• Pranamar Villas Santa Teresa Costa Rica
  • Pranamar Villas Santa Teresa Costa Rica
  • Pranamar Villas Santa Teresa Costa Rica
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Pack for a Purpose

Top 10 Destination Wedding planning tips

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Destination weddings are very popular / photo by Tropical Occasions
Trending in recent years among brides and grooms is leaving behind the traditional, large, 250-person, fancy church, banquet hall wedding in favor of a fun, exotic destination wedding that adds the adventure of a sunny honeymoon vacation. Couples choose to go out-of-town for many reasons, including basic economics. You would think that staging a wedding in another country would break the bank, but in most cases, only close friends and family attend these celebrations; thus, sparing couples from the large, expensive, traditional wedding receptions back home where everyone up to your long-forgotten Sunday School teacher are invited. Tropical Occasions wedding in Costa Rica

Destination weddings have become increasingly popular for couples of all types. Costa Rica has become one of the premier locations for destination weddings in the world.

The popular wedding website TheKnot.com named Costa Rica in 2012 a top wedding destination in Latin America. TheKnot.com reported that one out of every four destination weddings in Latin America take place in Costa Rica. What's not to like? You have fabulously gorgeous beaches, lush rainforest, volcanoes, a thriving tourism industry, and an abundance of hotels, resorts and vacation homes available. A destination wedding is an exciting alternative to a traditional wedding, but a destination wedding requires a lot of planning. Information taken from many sources, including top Costa Rica wedding planner Aimee Monihan, owner of Tropical Occasions and Santa Teresa Beach Weddings, brings you our:
Top 10 list of "Things to Know Before Planning a Destination Wedding":
Destination weddings can be anywhere / photo by Tropical Occasions1. Choose your location carefully. Destination weddings don't always have to be a beach setting. Choose a mountain, volcano, lake, forest, etc. if beaches aren't your thing. For instance, Costa Rica has lovely cool climates up at elevated cloud forests.
2. Plan well in advance
, especially your airline tickets. Try not to plan a wedding during the country's busiest times of year when tourism and costs are at their highest, or during national holidays when people do not want to work and businesses are closed. (For Costa Rica, these times are Christmas Week through New Year's, and Holy week.)

Read more: Top 10 Destination Wedding planning tips

   

Uncover the Rich Indigenous History of Costa Rica

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Visitors to Costa Rica's northwest Guanacaste region probably don't realize the area was once a thriving community for the indigenous Chorotega tribe. Indigenous history and traditions maintain a low profile in the Central American country, yet if you look closely they are all around you.

Spreading across Costa Rica's entire northern Pacific zone, Guanacaste, for instance, is called the "Chorotega region" after its original inhabitants. The Nicoya Peninsula is named for a Chorotega chief who ruled the area when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Costa Rica in 1523.

At the time of the Spanish conquest, the Chorotega were the largest and most technologically advanced tribe in Costa Rica, according to Encyclopedia Britannica and other historical reports. The tribe, whose name means "people surrounded by enemies", were driven by warfare from Central Mexico many generations before the Spanish arrived and settled in southern Nicaragua, Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula.

Mesoamerican languages in Central America

They spoke Mangue, an Oto-Manguean language from Central Mexico that was shared by indigenous groups in Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Many of the place names in northwest Costa Rica are Chorotegan, including Guanacaste – name of the northern Pacific province and Costa Rica's national tree. The word "Guanacaste" means "ear tree" for the trees' seeds which resemble a human ear.

Read more: Uncover the Rich Indigenous History of Costa Rica

   

Yoga Stretches for Surfers ... Practice in Costa Rica!

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Most surfers are probably already aware that the practice of Yoga results in great benefits for the physical body and beyond.


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Yoga increases mental clarity and our ability to concentrate with intention on specific goals and desires. The breathing techniques used in this ancient science are amazing for increasing lung capacity, while helping to lengthen our ability to retain the breath (so necessary for surfers).

On a physical level, the postures (asanas) create flexibility, tone, strengthen, and hone in on our balancing skills. They also fill the body with vital Life energy (prana) and highly raise our body and self-awareness.

The following dynamic and static postures will help you achieve the strength and flexibility needed out in the surf, and will increase your balancing abilities for greater stability on your board. Remember to always warm-up before heading out to the water, stretch for 5-10 minutes after surfing, and ENJOY!!

1) 3 legged downward dog w/ bent knee

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Begin in downward-facing dog pose with your hands outer shoulder distance apart and feet parallel to each other, at least hip width apart. As you lift your hips up and back you'll begin to feel a deep stretch along the backs of the legs. Remember to engage and tone your quadriceps (fronts of the thighs) while moving the tops of the thighs toward the backs of the legs. Breathe deeply in and out through the nose and throat, balancing the flow of breath and helping to calm the mind. Keep the arms strong and stable by pushing all four corners of the palms and all the fingertips into the ground and begin to lift your right leg up and into the air behind you. Lengthen through both legs as you take the right hip higher, "stacking" the hips and gently twisting from the waistline. Carefully bend the right knee while flexing the foot and spreading out the toes. The more you take your foot to the left, the more you will need to tuck your pelvis to lengthen the lower spine and increase flexibility in the psoas muscles. Work up to holding the position for 5-15 breaths. Bring the right leg back to downward dog posture and repeat on the other leg.

2) Standing Pigeon w/ Eagle arms
Standing pigeon pose with eagle arms, Pranamar Villas & Yoga Retreat, Costa Rica

Begin standing upright and cross your right ankle over your left lower thigh (right above the knee), keeping the foot active and flexed to protect the knee joint. With your hands on your hips, slowly bend your standing leg and widen your inner thighs back and apart (imagine you are hovering over a chair!). Bring your arms parallel to the earth, reaching long from the heart center to your fingertips. Then cross your right arm under the left and "wrap" the arms around each other. Energetically lift your elbows and fingers upwards, while dropping your hips and thighs. Hug strongly into the mid-line with the legs and breathe deeply for 5 -10 breaths. Release and try the other side.

Read more: Yoga Stretches for Surfers ... Practice in Costa Rica!

   

Unique Gifts Keep Costa Rica Travel Memories Alive

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One of the joys of traveling is picking up that little something special to bring back home. A unique gift from a unique place that will remind you months and years later of the fun trip you enjoyed.

Beads from Bali are a unique item in Pranamar Villas' gift shop in Costa Rica

In the case of world traveler Susan Money, owner of Costa Rica's Pranamar Oceanfront Villas and Yoga Retreat, all of her treasures from international globetrotting are specifically brought back home to delight other travelers, in the Santa Teresa Beach hotel's gift shop. The small gift shop in Pranamar Villas' Reception area features exclusive and uncommon gifts both from Costa Rica and parts further afield.

"One of the great joys of owning a hotel is the fun of shopping for the gift shop," says Money. "Although our store is very small, it often has some unusual items from my travels around the world. When I'm off traveling, I get to tell my husband that I have to shop … for the gift shop. And what can he say?!"

Hand-sewn bags from Guatemala are a lovely gift item in Pranamar Villas' gift shop

Whether originally from Indonesia, Guatemala, Nicaragua or right at home in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, Pranamar Villas' gift shop is a colorful and exotic treasure trove of jewelry, scarves, bags, yoga clothes and mats, and organic beauty and bath products.

Beautiful wrap bracelets by Phyllis Warman are featured in Pranamar's gift shop

Featured Gifts Wrap bracelets by designer-artist Phyllis Warman are a big hit with Pranamar Villas' guests. "Inspired by the relaxed lifestyle and shifting colors of Costa Rica's exotic Pacific Coast, the richly majestic landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, and the radiant, sun-drenched beaches of Southern California, Phyllis Warman Jewelry Designs are both casual and sophisticated," says Warman's publicity sheet.

Phyllis Warman wrap bracelet inspired by Costa Rica's nature

The Southern California native divides her time between living in Seattle, Washington and Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Warman makes all of her necklaces, earrings, bracelets and anklets by hand, using natural materials she finds in her environment like mother-of-pearl and abalone shells; freshwater pearls; precious and semi-precious gemstones such as opal, jade, onyx, garnet and turquoise; metals of copper, brass and sterling silver; and 100% pure cotton cord.

Read more: Unique Gifts Keep Costa Rica Travel Memories Alive

   

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