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Costa Rica (rich coast) offers a wealth of activities, adventure and wildlife.




There are a number of compelling reasons to love Costa Rica. It’s one of the greenest and most stable, peaceful and democratic countries in the world (the country hasn’t had a standing army since 1949).

Although it is small, Costa Rica (Spanish for "rich coast") has 5 percent of the biodiversity in the world. There are more than 800 miles of beaches (divided between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts), 60 national parks and wildlife refuges cover 26 percent of the country, and it’s home to an amazing variety of plants and animals, many of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

    Resorts, such as the W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal, provide a luxurious experience. © W COSTA RICA / RESERVA CONCHAL

    Regions to roam

    Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces: Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas and San José, home to the nation’s capital of the same name.

    Talk about location: beaches, the green-covered Arenal Volcano, rivers that appear almost magically out of steep mountains and 400 miles of coastline.

    You can do just about anything here—hike, bike, zip line or simply watch the wildlife—and you can take your time to do it. Since Costa Rica is located so close to the equator, the sun rises and sets at roughly the same time all year long. The pace is slower, and after a visit you’ll agree that the pace is just perfect.

      Regions to roam

      Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces: Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas and San José, home to the nation’s capital of the same name.

      Talk about location: beaches, the green-covered Arenal Volcano, rivers that appear almost magically out of steep mountains and 400 miles of coastline.

      You can do just about anything here—hike, bike, zip line or simply watch the wildlife—and you can take your time to do it. Since Costa Rica is located so close to the equator, the sun rises and sets at roughly the same time all year long. The pace is slower, and after a visit you’ll agree that the pace is just perfect.

        Resorts, such as the W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal, provide a luxurious experience. © W COSTA RICA / RESERVA CONCHAL

        Image of rappeller.

        Adventures at all speeds

        Start with a visit to Rincón de la Vieja National Park. There’s a volcano there (which last erupted in 1983), and you can do a manageable daylong hike to the summit on a 6-mile trail that takes you to multiple waterfalls and hot springs. Or you can ride a horse along Lake Arenal, the largest body of water in Costa Rica. (You can also boat and kayak here.)

        And, of course, there’s zip lining. Costa Rica was a pioneer in canopy tours, one of the original thrill rides. Guanacaste has a number of zip lining tours, so you might find yourself soaring more than 100 feet above the jungle.

          Image of a sloth.

          Sloths don’t necessarily take to rappelling but you can experience and enjoy both in Costa Rica.

          If you’re not a thrill seeker, head to Cuajiniquil, a small fishing village about 8 miles from the Pan-American Highway; it’s a great place for whale-watching. I’m also a fan of kayaking at Boca Nosara (aka Nosara rivermouth). This is where the locals go on the weekends, so go during the week. Or, stay up late for a tapir-spotting tour at Tenorio Volcano National Park.

          Several guided white-water rafting adventures are offered throughout the region, from easy floats for the whole family on the Corobici River to more challenging outings, such as the Class 3 and Class 4 rapids on the Tenorio River. These are great ways to see sloths, howler and white-faced monkeys, coatis, iguanas and all manner of birds, interspersed by the occasional heart-pounding rapid.

          I also like checking out the sea cave at Playa Huevos. This is a wonderful, isolated beach, and the best time to go is at low tide. That’s when you see the entire cave and the amazing rock formations. The best part is a small trail that leads you to a lookout at the top of a hill. It’s never crowded, and more often than not, when you get to the top, you can be alone with nature.

            If you’re not a thrill seeker, head to Cuajiniquil, a small fishing village about 8 miles from the Pan-American Highway; it’s a great place for whale-watching. I’m also a fan of kayaking at Boca Nosara (aka Nosara rivermouth). This is where the locals go on the weekends, so go during the week. Or, stay up late for a tapir-spotting tour at Tenorio Volcano National Park.

            Several guided white-water rafting adventures are offered throughout the region, from easy floats for the whole family on the Corobici River to more challenging outings, such as the Class 3 and Class 4 rapids on the Tenorio River. These are great ways to see sloths, howler and white-faced monkeys, coatis, iguanas and all manner of birds, interspersed by the occasional heart-pounding rapid.

            I also like checking out the sea cave at Playa Huevos. This is a wonderful, isolated beach, and the best time to go is at low tide. That’s when you see the entire cave and the amazing rock formations. The best part is a small trail that leads you to a lookout at the top of a hill. It’s never crowded, and more often than not, when you get to the top, you can be alone with nature.

              Image of a sloth.

              Sloths don’t necessarily take to rappelling but you can experience and enjoy both in Costa Rica.

              Turtle-watching

              From March to October, a favorite activity is to go on an organized midnight tour to the beach near Tamarindo to watch the giant leatherback turtles as they come to lay their eggs.

              You head out to the shoreline, waiting and watching in silence. Suddenly, your guide whispers the news: The turtles are coming.

              Female leatherbacks, which are among the heaviest reptiles in the world, approach from the water. They’re large, and look prehistoric. Each female comes up slowly from the sea, digs a deep nest with her flippers and lays about 100 eggs; then she fills in the pit, covers the nest and returns to the sea, and all this is before sunrise. It’s a remarkable experience.—PG

              As seen in the COSTCO CONNECTION, April 2019

                There are a number of compelling reasons to love Costa Rica. It’s one of the greenest and most stable, peaceful and democratic countries in the world (the country hasn’t had a standing army since 1949).

                Although it is small, Costa Rica (Spanish for "rich coast") has 5 percent of the biodiversity in the world. There are more than 800 miles of beaches (divided between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts), 60 national parks and wildlife refuges cover 26 percent of the country, and it’s home to an amazing variety of plants and animals, many of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

                  Resorts, such as the W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal, provide a luxurious experience. © W COSTA RICA / RESERVA CONCHAL

                  Regions to roam

                  Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces: Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas and San José, home to the nation’s capital of the same name.

                  Talk about location: beaches, the green-covered Arenal Volcano, rivers that appear almost magically out of steep mountains and 400 miles of coastline.

                  You can do just about anything here—hike, bike, zip line or simply watch the wildlife—and you can take your time to do it. Since Costa Rica is located so close to the equator, the sun rises and sets at roughly the same time all year long. The pace is slower, and after a visit you’ll agree that the pace is just perfect.

                    Regions to roam

                    Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces: Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas and San José, home to the nation’s capital of the same name.

                    Talk about location: beaches, the green-covered Arenal Volcano, rivers that appear almost magically out of steep mountains and 400 miles of coastline.

                    You can do just about anything here—hike, bike, zip line or simply watch the wildlife—and you can take your time to do it. Since Costa Rica is located so close to the equator, the sun rises and sets at roughly the same time all year long. The pace is slower, and after a visit you’ll agree that the pace is just perfect.

                      Resorts, such as the W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal, provide a luxurious experience. © W COSTA RICA / RESERVA CONCHAL

                      Image of rappeller.

                      Adventures at all speeds

                      Start with a visit to Rincón de la Vieja National Park. There’s a volcano there (which last erupted in 1983), and you can do a manageable daylong hike to the summit on a 6-mile trail that takes you to multiple waterfalls and hot springs. Or you can ride a horse along Lake Arenal, the largest body of water in Costa Rica. (You can also boat and kayak here.)

                      And, of course, there’s zip lining. Costa Rica was a pioneer in canopy tours, one of the original thrill rides. Guanacaste has a number of zip lining tours, so you might find yourself soaring more than 100 feet above the jungle.

                        Image of a sloth.

                        Sloths don’t necessarily take to rappelling but you can experience and enjoy both in Costa Rica.

                        If you’re not a thrill seeker, head to Cuajiniquil, a small fishing village about 8 miles from the Pan-American Highway; it’s a great place for whale-watching. I’m also a fan of kayaking at Boca Nosara (aka Nosara rivermouth). This is where the locals go on the weekends, so go during the week. Or, stay up late for a tapir-spotting tour at Tenorio Volcano National Park.

                        Several guided white-water rafting adventures are offered throughout the region, from easy floats for the whole family on the Corobici River to more challenging outings, such as the Class 3 and Class 4 rapids on the Tenorio River. These are great ways to see sloths, howler and white-faced monkeys, coatis, iguanas and all manner of birds, interspersed by the occasional heart-pounding rapid.

                        I also like checking out the sea cave at Playa Huevos. This is a wonderful, isolated beach, and the best time to go is at low tide. That’s when you see the entire cave and the amazing rock formations. The best part is a small trail that leads you to a lookout at the top of a hill. It’s never crowded, and more often than not, when you get to the top, you can be alone with nature.

                          If you’re not a thrill seeker, head to Cuajiniquil, a small fishing village about 8 miles from the Pan-American Highway; it’s a great place for whale-watching. I’m also a fan of kayaking at Boca Nosara (aka Nosara rivermouth). This is where the locals go on the weekends, so go during the week. Or, stay up late for a tapir-spotting tour at Tenorio Volcano National Park.

                          Several guided white-water rafting adventures are offered throughout the region, from easy floats for the whole family on the Corobici River to more challenging outings, such as the Class 3 and Class 4 rapids on the Tenorio River. These are great ways to see sloths, howler and white-faced monkeys, coatis, iguanas and all manner of birds, interspersed by the occasional heart-pounding rapid.

                          I also like checking out the sea cave at Playa Huevos. This is a wonderful, isolated beach, and the best time to go is at low tide. That’s when you see the entire cave and the amazing rock formations. The best part is a small trail that leads you to a lookout at the top of a hill. It’s never crowded, and more often than not, when you get to the top, you can be alone with nature.

                            Image of a sloth.

                            Sloths don’t necessarily take to rappelling but you can experience and enjoy both in Costa Rica.

                            Turtle-watching

                            From March to October, a favorite activity is to go on an organized midnight tour to the beach near Tamarindo to watch the giant leatherback turtles as they come to lay their eggs.

                            You head out to the shoreline, waiting and watching in silence. Suddenly, your guide whispers the news: The turtles are coming.

                            Female leatherbacks, which are among the heaviest reptiles in the world, approach from the water. They’re large, and look prehistoric. Each female comes up slowly from the sea, digs a deep nest with her flippers and lays about 100 eggs; then she fills in the pit, covers the nest and returns to the sea, and all this is before sunrise. It’s a remarkable experience.—PG

                            As seen in the COSTCO CONNECTION, April 2019


                              Image of Peter Greenberg

                              Peter Greenberg is the multiple–Emmy Award–winning travel editor for CBS News and host of The Travel Detective on public television (petergreenberg.com).


                               
                               
                               
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