Costa Rica has been divided by the travel agencies and touristic guides by zones. These zones are:
CENTRAL VALLEY: (Things To Do and See)
TURU BA RI TROPICAL PARK: Turubari is a totally authentic, completely natural and breathtakingly beautiful tropical eco-park set on 650 acres in the heart of Costa Rica, about an hour’s bus ride from Puntarenas. In operation since May 2003, this magnificent natural attraction features an immense tropical garden with many botanical collections – among them palms, cactus, bamboo, bromeliads and orchids – plus an herbarium growing curative species and spices for Costa Rican cuisine. There are also two fine restaurants, several trails and lookouts, the park’s own countryside farm and some 40 species of butterflies in their own special garden. You will also take a ride on the Turubari Sky Ride, a six-person gondola – there are eight of these modern cars – suspended high above the rain forest canopy. These state-of-the-art conveyances on the 2,000 foot-long tramway, especially designed for rider safety and comfort, have excellent window area that provides maximum viewing of the entire park as you glide quietly 265 feet above it. This seven-hour outing includes the 60-75 minute ride each way to Turubari Park, complimentary soft drinks and tropical fruits on the air-conditioned bus, plus an English-speaking naturalist guide. Also included is a great lunch, that consists of a bountiful buffet, sure to please all. Designed to accommodate most everyone, from kids to grandparents, this Turubari Tropical Park adventure will provide many moments to remember your day in Costa Rica.
THE ARENAL VOLCANO: The Arenal Volcano is the most active volcano in Central America. Travel to La Fortuna and see this rumbling giant spew lava in nightime pyrotechnic shows. Also enjoy the view during a number of different daytime tours around La Fortuna, including the hot springs, waterfalls, and more. Come see the Arenal Volcano. Arenal volcano is the most spectacularly active in Costa Rica. Hotels in the region tout their views of the lava flows and red hot boulders ejected from the volcano glowing in the darkness. Although eruptions are the main attraction, you should be aware that even in the dry season the clouds sometimes obscure the top of the volcano, and your chances of seeing a pyroclastic display are lessened in the rainy season. Volcano watching is better than a fifty-fifty proposition, but you should plan on taking advantage of some of the other attractions in the area, and consider it a bonus if you see Arenal put on a huge display. These tips will also help you maximize your chances of seeing a big pyroclastic show
LA FORTUNA WATERFALL: The La Fortuna Waterfall offers one of the most impressive views in all of Costa Rica. This 70-meter ribbon of water is surrounded by lush tropical forest protected by an important conservation effort. The La Fortuna Waterfall offers some of the most gorgeous scenery in all of Costa Rica. The 70-meter ribbon of water falls into a great swimming hole, surrounded by lush tropical forest, protected by the local conservation project. The water below is a greenish-blue that makes for a pleasing view. Also, downstream from the waterfall you can enjoy a more relaxing dip in calmer waters. If you don’t care to go to the forest floor where the waterfall…falls, you can simply take a picture for the lookout point that offers the view featured in the picture at the bottom of this page. Please note, however, that I DO recommend making the descent to see this magnificent waterfall in all its splendor.
RIO CELESTE: Rio Celeste is an enchanting river surrounded by lush tropical forest and dyed blue by minerals from the Tenorio Volcano. Travel in Costa Rica has largely left out this natural wonder that features the country’s best waterfall scene. Check out Rio Celeste. Rio Celeste is the best kept secret in all of Costa Rica. The Light Blue River, a winding body of water surrounded by amazing rainforest in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, sports one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful waterfalls, natural hot springs, as well as the unique phenomenon of clear water turning blue by means of a volcanic chemical reaction. They say that sulphur emitted from volcanic activity below mixes with calcium carbonate to make the pretty light blue. I say it’s magic. Some may ask: “Why is Rio Celeste such a secret?” Well, tourism in Costa Rica has only started to hit its stride in the last decade or so. Only recently have tourists started to take advantage of the natural wonders that Northern Costa Rica has to offer. Since Rio Celeste is located north of the main tourism center, La Fortuna, Rio Celeste still attracts very few visitors, meaning that a very tranquil hike in the woods is in store for the folks who are willing to make the trek off the beaten path up to Guatuso.
CAVERNAS DE VENADO: Discover the Venado Caves, Costa Rica’s strangest, yet most exhilarating tourism experience. For those who don’t mind getting wet and muddy, this fascinating underground adventure will take you through a labyrinth of passages and chambers in which you will see an interesting rock formation called, “La Papaya,” stalactites, stalagmites, bats, spiders and proof that the caves were at one time at the bottom of the ocean. The caves are located only 45 minutes from La Fortuna. The amazing Venado Caves feature feature wonderful limestone rocks, stalactites, stalagmites, and corals. Whimsical stone formations are shaped by the forces of an underground river. The caves first formed during the Miocene Period, about 15 to 20 million years ago. After their formation, the caves remained below sea level for an extended period of time before tectonic movements brought them to the surface. At this time, the Guatuzos aborigines became the first people to stumble upon their discovery. On the Venado Cave Tour, we walk through the river and waterfalls at the upper portion of the cave. Then we will make our way into the dark caves and seek to discover interesting marine fossils, bats, spider, crickets, and other insects. The tour is led by a bilingual guide (English-Spanish,) and it runs for about 1.5 hours.
COSTA RICA CARIBBEAN COAST: (Things To Do and See)
Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is a world apart from the rest of the country. The pace is slower, the food is spicier, the tropical heat is more palpable, and the rhythmic lilt of patois and reggae music fills the air.
CAHUITA NATIONAL PARK: The beat and the feel are inescapable. We rode our bikes into Cahuita a scorching sun drenched afternoon and were met by strains of Bob Marley through the palms. After a quick swim while the sun set, we found a place to stay and then had an incredible fish dinner under the stars. For breakfast we stopped at the little bread stand for banana bread, Jamaican spice cake, and papaya juice; there was no doubt we had reached the Caribbean coast.
The Caribbean coast was settled Africans brought in by way of Jamaica in the late 1800′s to build the coffee railroad from San José, or to work the banana plantations. The Caribbean has an unmatched rhythm and Cahuita National Park is as much about culture as wildlife and botany.When the area was first protected as a Marine National monument in 1970 there were many disgruntled farmers and inhabitants, and several hundred people gathered at a community meeting to speak against the park. According to D. R. Wallace’s Story of Costa Rica’s National Parks, Alvaro Ugalde, was the last speaker, and the only one who was for the park. But, he turned the sentiments of the community by pointing out that the likely alternative to a National Park would be a “mass of hotels, marinas and golf courses which nobody wanted except foreign companies waiting on the sidelines.” This independent spirit has persisted, and the development of the area has been by small local owner operators and Alvaro Ugalde is today recognized as one of the fathers of Costa Rica’s National Parks system.Attractions
Cahuita National Park is best know for the coral reefs close to shore. In the dry season, there is good snorkeling from the beach, and you are likely to see light yellow brain, elkhorn, and blue staghorn corals, sea fans, and gorgonians as a back drop to the more than 500 species of fish endemic to the reefs. If the corals, fish, lobsters and clams don’t hold your attention, there are also two sunken ships to explore. They are well known and in shallow water so the likelyhood of treasure is low, but the exposed cannons insinuate they are protecting something secret.The hiking trail from the Kelly Creek station at Cahuita village, around the point to the Puerto Vargas is an excellent route to spot green ibis, yellow-crowned night herons, Northern boat-billed herons, Swainson toucans, keel-billed toucans, rufous kingfishers, and the Central American curassow. These feathered friends will most likely appear while you are in the middle of wading the tannin stained waters of the Perozoso (Sloth) River, and trying to extract your camera from your fanny pack to capture a photo of the tamandua, paca, coati, raccoon, or agouti that you’ve spotted at the edge of the trees.
The villages of Cahuita and Puerto Viejo are not in the National Park, but their Caribbean attitude mixed with the multicultural community of locals and expatriates from North America and Europe are definitely a local attraction. Excellent French and Italian Cusine compliment the local spicy seafood fare and the music plays long into the night.
TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK:
COSTA RICA SOUTHERN PACIFIC COAST (Things To Do and See)
BALLENA MARINE NATIONAL PARK: CANO ISLAND: CHRRIPO NATIONAL PARK: CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK: DRAKE BAY: DOMINICAL BEACH: NAUYACA WATERFALLS OSA PENINSULE ARCO BEACH CACAO BEACH TORTUGA BEACH VENTANA BEACH JIMENEZ PORT UVITA BEACH ZANCUDO BEACH: GOLFITO TOUR: ——————————————————————————– Central Pacific Coast Nicoya Peninsule Northern Zone