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My wife and I had the pleasure of staying at Toucan Alley this past January for ten wonderful days; from the minute we arrived on a late Wednesday night Neil made us feel welcome and went out of his way to get us settled in after a long day of traveling from the cold Northeast. We were immediately captivated by the beautiful accommodations. The home is decorated and designed to put you immediately at ease….but the best was yet to come. We awoke the next morning to the sound of Howler monkeys and the jungle coming to life around us within our own private 16 acres! As we took our first glance out from our master bedroom suite, words cannot describe the surrounding beauty and the awe inspiring blue Pacific, from our 180 degree panoramic view. My wife and I have had the privilege of traveling to many beautiful places but truly cannot think of a place that had more to offer in sheer beauty and diversity of things to do. We are typically very active people and love to explore the different places that we visit….but for the first time we really never felt the need to leave our accommodations at Toucan Alley, as it had everything we could ask for in its relaxing awe inspiring location. We did take an excursion on horseback up to Nauyaca Falls which was amazing and visited two of the many national parks and beaches…but were most happy just to stay in our wonderful Villa looking out over our jungle paradise and relaxing in the infinite pool. Thanks again Neil for always being available when called upon but also respecting our privacy which is what we truly desired most. Costa Rica is a magical place which we look forward to returning to many times in the future.

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D Flecher

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Don't get burned

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Don't get burned

No one wants to start their Costa Rican dream vacation with a terrible sunburn. It’s uncomfortable, extremely hot, sometimes debilitating, and makes you look like that dude from “The Hangover” who spent all day on the rooftop of Cesar’s Palace.

You can, however, beat the burn with top-notch sunblock, a nice, big hat and a couple of long-sleeved shirts tucked inside your luggage.

More than likely, wherever you’re visiting from isn’t quite as hot and sunny as our vacation rentals in Dominical and Uvita. Most mornings in the southern zone are splashed with crisp sunshine and few clouds. The afternoons are different in the green season, with clouds and rain often creeping in as the sun begins to dip toward the horizon.

On the topic of sunscreen, most experts agree that the best way to protect your skin is through a combination of covering up with clothing, frequently reapplying broad-spectrum sunscreen and staying in the shade when the sun is at its peak. The staying in the shade part can be tricky. After all, you’re probably traveling here to have a good time in our amazing outdoor environment, be it surfing, rafting, zip-lining, fishing, snorkeling or a myriad of other heart-pumping activities.

As you prepare for your trip, shop for water-resistant sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum,” which help combat both UVA and UVB rays. Anything lower than an SPF 15 should be avoided. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends products with an SPF 30 or greater, especially for people with light skin or a history of skin cancer in their family.

Understand that SPF 15 sunscreen isn’t twice as strong as SPF 30. According to WebMD, SPF 15 filters out 93 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 filters out 97 percent of UVB rays. Furthermore, there’s no rating that says how good a sunscreen is at blocking UVA rays. For the best protection against UVA rays, look for a sunscreen that contains at least one of the following ingredients: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone or zinc oxide.

These days, the market is flooded with sunscreen for both children and adults. Some work wonderfully, while others actually cause more harm than good. We highly recommend checking out the Environmental Working Group 2014 Guide to Sunscreens. This is an excellent website that rates just about any sunscreen available for purchase. You can even search a particular sunscreen that you might already own to see how it stacks up against the competition.

As an avid surfer in Costa Rica, I’d recommend Watermans face stick with an SPF 55. This paste-like substance refuses to wear off of your face even after prolonged sessions in the water, sometimes upwards of four or five hours at a time. It isn’t intended for the body, but it’s great on the face. I actually purchase my Watermans online for approximately $20 a tube.


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