||About Costa Rica >
Top 10 touristic destinations
|Since bursting into the sky in
1968, the Arenal Volcano of Costa Rica has been constantly
active, glowing in the night and sending lava flowing down
towards the north. The area around is filled with prime opportunities
for tourists, like the Tabacon Hot springs, whose geothermal
pool are warmed by hot streams which flow from the base of
the volcano. Lake Arenal is a great drive as well. A road
runs from the town of La Fortuna past a lookout point facing
the northern side of El Arenal and continues around the lake
and down to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. You could spend days
exploring this part of northwestern Costa Rica.
places like Tabacon Hot Springs, the Arenal Lodge, and other
tourist's haven have sprung up around the volcano. There
is something thrilling about seeing the fiery red glow from
the summit in the blue skies of the tropical dusk. And even
though this country is filled with volcanoes, the Arenal
Costa Rica is without doubt the most picturesque of them
all. Daily there are at least five small explosions, and
some can even be heard, the lava flows easily visible. 10
hours before its 1968 explosion, there was 10 hours of earthquakes
in the area, so the residents here remember this and don't
panic when there is a small eruption.
There have been major events in El Arenal, some as recent
as 2000. Areas around the volcano are evacuated and extreme
precautions are taken. This area is carefully monitored
to avoid the catastrophe that occurred in 1968. Arenal Costa
Rica is s highlight of any visit to country, and for visitors
who have never experienced an active volcano, it is an experience
that will rock you to your very core.
|Tortuguero National Park
This rainforest preserve is on the Atlantic coast. This is
where the rivers spill out into the ocean. Great fishing and
wildlife viewing of crocodiles of other animals can be had
at this, one of the most well-known Costa Rica national parks.
|Lush green hills meet the Pacific
Ocean here at the Nicoya area, in northwestern Costa Rica.
This combination makes for scenic beaches, and the Nicoya
Peninsula has miles of them. The Gulf of Nicoya is in the
protected area of the peninsula. These slow moving waters
are is dotted with small islands and is a haven for a variety
of marine life.
The pace here
is slow and relaxed, and unlike Tamarindo, which is also
on the Pacific coast, not as many visitors make it here.
So this is a great place to truly escape it all, even in
Costa Rica. The part of the Gulf of Nicoya that meets the
land turns into the Tempisque River. Slow moving currents
make this area shallow and muddy, perfect habitat for nesting
birds and an ideal environment for the mussels, crabs and
shrimps that nestle in the roots of these federally protected
mangroves. These smaller animals thrive on the abundant
algae, which grows in the water in Nicoya.
The thick woods that cover the hills
at the lower part of the Gulf of Nicoya hide secret bays,
which are hidden from view. Deeper, saltier water and even
less civilization make this a distinctly different experience
from the upper part of the gulf. There is a lot of marine
life but it is in the form of larger fishes. Different types
of monkeys, armadillos, anteaters, jaguars, mountain lions,
and giant turtles make this marine sanctuary part of their
Tortuga Island Nicoya Gulf is a small
island of 112 hectares that is leased from the government
by the 12-member Cubero family. They allow eco-friendly
tourism activity such as small cruise ships and tours to
be conducted here. The environment here is a dry tropical
forest, so it is often dry and has an extended summer season.
Tortuga Island Nicoya Gulf gives you a distinct tropical
island feel that is different from the rest of Nicoya. Immaculate
white sand beaches, turquoise water and coral reefs make
this spot an irresistible lure.
The town of Nicoya, further
to the north, is the first Spanish settlement in Costa Rica
and is a center for activity and a great place to explore
the different companies offering Costa Rica fishing and
other types of excursions to the Nicoya Peninsula. A trip
to this area takes extra planning and effort, as it is off
the beaten path. But when you stand on an unspoiled beach
with the cries of exotic animals filling the air as you
gaze into the deep blue horizon, you will be so glad you
came here, to the Nicoya Penisula Costa Rica.
|47 miles and roughly an hour
drive from the capitol of San Jose is the Poas Volcano. This
is one of the most visited areas in Costa Rica, and the weekends
here sees a lot of tourists who come to see the streaming,
sulfurous lake in the center of one of the two explosion craters
on Poas. Take the highway near the airport through Alajuelas,
and continue driving. You will pass through Pilas, Poasito
and then you just follow the signs until you get there. You
will notice that the temperate begins to drop as you drive
up the smooth paved road up to the Poas Volcano National Park.
The summit area of Poas Volcano is
covered with ash and has little vegetation. Explosions still
occur regularly, and the activity like the steam, is often
caused by the interaction of the lava with the water. While
the water in the lake may seem inviting, it is extremely
acidic and can be as hot as 185 degrees Fahrenheit, so it
is definitely not for swimming. There is mild activity occurring
frequently, and 39 eruptions have been recorded since 1828.
In 1989, high gaseous emissions caused the part to shut
down temporarily, but usually the eruptions are of steam
and muddy water, giving Poas the distinction of being the
world's biggest geyser. There is an animal that is unique
as well. It is the Poas yellow-green squirrel, and it is
only found here in the part. Aside from this 79 species
of birds live here, like hummingbirds and the resplendent
Aside from the visitor center and
the wooden viewing platform, there are trails in the forest
that lead to the craters of Poas. The main one is the 750-meter
Crater Overlook trail. It is paved, and goes around and
directly to the crater. A side trail will take about half
an hour to hike, and takes you to Botos Lake. Another 30
minutes hike is the Escalonia trail, which winds through
the forest. The combination of cool temperatures and humidity
makes dressing comfortable a must. Solidly built comfortable
shoes are suggested, as well as a sweater to keep you warm
and a raincoat to stay dry.
The blue lake that used to be here
drained away in 1989. What remained was the first scientifically
observed sulfur pool on the surface of this planet. Io,
Jupiter's moon, has sulfur volcanoes. So you can visit this
otherworldly setting and experience something that is truly
out of this world. Reflecting the climactic diversity of
the rest of the country, a number of different habitats
are within the Poas Volcano National Park. There is a cloud
forest, a stunted forest, and inhospitable areas with little
vegetation due to the acidic rain.
|Mountainous terrain and a long
rainy season make Costa Rica Rafting an activity that draws
tourists here from all over the world. 6 of the major white
water rivers can be the setting of an invigorating leg of
your next spectacular Costa Rica tour, taking you through
some of the best scenery in the whole country. Olympic teams
practice kayaking here alongside tourist experiencing whitewater
rafting in Costa Rica for the first time.
you're trying Costa Rica river rafting for the first time,
or are on a family vacation, there are gentle rapids and
lovely places to just float through. Whichever type of experience
you have, you will be paddling through prime nature viewing
areas, and so you will likely see otters, herons, parrots
and iguanas too.
The Corobici is such a relaxed ride
you won't really need to paddle much and can take in the
scenery, whereas the Reventazon will hardly give you a chance
to catch your breath before you hits the next set of rapids.
The best Costa Rica rafting trips will give you a combination
of both of these elements.
Most of the rivers in Costa Rica flow
towards the Caribbean. After a heavy rain they come to life,
going from being a reasonable river to become a place to
enjoy the best whitewater rafting in Costa Rica. The waters
of these rivers are fairly warm so you are not at all uncomfortable
unless you are nervous about trying Costa Rica rafting.
Experienced water goers can also try their hand at kayaking
the rivers as well.If you would
like your trip to center around this activity, you might
opt for a tour package. This would include transportation,
lodging at a riverfront cabin, and a picnic. You will be
asked to wear a life vest and a helmet by your guide.
|A Cloud Forest is a specific
type of rainforest in which cloud covers the foliage and deposits
moisture directly onto the leaves. The Monteverde Cloud Forest
is the place in Costa Rica where visitors
come to experience the unique environment. Even though the
clouds don't actually rain onto the canopy, the humidity is
so high that the moisture that does make it onto the leaves
often drips to the rainforest floor.
is a protected biological reserve that is home to hundreds
of species of plants and animals. Howler monkeys, snakes,
and colorful birds fill the rainforest canopy with sound.
Skywalking and rappelling are two
ways you can explore the Costa Rica rain
forest and the animals that live in its upper reaches. The
Skywalk is a series of bridges and platforms that are perched
high up in the trees. Cable ranging in length from 195 to
650 feet let you fly at high speeds through the rainforest
canopy to get a birds' eye view of this exotic environment.
There are a couple of different ways
to get to the cloud forest from the capitol of San Juan.
You can take the scenic northerly route, which is a full
day's drive but it allows you to see the city of La Fortuna,
and you will get to drive around Arenal Volcano and Lake
Arenal. Or, you can opt for coming from the Southwest, going
through San Ramon and Sardinal before turning at Lagarto
for the last leg of the journey. Either way, plan for at
least a four-hour drive, although the northern route is
going to be a great deal longer, so take a full day to make
this drive. It is a great way to get a feel for this part
of the country before arriving at the rainforest.
Eight different trails crisscross
the reserve. This protected part of the rainforest is open
from 7am to 4pm, to allow you to have the best light in
which to see animals in the dense canopy. Admission is $12
for adults, $6.50 for students that have ID, and it's free
to visit for children 10 and under.
400 types of orchids live in this
part of the rainforest Costa Rica. 30 types
of hummingbirds are part of the 400 species of birds that
call the rainforest canopy home. Over 5000 species of moths
are included in the ten of thousands of types of insects
that make this their home. You might be able to see the
regal Quetzal, an animal that lives here and that was considered
scared by the Mayan throughout the life of their empire.
Rainforest Costa Rica is filled
with life and natural beauty. Even if you bring a poncho,
a warm jacket, and comfortable hiking shoes, nothing you
can do will prepare you for the experience of the Costa