COSTA RICA INFORMATION
Costa Rica has something for everyone. Some of the best that Costa Rica has to offer are it’s natural environments, beaches, adventure trips, day hikes and nature walks, bird-watching , family destinations. luxury hotels and resorts, eco lodges & wilderness resorts, bed & breakfasts & small inns, great restaurants art, cigars, and night life. Also, Costa Rica is a great wedding and honeymoon location. More local news in English about tourism, vacations, living in Costa Rica and expats.
Split into different sections there is the valley of which San Jose is a part, the Guanacaste & Nicoya Peninsula, the Northern Zone, the Central Pacific, The Southern Zone of Osa Peninsula, the southern Caribbean and northern Caribbean.
Most people flying into Costa Rica, either on vacation or business, land at the Juan Santamaria, San Jose International Airport. Nearby, you might want to try a a rental car by Service Car Rental, which has a good selection of SUVs and 4x4s. Towards Escazu, is the Alta luxury boutique hotel, airport close and newly remodeled into a spectacular, deluxe small hotel and restaurant recommended by Conde Nast Traveler.
For some of the best nature has to offer are the Nation Parks and Wildlife Reserves and rivers. There is the Rincon de la Vieja National Park in the Northeast Guanacaste Section, with it’s 1,848m (6,061 Ft) Rincon de la Veja Volcano. It has many thermal geysers, vents and fumaroles, rugged waterfalls and swimming holes. It can be best reached by the city of Liberia. Nearby, is the Blue River Hot Springs Resort, Hotel and Spa that, yes, has a blue river flowing next to it!
To the East of Rincon is the Santa Rosa National Park know for it’s remote pristine beaches, best reached by the city of La Cruz. This section of the Pacific Coast has miles of white sandy beaches, Playa Naranjo, Playa Nancite, Playa Blanca and Playa Junquillal. Along with world renowned sport fishing of Bolanos Bay. To the south on the Nicoya Peninsula is the Golfo to Papagayo and its many first class Luxury resorts, along with miles of beaches such as Playas, Hemosa, Panama, and Culebra. To the south of that are, Playa del Coco, and Playa Ocotal, with it’s many resorts and great sport fishing. Going down the coast you will arrive in Playas Flamingo, Potero, Brasilito and Conchal. All located about a 180 miles north west of San Jose and about 40 miles west of Liberia. These beaches are very popular vacation home spots for North Americans and Europeans.
Among the many beaches along the Pacific Coast of the peninsula, are Playa Tamarindo in the central part of the coast. It is a very popular resort town and a great spot to try out serious port fishing. Many people choose to live in Tamarindo as there are luxury condos for vacationing or retiring that are close to the active town and the beach. To the very south are Playa Nosara and Playa Samara. They make up the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula. When not at the beach some of the many fun things available are Fishing Charters, Horseback Riding, Kayak Tours and Bird & Sea Turtle Watching. Away from the beaches visit Barra Honda national Park, There is an extensive system of caves. The park is also great for hiking and bird-watching. Of to the west and south are Playa Tambor and the Curu Wildlife refuge. At the very tip of the peninsula visit Playa Montezuma which has a great waterfall just 1 mile outside the village. If you like yoga in a mountain top, unique, boutique hotel setting, www.anamayaresort.com is the site to see and make reservations. You can also dive and snorkel here and enjoy some great hikes and horseback riding. Within a 45 minute drive is the remote resort of Tango Mar, a beach and golf resort / hotel, and inside is one of the most luxurious, beachfront vacation rentals in all of Costa Rica, now promoting educational turtle nesting tours in front of the villa – perfect for a family, eco beach vacation.
The Northern Zone of Costa Rica has some of the worlds best Mountain lakes, Cloud Forests and quite a few volcanoes. Arenal Volcano is constantly active and on a clear day and night you can see smoke and fire. There are many resorts and lodges surrounding the volcano and many have their own hot springs pools. The city of La Fortuna has many lodging and restaurants. From La Fortuna you can drive to or hike to a viewing area and then if you want hike right to the falls. Just up the road from Arenal Volcano is Lake Arenal, a large (34sqmiles) man made mountain lake the largest lake in Costa Rica that is world renowned for wind surfing as it can often have winds of 60 knots or greater. . From the Arenal area, there are many white water rafting companies that can take you on half day to week long river trips. Along the way from the Pacific coast to either Monteverde rain forest or Arenal Volcano stop by and visit the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
Between La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Arenal Volcano is Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Preserve, Costa Rica’s most popular tourist destination. The constant level of moisture seen here and on many of Costa Rica’s Mountain tops give rise to an incredibly diverse life forms and a forest in which nearly every inch of space has some sort of plant growing. It is one of the very few places you can observe the elusive Quetzal, A bird revered by the natives of the Americas. While there try the skywalk, or a Canopy tour or horseback riding. There are also a Butterfly Garden, a Serpentarium, a frog pond and an orchid garden.
While on the Pacific coast you can travel across the southern Nicoya Peninsula and across the Golfo de Nicoya to Puntarenas. From here the coastal road south is mostly paved and is lined with some of Costa Rica’s most famed and visited beach and national park areas. The great surf beaches of Playa Herradura, Play de Jaco and Playa Hermosa are all next to each other. They are world famous for their surfing, surf camps and surf schools, and are the closest beaches to San Jose. About an hour south is the city of Quepos, it is the support town for Manuel Antonio National. It is full of Monkeys lots of monkeys, pizotes and deer. Recently, it has become popular to get married by the Manuel Antonio National Park on the beach, and the Discovery Beach Villa right on Manuel Antonio Beach is a favorite location. Another luxurious wedding villa is Casa Fantastica which has over 12,000 square feet of living areas, including a theater and in home spa. Just out side the park are numerous lookouts and many hotels and restaurants along with a large variety of adventure tours and ATV tours. South of Manuel Antonio / Quepos is an eco vacation resort hotel with nature activities – birdwatching, horseback riding and more. See them at http://www.lapalaparesort.com. For more information on Manuel Antonio – http://moxiguide.org
About 26 miles south of Manuel Antonio is Dominical. It can be reached by the beach road or by going inland from Quepos then south to San Isidro. Dominical, once a pristine village of sugar white sandy beaches has become one of the fastest growing developments on the southern Pacific coast. It used to be one of the best kept secrets to find a deserted beach. The village is right on the banks of the Rio Baru as it empties into the Pacific. It s a great place for bird watching. Going inland from Dominical you can visit Santo Cristo Waterfalls a two-tiered waterfall with an excellent swimming hole, or the Diamante Waterfalls, a three-tiered falls with an inviting pool. If you head south from Dominical, you can still find some very beautiful, undeveloped and deserted beaches. They are disappearing fast Head south from Dominical and soon you will see Playa Hemosa a long stretch of desolate beach with fine sand. Along the way south stop the village of Uvita, and visit the Ballena Marine National Park it stretches south to Playa Pinuela and includes the Isla Ballena just off shore. The beaches here are well protected and great for swimming.
From you head to the Osa peninsula and the southern most part of Costa Rica. The northern part is Drakes Bay, It is a great place to get away from it all, there are few phones and no power lines. This is what adventure travel is all about. The road is often muddy so getting around is not easy. There are many lodgings from cabins to luxury resorts. Stretching south of Drakes Bay are miles and miles of deserted beaches and the deserted and remote Osa Peninsula down to Corcovado National Park a wet remote area, best explored over several days. The weather makes it difficult at times to go very far or do much, but t s pristine, untouched and beautiful. Many rivers empty onto the many beaches. Some of which break up into the jungle. You can find more conventional accommodation and things to do on the Golfo Dulce, along with the city of Golfito. From Golfito you can travel south to Panama, stopping at Playas Zancudo and Pavones. You can try your hand at SCUBA diving on the South Pacific Coast, too, staying at Pirate Cove Hotel on Drake Bay in the South Pacific Coast. Or, for information on SCUBA diving all over Costa Rica, www.1costaricalink.com is a great source on diving places and hotels that cater do divers.
After seeing all of the above in Costa Rica you will need to come to the unique and beautiful Caribbean Coast. From the northernpart of Tortuguero National Park and the Barra del Colorado National Wildlife Refuge. These are among Costa Rica’s most popular destinations for adventure travel and ecotravelers alike. It is one of the worlds best sea turtle nesting areas. It is inaccessible other than by boat form Moin or by airplane to Barra del Colorado Airport or Tortuguero Airport. There are no roads in the area. Barra del Colorado is an isolated little town, that supports a diverse population of Afro-Caribbean and Miskito Indian residents, Nicaraguans and transient commercial fisherman. It is world renowned for its Tarpon and snook fishing. World record Tarpon are caught here . It is hot and humid here and rains a lot.
The Tortuguero National Park is connected to Limon, the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica’s only port city, by a series of rivers and canals that serve as the only means of transportation for the area. This aquatic highway is surrounded b a thick rainforest that is teeming with Howler and spider monkeys, three-toed sloths, toucans, and great green Macaws. A trip up the canals is a little bit like cruising up the Amazon on a very small scale. Four different kinds of Sea Turtle nest in the area, the green turtle, hawksbill, loggerhead and the giant leatherback. The prime nesting period is from July to mid-October, with August and September being the prime months.
When arriving o the Caribbean coast to either explore the Tortuguero National Park or to go south to Cahuita National Park and south to the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife refuge, it is necessary to pass through Limon. It is just off shore form here that Christopher Columbus anchored in 1502. He felt it was a potentially very rich land and named it Costa Rica (Rich Coast). It is the best port on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica and is from here that the first Bananas were shipped to North America. It is a fairly rough port city and a very busy port moving container ships of imports and exports from throughout Costa Rica and Panama. It is a port of call for Cruise ships and throughout the winter months experiences 4-5 cruise ships calls a week. It is not know as a tourist destination, but a gateway to the Tortuguero National park and the beaches of Cahuita, Puerto Viejo , Punta Uva and Manzanillo.
To the south of Limon is Cahuita, noted for Cahuita National Park and it’s beautiful white sandy beaches. The village boasts a variety of restaurants that include Tico fare, afro-Caribbean and international cuisines. The village traces it’s roots to Afro-Caribbean fishermen who settled this region in the mid-1800’s as a place to live and grow their foods while turtle hunting along the coast. The population is still mostly English speaking blacks whose culture and language set them distinctly apart from other Costa Ricans.. People come to Cahuita for the beaches, both north and south of the village. To the north are Playa Negra with it’s black sandy beach and Playa Grande, miles of unspoiled undeveloped beach. To the south is Playa Blanca which is the National park with the forest behind and the coral reef off shore. A great snorkeling spot. The National Park is teeming with wildlife, has an easy to traverse hiking path, that goes along the shore. There are many Cabinas and bed & breakfasts in town. Here you can horseback ride on the beach, snorkel, go fishing, ocean kayaking and surfing. After dark visit Coco or Ricky’s bars and enjoy the sounds of Calypso and Raggeaton. To the south of Cahuita is Puerto Viejo, a surfers paradise with a lively atmosphere. Surfers come here from around the world to ride it’s Salsa Brava wave. There are many good swimming beaches and plenty of vacation options. The town abounds with good restaurants and many lodges, Bed & Breakfast and beach side cottages and Cabinas. It is often a stop off on the way to Bocas del Toros in Panama. Just to the south of Puerto Viejo are the beaches of Playa Cocles, Play Uva and Playa Manzanillo, all with white sandy beaches and warm waters. The road ends at Manzanillo. This is the end of the line of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. From this point a national wildlife reserve stretches all the way to Panama.
Often, people that vacation in Costa Rica return again to experience National Parks, beaches and adventure activities, go to an art retreat, and other acitivites that they did not have the time to do before. Ohter return to look at real estate, to live, retire, or invest in the active and fast appreciating real estate property market here. Some people buy or build a small bed and breakfast, bungalows or hotel, and they make a comfortable, but modest, living in their new, tropical home / business. If you need a website designed or optimization, www.forrestwebsites.com is a website design and SEO services company for you hotel or bed and breakfast, or tourism web site. Also, try the newly opened Anti-Aging Institute, Costa Rica – HGH, Testosterone Treatments-also in- California – Texas – Florida The Anti-Aging Institute of the Americas is an international medical clinic based in San Jose, Costa Rica, working closely with top hospitals and professionals.All patients for Human Growth Hormone, Testosterone, Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) treatments are screened under strict medical conditions and only offered this treatments if their tests show an imbalance or deficiency in hormones. For the best dental implants and cosmetic surgery, see www.lucianoretana.com, or the dentists at www.costaricadentalteam.com for the best in dental prosthetics, as they have their own dental lab. For a medical guide to doctors and hospitals in Costa Rica – http://costaricamedicalguide.com Click for The best doctor for eye surgery in CIMA Hospital, especially orbital cancer
As you can see Costa Rica has something to offer to everyone. Come give us a try, see what paradise has to offer. Before you start your journey, though, go to www.costaricamap-online.com for a good Costa Rica map, and driving directions throughout all the country. For a sustainable tourism travel agency that has carbon neutral vacations in Costa Rica, got to www.naturevacations.com for more information.
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