Places To See In Costa Rica
Places of Natural Beauty in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is traditionally divided into six geographic zones; Caribbean, Central Valley, Central Pacific, the “Dry Region”, the Plains and the South. The backpacker, hiker or other traveler will consider mainly the beaches, the cloud forests and its many parks. The reason here is the natural beauty and the wildlife that can be viewed in these exotic and sometimes remote locations. Remember – when visiting Costa Rica the traveler can have direct encounters with the jungle!
The Central Pacific is where the traveler will find most Costa Rican beaches. Puntarenas is generally known as a ferry point for the rest of the area. Manuel Antonio is probably the most well known for being the first to become popular – so it is probably the most expensive!Aï¿½ Manuel Antonio National Park is placed in this beach region and is therefore mentioned here.Aï¿½ This park is divided into white cliffs, sandy beaches and the water’s edge coming right up to the jungle. There are many trails to explore in this huge (over 4K acres) park. Despite its size, it is still a very busy park.
The Caribbean and the Sea Turtles
Is actually not very populated and not visited very often. But it is a great place to find sea turtles and other wildlife. The main refuge there is the Gandoca-Manzanillo. If fortunate, one may be able to find Hawksbill sea turtles from March to August. The great Leatherback turtle appears from February through April (it appears elsewhere in other seasons). Other sea turtles appearing on these wild beach sites are the Green, Loggerhead and Olive ridley. Manatees and Tucuxi dolphins may also be spotted sporting around in these beach areas. However, the naturalist may want to check the lagoons and rivers for them. Also present in this zone should be poison-dart frogs – look but don’t touch if you find them!
The traveler may also want to visit Tortuguero – but it is accessible only by plane or boat.Aï¿½ However, here one may observe sea turtles laying eggs or the hatching of the same.
The Cloud Forests
The cloud forests are probably Costa Rica’s most famous feature. Monteverde is accessible from San Jose. Trip by car or bus is said to take 3 hours – but schedule 4 to 5 hours! Ecotourism hikes of 3 hours duration are also available in the forest. The Eco-tours offered are said to be “responsible with little damage” to the forest – but one may expect crowds. One must expect to be overwhelmed by the diversity of bird life. The Audubon Society reported a record bird species count in one 24 hour period.Aï¿½
There are several parks and stations suggested for hiking and backpacking. These are the Arenal (volcano), Cahuita, Lankester Botanical Gardens, Rincon, and La Selva Biological Station. Corcovado Park is most famous for its scarlet macaw population. Rincon has a waterfall (Cangrejo), two volcanic craters and a crater lake. It is best to call and make advance reservations with La Selva. One other famous park is discussed with the Cloud Forests – Monteverde. Corcovado is said to be relatively uncrowded due to visitor controls – it also offers some hard trails for the hiker! Cahuita is flat with short trails and should be a relatively easy hike.Aï¿½