Nature and Adventure in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is one of the most popular ecotourism destination in the world. The country has a great diversity of species and approximately 25% of its landmass is designated as wildlife preserve and national parks. Costa Rica has a wide variety of landscapes and terrain, ranging from forests to volcanoes to tropical beaches. A trip to Costa Rica should include a visit to the country’s top natural phenomena.
1. Arenal Volcano: One of the most active volcanoes in the world can be seen from the Arenal Observatory Lodge. The volcano stands at 5,00 feet and often has lava spewing down its sides. The view is best between February and April when the fog has cleared out. Tours start at $10.
2. Corcovado National Park: This 11,000 acre rainforest hosts 400 species of bird and is the only park in Costa Rica in which all four of the country’s endemic species of monkeys can be found. Nearby, you can find the Corcovado black sand beach. The entrance fee to the park is $8 a day.
3. La Paz Waterfall Gardens: An hour outside of San Jose, you will find this nature and wildlife mecca. Beautiful plants, numerous animals, and four waterfalls make up the gardens. IT is a great place for a hike. Admission is steep at $35.
4. Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve: This sprawling park covers 25,700 acres and has within it 400 species of bird, 2,500 plants species, and over 100 species of mammals. A great way to see the park that is also a fun activity is via zip line. Admission is $15 per person.
5. Manuel Antonio National Park: This small park is 3 square miles. In it you can find 350 species of bird, walking trails, and 3 white sand beaches. The park is two hours south of San Jose and is open to the public 6 days a week. Admission costs $10.
6. Tabacon Hot Springs: These thermal baths are a great place to go after a day of hiking Costa’ Rica’s many forests. The springs are 97% rainwater and 3% magma. At the baths you can also find the Grand Spa Thermal Resort. It costs $85 for a day at the baths with a meal included. Also on the grounds are waterfalls and gardens. Be sure to make a reservation in advance.
7. Tortuguero National Park: The name means “Full of Turtles,” which is fitting because this park is the nesting spot for much of Costa Ricas turtle population. The park also has over 300 species of bird within its rainforest as well as one of the most famous beaches in Costa Rica. The best way to explore the park is via boat with tour prices starting at $50.
1. Nicoya Peninsula: 80 miles of shoreline filled with beaches, hotels, restaurants, fishing villages, and cattle-ranches. Nicoya is a beach-lover’s paradise.
2. Guanacaste: The savanna terrain separates this area from the rest of Costa Rica. Come here for volcanoes, hot springs, waterfalls, white sand beaches, and a dry climate. Also on your to do list in Guanacaste should be the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Santa Rosa National Park.
3. San Jose: If you are looking for a break from all of the nature, head to Costa Rica’s capital for theater, museums, the working district, and yes you can still get parks and zoos within the city. A great museum to check out in San Jose is the Jade Museum, which houses rare Pre-Columbian artifacts.
4. Jaco: Near San Jose, this party town is a very popular tourist destination. The beach is great for surfing and don’t forget the nightlife. Also in Jaco, you can find the Pura Vida Botanical Gardens, in case you miss the nature and wildlife of Costa Rica.
Image by dotpitch on Flickr Creative Commons.