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ABOUT COSTA RICA


Costa Rica is located on the Central American isthmus, lying between latitudes 8° and 12°N, and longitudes 82° and 86°W. It borders the Caribbean Sea (to the east) and the Pacific Ocean (to the west), with a total of 1,290 kilometres (800 mi) of coastline, 212 km (132 mi) on the Caribbean coast and 1,016 km (631 mi) on the Pacific.

Costa Rica also borders Nicaragua to the north (309 km or 192 mi of border) and Panama to the south-southeast (639 km or 397 mi of border). In total, Costa Rica comprises 51,100 square kilometres

Select a zone from the map or from the list below to know more about Costa Rica.

north_pacific central_pacific south_pacific caribbean central_valley northern

South Pacific

AREAS

Playa Dominical: a surfer's paradise beach with moderately priced hotels and beach cabinas. Here you can find miles of unspoiled lonely beaches, beautiful bays along the coast, and the tiny village of Dominical which offers various cozy restaurants and "sodas" (local food) as well as small secluded cabins, lodges and beach luxury hotels. Most of the hotels, lodges and cabins found in this area are small with less than 30 rooms.

Peninsula de Osa: is the last undeveloped, jungle area in Costa Rica. A region apt for jungle lovers, you will find many nature lodges including the renown Lapa Rios Lodge. The sea is slightly more swimmer unfriendly and hotels and lodges are located further inland as opposed to the beachfront properties you find in the Guanacaste or Papagayo area.

Corcovado National Park: is home to more than 400 species of birds and more than a hundred species each of amphibians and mammals. This tropical humid primary forest covers more than 40,000 hectares of protected land, and is home to monkeys, scarlet macaws, coatimundis and other wildlife.

Central Pacific

AREAS

Jaco: Jaco area and its surrounding beaches are located south of the town of Puntarenas on the mid pacific coast of Costa Rica. Jaco is one of the most popular beach and surfing destinations and also the nearest to the capital city of San Jose. The area of Jaco is home to the Carara Biological Reserve where the transitional tropical forest shares with visitors plenty of wildlife and flora. Being one of the most developed coastal towns in Costa Rica, staying in the area of Jaco allows visitors to choose from inexpensive accommodations up to deluxe resorts and intimate boutique hotels as well as wide variety of services including a full service marina. The bustling town of Jaco is famous for its active nightlife and variety of restaurants with a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Plenty of activities are available during your stay at Jaco area, including natural history and adventure tours.

Carara Biological Reserve: The Carara Biological Reserve, with its 4700 hectares of transitional forest, is home to an amazing display of flora and fauna in Costa Rica. The refuge protects a combination of dry and wet climatic zones and their representative species. The endangered scarlet macaw is one of Carara's most valued residents. More than 50 pairs are bred in the reserve and can be seen migrating between the tropical wet forest and the mangrove as the sun sets and rises. Their nests are also protected against animal and human thieves thus guaranteeing the survival of the specie.

Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the forest on clearly marked trails and spot capuchin, spider and howler monkeys, coatis, ocelots, poison dart frogs, peccaries and great anteaters. Bird watching is great in the park and its surrounding areas where toucans, kingfishers, parrots, fiery billed aracari and scarlet macaws can easily be spotted. The nearby mangrove and wetland systems also provide a home to more than 400 species of birds, considered the largest collection of avian wildlife in Costa Rica and Central America.

Los Sueños Marina: is located next to Los Sueños Marriott Beach & Golf Resort, being the only government sanctioned marina in Costa Rica. With 200 wet slips accommodating vessels of up to 180 feet in length, and 100 dry slips for vessels of up to 35 feet in length, fuel dock, and full-time staff, the Los Sueños Marina is the ultimate full service port, thus being the most important site for sport fishing charters on the mid-pacific coast of Costa Rica. Marina Los Sueños is home to important yearly international tournaments such as Los Sueños Signature Billfish Series and the Los Sueños Marlin Invitational.

Esterillos: This beautiful beach area is located on the mid-pacific coast between the town of Jaco and Manuel Antonio National Park. Because of its beach length, Esterillos is divided in two areas, Esterillos Este (east) and Esterillos Oeste (west). Esterillos offers a variety of accommodation options with a beach adorned with silvery gray sands, estuaries and some mangrove swamps. This un-crowded destination is well known for its great surfing conditions especially at Esterillos Oeste with consistent beach breaks offering excellent wave forms. The area is approximately 25 minutes away from Jaco and a wide variety of optional tours and activities are available including visits to Manuel Antonio National Park.

Manuel Antonio: Being one of the most exclusive destinations in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is located on the mid pacific coast south of Jaco Beach. Home of the world famous Manuel Antonio National Park, this trendy coastal community offer its visitors the opportunity to enjoy one of the nicest beaches in Costa Rica along with an exhilarating combination of tropical forest on the coastline and white sand beaches.

There are a great variety of accommodations ranging from mid-size deluxe hotels up to small boutique style properties, perched on the mountainside with superb views overlooking the Pacific Ocean. During the day you may enjoy a wide variety of activities available to nearby locations including nature walks, boat tours, kayaking, horseback riding, canopy and deep sea fishing among others. At night, Manuel Antonio visitors can enjoy a great variety of restaurants and happening bars with a truly relaxing atmosphere.

Manuel Antonio National Park: Choosing between the forest and the beach will no longer be a problem when visiting Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica. The popular 682 hectares reserve protects a tropical rainforest lined by blue ocean waters and packed with diversity of flora and fauna. The well kept trails lead you to a lookout point offering breathtaking panoramic views of the park and the surrounding ocean. While walking through the forest you will come across white-faced capuchin, spider and howler monkeys, sloths, iguanas, coati scampers, toucans, parrots and scarlet macaws among others. If you prefer to relax at the beach, Manuel Antonio National Park offers within its boundaries four white sand beaches considered by many as the nicest in Costa Rica with a receded bay, coral reef and soothing tidal pools.

North Pacific

AREAS

Liberia: recent years Liberia has seen much urban development, and the new facilities of the Daniel Oduber Airport allow it to receive regular and charter flights from several cities in Canada and the United States. Because of it international flight receptive capability, Liberia has become the arrival hub for travelers heading to beach areas including those in the Nicoya Peninsula and Guanacaste Coast.

Rincon de la Vieja: This Park is named after the active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. Being one of the most accessible volcanoes of the area, you can reach the numerous cones, craters, and lagoons either on horseback or by foot. In here you will also find fumaroles and boiling mud pools, steam vents, and sulfurous hot springs with therapeutic properties. In the area there are a couple of comfortable hotels & lodges, mostly cozy, wood paneled cabins. Hot springs and mud baths are one of the main attractions at these beautiful mountain lodges.

Peninsula de Papagayo: Located in the north pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Guanacaste province and near to Liberia airport, the Gulf of Papagayo is one of the most recent growing travel destinations in Costa Rica thus becoming one of the most developed areas in the region. This beautiful beach destination is home to various all inclusive and premier luxury resorts as well as top of the line golf courses and a full service marina.

When visiting The Papagayo Peninsula visitors may choose from several beach destinations including locations such as the Gulf of Papagayo beaches, Playa Hermosa and Playa Panama. Each area offer visitors a distinctive flavor on accommodations and scenery, but all complying with most of the requirements upon which a nice beach is judged. Activities range from just fun and relaxation at your preferred beach location, up to adventure filled tours, deep sea fishing and natural history expeditions to nearby attractions.

Marina Papagayo: Located in Bahia de Culebra on the north pacific coast of Costa Rica, the first phase of the approximately 350-splip Marina Papagayo is planned to open in 2009. The new full service and five star marina will accommodate sport fishing boats and mega yachts alike, plus impressive facilities to provide residents and visitors a variety of services in the near future including a village with hotels, spa, condominiums, boutique shops and upscale bars and restaurants. The wet slips will be able to accommodate today's newer, larger mega-yachts and sport fishing boats ranging from 35 up to 240 feet.

Conchal: Being one of the most exotic beaches in Costa Rica, Conchal Beach is located in the Guanacaste north pacific coast of Costa Rica. Its name Conchal (shell) is due to the beautiful white sand beach made up of hundreds of millions tiny crushed shells. With one of the clearest waters along the north pacific coast, Conchal Beach is one of the best snorkeling spots in the area. Next to Conchal Beach is the impressive Paradissus Playa Conchal Resort, being one of the most luxurious hotels in the area. Also, the Garra de Leon Golf Course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. lays just paces away from the beach and is considered one of the best golf courses in Central America for its scenery. Plenty of activities are also available from Conchal including visits to national parks, fishing, diving, canopy adventures and spas.

Flamingo Beach: Tamarindo is the developed beach resort area along the Guanacaste coastline. Playa Flamingo, a long clean white sand beach, is one of the nicest beaches in Costa Rica. Playa Flamingo is located 75 km from the Liberia airport. Between Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito, Playa Flamingo or Flamingo Beach is the sole full-service marina between Acapulco and Panama on the Pacific coast of Central America. This location is a paradise of water sports, especially for those professionals of sea fishing activities.

Pinilla: Pinilla Beach is located just 15 minutes south from Tamarindo Beach in the Guanacaste north pacific coast of Costa Rica. Pinilla recently come into spotlight not only because of its residential development projects holding one of the best golf resorts in Central America, but also due to the recent opening of the new beach front JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa in the area.

Visiting the area through Visit Costa Rica Hotels allows visitors to either stay at Hacienda Pinilla on one of its stunning ocean-view homes or luxury condos or be pampered as well at the deluxe JW Marriott resort. Travelers can either enjoy a world class golf course but also partake on other interesting activities including nature tours, sport fishing, surfing, snorkeling or horseback riding.

Tamarindo Beach: Located in the Guanacaste north pacific coast of Costa Rica, Tamarindo shares with travelers an interesting mixture of surfing town, fishing village, accommodation alternatives and natural haven. Tamarindo and its neighbor beach of Langosta, offers visitors a pristine beach with crystal clear waters along with superb natural surroundings.

The picturesque town of Tamarindo, with its multicultural community, is a not to miss destination while visiting Costa Rica. There is a great variety of options for traveler's entertainment while wandering through the town, including trendy and small restaurants of all sorts, bars, several bakeries, art galleries, pottery stores and beauty spas among others. Accommodations range from small intimate hotels up to mid-size resorts; plus a wide variety of activities for all likings include water sports, surfing, sport fishing and natural history tours among others. Make sure not to miss a sunset in Tamarindo which is beyond compare.

Marino Las Baulas National Park: Located next to Tamarindo, the Marino Las Baulas National Park protects the beaches of Playa Grande, Langosta, Carbon and Ventanas, as well as the Tamarindo estuary and mangroves at the mouth of the Matapalo River and the San Francisco river estuary. The park is considered the largest nesting colony on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica for the Giant Leatherback sea turtles, with a population size of approximately 800 female turtles per year. Leatherbacks are the largest of the planets seven species of turtles, averaging 770 pounds and more than 5 feet in length. With a nesting season from November through April, witnessing the life cycle of these ancient giants is a moving experience that reminds visitors of how fragile nature is and what a great responsibility we have to protect it for future generations. Guided tours are available in conjunction with the park employees. For a minimum impact, a limited number of visitors are allowed each evening.

Nosara Beach: This secluded and relaxing beach is located in the province of Guanacaste on the north pacific coast of Costa Rica. The wide coral-colored shore stretches for almost 2 miles with several tide pools for knee-deep relaxation in this natural Jacuzzis. Nosara is surrounded by luxurious residential areas and small intimate hotels rising up to the nearby mountains and which can be reserved through Visit Costa Rica Hotels. Access to Nosara is easy through the town airstrip.Nosara area is home to the Ostional Wildlife Refuge where every year thousands of Olive Ridley sea turtles arrive to lay their eggs. Also, visitors may enjoy a great variety of flora and fauna where a huge variety of animals and birds can be seen thanks to the nearby tropical forest and mangrove swamp. Don't miss watching local fishermen using age old fishing practices to catch fish and explore the nearby rivers.

Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica is home to one of the most extraordinary events of nature, being the place where tens of thousands of Pacific Ridley sea turtles lay more than a million eggs on its sands. Every year, female turtles come ashore in this park during the rainy months of July through November to lay their eggs. This massive nesting event is known by locals as "arribadas" (arrivals). More than 100,000 nests may be made in one week in the hopes that a large percentage of hatchlings will survive predators such as crabs, coyotes, birds and humans. After seven weeks, baby turtles dig their way up to the surface and wait until the cover of night to sprint toward the ocean. Visitors are welcome to witness this amazing event as long as they don't interfere with nature.

Punta Islita: The secluded and pristine town of Islita is located in the Nicoya Peninsula, lying on the Guanacaste Province north pacific coast of Costa Rica. The town, which is a must see attraction by itself, is surrounded by the tropical forest and its peaceful and quite beach.

This non touristy area is home to the Punta Islita Deluxe Resort, where majority of visitors stay. Being an ideal location for those looking for a romantic hideaway, Islita is a perfect destination for an intimate vacation complemented by a wide variety of activities including wildlife observation, adventure tours such as canopy tours and horseback riding. Make sure to set time aside to enjoy the beach and be delighted as well with an impressive sunset.

Tambor Beach: Located south of the Nicoya Peninsula on the north pacific coast of Costa Rica, Tambor Beach is rests surrounded by green hills and white sand beaches with turquoise waters . The area of Tambor, also known as Bahia Ballena is a temporary home each year for migrating whales from the north in order to mate and give birth in these tropical waters. Chosen as the location for a US national TV series a few years ago, Tambor has become a fast growing destination where accommodations available varies from all inclusive resorts up to small boutique style hotels. Plenty of activities are at hand for visitors ranging from sunbathing on the beach up to adventure tours to nearby reserves and islands.

Curu National Wildlife Refuge: Located on the southern Nicoya Peninsula of northwestern Costa Rica, the Curu National Wildlife Refuge is home to one of the most beautiful beaches and protected bays in the peninsula. The surrounding forest trails allow visitors the opportunity to observe a variety of wildlife species including the white-faced, howler or spider monkeys, scarlet macaws, white tailed deer, collared peccary, coati, raccoons, coyotes, iguanas and hundreds of species of tropical and migratory birds. Curu is Costa Rica's first private national wildlife refuge, been an example of a successful sustainable development program. During the last two decades, Curu has become an ecotourism destination and a research center for students and scientists from Costa Rica and around the world.

Malpais & Santa Teresa: Located close to the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula on the north pacific coast of Costa Rica, the small coastal community of Mal Pais is becoming one of the hottest destinations in Costa Rica for discriminating travelers. Mal Pais with its lush vegetation along the coast and peaceful beach area is a perfect hideaway for relaxation.

Originally know as a unique getaway for surfing enthusiasts, Mal Pais and the nearby Santa Teresa Beach has become home to several pro surfers as their permanent home. Today, Mal Pais is one of the trendiest locations in Costa Rica offering visitors a wide variety of intimate and classy accommodations, bars and restaurants surrounded by the natural beauty of the area. Plenty of activities are available in Mal ranging from nature expeditions up to exciting adventure tours.

Cabo Blanco National Park: Being the first National Park created in Costa Rica, the 1172 hectares Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve is located on the pointy end of the Nicoya Peninsula and protects a wet and dry ecosystem. The park efficient trail system allows visitors to explore the lush forest and deserted beaches with fine white sand and refreshing tide pools. During a visit to the park you may see howler, capuchin and spider monkeys, coatis, snakes, anteaters, sloths, tepezcuintles, parakeets, herons, trogons and many other forest residents.

Northern Zone

AREAS

Sarapiqui: Considered to be one of the top locations for ecotourism in the country, Sarapiqui is located in Costa Rica's northern plains of Heredia province, where the refreshing humidity allows a green landscape covered by rainforest. The Sarapiqui River and the surrounding mountains in the area welcome visitors to enjoy at first hand its amazing and rich biodiversity. Sarapiqui area is home to several rainforest reserves and attractions for diverse likings. Visitors may visit one of the area prestigious natural reserves to enjoy an introduction to the biological diversity of Sarapiqui or experience a bird watching adventure along with a knowledgeable naturalist guide. For those who enjoy outdoor adventure activities, the Sarapiqui region also offers interesting options such as white water rafting expeditions on the pristine Sarapiqui River where beginners can venture down Class II and III rapids, canopy tours to glide through the rainforest tree tops or exhilarating rappel adventures

La Selva Biological Research Station: Originally established by in 1954, La Selva was born as a farm dedicated to the experimentation on mixed plantations for the improvement of natural resources management. The farm was bought by the Organization for Tropical Studies in 1968 and declared a private biological reserve and station. Since then, it has become one of the most important sites in the world for research on tropical rain forest. Over 240 scientific papers are published yearly from research conducted at the site. Today, La Selva comprises 3900 acres of tropical wet forests which average 13 feet of rainfall spread evenly throughout the year. Visitors are welcome for guided explorations of the reserve through their 50 kilometers of well kept trails (some are wheelchair accessible) or participate on one of their workshops including a chance to put what you have learned into action on the field.

La Tirimbina Rainforest Center: Reserve in Costa Rica offers visitors the unique opportunity to safely venture into the rainforest after dark through its well kept forest trails. Thousands of animals and insects run around hiding in the darkness, a nocturnal display that had never been seen by visitors before. Tirimbina is also home to the largest suspension bridge in the country, stretching for 262 meters from the Sarapiqui River into the reserves entrance. The walk above the trees gives visitors a different perspective of the green exuberance beneath and above the forest. The Tirimbina Rainforest Center, which administrates the reserve, also offers eco-education programs for grade school through university students, as well as facilities for school groups, volunteers and researchers.

San Ramon: Located on the Central Valley of Costa Rica just one hour northeast from San Jose lays the picturesque city of San Ramon. It is known as well as the "city of poets and artists" and has been the birthplace of three previous presidents in Costa Rica. San Ramon is known for its farming and agriculture but also for being a relaxing destination for travelers to experience natural attractions as well as Costa Rican culture and idiosyncrasy. San Ramon is home to Los Angeles Cloud Forest, which is easily accessible and offers a wide variety of activities. Nature walks, bird watching adventures or canopy tours are as well as cultural, historical and shopping tours visiting the towns of San Ramon and Sarchi. Wildlife is abundant in the cloud forest area, being home to several bird species, monkeys, deer, coatis and sloths.

Los Angeles Cloud Forest: Los Angeles Cloud Forest private reserve is located in the outskirts of San Ramon and protects approximately 840 hectares of primary and secondary forest. The air currents from the northern plains join the Pacific and Atlantic to fuse over the area, creating the climatic conditions for a cloud forest which technically should not exist due to its altitude. The reserve features a comprehensive network of trails classified by length and difficulty. During a nature walk through the forest, visitors may see a great variety of epiphyte plants such as moss, orchids and bromeliads, as well as wildlife such as agoutis, pacas, raccoons, howler monkeys and tapirs among other species. Los Angeles cloud forest is also ideal for bird watching as more than 250 different bird species have been recorded.

Arenal Volcano: Located between the Tilaran mountain range and San Carlos plains in Costa Rica, Arenal area is definitely a must for all travelers who visit Costa Rica to enjoy its natural richness. Arenal area is home to the impressive Arenal Volcano, which is one of the most active volcanoes in Costa Rica and the world. Rising 5,300 feet above sea level and with its beautiful conic silhouette, the volcano offer visitors a spectacular view which is enhanced at night when eruptions and lava rivers can be observed providing a natural firework show. Arenal area is also recognized for its diversity on natural attractions as well for a great variety of activities catering to the most diverse likings of visitors to Costa Rica. Natural history walks at the Arenal Volcano National Park or private reserves, relaxing natural hot-springs, bird watching excursions or adventure tours featuring whitewater rafting, canopy tours, horseback riding and rappelling are just a few among the extensive list of options.

Arenal Volcano: The impressive Arenal Volcano rises 5300 feet above the sea level and is located between the Tilaran mountain range and the San Carlos plains of Costa Rica. For more than 400 years the volcano remained dormant until 1968 year in which it started a constant activity until this day. When night falls visitors in the area may observe (weather permitting) a natural firework; the ground tremble and ash shoots into the sky as blazing lava flows down the cone. This spectacle can safely be watched from the road or many restaurants and hotels in the surrounding area. The Arenal Volcano lies within the Arenal Volcano National Park, where visitors can hike through short trails between 2-3 kilometers passing through secondary forests and old lava fields from previous large eruptions. Park Rangers are constantly monitoring the volcano activity for visitor's safety.

Arenal Lake: This 48 square mile man-made lake is located to the north near to the Arenal Volcano. This reservoir was formed by enlarging a small lake in the area and was finished back in 1979 with the completion of a dam. Lake Arenal has become a favorite of windsurfers seeking the rush of the Caribbean airstreams that reach up to 60 miles per hour. Fishermen are also attracted to the area in search of rainbow bass machaca and mojarra.

Arenal Hot Springs: Heated in the volcano's core, warm waters flow down the volcano mound creating phenomenal hot springs surrounded by the rainforest, tropical gardens and waterfalls. Just as an exotic spa, a dip in the natural pools will rejuvenate your body and soul. The mineral-rich water renews your skin, the steam cleanses your bode pores and the stream force will massage your back and relax your muscles. You may coordinate either during the day or night for visitors to enjoy from a variety of options and locations in the area to visit the Arenal hot springs.

Monteverde: Monteverde Cloudforest was founded about 40 years ago by a small group of conservation-minded Quakers who were looking for a peaceful place to live. Its Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the most outstanding wild life sanctuaries in the tropics. This high elevation rain forest offers miles of trails with excellent opportunities for bird watching. The resplendent Quetzal is often sighted up here (mostly January to July). It is for this reason that more visitors are attracted to this private reserve than to any other in Costa Rica. Monteverde Cloud forest offers a wide range of hotel accommodation options that include everything from moderate hotels to deluxe and secluded mountain lodges.

The area is home to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, considered one of the most outstanding wildlife refuges in the world. Monteverde Reserve protects eight different life zones on its 25,730 acres which stretch from the Caribbean to the Pacific slopes, and it is home to over 400 species of birds, 100 species of mammals and almost 1,500 species of plants.

Plenty of activities are available in Monteverde, allowing visitors to truly enjoy a firsthand experience with nature in this beautiful area. Natural History walks with naturalist guides, horseback riding excursions, tree top walkways or night walks through the cloud forest are just a few of them.

Monteverde Reserve: The 25 730 acres Monteverde Private reserve stretches from the Caribbean to the Pacific Slopes of Costa Rica. The reserve is operated by the Tropical Science Center of Costa Rica and is a cloud forest rather than a rainforest because the mist actually goes through the woods due to the high altitude. The area provides home to millions of birds, insects, jaguars, tapirs, toucans, howler monkeys, coatis, tarantulas and an endless list of animals and plants. More than 450 different species of orchids are part of its vegetation, along with 400 other species of epiphytes (parasite plants), mosses, bromeliads and ferns. Thousands of insects also live in the foliage contributing to the richness of the ecosystem. This elfin forest used to be home of the golden toad, an endemic specie discovered in Monteverde almost 50 years ago. In spite of the conservation efforts this amphibian was last spotted back in 1998 and is now believed extinct. One of the main visitor's attractions is searching for the Resplendent Quetzal. Known for its emerald and ruby colored plumage, this endangered species is a permanent resident of the cloud forest and can easily be seen from December to August.

Santa Elena Rain Forest: The Santa Elena Rain Forest located next to Monteverde Reserve in Costa Rica, is a true sample that conservation efforts could not be achieved if it wasn't for the community's involvement. This private non-profit refuge is operated by the Santa Elena Agricultural High School and it is dedicated to environmental education, conservation and eco-tourism. Opened back in 1990, the 1440 acres reserve is located on the same mountain range as the Moneverde Reserve. Although they share plenty of their flora and fauna, the Santa Elena Reserve offers interesting options for its exploration including their conventional 7 miles trails to explore its natural wonders and gain a new perspective from the tree tops. The reserve higher altitude (5600 feet above sea level) offer visitors an impressive view of the Arenal Volcano and lake.

Tenorio Volcano & Rio Celeste: Located an estimated 50km from Liberia, surrounded by the verdant jungle and primary forest reserves, the Tenorio & Miravalles Volcano area offers pristine natural environment and breathtaking beauty. The volcanoes offer panoramic views of the San Carlos lowlands, Cano Negro National Reserve, Lake Nicaragua and the Lake Arenal. Secluded and fascinating, the area is off the beaten path yet the road system here is excellent. The mountain tops offer spring-like temperatures and weather remains humid the year round.

The rugged volcanic landscape of Tenorio and its surrounding area is home to a variety of exotic creatures and to a verdant tropical jungle. Sitting right across from Tenorio Volcano is the sister volcano of Miravalles. Famous for having the highest peak in Cordillera de Guanacaste, the dormant volcano of Miravalles offers some amazing geological activity. Hot sulfur springs, steam spewing fishers and bubbling mud pools can be found all around the area.

Rio Celeste, the name of which means "heavenly river," runs through the lush Tenorio Volcano National Park in the northern Costa Rican provinces of Alajuela and Guanacaste. The first thing that visitors will see on a hike near Rio Celeste is the stream's well-known waterfall, a majestic cascade located close to the beginning of the trail. The waterfall can be seen from the top of the path, but visitors hoping for a better view can go down a steep trail that leads to the base of the attraction. From the bottom, tourists can watch as the sky-blue waters crash down around them into a brightly colored pool.

Caribbean

AREAS

Cahuita National Park: Located north from Puerto Viejo, Cahuita National Park in Costa Rica is the place where exuberant mountains meet the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. The reserve includes 1097 hectares of land and 22400 hectares of surrounding sea protecting the area wildlife above and below the water. Costa Rica's most valuable coral reef lies beneath the surf at Cahuita, where more than 35 different species have been identified including Elkhorn, sea fans and brain coral. Crustaceans and schools of colorful salt-water fish swim about by the thousands feeding on 128 varieties of algae. Snorkeling in the area allows a closer look at the marine spectacle but strict rules are enforced to preserve these fragile ecosystems. Visitors can also relax on the sand to observe the park wildlife including white-faced monkeys, coatis, iguanas, and raccoons which wander off into the beach for a sun bath or wander through the park nature.

Tortuguero National Park: Tortuguero is quite unique. It is usually called the "Costa Rican Amazon" because most of the lodges here resemble those Amazonian lodges found in Peru and Brazil. The best time to come is during the turtle hatching months which expand between July and October. Located on the north Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, this area is home to Tortuguero National Park which landscape is dominated by a peculiar blend of coastal rainforest and wetlands. This ecological destination is famous for its natural diversity as well as being the most important turtle nesting site for the Green Sea Turtle on the entire western half of the Caribbean.

The large network of channels and lakes are basically the "roads" to guide you through the heart of this amazing jungle where you may observe an extensive variety of birds, monkeys and other wildlife species during your visit. Being a quiet and relaxing destination to bond with nature, Visit Costa Rica Hotels offer Tortuguero visitors a variety of jungle lodges from where you can partake on several nature oriented expeditions or fishing tours.

Packed with wildlife and unspoiled beauty lined by the Caribbean Sea, the 19000 hectares Tortuguero National Park is a must to all travelers in Costa Rica. Experts have identified 11 different habitats, 2000 plant species, 400 varieties of trees, 60 types of amphibians, 111 species of reptiles, 60 kinds of mammals and 30 species of freshwater fish. A large network of channels and lakes guide visitors through the heart of the jungle as monkeys, iguanas, aracarias, oropendolas, parrots and toucans fly overhead. Bird watching is excellent as well, with more than 300 different species flying through the surrounding rainforest. Every year between the months of February and October, Tortuguero Park beaches areas are visited by the giant hawksbill, leatherback and green sea turtles to lay their eggs. The park is considered to be the most important nesting site of green turtles in the hemisphere. Visitors are welcome to observe this event along with the park rangers.

Puerto Viejo: Puerto Viejo is one of the most cultural diverse locations in Costa Rica. The town is home not only to locals but also people from 44 different nationalities which visited the area, fell in love with it and decided to stay. Being a preferred destination for bohemian-style travelers, this picturesque town offers visitors a laid-back Caribbean vibe, complemented with a wide variety of activities including yoga classes, spa treatments, alternative therapies and massages.

Dining in Puerto Viejo due to its ethnic diversity is a must for all visitors. The culinary fare reflects this eclectic mixture including traditional Caribbean cuisine, Creole, Thai, Mexican, Spanish, Italian and amazing sea food fresh out of the water. The assorted flavors can be sampled either in small sodas or nicer restaurants that feature authentic recipes and native chefs.Artists of different sorts display their talents in several art galleries and stores where handcrafted souvenirs can be purchased. After sunset, the town's turns into party central when travelers flock from the surrounding areas to visit popular bars and discos that shake to the reggae beat.

Central Valley

AREAS

San Jose: includes San Jose the capital of Costa Rica, Alajuela, the Poas and Irazu Volcano areas, Turrialba and San Gerardo de Dota. Most people that vacation in Costa Rica enter at the San Jose International Airport (Juan Santa Maria) located in the Central Valley. There you will find luxurious hotels and golf resorts, boutique bed and breakfasts, and getaway mountain spas retreats. The weather is like an eternal spring.

Alajuela: The town of Alajuela is strategically located on the way to the Pacific coast and only a few minutes away from theInternational Airport. Even though it is Costa Rica second biggest city, Alajuela retain a small town feel rich in local traditions. The town offers nicely kept parks to relax as well as interesting sites to wander around such as the town's central market where fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and all kink of knick-knacks can be found.
Poas Volcano: Being one of the most developed National Parks in Costa Rica, the Poas Volcano offers as well one of the most impressive views in the country. Visitors may observe sulfur pools bubble and smoke rises from the main basin while exploring the well kept trails. The area is home to a dwarf cloud forest and two impressive craters, one of them of 400 meter-diameter and still active and another which holds a beautiful jade colored lake.

Turrialba: Conveniently located between San Jose and the Caribbean Coast, this lively region is distinguished for its green rolling hills and fertile volcanic farmland. Turrialba's rich volcanic soil is ideal for the growth of coffee, sugar cane, macadamia, and other crops. It is also famous for its cheese, manufacturing hand-sewn professional baseballs used in the World Series and for its open air fruit and vegetable markets with some of the best produce available in Costa Rica. At Turrialba visitors can find anything from a great plantation style hotel to a cozy and affordably priced lodge.
Irazu Volcano: One of the most frequented national parks in Costa Rica is the Irazu Volcano National Park that lies around 32 km from Cartago, the country's former capital. Home to Costa Rica's highest active volcano Irazu, which stands at around 11,260 feet, this national park is conveniently located close to the city, and is a short car drive away.

San Gerardo de Dota: San Gerardo has become recently a must place to visit for those birdwatchers aiming to spot the Resplendent Quetzal. Located near Cerro de la Muerte, at an altitude of 7000 ft above sea level, surrounded by the unspoiled flora of the area.