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Costa Rica Travel Guide:
Best of Margaritaville 2015
Quepos & Manuel Antonio

Whether you're a first time visitor or a new member of the community, this insightful guide will open the doors to "living the life" in Quepos and Manuel Antonio.

Best of Margaritaville 2015

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Chapter 1 - Color Me Happy: The Happiest Country In The World

Top Vacation Rental Home in Manuel Antonio 2012 & 2013

Awarded by TripAdvisor and FlipKey

Imagine yourself on the most stunning beach in Costa Rica.

You look out over a gorgeous bay dotted with tropical islands and feel the warmth of the sun kiss your skin. You take a stroll along the shore and smell enticing aromas from restaurants you pass along the way. But they can wait for later. Manuel Antonio National Park is just minutes away and you’re looking forward to a day filled with waterfalls, nature walks and wildlife watching.

Back at your beachfront vacation rental home an award-winning staff greets you with waves and smiles. Each day they make you feel pampered in unique and personalized ways that make you feel like family, like you belong, like home. You smile and wonder, “How will I ever describe this to my friends and family without making them insanely jealous?”

Connect with Me

Evelyn Gallardo, Owner
Discovery Beach House

We Care!

Ordinary People, Acting Together, Can Achieve Something Extraordinary
Click Here to Help Us Make a Difference in Our Environment

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

Orangutan Foundation International

Jane Goodall Institute

International Primate Protection League

Kids Saving the Rain Forest

Pack for a Purpose

Jane Goodall at the Osa Field Institute

The Woman Who Redefined Man

Jane Goodall with Evelyn & David

Jane Goodall with Evelyn & David

“It gives me hope to come to places like this,” Dr. Jane Goodall said to the standing room only crowd at the recent grand opening of the Osa Field Institute. OFI is a field school where students, faculty, tourists and life long learners can team up to experience Costa Rica and conduct research together in the heart of a primary rain forest.

Dr. Goodall was greeted with a standing ovation. She stood on a step stool throughout her talk explaining that she wanted to see each of the 200 attendees.

Continue reading “Jane Goodall at the Osa Field Institute” »

Costa Rica vs. Hawaii


In this video Vacation Home Rental Expert, Evelyn Gallardo, compares Costa Rica and Hawaii as vacation destinations. One example being that Costa Rica has four species of monkeys – three of which are regular visitors to the Discovery Beach House!

16 Things You Might Not Know About Costa Rica

Originally published at

Costa Rica rain forestCosta Rica is as well known for its beautiful natural landscape and bustling biodiversity as it is for its wonderful, happy residents. Here are 16 interesting facts about Costa Rica that help make the country a truly singular place.

1. Over a quarter of the land is dedicated to conservation.

Tourists and locals alike are drawn to Costa Rica’s natural beauty—and are committed to preserving it. With 20 national parks, 8 biological reserves, animal refuges, and protected areas, 26 percent of Costa Rica’s land is protected.

2. Tourism is the country’s leading foreign exchange earner.

All that natural beauty and the diverse landscape with two oceans and access to countless adventure activities have made Costa Rica a great vacation destination. In 1995, tourism overtook bananas to become Costa Rica’s leading foreign exchange earner. Tourism reached an all-time high for Costa Rica in 2013 with 2.4 million visitors.

Continue reading “16 Things You Might Not Know About Costa Rica” »

Tiger’s Nest, Paro, Bhutan

My daughter Dawn and I made the challenging climb to the most sacred monastery in Bhutan, Tiger’s Nest. This short video shows our ascent. We weren’t allowed to take in cameras or telephones, so stay tuned for Part 2 to read about what we saw and did inside. I highly recommend visiting this monastery built on a sheer cliff – it was an amazing experience!

Find the perfect place to stay in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

By Lynn Farris
This article was originally published at
Monkeys testing the water in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

Monkeys testing the water in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Bedfinder



One of my favorite places to visit in Costa Rica is Manuel Antonio. This is the perfect base from which to explore the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Go white-water rafting, enjoy a mangrove kayak or boat tour, hike with a park guide through the rainforest, go horseback riding or explore the canopy of the rainforest on a zipline.

You can also just simply lay on one of the most spectacular beaches in the world and see an abundance of wild life. Four different types of monkey call this region home, including the extremely rare, Red Backed (Central American) Squirrel Monkey (Titi in Spanish). You may also see deer, coati-mundi, raccoons and lizards. Bird lovers will be amazed with the wide variety of species found here. You can go snorkeling or on a dolphin and whale watching tour. Manuel Antonio won first place in the 2013 Travelers Choice awards for the top beaches in Costa Rica.

While Manuel Antonio is known for adventure vacations, it also provides extreme luxury. There are fantastic vacations rentals for accommodating the full range of vacationer. The honeymoon couple, the large family and business executives arranging a retreat will find a place here. There are excellentrestaurants to delight the foodies.

Here is my list of ten of the best places to stay when in Manuel Antonio.

Continue reading “Find the perfect place to stay in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica” »

Can I Drink the Water in Costa Rica?

In this Discovery Beach House FAQ, Evelyn talks about the purity of the water in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s National Horse Parade attracts thousands to nation’s capital

Originally Published

More than 3,000 horse riders gathered punctually at noon on Friday to begin the 3-kilometer course of Costa Rica’s National Horse Parade, or Tope Nacional. It began at Plaza Víquez, just south of San José’s central canton.

The San José Municipality organizes the parade every year on Dec. 26 to commemorate National Horse Rider Day. It is one of the favorite events held during holiday celebrations in the capital, along with the Festival of Light and the Zapote Festival.

This year’s parade marshal was Claudia Romero, a member of Costa Rica’s National Equestrian Team who on Aug. 28 fell from her horse during a competition in France. The horse died in the accident and Romero spent two weeks in a coma at a French hospital.

San Jose Horse Festival

A participant shows his roping skills during the Tope Nacional in downtown San José, on Friday, Dec. 26, 2014. – Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Continue reading “Costa Rica’s National Horse Parade attracts thousands to nation’s capital” »

Thai Culture & Language Class

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Nov. 3-9, 2014

On our second night working as volunteers at ENP we attended a Thai Culture and Language class to help us assimilate into our unfamiliar surroundings. We learned basic Thai phrases and that Thais are uncomfortable with public displays of affection.

For fun we also learned the Banana Song, which was highly appropriate after having spent the day unloading, washing, peeling, mashing and squishing bananas mixed with grains into elephant balls. Some elephants at ENP are old and have trouble chewing their food.

After we got the Banana Song down, our coordinator “Bang” asked for a volunteer to do a dance interpretation.

Awkward silence.

Dawn takes one for the team and volunteers. I shot this video at ENP in Chiang Mai. It makes me laugh every time I see it.

Heaven is…

Nang and Evelyn

Nang and Evelyn

…a massage with Nang at Numngeru Thai Massage in Khao Suk. I walk in at noon expecting to make an appointment for later but Nang, the massage therapist, insists on doing it now. I’m not a fan of deep tissue massages because frankly, they frikkin’ hurt! I decide to surrender because everything hurts after 23 1/2 hours in the air.

After 90 minutes of it-hurts-so-good pain (and a brief nap!) I ask her to do a reflexology massage. Embarrassingly, I didn’t make time to learn a little Thai, so I have to resort to hand gestures.
Continue reading “Heaven is…” »

Elephant Nature Park

Today was an amazing day beginning with unloading two tons of watermelons from one of the many produce trucks that come in every day. Each watermelon needs to be washed by hand. We also mashed bananas, cornmeal and other grains into elephant balls for the older elephants who can’t chew fresh fruit. Each elephant needs about 100 kilos per day. Their are 40 elephants here – that’s 4000 kilos of food prepped everyday!

Continue reading “Elephant Nature Park” »

3 Catastrophic Consequences When Tourists Feed Monkeys – Part 1

If you’re heading for a vacation rental home near Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica, you’re in for an incredible nature adventure. In addition to iguanas, toucans, coatimundis and more, there are 3 species of monkeys indigenous to the park.

Manuel Antonio National Park
Please don't feed the monkeys

Please don’t feed the monkeys

When the park boundaries were established in 1972 no one bothered to tell the Howler, Red-backed squirrel and Capuchin monkeys, so they continued to follow their established foraging routes beyond the park limits. Not all but many of Manuel Antonio’s vacation rental homes are located within these natural foraging routes known locally as the “Monkey Corridor.” However, staying in one of these vacation rental homes carries with it a big responsibility. It may seem cute, funny or thrilling to hand feed the monkeys, yet it’s extremely damaging to them in many ways.

Continue reading “3 Catastrophic Consequences When Tourists Feed Monkeys — Part 1” »

Molly & Chad’s Beach Wedding Dream Come True


Molly & Chad just had the Costa Rica beach wedding of their dreams. Watch this at your own risk because tears of happiness are guaranteed.

Donations to Costa Rican Non-Profits in Lieu of Wedding Favors

Our guest blogger, Randy Gritz from Celebrations Costa Rica blogs about a new destination wedding trend. When Whitney & Daniel Pace got married at the Discovery Beach House they asked their guests to bring donations for Kids Saving the Rainforest.

I’m often asked about what should we give our guests as a favor to remember our wedding. I have a list that usually includes things like Costa Rican coffee, personalized mugs with a tropical animal as the handle and sarongs for the beach. These are great gifts but I want to focus on another trend by donating something meaningful to the community. A card is left at each guest’s place setting letting them know that in lieu of favors a donation to the community has been made.

Continue reading “Donations to Costa Rican Non-Profits in Lieu of Wedding Favors” >>


The Costa Rica dream beach wedding you've been dreaming of.

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Have you been dreaming of a tropical beach wedding. We can help you have the perfect wedding on the perfect beach right outside your private vacation beach home rental.


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Vow Renewal Manuel Antonio Beach Costa Rica

Kiss the brideWhen my phone rang the last thing I expected to hear was, “I’m bringing my wife Krista to Costa Rica on vacation. We’ve been married over 10 years and I’m going to surprise her by renewing our vows”

It’s not often a groom contacts me about a vow renewal. They were staying at the Discovery Beach House in Manuel Antonio on gorgeous Espadilla Beach with one of the prettiest tropical rain forests in all of Costa Rica as a backdrop. The setting was amazingly romantic.

To double their pleasure Guy’s friend Bill had decided to renew his vows with his wife Dawn as well. Both husbands managed to keep the secret until a day or so before the ceremony, just in case their wives wanted to shop or get their hair done. Smart grooms. Lucky brides.

Continue reading “Vow Renewal Manuel Antonio Beach Costa Rica” »