About Costa Rica Travel
San José: In the Central Valley, Costa Rica’s capital city is modern, energetic with a bustling economy and a welcoming attitude. Founded in 1738, San José became the capital in 1823. The University of Costa Rica was established just 20 years later. The city retains hints of elegant, old-world character in its national theater with its splendid Costa Rican art and European craftsmanship. The National Theater and the Melico Salazar Theatre each have a busy slate of productions in season. The country’s national museum of history is another valued asset. The Gold Museum has an unusual display of gold artifacts from ancient Latin American civilizations. The city’s parks are heavily visited by both residents and tourists. The Lankester Botanical Gardens is just outside the city. A player on the international stage as well, the city is the headquarters for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Nearby, in Valencia, is the tranquil La Paz Waterfalls, with its hummingbird, orchid and butterfly gardens.
Arenal: The dramatic, active Arenal Volcano offers its explosive nightly show, which can be seen some distance away. The rainforest is accessible through an ingeniously elaborate system of bridges and footpaths known as the Arenal Hanging Bridges. This adventure in the treetops features more than three kilometers of trails through spectacular lowland rainforest. Eight fixed bridges and six hanging bridges are made of galvanized steel and high-strength aluminum for utmost safety – all designed to blend with the surroundings. The bird’s-eye views of this magical forest are unforgettable. This area is also the base for canopy tours, rappelling, rafting, caving and horseback riding. Natural hot spring pools promise relaxation after a day of exploring.
Quepos & Manuel Antonio National Park: Quepos languidly spreads across a tropical inlet surrounded by primary rainforest. The compact six-block center has restaurants, bakeries, galleries and gift shops. It is the gateway to beautiful Manuel Antonio National Park, which is an ideal locale for relaxing or doing some sport fishing among other activities. On the Pacific Coast, its expansive white sand beaches meet an evergreen forest that grows up to the high tide line. The main habitants are primary and secondary forest, mangrove swamps, lagoons and beach. The park protects 109 species of mammals and 184 types of birds. Twelve small isles off the coast are where dolphins and migrating whales may be spotted.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve: Majestic trees, wild orchids, bromeliads, and a wealth of ferns, vines and mosses welcome travelers. The ecosystem is home to jaguar, ocelot, Baird´s tapir, three-wattled bellbird, and the famously elusive resplendent Quetzal. The cloud forest is perpetually nurtured by mists from the coast. Private guides, expert at identifying the flora and fauna, take guests into the primeval world of this great greenhouse of old-growth cloud forest filled with birds and splendid trees adorned with orchids. Monteverde also has a delightful treetop experience using the Sky Trek cable-and-harness system for an adventurous, bird’s eye view of the canopy.
Tortuguero National Park: One of the most varied within the park system, Tortuguero has 11 different habitats, from high rainforest to marsh communities. The seemingly endless expanse of beach runs between the Caribbean Sea and a long, narrow lagoon. Behind the lagoon is a coastal rainforest cut through with channels and streams fed by rivers flowing from the central mountain ranges, and by heavy rains. Tortuguero shelters a fabulous array of wildlife, including more than 375 bird species, 57 species of amphibians and 111 varieties of reptiles, including three types of marine turtles, and 60 mammal species. Here, too, are 13 of Costa Rica’s 16 endangered animals such as jaguars, tapirs, ocelots, cougars, river otters, and manatees. There are some 400 species of trees and about 2,200 different kinds of plants. Tortuguero National Park is also known as an important sea turtle nesting sites during season – from June to October. Wildlife viewing means visitors may spot everything from crocodiles to swallow-tailed hawks. The park is the third-most visited park in Costa Rica, despite the fact that it can only be reached by air or boat.
Osa Peninsula: There are no roads to the remote northern part of Corcovado National Park, one of the last areas of primary forest in the Americas. Trail walks with a naturalist-guide amble past ancient trees, scouting for scarlet macaws, anteaters, monkeys, and tiny frogs. Optional fishing or horseback excursions are available. Or, guests can relax on their verandas overlooking the jungle.
Guanacaste: Beaches, stunning shoreline, incredible bird watching combine with a variety of outdoor activities – horseback riding, surfing and snorkeling – to make this just the right combination of sports and relaxation. Forming the eastern borders of Guanacaste is a chain of volcanoes that stretch out to join the Cordillera de Guanacaste and Cordillera de Tilaran mountain ranges. The province experiences little rain and consistent heat from November to April. From May to October, the climate is similar to that of San José, consisting of rain (short tropical rain showers) daily and moderate temperatures. Guanacaste is, however, considerably warmer than provinces residing in higher elevations.
Caribbean Coast: Wild and beautiful with pounding surf, gorgeous white sand beaches and prehistoric rainforests, Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast is ideal for nature lovers. In places rainforests reach all the way down to touch the coastline. Christopher Columbus landed along here in 1502. The country’s 125 miles of shoreline rest inside of Limon province; yet this province is one of the country’s least traveled areas. Typically hot and humid most of the year, the region receives the highest amount of rainfall, especially between May and August, and December and January. A plethora of activities include outstanding scuba diving opportunities, snorkeling, surfing and kayaking. The Cahuita National Park is also home to the last remaining indigenous Indian tribes of Costa Rica.
Suggested Costa Rica Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive San José, Costa Rica
Day 2: San José / Arenal
Day 3: Arenal
Day 4: Arenal / Manuel Antonio
Day 5: Manuel Antonio
Day 6: Manuel Antonio
Day 7: Manuel Antonio / San José
Day 8: San José / Depart
Custom Travel Options
Monteverde Cloud Forest (3 days)
This primeval world is a cornucopia of extraordinary biological treasures – both flora and fauna.
Tortuguero National Park (3 days)
The park has 11 different habitats, from high rainforest to marsh communities. It is the third-most visited in Costa Rica, and can only be reached by airplane or boat.
Osa Peninsula (4 days)
This remote park is one of the last strongholds of primary forest in the Americas and one of the most eco-diverse regions on earth.
Guanacaste (4 days)
From beaches to volcanoes, the area is rich in outdoor activities such as horseback riding, surfing and fishing.
Caribbean Coast (3 days)
Costa Rica’s 125 miles of Caribbean shoreline offer excellent surfing, kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.