“Costa Rica” literally translates as “rich coast” and owes its name to Christopher Columbus, who sailed here with his crew at the beginning of the 16th century thinking he had discovered the legendary land of gold. Although Costa Rica is a mainland country in Central America, due to its nature and landscapes, we can classify it as part of the Caribbean region. “Rich” is the perfect term for Costa Rica, as it is one of the most diverse countries in the world in terms of flora and fauna, which even the popular exotic islands cannot match.
This country with its capital in San Jose contains around 5% of the world’s species. A lush and wild environment is available at every turn. Costa Rica is also a safe holiday destination. It offers, among other things: dreamlike landscapes, friendly people willing to share the country’s culture, where you can additionally feast your eyes on the wonders of nature. The perfect combination of relaxation, adventure, culture, delicious cuisine and wildlife is Costa Rica. It is also home to UNESCO world heritage sites such as: The Stone Balls of Costa Rica, Guanacaste National Park and Coconut Island.
The climate in Costa Rica
The tropical climate is determined by various factors, including the terrain (mountains, plains and plateaus), its location on the Central American isthmus, the influence of the oceans (sea winds and breezes and the temperature of ocean currents) and the general atmospheric circulation. All these local geographical, atmospheric and oceanic factors are the main cause of the country’s regional climate.
The north-western mountain range divides Costa Rica into two sides: Pacific and Caribbean. Each has its own pattern of rainfall and temperatures with a particular spatial and temporal distribution. The best weather therefore depends on where and when you go. Costa Rica has a number of distinct microclimates, with flooding in one zone and very dry weather in another. If you are only looking for sunny days then Costa Rica has a zone and season that guarantees this – January, February and March would be the ideal time in the north-west region. The temperature then fluctuates around 25-35°C and there is the least amount of rainfall. With plenty of sunshine then, it is the ideal time to both explore the rainforest and relax on the beaches.
When we think of Costa Rica, an image of rainforests, jungles, exotic animals, magnificent pristine beaches, an amazing ocean and volcanoes should spring to mind. The country’s rainforests, mountain ranges, mist forests, savannah, ancient cave systems and river gorges provide shelter for more than 500,000 species, including hundreds of mammals such as capuchin monkeys, sloths and endangered wild cats.
Attractions in Costa Rica
If you dream of an unforgettable adventure surrounded by tropical jungles, volcanoes and colourful animals, then Costa Rica is the place to be. The prices of the tours are not very high compared to the memories they will provide. You should definitely visit the lush Monteverde rainforest, which is located 2.5 h by car from the capital San Jose. There, you will be treated to a thrilling crossing of suspension bridges amidst the green treetops and descents on skyward tyroleans. The most important thing is to look around – there are really many interesting animals around, such as toucans, ostracods and sloths.
Or why not take a tour of the jungle at night, when the animals are most active? If you are a nature and activity lover, you will enjoy trekking at the foot of the majestic Arenal volcano, followed by a well-deserved rest in the numerous hot springs found here. Still not enough attractions? How about a horseback ride around the picturesque hills of the Perez Zeledon area, a rafting trip down the Pacuare River or a visit to an Indian village of the Cabecar tribe?
All of these attractions will make for an unforgettable holiday. Costa Rica, a holiday here will certainly not be boring. After an action-packed tour, it’s worth staying at least a few days on the Caribbean or Pacific coast by a beautiful Costa Rican beach. It is also a great idea to relax on the white sands of the Riviera Maya in Mexico after the impressions Costa Rica will leave in us. Cuba is also a possible destination to combine if you don’t already have enough attractions.
Beaches in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has an extensive coastline and is famous for its beautiful and diverse beaches, which even Mexico, Mauritius or Sri Lanka and other Asian islands cannot boast. Here you will find beautiful white beaches with palm trees, pristine coves and black volcanic beaches. Among the most popular and beautiful beaches are:
- Tamarindo, a place known for its surfing for beginners and vibrant nightlife. The town is also surrounded by Las Baulas National Park, which protects the endangered sea turtles that settle on nearby beaches from October to February;
- Playa Conchal – the sparkling white sand of Playa Conchal, north of Tamarindo, surrounds a turquoise bay, ideal for swimming or snorkelling. Many tourists overlook Playa Conchal. But those who have discovered it know it is paradise.
- Playa Flamingo, north of Playa Conchal is a combination of gentle waves and a developed tourist base, making it one of the most family-friendly beaches in Costa Rica. The soft sand gently slopes down to the ocean and the beach’s western exposure provides beautiful sunsets. There are many great restaurants on land. At sea, you can snorkel, sail and fish;
- Manuel Antonio – this stunning beach, part of Manuel Antonio National Park, has long been considered one of Costa Rica’s best beaches. To the west of the beach is Punta Catedral, a rocky promontory that protects the beach from strong waves. The water here is consistently calm, making it an excellent choice for families with young children. Meanwhile, the surrounding national park is full of wildlife. Capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, green iguanas and sloths are easy to spot here. Manuel Antonio is also one of the few places in Costa Rica with a population of endangered (and adorable) Saimiri monkeys, commonly known as howler monkeys.