Small yet incredibly diverse, Costa Rica is blessed with an abundance of lush natural beauty. Slightly larger than Switzerland, the landscape here is varied and gorgeous. Exquisite beaches lead up to fiery volcanoes through some of the most dense and verdant forestation in the world. All adding up to some truly fantastic panoramas, this tiny Central American country makes for an amazing vacation getaway.
The perfect palm lined beach at Islita
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Divided down the center by a chain of volcanoes that run the length of the country, Costa Rica is part of the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’. This tiny nation is remarkably different from coast to coast, with each region having its own unique characteristics and charms.
For those who would like nothing better than relaxing and sunbathing on the beach, head on to Guanacaste province in Northwestern Costa Rica. One of the most popular and frequented places in the country, Guanacaste is known for is hot dry weather and near perfect beaches. Fast becoming a top tourist resort destination, this province plays host to the most expensive resorts in the country, situated in the tranquil and beautiful Papagayo Gulf. Known for its vast open plains, cowboys and historic national parks, Guanacaste is an ideal area to kickback and unwind.
The provinces of Alajuela and Heredia contain much of Costa Rica’s breathtaking cloud forests. This region is pristine and green with coffee plantations found all over the place. Some of the most active volcanoes in the country are also located here. These areas are known for their spectacular firework displays and flourishing fertile slopes. In Alajuela you will come face to face with the mighty Arenal Volcano, which is a treat to watch, especially at night when red molten lava spurts from the volcano cone.
The more adventurous prefer the exotic Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, or the Limon province, with its stunning beaches, and fantastic white water rafting. On the northern end of the Caribbean coast, you’ll find Costa Rica’s version of the Amazon, the Tortuguero National Park; while towards the south you are treated to Costa Rica’s take on Afro-Caribbean culture. Sportfishing on the northern coast of Limon is the best in the country.
Puntarenas is a surfer’s paradise with some of the best surfing in the world found here. The breaks are strong and consistent, inviting surfers from all over the globe. Jaco, Playa Hermosa, Mal Pais, Santa Theresa and Dominical are all considered as top surf destinations. Northern Puntarenas extends upwards from the ever-popular Manuel Antonio National Park to the mysterious Monteverde Cloud Forest, while Southern Puntarenas includes the Corcovado National Park and the former banana port of Golfito. This region is wild and untamed and is home to the Osa Peninsula, an area dubbed as one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. North Puntarenas is ideal for those who prefer a more conventional vacation; while Southern Puntarenas opens the door for exciting adventures amidst the lush tracts of rainforests here.
San Jose and Cartago make up Costa Rica’s Central Valley, which is where a majority of Costa Ricans or Ticos live and where you can find all the comforts of modern living. A fertile and rich area with plenty to see and do, this region is dotted with countless ‘fincas’ (farms) and ranches, making it the nerve center of the country. Cool winds fan the rolling hills here, making the weather fantastic and inviting more and more people to settle down in this part of Costa Rica.
Choose Region in Costa Rica:
Northern Central Region
Central Valley Region
North Pacific Region
Northern Mountain Region
Caribbean Coast Region
Central Pacific & Nicoya Peninsula Region
South Pacific & Osa Peninsula Region
San Jose & Central Highlands Region
Travel Times in Costa Rica
Costa Rica Weather
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Click to enlarge map - Costa Rica Provinces Map