Costa Rica Vacations
The Pure Joy Of Costa Rica Vacations
Costa Rica covers less than 20,000 square miles, but is home to beautiful beaches, lush green rainforests, national parks, active volcanoes and numerous species of flora and fauna. A vacation to Costa Rica reveals the magic of one of the greenest countries in the world.
What Are The Best Months To Visit Costa Rica?
For a small nation, Costa Rica weather is incredibly varied. The beaches are warm and sunny all year round. The rainforests are cool and humid. The highlands can get quite cold.
The high tourist season is the dry period between December and April. Most tourists plan their vacations to Costa Rica during these months. It rains less at this time and even remote areas remain accessible. However, since Costa Rican schools close from December to February, the beaches are at their busiest. Tourists planning their Costa Rica vacations during the peak season must start well in advance to get the cheapest and best Costa Rica vacation package deals.
Tourists on a shoestring budget should stay away during the peak season. Lodging and flights are at their costliest during this time. For the cheapest Costa Rica vacations, visit during the initial weeks of the rainy season, which begins in May. With the arrival of the rains, Costa Rica hotels and lodges reduce their room rates considerably. The only disadvantage to Costa Rica vacations during the rains is that roads get muddy and some areas become inaccessible.
The timing of your Costa Rica vacation will also depends on your list of preferred activities. If you are a surfer, head to the country's Pacific Coast during the rains or to the Caribbean coast between November and May. Wildlife and bird watchers must plan their Costa Rica vacations based on the seasons of the animals and birds they wish to spot. For instance, green turtles can only be spotted on the Caribbean coast between August and September.
Costa Rica Honeymoons
Costa Rica honeymoons offer something for every couple. If you want a laidback vacation, pack a picnic lunch and head for the scenic Costa Rica beaches. The Nicoya Peninsula is among the prettiest beaches in the country. The shores of Santa Teresa and Punta Islita are also beautiful vacation spots for couples. Tamarindo is a hit among couples who love surfing. And you can get your fill of reggae music at the beaches of Puerto Viejo.
Add romance to your Costa Rica honeymoons with a romantic sunset cruise aboard a sailboat. Sailboat rides are available from busier beaches like Tamarindo and Playa del Coco. The trips include snorkeling and kayaking at a nearby island. Alcohol flows freely on these rides. There is also music, dancing and a light dinner.
While planning your romantic holiday, look for all inclusive Costa Rica honeymoon packages. There are Costa Rican resorts and hotels that offer special deals and big discounts for couples.
For a dash of adventure, take a romantic night tour of the Arenal Volcano or zipline through the cloud forests of Monteverde. Wildlife enthusiasts can trek through the Manuel Antonio National Park forests, and then relax on one of three adjoining white sand beaches.
Family Vacations In Costa Rica
Costa Rica family vacations are always exciting. Water babies can go scuba diving in the islands near Playa del Coco in Guanacaste or the Isla del Cano in the South Pacific. For a longer Costa Rica family trip, take the boat ride from the Costa Rican mainland to Isla del Coco.
Tamarindo, Witch's Rock and Salsa Brava provide the best waves for Costa Rica surf vacations. If you are traveling with kids, sign them up for a quick surfing lesson. Searching for less crowded surfing spots? Santa Teresa and Nosara are your top picks.
Get an adrenalin rush by booking a Costa Rica adventure trip. Ride ATVs down the beach, go waterfall rappelling or zipline through the Costa Rican jungles. Face the challenge of whitewater rafting or kayaking down the Rio Toro. Convince your family to go on a subterranean adventure through the Venado Caves.
Take younger children on educational tours. The Children's Museum in San Jose, Costa Rica has several innovative and entertaining displays. On the Pacific coast, the Manuel Antonio National Park is a must-visit – it houses sloths, colorful frogs and several species of monkeys. Kids will also enjoy watching turtles and crocodiles basking in the sun at the Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast.
The Arenal Volcano National Park is ideal for hiking. The warm waters of the Tabocan hot springs are a big hit with the kids. When in Monteverde, take the Sky Walk, a series of suspension bridges that offer a breathtaking view of the cloud forests.
Costa Rica Vacations: The Best Costa Rica Beaches
Jaco on the Pacific Coast is among the busiest beaches in Costa Rica. It has a rocking nightlife, casinos and restaurants and is a favorite with surfers. Some of the biggest waves grace the waters off Tamarindo, but Playa Dominical has also emerged as a popular destination for Costa Rica surf vacations.
Looking for romance? Head to the pink sand beaches of Tambor. If you are lucky, you might even spot a whale at this Costa Rica beach. The stunning Puerto Veijo in the South of Limon is known for its breathtaking sunrises. But if you want to be dazzled by the natural beauty, the shores of Manuel Antonio are among the most beautiful in the country.
Costa Rica holidays offer much opportunity for wildlife spotting. The shores of Tortuguero lead in this respect. The Tortuguero National Park is home to 16 endangered species including manatees, tapirs and green sea turtles. Crocodiles and Capuchin monkeys are sometimes spotted on the shores of Montezuma, while the occasional giant leatherback turtle swims to the shores of the busy Playa Tamarindo. The waters of surfer's paradise Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are rich with dolphins and manta rays. Take a boat tour for a closer view of the rich marine life.
Costa Rica Vacations: Volcano Tourism
Vacations to Costa Rica are not complete without a daylong tour to the Arenal Volcano. Located in the northern lowlands of this tiny, exotic nation, the Arenal Volcano ended its eruptive cycle in October last year. The volcano had been erupting since 1968. The absence of explosions from now onwards will be a great loss to the tourist community. However, that should not take away from the rugged magnificence of this symmetrical volcano that towers over the neighboring countryside from an imposing height of 5,437 feet.
Scenic hiking trails lead up the mountain slopes and through the rainforests. The Arenal Volcano National Park is home to a number of hot springs (believed to have curative qualities) and calm rivers. The Los Perdidos Hot Springs are one of the most popular Costa Rica tourist attractions.
The more daring tourists can get their adrenalin rush by river rafting, rappelling up the mountain slopes or ecogliding through the rainforests. While at Arenal, sign up for a Costa Rican caving tour for a closer look at stalactites, stalagmites and interesting rock formations.
Also on offer are horseback and taxi-boat tours to the cloud forests of Monteverde. Tourists who want to go click-happy with their cameras should take the sky tram tour over the Arenal Volcano National Park for the best views.
Another popular volcano destination in Costa Rica is the Irazu Volcano National Park. The Irazu Volcano last erupted in the 1960s but steam continues to emerge out of its crater. The main attraction here is the moonscape-like terrain. Scorched trees and craters are reminders of the last explosion. The mineral pools in the area display brilliant colors and are a photographer's delight.
The Best Way To Get To Costa Rica Vacations
Most international flights to Costa Rica land at the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Juan. In recent years, however, more and more international flights have been landing at the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia. Tourists headed for Guanacaste or the Nicuyan Peninsula can save travel time by flying directly to Liberia.
Costa Rica enjoys good air connectivity with the United States. Costa Rica flights from the US take anywhere between three and seven hours. There are some direct Costa Rica flights from Europe, but many European tourists take a connecting flight from the US on their journey here.
Cruise liners such as Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean also frequent these shores. The country has four commercial ports in Caldera, Puntarenas, Golfito and Moin.
On reaching Costa Rica, renting a car is a good idea. It minimizes dependence on public transport during rainy days.
Getting around Costa Rica is not a problem though. Few Costa Ricans own cars and the public transportation system is good. There are tourist class buses connecting travelers to even remote towns, although bus frequency may be limited in some cases.
Tourists on a Costa Rica vacation who have money to spare but no extra time can take an internal flight to their destination. Private chartered flights are easy to book. Moreover, operators like Sansa and Nature Air offer cheap Costa Rica vacation packages as well.