North Pacific Costa Rica (Nicoya Penninsula) is known for its awesome sports fishing, scuba diving, and surfing.
Hermosa is home to beautiful beaches and Bill Beard’s Diving Safaris. Just north of Hermosa is a well planned mega-resort development known as Papagayo. South of Hermosa is El Coco with paved roads right up to the beach. El Coco is very popular with divers and fishermen.
Flamingo is Costa Rica’s premier beach resort. Playa Flamingo is fully developed with exclusive hotels and wonderful white sand. For more information on the North Pacific coast click here.
Central Pacific Costa Rica has a fine line between tourism and conservation. Here you will find Puntarenas, a major shipping port and gateway to the Nicoya Penninsula and Dominical, surfers paradise that eco-tourists are also beginning to discover.
Inland you will find the soaring Talamanca mountains and the cloud-forest-dwelling quetzal birds. The fruit and coffee basket of Costa Rica is in the valleys.
South of Jaco you will find a change in climate to humid and hot, creating a more tropical landscape. Humid forests spill right down to the palm tree-lined sandy white beaches. For more information on the Central Pacific click here.
Monteverde means “Green Mountains.” The community of Monteverde is an interesting stop. It was founded in the early 1950s by American Quakers who were attracted to Costa Rica because of its lack of an army. The Quakers built a cheese factory in this pleasant town and have taken charge of maintaining the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and raising funds for its expansion. If you visit the cheese factory, you can try all the local specialties, including the beloved Palmito cheese. (If not, you can purchase Monteverde cheese in almost any market.) Comfortable accommodations are available, but be sure to book well in advance. It can be difficult to get around Monteverde because of its mountainous terrain, but taxis (all four-wheel-drive vehicles) are easily accessible and affordable. For more information on Monteverde click here.
South Pacific Costa Rica, known as Zona Sur, has wonderful scenery, fabulous beaches, dramatic mountains, endless rainforests, big tube waves, white sand beaches, dark green hillsides of coffee, as well as a dolphin and whale playground.
Corcovado is one of the country’s wildest and most remote parks. Its thick forests, deserted beaches, and swamps are home to most of the country’s endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs, scarlet macaws, four kinds of monkeys, poison dart frogs, and crocodiles. Choose your accommodations carefully—there are quite a few lodges in the area, but many of them are basic (and not all have electricity). For more information on the South Pacific click here.
Central Costa Rica is home to the country’s capital, San Jose, which is nestled high in the central valley between green volcanic mountain ranges. This very cosmopolitan city has many welcoming qualities like great weather, excellent museums, parks, a national symphony, cinemas, universities, nightclubs, casinos, discos, and fine restaurants.
Surrounding San Jose there are many small communities where you can get a taste of Costa Rican life. By basing yourself in San Jose you can take day trips to fascinating towns like Cartago, Heredia, Zarcero, and Orosi.
For more information on Central Costa Rica click here.
North Central Costa Rica is where you will find the Arenal Volcano – the most active volcano in the western hemisphere. The farmland around this area is a deep green, forests blanket the midlands, and towering above it all is the classic cone shape of Arenal, complete with smoking, rumbling, spewing, and spitting red-hot lava that lights up the night sky (if it isn’t raining or covered in clouds).
The town of La Fortuna is dominated by the presence of Arenal. Here you will find clean, fresh air and beautiful countryside. With the feel of a frontier town, La Fortuna attracts many eco and adventure tourists.
For more information on North Central, Costa Rica click here.
Caribbean Costa Rica is blessed with great natural riches. Here you will find a hot and humid tropical climate with flat terrain and a laid back tropical island atmosphere.
Tortuguero is famous for the Tortuguero National Park which protects the vast network of canals, tributaries, and the vast green plain. The Amazon-like canals provide a wonderful window to the environment where you can see birds, monkeys, and other wildlife. There are 405 bird species recorded alone here.
Sea turtles are what everyone comes to see. Four species nest at Tortuguero several times a year. For more information on Caribbean Costa Rica click here.