Scarlet Macaw Parrots, Costa Rica
Posted: 09 August 2018
Our Guide To Costa Rica
A dynamic destination with incredible wildlife and biodiversity, Costa Rica makes you want to brush up on your Spanish, dig out your hiking boots, grab a guidebook and dust off your binoculars. So, wake up to the calls of the jungle, head into the rainforest and smell more than just the coffee plantations…
Why Visit Costa Rica?
A Central America country boasting pristine rainforest, intense biodiversity and coastlines on both the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans, Costa Rica is a beautiful and paradisiacal wilderness just waiting to be explored. Small, safe and promoting sustainability, it is a destination where you can immerse yourself in jungle life, zip-line through the rainforest canopy, experience incredible wildlife encounters and then relax on the beach. Very much an adventure holiday for wilderness enthusiasts, you can be thrilled by a variety of outdoor pursuits, such as hiking and rafting, whilst being awe-inspired by the scenery and verdant national parks. Rugged, striking and bio diversely-rich, Costa Rica is an eco-friendly sanctuary that is surprisingly affordable. Be prepared to be amazed and inspired in equal measure! Costa Rica is very much a destination to experience; and one you’ll want to fast-track to the top of your travel wish-list. Should sleepy sloths, Keel-billed Toucans and White-faced Monkeys not be enough to move you, then the volcanoes and thermal springs just might!
When To Travel To Costa Rica
The peak tourist season for visiting Costa Rica is between mid-December to April, during the dry season, when the rains have finished, and sunshine prevails. This is also when the trees are still lush green and there is food available for the many rainforest inhabitants. Whilst inspiring wildlife encounters come as standard in Costa Rica, thrilling soft adventure activities follow closely behind and these are often seasonal. Whether taking to the rainforest canopy on a zip-wire, climbing and repelling down river canyons, or hitting the rapids to raft your way to a sustainable eco lodge – timing and knowing when to travel is important! Those seeking a specialist bird-spotting tour, for example, will find between January to April the best time to travel.
Top National Parks In Costa Rica
With 5% of the world’s biodiversity found in 25 national parks, 32 protected zones, 8 biological reserves, 11 forest reserves, 58 wildlife refuges and 15 wetlands and mangroves, there is a plethora of places to see wildlife, plus flora and fauna, up-close in Costa Rica. Corcovado National Park, on the Osa Peninsula, will always rank high on your must-visit list, as it’s renowned for being able to see every species of monkey. All four, Squirrel, White Faced, Howler and Spider Monkeys, can be found year-round due to the abundance of food. Another must-visit site, Manuel Antonio National Park, is a good place to spot the much sought-after Two-fingered or Three-fingered Sloth. Whilst keen birders may also be able to see the Black Mandible and Fiery Aracari here, too. Fans of amphibians, meanwhile, will revel in the chance to spot 193 species of frogs and toads (including 8 species of Poison Dart Frogs, the stunning Red-Eyed Tree Frog, Lemur Leaf Frog and Giant Toad), A park guaranteed to appeal to everyone is Arenal Volcano National Park. A scenic treasure in a league of its own, it boasts hot springs, elusive jaguars, tree frogs and Lake Arenal for watersports.
Wildlife Highlights In Costa Rica
With over 300 species of birds (including six toucans), to five species of turtles, four species of monkeys, and the sedentary sloth (to name just a few), Costa Rica is rich with wildlife treasures just waiting to be discovered. Expect to see (and hear) Mantled Howler Monkeys, look out for vibrant Scarlet Macaws and seek endangered Green Macaws, head out at night to see nesting turtles and, of course, spot the popular and sedate sloth! Humpback Whales are another highlight, since Costa Rica has the longest Humpback Whale-viewing season in the world. Both the Antarctic and Alaska Humpback Whales overlap during their migration. From jungle-fringed coastline and endless deserted beaches, to captivating cloud forest, pretty orchids and the mighty volcanoes and waterfalls of the Central Valley, there is so much to admire in Costa Rica beyond its much-photographed Red-Eyed Tree Frogs!
Must-Do Experiences In Costa Rica
Must-do wildlife experiences include visiting Central Valley, The Osa Peninsula, Arenal Volcano and Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. Whilst there, you should head up into the impressive canopy to scan for White-faced Capuchin Monkeys, spot troops of tiny Squirrel Monkeys, photograph the remarkable toucans or Black Spiny-tailed Iguanas and hang out for the popular sloths. Additional activities available include visiting a coffee plantation, white-water river rafting, rainforest hiking, horseback riding, rock-climbing and caving. Those seeking a tour finale with a more relaxing adventure antidote, will love the remote, untouched beaches of the Osa Peninsula. Here, apart from sunbathing, they can immerse themselves in watersports — such as surfing or kayaking along the coastline. For the ultimate relaxing stay, embrace your head for heights and take a splash in the incredible infinity-edge swimming pool at Kura Design Villas.
Where To Stay In Costa Rica
For the perfect touring circuit, we suggest combining a cultural plantation tour with the wildlife and geographic attractions of the Central Valley, followed by a coastal finale — staying in remote jungle lodges and visiting mighty volcano national parks along the way! Must-stay places include Lapa Rios Lodge for wildlife, Nayara Springs Resort Villas for a resort experience close to the Arenal volcano, Finca Rosa Blanca Inn & Coffee Plantation for a taste of culture, Kura Design Villas for sheer indulgence; and Pacuare Lodge for an adventurous rainforest escape. Active families meanwhile, may choose to stay at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo for its superb balance of nature, beach and world-class facilities. During their stay, guests may also have the opportunity to visit local communities, and to see coffee and sustainability initiatives in practice. Farm tours and volunteering are also popular pursuits.
Costa Rica’s Unique Luxury Lodges And Resorts
Three of our favourite places to stay in Costa Rica include Lapa Rios Lodge, Kura Design Villas and Pacuare Lodge in Limon. Stunning locations aside, Lapa Rios Lodge is a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, providing a rainforest experience of a lifetime. Located on the Osa Peninsula and ensconced within 1,000-acres of tropical rainforest reserve, this scenic eco lodge overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is just a ten-minute walk from the beaches at Playa Pan Dulce. Renowned for wildlife, Howler Monkey sightings, night walks and wondrous waterfalls, this sustainable lodge hits all the marks.
The Perfect Costa Rica Lodge For Couples
A hit with couples and hailed as Costa Rica’s most glamorous and romantic resort, Kura Design Villas is an exclusive boutique hotel found high in the Uvita rainforest. Designed with only adult guests in mind, these eight luxurious suites boast stunning minimalist design, plus a heavenly infinity-edge pool. Seamless service matches the breathtaking tropical ocean vistas, whilst off-shore the annual arrival of Humpback Whales makes for an incredible seasonal attraction. The perfect honeymoon destination or couples retreat, guests can combine the sublime hospitality with a tropical playground of forested mountains and sprawling wild coastline. Venture out to the largest protected land designated to national parks and nature reserves in Costa Rica, or simply kayak amongst the mangroves. Choose from world-class snorkelling, surfing, paddleboarding and extraordinary marine-life, experiences and indulge with romantic private dining, sublime spa treatments and inspiring sustainability.
Our Favourite Costa Rica Lodge For Adventure
Another remarkable National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, Pacuare Lodge packs an exciting adventure punch, Accessible only via water, arrive with an adrenaline-inducing river raft experience, hike to indigenous villages and savour a wealth of sustainable rainforest attractions in a truly spectacular setting. Stay in a Canopy or River Suite, explore untouched rainforest and learn about ancient culture and local traditions. From the striking sounds of the vibrant jungle inhabitants, to the soothing sounds of the river, the wildlife speaks for itself and this lodge leaves an indelible print on your heart.
The Ideal Costa Rica Hotel For Families
Most suited to active families with teenagers, adventure-seeking adults, or honeymooners wishing to combine adventure with beach bliss, Costa Rica is an inspiring and vibrant country to tour. With so many outstanding attractions and numerous national parks, knowing when to travel, where to start and what to do is an essential, if not slightly daunting, part of the planning process. Given our recent travel experience and expert partners on the ground, we’ve collated some key combinations to ensure you experience the very best of this pristine wilderness, in one inspiring Costa Rica itinerary. We know that families will particulary love the Nayara Gardens and Four Seasons Costa Rica resorts, as these larger properties offer a plethora of facilities for all ages to enjoy. So, why not let your senses be roused by the sounds of the rainforest, be thrilled by adventure activities, see a host of rare creatures and leave Costa Rica feeling totally re-energised?
Book Your Costa Rica Holiday
To create your own breathtaking journey to Costa Rica and enjoy a tropical adventure in Central America, simply call our travel experts, who would be delighted to tell you more and inspire you further.