TOURIST REGIONS

Learn more about the areas

San José and Central Valley

Although San José was founded among the mid-1600s, it did not become the nation’s capital until the 1820´s, after independence from Spain.

The capital city is located in the central valley of the country surrounded by vistas of volcanoes and fertile hillsides. At 3,770 feet above sea level, it maintains a year-round moderate temperature.

Visitors could spend at least 1 or 2 days in the Central Valley before heading to other areas.

Attractions to visit in San José downtown:

  • National Theater
  • National Museum
  • Jade Museum
  • Central Market
  • Museum of Costa Rican Art (San José’s first international airport) at La Sabana Park.

A morning or afternoon San Jose City Tour can be arranged upon request combining some of the above attractions.

Attractions to visit from San José:

We recommend you to visit the following areas on a guided tour that can be arranged with us:

  • Irazú Volcano National Park (combined with a visit to Lankester Botanical Gardens)
  • Poás Volcano National Park (combined with a visit to Doka Estate Coffee Farm)
  • Lankester Botanical Gardens
  • Guayabo Archeological Monument
  • Tapanti National Park
  • Doka Estate Coffee Plantation
  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens
  • La Garita Botanical Orchid Gardens
  • White water rafting trips:

Costa Rica offers several rivers to practice white water rafting and at the same time to enjoy the wildlife along the river shores. Experienced tour operators offer single and multiple day trips suitable for families and adventure lovers. River classes have a significant range in difficulty level, depending on the section you run.

Sarapiqui River (Class II-III)

  • Trip length: 9 miles approximately
  • Minimum age: 10 years old.
  • Departures: June to December.

Pacuare River (Class III-IV)

  • Trip length: 20 miles approximately
  • Minimum age: 12 years old.
  • Departures: daily, all year (depending on water levels).

Northern

This flat region extends up to the Nicaraguan borders and its rich landscape supports a wide variety of agriculture, including citrus, rice and sugar cane. About 600 bird species (of 850 found in CR) live permanently in this region, making it a perfect spot for bird watchers since the rivers of this region are often flooded during the rainy season, making marshlands densely populated.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest is also considered part of this region although is located in the Tilarán Mountain Range with an elevation of 3900 to 5900 feet.

Attractions:

  • Arenal Volcano & lake
  • Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
  • La Fortuna Waterfall
  • Arenal Hanging Bridges
  • Peñas Blancas River floating safari
  • Malekus Indigenous Reserve
  • Rio Celeste River
  • Thermal waters
  • Maquenque Wildlife Refuge, San Carlos River & San Juan River (Nicaragua)
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (day and night walks)
  • Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Selvatura Park (suspension walkways, zip lining, reptile exhibitions, hummingbirds and butterflies gardens)
  • Butterfly Garden of Monteverde
  • Coffee Tour & Sugar Mill at Don Juan Farm
  • The Frog Pond of Monteverde
  • Casem Monteverde & Cafeteria (non-profit artisan cooperative)

Southern

This area contains the mountain Paramus of the Cerro de La Muerte and Chirripó National Park which is Costa Rica’s highest peak at 12.603 feet above sea level.

It is also home to the largest concentration of indigenous people in the country – most of them retain very strong cultural traditions such as dress and ceremonies. These groups are the Guaymis, the Cabecar, Bri Bri and Borucas.

The Osa Peninsula that can be divided in two main regions North Osa and South Osa, this area hosts an incredibly rich array of wildlife and untouched rainforests, with nearly half of the peninsula comprising either national park or other forms of protected land.

Attractions:

  • San Gerardo de Dota Valley (Savegre River)
  • Marino Ballena National Park
  • Uvita & Dominical beaches
  • Terraba Sierpe Mangroves
  • Corcovado National Park (Northern Osa Peninsula)
  • Caño Island Biological Reserve
  • Golfo Dulce

Central Pacific

The central coast of Costa Rica contains numerous beaches and important national and private natural areas that are protected for conservation.

Nature lovers will enjoy walking thru trails exploring local species and beach lovers will enjoy lying on white sand beaches, sea kayaking and snorkeling.

You will discover picturesque small port towns as you wind thru the coast and get the local flavor of its people.

Attractions:

  • Carara National Park
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Damas Island mangroves
  • Savegre River rafting
  • Nicoya Peninsula (Tambor, Montezuma, Santa Teresa, Mal Pais beaches)
  • Tortuga Island

North Pacific

The North Pacific of Costa Rica covers the largest province of Guanacaste that has a varied topography ranging from volcanic mountain ranges to fertile lowland dry forests and lots of coast lines.

Guanacaste is land of the Chorotega Indians that were influenced by the Mayan Culture so you can still see the historical and cultural links reflected mainly in their handmade crafts.

Admire the giant Leatherback Turtles come ashore to deposit their eggs at night into Playa Grande from November to April, stroll along white sand beaches, relax, snorkel or dive in warm waters (75 to 80 degrees) and enjoy the marine residents.

Guanacaste offers the biggest tourist development in the country from all inclusive resorts, mid size hotels to condos.

Attractions:

  • Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park (highland areas)
  • Santa Rosa National Park
  • Golfo de Papagayo (picturesque beaches Panamá, Manzanillo, Hermosa)
  • Flamingo and Ocotal Beach (world class sport fishing and scuba diving)
  • Conchal Beach
  • Tamarindo Beach (surfing, fishing)
  • Palo Verde National Park
  • Guaitil Pottery Village & Santa Cruz
  • Samara & Nosara Beaches (southern Nicoya Peninsula)
  • Ostional Beach & National Refuge (southern Nicoya Peninsula)

Caribbean

The Caribbean of Costa Rica can be divided in two main regions, the northern slope and the southern slope. It contains an ethnic mix of Afro-Caribbean and indigenous people of the Talamanca, Bribrí and Cabecar tribes, as well as the Spanish and Chinese residents who started coming to the area in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

This region holds the highest percentage of protected land in the country, with exuberant vegetation, abundant wildlife and more than 100 miles of coastline. Snorkeling, diving and surfing are popular in the southern beaches.

The Sarapiqui rainforest lowlands are also part of this green region hosting different attractions such as river rafting, boat exploration along the Sarapiqui River, excellent bird watching and natural history walks to biological stations.

Attractions:

  • Tortuguero National Park
  • Cahuita National Park
  • Puerto Viejo, Punta Cocles, Punta Uva beaches
  • Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge
  • Sarapiqui River (boat rides or rafting)
  • La Selva Biological Station
  • La Tirimbina Reserve
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