COSTA RICA TOURISM: YOUR TO-DO LIST
Costa Rica tourism. What do you know about it?
Sure, the weather’s great and there are 800 miles of unspoiled beaches.
Volcanoes, parks, and reserves nearly everywhere–about 25% of the country is set aside for parks or reserves.
Great resorts, hotels, eco-lodges for Costa Rica eco-tourism.
But, what’s there to do on your Costa Rica vacation?
If I were you, I’d make a To-Do list of places to go, things to do.
Remember your second language classes in school?
Did you have fun? Not so much?
Did you meet students from all across the world? Or learn how to dance merengue or salsa or cook in class? No?
Well, I have an idea for you. Take a Costa Rica Spanish class. On your schedule. You’ll make wonderful friends have a great time, and even—Heaven forbid!—learn a little.
But, be warned. You’ll have fun.
Spanish, Pura Vida style!
Costa Rica Horseback Riding
Costa Rica offers some extraordinary horseback riding. This can be Costa Rica tourism at its finest.
And a Costa Rica vacation experience like no other. Tours for experienced horsepeople, novices, children.
Along the beach, through primary forest. Mountains to volcanoes. Tours to hidden waterfalls, hot-springs, candy factories, indigenous villages. Tours that include 5-star hotels or crossing the entire country from the Pacific to the Caribbean.
And, incredibly, even tours that YOU design. Honeymoon horseback tours that include 5-star hotels. Adventures tours across the entire country—literally from coast to coast by horse. Only in Costa Rica.
If you like horses, you’ll love this place.
Costa Rica horseback riding, click
Hit the (Surf) Boards!
Surfing has always been a huge part of Costa Rica tourism. Whether you’re experienced or not, have your own board or need to rent, want to impress your buddies or learn how to hang five, it’s all here.
All in the tropical land of spectacular sunsets.
Go Sea Kayaking
Eskimos invented kayaks. But they were always cold.
Fortunately, Costa Rica is made for kayaks. And you’ll never be chilled on your Costa Rica vacation! Try sea kayaking in Costa Rica
White Water Rafting Vacations
Costa Rica has some of the world’s finest whitewater for rafting vacations or kayaking.
These rivers plunge through spectacularly beautiful tropical forests.
There are many from which to choose, from tranquil family-friendly rivers to turbulent, heart-stopping class 5 glasses of water.
We’ll give you the scoop on several great rivers. Your guides will bring rafts and gear. You’ll bring the excitement. Costa Rica whitewater rafting adventures, click
Floating Down the River on a Sunday Afternoon
If you’d prefer a leisurely float or have little kids, take a beautiful, tranquil raft ride.
There are several rivers to choose from, all with one thing in common: they’re beautiful.
One of the great things about Costa Rica tourism is that you can have the vacation of your life, and the time of your life, and volunteer for some incredible things, all at the same time.
Ever think about being a volunteer while on vacation?
Work on an organic farm.
Help conserve sea turtles.
Help the old, the poor, the weak, the tiny.
Hmmmm…you might really like this.
Whether you want to save the whales or turtles or just save a little bit of the planet for people, here are some ideas for Costa Rica volunteer vacations, click.
Study Abroad and Get a Scholarship to Pura Vida!
Studying abroad as part of a Costa Rica vacation?
Think about it. Studying in Costa Rica is a vacation—and if you play your cards right—a paid vacation at that.
Studying can be fun in the land of Pura Vida, click here
The Worst Day of Fishing is Better than the Best Day of Working
Costa Rica is one of only a handful of countries where you can fish two oceans for world-record fish.
For many years, an important part of Costa Rica tourism has been enhanced because of extraordinary
Want More Things to Do?
There are so many things to do when you travel to Costa Rica that I had to put them in other sections.
You’ll find them on the Navigation Bar on the upper left column of this page. Just look for “More Things to Do” and “Even More to Do!” on the Navigation Bar and you’ll experience Costa Rica tourism at its best!
MORE COSTA RICA ATTRACTIONS
Here’s a rather long page about Costa Rica attractions. Some you know about and perhaps some you haven’t thought about. If you’re intrigued, just click on the links you like and I’ll take you there.
Originally discovered and named ‘Costa Rica’ by Christopher Columbus more than 600 years ago, Costa Rica is still being discovered every day by tourists from around the world. It is a tropical paradise with year-round great weather and a government committed to sustainable development.
In fact, in 2008 a team of Columbia and Yale researchers found that of 149 different countries’ studied, Costa Rica was in the top 5 for environmental performance—-far above the United States, Canada, or any other country in the Western Hemisphere.
In a region often known for its instability, Costa Rica stands alone. Though tumultuous Nicaragua is to the north and Panama is to its south, it constitutionally abolished its military nearly 70 years ago. Today, along with Switzerland, it is one of only two countries with no army. The country is particularly famous for its wide biodiversity. There is an abundance of beautiful rain forests, cloud forests, rugged mountains and, of course, its amazing beaches, all close at hand.
Though folks from around the world enjoy Costa Rica attractions, 40% of its tourists come from the United States. That country’s economic problems have proven challenging to Costa Rica tourism, which has been struggling.
But, of course, every challenge creates an opportunity and now may be exactly the time to travel to Costa Rica. You will find cheap airfares and some terrific travel and accommodation bargains. The Costa Rica government is trying to stimulate tourism from the Costa Rica Institute of Tourism (ICT) website which contains discount coupons. Google ‘visitcostarica.com/crplus’ and look for yourself but remember: there are hundreds of hotels, spas, resorts, and other Costa Rica attractions that will also give you a discount—–but you need to ask!
Spectacular Diversity of Life
Many, many tourists will tell you that the two Costa Rica attractions they like best are its diversity of life and volcanoes.
Indeed, Costa Rica is particularly famous for its wildlife.
Did you know that tiny Costa Rica, only about the size of little West Virginia, has more species of butterflies than in all of the countries on the African continent combined?
There are nearly as many different kinds of birds in Costa Rica as in the entire continental United States (and only about 100 fewer species than the entire continent of Europe).
The diversity is simply staggering. Nearly one of every five species of plant and animal on the face of the planet is found in tiny, tiny Costa Rica! You are going to find fascinating tropical rainforests or spectacular cloud forests and beautiful rugged coastlines along two tropical oceans. And, as small as it is, Costa Rica has set aside nearly 25% of the country for the protected national park and wildlife sanctuaries. And, certainly, some of the favorite Costa Rica attractions are volcanoes.
Ever seen a volcano? A real volcano that spectacularly erupts? Go to Arenal Volcano with its hot springs resorts and you can drink your mai tai, camera in hand, photographing Arenal Volcano.
At nearby Lake Arenal, you will find great freshwater fishing at one of the world’s best and most famous windsurfing lakes. There is also a real Swiss train that goes to a real Swiss hotel in the mountains of Costa Rica!
There is also Irazu, just outside San Jose. Here, on the day in 1963 that John F. Kennedy visited Costa Rica, a monstrous eruption greeted the President—I like to think of it as a salute. And, only here on a clear day can you drive to the top of its summit, look into its crater, then look west and see the Pacific Ocean, or look east and see the Atlantic ocean. Or, look at both of them at the same time! This ain’t Kansas, Toto! Visit Costa Rica volcanoes here, click
Costa Rica’s Seven Wonders
Speaking of Costa Rica attractions, do not forget Costa Rica’s Seven Wonders, chosen by Ticos themselves.
There are two great volcanoes: mighty Arenal Volcano and spectacular Poas Volcano near San Jose International.
World-famous for its ecotourism is Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve with its great plant and animal diversity—including its spectacular orchids!
Hop a boat for a get-away to magnificent Cocos Island (300 miles off the coast), described as the “most beautiful island in the world” by Jacques Cousteau, a famous pirate island with millions of dollars of still-missing buried treasure, and the best large animal diving anywhere.
The tallest mountain in Central America is called Mount Chirripo where you will hike from tropical forests to glacial lakes.
Unknown to most folks is the Rio Celeste (Celestial River) where the river changes, literally and almost magically, from crystal clear to sky-blue in front of your eyes.
And, for real nature lovers, there is remote Tortuguero National Park along the Caribbean coast, the world’s largest protected area for green sea turtles and waters teeming with great sportfish. Don’t know about Costa Rica’s Seven Wonders? Find out
Don’t Forget the Beaches!
For tens of thousands of people each year, the best Costa Rica attractions are its beaches. No visit to the country would be complete without spending some time at the stunning beaches. Indeed, many tourists spend most of their vacation at the beach.
Among the most beautiful in the world, you will find many different types of beaches in Costa Rica: black sand beaches, white sand beaches, coral sand beaches, even boulder strewed rugged beaches.
Most of the most popular resorts and fancy hotels are located on the Pacific coast but you will find that the Caribbean coast also has no shortage of beautiful places to go too.
The Pacific coast is more-and-more Americanized while the Caribbean has a unique, distinctive, Caribbean aura—and is clearly Bob Marley country.
25 More Daytime Costa Rica Attractions
“But, wait”, you say. “Are there other Costa Rica attractions?”
Well, yes. In Costa Rica, there are activities to suit just about everyone. Here is a couple of dozen more.
While you can go in for extreme sports, many people take part in swimming, laying back, girl watching, and sunbathing, all pastimes which are particularly popular for tourists to Costa Rica.
And, if that is not enough Costa Rica attractions, here are a few more things to do to keep you busy during the days:
1. Fish the deep sea for marlin (I recently fought a 450 pounder before releasing it), sailfish, huge tarpon, snook, and dozens of other varieties.
2. Surf! Don’t know how? Go surfing school.
3. Raft or kayak in some of the world’s best whitewater or leisurely raft a tropical river with the kids.
4. The sailor takes a dinner cruise.
5. Windsurf at Lake Arenal, considered the second-best place in the world. 6. Defy death and bungee jump into deep canyons or at night.
7. Be an eco tourist.
8. Zipline 80 feet up the air through tropical forests.
9. Become a bullfighter. But beware that in Costa Rica the bulls cannot be harmed, anybody can jump into the ring with these critters, and you can buy insurance just before you take your life into your hands.
10. Take a horseback ride in the mountains, along the beaches, or even across the entire country.
11. Take a hot air balloon ride or go hang gliding.
12. Become a canyoneer and rappel tropical waterfalls.
13. All aboard!!! Take a train ride—in a genuine Swiss train to a genuine Swiss mountain hotel or from San Jose to the beach.
14. Visit a tiny park, Corcovado, only half the size of NYC but the most biologically intense place on earth.
15. Scuba dive or skin dive in a Caribbean marine park at the largest coral reef in the country.
16. Watch whales (Costa Rica has the world’s longest whale-watching season). Or wonder at the nesting sea turtles, returning to the same beaches their ancestors did in the days of dinosaurs.
17. Enjoy tropical gardens or tour plantations where the finest coffee in the world is grown.
18. Hike, bike, rent motorcycles or ATVs.
19. Take a walk on the wild side into the crater of an active volcano.
20. Visit an African wildlife park–in northern Costa Rica.
21. Take a photography tour.
22. Go on a volunteer vacation.
23. Golf on tropical courses designed by world-famous builders.
24. Visit indigenous villages or the famous lost city at Guayabo National Park.
25. Take a Spanish course. Cheap, fun, great way to make new friends.
Need more ideas? I have more (but you need to visit more pages of this site to see them)!
Nighttime Costa Rica Attractions
The capital is definitely worth a visit too. For many men–and an increasing number of couples and women, it holds some very special adult Costa Rica attractions.
At night, San Jose and most of the beach communities provide lots of adult entertainment.
Restaurants, theatres, cinemas, bars, nightclubs (many, very adult in tone and tenor), gambling, and . . .
beautiful women—what happens here, stays here.
And for lesbians and gays, there are an increasing number of places to go and things to do as well