich, a 40-year veteran in the travel industry and expert in French Polynesia, will be taking care of travel agencies in Ontario and the Maritimes. He can be reached at fheinrich@tourschanteclerc.comTo order the English-language brochure send an email with your details to << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Air Canada WestJet passengers employees in Fort Lauderdale safe

first_img Share Source: The Canadian Press Friday, January 6, 2017 TORONTO — Air Canada and WestJet say all their passengers and employees at the Fort Lauderdale, Fl., airport are accounted for and safe following a mass shooting that has left several people dead.U.S. authorities say a lone shooter opened fire at city’s international airport this afternoon, killing five people and injuring eight before he was taken into custody.They say the shooting took place inside Terminal 2, which serves Delta Air Lines and Air Canada.Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick says in an email that passengers on the airline’s departing flights were safely evacuated on the tarmac.Those on flights arriving from Montreal and Toronto were being held off gate while the terminal remained closed.The Fort Lauderdale airport has suspended operations as law enforcement authorities rush to the scene.Fitzpatrick says Air Canada has implemented a rebooking policy for passengers travelling to and from Fort Lauderdale on Friday and Saturday.WestJet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart says the airline is monitoring the situation closely and believes its passengers and staff are safe.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Stewart said one flight was holding on the ground awaiting departure to Ottawa at the airport’s Terminal 1.“We are following the lead of law enforcement officials at the scene,” Stewart said in an email.Air Canada alert:Air Canada issued the following alert on its website: As a result of the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Air Canada has implemented a policy for customers who purchased an Air Canada ticket no later than January 6, 2017 for travel to, from or via that airport on January 6 or 7, 2017.If you are scheduled to travel on the affected dates, you may contact Air Canada Reservations to change your flight, free of charge, to another date between now and January 13, 2017, subject to availability in the cabin you originally purchased. Otherwise, any fare difference will apply.You may also choose to travel to an alternate destination. Any change fees will be waived; however, any fare difference will apply. Tags: Air Canada, WestJet Air Canada, WestJet passengers, employees in Fort Lauderdale ‘safe’ << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Mexicos pristine haven Isla Holbox new with Sunwing

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Share Tags: Mexico, New Routes, Sunwing Friday, March 24, 2017 center_img Mexico’s pristine haven Isla Holbox new with Sunwing TORONTO — Sunwing has added Isla Holbox to its roster of vacation hotspots in Mexico.Part of the Yum Balam Natural Reserve, and pronounced ‘ole-bosh’, Isla Holbox offers a pristine tropical haven away from the throng of more well-travelled tourist hotspots, says Sunwing.With sandy-white beaches and a diverse and protected ecosystem, Isla Holbox is a popular island destination for bird watchers, snorkellers and beach lovers, notes the tour operator.Along with a variety of land and water sports excursions available, travellers in the summer months can also opt to join a snorkeling or boat tour to view the annual migration of the whale sharks that takes place close to the island between June and September.Sunwing has two properties on Isla Holbox and both offer complimentary kayaks and bikes as well as windsurfing, kite surfing and fishing for an additional fee.The family-friendly and newly-built Villas HM Palapas Del Mar is a small, oceanfront hotel where guests can watch the sun set from an infinity pool overlooking the white, sandy beach. There’s also Villas HM Paraiso Del Mar. The tour operator is also offering twin centre packages where guests can enjoy a combined stay of four nights on the peaceful Isla Holbox, and three nights in Riviera Maya at Reef Coco Beach or the HM Playa del Carmen.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureSunwing is offering seven and 14 night packages to Isla Holbox (including twin centre options with Playa del Carmen) from seven gateways this coming season including:  Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Quebec City, Edmonton, Ottawa, and St John’s. All Isla Holbox vacations include onward land and ferry transfers from Cancun.Until Sept. 6 Sunwing has regular Wednesday flights from Toronto to Cancun. Regular Monday flights run from Quebec City or Bagotville to Cancun until April 24. Clients looking to take advantage of the twin centre options will enjoy regular Monday flights from Toronto, Quebec and Montreal to Cancun until October. Posted bylast_img read more

New 2018 African Travel brochure includes Kenya Zanzibar

first_img Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> New 2018 African Travel brochure includes Kenya, Zanzibar DELRAY BEACH — African Travel Inc., part of The Travel Corporation, has released its 2018 brochure featuring three new itineraries and more than 20 returning favourites to southern and eastern Africa.New trip offerings for 2018 include a 10-day trip to South Africa, an 11-day East Africa itinerary and an 11-day South Africa tour that includes Victoria Falls.Majestic South Africa: This 10-day experience includes four nights in Cape Town and three nights at Shamwari Game Reserve. Guests explore the sights, sounds and flavours of the ‘Mother City’, and spend their nights at the five-star Table Bay Hotel. Then they move on to Shamwari, where twice-daily game drives and nature walks provide plenty of opportunities to see big game such as rhinos, elephants, hippos, kudu, gemsbok, wildebeest, zebras and hyenas.Enchanting East Africa: This 11-day trip showcases Nairobi, Kenya and Tanzania, plus the exotic spice island of Zanzibar. Guests start in Nairobi, where they stay at the famed Giraffe Manor and visit an elephant orphanage before heading off for five days of game drives at Maasai Mara National Park and Serengeti National Park. Then it’s on to Zanzibar for a seaside stay, and two days of relaxation and exploration of the island’s architecture, food and sea life.Ultimate South Africa with Victoria Falls: This 11-day itinerary “is the ultimate sensory journey, offering cosmopolitan exploration, wildlife viewing, and a visit to a bucket-list icon,” says the company. Highlights include a helicopter ride over the Cape Town skyline, wine tasting in the South African winelands, Big Five game viewing at Lion Sands Reserve, and exploration of Victoria Falls. Along the way guests stay in exclusive surrounds at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, the five-star Silo Hotel in Cape Town and the treehouse suites at Victoria Falls River Lodge.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalAs part of the #AfricanTravelCares program, on select itineraries a contribution is made in each guest’s name toward rhino conservation and in support of sustainable development, African Travel’s partnership with ME to WE allows guests the opportunity to participate in a culturally immersive experience in Kenya. Additionally, in 2018, guests who book an east Africa trip with African Travel will also help support children’s education by sending a child to school for a year.“To know Africa is to reinvest in it,” said Sherwin Banda, president of African Travel, Inc. “Our commitment to wildlife conservation and sustainability is at the core of who we are and what we do. It allows our guests to delve deeper into Africa and have a truly authentic and memorable experience on their trip of a lifetime.” Tuesday, September 12, 2017 Travelweek Group last_img read more

WestJet wraps up crossCanada trade Expos launches gift cards for purchase

first_img Share WestJet wraps up cross-Canada trade Expos, launches gift cards for purchase CALGARY — WestJet’s travel trade Expos were a resounding success this year, reaching over 4,000 travel agents in over 30 cities across Canada.The first round of Expos took place in April in Toronto, Mississauga, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, with fall events starting in St. John’s in early September before travelling west to Halifax, Moncton, Ottawa, Kitchener, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon and Langley. The last Expo took place on Oct. 4 in Parksville, B.C.“With our larger travel trade Expos in the spring of 2017, our fall Expos and local presentations hosted by WestJet’s Business Development Managers throughout the year, we have had the chance to have face-time with thousands of our agent partners,” said Lyell Farquharson, Vice President, Sales and Distribution. “Every year, we are adding more events and seeing more agents in more cities because we know how valuable these events are for the travel agent community and for all of us at WestJet.”More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?During the Expos, travel agents were able to visit with their regional WestJet representative and WestJet Vacations hotel and destination partners. The airline also gave presentations focused on its vision for the future and its plans for expanding into new markets in order to become a global airline.The airline’s next big event is its fifth annual Travel Partner Awards at the end of October.On the consumer side of things, WestJet has also announced that gift cards are now available for purchase on, just in time for the busy holiday season.Gift cards can be used to pay for travel on WestJet or WestJet Encore, seat selection and taxes and fees on travel. Denominations start at $25 and go up to $2,000 per card. Cards can be purchased through a secured transaction, combined with a credit card when redeeming for a flight purchase, and are redeemable on or through travel agents.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backCards come in two forms: plastic gift cards and eGift cards.“The gift of flight is the gift of experience, adventure and travel to any of WestJet’s more than 100 destinations across North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe,” said Marshall Wilmot, WestJet Chief Loyalty Officer. “You can now give and receive the gift of travel, whether that is to cover the entire cost of someone’s ticket or make a contribution; it’s a very special gift to give.” Posted by Friday, October 6, 2017 center_img Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: WestJetlast_img read more

After Paul Watson flees German court renews extradition warrant

first_imgFRANKFURT – A German court Wednesday reissued an arrest warrant for the extradition to Costa Rica of Paul Watson, founder of marine conservation group Sea Shepherd. Watson had skipped bail and left the country.A spokeswoman for the German Federal Justice Ministry said Watson’s whereabouts are unknown, and she could not say whether he was still in the country.The higher regional court in Frankfurt said Watson’s lawyer had informed the court that Watson had left Germany “for an unspecified destination,” and that the court had decided to resume extradition proceedings against him.Earlier this year, Costa Rica filed an extradition request on charges stemming from a high-seas confrontation between a Sea Shepherd ship and a Costa Rican vessel over alleged illegal shark finning in 2002.On a visit to Germany in May, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said Watson would have a fair trial if extradited to the Central American country. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Singer Chavela Vargas in serious condition at Mexican hospital

first_imgCUERNAVACA – A medical report released Wednesday says singer Chavela Vargas is conscious, but in poor condition due to cardiac and renal problems.The 93-year-old singer has been hospitalized for five days in the resort city of Cuernavaca.The artist returned last week from a trip to Spain, where she presented her new album, “The Big Moon,” in homage to Spanish poet Federico García Lorca. In Madrid, Vargas was hospitalized and required various tests.The report says the singer suffers from congestive heart failure, chronic renal failure and lung disease.Born in Costa Rica, Vargas rose to fame by singing “rancheras” songs while wearing men’s clothes, drinking heavily and smoking cigars.Isabel Vargas Lizano (her real name) spent her teenage years in Mexico and began her singing career on the streets of the capital, where she was discovered by famous composer José Alfredo Jiménez.Vargas recorded 80 albums throughout her career, becoming a major figure in Mexico and Spain. She was a frequent house guest of Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and was close to Spanish writer Federico García Lorca.More recently, she became close friends with Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar and singer-songwriter Joaquin Sabina. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

In Guanacaste too many crocs

first_imgFrom the print edition Fabricio Pizarro has no trouble spotting a crocodile. The tour guide for Palo Verde Boat Tours sees them all the time relaxing on the riverbanks of the Río Tempisque, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. Lately, Pizarro has noticed more crocs in places he hadn’t before, like in his hometown of Filadelfia, Guanacaste. Crocodiles always skulked around parts of the town, but never like this. Years ago, locals knew which rivers were safe to cool off in. Now, they’re not so sure. “People used to go swimming there,” Pizarro, 24, said. “And they don’t now because there are more crocodiles.”The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is found throughout rivers and brackish water in Costa Rica, on most of the Pacific coast and parts of the Caribbean. Around Río Tempisque, the gigantic reptiles – which can grow up to 6 meters long – are showing up in strange places.Workers for the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), a branch of the Environment Ministry, have received calls to remove crocodiles from cemeteries in Bagaces and a water treatment plant in the provincial capital of Liberia. The explosion of crocodiles in the area has grown out of control, with at least 2,300 living in Río Tempisque, which empties into the Gulf of Nicoya and its tributaries. Overpopulation seems even more bizarre when considering where it’s occurring. Guanacaste is the fastest-growing province in the country, but cities like Cañas, Liberia, Nicoya and Bagaces are observing increases in croc populations. Although SINAC said urban development is destroying animal habitats in Guanacaste, the number of crocodiles continues to rise, heightening the risk of a clash with an encroaching human population.Conservationists consider the American crocodile a vulnerable species, and Costa Rican law prohibits hunting them. However, overcrowding has forced local wildlife authorities to enact emergency measures to remove crocodiles from the area. OutnumberedLaura Porras, a professor at the National University (UNA) in Heredia, studies crocodile populations in Tempisque. She said residents report up to three crocodile attacks per year there, and milder incidents go unreported. She said another phenomenon also could lead to more close encounters: Around Tempisque, male crocodiles outnumber females by three to one. Most males cannot find a mate, and as a result, when mating season begins in September, the crocs act more territorial. “They fight with each other for every female, and they grow more aggressive,” Porras said. “It increases the probability of an accident with people.”Competitive male crocs complicate an already worrying situation, as the reptiles have no natural predators in the region. In other parts of Costa Rica, wild dogs that steal eggs help keep the croc population down. Snakes and birds of prey also eat baby crocodiles. Those assailants are less present in Tempisque, where crocodiles grow faster and larger due to the main factor contributing to overpopulation: too much food. Many tilapia farms are located in Guanacaste. In time, fish escaped from the farms and swam into the Tempisque basin. Tilapia multiplied in the region’s rivers and streams, and now provide an endless supply of meals for the carnivores. (Porras said the crocodiles “eat like pigs.”) They feed on any animal that can be snatched between their powerful jaws, and with the influx of tilapia, crocodiles keep eating and growing to enormous sizes.As for the surplus of males among the crocodile population, nobody is certain why it is happening. Several possible culprits exist: Climate change could be influencing the sex of crocodile offspring while in the egg, or contaminants in the water or powerful hormones fed to the tilapia could be the cause.Porras wants to obtain financing to research the toxicology of the crocodiles, in hopes of understanding the cause of the boost in male populations. She noted the ratio creates an internecine struggle between crocodiles and with humans. In time, if female crocodile numbers continue to dwindle, the crocodile population could drop off precipitously. Porras and other exerts studying the Tempisque region hope that in time, a balance of male-to-female ratios and crocodile-to-human ratios can be reached. Moving them outAt the end of August, SINAC enacted an emergency plan to remove 80 male crocodiles from Guanacaste. Wilber Orozco, who leads SINAC’s wildlife conservation efforts in Tempisque, said authorities have extracted 50 crocodiles from that area so far. The organization tries to find locations to place the crocodiles, but it can be a struggle. Crocs need a permanent home and cannot be reintroduced into the wild because of overpopulation. They have a lifespan of up to 60 years, and few places exist that can adopt so many of them. A reserve in Caño Negro, a wildlife refuge in northern Costa Rica, took 10 of them. Another 10 were placed in a Guacalito zoo in Tárcoles. The other 30 crocodiles were euthanized. Porras and other UNA employees are working on zoning projects with SINAC to find places to put the extra crocodiles. They also are conducting forums in towns near Tempisque to try to better gauge how the problem affects locals. At the end of the year, SINAC will evaluate how well the extractions worked.“Apart from the mitigation measures, there is a management plan for the medium and long term,” Orozco said. “It involves using public and private companies to help manage the population properly.”The specifics of that plan remain a work in progress, he acknowledged.On Sept. 18, Orozco met with residents in Filadelfia to discuss the problem. Villagers are bothered by the crocs, but they try not to overreact. If one approaches someone’s property, locals call SINAC to ask for its removal. But they also threaten to kill crocs if SINAC doesn’t show up. Still, residents enjoy the benefits of local wildlife: Crocodiles do help bring tourist dollars. But weariness is mounting, and both human and crocodile populations in Guanacaste are growing faster than officials can come up with a long-term fix. “The solution is not just to extract the animals,” Porras said. “We need to establish a way to take care of the population.” Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Puerto Viejo holds first annual chocolate festival this weekend

first_imgIf you’ve had the opportunity to taste chocolate made from local, organic Costa Rican cocoa, then you might want to check out Puerto Viejo this weekend. The southern Caribbean beach town is hosting a chocolate festival through Sunday.Local restaurants and chocolate shops participate in this three-day event, where visitors from different countries have a chance to taste and judge chocolate from a variety of small and family-owned cocoa farms in the Talamanca region.The tasting contest will take place at Puerto Viejo’s Farmer’s Market and Cultural Center on Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.  The public will choose the winner of the First Annual Cacao Producers Award in Costa Rica.The chocolate champion will receive $500 from CariBeans Coffee & Chocolate, a popular local producer that recently opened a chocolate tasting lounge in Cocles last month. They also offer 14 different flavors of chocolate bars, ranging from tequila-flavored to spicy chili.The festival also offers workshops where participants can experience the chocolate-making process, from tasting the cocoa fruit from local farms to handcrafting the seed to obtain chocolate in different stages.In addition, participating restaurants will prepare low-priced tapas dishes with the main ingredient being, of course, chocolate.Restaurant Bar and Lounge Koki Beach, for example, advertised on their website a chocolate martini made to perfection. Chili Rojo, which specializes in Thai cuisine, plans to concoct a Mexican favorite called Chile Mole Negro, made with organic chocolate.  Local dessert and breakfast joint Bread and Chocolate is offering samples of their chocolate truffles and cakes to all of their customers throughout the weekend.Other participating restaurants include: Lazy Mon, Flip Flop, El Paso, Stashu’s con Fusion, Lotus Garden and Mon Li, among others. Find the festival on Facebook at Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival.  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Opposition parties search for 2014 presidential candidate

first_imgNo related posts. Leaders of seven opposition parties are considering the possibility of choosing a single candidate to face San José Mayor Johnny Araya of the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN) in next year’s presidential elections.The group includes the National Union Party, United Cartago Coalition, Costa Rican Renovation Party, Libertarian Movement, Social Christian Unity Party, Cantonal Desamparadeño Party and National Integration for Freedom Party.Representatives of these groups will meet Friday to define a working plan, the potential cost of a nomination process and a possible working schedule.The candidate that would face Araya would be nominated in a single national primary election among candidates from all seven parties in August.Also on Friday candidates of the Citizen Action Party, Juan Carlos Mendoza and Claudio Monge, will meet with Social Christian Unity Party candidates Roberto Suñol and Pedro Muñoz. They will discuss common issues with the goal of joining forces.Araya on Wednesday became the sole candidate in the presidential race for the PLN after the last of his party’s candidates, former Minister Fernando Berrocal, quit and announced his support of Araya.Last Friday, Rodrigo Arias – a former minister in the administration of his brother, ex-President Oscar Arias – also quit the presidential race in the PLN. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Gas pumps to stop sales nationwide

first_imgNo related posts. The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) said on Tuesday that it will enforce its decision to lower gas prices this week.Gas station owners oppose the price decrease, and on Monday, José Miguel Masís, president of the Chamber of Fuel Businesses, said they will completely close stations across the country in coming hours if the decrease takes effect.ARESEP rejected an appeal filed by gas stations owners and warned they might lose their license if they stop selling fuel. Gas stations are obliged by law to provide the service continuously.An ARESEP law states that “failure to comply with permit conditions is enough reason to revoke the license.”ARESEP approved a ₡6 decrease in the per-liter price of super and diesel gasoline, and of ₡5 for plus gasoline. The decrease was already sent for publication Friday in the official newspaper La Gaceta, and will go into effect the next day.Updated March 20. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Section of Cartago highway to undergo repairs for two months

first_imgA section of the road that connects San José with the province of Cartago will be repaired starting next weekend, the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) said.The project will be carried out in conjunction with the National Roadway Council and includes the replacement of concrete slabs on a stretch of the road at the community of Ochomogo.Works are scheduled to start next Saturday and will run until May 22, including weekends.The section to be repaired stretches from the Cristo Rey gas station to the weigh station in the San José-Cartago lane. Crews will work from 6 a.m.-6 p.m.Traffic Police will be on site permanently to assist with traffic flow and to help avoid traffic jams.According to MOPT, repairs will cost some ₡550 million ($1.1 million). Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Art city tour enlivens downtown San José

first_imgAt the Gold Museum, a temporary exhibit focuses on the five feline species found in Costa Rica and how they are represented in pre-Columbian artwork. Visitors are encouraged to try on the indigenous masks. Wednesday night just after 5 p.m., scores of patrons made a pilgrimage to La Sabana’s Costa Rican Art Museum for the first stop on the Art City Tour, a citywide gallery crawl in downtown San José. Most guests appeared to be teenaged girls, dressed in heels and eye shadow and patterned scarves. Others were young men in skinny jeans, looking like misplaced skater punks. But they took their time with the art, circling respectfully around each room and giving each canvas due attention.“This one is interesting,” said one twenty-something girl to another, as they stood in front of Pedro Arrieta’s abstract landscape of a ladder on a scarlet background. “It reminds me of a hacienda, or maybe a swimming pool.” They chuckled at the title (“Sin Titulo”) and moved on.Organized by GAM Cultural, the Art City Tour is designed to showcase the arts and culture in San José — for free. Not only could patrons enter upscale museums without spending a single colón, they could also hop aboard a complementary shuttle and ride from gallery to museum to arts center in minutes. In a city much disparaged by tourists and Ticos alike, this open house — held every two months — reminds residents just how creative and dynamic their capital can be. Andrés Madrigal No related posts. For most people, the Costa Rican Art Museum was only one stop along the way, but it packed a lot of activity: Paintings adorned the walls, sculptures were lit up in the back patio, and toward 6 p.m., a pair of performance artists darted around the rooms wearing animal masks and handing out secret messages. Patrons whipped out iPhones and photographed themselves in front of the artwork. The highlight was Arrieta’s “Cógito de Pasión” (“Contemplation of passion”), a mural of graffiti that covered an entire wall. Guests also were encouraged to take pencils to the wall and scrawl whatever they were contemplating. Andrés Madrigal In the Costa Rican Art Museum’s Salón Dorado (Gold Room), this bass relief mural depicts the history of Costa Rica. A temporary art exhibition at Costa Rica’s National Museum, which is housed in old military barracks.center_img A full 24 venues participated in the event, even hallowed institutions like the National and Jade Museums, which usually charge admission fees. As hundreds of patrons took to the streets, crowding into shuttles and flooding art galleries, their youthfulness was noticeable: Instead of retirees and tourists, the vast majority were Tico, college-aged, and traveling in couples and packs. Docents sold event pins for ₡1,000 ($2), and outside the National Museum, a pair of clowns performed for an enthusiastic crowd.At the Gold Museum, visitors surveyed exhibits of gold jewelry and indigenous stone sculpture. Tucked into an underground concrete superstructure beneath the Plaza de la Cultura, the Gold Museum is one of those cultural touchstones that locals rarely trifle with. But last night the place was packed; people of all ages and fashions meandered the exhibits, murmuring remarks.  “I heard about [the Art City Tour] from the Carpe Chepe tour,” said Laura Ku, 26, of San Francisco, California. Ku recently lost her job, decided to travel Latin America, and bought the cheapest ticket she could find — to San José. The Carpe Chepe tour is a dress-casual pub-crawl for young socialites.“It’s very, very fortunate that we just happened to be here at this time,” said her friend, Linda Tsan, also 26. “I love museums, and I’m always telling other people about free museum tours. We’ll probably leave here and visit the Jade Museum next.”“We will?” said Ku, raising an eyebrow. “Yes,” said Tsan. “That’s why I’m the museum person.” Andrés Madrigal A temporary exhibit in which patrons were invited to draw, paint and write on the wall. With any luck, there will be more. Facebook Comments Andrés Madrigallast_img read more

Brazil coffee output set for worst slump since 1965

first_imgRelated posts:Morning caffeine fix gets cheaper as rains boost Brazil supplies Coffee futures rise to 25-month high on global deficit forecast New Anacafé chief: Guatemalan state must do more to finance battle against coffee rust ‘Black Heart’ in Brazil heat drives coffee turnaround NEW YORK — A prolonged drought in Brazil has already claimed about half of José Francisco Pereira’s coffee crop. Next year could be even worse as the country heads for the first three-year output decline since 1965.“Everybody is praying for rain,” said Pereira, general director of Monte Alegre Coffees, a grower with 2,500 hectares (6,280 acres) based in Alfenas, Minas Gerais, that forecast this season’s harvest at 45,000 bags, down from 82,000 last year.Production in Brazil, the world’s top grower, may drop as much as 18 percent to 40.1 million bags when the harvest ends next month, the National Coffee Council estimates, after a 3.1 percent slide last year. With damage worsening before the start of spring in the Southern Hemisphere, the council said farmers may collect less than 40 million bags in 2015, creating the longest slump in five decades.Citigroup forecast Aug. 21 that a global production deficit may last into 2016 because of the shortfall in Brazil, which accounted for 36 percent of world supply last year. Futures that have gained more than any other commodity this year may rally 15 percent further by the end of December, to $2.25 a pound, a Bloomberg survey of 18 analysts showed. The surge is forcing buyers including J.M. Smucker, maker of Folgers, the best-selling U.S. brand, to raise retail prices.“The market is vulnerable to the upside given all the problems in Brazil,” Donald Selkin, who helps oversee $3 billion as chief market strategist at National Securities Corp. in New York, said yesterday. “People are anticipating tighter supplies and are waiting for more dramatic weather developments.”Arabica coffee has rallied 77 percent this year to $1.9545 on ICE Futures U.S., the biggest gain among 22 raw materials in the Bloomberg Commodity Index, which fell 0.1 percent. The MSCI All-Country World Index of equities rose 5.7 percent over the same period. The Bloomberg Treasury Bond Index gained 4.1 percent.Higher costs for unroasted beans will be less favorable for gross margins in the quarter ending next month, Frances Rathke, the chief financial officer for coffee retailer Keurig Green Mountain, said in a conference call Aug. 6. The company boosted retail prices this month, after similar increases this year by Starbucks and J.M. Smucker.Brazil is having its worst drought in decades. Reservoirs in the southeast and central-west regions, home to most of the nation’s coffee plantations, are at less than 32 percent of capacity as of Aug. 24, compared with an August average over the previous 13 years of 59.3 percent, according to ONS, the grid operator for Brazil, which gets about 70 percent of its power from hydro-electric dams.Coffee cherries are usually picked from April to September. As of Aug. 7, 86 percent of the crop had been collected, according to Porto Alegre, Brazil-based researcher Safras & Mercado. With harvest mostly done, trees need rain to spur blossoms that will produce next year’s crop. Most growing regions will get 35 percent less rain than normal in September, São Paulo-based weather forecaster Somar Meteorologia said. A man checks cracked ground in an area that used to be underwater at the Jaguari dam, in Vargem, 100 km from São Paulo, during a drought affecting São Paulo state, Brazil on Aug. 19, 2014. Nelson Almeida/AFPFrom Jan. 1-Aug. 19, the key growing areas of Mogiana, Cerrado and South Minas Gerais got 450 millimeters (17.7 inches) of rain, or half of historical averages, said Celso Oliveira, a meteorologist at Somar Meteorologia in Sao Paulo.Compounding the damage to this year’s crop were unexpected downpours in July that led to premature flowering on harvested trees. When dry weather returned this month, the blossoms withered and fell, further eroding yield potential for 2015.“Next year’s harvest appears as if it will be even lower than the current crop,” Tiago Ferreira, head of the coffee department at FCStone do Brasil in São Paulo, said in a report last month.With the next harvest still eight months away, there’s time for rain to limit yield losses or spur new blossoms on drought- stressed trees.While reduced output in Brazil is eroding supplies, the world has had four straight years of production surpluses that sent arabica futures in November to a seven-year low of $1.0095. The Department of Agriculture is forecasting a fifth, with output exceeding demand by 961,000 bags in the 12 months that start Oct. 1, down from 4.56 million a year earlier. Each bag weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds). Colombia, the second-largest producer of arabica beans, will produce its biggest crop since 2008, the USDA said.“There’s still enough coffee around,” Christian Wolthers, the president of Wolthers Douque, an importer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said in a telephone interview. “Colombia’s crop is recovering. This doesn’t leave us in the comfort zone, it leaves in the alert zone.”Brazil’s shrinking crop and rising consumption means a global production deficit of as much as 10 million bags in the year that starts Oct. 1, the International Coffee Organization in London said Aug. 1. Volcafe Ltd., a unit of commodities trader ED&F Man Holdings Ltd., estimated the deficit at 11.3 million bags. About 58 percent of world output is arabica, a bean favored by Starbucks, while the rest is robusta used in instant coffees and blends.Inventories also are shrinking, with reserves at the end of 2013 totaling 40.1 million bags, down from 72.9 million a decade earlier, leaving supply “vulnerable,” the ICO said.Much of the damage for next year’s crop may already be done in Brazil.“Growth was too slow,” said Alemar Braga Rena, an independent researcher and retired agronomy professor at Minas Gerais-based Federal de Viscosa University. “The roots are the brain of the plant, and they were damaged by the heat and lack of water and left them unable to absorb nutrients.”Paulo Sergio Elias, who farms 25 hectares in Cajuru, São Paulo state, said his trees produced smaller coffee cherries than last year, and the lack of rain has deprived plants of the moisture they needed for next year.“Vegetation is terrible,” said Elias, who has been farming for 28 years and is the product relations director of the Cooparaiso coffee cooperative. “The plants are in a state of stress.”With assistance from Anna Edgerton in Brasilia and Mario Sergio Lima in Brasilia Newsroom.© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Third of Costa Ricas sextuplets dies from organ failure

first_imgTratamos de hacer todo lo posible por salvar la vida de Andrés, dicen autoridades de salud #NM935— Noticias Monumental (@MonumentalCR) May 25, 2015 Andrés, the fifth sextuplet, has died from multiple organ failure, Costa Rican media reported Monday morning.At 9 a.m. on Monday, the infant’s lungs, heart and brain stopped functioning, said Patricia Fallas, a neonatal specialist at Hospital México, according to the daily La Nación. Andrés, the smallest of the six at 942 grams, was intubated on May 20. Related posts:Second of Costa Rica’s sextuplets dies from respiratory complications Costa Rica’s first sextuplets born One of Costa Rica’s sextuplets dies Costa Rica’s sextuplets drive regulation of fertility treatmentscenter_img “We did everything we could to save Andrés’ life,” hospital authorities said, according to a tweet from Noticias Monumental.The child was the fifth of sextuplets born 13 weeks premature on May 17 in what was the largest recorded pregnancy in Costa Rica’s history.Gabriel, Tomás and Valentina, the three surviving infants, all remain in serious condition, according to the news site and Emma, two more of the six, died on May 20 and May 22, respectively, from complications related to their premature birth. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

La Sele fills out coaching staff with Uruguayan Alejandro Larrea

first_imgWith some final hires, the revolving door at the Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) may have finally come to a close for the time being. Federation officials announced the hiring of Alejandro Larrea as the third assistant on Oscar Ramírez’s coaching staff Monday afternoon.The Uruguayan played alongside Ramírez at the national club Saprissa before later joining his coaching staff at Santos de Guápiles. When welcomed in as Ramírez’s right-hand man, Larrea was complimentary of his new boss, who was officially named “La Sele’s” head coach on Tuesday.“It’s a pleasure to work with Oscar again,” Larrea said in a FEDEFUTBOL news release. “I know all about his ability and professionalism, we always had a great relationship when we were teammates and then later when we worked together. To me, he’s one of the best coaches that Costa Rica has.”The new assistant’s contract runs until the 2018 World Cup in Russia, new FEDEFUTBOL president Rodolfo Villalobos said. Villalobos was appointed to his position at the head of Costa Rican football on Thursday.Larrea will join bench alongside fellow assistant Luis Marín and goalkeeping coach Luis Gabelo Conejo, two former national team players who played for and alongside Ramírez before. The new-look staff has just two weeks to prepare for its first test, a Sept. 5 friendly against Brazil in New Jersey. Three days later, they’ll be back home to take on another world power, Uruguay, at the National Stadium in San José.“We’re always going to have a winner’s mentality but in these friendlies we have to focus more on the technical aspects,” he said. “The players have to be in good position, be coordinated and in good shape and be applying the things they’ve worked on.”The federation also announced the hiring of new video coordinator Keylor Reyes, who was handpicked by Ramírez to prepare and edit game tape for the coaching staff.Following the indictment and arrest of former FEDEFUTBOL president Eduardo Li in Switzerland in late May and the recent resignation of Paulo Wanchope, the federation finally appears to have reached stable footing with the new hires.Ramírez and the staff are expected to announce their first lineup for the Brazil and Uruguay friendlies this Thursday. Facebook Comments Related posts:La Sele unveils first roster under Óscar Ramírez Costa Rica falls to Brazil in Oscar Ramirez’s coaching debut Óscar Ramírez faces first adversity as La Sele’s head coach Costa Rica seeking revenge against the United Stateslast_img read more

Guatemalan exPresident Pérez Molina indicted for corruption sent to jail pending investigation

first_imgRelated posts:Guatemala prosecutor confident President Pérez Molina will be removed from office, charged with graft Update: Judge orders Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina jailed pending corruption hearing PHOTOS: A look back at how Guatemalan citizens demanded justice – and won Guatemala ‘La Línea’ ringleader turns himself in, accuses ex-president of directing fraud scheme GUATEMALA CITY – A Guatemalan court indicted former President Otto Pérez Molina on corruption charges Tuesday, days after he resigned over a customs fraud scandal that has stoked outrage in the Central American country. Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez granted prosecutors’ request to try Pérez Molina on charges of customs fraud, racketeering and bribery. He then ordered the former president held in preventive prison pending an investigation, calling the retired general a “flight risk.”Judge Gálvez gave prosecutors three months to continue the investigation, after which the 64-year-old retired general will face trial.Prosecutors and investigators from a U.N. commission tasked with fighting high-level graft in Guatemala accuse Pérez Molina of orchestrating a scheme in which businesses bribed corrupt officials to clear their imports through customs at a fraction of the actual tax rate.They say the accusations are based on some 89,000 wire-tapped phone calls.The scheme — dubbed “La Línea” (“The Line”), for a hotline businesses allegedly called to access a network of corrupt officials — collected $3.8 million in bribes between May 2014 and April 2015, including $800,000 each to Pérez Molina and jailed ex-Vice President Roxana Baldetti, prosecutors allege.Pérez Molina denies the charges. Guatemala ex-President Otto Pérez Molina appeared nervous and tired during a corruption hearing in Guatemala City, on Sept. 8, 2015. Johan Ordóñez/AFPThe conservative leader defied months of mass protests calling on him to quit, but was left with little choice after Congress stripped him of his immunity and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest last week.He resigned Wednesday night and was jailed Thursday after an initial court appearance.Guatemala meanwhile held general elections Sunday in a climate of widespread disgust with politics.Comedian and political novice Jimmy Morales won the presidential race, but fell well short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.He will face either former First Lady Sandra Torres or millionaire businessman Manuel Baldizón in a second-round vote on Oct. 25.Newly sworn-in President Alejandro Maldonado, a former Constitutional Court judge, will serve out the remainder of Pérez Molina’s term, which ends on Jan. 14. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

World Bank Zika will cost Latin America 35 billion in 2016

first_imgRelated posts:Zika crisis to get ‘worse before it gets better,’ WHO says Tire mosquito trap could boost Zika control Zika: Tragedy or Opportunity? Zika virus total surpasses 100 cases in Costa Rica Economic losses associated with the mosquito-borne Zika virus spreading across Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to total roughly $3.5 billion this year, according to initial estimates from the World Bank released Thursday.The organization announced it would provide $150 million to support vector surveillance and control, and identification of vulnerable populations — especially pregnant women and women of reproductive age. It also said it would use the money to promote access to family planning, and to provide prenatal care for Zika-infected pregnant women and postnatal care for babies in the event of neurological complications. Some health experts suspect a strong link between Zika and an apparent surge of babies born in Brazil with microcephaly, a condition marked by an undersized head and brain damage.The World Bank said Zika-related losses would likely be “modest” but could hit tourism-dependent countries in the region hard. Foregone income in such countries, including Belize, Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas, could range from 0.8 percent to 1.6 percent of their GDP, the World Bank said.Costa Rican authorities have reported just two cases of the mosquito-borne virus this year, and have been working to assure tourists that the country is safe to visit. They say there is no scientific evidence suggesting an active virus circulation in the country. The two confirmed cases in Costa Rica were contracted outside of the country.Nevertheless, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put Costa Rica on its travel watch list for the virus after it detected Zika in a U.S. man who had visited Costa Rica in January.The spread of the Zika virus coincides with high tourism season for much of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.Besides potential lost income from cancelled vacations to the region, the World Bank report said other losses would likely take the form of lost productivity among individuals who contract the virus, assuming a one-week absence from work. “Given the mild symptoms of the disease for those affected, this cost is very low,” the report states.Zika is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same type that spreads dengue and chikungunya.The World Bank warned that if steps are not taken to reign in the virus’ spread “the human and longer-term effects of the disease and their economic impacts will increase.”Among those long-term impacts would be health care costs associated with microcephaly if a link is confirmed between the birth defect and the virus.Recommended: With abortion banned in Zika countries, women beg on web for abortion pills Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Turrialba Volcano eruption spreads ash across northeastern San José

first_imgVolcanologists from the University of Costa Rica’s National Seismological Network (RSN) reported a new eruption of Turrialba Volcano at 6:58 a.m. on Thursday.The explosion expelled ash and vapor more than 1 kilometer high above the crater and lasted for about 10 minutes.RSN volcanologist Mauricio Mora said minutes before the explosion, instruments at various nearby stations recorded a strong tremor around the Turrialba area. Ash continued to spew from the crater during most of the morning, RSN reported.Wind direction at the time was heading west and southwest from Turrialba, therefore ashes from the explosion reached communities in the northeastern part of the San José metropolitan area, including Guadalupe, Sabanilla and Coronado.The National University’s Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) said ash was expected to spread throughout a 50 km (31 mile) radius around the volcano, which is located some 50 km east of San José.Activity at Turrialba Volcano had been muted in recent weeks following a very active period that started after strong explosions on April 30. Facebook Comments Related posts:Turrialba Volcano again spews ash and vapor Turrialba Volcano spews ash 1 km high Ash from Turrialba Volcano keeps falling on the Central Valley Turrialba Volcano spews ash, vaporlast_img read more

Owner of prominent Costa Rican massage parlor arrested on pimping charges

first_imgRelated posts:Human rights group calls for legal action against ‘erotic vacation provider’ Defendants captured aboard supposed drug vessel accuse U.S. authorities of torture Costa Rican drug traffickers connected to Italian mob plead guilty to shipping cocaine to the U.S. Notorious crime family members indicted; alleged ties to Costa Rican sportsbook “Gringo Gulch” is getting smaller by the day.The once-thriving hotbed of massage parlors and hookup bars in downtown San José saw another business shuttered Thursday afternoon after police raided the New Fantasy massage parlor in San José’s historic Barrio Amón district. The 60-year-old owner of the long-running New Fantasy was subsequently arrested on pimping charges, according to the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).The suspect owned the pension and would host prostitutes in his bar and massage rooms to offer sexual services in exchange for money. Since prostitution not a criminal activity in Costa Rica, there’s nothing illegal about that first part. However, the OIJ indicated that the suspect would take a 50 percent chunk of the money earned by the women in his establishment, which violates the country’s pimping laws.San José Municipal Police officers said the business will remain closed and be handed over to the Public Ministry for the time being. This is at least the third time the massage parlor has been raided and closed down since it opened its doors 15 years ago.An OIJ report said that Costa Ricans were charged a rate of ₡18,000 (about $35) per hour at the establishment, while foreigners were charged at least $50 per hour.The raid comes on the heels of another well-known pension closing in the same neighborhood for ownership reasons.“Gringo Gulch” is a common nickname for an area of San José replete with massage parlors and prostitution-friendly hotels popular with foreign male tourists.These business owners have also been put on notice by a local court’s decision to sentence famed sex tourist David “Cuba Dave” Strecker to five years’ prison time. Strecker was convincted of illegally promoting Costa Rica as an international destination for sex tourists.Strecker’s lawyer has told The Tico Times that an appeal has been filed and they are likely to receive a response next month. Facebook Commentslast_img read more