Costa Rica also known for Pura Vida
Costa Rica is in Central America, bounded by Nicaragua to the north, the Pacific Ocean on the west, Panama to the south and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Its 4m inhabitants celebrate living in a country that tops the Happy Planet Index, which measures human wellbeing and humanity’s impact on the environment. Its main attraction for visitors is its incredible biodiversity: you can see jaguars, macaws, the poison dart frog and more than 1,500 different orchids. The Caribbean region offers coconut palms, banana plantations, tropical forests, white beaches and coral reefs. The capital, San Jose, is in the Central Valley; here you can visit butterfly or coffee farms, La Paz Waterfall Gardens and the volcanoes of Poas and Irazu. The Central Pacific region has the main beach, Manuel Antonio; you can also admire the lagoons and rainforest at Tamarindo. In the south, visit the wondrous, untouched Osa Peninsula.
Go to Costa Rica if you love nature or if you fancy trying your hand at a hundred different adventure activities, from kayaking to speeding through the tree-tops on a Flying Fox or Zipline. Go for the natural beauty of both Pacific and Caribbean coastlines and for the teeming wildlife of the tropical rainforest.
When to Go?
For visitors from the northern hemisphere, Costa Rica offers a welcome respite from the domestic winter: the dry season runs from December to April. The wet season is in the period from May to November. The absolutely best time to visit Costa is in December and January, when the country is green from the rains but the skies have become blue again and the peak tourist season has not yet started.
How to get there?
The main airport is San Jose Juan Santamaria (SJO); it serves the Caribbean, the USA, several German cities, Paris and Madrid. There are no direct flights from the UK, but connecting flights are available from Madrid. The main airport for the Central Pacific region is Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) in the city of Liberia; it serves many destinations in Costa Rica, Panama and the USA. The only airport on the Caribbean coastline is a small one at Limon (LIO). The main airport for the Northern Plains is Fortuna (FON).
In the Caribbean region, the National Parks at Manzanillo and Cahuita are must-sees. In the Central Pacific region, visit Montezuma for beaches, waterfalls and horse-riding; Mal Pais or Hermosa for surfing; and Manuel Antonio National Park for scuba-diving. In the northwest, Guanacaste is famed for its vibrant fiestas; you can also visit Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park. In the Northern Plains, don’t miss the Los Angeles Cloud Forest Adventure Park or the hot springs that surround Quesada. In South Costa Rica, go to Corcovado National Park to see monkeys, crocodiles, Bull Sharks and boa constrictors!