Costa Rica is a small country in Central America, about the size of West Virginia, separating Nicaragua to the north from Panama to the south-east. The Caribbean washes beaches on the east side, and the Pacific is to the west. The country offers an abundance of natural features, wildlife and the people show heart and passion.
The country's population is around 5 million with San José having an estimated population of 1,393,000 people. San José, the capital, rests in the central valley at an altitude of 3,839 feet (1,170 m) and can be a cooler place to stay. It is the transportation hub, a commercial centre and the place where all the cars and motor bikes in the country seem to gather. Tourists spend little time here with so much more countryside, rain forests, volcanoes and beaches to attract them. But with a main airport and roads radiating out from it, most people pass through. It is a city worth seeing purely to get a greater understanding of the history which makes this country unique.
By choosing a central hotel in which to stay, one can cover much of the city on foot. One such is Hotel Balmoral located on the pedestrian-only Avenida Central between Calle 7 & 9. Stepping out of the hotel and turning to the east (left) along Avenida Central, one comes to the impressive Jade Museum located between Calle 13 and the National Artisans Market. Much confusion abounds on the internet as the old location is still well documented putting it between Calles 9-11, Avenidas 7-9. Ignore those directions.
May is the time that the tulip festival draws thousands to Ottawa, Canada's capital city. The city sits on the Ottawa River which separates Ontario to the west from Quebec to the east.
Into the Ottawa River flow mighty rivers from the Ontario side. The Ottawa Valley as it is called is filled with lakes, trees, farms and rock. Small towns bearing evidence of their history of logging, mills, the textile industry, cheese making etc. An area settled by pioneers who cleared the land and survived or died: Evidence of the people from the First Nations who preceded them.