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Nowhere else in the world will one find such an amazing confluence
of climate, topography, and wildlife than in Costa Rica! A full
25% of Costa Rica's land is actively protected in national parks,
biological reserves, or wildlife refuges, which are home to over
5% of all life forms on the planet! Monteverde Cloudforest, Sarapiqui
Reserve, Tortuguero National Park and more. With such a wide range
of habitats so close together, travelers can explore different
ecosystems with relative ease. River rafting, mountain
watching and beach
combing are possible within a day's drive of each other.
Primary Rainforest is habitat to hundreds of butterfly species
including the huge Owl Butterfly.
|Best of Costa Rica||Tiskita Jungle Lodge, Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloudforest|
8 nights ~ from $2807
|Tropical Forests with Tamarindo/Guanacaste Beach||Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloudforest, Tamarindo Beach|
8 nights ~ from $2076
|Tropical Multi-sport Adventure||Mountain Biking, Whitewater rafting, Kayaking & Canopy Zipline|
7 nights ~ from $2025
|Tropical Rafting and Beach Adventure||Pacuare Overnight Rafting, Manuel Antonio Beaches|
6 nights ~ from $1339
|Costa Rica Exotic Volcano & Tropical Jungle Escape||Arenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks.|
7 nights ~ from $2685
|Tortuguero and Tropical Forests||Tortuguero National Park, Arenal Volcano & Monteverde Cloudforest|
7 nights ~ from $1813
|Tropical Forests with Manuel Antonio National Park||Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloudforest, Manuel Antonio Beach|
7 nights ~ from $1820
|Adventures with Nature||La Selva Biological Station, Arenal Volcano, Cano Negro, Monteverde Cloudforest, Carara National Park|
9 nights ~ from $2447
|Costa Rica - East to West||Tortuguero - Poas Volcano - Monteverde - Tamarindo|
8 nights ~ from $2037
|Active Costa Rica||Cycling around Turrialba, Raft the Pacuare River, Surf in Quepos|
7 nights ~ from $1437
|Active Romantic Adventure||Biking to Turrialba, Pacuare River rafting, Casa Corcovado on the Osa Peninsula|
8 nights ~ from $2359
|Tropical Honeymoon||Remote Tiskita Jungle Lodge and Quepos' Manuel Antonio National Park|
9 nights ~ from $2476
|Costa Rica Family Exploration||Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenal Volcano & the Monteverde Cloudforest|
8 nights ~ from $3434
Much of this region is jungle-covered lowland with boats used
as the common mode of transportation. A visit to the Caribbean
coast is a must for those wishing to get off the tourist path
and experience the least populated region of Costa Rica.
is the largest nesting area for green sea turtles, who return
to this beach to nest every two to four years. Although they travel
as far away as Venezuela, no tagged turtles have ever been found
to breed on another beach. Therefore, the protection of Tortuguero
National Park and respect for breeding turtles is a serious matter.
When viewing the egg-laying turtles, it is important to stay far
away until the mother is fully absorbed in her egg-laying so that
your presence will not disturb her. Only 100 people are allowed
on the beach at one time led by local guides who in earlier times
might have been turtle hunters themselves. Tortuguero is now successfully
utilizing its unique natural resource for the livelihood of its
people in a way to sustain both, but it is a delicate balance.
Abuses of the regulations will harm the turtles by reducing their
numbers and the townspeople by reducing tourism.
the port city of Limon is a gateway to the surfing beaches of
the south. Life in the Talamanca region south of Limon is laid-back
and the Caribbean influence is evident, but the area is still
developing its tourism industry and has a way to go until it catches
up to the standards of the rest of Costa Rica.
The word "paradise" may come to mind as you view the panoramic
vista of blue ocean and palm fringed white sand beach from the
hills above Manuel Antonio National Park. One of the smallest
parks in the country, it is certainly a jewel. The park is one
of the last remaining habitats for the squirrel monkey. Manuel
Antonio possesses one of the most perfect examples of the tombolo,
an island that has joined the mainland over millions of years
of erosion. You can hike from one beach to the top of Cathedral
point to the beautiful view, and descend to the other beach. Hundreds
of bright blue and red mouthless crabs scurry along the trail.
The village just outside the park offers several restaurants,
surfboard rentals, clothing vendors, jewelry kiosks, and youth
selling fresh-picked green coconut drinks. Manuel Antonio is a
family friendly beach. The winding road into Quepos is lined with
hotels perched along the cliffs and a variety of restaurants.
The road from Quepos to Monteverde has recently been paved, making
the 5 hour trip a pleasant one. Pass through several beach towns
such as Playa Hermosa, Playa Jaco, and Playa Herradura as you
hug the coastal cliffs and pass by African Palm Oil plantations.
The beaches of the north are longer, wider and flatter than those
of the south. The climate here is much drier than the rest of
the country, which means less mosquitos and rain. Tamarindo's
white sand beach is where you want to go for excellent swimming
in clear, gentle water and sunbathing in the Guanacaste region.
With an airport in town, getting there is easy in a country where
travel times are usually long. Formerly a fishing town, hotels
and resorts have sprung up in the last several years. Leatherback
turtles still nest in Tamarindo from October to March, and the
tiny baby turtles scramble toward the ocean from late December
to May, which is the dry (busy) season. Take care to walk near
the water line as they are hard to see and easily crushed under
The agriculturally-rich northern zone stretches from the eastern
Atlantic plains north to Nicaragua and west to Lake Arenal and
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Board a boat on the wide, calm
Sarapiqui River to view wildlife in a region dotted with banana
plantations. Arenal Volcano often puts on a show of pyroclastics.
The research and ecotourism efforts of Rara Avis, Selva Verde
and La Selva are proving that the rainforests are a valuable asset
for the people to protect. Northwest of San Jose, beyond the town
of Fortuna is Arenal Volcano, a quintessential perfectly conical
volcano. The volcano frequently billows gray and orange gases,
and red hot boulders bounce down the slopes. It is most impressive
to see at night, as the bright red rocks and sometimes lava flow
accompany loud explosions. It makes for quite a show as you bask
in the warm thermal waters of Tabacon Springs. The last major
eruption occurred in 1968 when it destroyed the town of Pueblo
Nuevo on the western side. In fact, Arenal's frequent release
of pressure and gasses indicates a far lesser chance of a major
eruption and the people of nearby Fortuna live with peace of mind.
From the Arenal
Observatory Lodge, you can hike to a nearby cooled
lava flow and stand in the wake of a recent eruption with a panoramic
view of Lake Arenal and the Volcano.
is the cloud forest reserve founded by Alabama Quakers and biologists,
Monteverde. The creation of the Reserve is an excellent example
of the coexistence of farming and forests. Large patches of untouched
forest provide windbreaks and conserve moisture and soil. The
Reserve itself is habitat to over 400 species of birds
including the Resplendent Quetzel and three-wattled bellbird.
Ancient trees covered in layers of epiphytes are shrouded in thick
mist punctuated by occasional rays of tropical sunshine. The trails
are well maintained and a pair of binoculars are indispensable
to discern the wildlife your guide will reveal.
The Osa Peninsula reaches out of the southern corner of Costa
Rica. It is one of the most remote regions of the country and
the richness of its virgin forests is apparent.
forests have been destroyed by loggers, campesinos and gold miners.
Fortunately, the creation of Corcovado National Park has stopped
some of the deforestation to preserve much of the area's wealth.
Several other private rainforest reserves have sprung up, including
Jungle Lodge. Over 270 species of birds have been sighted,
contributing to National Geographic's description of the area
as "the most biologically intense place on earth." The rocky coast
line is broken by small stretches of black sand beach. Snorkeling
kayaking are good, but the current is often too swift