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CostaRica (2K)

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redmaccaws (60K)Costa Rica, despite its small size is one of the most diverse countries of Central America. It stretches for no more than 200 miles from north to south or east to west. It borders with Nicaragua in the north and Panama to the south. To the east and to the west it is only confined by the oceans. Yet, within its small confines it seems to offer all: sandy, palm fringed beaches, steamy lowland rainforest, mountain peaks and volcanoes, grassy savannahs, montaine rainforest, and temperate valleys. This incredible geographical diversity naturally gives rise to an equally incredible natural diversity. In fact, Costa Rica is generally considered to be one of the biodiversity 'hot spots' and an eco-tourists paradise.

Ethnographically the largest population group consists of mestizos, but there are also black and indigenous minorities. The indigenous population consists of various tribes that live in small groups, mainly in remote areas scattered across the country. The great natural and geographical variety offers a wealth of exciting travel adventures, whatever one's 'special thing' might be: lazing around on tropical paradise type beaches, hiking through the rainforests and learning about the incredible flora and fauna, exploring the underwater world, climbing mountains and volcanoes or pursuing adventure sports such as white water rafting or mountain biking. Costa Rica is generally regarded as one of the safest countries to visit in Central America - for both the individual traveler and families alike.

REGIONS

Costa Rica is divided into seven departments or six regions. Central Valley

The capital of San José is fairly centrally situated in the middle of the Central Valley region. It is a pleasant town, nestled between volcanoes, which can easily be visited from here. In fact, the well developed transportation infra-structure allows for easy access to many interesting sites in the surrounding regions, including hot-springs and nature reserves.

Northern Caribbean
Southern Caribbean
Northern Plains
N. Guanacaste/Northern Pacific
S. Guanacaste/Nicoya Peninsula
Monteverde
S. Pacific/ Corcovado & Golfito
More info coming soon!

More information about the many protected areas, volcanoes, national parks and wild-life reserves of Costa Rica can be found by following the links in the nature reserve section below.

NATURE RESERVES & NATIONAL PARKS

Considering its small size, Cost Rica has an unbelievably large number of protected areas and reserves. It prides itself as a pro-conservationist country that values its natural heritage in its living state, rather than as resources to be exploited and depleted. Its proved to be a wise move. Costa Rica has proportionately more income from tourism, than any of the other Central American countries. To find out more about these rich and varied protected areas and their wildlife, follow the links below.

WORLD HERITAGE SITES:

ADVENTURE TRAVEL INFO

Costa Rica, as mentioned before, is the perfect country for adventure and nature travel enthusiasts.

RAINFOREST ADVENTURES & BIRD WATCHING

Costa Rica is famous for its infinite opportunities for rainforest explorations and wildlife watching. Its considered a Mecca for bird watching. Many remote jungle lodges specialize in nature encounters, offering guided treks into the jungle with knowledgeable local guides or naturalists. Special organized tours focussing on in-depths jungle exploration are also available. One of the most novel and exciting ways to explore the jungle and its rarely seen canopy are the newly developed canopy explorer tours which are offered at some of the research stations. Much of the jungle life is hard to observe from the forest floor but these innovative new methods allow for close-up views and observation of birds, butterflies, flowers and animals that spend most of their lives in the canopy. The canopy can be explored either by modified ski-lift, walkways which connect platforms high up in the trees or with mountain climbing gear.

For more information please contact us at: info@sacredearth-travel.com

HORSEBACK RIDING

Horseback riding excursions are offered in many places and range from hourly rides to overnight trips. Many lodges also offer this service. Inquire locally.

SCUBA DIVING

Although diving in Costa Rica may not be quite as spectacular as in its neighboring countries, Belize and Honduras, there are certainly some good spots worth exploring. Notably around Playa del Coco in the northwest and at Drake Bay in the southern Pacific coastal region. On the Caribbean coast there are good diving spots near Puerto Viejo and the Cahuita National Park.

SURFING

The Pacific coast offers the most popular beaches for surfers, the waves are good for most of the year. The beaches of the lower Nicoya Peninsula, near the Golfo Dulce and the Osa Peninsula are less populated and offer somewhat more privacy.

Santa Rosa National Park (Playa Naranjo) is also very popular but hard to reach due to bad road conditions for about 6 months of the year. Jaco Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park in the Central Pacific area, are also popular spots. Whilst the northern Caribbean coast usually has higher surf, it is not always safe, as it is frequented by rather aggressive bull sharks. Along the southern Caribbean shore the surf is lower but offers great opportunities for exploring the coral reefs.

WHITE WATER RAFTING

This is a relatively new activity offered by some agencies in Costa Rica. Some of the rivers are quite wild. Rafters can explore more than a dozen rivers, which range greatly in their degree of difficulty. Tours are offered as one day excursions or multiple day camping/rafting trip combinations.

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Costa Rica is a great country to explore by bike, whether you go on day trips from San José or decide to tour the country on two wheels. Overnight stops and food can be found anywhere and if the going get tough you can always get a ride for you and your bike with the local bus. Bikes can be rented in Costa Rica, or if you prefer, bring your own (but package carefully for the plane journey.

FESTIVALS

There are always local fiestas going on in Latin American countries, which are almost impossible to keep track of. The event listings below lists the most important public holidays. As with other Central American countries, Easter tends to be celebrated most passionately and most elaborately.

TIME OF YEAREVENTLOCATION
January 1 New Year's Day Nationwide
March 19 Day of St. Joseph San José
March/April Holy Thursday Nationwide
March/April Good Friday Nationwide
April 11 Battle of Rivas
May 1 Labor Day Nationwide
Moveable Corpus Christi Nationwide
June 29 Day of Saints Peter and Paul Nationwide
July 25 Annexation of Guanacaste
August 2 Day of Our Lady of the Angels Especially in Cartago
August 15 Assumption Day Nationwide
September 15 Independence Day Nationwide
October 12 Columbus Day Nationwide
December 8 Immaculate Conception
December 24/25 Christmas Nationwide
December 31 New Year's Eve

TRAVEL INFO

CHECK OUT OUR COSTA RICA ECOADVENTURES

THE WEATHER

Costa Rica is a tropical country and as such is hot and humid most of the year in most regions. However, there are some regional variations. On the Pacific side the 'dry' season runs from November through April. The Caribbean coast is hot and humid year round. However, even during the rainy season, rains tend to come as reasonably short downpours, rarely lasting more than a few hours any time of the year. The mountain regions tend to be generally dryer and somewhat cooler.

VISA INFORMATION

Citizens of Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Holland and dependencies, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America and Uruguay do not need a visa for a maximum stay of 90 days.

Citizens of Albania, Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Dominica, El Salvador, France and dependencies, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, San Cristobal, San Marino, St. Lucia, St Vincent, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Suriname, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Vatican and Venezuela can stay in Costa Rica for 30 days without a visa. Extentsions can be applied for from the immigration office.

USEFUL LINKS TO FURTHER INFORMATION

BOTANICAL RESOURCES

Pictures and Info about Costa Rica's Flora and Fauna can be viewed at http://www.tourism-costarica.com/ follow the Biodiversity link.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY:

Organization for Tropical Studies

Please e-mail us at info@sacredearth-travel.com for further information and inquiries.