Posts tagged with "Central America"

Ocaso Festival, Costa Rica, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

OCASO 2020

“Be prepared to be teleported into a quantum realm of whimsicality.”360 MAGAZINE

By Vaughn Lowery × Sam Berman

At the peak of the year, music, beats and dancing brought together a crowd of 10,000 attendees to Costa Rica for 2020’s Ocaso Underground Music Festival – the world’s largest rave in the jungle. Even the leatherback turtles, howling monkeys and crocodiles were head bobbing.

The Ocaso Underground Music Festival, which engaged on January 9th – 13th, united travelers, ticos and seasoned ravers alike to Tamarindo, Costa Rica, off the coast of the Pacific Ocean for five days of electronic music bliss. The jubilee was established by founder Devin Ellis in 2018; and it just culminated its fourth semester, with plans to return in January 2021, proving a successful run for one of the most emerging EDM festivals on the planet. 

What makes this carnival so sui generis, aside from a stellar bill of DJs including Maceo Plex, Äme, Doc Martin, Justin Martin, Magdalena, Shiba San, Seth Troxler and Artba, might just be the visually striking and lushful setting of CR. The grounds, known as the Lesenda Retreat, centers around a trilithic stage composed of metal trusses for performers, complete with a towering geometric visual screen synchronized to the music, pulsating lasers, fog machines, pyrotechnics and go-go dancers. Apart from hypnotizing technical components conjured up by architectural wizards, the surrounding landscape and warm weather provided a tranquil atmosphere to enjoy the fiesta in, enhanced by art installations sprinkled throughout, providing a truly remarkable habitat. 

Let’s talk about the sound! Imagine being at the On The Run II tour with Beyoncé and Jay-Z, state-of-the-art subwoofers and tweeters pinging throughout the venue, delivering clean and crisp vibrant instrumentation. Of course, this added fan excitement to every set.

Viewers were able to use tokens for transportation, food and drinks, providing added security from petty theft and loose cash. Overall safety was key with tons of guards at every entrance alongside of roaming escorts. We all wore sparkly color-coded wristbands to identify our level of participation – GA vs VIP. Staff members wore official reflective tanks and shirts to be easily accessible.

A short 15 minute-bus drive on a vintage yellow school bus brought participants to the festivities. Guests were offered an assortment of carte du jour options to replenish their prance-exhausted bodies with a number of locally and globally known chefs preparing flatbread pizzas, gyros, keto bowls, tacos as well as protein shakes.

Saturday was the most distinctive night of the event, with people from all over the globe, dressed in their most eye-catching ensembles, echoing the avant-garde fashion of other fairs such as EDC, Ultra, Tomorrowland, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Coachella. Ocaso brought a parade of colors infused with futuristic and organic elements blended seamlessly into garbs straight out of an alien planet, welcoming and embracing all. 

The festival wrapped with a pool party at base camp, the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas. After a five-day outer body experience of infectious dance music, a sort of culinary delights, cozy lodging options, and the beautiful backdrop of the rugged rainforested, Central America, this is one masquerade which many should add to their list. 

Missed out on the fun this year? Don’t fret, as the festival plans to return the weekend of January 7-11, 2021. Ticketing packages from this past year ranged from $19.00 to $59.00 for single day passes, a two-day Friday and Saturday pass for $89.00 and a 5-day-full-weekend pass for $119.00, a great deal for those who can’t get enough from just one night. So ravers, start planning your next vacation, because this is an experience any party animal should dive into. 

For additional information visit Ocaso Festival.

Local Guide

Besides the #RaveInTheJungle, The city of Tamarindo itself possesses a plethora of thrilling activities: ziplining, horseback rides on volcanic trails; ATV tours; surfing and dolphin-watching sailing tours.

If you are seeking additional dining/nightlife options outside of the fête, be sure to check out the following:

Pacifico Club (http://www.pacifico-costarica.com/beach-club/), Sharky’s Bar (http://sharkysbars.com/), Long Board BBQ, Chinese Food (directly across from Vista Villas) and Bamboo Sushi Club.

Just down the road was the luxurious Tamarindo Diria hotel, which features a lobby side pool/hot tub, an array of cabanas with an outside bar/dining deck as well as private beach access to make any jovial attendants experience an unforgettable rave-cation.

Lexus, Costa Rica, 360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery, RXL

Lexus Milestones

By Flore Chaumont × Vaughn Lowery

Lexus celebrated their 30-year anniversary this past July; and we couldn’t escape it. We were invited on a 3-day lifestyle activation in Costa Rica, testing both their latest vehicles along side of their precursors. Since Lexus is the leading producer of luxury hybrids, their choice of hosting this event in Costa Rica was not arbitrary. Aside from lush landscapes, the island is a place where environmentally driven initiatives and technologies thrive. The country is a leading producer of hydroelectric energy, and conserving their beautiful flora and fauna is one of their top priorities.

1. Accommodation

Our hopes were high and they were remarkably met with our arrival at the magnificent Four Seasons Hotel, located in Liberia, a jewel in the countryside of Costa Rica. The luxurious property, nicely integrated into the surrounding region was mesmerizing. Modern yet rustic decorated rooms spilt out onto the beachfront as we assembled at a welcoming reception. We were treated like loyalty with excellent service, savory bites and of course, great fellowship. With a 181 rooms, fitness center (which rivaled Equinox), day spa (complete with plunge pool, steam room and hot tub) and private beach, many of us were tempted to stay longer within the 1,400 acres of utter bliss. There was so much to explore via a biking excursion or a simple hike into neighboring jungles.

2. History of Lexus

During the conference, we learned about the history of Lexus; and their product line from 1989 to present. With the use of VR, we were teleported in time to when Toyota arrived in the US. In 1984, they launched the Circle F Project with the aim of releasing a luxury car. The challenge was to change America’s perception of the marque. For this project, Chief Engineer Ichiro Suzuki sets aggressive goals which will define the brand’s strategy and excellence down the route. With over 1400 engineers involved and 400 prototypes later, the Lexus LS was born. A sedan unlike any other. The name, originally Alexis, became Lexus, and the logo came to become this symbol of beauty and perfection with a succession of exceptional cars to accompany.

3. Meeting with Executives

We also got the privilege to sit down and shoot the breeze with some of the senior level executives of Lexus. Koichi Suga, General Manager of Lexus Design, explained to us his inspiration for adding the concierge and driver refresh, he maintains, “Our vision is human centered: what the customer wants, while focusing on our distinctive culture and heritage.” Indeed, the driver refreshes function is an imitation of shiatsu massage, and it was also our favorite feature in this newly reintroduced full-size flagship. In a discussion with Koji Sato, Vice President of Lexus International Products & Engineering, we were informed that the brand expects to issue its first EV by 2025. And he gave tongue to what gives the sedan a long-term advantage over SUV models. He states, “I think the sedan is more formal, more stylish, with a low center of gravity that provides a more emotional feel.”

4. Vehicle Drives

After being fascinated with the history of Lexus, we got to take a glimpse of and even test drive a few. The incredible LFA was on display and the RC F Sport (f/ in Men in Black: International) were definitely crowd favorites. We test drove three of their models: the LS 500h; RXL (new RX w/ third row seating) and LC 500h. The LS literally made us feel like a royal family. The sleek design, alongside a more pronounced spindle grill and a ton of driver/passenger amenities made the interior feel like nirvana. The RXL possesses a 4.4 inch longer wheel base than RX, now seats 7 and has been refined to exaggerate masculinity. Lastly, the LC 500h, spotlighted in the critically acclaimed Black Panther, was simply sublime, from its paw-like exterior to the silky ride it offers. The peaceful drive along windy roads near the rain forests was almost mysterious.

5. Adventure

On our final day, we drove to the Diamante Eco Adventure Park which is home to one of the highest zip lines in the world – approximately 80 stories high and 1 mile long from one side to the other. We strapped into the renowned Superman, headfirst while facing forward on our bellies. Within, 45 seconds or less we were tailed and ready to retrieve our rides.

In short, Lexus created an atmosphere which showcased creativity, confidence and courage. Everything was exemplified through their leaders, bold design and humanity. Here’s to another 30 years!!!

Family Members of Deadly Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Victims Seeking One Billion Dollars in Damages From Boeing

Ribbeck Law Chartered, which represents the majority of families of the victims of the deadly Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes, and Global Aviation Law Group, recently filed additional lawsuits against Boeing, in U.S. federal court in Chicago. This is the latest in a growing number of lawsuits filed against Boeing in the aftermath of two fatal crashes in less than five months.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, killing all 157 people on board, from more than two dozen countries. The flight impacted a farm field at nearly 700 miles per hour, which created a crater 90 feet wide and 120 feet long. The force of the crash caused wreckage to be driven into the soil up to 30 feet deep.

Manual von Ribbeck of Ribbeck Law Chartered stated, “The filings today are on behalf of the families of the victims of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 specifically.” “It has been nearly 10 months since the deadly crash of Lion Air flight 610 and 5 months since the crash of Ethiopian Airlines 302, and it does not appear that Boeing is interested in any out of court settlement.” “The families we represent are seeking what they are entitled to under the law, nothing less, nothing more.” Mr von Ribbeck adds, “We had hoped that based on the over whelming evidence against Boeing that Boeing was going to be reasonable and finally give some closure to the families, but it is not the case. We basically had no other choice but to file more lawsuits.”

Currently, Ribbeck Law Chartered represents families of passengers from America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Basin, and is litigating in American Courts representing victims from airplane incidents that occurred in North America, Asia, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.

GRINGO IN GRANADA

Gringo in Granada

By Robert Grant

Parque Central is the perfect inception to your exploration of Granada on a summer day. To stand here is to truly be transported back in time. As one of the oldest European settled cities in the Americas, the remnants of the colonialist era endure here brushed in a palette that seemingly exploded from an artist’s wildest imagination. The square, encased by Spanish-style churches and government buildings is a busy place. Horse-drawn carriages line the perimeter awaiting tourists to hire them and vendors fill the center offering a bit of the place to take home.

Old meets new in Granada. A quick stroll down the avenues will expose you to the beautiful provincial architecture whose brilliance is not lost by the splash of color that the locals have introduced. The vibrance of the city is best experienced on foot and you’ll easily fall in love with this bike-friendly town.

Like most of Nicaragua, the city of Granada is surrounded by lakes and volcanoes offering a real treat for the adventurer in you. After grabbing a bite near the square (plenty of eateries nearby) take a tour using one of the local services. If you haven’t booked an itinerary beforehand, most restaurant and shop owners can point you in the direction of a tour agency. Leo Tours comes highly recommended and takes groups to Las Isletas de Granada (Islets of Granada) and the nearby volcano Mombacho. If you’re touring the volcano it’s advised to arrive early in the morning (around 5 am) as this is an option that consumes an entire day.

The trek to Las Isletas begins with a bike ride from the city to the nearby port from which you can board a motor boat or kayak to traverse the waters of Lake Nicaragua. Wear comfy shoes and be sure to pack a bathing suit as things are soon to get a little wet and wild. Leo tours offers both bilingual and Spanish guides -depending on your proficiency- who will help you navigate the lake and provide tons of historic information.

The best way to experience the beauty and tranquility of Las Isletas is to go via kayak. If you haven’t kayaked before be advised that this tour is not for the faint of heart. There are no rapids, but lake Nicaragua is a massive lake-the 2nd largest in Central America and 19th in the world- that reaches depths of 85 ft. The tour itself takes about 3 1/2 hours with 2 1/2 of that spent on the water.  Once underway you’ll sail past some of the most beautiful wildlife and flora you’ve ever seen. Formed by the eruption of nearby Mombacho thousands of years ago, the islets are numerous are very unique ecologically. Various species of birds and particularly monkeys can be seen here before arriving at the famous isla de mono (monkey island). The islets on the periphery of the lake are also home to many wealthy Nicaraguans. Former presidents, executives and foreign diplomats take residence in the many mansions that line the path.

A good guide will make this tour very memorable for you and take great photos while giving you lots of information. If you opt to take the tour later in the day (last leaves at 2:30 pm) it’s the ideal time to enjoy the sunset on the lake.

Your visit to Nicaragua is not complete without a stop in Granada, the crown jewel of this volcanic nation. A less known oasis is quickly becoming a well known tourist attraction. For a stop a that’s affordable and gringo friendly, look no further.