Regatta Storica

Since its establishment, over 1500 years ago, the city of Venice has been predominantly shaped and influenced by its waterways. Comprised of 117 small islands, Venice has relied on its famed canals for transportation, and it has looked to the surrounding seas for trade and prosperity. It is therefore only appropriate that Venice’s longest-standing tradition commemorates the city’s paramount feature – the water.

Every year, on the first Sunday in September, the Regatta Storica takes place along Venice’s Grand Canal. Initially organized to applaud Venice’s political and military prowess, the event dates back to at least the 14th Century. It is speculated, however, that the Regatta has even deeper roots in Venetian history.

The Regatta Storica’s modern function has little to do with politics, but still remains as a celebration of the “City of Bridges’” cultural history. The event begins with a water parade, as the illustrious Bissone and Bucintoro boats lead a procession of the Venetian rowing clubs, adorned in historic attire, along the Grand Canal. As the ceremonial procession comes to a close, the competitive portion of the Regatta begins. A series of preliminary races takes place, leading up to the climax of the Storica Regatta, the Regata dei Campionissimi su Gondolini.

The event’s most celebrated challenge, the Regata dei Campionissimi su Gondolini, features two gondolini, light bodied boats propelled by oarsmen, in competition for la Machina, the floating stage that represents the finish line. While the Regatta’s previous races are focused on a display of power, the Regata dei Campionissimi su Gondolini is an illustration of technical rowing ability, and is thus, the crowd’s favorite event. The awards ceremony takes place in front of la Machina, in the heart of city, where all winners are rewarded with red flags, and a lasting piece of Venetian history.

Venice’s water-faring tradition extends well beyond the Storica Regatta. Check back on our Blog for the history behind Venice’s most famed vessel, the Gondola. We’ll have details about the boat’s conception as well as information about the trying processes of becoming a Gondolier.

Pura Vida

The Republic of Costa Rica is one of the most naturally diverse countries in the world.  Resting below Nicaragua and above Panama, the small country is filled with a breadth of sights, sensations, and geographic wonders.  From natural beauty and exotic wildlife to ecotourism and a coffee growing tradition that dates back to the 18th century, Costa Rica truly has something for everyone.

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Costa Rica sits between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, between eight and twelve degrees north of the equator.  Though temperatures remain largely tropical, its mountainous topography results in twelve distinct microclimate zones which feature craggy volcanoes, sun-drenched beaches, misty cloud forests, and dense rainforests.  And with its relatively small size, you’ll rarely find yourself far from an entirely new environment.

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The nation’s diverse climate zones yield an abundance of fascinating wildlife.  With approximately 150 species of amphibians, 200 species of mammals and over 200 species of reptiles, no trip to Costa Rica is complete without extensive interaction with the local fauna.  Regardless of which particular climate zone you may find yourself in, be on the lookout for some of the most beautiful birds in the world.  Cost Rica features the greatest density of bird species of any country within the continental Americas, boasting approximately 600 different species.  Also, while watching the trees, keep an eye out for monkeys, as primates make their home in virtually every region of Costa Rica.

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In recognition of its rich natural heritage, the Costa Rican government has instituted multiple initiatives to ensure sustainable tourism programs.  In fact, Costa Rica is often noted as one of the “greenest” countries in the world.  Its eco-tourism efforts aim to share the country’s natural splendor with travelers, while maintaining the republic’s high ecological and environmental standards.

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Extending even beyond jungles, cloud forests, and wildlife, Cost Rica’s agrarian bounty has also provided one of the area’s longest running traditions, coffee growing.  Deeply ingrained in its culture, coffee growing began in Costa Rica in the late 18th century and still remains one of its most important exports.  And with its rich fertile soil, predictable rainfall, and high elevations, it’s no surprise that Cost Rica consistently produces some of the finest coffees in the world.

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Finally, perhaps the most inviting feature of Cost Rica is its people.  Their attitude and culture can be best summed up with the phrase, “Pura Vida,” which literally translates as “pure life.”  However, the phrase’s actual meaning is something closer to “full of life,” and serves as an unofficial motto for most Costa Ricans.  The phrase is used interchangeably as a greeting, a farewell, and an expression of gratitude and it can be heard echoing from coast to coast.

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Experience the “Rich Coast” as we take in an exuberance of diversity and natural beauty on either our bicycling vacation, Adventure Costa Rica!, or our Walking Costa Rica’s Highlands vacation.  On both trips, we’ll get a taste of all that Cost Rica has to offer embarking on a river safari, trekking through Bosque de Paz Cloud Forest, taking in an enlightening tour of the Doka Estate Coffee Farm, and soaring through Arenal Volcano National Park on an invigorating zip line.  Join us as we discover what it is to live “la Pura Vida.”