Wow, Costa Rica, what can I say!
This was a must see destination on my list for several years before I eventually visited it last year! I am so glad I finally did!
Costa Rica is in Central America, with Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South. It is a small country that speaks Spanish.
Costa Rica has two coastlines- one on the Atlantic side and one on the Pacific side. The Atlantic coast is technically called the Carribean coast, due to the location of Costa Rica just a few degrees of latitude above the equator.
I was quite worried before I went to Costa Rica, because I had heard bad things about safety. I was concerned that I would be mugged or that I would be in a bus crash. Regarding the former, being informed about your destination is the way I would suggest giving yourself the best chance of avoiding being mugged. IF you know that somewhere is not very safe, then stay away from that area, or go with someone else, and leave valuables in the hotel safe, etc.
Regarding the latter, there is not, unfortunatley, much that you can do, save flying everywhere, and with a country so keen to preserve their environment (or so says the government), I personally decided against this.
I went to several places during my visit, including San Jose, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio National Part.
San Jose is renouned as being unsafe and boring, but some parts of it are ok. I recommend Paseo Colon, which has some shops and some hotels, and some decent restaurants. I felt safe here and the area had everything I needed for the two nights I spent there. There werent any museums around there that I can remember so I didnt go to any in that area.
I took the bus to Monteverde, which took about five hours. It is not far but the roads, like they are in most of Costa Rica, are very bad, and the buses cant go very fast over them.
Monteverde is set in cloud forest and it was a lovely place. The town is called Santa Elena. This is a small town but there are places to stay and places to eat.
There is a lot to do in Monteverde, especially adventure sports, like canopy zip lining and you can also do horse riding.
You can go for walks in the forest of the National Parks and see things like spiders and sloths.
Manuel Antonio is a National Park that is reached from the town of Quepos, just a few kilometres away.
This is a very beautiful place, with forest, beaches and sea, and where you can take a walk through the forest and see monkeys, racoons, and other animals.
There is a lot to see and do in this beautiful country. I enjoyed my visit and I hope that one day I will go back.
White sand, palm-fringed beaches, warm turquoise sea...... Costa Rica has this and more. (For those of you whose geography is as bad as mine - Costa Rica is on the skinny piece of land that connects North and South America and is only about the size of Switzerland). Politically, this is a country that is relatively stable (which is more than can be said for its neighbours, Panama and Nicaragua). It boasts a democracy, which has existed since the late 1940's. Perhaps most significantly, they have no army - a fact which they are intensely proud of. The money that would have been used on weapons goes towards improving their education and world-class healthcare. The country is still very poor though.... I remember being very shocked by the shack-style houses - if you leant too hard on the walls, the whole building could collapse! At the start of this year I spent three months working and travelling in this beautiful country, and can't wait until I get a chance to return. Aside from those gorgeous beaches, it has mountains, volcanos, rainforests and cloud forests - and the huge diversity of wildlife that goes with it. From toucans to jaguars to sloths, this country has it all. Watch out for howler monkeys: they growl so loudly it shakes the ground. They also like to chuck mango at you! As for the locals (otherwise known as 'Ticos'), they are usually incredibly helpful, friendly people. They are also used to people speaking incredibly bad spanish - great for me! A warning though, to any lone female travellers: latino blood runs strong in their veins. Whistles, hisses, and shouts follow any European woman as she walks down the street. In particular beware if you're blonde: they're obsessed... but the attention is not intimidating once you get used to it - if ignored, you will normally be left in peace. Travelling in the country is a little bit of a nightmare. The roads are shocking and the bus driver
s are inevitably half crazy!! I was there for three months in the dry season (which lasts from about December- May) but in the rainy season there is normally flooding on many roads, making them impassable. Added to this joy, insects, mozzies etc, come out in hoards. But there are benefits to the rainy season: less tourists means cheap deals on hotels and tours, and normally it will only rain for a few hours a day. If you visit, spend only a small amount of time in the capital, San Jose. Trust me, it is not the world's prettiest city, and not Costa Rica at its finest. Head straight out, hit the beaches and rainforests and you wont regret it... The motto of 'Ticos' is 'Pura Vida' - translated from Spanish this means 'pure life' - which just sums the country. If you ever get the chance to go, you'll probably have the trip of a lifetime. Its very expensive to fly there - expect to pay about £400+ . Once there, the prices are cheap: it is possible to stay in hostels for just $5 per night. I'd recommend a long trip, to justify the expense of the flight, and to make the most of this place. To obtain any more info, I recommend visiting www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/central_america/costa_rica
Until a year ago, I wouldn't even have considered Costa Rica as a holiday destination. Basically, like probably the vast majority of people, I knew very little about it. I knew it was in Central America, and could have had a stab at pointing it out on a map, but that was it. However, just about a year ago, a friend of mine moved out there. Fairly soon, the invitation came to go and spend a couple of weeks with her. We decided to take the plunge and go, and I can honestly say it was one of the best holidays I've ever had. We went in September, which isn't actually the best time to go. It's in the rainy season, which usually means torrential downpours for much of the time. However, we must have been in favour, because we had very little rain, and lots of sunshine. For good weather guaranteed, aim for January / February. We stayed in the capital, San Jose, but I wouldn't recommend making this the basis of your holiday. A day, or two at most, is plenty of time to explore the capital - for the real delights of Costa Rica, you need to get out into the rest of the country. The coastline of Costa Rica is amazing - miles of sandy, often deserted, beaches, and beautiful clear seas. There's also a number of stunning volcanoes, which are well worth visiting. My personal favourite was the hot springs - all good guide books should tell you about the hot springs which run down the side of one of the volcanoes. They have been formed into lots of pools that you can bathe in, ranging from very hot and invigorating, down to the cooler, refreshing pools. Add to that the heated swimming pool (heated naturally, of course, by the volcano!), complete with in-pool bar, and the various volcanic mud treatments and massages available, and you won't want to leave. This really is one of the 'must-see' places in Costa Rica. I would definitely recommend Costa Rica as the ideal holiday destination. San Jose is worth a look (mind out for
the pick-pockets, though, theft is common in the capital, and the driving is hair-raising!!), but for the 'real' Costa Rica, get out and explore the rest of the country - it's well worth it!
Having returned from an abosultely inspirational trip to Central America's Costa Rica and Nicaragua, I can share with you the unspoilt beauty and charm that only the lush, diverse weather and eco-system that Costa Rica can provide. Due to the unique global positioning of Costa Rica - small strip of land wedged in between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea - travelers and tourists alike are exposed to a country that boasts a natural vegetation and animal kingdom like no other. An outstanding way to spend time in Costa Rica (depending on time) is to travel up from San Jose (capital) to Tamarindo (North West Coast). Here travelers will be privy to a number of fishing villages, all of which provide clean and competitvely priced accomodation. Highlights here include fishing, beaches and some great fresh fish cooking. A small way back down the main highway of CR is "Monteverde National Park". This park is quite like no others I have experienced, for this is the home to volcano's, cloud forests and fresh water lakes. This combination is quite somthing and offers unparralleld nature viewing. In the cloud forest we saw snakes, parrots and after 2 hours waiting in a hide the ultimate prize; a cougar!!! In the Volcan Arenal Park we saw electrical storms (like the kind out of Star Trek), lava walls and the perenial glowing crater of the Arenal Volcano, enough for anyone to gorge on!!! The draw to Costa Rica is quite different to a number of popular travelling destinations. Unlike the likes of Thailand, Aus and NZ; Costa Rica is THE place to go if nature, natural habitats and enviroments are your bag. Most people that travel don't spend half their time getting "ratted" on a beach but climbing, hiking and cycling through fresh, clean exciting terraines in order to appreciate and marvel at the outstanding natural beauty that this country offers. The beauty of Costa Rica is that you can travel as little as 5 miles to go
from one climate and environment to another. Due to the to major whether systems that collide over thd CR mainland, unique micro climates and systems appear as little as 5 minutes down the road from each other. My synopsis for this country is quite simple, if you are after an exciting, diverse change to the "stero typed" travelling experience then make a bee line to your local travel agent and book yourself a ticket. YOU WILL NOT BE DISSAPOINTED!!!!
Costa Rica means rich coast. Rich country would have been more apt. Althought costa rica isn't a finacially rich country it more than makes up for it in both the land and the people that live there. The country itself provides a rich variety sure to thrill any environmentalist. Rain forests, cloud forests, waterfalls, and volcanoes. Wildlife enthusiasts can see capacino monkeys, kormarants, and an unrivaled array of bird life. The beaches are out of this world with white gold sand and crystal clear water.
Costa Rica is one of the most unspoilt countries in the world, the government quickly came to realize after the collapse of the banana trade that Costa Rica had huge potential for the ever growing eco-tourism (i.e. that 'I want to see it before it dissapears' scenario), people across the world come to experience Costa Rica but the majority of these are from North America. Costa Rica is a country of about the same size as Wales yet has 6 different climatic zones. The land mass of Costa Rica is less than 0.1% of the earth's land mass but it has over 1% of the world's biodiversity, these sort of figures are truly amazing. In response to growing tourism Costa Rica has turned at least half of it's land into national parks. When one thinks about Costa Rica one automatically starts to think in terms of 3rd world or developing country, a lot of the signs in Costa Rica go against this. The populace is exceptionally healthy having the third longest life expectancy in the world after the Japanese and the French. Also it was one of the first countries in the world to have electricity, and not just having it, five years ago 100% of the electricity produced was hydro power, at the present day this has dropped to 97%. There are not many countries in the world which can boast such figures. The thing which strikes you the most is at the end of the day the country is at least developing, and for a developing country to have a compulsory school system as good as it is, and for the children to be as enthusiastic as they are about it is incredible. As far as trying to decide whether the natural splendors are worth the trip I personally feel that there is no other country in the world which offers such magnificent beauty at the right compromise between comfort and money. Still can't decide whether to go or not consider this; Costa Rica is the ONLY country in the world without a national army (they're peace lovers), and the locals are the f
riendliest people I have ever met. My experience of Costa Rica has definately influenced me for the rest of my life, I fail to see how it wouldn't on anyone who spends more than 3 weeks there.
Costa Rica and Belize are the safer parts of Central America. What makes Costa Rica worth visiting are : 1.the tropical forests (lots of comfortable coach tours available) 2. the volcanoes 3. the good beaches 4. the sexy Central American atmosphere (not as exotic as Guatemala perhaps) 5. the absence of soldiers (no death squads like in El Salvador) 6.the absence of extreme poverty as in Honduras and El Salvador and elsewhere. HOW TO GET THERE - Fly with American Airlines via Miami. Or take a package tour (not as cheap as Sri Lanka or Thailand) No visa needed by British citizens. WHERE TO STAY - in the capital San Jose, the Hotel Plaza is very central and relatively cheap. Costa Rica Homestays can be found by telephoning 40-6829 THE PEOPLE - Mainly of Spanish origin. Very few Indians or Blacks. TRANSPORT - Buses and taxis are safe compared to those in El Salvador. You can travel by train from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The easiest way to travel is by package tour! WHAT TO SEE - National Parks full of exotic trees and birds. Volcanoes. Beaches In San Jose : Parque Central with the Metropolitan Cathedral, Teatro Nacional on Avenida 2, Parque Espana, malls and supermarkets, markets, bars such as those on Calle 2 south of Parque Central. DANGERS - tourists do get robbed in San Jose, even in daylight. Part of the city (northwest) is dangerous. The port of Limon is dangerous at night.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country with a mix of beaches, volcanoes and tropical jungle. The country is still unspoilt by tourism and the beaches are national parks, making for lovely scenery and natural wildlife. The country has very good eco tourism including hiking, national wildlife parks, whitewater rafting, scuba diving, windsurfing and canopy tours. Getting to Costa Rica by plane is not a problem...there are direct flights on BA. The problem arises in expensive car rentals and terrible roads (there are many dirt roads which require 4WD in the rainy season). Accommodation ranges from cheap B&Bs to grand hotels. An added bonus to the country is friendly local people called Ticos...who are always willing to help and many speak english.
"Costa Rica (literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish: Costa Rica or República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south-southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Costa Rica was the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army. It is also the only country in which both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can be seen from the same point."