When you travel to Costa Rica, the first thing on your mind might be the beach. Luckily for you, great beaches and many quaint beach villages surround this country. Since there are so many beaches to explore, we’ve narrowed down the top 10 to visit on your next trip to beautiful Costa Rica.
- Inside the Marino Ballena National Park is the beautiful Playa Arcos. It is surrounded by jungle-covered steep hills.
- Playa Barrigona is located just north of Samara. It’s a stunning and well-hidden beach. You’ll have to drive down a bumpy road through dense jungle to get to it.
- Uvita is only accessible during low tide. It’s located 17 km south of Dominical along Coastal Highway 34. The sandy outcropping resembles a whale tail, giving it the name Uvita.
- Isla de Cano is only accessible by boat. You can reach it 10 miles off the coast of the Osa Peninsula.
- Playa Blanca and Playa Virador are located right by each other on the Papagayo Peninsula. Since the Four Seasons dominates the peninsula, you’ll have to hike to the beaches, which are open to the public.
- Playa Matapalo is nestled between two popular spots, Manuel Antonio and Dominical. It’s quiet and offers a great sunset.
- Punta Uva has a beautiful coral reef just offshore and a beautiful beach. It’s right outside Puerto Viejo, surrounded by jungle.
- Visit the sea turtles at Ostional. This beach is located just north of Nosara.
- Located on the Punta Quepoa peninsula, Playa Biesanz is a quiet beach surrounded by forest just outside of Manuel Antonio.
- The undeveloped beach of Esterillos is sure to please. Find it halfway between Manuel Antonio and Jaco.
Though it is a quiet beach town, Montezuma offers many unique activities that allow you to sample the culture during a Costa Rica vacation. Just wandering the town will give you a “beachy” feel while listening to the waves and watching the surfers. There is much more to the beach in this area of Costa Rica.
- Cemetery Island. Heading south of Montezuma, you’ll find a scenic road along the beach on the way to Cabuya. It is a 7 km drive through the jungle and along beautiful beaches. On the way, you will pass the Higueron de Cabuya, which is an extremely large strangler fig tree. Once in Cabuya, walk out on the land bridge to Cemetery Island during low tide. Indians once used this island to bury their dead, and today funerals are still held here.
- Visit the farmer’s market on any Saturday morning to immerse yourself in the food, crafts, and music of Costa Rica. Many vendors line up to sell their fresh goods, while street artists perform for the crowds.
- Fiestas Civicas de Cobano. This fair is located in Cobano, located a short distance outside of Montezuma. It lasts for two weeks each year in February. It features carousels, great food, and crafts for sale. The main event is a large rodeo with daring cowboys and bulls.
- The Art Galleries of Puntarenas. In the mountains outside of Montezuma is Puntarenas. This small town offers several art galleries to explore that offer art, crafting, and sculpting classes.
Eco-tourists love Costa Rica for all the untouched land located in the small country. While on their Costa Rica vacation, the rainforest always sits high on the list of places to visit. It is one of the few rainforests on Earth that is not in danger. This is due in part to the Costa Rican government creating preserves to keep plant and animal life safe from humans pushing into the lush forests.
The rainforest is located in the central part of the country, but it also touches both coasts in some areas. The biodiversity in this area is really large. There are thousands of known plant and animal species, and likely many more never seen by human eyes. It is the untouched beauty that drives eco-tourists to this location.
Inside the rainforest, it is wet. It rains a good part of the year there. Most areas of the forest floor are free of vegetation due to the lack of sunlight from the lush treetops. Inside of the forest lurk many large and small animals, from the large leopard to the smallest tree frog. Waterfalls and small springs are scattered throughout, just waiting for a small tour’s discovery.
In the mountains, the rainforest looks much different. The trees are shrouded by clouds, creating a cloud forest. Within this area, tree branches are not bare. Moss, lichens, and plants grow among the trees, high in the air.
When visiting Costa Rica, consider taking one of the many tours into the rainforest. Many tours offer horseback rides deep into the forest near Arenal, where you can see the eruptions late at night.
For more information about visiting Costa Rica, contact us at the Ylang Ylang Beach Resort.
There is so much more to see once you get beyond the hotels in Costa Rica. Once you get your pampering at the spa out of the way, you should go explore some of the natural attractions in the small, rural country. At least half, if not more, of the best places to visit are natural areas of Costa Rica. There is also something to be said of a country where two of the best places to see happen to feature volcanoes. Below are the top 5 natural destinations.
- Osa Peninsula. Located in this region is the Corcovado National Park. This park features some of the last un-touched, lowland, tropical rainforest left in Central America. Many animals call this area home, including jaguars, many bird species and crocodiles. You can camp inside the park or stay in Drake Bay.
- Rio Sarapiqui Region. See many different ecosystems in this region of Costa Rica. Most of this region contains tropical forests that rise up out of the coastal lowlands. Many private reserves are located here, as well as the Braulio Carrillo National Park.
- Manuel Antonio. The national park here offers a unique experience. The park is full of different species of monkey. The jungle meets the Pacific Coast in Manuel Antonio. You’ll have ample opportunity to see the steep jungle hills and uninhabited islands off the coast.
- Arenal Volcano Area. Spend the day soaking in the hot springs of Arenal while listening to the volcano rumble. At night, you can see a light show as the volcano constantly erupts.
- Rincon de la Vieja National Park. This beautiful area also boasts a volcano. Within the park are numerous hot springs, geysers and vents to explore.
To learn more about what Costa Rica offers, contact us at the Ylang Ylang Beach Resort.
After you travel to Costa Rica, you will leave wanting to come back again and again. Once you get all the must-see sites out of the way, the exploring really starts. There are many areas of the country that you have likely never seen. Check out three of the places that you have likely never heard of, but cannot pass up.
- Nauyaca Waterfalls. These falls can only be accessed through a long hike through the woods or by horseback. The tallest part of the falls is over 40 meters, with the smallest part being 20 meters. The sound of the falls thunders, and you can hear it echoing throughout the forest, as you get close. Go swimming in several pools near the base of the falls before you hike back the way you came.
- The Tree of Life Tour. Between Dominical and San Isidro del General, you will find this tour. The property contains many acres of rainforest and cloud forest. The forests go all the way to the summit of the Tinamaste Mountains. In the forest, you can visit the Diamante Falls. You can take a hike up to the top of the 600-foot falls and see another 150-foot waterfall with a cave located behind the falls. Spend the night in the cave, which has a full kitchen and sleeping quarters inside.
- Los Heroes. The area used to be cow pastures, but it later became a replica of a Swiss village. The village has two restaurants, a hotel, stables, a chapel, and a train station. The village is located on Lake Arenal, giving you views of the volcano and the surrounding mountains.
For more information on where to go or stay in Costa Rica, contact us at the Ylang Ylang Beach Resort.
When on your first Costa Rica vacation, you might not have a clue where you should go or what to do. There are so many activities to do in Costa Rica, you might not be able to choose. However, there are some activities that you do not want to miss.
- Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. This area of Costa Rica is completely unique from the rest of the country. Here, most residents speak English. The area is known for its Afro
- Arenal. The Arenal Volcano is a sight to see. During a clear day, you can see its conical shape rising in the distance. Take one of the many tours available to visit one of the lakes near the summit. At night, you can watch and hear the small eruptions within this active giant.
- -Caribbean culture and delicious Jamaican food. All around you’ll hear reggae playing in every home and business.
- Tortuguero. For a great eco-tourism destination, check out Parque Nacional Tortuguero. Here, the jungle is filled with narrow canals. You can rent a canoe to take you through these canals and take an opportunity to watch and take pictures of the local wildlife.
- The Central Valley. For outdoor adventurists, the Central Valley is the place to be. Experience some of the best whitewater rafting in all of Central America.
- Playa Samara. Playa Samara is one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. It offers white sands and turquois seas.
For more information on visiting Costa Rica, contact us at the Ylang Ylang Beach Resort.
Sometimes Costa Rica vacation packages include activities such as canopy tours. These tours allow you to soar high above the forest floor on a zip line through the treetops. This vacation activity is as fun as it is gutsy. Those who are in fear of heights might not find this activity as inviting.
These tours often include Superman cables and Tarzan swings to keep you entertained for hours. Other tours have elaborate platforms that take you walking through the top of the forest. Bridges take you from platform to platform, sometimes 30 to 60 meters in the air. Leave your fears behind to share this extraordinary activity.
Try out a unique tour with the Monteverde Trainforest. This tour takes you on a miniature train system a whole four miles through the rainforest. You will go through one long tunnel and cross four bridges through the trees. During the trip, take advantage of the views of Arenal and Monteverde. Children are welcome on this tour, and children under 12 ride free.
Another great tour is the SkyTrek. This adventure-packed tour offers zip lines, a tram and hanging bridges. The tour offers daytime hours, but you can also request a nighttime tour. This is a unique opportunity to create memories on your vacation that you and your family will never forget.
When visiting Costa Rica, always explore all of the things you can do in the area where you are staying. You might discover a great new tour or activity that will make your vacation the best you have ever had.
For more information about Costa Rica and attractions, contact us at the Ylang Ylang Beach Resort.
When you plan your Costa Rica vacation, consider heading to San Jose for their historical tours. There you can learn about Costa Rican history and explore many of the historical buildings. Several places for you not to miss are listed below.
- Our Lady of Sion. The chapel itself is located at Central and 1st Ave. It was built in the years between 1883 and 1887. It was initially a girls’ school and a convent. Today it is one of the older buildings in the city. It functioned as Sion High School through the 1960s, and it now houses part of San Jose’s Legislative Assembly.
- The Blue Castle. A well-known politician named Maximo Fernandez built this home in 1908. From 1914 to 1923, the home housed the president of Costa Rica. Several presidents stayed there, including Julio Acosta Garcia, Alfredo Gonzalez Flores, Francisco Aguilar Barquero, and Federico Tinoco Granados. In 1989, the Blue Castle became home to the Legislative Directory.
- Costa Rican National Museum. Initially a home built in the 1870s, the Costa Rican National Museum went through several owners before the government bought it in 1914. From 1928 to 1932, the building housed military barracks. Today it is the museum, which houses a pre-Colombian history wing and a wing containing the history of Costa Rica.
- Plaza de la Cultura and Banco Central Museum. Built in 1976, the museum was a center for literary, scientific and artistic activities. It was finished and opened in 1982. It houses many exhibitions and two museums within the large building.
For accommodations and travel information in Costa Rica, contact us at the Ylang Ylang Beach Resort.
April is one of the best times to travel to Costa Rica. This is during the peak of the high, dry season, just before the wet, low season is getting started. This means a majority of your trip will be rain free. However, do expect some minor showers in the evening that only last a few minutes.
Instead of needing umbrellas, you will need lots of sunscreen. The days last almost 12 hours and give out lasting sunlight for that whole time. Areas such as the beaches have little shade, so make use of an umbrella to cover up when the sun is just too much.
Temperatures hold steady in the high 80s and low 90s all month near the coast. If you visit the higher elevations and the forests, the temperature is about 10 to 15 degrees cooler on average. This is great weather for all the activities you may have planned. Do expect that most attractions are crowded during the month of April.
During May, the whole country transitions into the rainy season. However, the first few weeks of May will be very dry. In late May, the seasonal rains come. This means that your last chance to book travel before the rainy season is the second to third week of May. If you are planning a trip last minute, make sure to check the weather predictions. Do realize, though, that the weather could turn at any minute.
After booking a room at one of the many hotels in Costa Rica, consider booking a horseback riding tour. You’ll find horseback riding tours available in most areas of the country, especially popular tourist areas. Most of these tours require advance reservations. Below are the top places to go for tours on horseback.
- Monteverde to Arenal Tour. This tour lasts two and a half hours, and takes you up close to the Arenal Volcano. You will travel through thick rainforests, jungle and farmland. The first leg of the tour ends at the Arenal Lake, where you’ll get to go on a boat tour of the lake. Afterwards, you’ll jump back on your horse for the return trip.
- Don Tobias Tour. This tour takes you through the fields and forest below the Arenal Volcano crater. You’ll travel partway up the mountain to a beautiful lagoon, where the horses can take a break while you can soak in the view of Arenal.
- Manuel Antonio Tour. This tour takes you deep into the rainforest near many beautiful waterfalls. After discovering the rainforest and its wonderful plants, take a dip in a nice pond fed by waterfalls.
- Samara Beach Tours. Ride horses along the Pacific Coast and through the beachside forests. The tour will go through nature trails where you’ll see many wild animals. Along the beach, you might see turtles, as the trail goes through a turtle nursery.
- Nicoya Peninsula Tours. This tour is on a private coastal ranch that features a turtle preserve and part of a wildlife refuge. There are three tours daily in this pristine ranch.