Costa Rica

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Costa Rica’s riches include several active volcanoes (between 5-7 at any given time), an abundance of fecund rain forests (including cloud forests so high up they’re actually wreathed in clouds); thermal hot springs; more than 750 miles of fetching and often uncrowded beaches, especially along the Pacific coast; the Amazon-like Tortuguero preserve complete with jungle lodges; abundant wildlife from monkeys and sea tortoises to at least 850 species of birds; and plenty of adventure outfitters ready to take you birding, whitewater rafting, hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, scuba diving, rock-climbing, sky diving, and lots more.

Costa Rica Cities and Regions

San Jose

The first taste of Costa Rica for most tourists, this hectic capital isn’t one of Latin America’s oldest, finest, or cheapest. But block out all the traffic, smog, and prefab concrete, and the more discreet charms (lovely museums, cafes, and parks) of Chepe, as Ticos have nicknamed it, emerge and engage.

Guanacaste & Nicoya Peninsula

This former sabanero (cowboy) stomping ground on the northwestern Pacific Coast is Costa Rica’s version of the Old West. Though often furnace-hot and bone-dry, it’s graced with beautiful white-sand beaches, an international airport, and more and more resort developments.

Limon & the Caribbean Coast

Costa Rica meets the Caribbean in Limon province, home to an English-speaking minority descended from 19th-century, Jamaican migrant workers. Visitors flock here to tour scenic, subtropical Tortuguero National Park and ply its densely vegetated and wildlife-rich canal, one of the country’s top attractions, via canoe or panga (a flat-bottomed boat).

Central Valley and Highlands

Some of the most extreme scenery and attractions Costa Rica has to offer, within easy reach of the capital: four active volcanoes, four national parks, and four major cities – plus waterfalls, butterfly farms, and rainforest canopy trams.

Puntarenas & the Pacific Coast

The southernmost portion of this isolated Pacific province has the same ecotourism appeal as the rest of the country – but with fewer homeowners and visitors. Inching north up the region’s Pacific coast, serious tourism kicks in around Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park, a popular must-see that’s home to beautiful beaches and wandering bands of squirrel monkeys.

Isla de Coco

Marooned 300 miles out in the Pacific, this rainforest-covered islet, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was the setting of the film Jurassic Park. It’s the world’s largest uninhabited island.

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