Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, with a mountain range running down the middle, the small Central American country of Costa Rica is an adventure paradise. The name Costa Rica is Spanish for “rich coast” and the name is appropriate, especially on the Pacific side of the country.
The capital city of San Jose, featuring the country’s main airport, is nestled high in the central mountains. From there it is an approximately 90 minute drive to the Pacific coast. Road conditions vary greatly throughout the country, from the main, modern highway that links the capital and the coast, to rural roads that change from pavement to dirt and back. Some of this is due to the large amount of rain Costa Rica receives which makes road maintenance difficult. Some areas receive 300 to 400 inches of rain a year.
All that rain and the close proximity to the equator make Costa Rica a lush tropical destination. The rain forest grows tall and canopy tours abound. There are dozens of places where you can ascend to the top of a mountain, take a series of zip lines over the treetops and end up back at the bottom. It’s truly an exhilarating experience.
The Pacific side is also famous for its surfing. The town of Jaco is known to have the best beginner surfing waves on the Pacific coast. Right next door is Hermosa Beach, which has some of the best surfing period. The Billabong Surfing World Championship was held there in the early 2000s.
Because Costa Rica is so close to the equator the length of the days and nights are almost equal all year round. The sun comes up around 6:00 a.m. and goes down around 6:00 p.m. Therefore lots of activities happen in the early morning when it’s sunny and not too hot. By mid-afternoon, with temperature climbing into the 90’s and very high humidity, people tend to retreat indoors and come back out for the sunset and the cooler evening temperatures.
The forested landscape also harbors many exotic animals. Squirrel monkeys, sloths, toucans, hermit crabs, coatimundis, iguanas, lizards, scarlet macaws, howler monkeys, poison dart frogs and crocodiles call this land home. There are 27 national parks to help protect this wildlife. In fact 25% of Costa Rica’s land has been set aside in parks and reserves.
Costa Rica has much more to offer, including the active Arenal volcano, the Caribbean coast and many other activities like snorkeling, bicycling and white water rafting. If a tropical adventure is in your future consider the wonders of Costa Rica.