Ten Must-See Places in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is one of the countries in Central America. It is bordered by both Nicaragua
and Panama as well s the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Costa Rica is a wonderful
tourist destination for visitors as well as newlyweds, and here are ten of the many places
that you can enjoy in Costa Rica.
1.) The Central Cathedral
Located in Alajuela, this cathedral is a must-see when you visit the city. Although it
is pretty in its own way, it is not that impressive when it comes to its architectural
design. What makes this area special though is because it is a nice spot where you can
enjoy views of parrots and even a sloth or two if you are lucky enough.
2.) Juan Santamaria Park
You can take a nice long walk in this park named after their national hero. You will
also see here cannons that were used during the 1860s era. After a stroll in the park, you
can also visit the Juan Santamaria Museum which houses memorabilia about the national
3.) Poas Volcano National Park
This is a favorite place among locals and foreigners alike. Here, you will get to see
what the crater of a volcano that is still active looks like. There are guided tours that
will take you to the summit of the volcano.
4.) The Lankester Botanical Gardens
What great way to spend a relaxing afternoon than having a nice quiet stroll along the
grounds of this botanical garden? Here, you will see a large assortment of orchids and
other kinds of plants. This is also ideal for families to enjoy.
5.) Arenal Volcano
You can also take guided tours to the Arenal Volcano, another active volcano here in
Costa Rica. Here, you will be taken to El Mirador where you are in a safe distance to view
the volcano's eruption. The hot lava flow is a nice view when seen at night, red lava
against the contrast of the black night.
6.) Fortuna Waterfall
This is another favorite tourist spot. Here, you can spend the day swimming in its
lovely pool and stream as well as catch a glimpse or two of its native animals. Do not
forget to bring a jacket though as it can become chilly at night.
7.) Cahuita National Park
Visiting this national park is also a great way to spend the day. Its main attraction
is its coral reefs that are located near the shore. As such, this is a good area where you
can snorkel or scuba dive and get to enjoy the views offered by the different species of
fish that make their homes in the reefs.
8.) Corcovado National Park
This is a wildlife park that provides a very good opportunity to see animals at their
habitats. Here, you will see four species of monkeys as well as wild cats (many of them
endangered) and other kinds of animals like birds. This remarkable plethora of animals in
this national park is brought about by less human contact.
9.) Manuel Antonio National Park
This is home to squirrel and white-faced monkeys as well as other kinds of animals such
as the sloth and iguanas. You can also see here toucans and birds and, of course, bats.
Word of caution though, it is prohibited to feed the monkeys in this national park.
10.) Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves
This is also a must-see in Costa Rica if you are a nature lover. You will enjoy here
the sights of vast greenery as well as a myriad of creatures like amphibians and insects.
Get a different thrill as you walk through its trails with vines hanging from trees and
the songs of the birds and insects.
Jonathan Williams is the travel writer for Destination Guide TV - the place to
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Puerto_Viejo_Costa_Rica - Caribbean
Coast Rica Adventure
Puerto Viejo is a vibrant seaside town which lies 34 miles south east
of Puerto Limon, and 10.2 miles south of Cahuita. Located in the Limón
province on the shores of the Caribbean sea, Puerto Viejo is considered one
of the most happening places in Costa Rica. It is the largest tourist
destination on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast.
Known for its
warm, crystal clear blue waters, pristine, uncrowded beaches, excellent
restaurants, Rasta-Jamaican influence, and exotic tropical fauna, Puerto
Viejo was built around a beautiful bay with calm water for swimming. The
distance from San Jose to Puerto Viejo is 130 miles (210 km).
there are many interesting attractions nearby such as the Cahuita National
Park, Talamanca Indian Reserve and Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge.
Puerto Viejo is fast becoming one of Costa Rica's premier tourist hot spots.
Viejo de Talamanca is a decidedly Caribbean concoction of perfect
beaches, spectacular surfing and laid back afternoons, spiced with the most
happening music, nightlife and restaurant scene on the coast. But don't
expect to be the only gringo in town, more expats are moving here every
The Southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is completely free of hurricanes!
At 9 degrees north of the equator, we are blissfully free of worrying about
From Puerto Viejo south to Punta Mona (Monkey Point), about 25 km, and to
Cahuita, 30 kilometers to the north, stretch fabulous empty beaches dotted
with coral reefs. These beaches are known to be some of the best in Costa
Rica. Coconuts trees dot the white and black sand beaches mixed along the
coast line, all the way to the border of Panama.
picture-perfect tropical influence, you can find miles of deserted, palm
tree fringed beaches in which to spend hours snorkeling, strolling or
reading peacefully. Or sit under the shade of a palm tree and be entertained
by the local scene at the more populated hangouts. You will also find lovely
calm coves that form small protected pools - perfect for children or lazy
afternoons basking in sun and shade. From Manzanillo south to Punta Mona
(Monkey Point) is about a 25 km walk or boat ride, as there are no roads.
The beaches are gorgeous and interchanged with beautiful rock formations and
There is a
long stretch of beautiful pristine beach which extends past Playa Chiquita
to Manzanillo and beyond Monkey Point (Punta Mona) and Gandoca. Much of this
region is under protection by the government of Costa Rica as a wildlife
reserve, and is a fantastic place for snorkeling, nature hiking or observing
troops of howler monkeys.
Puerto Viejo Costa Rica is legendary among the surfing crowd and is among
the top rated surfing destinations of the world. Many international surfers
come here from all over the world to ride what has been called the heaviest
wave in Costa Rica: Salsa Brava - a thick Hawaiian style wave that builds in
deep water and whose boxy barrel hammers thunderously over a shallow reef.
The biggest waves in Costa Rica break in Puerto Viejo when there is a swell.
Surfers also love the long stretch of beach at Playa Cocles in front of
Break Bay Island - a more consistent break with lefts and rights breaking
close to the beach and which is good for novices and intermediates.
(Black Beach) offers a great beach break with waves year round and, along
with Punta Uva, is among the safest beaches in the area. There's plenty of
fun for beginners here as well as free community surf activities for kids.
The Playa Negra break is perfect for beginners taking lessons. And
Manzanillo, located in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, 20 km south
of Puerto Viejo, sports a fast break at the northern end.
You will find adventures galore here including scuba diving & certification,
snorkeling, surfing, canopy tours (including ariel trams and zip lines), sea
and river kayaking, kayak surfing, fishing, jungle adventure/rainforest
tours, boat tours, birding, turtle sanctuaries, chocolate tours, eco tours,
dolphin tours, indigenous Bri Bri tours, horseback riding, whitewater
rafting, hiking tours, cultural and educational tours.
The area is
filled with abundant wildlife and bio diversity, with over 400 species of
birds, almost 500 species of fish, and more than 40 species of coral
including kingfishers, parrots, hummingbirds, sloths, toucans, monkeys,
iguanas, lizards, frogs, a myriad of butterflies, basilisk lizards, otters,
manatees. On the coral reefs are a myriad of life forms to see such as
angelfish, parrot fish, triggerfish, mackerel, red snapper, jacks, crabs,
rock lobsters, octopus, eel, squid, rays, starfish, brain coral, fire coral,
sheet coral, lettuce coral and star coral.
The town of Puerto Viejo can host your days and evenings of shopping, Salsa
& Caribbean dancing and delicious dining to Costa Rican and international
cuisine. Some of the restaurants are famous for their Caribbean style
seafood and reggae music, and you can also find wonderful international
cuisine all within walking distance of town center. With it's relaxed, laid
back atmosphere, this once quiet fishing village is poised to become one of
the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. Other local stands
are known for their natural juice drinks and delicious breakfasts. Local
women in Puerto Viejo make coconut bread, jam, biscuits, pattys and other
homemade treats in the tradition of Limón. Costa Rica Puerto Viejo.
Reservations provides the most comprehensive information about Puerto Viejo
Visit_Arenal_Volcano On Your Costa Rica Vacation
If you haven’t seen an active volcano, visiting
Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica is really an amazing site. Arenal Volcano is
the most active volcano in Costa Rica and listed as one of the top ten most
active in the world. Of course, you are not guaranteed to see any lava
spewing from the top, but you will certainly see activity.
The rainy season corresponds to the summer months for those in the Northern
Hemisphere and the volcano’s peak is often covered in clouds during the
afternoon and evening, which lessens your chance of seeing the lava at
night. However, during the rainy season the mornings are often very clear,
which means early risers have a good chance of seeing the lava before the
clouds roll in and will have great weather for morning hikes. Keep this in
mind when you are planning a trip.
Even if you don’t actually see lava, you will still be able to feel and hear
the volcano rumbling, as well as see smoke billowing out the top of the
crater. If you have binoculars you can spot rocks expelled from the top and
watch them tumble down the flanks of the volcano.
Inside Arenal Volcano National Park, travelers can take a hike, guided or
solo, through the rainforest to find the 1992 lava flow. Once you reach it,
you can climb up the now gray trail and see the interesting lava formations.
Travelers to the region might also be interested in going kayaking on Arenal
Lake, or taking a horseback ride through the rainforest to the base of the
volcano to begin a canopy tour. This canopy tour is a series of 12 platforms
and 10 zip-lines.
It is very safe and pretty thrilling as you zip above the forest. All of
these excursions make spotting sloths, tropical birds, and monkeys very
Before you plan a trip, make sure you know which side of the volcano is most
active. It changes every few years and you definitely want to stay in a
hotel on the most active side to have the best chance of seeing lava.
Explore highly active Arenal Volcano on your exciting
Costa Rica vacation with expert travel advisors Costa Rica For Less.
Travelers to the region can often see lava flowing from the crater at night
and will most likely hear and feel the volcano’s activity while watching
plumes of smoke billow from the peak.
This guide to visiting Arenal Volcano on your
Costa Rica vacation was written by a
Costa Rica travel expert at Costa Rica For Less.
The Ultimate Adventure Park at Arenal Costa Rica
anyone visiting Costa Rica, the Arenal Volcano must definitely be considered
on the top of the list of places to visit. Located in the nation's northern
lowlands, and tucked within a national park of the same name; this
impressive volcano has gained worldwide prominence for its symmetrical shape
and size and magnitude. For many years, and as recent as 2010, Arenal was
Costa Rica's most active volcano.
the volcano is by no means the only attraction in the lush area of the
Arenal Volcano National Park. In fact, the entire region, with its natural
beauty, is outdoor enthusiast dream come true. There is an abundance of
activities waiting to be experienced in the park, which is blessed with
natural sites like a lake, a rainforest and a cloud forest. One spot that
offers all sorts of wonderful surprises to adventure-seeking tourists is the
Sky Adventures Arenal Park. At Sky Adventures, your physical fitness and
agility may be challenged, but it is ultimately all in the name of fun!
you are after a more relaxed activity that also unveils spectacular views of
the rainforest and the volcano, then the Sky Tram gondola is perfect for
you. This ride's leisurely pace allows you to really soak in the incredible
panorama. You will also be accompanied by a bilingual guide, who will
provide interesting insights about the park and its habitats. The gondola
will eventually bring you to an observation deck high up a mountain, so you
can get a front-seat view of the Arenal Volcano's south face.
After taking as much time you need to experience the sights, you can
leisurely take the gondola back down to the base of the mountain. However,
if you want to mix it up a little - daredevil style - why not go down with
exciting speed and flair? The zip line service called Sky Trek will do just
that. Sky Trek boasts 8 zip lines, with the longest one, stretching about
2,493 feet (1,250 meters). This zipline experience promises to be very
scenic as well as adrenaline-pumping. Expect to soar over multitudes of
trees at a fast rate. But don't blink, as you will missed unparalleled views
of Arenal Volcano and the Lake.
Trek management takes safety very seriously, so you will be guided by
professionals who will also assist you in putting on the safety gear. Wear
closed toed shoes, and comfortable clothes that will coincide with the
weather. And whatever you do, don't forget to bring your trusty camera -
just do not drop it because of all the excitement of gliding in through the
air! If you think Sky Trek is not daunting enough, picture doing it at
night? Fortunately, this fantasy will turn to reality when you sign up for
the Sky Trek Night tour. Who knows you might even get a glimpse of some
volcano lava action while you are at it!
you want to linger around the forest at a high altitude for a while, then
Sky Walk is an excellent challenge to take on. This tour is different as
it's focused on walking paths and crossing high bridges. This will
definitely make you overcome your fear of heights as some bridges lead you
to canopies of tall trees and over ramparts. It is also the perfect activity
to see wildlife in action as you get to superb vantage positions to take in
the beautiful views.
TRANSFORMING THE WAY WE TRAVEL
Mal Pais Costa Rica
Nagib Georges Araman
Pais may be smaller than other communities in Costa Rica, but it is
undoubtedly one of its most trendy and popular beach spots. Located in the
southwestern section of the Nicoya Peninsula, this coastal village is the
kind of place stripped of the hustle and bustle familiar to urban living.
Tourists can come here to completely unwind and rejuvenate the mind and the
body. This may also be the reason it attracts the rich and the famous,
including Hollywood actors and international celebrities. As a result, Mal
Pais always has that happening, yet understated class to it. A vacation here
usually means spending relaxing days on sandy beaches and enjoying gorgeous
beaches are, of course, the highlight attractions in Mal Pais, which boasts
a coastline that spans about 6 kilometers. Most of the coastline is occupied
by long stretches of sand, but you can also find some considerably big sets
of rock. Near the shore is a lush jungle rich in flora and fauna. The beach
itself barely has any development. The hotels and resorts are mostly found
on the sandy stretches of its sister village of Santa Teresa. This is also
where you can find bars, restaurants and shops to rent surfing equipment. A
number of people include Santa Teresa and the Playa Carmen area when they
talk about Mal Pais.
Unlike Nicoya Peninsula's neighboring villages like Montezuma, there are
less tours and activities offered in Mal Pais. This is actually the point of
coming here, to relax and do very little. But after a few days of lazy
relaxation, you may feel like doing something, and you can always go
fishing, ride a horse along the beach or sign up for canopy tours to nearby
Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve is quite accessible from Mal Pais and makes a
great day trip destination for those who love the jungle environment. Cabo
Blanco covers about 1,270 hectares of land area, and is the first protected
area in Costa Rica. Bird watching has also become a popular activity in the
area because of the wide range of coastal and migratory birds that frequent
here. Some of the bird species to watch for are falcons, kingfishers and
Pais is highly regarded for its big swells and long beach breaks, which are
consistent throughout the year. That is why it is no surprise that surfers
from all over make their way to this sleepy beach town to ride the waves.
From the water, you can admire the volcanic formations that populate the
shore. The breaks generated in Mal Pais is perfect for intermediate and
expert level surfers. If you are a surfing novice, there are some spots you
can go to for practice. In addition, Santa Teresa's beaches have swells
ideal for beginners.
can reach Mal Pais by taking the Highway 160. If you are coming from the
city of Puntarenas, you can take a ferry first to Narajo Beach or Paquera.
From these places, you have the choice of driving a rented vehicle or take
the bus. If you prefer to fly; you can book a domestic flight from San Jose
International Aiport or Pavas International Airport to Tambor Domestic
Airport, which is the closest airport to Mal Pais. Once you land in Tambor,
you can easily hire a taxi to take you to this beautiful coastal community.
About the Author
TRANSFORMING THE WAY WE TRAVEL
The Exquisite Tortuga Island
Nagib Georges Araman |
Submitted On August 23, 2015
Tortuga Island is the perfect day trip destination for anyone visiting
Montezuma and wanting to explore Costa Rica's wonderful marine environment.
Isla de Tortuga (Turtle) Island has become widely popular in Costa Rica
because of its powdery white sand beach and complementing clear turquoise
water. Its offshore area provides excellent opportunities for snorkeling and
Situated within the province of North Puntarenas, on the southern tip of the
Nicoya Peninsula; Tortuga Island has an interesting and colorful history.
Centuries ago, it used to be the hub for pirates. The people even made a
pirate theme song to remind younger generations of its pirate past. The
island is actually part of a small archipelago referred to as Las Islas
Tortugas. The main island, which is officially named Tolinga, is now widely
referred to as Tortuga Island. The other main island in the archipelago is
can arrange a boat tour to Tortuga from the nearby villages of Montezuma Mal
Pais, Tambor, Cabuya, and Santa Teresa. There are also tours that go to the
island all the way from Puntarenas or Jaco. If you are coming from these
cities, the boat ride will take about 90 minutes. Even though this may be
longer, the trip is considered is quite scenic because of the outstanding
seascape of the Nicoya Peninsula. And if you're lucky and attentive enough,
you may even spot dolphins, jumping manta rays and even whales along the
Almost all of the visitors come in on some tour or cruise to Tortuga Island.
There are many tour agencies in the nearby village of Montezuma and other
towns in the region that offer different types of excursions. Most of their
itineraries consists of not only spending time on the island, but also a
snorkeling excursion. Snorkeling is indeed a worthwhile activity as the
waters surrounding the island are home to a volcanic rock reef and many
delightful species of marine life such as angel fish, spinner dolphins,
octopus, sting rays and sharks. If you want to really immerse yourself into
this colorful marine world, your tour can also include a scuba diving
session. Tortuga Island is an especially unique diving spot in Central
America because is close to not only one but three sunken ships to explore.
cruise companies like Calypso offer their clients a trip to Tortuga Island
with a more luxurious twist. Guest are ushered to a new and modern catamaran
and are served gourmet meals and drinks on board. The staff will also
dedicate time to impart to guests important information and insights on the
Gulf of Nicoya and its gorgeous islands.
in Tortuga, there are various activities that you can engage in aside from
lounging on the beach all day (which is also not a bad idea). Some people
tend to play beach volleyball or take kayak outings. Others, especially
those who love hiking, explore the different trails and hills on the island.
And if you really feel very adventurous, you can trek all the way to the
Bigger tour companies usually have their own mini restaurants and bars, and
will even set up live entertainment on the beach for a fee of course. Other
outfitters specialize in cooking seafood-based lunch for their guests.
Whichever tour company you wish to go with, it is important to ensure your
expectations as a traveler, match their services and itinerary.
TRANSFORMING THE WAY WE TRAVEL
Where to Go in Costa
Rica: Tortuguero Beach
(translated as "Region of Turtles") is a quaint little village located on
the northeastern Costa Rica Caribbean coast, around 50 miles north of the
main Port of Limon. Tortuguero beach is the most important nesting site of
the endangered green turtle in the Western Hemisphere. Giant leatherback,
hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles have also been known to make their nests
on its beaches.
The village is
situated on a sand bar island, separated from the mainland by Tortuguero
River and bordering the Caribbean Sea. Because of its location in a
Caribbean environment, weather in Tortuguero varies more so than the rest of
the country. Temperatures remain around the same point year round with day
time highs in the low 90s and night time lows in the upper 70s. Rainfall
varies by month and isn't necessarily governed by the rainy season or dry
season with the months of February, March, September and October being the
attraction of Tortuguero National Park (named after the village that
surrounds it) is the turtles. Green sea turtles neared extinction decades
ago due to the hunting of males for meat and the poaching of eggs for their
supposed aphrodisiac properties. These turtles are now considered an
endangered species. That is why tourists may look upon the turtles on the
beach and their hatching babies but are strictly forbidden from touching
them. "Turtle season" peaks around the months of late July through August.
renowned for only being accessible by plane or boat ride through the canals
that run through the rainforest in this national park, this earned this
region the nickname of 'Central America's Amazon'.
season has passed, both park and village tend to be looked over by many
travelers. However, this can be considered a great mistake as this region as
much more to offer than just its namesake. Tortuguero is a quieter
destination than others on the Caribbean coast, and the vine-draped river
trails are frequented by a plethora of wild creatures. There exist seven
species of river turtles, Spectacled Caiman, a number of crustaceans, and
over 50 species of colorful freshwater fish. If you take a trip on a tour
boat, or paddle a canoe through the freshwater canals you are also likely to
see Spider, Howler and Capuchin Monkeys and dozens of species of birds. Some
have even reported seeing the West Indian Manatee, also an endangered
species. Guests of the national park are reminded to treat the wildlife and
plants with respect.
canoeing is a major activity to think about, but fishing has increased in
popularity here and is also highly entertaining for those who enjoy the
sport. Atlantic Snook and Tarpon are just two of the species that attract
expert fishermen from all over the world to this region. As is often the
case, there is a range of prices and quality for tours in Tortuguero. To be
sure that you are getting a qualified guide, ask to see his/her ICT
certification card. As of 2012, not everyone can give out tours, only
qualified professionals with proper certification. Don't run the risk of
getting kicked off the beach and losing your money!
If want to plan
your vacation around the beautiful Tortuguero Beach but are unsure how to
proceed, contact us!
Rental Costa Rica
staff will be happy to help you get there!
You can learn more about the outdoor adventures in Costa Rica by visiting our other
Costa Rica Pages: