As one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, Costa Rica has a huge abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities, beautiful scenery and smiley, friendly locals. The activities on offer make Costa Rica the perfect destination for families, as there is plenty to keep the kids occupied; luxury spa hotels make it an indulgent getaway for a honeymoon and special occasion holidays, or for the adrenaline-junkie, why not get off the beaten track on a self-drive itinerary that includes whitewater rafting, snorkelling and canopy walkways.
Our tailor-made regional specialists help you plan a holiday, with as much activity or relaxation as you want.
Cloud Forests – The famous Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves, Selvatura Park, the Children’s Eternal Rainforest and many smaller, privately run parks can be found around the misty highlands in the north of the country. For something a little less-visited, head south of San Jose and discover the dense, moss-covered forests Los Quetzales National Park. This is a birders' paradise with over 200 species, most notably, the resplendent quetzal. Explore the forest trails with a guide who will show you the different species of flora and fauna, enjoy hummingbird gardens where the territorial birds zip past and get up close to the snakes and lizards in the reptile houses.
Activities – Treetop canopy walkways, hummingbird gardens, reptile houses, evening bat walks, coffee and sugar estates, butterfly houses.
Flora and fauna – Large morpho butterflies, colorful toucans and quetzals, noisy howler monkeys, lazy sloths, bright green basilisk lizards… the list of wildlife in Costa Rica is endless. Our trained guides will help you observe some of the most interesting birdlife, animals and insects, from tiny tree frogs to huge leatherback turtles. Costa Rica has around 12,000 plant species including over 1,000 species of orchid; the variety of different colours dotted around the lush greens of the national parks is enchanting. Be sure to check inside the small well of rainwater in the bromeliads as there may be a small ‘blue jeans’ frog hiding.
Activities – Bird watching, photography, hiking.
Volcanoes – Costa Rica has over 100 volcanoes from the northern borders of Nicaragua to the Panama in the south. Just outside of San Jose is Poas Volcano, where you can take the short, easy hike up to the crater rim. On a clear day, witness the sulphuric smoke puffing out of the crater base before walking up to Botos Lagoon, a secondary crater filled with bright green rain water. Arenal Volcano is the most well-known in the country; the classic Stromboli-type stratovolcano stands out on the horizon, surrounded by Lake Arenal and the national park. In the north-west is the Guanacaste region and home to Rincon de La Vieja Volcano and national park. The volcano is still active and so a highlight of the area is relaxing in the hot springs and thermal mud baths.
Activities – Horse riding, hiking, hot springs, mud baths, kayaking on Lake Arenal.
Beaches – Due to its location between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica boasts some wonderful beaches. One of the most visited beach destinations is around Manuel Antonio National Park, just a few hours south of San Jose. For something a little quieter, head further south to the Osa Peninsula where you can relax on the deserted beaches one day or trek through Corcovado National Park the next. To the north, around Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula, there are a range of 5* resorts, chilled-out surf beaches and bohemian coastal towns. On the southern Caribbean coast are Cahuita National Park (very similar to Manuel Antonio National Park) and the nearby town of Puerto Viejo. With a strong Afro-Caribbean influence, Puerto Viejo is a laid-back town popular with surfers.
Activities – Boat trips, snorkelling, surfing, jungle walks, spa treatments, yoga retreats, visiting local towns.
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