What To See & Do In Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most popular Central American destinations for honeymooners, and it’s easy to see why. With beautiful beaches and spectacular rainforests, it’s a fabulous fit for couples looking for relaxation and lots of activity.

Located in Central America, Costa Rica is a country with a lot to offer. The country is unique because the coastal areas present some of the nicest beaches in the world, while a few hours inland you can find towering mountains with volcanoes, pristine rivers for white knuckle rafting, and a rain forest par excellence. Costa Rica is a hotbed of ecosystems and I won’t even try to describe it. Just pull up some pictures on the net and you’ll get the idea.

The people of the country, Ticos, are exceedingly friendly and you’ll find more than a few ex-pats populating the country. With no military, Costa Rica has invested heavily in education and has the highest literacy rate in the Americas. Yes, the rate is higher than in the United States.

San Jose

San Jose 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.

Tamarindo

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 feel sorry for the turtles.

If you’ve never been to Tamarindo, you’ll love it. If you’ve visited in the past, you might be disappointed with the development.

What To See & Where To Stay

If you’re planning a beach vacation, head to the Central Pacific Coast. It’s a 90-minute drive from San Jose, Costa Rica’s landlocked capital, to numerous coastal towns, including Dominical and Punta Uvita, which are both known for their relaxing atmosphere. In Dominical, stay at the Cuna del Angel, a boutique resort boasting fabulous amenities, lushly landscaped grounds, and a top-notch spa. Their Las Palapa Restaurant is also one of the best in the region. When you’re not busy sunning yourselves, head to Ballena Marine National Park to try to spot some whales and dolphins or take a horseback ride into the mountains to check out hidden waterfalls. Bella Vista Lodge (BellaVistaLodge.com) offers regular horseback trips to Baru Falls.

Costa Rica beaches

Traveling to Costa Rica to see the jungle? Hop a plane to San Jose International Airport and make the Northern Zone your destination, and focus on the city of Monteverde (MonteverdeInfo.net), where the main attraction is the mountaintop “cloud forest” at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. It offers mysterious mists filled with tropical birds, monkeys, and more — book a guided tour to make the most of your time there. If you’re feeling really adventurous, go on a zipline canopy tour for a quetzal’s eye view of the rainforest. Sky Trek (SkyTrek.com) has appealing options for both the bold and the faint of heart. On the road between Santa Elena (the main town) and Monteverde, book a room at the Hotel El Sapo Dorado. Separate cabins offer amenities like fireplaces, private terraces, and views of the Gulf of Nicoya; they even have self-guided trails at the hotel exclusively for use by guests.

Note: Check with your travel agent before you decide on the Northern Zone. During the rainy season, certain roads are impassable, especially near Monteverde, where the road connects with the main highway.

Best Time to Go

Most tour guides recommend that you travel to Costa Rica between December and mid-April. The busiest times of the year are Christmas and Spring Break. Going in the slower seasons — late spring and fall — you’ll find lower rates and fewer crowds. In the low season, don’t be afraid to try a bit of bargaining, especially with hotel rates.

Costa Rica Romantic Vacations

Keep in mind some parts of Costa Rica do have their own “microclimates” that create different weather patterns than the rest of the country. For example, if you’re traveling to the Caribbean side, September and October are ideal travel times, but for the rest, the country, September, and October generally see the heaviest rains.

 Best Ways to Save

Though generally less costly than the US, some of the major tourist excursions in Costa Rica can get expensive, so budget the bigger items on your agenda carefully before you go. Unless you’re staying at a top-of-the-line luxury resort, airfare’s going to be your biggest expense. Prices nearly double during the high season, so if you’re planning on honeymooning during those months, book early. Traveling from a city that’s a major airline hub can also help you save.

Similarly, when you’re comparing prices on hotels, be sure to find out whether taxes are included. Costa Rican hotel bills include substantial sales (13 percent) and tourism (3 percent) taxes which can put a serious dent in your budget if you’re not prepared for it.

Nature Tours and Activities in Costa Rica

The Central American country of Costa Rica, which translates as ‘Rich Coast’ in Spanish, is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the Americas! It is famed for ecotourism in the many private and public nature reserves covering vast tracts of rainforest, magnificent beaches, active volcanoes, rivers and islands. Adventure tourism and a vivid cultural scene add to the country’s attractions.

Nature Tours and Activities in Costa Rica

Some popular tour activities available in Costa Rica include:

  • ATV: As more people become interested in eco-travel adventures, Costa Rica has become a major attraction for the adventurous.
  • Kayaking: Costa Rica is one of the top kayaking spots in the world.
  • Canopy: Costa Rica offers unique vacation opportunities to thrill-seeking tourists.
  • Rafting: Costa Rica is a beautiful and peaceful country in Central America.
  • Canyoneering Waterfall Rappel: If you’re looking for fun and adventure then Canyoneering Waterfall Rappel tour in Costa Rica would be a great place to start.
  • Sailing: When planning your next Costa Rican adventure be sure to think about taking a sailing tour in Costa Rica.
  • Hanging Bridges: If you are looking for a great adventure, take a tour to Costa Rica’s hanging bridges.
  • Scuba Diving: Costa Rica is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
  • Hiking: Costa Rica is often explored by nature enthusiasts because of its diverse nature, an array of landscapes and unique beauty.
  • Sky Tram & Sky Trek: Take a trip through the Rainforest, high above the trees.
  • Horseback Riding: the best way to discover the great biodiversity of Costa Rica is on horseback.
  • Snorkeling: Possibly the most beautiful natural treasures of Costa Rica lie just under the surface of the ocean.
  • Hot Springs: The hot springs of Arenal, Costa Rica are formed by natural spring water heated by close contact with nearby Arenal Volcano.
  • Surfing: The most popular location for surfing Costa Rica’s northern Pacific Coast is Tamarindo, a small beach community.

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