Travel Attractions in Costa Rica Vacation
Costa Rica is an ideal tourist destination. It is most diverse and is considered safe and friendly. It has everything: spectacular rainforests, volcanoes, hot springs, exotic beaches and surfing beaches, animal encounters in the wild, abundant options for recreational activities, and attractions for every age, from the young and the restless to families with young children. Everything is green and tropical and looks just like heaven. There are over 1,000 kinds of birds and over 10,000 species of plants.
Costa Rica offers nearly every kind of activity: From rafting, ziplines, rappelling, trekking, and biking to surfing, diving, beautiful beaches, tours in nature reserves and parks, and animal watching. On top of that, it is easy to combine it with a trip to the US, thanks to available and relatively cheap flights from many destinations in the US, including New York.
Attractions in Lands in Love Hotel & Resort
A good starting point for tours in the beautiful green
forests of Costa Rica and many other activities is the
Lands in Love Hotel & Resort, located about an hour
and a half drive from San Jose, the capital.
This is a unique hotel advocating vegetarianism and protecting the environment, established by a group of 18 Israeli friends who have turned the place into a small paradise. The landscape is gorgeous: green forests full of plant life, birds and flowers in the clouds. The place has a homey atmosphere, excellent food and helpful staff. It is also a great location close to many attractions: from tours in forest trails to activities such as ziplines, canyoning, and rafting. On the trails you can see many waterfalls, lots of vegetation unique to cloud forests, and also animals.
The zipline in the area is one of the world's best: There are 12 ziplines of different lengths, from 30 to 250 feet, literally in the treetops of the forest. There are also three "artificial" ziplines made of giant ramps built just for that purpose, the longest of which 750 meters long and takes a full minute to slide down! A highly recommended experience! Canyoning is basically rappelling down waterfalls. You can do this in several waterfalls, both large and small. It’s a fun and unique experience. Rafting nearby, in the Rio balsa river, is great as well -- professional grade 3 rafting in a beautiful area.
Afterwards, I recommend going from the hotel to the many other beautiful places in Costa Rica:
The Arenal Volcano area
Arenal is an active volcano. When it erupted years ago, large areas were buried in lava. Near the volcano is the town of La Fortuna, named for its luck – when the big eruption occurred, it was unharmed, as the other side of the mountain was hit. The town serves as the local tourism base; it has dozens of hotels and motels of various standards and many guided tours leave from there.
I recommend a tour in the forests around the volcano: You will see a view of the volcano (if it isn’t covered in clouds, which it often is) and go on a tour to see flora and fauna in the area. Everything is green and beautiful; you get to see monkeys on the trees and with some luck, toucans and other animals as well. Many of the tours start in the afternoon and end with another viewpoint overlooking the volcano.
Another attraction recommended for evenings is the hot springs near La Fortuna. There are two hot springs: Baldi and Tabacon. Tabacon are small and more exclusive, while Baldi are cheaper and more suitable for families and young travellers. Baldi is made of 25 springs, from 35 to 67 degrees, and has waterfalls and waterslides. It’s a very big, impressive and fun site.
Two hours north of Arenal, near the border with Nicaragua, is Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge.
It is a vast area with many species of animals and plants. During the wet season (May to October) the Rio Frio river overflows, creating lakes. You can then tour the area in boat on a very unique tour. The place is relatively far and well-conserved so you can see many unique animals there: many kinds of birds, caiman crocodiles, lots of monkeys, see turtles, and bats.
Monteverde is a small town in the middle of the cloud forests of central Costa Rica. It is relatively close to Arenal but most of the road between them is dirt road so it takes around three hours to travel between there. The town is smaller than and not nearly as busy as La Fortuna, but it too has plenty of lodging options. It has a beautiful view of the area and of the river near Arenal. But most importantly, you can tour the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and see the great plant life and wildlife there. The park has a 3-kilometre recommended trail on hanging bridges, from which you can see the cloud forest from a different angle, and see many birds, monkeys and raccoons.
The park also offers some fun and exciting activities: several ziplines over the treetops and a “Tarzan Swing”. This is a three-hour tour over the treetops. The length of all the zipline tracks is 3 kilometres and the maximum height is 127 metres – a fun and recommended experience!
There are also night tours from Monteverde for seeing the nocturnal animals of the forest – primarily, different kinds of insects and ants which can carry enormous weights despite their size (sometimes even whole branches!), and tarantulas. Another recommended attraction in Monteverde is the frog and butterfly farm, where you will see dozens of butterfly species and dozens of local frog species of every shape and size, with interesting explanations about each.
Manuel Antonio is the smallest national park in Costa Rica, but also one of the most beautiful and popular ones in the country. The park is on an island, 6 kilometres from the town of Quepos. The 6-kilometre stretch of road is lined with hotels and other lodging places. At the entrance to the park is a huge, amazing beach – an enormous strip of white sand and turquoise waters where you can learn to surf. The park itself has four small and quiet beaches, and around them, everything is green -- a forest full of many kinds of animals walking around nearly fearless of tourists. You will see many monkeys, iguanas, birds, crabs, sloths, snakes, and crocodiles. After touring among the animals I recommend staying at one of the beautiful beaches of the park.
In the area between Quepos and Manuel Antonio there are many restaurants, a small tourist market, and some interesting nightlife. From Quepos you can take a boat to the bays of the area, where you can sometimes see dolphins and whales. You can also go snorkelling in one of the bays and see many fish.
San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and also its big central city. The international airport is here, so most of the tourists pass through the city, but many tourists don't stay, opting to travel from there to other places in the country. This is because San Jose is supposedly boring and not very safe. It's only unsafe compared to the rest of Costa Rica, which is incredibly peaceful. I do recommend staying in the city for a while. You can safely tour the city in the daytime (though I don't recommend going out at night), or tour the nearby Poás Volcano. Many tours to the volcano leave from San Jose, and some include a tour to one of the many coffee plantations in the the area (Costa Rica is one of the leading coffee manufacturers in the world). In the coffee plantations you will hear explanations about the coffee industry of Costa Rica and see demonstrations of how the work is done.
Poás, which is 2700 metres high, has the biggest crater of any active volcano in the world -- 1.5 kilometres wide and 300 metres deep. The volcano has erupted 39 times since 1828, but it erupts in geysers much more frequently. The mountain's hiking trail starts at the visitor centre of the park and splits into three paths: one leading to the active crater of the volcano, one leading to Botos lagoon, and one a nature trail through the cloud forest on the mountain. The crater is very impressive -- you can actually see volcanic activity and steam coming out of it. Botos Lagoon is another crater which is no longer active. A beautiful lagoon surrounded with greenery was formed there instead.
On the way to the volcano you will see a great view of the valley where San Jose is. I recommend getting to the volcano in the morning, because after noon the mountain is usually covered in clouds and you can't see the lagoon or the view.
Other recommended tours in the area are to La Paz Waterfall Gardens and to another volcano, Irazu. At 3400, it is the tallest in the country, and has a beautiful sulphuric lagoon in its crater.
Other recommended areas in Costa Rica are Tortuguero on the east shore, where you can see lots of sea turtles and their natural incubation process as well as many other animals.
Corcovado National Park
Corcovado Nature Reserve is a national park in southwest Costa Rica Pacific coast of the Osa Peninsula . Here comes who wants to see animals in the wild forests that Costa Rica can suggest ,and in the most distant from the crowd .
The reserve area is 424 square kilometers and occupies one third of the peninsula where it is located , Osa . It was declared a national park in 1975 and is considered the largest national park in the country . The park , which consists mainly of a primary tropical forest is close to the shores of the Pacific Ocean and includes rivers and lagoons.
Tamarindo is a resort town on the shores of the Gulf of Nicoya peninsula in the Pacific Ocean in northwest Costa Rica , approximately 3.5 hours drive northwest of San Jose and three hours west of Arenal.
Tamarindo is famous for its popular surf beaches , suitable for both beginners and more experienced surfers and its ecological tourism . It is very attractive to American tourists. The younger are attracted to the surfing beaches and for the older it is reminiscent of Hawaii fifty years ago before the tourism was developed there.