Which makes sense, given its natural splendours: active volcanoes that can be visited by tourists, mangrove swamps, lowland jungle, rainforests, cloud forests... All this, in a country with the most stable political climate in Latin America.
Costa Rica's government has taken many measures to protect its wildlife and environment. Costa Rica is a small country, with total territory less than 20,000 square miles, yet over a quarter of its area is protected. National parks cover almost 12% of the land; biological reserves and wildlife refuges can be visited too. The country has more than 850 species of birds, 600 species of butterflies, and such exotic mammals as three-toed sloths, tapirs, coatis, giant anteaters, peccaries, and jungle cats.
Costa Rica Attractions
The highlights of Costa Rica fall into four regions:
Near San Jose:
Tapanti National Wildlife Refuge
-Poas Volcano (active and visitable)
-Monteverde Cloud Forest
- Arenal Volcano National Park
The Pacific Coast: -Carara Biological Reserve (rainforest)
- Corcovad National Park
- Las Baulas Marine National Park
- Santa Rosa National Park
- Palo Verde National Park
Caribbean Coast & Northern Lowlands: Cano Negro National Wildlife Refuge
- Rara Avis
- Tortuguero National Park (visited by waterways, not roads)
Eco-tour packages typically include a sample of these attractions, and possibly rafting or a river float as well. An interesting option is jungle canopy tours: the best place to view wildlife in the jungle is high up!
Many of the vacation companies that offer family adventures have trips in Costa Rica, including Adventures by Disney.
Costa Rica: Cautions and Precautions
As splendid as Costa Rica is, don't forget you're still visiting a third-world country. For health concerns, head to the Center for Disease Control: Travel Information. Also be prepared for bad road conditions. Even 4-wheel-drive vehicles take a beating, so expect rental fees to be higher than in North America.
- Read more about visiting Costa Rica. Note that summer is Costa Rica’s wet season; November and December are the driest months, but expect prices to jump.