If Costa Rica has something really going on for it, it’s tourism. With almost endless natural resources, it features unspoiled beaches, mountains, islands, and more. The country is recognized worldwide as a top ecotourism destination.
Here, you’ll find a never-ending list of activities and tours. These include gorgeous beaches, unspoiled jungle, volcanoes, and wildlife sightseeing. The food has that Latin spice that flavors up any meal, and the people truly live by the motto: “Pura Vida”. If you are looking for a paradisiac place to escape, it’s here. It is good to keep in mind, though, that tourist prices are hard to escape in today’s Costa Rica.
What To Do In Costa Rica
One thing is for sure in Costa Rica. There’s so much to do, you won’t know where to even start or finish. Fortunately, here are some tips to give you a headstart in order to discover everything Costa Rica has to offer.
Quepos: Marlins and sailfish are the main attractions Quepos’ off waters. There are as many types of game as there are captains in the main port sail for fishing trips. Quepos is a great start for a fishing trip that can end with a cherry on top at the nearby Manuel Antonio National Park.
Playa Grande: Apart from top notch surfing, catching big fish from atop the rocky reefs is an experience. Many people consider it one of the best areas in the country. You can choose charters as well. The marina in Flamingo/Potrero usually has the best fishing deals for a half day of full luxury fishing.
Golfo Dulce: Another superb destination reported many times by fishing enthusiasts. The waters of Golfo Dulce are popular for great specimens of roosterfish, needlefish, and snapper inshore. Offshore, you can hunt for marlin, sailfish and some gigantic tuna. Golfo Dulce is a 45 minute fly from San Jose and has many options for accommodation.
So many options for beach bumming (more than 300 and more than 1,200 miles) make it hard choosing, but here are some great starting points:
Tamarindo: An originally tranquil surf and fishing beach and now one of the most developed beach areas in the country. Tamarindo offers some of the best stretches in the whole country. A white colored stretch of sand, surrounded by palms and trees, and crashing waves at the shore. It is surely the subject of more than half of the country’s postcards.
Tamarindo offers a plethora of services as being one of the main tourist hubs in the country, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, surfing lessons, and so on. There’s always something entertaining to do here.
Manuel Antonio Beach: up on the northern point of the national park, lies one of the best beaches in Costa Rica.
With dramatic views, white sand, fizzing blue water, and the freshest of breezes, Manuel Antonio beach is like taken out of a dream. There are several other first-class beaches on the way there, and accommodations are made to please the most demanding tastes.
Uvita: For a more private type of beach vacation. It is an unspoiled type of setting. If you come at the right time (May to October) you may witness the nesting olive Ridley and Hawksbill sea turtles ashore.
Hiking and Wildlife Watching
Costa Rica shines when it comes to hiking. With many national parks and federal reserves that hide a uncountable amount of flora and fauna. Going to any of these places will put you inside one of the most magic hiking scenarios of the world:
- Chirripó National Park
- Tortuguero National Park
- Rancho Naturalista
- Corcovado National Park
- Bosque Nuboso Monteverde Biological Reserve
- Volcán Tenorio National Park
- Volcán Barva
Costa Rica is a world renowned surfing destination. Even surfing’s best talents come here to enjoy the quality of Costa Rican surfing. Kelly Slater, Robb Machado, Tom Caroll, all have been seen in Costa Rica’s beaches, catching waves. Here are the top beaches for surfing in Costa Rica:
Pavones: It boasts one of the longest left-hand breaks in the world. it draws many goofy-footed (right foot forward) surfers because of this trait.
Dominical: A bumpy road to this beach is rewarded with one of the best settings for surfing anyone could imagine. It has gone so popular, though, it has gained a reputation of being overrun by expats.
Playa Guiones: Regarded as the best beach break in the Central Peninsula. It’s offshore winds make it perfect for surfers and windsurfers.
Playa Grande: One of the most popular locations for surfing in Costa Rica. It may sound like it would be overcrowded, but it pays honor to its name. It is so big, it never seems too full not to surf.
When To Travel To Costa Rica
The Dry Season
The dry season also means the high season in Costa Rica, as the country sees almost no rain from December to April. During this time, beach spots and eco-tourism packages are at full burst. It is advisable to book as early as possible for this season if you don’t want to find yourself out of vacancies and get the best deals. If you don’t mind the crowd, this is the best time to go.
The Rainy Season
Mid Season: After the year enters May – July, Rain starts picking up and the tourists packing up. Eco-tourism during these dates can get more tricky, as everything is ten times muddier. This season repeats in November.
Low Season: Rain reaches its highest point between August through October, driving away most tourism from the country. At this time, when the waters are high and stirred, you’ll find the best surfing conditions and best accommodation prices. Some days going out can be impossible because of heavy rains and floods, though. Play it safe during this season.
Transportation In Costa Rica
Normally, an SUV or some other type of off-road vehicle is recommended to navigate Costa Rica’s roads. The quality of roads varies greatly throughout the country. Roads are in so bad shape, in fact, they rank as 125th for Quality of Roads under the infrastructure category.
Public transportation infrastructure can be resumed as quite painful. San José is the transportation hub of the country, but there’s no central bus terminal. Offices lay around the city, and while they are cheap, the service is not first-rate. They are reliable, though, and the longest national route costs less than $20. The further you are from San José, the fewer transportation you find.
Domestic flights are relatively cheap and offer a more convenient way of traveling to remote areas. There are 48 main airports, only 4 being international. Two of them are in San José, while the other two are in Limón and Guanacaste.
Costa Rica Tourism Facts
Costa Rica is the 2nd most popular tourist destination for Americans and the first of its region. It occupies the 56th position for total tourist arrivals in the world, which is amazing for its size. It received 2.6 million tourists in 2015, meaning more than twice of their population at the time (4.8 million). Costa Rica’s tourism economy expands so fast, by 1999 they tourism exchange had surpassed bananas, pineapples and coffee export earns combined.