Costa Rica

costa rica

When it comes to natural wonders there is very little that Costa Rica doesn’t offer visitors: travellers can experience spectacular volcanic activity in Arenal Volcano National Park, explore the unique cloud forests in the world famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, snorkel or dive the colourful Caribbean coral reef in Cahuita National Park, and go white river rafting down the impressive canyons of the Rio Toro river.

Costa Rica is considered to possess the highest density of biodiversity of any country worldwide and its wildlife is a big draw for visitors. The numerous animal refuges and national parks allow tourists to witness creatures like sloths and various monkeys in their natural habitats, as well as marvel over the brightly coloured frogs, snakes and butterflies of the country. Thousands of people flock to Tortuguero National Park every year to watch green sea turtles hatch and set out for the ocean.

The cities and towns of Costa Rica tend to take a backseat to the natural splendour of the country but there are picturesque villages and lively coastal towns to enjoy, with the resort town of Jacó and the laid-back Caribbean village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca among the favorites. The capital city, San Jose, is a fun urban centre with plenty of opportunities to eat out, shop and party.

Although a small country, there are a wealth of attractions in Costa Rica and only the most jaded of travellers could fail to be excited by the plenitude of exciting things to see and do. A whopping 25 percent of Costa Rica is taken up by 75 different national parks, wildlife refuges and biological reserves, making it a paradise for eco-tourism. Adventurous visitors are spoiled for choice with activities like surfing, kayaking, hiking, fishing, white water rafting, canyoning, climbing and zip-line tours available all over this diverse country. For those inclined to relax Costa Rica boasts truly beautiful beaches and these alone could fill a holiday with sun-tanning, swimming and snorkelling.

The northwest region of Costa Rica is famous for two particularly spectacular national parks: the Arenal Volcano National Park, with the seemingly perpetually active Volcan Arenal at its heart; and the world renowned Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, a unique and awe-inspiring wilderness area that enchants visitors with its mystical atmosphere. Fortuna is a good base from which to explore the region and a visit to the Monteverde community, spread in the hills of the cloud forest, is a fascinating excursion.

The Pacific coast is well developed for tourism and is scattered with picturesque villages and great beaches. Jacó is a beach resort town perfect for surfing, sunning and partying in the midst of this wonderful coastline. Puntarenas, the largest town in the region, and a popular stop off for cruises, is also a good base for exploring the area. The Manuel Antonio National Park is the most celebrated reserve of the region and here you will find a captivating variety of wildlife as well as the chance to enjoy numerous adventure activities.

The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is becoming increasingly popular; it has a more relaxed atmosphere and is less developed for tourism but it is a beach haven and the local communities are charming, friendly, and happy to share their yummy cuisine and vibey music. Puerto Limon is a bit rundown but it receives regular cruise passengers and acts as a doorway into the stunning coastal areas and pristine rainforests of Caribbean Costa Rica. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a popular tourist destination nestled on the coast. The best parks in this area are the Cahuita National Park, which protects a wondrous coral reef and is a treat for divers and snorkellers, and the Tortuguero National Park, in the north, a famous breeding ground for sea turtles.

And in the middle of this natural wonderland of a country sits the capital, San Jose, which is a lively and modern city with good shopping, restaurants and nightlife. It has some pretty colonial areas and a few great museums. From this urban centre you can find no end of things to see and do in Costa Rica.