San Gerardo de Dota: A Hideaway in the Cloud Forest

San Gerardo de Dota is a little known destination in the remote mountains south of Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose. The village is set deep in a valley, but is surrounded by the towering Talamanca mountains. Among the quiet cloud forests of San Gerardo de Dota live a wide variety of animals and an even wider selection of birds, including the famous Resplendent Quetzal, the Emerald Toucanet, and dozens of hummingbird species. Though San Gerardo de Dota is slowly becoming known for its superb bird watching, it remains home to just a handful of quaint eco-lodges and restaurants, making it the perfect escape. Below we share our recent trip to San Gerardo de Dota and tips for planning your own visit.

 

Hummingbird San Gerardo de Dota | Two Weeks in Costa Rica

Green Violet-Ear Hummingbird Zipping Around in San Gerardo de Dota

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House Sitting: Build a Perfect House Sitter Profile

A couple of weeks ago, we did a post about saving money on accommodations through house sitting. We shared how the process works, the three best websites to join, and our experience of saving at least $7,000 over the past year on housing in Costa Rica. Now that you know the basics, it’s time to get to the details of how to land your first assignment. After all, the word has gotten out about the benefits of house sitting. It seems that everyone is jumping on board as a way to fund their travel adventures, and with all of the competition, you need to know how to stand out from the crowd. The key is to build a killer profile. Over the past year, we’ve had a chance to tinker with ours to see what works and what doesn’t. Below are our top 5 tips for building the perfect profile.

 

Creating a Housesitting Profile

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Racing the Clouds at Poas Volcano

Even before moving to Costa Rica, we had wanted to visit Poas volcano. Considered to be the largest active crater in the world at almost a mile (1.5 kilometers) wide and 300 meters (900 feet) deep, Poas is an icon in Costa Rica. Part of the reason for its popularity is its location. Poas is close to San Jose and the international airport, making it an easy day trip on either end of a vacation. But Poas is a must-see in its own right. The crater lake is one of the most acidic in the world, having a pH of around zero. This makes the lake very toxic but also gives it an intense blue color. The striking pictures of Poas’ aquamarine water and fascinating geology were enough to make us want to visit but then, to intrigue us even more, this past February the volcano ejected a dense plume of mud and steam 300 meters (984 feet) into the air.

While living on Lake Arenal, we recently took a road trip to the Sarapiqui region and knew we had to fit in a visit to nearby Poas. Unfortunately we can’t say that it was everything we dreamed it would be (keep reading to find out why), but we picked up some good tips along the way.

 

Poas Volcano and Crater, Costa Rica

Poas Volcano. Photo Credit: Philippe Guillaume

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Switching from Weebly to WordPress

Part of the adventure for us in Costa Rica has been trying to make a living online and for that we need a great website. When we first started out in 2011, we thought we’d just be promoting our book as a sort of side project. We quickly picked a web host that was a good deal, was eco-friendly, and made it easy to design a website. Little did we know that almost four years later we would be living in Costa Rica, running a business through our site, and quickly growing out of our simple website builder, Weebly. Something needed to change. Luckily, our host, FatCow, recently began to offer WordPress too, one of the most highly regarded platforms. If you’re looking for Costa Rica travel info, go back to the home page now because this post is all about how we made the switch from Weebly to WordPress.

Weebly to WordPress

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How to Live in Costa Rica for $2,000 a Year

You’re probably reading this and saying to yourself, this can’t be true. How can you live somewhere exotic like Costa Rica and pay just a couple thousand dollars a year for housing? Well folks, it is true. And we didn’t do workaway or volunteering. We just lived our normal lives but in other people’s houses. The concept is called house sitting. If you’re trying to figure out how to move abroad without going broke, or simply want free housing when you travel, keep reading because house sitting might be just what you’re looking for.

 

Housesitting in Costa Rica 2014

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Where We’ve Lived in Costa Rica

Over the past thirteen months, we’ve lived in eight towns across Costa Rica. From the Pacific to the Caribbean, we dragged our eight suitcases through booming resort towns, quaint mountain villages, and everything in between. Before we started our travels, we knew about Costa Rica’s regional differences in climate and landscape, but were really surprised at some of the other differences we encountered.

Below we share our impressions of where we’ve lived, both the good and the bad. This is our take based on our own personal experiences. If you’re considering a move, this information might help narrow your search, but keep in mind that everyone’s needs and experiences will be different and a place that wasn’t for us, might be just right for you.

 

13 months on the road and still counting...

13 months on the road and still counting…

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Jenn and Matt from Two Weeks in Costa RicaHola! We're Matt & Jenn, a couple from Boston who quit our jobs to pursue a dream of living in Costa Rica. It all started about 10 years ago. . . Read More

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