In Costa Rica the visitor can enjoy lovely tropical beaches, the grandest adventures, the wonders of nature, scintillating culture, all the necessary components of an ideal vacation. No wonder, then, that thousands of tourists have made Costa Rica their top travel choice.
Ecotourism draws many tourists to visit the extensive national parks and protected areas around the country. Costa Rica was a pioneer in this type of tourism, and the country is recognized as one of the few with true ecotourism. In terms of the 2011 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, Costa Rica ranked 44th in the world and second among Latin American countries after Mexico.
Costa Rica occupies a privileged spot in the heart of Central America. While its territory of 19,652 square miles touches both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the country is surprisingly accessible – one can travel from coast to coast in just three hours by car (or 45 minutes by plane).
The Caribbean region of Costa Rica stands out for its variety of aquatic ecosystems and its beautiful white and black sand beaches, providing an ideal setting for activities such as sport fishing, snorkeling, and sun bathing. The Pacific coast concentrates big tourist centers and its beaches are very popular for surfing, for example Esterillos, Jaco, Hermosa, Boca Barranca. In the Golfito region, near the Marino Ballena National Park, surfing fans can find the famous “long lefthander wave.”
Costa Rica’s beaches are surrounded by forests, and have great natural diversity. In many of them there are beautiful coral reefs, where you may dive and explore. In addition, depending on the place visited, you have a series of complementary activities, such as: hikes to mangroves, diving, surfing, sport fishing, hiking on trails or horseback rides.
Thanks to the easy access to many beaches, you can make the most out of both coasts. Most of them have warm water throughout the year, so you may come and enjoy the country any season you prefer. If it’s diversity you’re interested in, each coast offers different shades and textures of sand, white, yellow, gray and black, product of the constant crashing of seashells on coral reefs.
Because Costa Rica is located between 8 and 12 degrees north of the Equator, the climate is tropical year round. However, the country has many microclimates depending on elevation, rainfall, topography, and by the geography of each particular region.
Costa Rica’s seasons are defined by how much rain falls during a particular period. The year can be split into two periods, the dry season known to the residents as summer, and the rainy season, known locally as winter. The “summer” or dry season goes from December to April, and “winter” or rainy season goes from May to November, which almost coincides with the Atlantic hurricane season, and during this time, it rains constantly in some regions.
The beaches located in the Guanacaste area, which offer many options for adventure and recreation. It is one of the destinations that satisfies different expectations of visiting tourists. For those who like sunbathing in the coast, they have radiant sunshine almost all year round. Atmospheres are varied, and to profit from each one of them, you may select among adequate lodging options. If you go for retired places, as the beaches found near the Santa Elena Peninsula, there are small boutique hotels, or beaches with hotel compounds, at the Gulf of Papagayo.
In them, you may try and combine different activities as swimming, diving, surfing, windsurfing, fishing, beach volleyball and golf. Or simply enjoy the sun while walking along the coastline. You might want to have the opportunity of tasting the gastronomy of Guanacaste, which has a strong indian influence. The products of the area are mainly based on maize, some of them are “bizcochos” or biscuits, “tortillas”, “pozol” and rice with maize, or if you have a sweet tooth, you should try the popular “cajetas”. The positive side is you can reach the local beaches of the area, with direct flights from the United States to the international airport in Liberia, Daniel Oduber, or also by land, from San José and the Middle Pacific.
On the other hand, for surf lovers, the beaches of Jacó and Hermosa have the ideal conditions for the practice of this sport. At night, these tourist centers fill with fun and enjoyment, so you may expect to have great moments. All the beaches of the area have comfortable accommodations in the different hotels available. There’s easy access thanks to the International Airport Juan Santamaría, from where you continue by land for approximately 3 hours, until reaching the desired destination.
This South Pacific region of Costa Rica offers the possibility of combining the attractions of a beach with the virgin vegetation and coral reefs of Caño island, where you may also practice diving and snorkeling. All of the scenic and exuberant beauties bestowed by nature to this coast are surely going to help you spend some quiet, relaxing vacations. This added value you will discover in its purest form, in the beaches of Golfo Dulce and the Osa Peninsula, being protected by Biological Reserves and the National Park of Corcovado.
Access to this area you have in Golfito’s or Puerto Jiménez’s runways, which have internal flights that make your trip easier. Thanks to these facilities, you’ll arrive faster to one of the places of greatest natural diversity of the country, surrounded by magnificent landscapes, formed by the forests that populate the seaside. This area also counts with access by land and great lodging facilities, characterized by rustic accommodations that will make you feel in closer contact with nature. Give yourself the opportunity of living an adventure, with the activities you may engage in: observation of flora and fauna, will show you a vegetation that is unique, or admire animals as the marvelous macaw. You may go fishing, or surfing, whose fans will profit from the left wave of Pavones, one of the longest in the world.
Beautiful beaches are expecting you in th the South caribbean region of Costa Rica, which you may reach by land. When visiting the South Caribbean with your family, couple or friends, admire the contrast of colors of white or black sand, of the beaches of Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. To the colors is added an exuberant vegetation, blending perfectly with the sea shore, in places where beaches and forests are side by side.
Also enjoy sharing with the local culture. There is a strong Afro-Caribbean influence that will make you live a different experience. Learn about the particular architecture of the region, the joy of living of its people, the popular fashion of braided hair, the flavor of the exclusively characteristic foods of the area such as “rice and beans”, “pati” “plantinta”, chicken with coconut and “ron don” and the autochtonous exotic habits, that originate because of the ethnic diversity that coincides in this place.
All of this you may complement with adventure activities, such as surfing, fishing or diving, which will allow you to learn about the coral reefs, protecting an incredible amount of fish species.
The voyage to the North Caribbean you may do by sea or air. From June to October, you can live the unforgettable experience of the green turtles’ spawning at the beaches of the National Park of Tortuguero. Also enjoy fishing for shad and snook at Barra del Colorado.
Costa Rica offer islands to enjoy sun, breeze and sea. The most surprising is Coco’s Island, declared by UNESCO as Natural Heritage of Humanity. It is located 330 miles from Costa Rican territory, and you may reach it by boat, trip that lasts 36 hours, prior consulting specialized companies that may take you in this journey, to enjoy all of the natural beauty, diving or hiking in the island.