For The Adventure Seeker To The Eco Tourist
Outdoor activities abound in Costa Rica which boasts 9 active volcanoes, diverse forest environments, hots springs, wetlands, lakes, island reserves and 600 miles of beaches on 2 coasts. Endless possibilities exist for activities ranging from truly world class sport fishing; golfing through tropical rainforest reserve; zip line tours of the canopy, rainforest and eco adventures; crocodile safaris; volcano tours; sea kayaking; diving; ATVing; horseback riding; white water rafting; hiking; and surfing to name just a few.
There are several canopy tours all around offering a variety of experiences. One is Rain Forest Arial Tram to view the surroundings via a gondola (506- 2257-5961). Or for the more adventuresome, try the Waterfalls Canopy Tours which offer a combination of experiences (506) 2643-3322 or Canopy Adventures which boasts 12 platforms and over 3 km of cables (506) 2643-3271.
VOLCANOES AND SURROUNDING AREAS
There are many volcanoes throughout Costa Rica. Arenal was considered the most active until 2010 when it entered its resting phase. Other noteworthy ones are the Poas Volcano in the central highlands, Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in the Guanacaste region, Irazu Volcano in the central highlands, Tenorio Volcano in the Guanacaste region and the Turrialba Volcano in the central highlands.
In the shadows of the Turrialba Volcano lies the Guayabo National Monument, the most important archaeological excavation of an indigenous village in Costa Rica. Only 10% of the site has been excavated revealing paved stone roads running for miles into the surrounding forest, carefully designed aqueducts lined with small stones for filtration, tombs, buildings constructed of wood on stone foundations, petroglyphs and various objects some dating back 1200 years before Christ.
Located within the Tenorio Volcano National Park is a unique river named Rio Celeste. It is famous for its blue hue. Two rivers merge and a chemical reaction occurs as a result of sulfur and calcium carbonates turning clear water into blue. In addition to the color of the water, there are thermal hot springs, geyers, cold pools, waterfalls, dry tropical rainforest, rainforest and primary cloud forests
The Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens are a great overnight trip winding through coffee plantations and dairy farms. The Poas Volcano has a mile wide crater and blue sulfur lake which may be visible depending on the weather. There are trails in and around the crater with an easy one leading to the main lookout point complete with a surprising array of flowering vegetation all around. It is colder at this eleveation so jackets or many layers are necessary. For more information on volcanic activity throughout Costa Rica. Visit:
The Peace Lodge is a beautiful small distinctive hotel nestled within the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Staying at
the hotel puts you in the midst of the park and its lush tropical gardens and steps aways from the flowing rivers, spectacular waterfalls, butterfly observatory, bird aviary, hummingbird garden, as well as frog, serpent, monkey
and wild cat areas of the La Paz Waterfall Park. For more information regarding the hotel visit:
There are several tours including canopy and rafting along with a day package for the La Paz Waterfall Garden Park: www.waterfallgardens.com
Set along Costa Rica's continental divide, Monteverde is a place of cloud forests (4,662 ft above sea level), midst and abundant vegetation and is perhaps one of the richest regions for plant species including the greatest diversity of orchids in the world.
cloudforestmonteverde.com A unique way to experience the cloud forest is via Selvatura's Treetop Walk ways which are a system of walking trails and suspension bridges of varying heights and lengths through the cloud forest affording a birds eye view of the rainforest.
monteverdecostarica.info/ Close to San Jose is the city of Cartago, once the capital of Costa Rica till 1823. It is in a prime argriculatural area surrounded by the Orosi and Central Valleys near the foothills of the Irazu Volcano. Cartago is one of the oldest cities in the country, founded by Juan Vasquez de Coronado in 1563. Cartago was partially destroyed by volcanic eruption in 1732 and spanish ruins which date back to the 16th century can still be seen. In Cartago is the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles originally built in 1639 but then partially destroyed by an earthquake. It has been rebuilt several times due to earthquakes. Millions of Costa Ricans make a pilgrimage here each year on August 2nd in hopes of being cured from illness.
South of Jaco before Quepos is Isla Damas which offers panga boat tours of the mangroves. It is informative and allows you to get up close and personal with the native species. Just beyond Quepos is the very hilly and scenic areas of Manuel Antonio, which is a combination of rainforest, sandy beaches and extensive coral reefs.
Traveling farther south still will take you to the pristine rainforests of the Osa Peninsula, said to be "one of the most biologically intense places on earth" by the National Geographic Magazine. Drake Bay and the Osa Peninsula are more difficult to acess as the area is less developed.
A large portion of the peninsula forms Corcovado National Park. For eco-tourism free from tourism, this is the place to be. For those wanting an eco-adventure but easier traveling, try Montezuma and Cabo Blanco National Preserve. Visit: nicoyapeninsula.com/caboblanco/
The Ylang Ylang on the outskirts of Montezuma is the perfect venue to relax after a day of exploration. Note the only way to the Ylang Ylang is via the beach! The Curu Private Reserve is just outside of Tambor and affords good viewing of the capuchin and howler monkeys.
Carara National Park is one of many parks in the immediate area. There it is possible, if your eyesight is good, to see the capuchin monkey, collared anteater, two toed sloth, scarlet macaws, howler monkeys, several species of Tucans and the blue morpho butterfly to name a few. The park is home to 240 endangered American Crocodiles. Just down the road from the entrance to Carara is the Tarcoles River which also offers tours of the mangroves experiencing crocodiles up close and personal. For more information on the various national parks and reserves throughout Costa Rica. Visit: www.govisitcostarica.com
One of the more remote regions of Costa Rica is Tortuguero which sits along a network of canals in the Limon province on the northern Caribbean Coast. This area is dominated by nature as it is divided by 2 parks, the Refugio Barra Del Colorado and the Parque Nacional Tortuguero. Transportation to the area is only accessible by boat or plane. This is the nesting grounds for 4 of the 8 species of sea turtles in the world and is also a wildlife sanctuary for a variety of birds, reptiles and mammals indigenous to Costa Rica. This secluded area has swamps, lagoons, rivers and low lying dense rainforest. Visit: www.conserveturtles.org/costarica
ZIP LINING AND SURFING
There are several canopy tours very close by the resort and all around Costa Rica offering a range of experiences. The length of the runs, number of platforms, heights and views offered will differ. We have tried several and all are unique in their own ways.
For those anxious to check out the surf, there are plenty of spots close to the resort including Jaco Beach, Playa Hermosa and Playa Escondido. A little farther and a bit more traveling takes you across the bay and north of Cabo Blanco to some noted sites as well.
For more current information visit:
Brief Note About Road Conditions: There are numerous exotic day trips from minutes to a couple of hours drive. Take your time to explore. The main arteries have been improved upon in the past several years so trip times have gone down. Once you are off the main roads however, you may discover much more primitive conditions with limited lighting and street signage. Keep this mind before leaving and ask about roads and conditions.