Lucky you if the only choice you’re grappling with for a summer vacation is whether you’d rather hit the beaches on the shores of the Caribbean or the coast of the Pacific…Costa Rica is the Place
Would you be surprised to know that you can enjoy them both in Costa Rica?
Situated in the lower portion of Central America between Nicaragua and Panama, with the Caribbean on the east and Pacific on the west, Costa Rica is rich in in natural beauty, unique wildlife and ancient culture to explore.
Whether your heart’s desire is a serious binge of eco-tourism or a relaxing sand-and-sea experience by day and plenty of fun by night, you’ll find it here.
As you’re considering a trip to Costa Rica, here are some helpful things to know:
Costa Rica Geography
Costa Rica is mid-size among the nations of Central America, with a chain of volcanoes that run the entire length of the country.
It’s divided into seven provinces, three of which – Guancaste, Limon and Puntarenas – have beaches to die for:
The northwest “Gold Coast” of the Pacific, is home to near-perfect Costa Rica beaches and the most luxurious resorts in the country.
Alajuela and Heredia
Inland from Guanacaste and are the primary location of Costa Rica’s pristine mountaintop cloud forest, one of the most unique environments on the globe.
The area boasts lush coffee plantations as well as a number of volcanic hot springs.
San José and Cartago
Comprise Costa Rica’s central valley, where most of the population lives and works, many on farms and ranches that dot the rolling hills.
Stretches along the country’s 125-mile Caribbean coast.
The northern portion is rich in prehistoric rain forest, while the southern portion of Limon is known for its white sand beaches and vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture.
Despite its wild tropical beauty, Limon is one of the least touristy areas of the country.
The southernmost province, divided into two parts reaching along the Pacific coast to Panama.
North Puntarenas is famed for the strong and consistent breaks that draw surfers from around the world.
South Puntarenas offers another kind of experience, with its Osa Peninsula home to virginal rainforest and one of the most biodiverse habitats on the globe.
Costa Rica Accommodations
There is a wide variety of choices for places to stay in Costa Rica, ranging from resort hotels on the beach to eco-lodges in the jungle.
You can also go eco-camping or glamping or stay on a coffee plantation, a working farm or even in a rainforest treehouse.
The Things to Do in Costa Rica
It’s the incredible natural setting and unique and array of wildlife that draws most visitors to Costa Rica.
With over 500,000 plant and animal species, it’s one of the world’s most biologically diverse countries, and its conservation policies are designed to keep it that way.
An extensive number of national parks and preserves are yours for exploring on your own or on guided tours that are available throughout the year.
In addition, Costa Rica offers all the active warm weather sports there are, both on land and on the water.
There’s horseback riding, ziplining, hiking, climbing, cycling, golf and hot air ballooning as well as fishing, diving, surfing, whitewater rafting, kite sailing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding in locations that will leave you breathless.
Costa Rican Cities
San José, in the province of San José, is the capital and largest city.
Chepe, as the locals call it, has numerous restaurants, treasure-filled museums, art galleries, theaters and a jumping night life.
It’s also a good place to start your vacation because Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in neighboring Alajuela is a hub for flights throughout Costa Rica.
Escazú, the upscale suburb of San José, is noted for having cosmopolitan amenities without the big city hassle of other places you might have visited.
It’s where you’ll find some of Costa Rica’s fine cafés, restaurants, boutiques and shops.
The capitals of the other provinces all have their own charms, with dynamic street life, farmer’s markets, festivals and proximity to the country’s many natural attractions.
A Few More Facts
Costa Rica has enjoyed uninterrupted democracy since 1949 and is one of the most stable, peaceful and progressive nations in Latin America.
It’s the only country in the world to meet all of the United Nations’ criteria for environmental sustainability and is among the greenest countries in the world.
It generates over 98 percent of its electricity from green sources and plans to be carbon-neutral by 2021.