Costa Rica Vacation Spots: The top Costa Rican vacation spots to check out are determined by what it is you want to do on vacation. You can plant yourself in one location for the duration, but most tourists bounce throughout the country to take in the abundant and diverse experiences the country has to offer.
This is where most Costa Rican trips start off. The Central Valley is home to the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, plus the major international flight terminal.
San Jose will probably be your "jump-off" point for the remainder of your trip in Costa Rica. However, consider spending a day or two checking out what San Jose can offer. So far as Costa Rica vacation spots go, there are a large number of museums to check out and parks to unwind in. And that is just the beginning.
Of particular note is the Central Market, or Mercado Central, which is a excellent place to experience the local culture, pick up some mementos, or stockpile some of the local gourmet coffee. There are lots of modest shops for fresh fruits and veggies, various meats, and fish. And don't forget to stop to get a bite to eat inside the food courts.
If native culture is your thing, also explore the various museums and galleries outside and inside of the city. Shopping is plentiful, and at night, the bars and nightclubs start jumping!
Just outside San Jose, in Heredia, is the Cafe Britt coffee tour. For those who have any affinity for coffee whatsoever, check this out. You are able to tour a real working coffee farm. Coffee is cheap here -- I bought 20 bags to take home with me -- however it's much less expensive in the Central Market if one makes it that way.
There's plenty to try and do while in the Northern zone. When you're originating from San Jose, odds are your first vacation destination will be one of the most memorable and amazing - the Arenal volcano. It's been erupting every day since 1968. The views are beautiful, and if the cloud cover isn't too bad, you will see red-hot molten lava streaming down the side.
At the foot of Arenal in neighboring La Fortuna are several hot springs where you can relax and bathe in luxurious warmth. Together with Arenal, these hot springs are on the "must do" list. Tabacn is a well known choice, but it's not the only option. Additionally, there are Bald and Eco Termales. We spent a late, dark romantic evening getting the most excellent neck and shoulder massage by hanging out in a sweltering, pummelling waterfall. Just awesome...read more »
Puerto Viejo Costa Rica
The town of Puerto Viejo is located 124 miles east of San Jose and 34 miles south of Limon. Puerto Viejo has become more popular than the nearby Cahuita because of its lively atmosphere and because of the large amount of surfers that come to the area from around the country and the world to ride the famous Salsa Brava wave.
If you don't prefer surfing then there are several good swimming beaches and plenty of activity options including nearby rainforest trails. There are also a lot of great local and international restaurants that you can choose from.
The town gets a lot of rain so if you are looking for sun your best times to come are between September and October. Although even in these months suns not guaranteed. As you head further south there are even more beautiful beaches along the coast that have white sand and turquoise seas.
During the calm sea periods around August to October the waters are some of the clearest in the country. The coral reefs nearby offer excellent opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. Recently a paved road has connected Puerto Viejo with Manzanillo which has helped to make the beaches more accessible. There is a small selection of moderately priced and budget hotels along the coast line.
Puerto Viejo is located near the end of Costa Rica's Caribbean coast. About nine miles south of Puerto Viejo is the town of Manzanillo and after that there is a national wildlife reserve that stretches all the way to the Panamanian border....read more »
Iím here to visit La Selva, a research station that unravels the secrets of life in the rainforest. The coordinates are on my SatNav and I park, pay a surprisingly modest entrance fee, cross a bridge and Iím in an area of neat cabins laid out beside a Visitor Centre. I didnít know they had those in the jungle. A young man with a beard and a t-shirt from the University of Arizona at Tucson greets me as a family of coatimundis race across the lawn behind him and disappear up a tree. Thereís a map of trails that would keep Richard Long busy for a fortnight, so I decide on a modest loop that promises much. I am not disappointed. In an hour and a half I see more wildlife than David Attenborough could cope with in a 6-part mini-series.
Late in the day thereís just time to drive on to the little town of La Fortuna, just beneath a massive volcano called Arenal. I arrive at sunset and, seeing smoke coming from the top, ask the hotel receptionist if itís about to blow. Not tonight, she says. Arenal is permanently active and spends its time contentedly steaming and gently burping lava, which I can just see as a ragged rim high on its steep cone, glowing red as night falls. Tired after a busy day I make for hot springs and gently lower myself into volcanic waters as a waxing moon appears. Every so often thereís a distant rumble as Arenal gets on with its job...read more »