This entry was originally published on funkypeopleonline.com on June 4, 2008. It has been re-edited to fit this format.

Welcome home,

Another Memorial Day Weekend and the Funky People 2008 Costa Rica Tour are history. We cannot wait to get the travel group back together again and we won’t have to wait until next May. The October 2009 weekend trip is right around the corner…but more on that later. We’re feelin’ quite satisfied right now because the memories from Central America are still so vivid.

Now to summarize things, let me start by giving a big round of thanks to Jeannine Quiller of Way To Go Tours , who worked diligently on pulling together many aspects of our trip. We must also thank Alejandro Rodriguez Gomez of Destination Tours, Jorge Umana and his sound crew of Entretenmiento Corporativo, and Jose & Pablo of Mr. Tom’s Graphics for their efforts in making the group activities and event promotions run smoothly. I have said this many times, the business of entertainment and leisure travel particularly in a foreign country IS NOT an easy task. We could not have pulled this weekend off without the help of our trip partners, sponsors, contacts and all of our new found friends in Costa Rica. We also had help from a slew of US colleagues and friends who spread the word via their own web channels and we must thank the many of them as well. Shouts out to Malaika Moran of www.Socialstep.com, DJ Herbert and DJ Cosi of the Freedom Party in NYC and Marc Smooth & Stone Jackson of EarCandyNYC.com, Josh Suggs of Delta’s Restaurant, and Asya Shein at Fusicology.com. I also cannot forget my frat, Curt Gilmore of Gil & Gil Entertainment, Tony Motley & Dion Ross of the Motley Empire, Carl Parish and Terrance Barker for the Jersey push. To my close friends and FP road crew, I appreciate your support once again.

Producing a concert in the midst of organizing a group vacation trip was a bit of a challenge, but those who know of the Funky People Online social & business vision are accustomed to our quest of finding great entertainment experiences in new locations. Kudos to the travelers that also subscribe to our view of not traveling to the same ‘ole trip locations each year. We had the best personalities and people to make this our most enjoyable vacation trip to date. Can a better time be had? That is what is truly funky…..

I can say that everybody had a really great time. Wow!! Five days seemed to flash by in an instant. The Barcelo Playa Langosta Hotel staff did a super job attending to our group when necessary. The hotel food was delicious and the atmosphere was always very comfortable. We especially got kick out of seeing the natural residents that lived on our hotel property, lol. It was not uncommon to see exotic birds, mammals and insects strolling about the place. Iguanas, crabs, raccoons, turtles, spiders, tuscans, other flying, crawling things we’ve never seen and oh yeah, some really cool monkeys!! Hey, we were in a tropical rain forest, what else did you expect?

So what does one do while in Costa Rica? Well, “CR” is one place where you can just enjoy some leisure time, keep the adrenaline going with outdoor adventure or a little of both. In particular, you can go to the beach and work on your tan, try your hand at surfing (almost everyone has a surf board), take an eco-tour trip, shop for hand-crafted art and pottery, eat fresh meals at a local restaurant, mingle with the people and travelers from abroad, or dance up a storm at night to the great reggae music! You should know that “Ticos” (as the Costa Rican people are referred to) are among the warmest and friendliest types you will come across and they love to have a really good time. Most importantly, while doing all of what is mentioned here you should keep yourself hydrated from the intense sun with popular Costa Rican drinks. If bottled water is not your speed, “Guaro” or “Cacique” (the very potent moonshine rum) and “Imperial” (the national beer) flows continuously.

Our time on vacation taught us a lot of about the country of Costa Rica. Here are a few things you probably didn’t know…..

#1: Costa Rica was named “rich coast” for the gold that was found in abundance upon Christopher Columbus’ arrival.

#2: In a country that is the roughly the size of West Virginia, Costa Rica is home to more bio-diversity than all of North America of Europe. This includes more than 800 species of wild birds, approximately 9,000 Plant Species, 34,000 Insect Species, 205 Mammalian Species, 220 Reptilian Species, and 160 different Amphibious Species.

#3: The seeds of the national tree is said to bring good luck to the person who carries it. The national tree of Costa Rica is called the “Guanacaste” (which means “Human Ear”); named by the indigenous Chorotega people because of the shape of the fruit that the tree bears.

#4: Playa Tamarindo (2 miles from our resort) is the one of the Top 5 Beaches in the country! It is known for its’ lure to the Pacific coast surfing culture and was featured in the motion picture “Endless Summer”.

#5: Since 1948, Costa Rica is the only country without an army or military of any kind. It’s the most peaceful country in the Western Hemisphere!

#6: Costa Rica boasts having more teachers than policeman! It’s Literacy Rate of 96.2% is the second highest in the world. There are over 6,147 primary, secondary and higher education schools.

#7: Costa Rica has the 15th top ranked medical and healthcare system in the world.

#8: Costa Rica has an established public civil infrastructure that provides 90.4% of the population with Health Services Coverage, 92% with access to Telephone Service, and 99% of the population with Piped Water to their households.

#9: Although Soccer (or “Football” as it is called outside of the USA), is the national sport, nearly 80% of the baseballs are manufactured in Costa Rica.

#10: Coffee is the country’s most revered drink. Recognized as among the worlds finest for over 150 years; coffee is not native to Costa Rica. Arabica seeds were brought over by the Spanish from Ethiopia in 1808. The temperate climate and fruitful volcanic soil of the Central Valley areas of Costa Rica were perfect for coffee’s infant development, and it swiftly became the country’s #1 export to this day.

When the FP travel group arrived they had already spent half of Friday traveling, so they were eager to check out the social landscape. Our weekend started with a sunset dinner reception at the popular Camaron Dorado (“Golden Shrimp”) beach side restaurant. Jamie, Oscar and staff made sure we were well fed with a 3-course Costa Rican meal. This helped the group flow right over into the Opening Night Party at the Crazy Monkey Bar. Tamarindo’s own El Touche` band and DJ Pipe` set the energy for evening’s guests, NYC’s Freedom Party DJs. This normally lively bar was definitely boosted up several levels as DJ Herbert & DJ Cosi rocked an international crowd of more than 400 with their signature NY soul music style. Whoa – the Freedom Party in Costa Rica – off the hook! Our sponsor, Red Bull (of Costa Rica), kept the sexy bartenders busy all night with unheard of drink specials. By the time the doors closed, everyone was tired, and jet-lagged, but were excited and pumped about what they had just witnessed – our Costa Rica weekend had indeed begun! Thanks to Felipe and Jeff for hosting us at the Crazy Monkey Bar for the evening.

Saturday provided everyone time to recover and mingle about town during the day. The hotel guests were treated to smooth lounge sounds by the pool with DJ Cosi and me on the decks that afternoon. It was a great way to recharge batteries. Those “Guaro Vidas” and “Guaro Sours” did plenty to get us into the proper groove! Did anyone get the chicken recipe from the hotel bar cook? (No one told me Big Momma was from Costa Rica)

By nightfall, the whole town was a buzz about the special invited guest performers. This was the first time that Marfil, the most famous, historic band in Costa Rica would perform in this area of Guanacaste and, boy were the people appreciative. How good was Marfil? Well, when a reggae band plays original songs and everything from Bob Marley to Tito Puente to John Cougar Melloncamp, you know you’re hearing a great live performance. You simply had to be there to see over 500 people from the surrounding towns jam to a 2 hour concert set in a steady light rain. No roof? Whatever – nothing seemed to stop the audience from dancing past 3am to the sounds of DJ Cosi, DJ Higher Link and myself, Tee Alford. Someone even lost their shoes – the energy was crazy! Big up massive to Marcella & Sebastian of the Babylon Reggae Bar and Imperial, La Cerveza de Costa Rica for hosting this major show. I never once hesitated when I had the opportunity to collaborate on this very special cultural music event. For a long time event promoter, it was truly a unique first time experience for me in a foreign country. Pura Vida – we have an extended Funky People family in Costa Rica for life! Jorge Umana you are the man!

The next few days gave us time to relax, lounge, shop and explore the local area a bit more both day and night. The final day saw the group taking an eco-tour to Rincon de La Vieja National Park for action and nature activities. How cool was it to horseback ride, water slide down a 1600 ft. drop, zip line like Tarzan across the forest tree canopy, and relax in the volcanic hot water springs after a natural mud bath… all in one day? We won’t forget our crazy cool driver “Gato” and tour guide, Felipe aka “Dr. Phil” either. Felipe was like the Crocodile Hunter dude, only Costa Rican. He knew everything there was to know about the wildlife terrain in the volcano park. Raw cashew nuts in the wild are fatally poisonous and pineapple is actually not a fruit but a plant? Ok, I now realize I must have been asleep in Biology class all those years. Check out the shots and videos – what a day – what a vacation!!

If you’re looking for a great place to visit, live or retire to, do consider COSTA RICA. Pass this e-mail along to show everyone just how beautiful this country is and what a great time we had. The web link below will direct you to the udpated photo albums and trip videos. For those of you who missed this trip – we’re not gonna wait for you and your friends. There are plenty more exciting and exotic places to see – so our plan is to keep things moving. Won’t you please join us next time? More vacation trips are already in the works. To find out where we’re headed, subscribe to the FP e-mail list and watch your inbox for the future announcements! Until then…Pura Vida!

Click Here to view all of our Costa Rica Vacation Tour 2008 photo albums & vids.

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