National Tourist Office
When visiting the country, the best way to great adventures is to ask the locals what to see and do. At the tourist information office you can get local, professional and free advice, for the best preparation and start of your holiday.
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Traveladvisor in Costa Rica: Are you going on a vacation you can get lots of free and professional help, traveladvice and information from the National Tourism Organisation.
Discover the country and the cities getting the most out of your vacation with the professional help from the people who knows their country and their culture the best.
Costa Rica Tourism Authority
Discover Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a relatively small country in Central America with strong democratic tradition and economy that is part agricultural and part tourism and industrial. It features secluded white sand beaches, Caribbean waters great for surfing and scuba diving, active volcanoes, and rainforests and cloud forests. The most you will have to travel to get to the beach is 7 miles and that’s from any part of the country. Costa Ricans are also warm and friendly, making travel safe and fun.
Costa Rica is the most politically stable country in Central America. For the past 100 years, the country has only had two military regimes and its army already been constitutionally abolished. For this reason, many took to calling Costa Rica the “Switzerland of Central America.”
Compared to other Central American countries, Costa Rica, according to Costa Rica travel information, is safer in that there have been no recent acts of terrorism here.
A Costa Rica Caribbean travel offers you active volcano exploration, wild animals, lush rainforests, and great beaches. On one of the ultimate paradises left untouched on this planet, there are no military, no nuclear power plants, lots of culture to offer, and no winter.
Approximately 25% of the country’s land has been set aside in protected areas, earning Costa Rica a reputation as an environmentally sensitive country and leader in ecological conservation.
The country has excellent conditions for a number of adventure sports, among them surfing, river rafting, hiking and scuba diving, wind surfing and mountain bike.Those who prefer a less strenuous vacation can view more than 50 volcanoes (Poas volcano, Rincon de la Vieja volcano, Irazu volcano and Arenal volcano) take boat trips down jungle rivers and float through the treetops in the world’s first Rain Forest Aerial Tram, visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Tortuga Island
Eco-tourism at its best
For those who would like a destination for eco-tourism, Costa Rica is hard to beat. For a little country in Central America that’s only 19,730 square miles, there’s definitely a lot to see and do there. Costa Rica means ‘rich coast’ in Spanish, which is the country’s official language. Located between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, Costa Rica is one of the most stable and prosperous of all Latin American countries. There are tropical beach resorts on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the country for sun vacationers but the main attraction of Costa Rica is the eco-tourism. For example, there is a wider variety of bird species in Costa Rica alone than in all of Europe and North America.
Blessed by natures diversity
Costa Rica is unusually blessed by the diversity of its butterflies. There exists about 20,000 butterfly species worldwide. Of these, about 1,000 or 5% can be found in Costa Rica.
With more than 850 species of birds, all found within a tight geographic area, Costa Rica offers birders of all levels of expertise an unrivaled bird watching experience. Birders out on the trail in Costa Rica’s forests should keep an eye out for mixed flocks foraging on certain types of food, especially fruit, in the forest canopy.
Costa Rica is home to roughly 150 species of amphibians, some of which are extremely colorful and exotic. There are tree frogs, which spend their entire lives above the forest floor, breeding in the water of tank bromeliads or in holes in the trunks of trees. Others, like the poison-arrow frog, are exuberantly colored, ranging from bright red with blue or green legs to bright green with black markings. There are over 200 species of reptiles in Costa Rica.
The 14 turtle species include both marine and freshwater varieties. The largest of the marine turtles are leatherbacks. Their shells are up to 5 feet and they weigh upwards of 800 pounds! Marine turtles climb up sandy beaches to lay their eggs, a spectacular sight because it happens en masse.
Costa Rica is home to over 9,000 identified species of vascular plants, including over 900 different species of trees. Costa Rica is home to some 1,500 species of orchids. From sub-alpine dwarf vegetation, rainforest flora from sea level to mangrove swamps and seasonal dry forest with its deciduous trees, there is an astounding range of floral habitats for a country so small.
Diverse Eco-systems and microclimates
Surprisingly, there are diverse eco-systems and microclimates within Costa Rica. In addition to the coastal beaches, there are dense jungles and rain forests with a wide variety of fauna. Some of these forests are referred to as cloud forests because of the moisture of the mists that linger among the trees in some parts. One forest has a cable car set up so that tourists can observe the plant and animal life at the treetop levels. For the more adventurous types, there is a place where one can swing from tree to tree using a network of rope attachments. There are also dry forests as well as colder barren volcanic tundras. Quite extreme changes in microclimate can be observed even within 30 minutes of travel. Some parts of the country have canal systems similar to those found in the Amazon and a few rivers offer excellent white water rafting.
There are several volcanoes within the country and the extinct ones are easily accessible since they are tourist attractions. A few have beautiful turquoise color lakes that have formed in the craters at the top of such volcanoes. One of the more famous active volcanoes is Arenal where visitors can safely watch the eruptions from a nearby facility that has outdoor hot springs naturally heated by the mountain.
In addition to the many different birds that can be sighted, there is a wide number of other exotic wildlife including monkeys, sloths, jaguars, bats and reptiles that can be seen during one of the many available nature tours.
Turtles and Scuba divers
Every year, there are sea turtles that come to certain beaches to nest and this event attracts many nature lovers. The wildlife in Costa Rica is not only rich on land or the air but also in the surrounding oceans. For scuba divers, Costa Rica offers excellent diving opportunities and they are quite different from the waters in the Caribbean. The higher amounts of plankton in the local seas attract more numbers of large marine animals than can be found in the Caribbean.
Coffee and bananas are some of the main exports for Costa Rica. For coffee lovers, this is the place to sample some of the best in the world although it should be warned that the locals like their coffee quite strong. Tours in the valleys will often go past numerous coffee plantations.
San Jose is a favourite
Most tourists will fly into the capital city of San Jose which is really the only big city in Costa Rica. Located in the center of the country, the city has taken a beating over the years from the occasional earthquake. You’ll understand when you visit. The city is surrounded by mountain ranges populated with a number of volcanoes. Every so often, this combination of geography leads a good shaking. For a city in Central America, San Jose is surprisingly organized and lively. You can spend an evening in the cafes or just walking about. Crime isn’t much of a problem. There isn’t much to see per se, but this is where most of the international flights land. In traversing the country, you can expect to pass through San Jose a few times, so enjoy yourself.
Not long ago, Tamarindo was a quiet little beach community on the western coast of Costa Rica. Over the last 15 years, the town has become a hot spot for ex-pats with accompanying development not far behind. Although some of the luster is gone, Tamarindo is still worth a visit if for no other reason than to compare it to the rest of Costa Rica.
Tamarindo is as good a place as any to experience Costa Rica beaches if you need a little civilization. The beaches are clean and tranquil, but lined with cafes, restaurants and hotels. The water is warm and good surfing can be found in certain locations. To the north, one can occasionally see rare sea turtles laying eggs on the beaches late at night. Unfortunately, turtle watching has become such a rage that you may be standing with a lot of people. There is definitely a voyeuristic feel to it and one can help but feeling sorry for the turtles.
Travelers can also fly into Liberia which is a town in the north part of the country. This is a much quieter region and close to many of the northern resorts.
Northwest region, Guanacaste
But if we focus a minute on the northwest region of Costa Rica, called Guanacaste, where most of the Costa Rica Caribbean travelers go nowadays because of the wide variety of scenery and activities offered, you will realize that there are so many more types of tours you can take. If you want to get really close to Costa Rica and actually see all these wonderful trees, plants, flowers, animals, and fish, then a Costa Rica Caribbean travel is all you need.
There is a wide range of activities to choose from on your Costa Rica Caribbean travel. Most of these depend on the part of the country in which you are vacationing. In the rainforest and you like birds, then bird watching walks with well-informed English-speaking guides or horseback riding are the type of Costa Rica Caribbean travel tours you should take.
You can also take one of those canopy tours, which are popular all over Costa Rica. But if you want the richest and best experience in Costa Rica’s rainforests, then avoid those that go through areas which are north towards the west. Here, the climates are dryer so naturally the vegetation lacks some of its beautiful richness in both density and color.
Adventure ideas in Costa Rica
There are so many possibilities, just to mention some of the most popular:
Experience Costa Rica on Horseback
There are many places in Costa Rica that should be experienced on horseback. It is one of Costa Rica’s most popular activities for tourists and can be found in nearly every single town. The Northern Pacific area, also known as Sabanero Country (cowboy country) is home to horse and cattle ranches that would make a Texan jealous. If a romantic gallop along the beach at sunset is your fantasy, the Central Pacific area is the one for you. You can also ride in and around waterfalls and rainforests. Monteverde and Arenal include a great deal of mountainous terrain and also pass through a few coffee plantations along the way.
Underwater Costa Rica
It’s hard to think of Costa Rica and not imagine the beautiful ocean waters that rise to the sandy beaches. These waters are full of fun activities like dolphin and whale watching. Canoeing is a good workout and also a fun way to see the sights from the water. Explore the underworld beneath the surface of the ocean with scuba diving and snorkeling. You will be amazed at the colors the ocean hides beneath the waves. Many different species of fish, crustaceans and coral live here and are all intricately decorated by nature. At the end of your long day of hiking and climbing, relax in the natural hot springs heated by the active volcanoes around Costa Rica.
See Costa Rica from a Hot Air Balloon
The luscious greens and crystal blues of the Costa Rican landscape and water is often best seen from above. Float over the rainforests, ocean waters, mountains, volcanic rock and picturesque coffee plantations from the comfort of a hot air balloon. Not to worry, you don’t have to know how to work one. An experienced professional will pilot the craft while you and your companions relax and enjoy the scenery. Parasailing is another amazing adventure in the air that flies you far above the water. It’s incredible how much sea life you can actually see from hundreds of feet above.
Zip-line through the rainforest
For a true nature lover, and certainly not for the faint of heart, a canopy tour is an absolute must-do. They provide an interesting look into the delicate ecosystem of the rainforests from zip-lines and aerial trams. No matter what method you choose to experience your full Costa Rica vacation travel, remember that it doesn’t stop when you reach your destination. If it does you are missing out. See Costa Rica the way it was intended, from all perspectives.