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Destinations Central America Costa Rica

Small group adventure holidays to Costa Rica

For tropical paradise, beach life and a sense of adventure, a holiday to Costa Rica is hard to beat. Meaning "Rich Coast" in Spanish, this country really lives up to its name. Situated between the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east, Costa Rica is a wildlife and adventure-lover's paradise, where unspoilt beaches meet tropical forests, jungle waterways and fiery volcanoes.

Most people travel to Costa Rica for one of two things: adventure, or wildlife. An Explore holiday to Costa Rica combines both, visiting a range of the country's biodiverse national parks and varied coastlines. This small country has long been a world leader in conservation policies, and its national parks encompass over 25% of the small country's total landmass - the highest in the world. The best way to support these conservation policies is to visit these parks during your visit.

Most first time visitors to Costa Rica will visit the key sites of Manuel Antonio, Arenal, the Monteverde Cloudforest, and perhaps the wetlands and waterways of the Tortuguero National Park. The Arenal Volcano National Park has rafting and hiking galore, in the shadow of the famous and still (occasionally) smoking volcano, while Monteverde is a must-visit for birdwatchers and wildlife lovers. The low lying cloud that hangs over the jungle canopy has created a very different microclimate to other tropical rainforests in Costa Rica, so for a spread of diverse wildlife, its a good idea to visit Monteverde in conjunction with another park. It is particularly well known for its set of canopy walkways, or 'hanging bridges', and zip wires, that give you a birds eye view of the forest.

With both a Pacific and Caribbean coast to discover, Costa Rica has a large number of golden beaches and rugged waterways to explore. The Caribbean coast's Tortuguero National Park is a remote gem - its jungle covered canals and lodges are only accessible by boat, and it is especially popular among the turtle enthusiasts who go to watch the variety of sea turtles that return each year to nest on its beaches.

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Small group adventure holidays to Costa Rica

Costa Rica has such a diverse climate that there is really no bad time to visit - it just depends what your priorities are.

Broadly speaking, Costa Rica is at it's driest and sunniest from December to April on the Pacific side, and from March to September on the Caribbean side. The 'green' season (rainy season) is usually from the end of April to the start of October, everywhere aside from the Caribbean coast which has its dry season at this time. Confused yet?!

Due to Costa Rica's dry season, the peak times of December to mid-January can be busy, with tourist numbers increased particularly on the dry Pacific side and in the central mountainous zone. If you want to travel to Costa Rica in the dry season, we'd recommend February and March as slightly quieter months. This is also a great time to visit the beaches around Manuel Antonio and Dominical for a bit of sun and relaxation after an adventurous trip.

However, the 'green' season is also an excellent time for a holiday in Costa Rica - the rainforest is lush and green for a reason, and the early months of the rainy season in May and June can be one of the best times to appreciate the verdant forest. Importantly, between July and early October is turtle nesting season in Tortuguero, with the hatchlings emerging around two months after the eggs are laid. Contrary to the rest of the country, this is the dry season so it's also a perfect time to explore the waterways and canals that are within the national park.

Whenever you decide to travel, it's important to remember that there is a reason why Costa Rica is filled with 'rain'forest. It can rain at any time, but we recommend packing a poncho, a sturdy pair of shoes, and a good attitude to get out into the forest and enjoy it!

As well as being consistently one of the world's happiest countries, Costa Rica is renowned for its high-octane thrills and amazingly diverse ecosystem (which accounts for over 5% of the world's plant and animal species, on just 0.03% of the earth's surface). But what can you expect from a adventure and wildlife holiday to Costa Rica? We've put our top five adventure and wildlife moments together to fulfil your ultimate Costa Rica holiday experience.

Adventure

1. Zip-lining is an integral part of any Costa Rica trip. With a wide range of wires to choose from in many of the national parks, its never been easier to fly through the air, finding toucans and monkeys in the jungle canopy as you stand on a 100-foot hanging platform.

2. Costa Rica's hanging bridge experiences are an awesome way to combine wildlife and adventure, getting you up to canopy-level and having a birds-eye view of the jungle floor.

3. Whitewater rafting is one for the real thrill-seekers. You can get out onto the class III-IV rapids of the Pacuare River and be paddling through the stunning forest scenery in no time.

4. Discovering Costa Rica on two wheels means more access to hidden corners of the country: freewheeling down the side of a volcano or exploring tiny off-the-beaten-track villages that tour buses aren't able to reach.

5. While maybe not the most high-octane of Costa Rica's adventure pursuits, a night walk in the forest can be just as thrilling as rafting or zip-lining - imagine turning off your torch and walking head first into a giant spider's web, or uncovering tree snakes dangling from the branches overhead. In the forest you never know what is going to happen!

Costa Rica Wildlife

1. Green turtles. See these magnificent creatures nesting on the beaches of Tortuguero from June to October - this National Park is one of the most important green turtle nesting sites in the western Caribbean.

2. Quetzals. Get your binoculars at the ready for this one - the elusive resplendant quetzal is Costa Rica's hallmark bird. Endangered and very difficult to spot, it's definitely one to write home about.

3. Keelbilled Toucan. These birds are postcard-worthy for their beautiful long, colourful beak. If you're travelling into the Monteverde Cloudforest Reesrve, you're likely to see these travelling in small flocks, and hear them singing to you.

4. Orchids. Home to an incredible 1300 identified species of orchid, this is one flower that should make your bucket list. Costa Rica's national flower is a type of orchid - the Guaria Morada, a rich purple-coloured flower that blooms from January to April.

5. Sloths. This is usually on the top of a must-see wildlife list, so it's fortunate that you can find them almost everywhere in Costa Rica - even hanging by the side of the road! Manuel Antonio National Park is a great place to spot them, as it has clear and wide trails with lots of room to look around at the canopy.

 

tailor-made holiday to Costa Rica allows you freedom to create the perfect itinerary for you. You may choose to combine the highlights of Arenal Volcano and Monteverde with less-visited Corcovado National Park, or head to the Caribbean Coast to try surfing in Puerto Viejo, you could even pop over the border into Panama to stay on the tropical islands of Bocas del Toro.

Tailor-make your holiday to Costa Rica to include a relaxing break on Nicoya Peninsula’s beaches, chose an indulgent spa hotel or go horse riding in Guanacaste. Whatever you choose to see and do, our Explore Tailormade Regional Specialists can arrange those little extra moments to create the ideal holiday for you.

Call the Tailormade team today on 01252 883 184 for help, advice and to get a quotation.

 

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