All posts by costaricarios

Make 2018 the Year You Experience a Costa Rica Adventure

Have you been dreaming of a Costa Rica adventure for years? Make 2018 the year it happens!

Every year, Costa Rica leads international lists as one of the world’s most rewarding and exceptionally unique active travel destinations. Just recently, Forbes Magazine waxed lyrical about our most beloved corner of the world, citing the friendly and welcoming culture, safety, ease of life, affordability and high-quality of healthcare as prime reasons to vote Costa Rica the #1 country everyone dreams of retiring to, even outranking long-held favorites like Panama and Mexico. We couldn’t agree more: make 2018 the year you finally experience a Costa Rica adventure and we guarantee you’ll also dream of spending the rest of your life here.

You’ve no doubt heard about all the magnificent rewards Costa Rica offers and they all hold true whether you sell up and move here for an idyllic retirement or simply visit on a heart-pumping adventure vacation.

Because everyone has to start somewhere, right?

If you love immersive, active vacations, you’ll LOVE Costa Rica adventures

Costa Rica adventureSome destinations are wonderful to look at, to admire from a quiet corner, to enjoy as a mere observer. Costa Rica, however, has the sneaky habit of sucking you into being an active part of her immense wilderness. Here, you don’t just picnic by a river, you dive headfirst into her crystalline raging torrents on a kayak or white water raft and have the absolute time of your life barreling down rapids BEFORE you stop to catch your breath and, yes, have the riverside picnic after all.

Forests in Costa Rica are to be explore on foot and by swinging on zip lines, beaches are for surfing, snorkeling and SCUBA diving, mangroves are to be explored by kayak and the entire country is one nearly endless stretch of hiking trails to be discovered on foot. If you dream of a place that’ll captivate your heart and soul, shake you to the core and plunge you into an adrenaline-filled adventure then Costa Rica is YOUR place to be in 2018.

Costa Rica is a top family-vacation destination, where the fun suits young and old alike

Parents searching for an ideal destination for a family vacation are used to simply choosing an oversized resort, in a beautiful country, that offers a kids’ club. This way, they surmise, both parents and children are bound to have a good time. Yet Costa Rica offers a very different kind of family fun, one that the whole family enjoys together, making it a very distinctive destination indeed.

If quality fun time with your kids is at the top of your list, then look no further than Costa Rica in 2018. You, and your kids, will have a ball rafting, kayaking, horse riding, surfing, snorkeling, mountain biking and hiking in pristine wilderness, all the while encountering exotic wildlife. Finally, you no longer have to compromise between what’s fun for you and what’s fun for them! Costa Rica is simply fun for the whole family, making it one of the most rewarding family vacation destinations on the planet. And don’t worry…no matter which Costa Rica adventure tour you choose, there will always be options for the more/less active companions.

Costa Rica offers some of the most affordable tailor-made tours in the world

If you’re a fan of adventure group tours you’ve no doubt fantasized about having the opportunity to enjoy a private, bespoke tour where the itinerary and all the activities are tailored with only the desires of you and your loved ones in mind. Well, in Costa Rica, you can. Why? Because this is one of the most affordable and best value-for-money travel destinations on the planet, a place where luxury is not just sensational but also costa a fraction of what you’d pay elsewhere. You’d be surprised at just how affordable a custom tour of Costa Rica can be. Here at Costa Rica Rios, all we need to know is everything you love, and your budget: we’ll make sure we stick to it and endeavor to offer the most unforgettable travel experience of your life. Contact us here and share your dream. Together, we can make 2018 your most unforgettable travel year of your life.

For private, group, family and honeymoon adventure vacations in Costa Rica, a land where the sun is always shining, the sea is always warm and the rivers are always flowing, contact us today.

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Guide to Costa Rica’s Best Natural Hot Spring

Costa Rica hot springA natural and therapeutic hot thermal spring is the ultimate calling card of Costa Rica, the world’s most coveted wellness destination. If soaking in a natural spring, surrounded by sensational tropical wilderness, is your dream, then trust that you won’t find a better destination.

Blessed by over 200 separate volcanic areas and five active volcanoes, and endowed with an impressive infrastructure, Costa Rica is home to a host of geothermally heated thermal pools and volcanic mud baths which, unlike the standard ‘spas’ one finds at home (which are no-doubt relaxing) are proven to have beneficial health benefits.

Not all spas are created equal…

At times, there can be confusion in regards to the terms ‘hot spring’ and ‘spa’ and you may have seen them used interchangeably to mean either an establishment (anywhere) offering treatments based on natural products or an establishment actually located at the source of where those minerals emerge. Technically speaking, however, a true spa is only the latter but as times change the more used term to denote a naturally-occurring therapeutic source is hot spring.

For a hot spring to be considered genuine, it must satisfy three basic conditions: the spring must be mineral-infused, natural (organic) in nature and thermally heated.

The stunning benefits of therapeutic hot springs

Most countries boasting high volcanic activity have been indulging in therapeutic springs since time immemorial. The combination of heat and minerals have been proven to improve circulation, treat skin conditions and cure a wide array of ailments. In countries like Costa Rica, hot springs are used as cures and health treatments (not merely for relaxation) and cooled spring water is also sometimes suitable for drinking. But not always! Make sure you always ask before ingesting any – usually way too hot – spring water.

Costa Rica – the world leader in natural hot spring treatments

Given its unique geology, Costa Rica is a world-leader in genuine hot spring treatments and offers a vast array of options in all of its most popular destinations. What makes this country so very special in this regard, is the sheer number of luxury resorts centered on naturally-occurring springs and mud pools, as well as of-the-beaten path destinations where you can safely soak in an untouched natural hot-spring pool.

Here are our favorite:

Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal-Resort – Arenal Volcano National Park

The most established luxurious resort in the Arenal region, Tabacon is the queen of spas in Costa Rica and the one by which all others are measured. That’s because the spring in Tabacon are 100% naturally utilized from Volcano Arenal, with the resort not using any kind of pump to supply the water from a nearby source or element to reheat their pools. Ranging in warmth from 80 to 122F, the springs at Tabacon are divided, offering you the option of family-friendly or adults-only pools. What makes this place so very special, it must be said, is the native wilderness which frames the springs and has been left to thrive and shelter the pools. This marriage of premier luxury and unspoilt wilderness is arguably what makes Tabacon the most sought-after resort in the whole country.

Baldi Hot Springs – Arenal Volcano National Park

One of the most popular and visited hot spring resorts in the country, Baldi is set on the flanks of Arenal Volcano and boasts no less than 25 hot springs for you to choose from. As the resort gives day passes at very reasonable prices, and given its sheer size (Baldi is touted as the largest hot spring resorts in the world) this is one of the busiest to boot and particularly beloved by local and visiting families. There’s LOADS to do here, with exhilarating slides for kids and adults alike, kids’ programs, sauna and food services designed to keep you entertained and soaking, all day long.

Whilst Arenal can claim to have the monopoly of best-established and most popular hot-spring resorts, there are certainly plenty of hidden natural spring treasures all over the country.

Vandara Hot Springs – Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Rincon de la Vieja is one of five active volcanoes in Costa Rica and the Vandara hot springs its wonderful side-kick. A man-made pool filled with spring water is a fantastic playground and the options in the park include mud and mineral treatments amongst a host of active pursuits. Fabulous as a full-day visit when passing through the region. If you wish to stay a little longer (like, forever!) and enjoy this incredible, fun-filled national park, then check out the gorgeous Borinquen Resort, a great base for active pursuits and, naturally, boasting plenty of hot spring action as well.

Rio Perdido – Miravalles Volcano

The turquoise spring waters of the Rio Perdido are immensely enticing, combining with breathtaking luscious wilderness to create what must be one of the most picturesque settings of all. A relative newcomer to the scene, the Rio Perdido hot springs offer a much wilder and less polished experience which, for many, can be even more appealing. Here in the Guanacaste region, the hot spring resort offers a world of adventure in combination to wellness treatments, and just enough luxurious comfort to make an extended stay absolutely rewarding. Beautifully appointed forest bungalows bring you at one with the beautiful and dramatically rocky nature, and a selection of massages, yoga classes and walking trails allow you to soak up the surrounding gems, from mountain top to mineral springs.

If you’re a fan of spa treatments then there’s no doubt Costa Rica will appeal. And why not? With the kind of natural assets and magnificent wilderness the country possesses, not indulging in the local favorite passion would be a travesty!

Fancy including a natural mineral hot spring experience on your next Costa Rica adventure vacation? Simply contact us…and ask us how.

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10 Reasons Costa Rica Does it Better

Closer, cheaper, safer, friendlier AND with so much more wildlife and fun to offer: there are countless reasons Costa Rica just DOES.IT.BETTER!

Offering more active pursuits than Hawaii and Tahiti, better beaches than Asia, easier to reach than Australia and more value for money than Europe and just about everywhere else, Costa Rica really is an unmatched travel destination. The undisputed queen of sensational active vacations, Costa Rica simply offers more, so much more, for your time, efforts and holiday funds.

And what’s not to love about that?

Here are just 10 reasons Costa Rica does it better!

  1. There’s more wildlife

Costa Rica wildlifeThe sheer concentration and diversity of wildlife makes it a superior animal-lover’s choice destination, anywhere on earth. Not only will you find unique species like sloths, jaguars, ocelots, turtles and an endless array of monkeys and birds, but you’ll find them all in close proximity to one another and immersed in the same pristine wilderness where your eco-lodge or resort is located.

Unlike Africa or elsewhere in Latin America, you need not head out on mammoth expeditions specifically in search of wildlife. Here, the wildlife finds you.

  1. The area is compact and traveling around is easy

Good infrastructure, well-connected airports and a wide array of accommodation options makes traveling around the country very easy. What’s more, Costa Rica simply isn’t all that big and the most popular and beloved attractions, from Arenal Volcano to the Manuel Antonio National Park and the startling Pacific coast beaches, are reached within just a couple of hours’ drive from the capital, San Jose, or merely minutes from the northern airport in Liberia.

  1. Costa Rica is close to home

Not everyone has a month’s vacation to spare OR days to waste dealing with jetlag and extensive trans-continental flights.

Travel here and you don’t have to deal with any of that, and that’s what makes this such a revered short-vacation destination. You can go from your front door to an idyllic tropical beach in just a matter of a few hours.

From home to paradise in a jiffy, from sitting at your work desk to rafting one of the world’s best rated rivers, in a matter of hours. Costa Rica offers you a superb value-for-time vacation even in just a single week away because you can fit a lot into each and every day.

Vacation perfection? We think so!

  1. Costa Rica is always a safe bet

Having dodged the kind of political, social and economic turmoil that has affected its neighbors on a regular basis over the last century, Costa Rica is a very safe and predictable holiday destination. Perfect for planning a trip months in advance and ideal if you wish to travel with your family and just don’t want to worry about safety or last-minute disruptions due to unforeseen domestic issues. Considered one of the safest countries in all of Central America and the Caribbean, Costa Rica is not only a very rewarding bet but a very safe one too.

  1. Boasts better beaches

Costa Rica beachA beach vacay in the heart of winter is what everyone dreams yet unless you want to share your ideal beach with a ton of rubbish or exceptional crowds, you’d do well to choose Costa Rica.

More dreamy than in Europe, cleaner than in Asia, more accessible than in Australia and infinitely cheaper than in Africa, the beaches in Costa Rica are better, any which way you look at it.

  1. In fact, water is EVERYWHERE

It’s not only in idyllic beaches that Costa Rica showcases best; the country also boasts more waterfalls than Hawaii and an incredible maze of crystal-clear rivers you can have a world of fun in. If you’re a water baby, or at least dream to be, Costa Rica is your endless wonderland. Snorkel, surf, dive, kayak, raft, swim and paddle your way through the country, whether you choose to stay on the coast or explore the wild interior. With hundreds of startling beaches to choose from and a head spinning number of riverside lodges, you’ll have the revitalizing and relaxing effects of flowing water no matter where you go. Plus, the water’s warmer here! Need we say more?

  1. There’s a natural landscape to suit you. Yes, all of you

There may be plenty of lovely tropical beach destinations in the world but, 99% of the time, the variety is what’s lacking; making family vacations more than a little restrictive. What if one loves the beach but another wants to climb mountains? Well, in Costa Rica, you can do both…and more! Costa Rica is the most biodiverse country in the world and offers a kaleidoscope of landscapes to suit every taste. Vertiginous volcanic peaks shrouded in clouds, several different types of forests alongside wildlife-brimming mangroves, luscious countryside and, of course, thousands of miles of pristine coastline. No matter what your eyes love feasting on, you’re bound to find it here. If variety really is the spice of life than Costa Rica offers the tastiest vacation for you and your loved ones. More than a dozen distinct ecosystems, all boasting a spectacular array of unique wildlife and landscapes: Costa Rica is like a dozen nature-filled countries all rolled into one.

  1. The people are friendlier in Costa Rica

Friendly, hospitable, fun and humble, Costa Ricans are a personification of their country. Recently rated by the Happy Planet Index as the happiest country in the world, Costa Rica is considered the most satisfying place to live and, as far as its inhabitants go, it certainly shows. Ticos love children and are sociable, laid-back, quick to smile and eager to help, making them some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Proud of their culture, culinary prowess and certainly proud of their nature, you’ll find locals to be among the most memorable treats of all. Families, in particular, are often overwhelmed by the friendliness of the locals, especially towards children, something that seems to be increasingly lacking back home. The smiles are genuine and warm here and make you feel welcomed and cherished from the first moment you set foot off the plane.

  1. The fun in Costa Rica is totally immersive

There’s nowhere else on earth that offers the kind of nature-filled adventures that Costa Rica offers, in every corner of the country. Yes, you can admire waterfalls elsewhere but you’re not allowed to swim at their base, you can hike through rain forests but you’re not allowed to zip line through them and although you may be able to enjoy a picnic on the shores of a crystalline river, you’re probably not allowed to white-water raft through it. But in Costa Rica, you can. You can do it all. There’s no other country that has invested so much effort and funds in creating a natural playground whilst still preserving the integrity of its unspoilt nature and that’s what makes Costa Rica revered among adventure travelers. The spellbinding nature here can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways so if you’re not happy merely admiring it but want to FEEL part of it, then you’ll never find a more worthy choice.

  1. Costa Rica offers the best value for money. Hands down

Could you possibly find a cheaper destination than Costa Rica, with this much stuff to do and so close to home? We think not. Authentic experiences and luxury accommodation in Costa Rica cost but a fraction of the price of what you’d get anywhere else, making ‘indulgences’ much more affordable. Overall, you get more – and can DO more – for the price of a mid-range vacation in comparative destinations and, for this reason alone, Costa Rica continues to top all the lists for the best honeymoon, family and adventure vacation destinations in the world. Costa Rica isn’t merely ‘cheap’ but is, hands-down, the best value-for-money destination you’ll ever find.

More adventure, more fun, more diversity, more beauty and more of everything, for much less.

Costa Rica doesn’t just do it better: Costa Rica does it best.

For a wide array of fantastic adventure vacations in Costa Rica, with the country’s foremost active vacation experts, click here and contact us today.

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The Best Foodie Tours in Costa Rica

Costa Rica foodie toursFoodie tours are becoming increasingly popular in Costa Rica and make for fantastic additions to active vacations, where the emphasis is, primarily, on enjoying the adrenaline-pumping pursuits for which this country is so revered.

Mind you, the cuisine in Costa Rica and the country’s predilection for organic, home-grown ingredients and home-made food, means your taste buds will be delighted at every single meal here. Nevertheless, with the latest addition of Costa Rica to the slow-food movement and the world’s recognition of the country as an exceptional fresh-food grower and producer, food tours can add an in-depth experience to what is already bound to be an unforgettable journey.

Selection of the best foodie tours in Costa Rica for 2018:

Don Olivo Chocolate Tour – La Fortuna

Consistently rated THE favorite food tour in the country by visitors, Don Olivo is not to be missed if you’re in the Arenal Volcano region. This 2hr guided trip offers a behind the scenes look not only at local chocolate production methods but also all the other goodies grown in this luscious and prolific family-owned farm. Tastings are generous and varied (of fruit and cane sugar juice as well as mouthwatering chocolate) and, combined with the passion of the hosting family, help make this the most delicious and high-rated tour of all.

Costa Rica Cooking – La Fortuna

Cooking classes for the gourmand traveler who loves nothing more than to get involved in the making of local specialties, Costa Rica Cooking classes are inarguably the most polished and professional in the region. US chef and Costa Rica restaurateur Scott Alan and his dedicated team of local chefs will astound you with their culinary creations which, you follow all the steps correctly…can be your creations too! Local favorites and international delights using organic local ingredients make up the sumptuous meals in the cooking classes, which you can either help create or just admire and learn. Scott and his team will happily organize bespoke classes for families or groups of friends traveling together, and you can incorporate a visit to a local farmer’s market as well, for that ultimate ‘farm to table’ foodie tour experience.

Foodie Tours Costa Rica – San Jose

San Jose can be overwhelming to the unaccustomed, with the sprawling and busy city usually seen as a mere springboard for onwards travels through the country. But if there’s one reason to hang around for a day, it would definitely be Foodie Tours Costa Rica. Ingenious Adriana Font, the brains behind the concept, creates foodie tours itineraries that are custom-made for each client, matching tastes and interests with local hidden spots to deliver a personalized service that’s impossible to beat. Whether you want to delve into the vegetarian side of Costa Rican cuisine, or fusion, desserts or perhaps a farm-to-table experience (which includes 6 meals in 3 different restaurants) Adriana will take your taste buds to new heights and showcase the city’s trendiest and best eateries. Moreover, you’ll learn a lot about local cuisine and ancient recipes. A small, tailor-made service that’s certainly found its niche-market in the capital, Foodie Tours also organizes public tours on occasion, so check with their FB page before you go.

Tropical Gardens Cooking School – Playa Samara

A gorgeous private home set up to accommodate authentic cooking classes that incorporate organic local produce, a love for the earth and a desire for wholesome, healthy cooking, the Tropical Garden Cooking School is an absolute feast for all the senses. The cooking is traditional, the ingredients locally grown and the menu designed with your tastes and dietary restrictions in mind. A splendidly luscious foodie experience in one of Costa Rica’s most delightful coastal regions. A variety of cooking tours are on offer, including tamales-making and bond-fire cooking.

A foodie tour or cooking class makes for a wonderful add-on to Costa Rica adventure vacations. Keen to taste your way through the country as you indulge in exceptional adventure? Let us know! We’ll be happy to organize cultural and culinary experiences for your next trip with us.

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Travel to Costa Rica: Your Dream New Year Resolution

Whether you crave fun, excitement, relaxation, an adrenaline-rush or a blissful stint of soul searching, Costa Rica makes for a truly awesome New Year’s resolution. Why? Because when you travel to Costa Rica, the destination quite simply, has it all. Yoga retreats invigorating and soothing hot spring treatments, heart-pumping multi-sport tours, seaside escapades and volcano climbs, combined with a delicious and healthy cuisine and a wealth of attractions that would embarrass most large nations ten times its size. Compact, easy to reach and a breeze to explore, Costa Rica is that hassle-free yet hugely rewarding destination that ticks every box.

So don’t look down the barrel of a long year of work ahead without hope of reprieve. Plan your adventure vacation to Costa Rica and make your 2018 your best travel year yet.

Here’s why!

Costa Rica is warm and idyllic, all year long

Travel to Costa RicaBoasting divine year-round temps, Costa Rica is a paradise at any time, and especially during the long and cold northern winter, when you’ll find the country at its best.

Moreover, given the eclectic topography of the country and the choice of destinations, you can have an excellent adventure vacation here at any time of year. Rain season affects each region of the country at different times, and with varying intensity, so no matter when you wish to visit in 2018, you will find a destination that is at its prime.

Cosa Rica is ideal for family vacations

Tico’s love of children and the modernity of the infrastructure make Costa Rica a beloved and hassle-free family vacation destination. The food is not too spicy nor exotic and choices are plenty, so even the pickiest eater usually has no problems with the local food. Having said that, the most popular areas boast enough expats to offer an array of home food your kids will love. But food will be the least of your issues, we can assure you. The biggest problem you’ll have, when traveling with kids in Costa Rica, is stopping them from trying to hug all the monkeys and colorful birds that’ll beg for their breakfast at outdoor tables of every resort in the country. The wildlife here is copious and eclectic and is undoubtedly the most cherished aspects of a family vacation for all kids.

Costa Rica is one of the world’s best wedding & honeymoon destinations

Costa Rica seems to ooze romance at every turn, with idyllic sunsets, remote resorts and tons of unspoilt and hidden beaches attracting love-struck couples like nowhere else on earth. Tailor-made for the adventure honeymoon-seeker, the country is also rising in ranks as a very popular destination wedding destination, and a flurry of resorts offer wedding packages that care of everything, from the ceremony to the reception dinner and all the accommodation for your cherished guests. Can you imagine a more romantic and unforgettable experience than a Costa Rica wedding and honeymoon? Didn’t think so!

Costa Rica is safe and fun for singles

Single travelers are often torn between finding a destination that’s safe enough for them to travel alone and finding one that’s interesting enough to visit, time and again. That’s why so many choose Costa Rica. Our adventure vacation packages, for example, are suited to anyone who dreams of exploring this thrilling country and partaking in its most heart-pumping activities. Traveling alone? Come join us! Our group tours are sensational to say the least and always attract a brilliant array of super fun, curious and interesting characters who cherish having company with whom to experience Costa Rica. Check out some of the reviews of past guests and you’ll discover what fantastic fun we can have together.

Costa Rica makes you MOVE!

Yes, you could head to Costa Rica and spend all your time sunbathing on some pristine beach or lounging by the sensational pool of some uber-cool eco-lodge. But we bet you’ll last barely half a day before the temptation to DO something urges you on your feet. The world’s premier adventure vacation destination offers plenty of exhilarating and fun stuff for the whole family, from horseback riding to kayaking, white water rafting, canyoning, mountain biking, hiking, wildlife-watching and more. Even the most brooding and impossibly uninspired teenager will find it hard to resist. With its array of active pursuits, Costa Rica beckons the adventure seeker and the active travelers, the one who isn’t just happy admiring nature but the one who wants to be among it. Preferably, swinging from a canopy and zip lining at breakneck speed.

Costa Rica rewards all your senses

Organic food, freshly grilled fish, hotly roasted coffee, glorious sunsets, luscious forest, loud and curious wildlife: Costa Rica is a feast for all the senses.

Costa Rica is close and inexpensive

At the end of the day, all this gorgeousness would be amiss if only the country were on the other side of the planet or prohibitively expensive. But it’s neither of those. Short and inexpensive flights from major US cities will have you IN the country and AT the beach or mountains just a few hours after leaving home. No need to deal with jetlag and long transfers! Costa Rica makes an especially ideal short holiday destination as well as a genial last-minute escapade. Moreover, US citizens don’t need a visa to visit Costa Rica, making a last minute visit a truly doable alternative.

The perfect springboard to jump start your fabulous new year?

We think so too.

Contact us for more info on tours and help in planning a bespoke itinerary, and we’ll see you when you travel to Costa Rica!

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Ditch the Winter Freeze & Escape to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the best countries in the world to visit at the beginning of the year as it coincides with its driest – and most idyllic – season. Imagine the delight, then, when you discover how easy, affordable and hassle-free a Costa Rica adventure vacation can be.

Ready to ditch the winter freeze and escape to this adventurous playground brimming with volcanoes, jungles, cloud forests and sensational beaches?

Go on…Costa Rica awaits!

Last-minute escapes – because it’s never too late to be totally amazed

What winter freeze?Perhaps you haven’t had any time, in the last few months, to think about an end-of-year vacation to celebrate in style. To propel yourself down raging waterfalls, raft and kayak exhilarating rivers and to reconnect with nature, and your loved one, on a fantastic adventure in a tropical wonderland.

There’s still time! Our Costa Rica adventure vacations are tailor-made to showcase the very best this incredible country has to offer and our itineraries include kayaking, rafting, ziplining, snorkeling, surfing and canyoning in the heart of the country’s most picturesque regions. Among all the fun and excitement, there’s still plenty of chances for relaxing and enjoying gorgeous eco-lodges, something for which Costa Rica is world-renowned. Last-minute spots are still available and, as always, we’re ready to design a custom and all-inclusive tour where you – and your travel companions – are in charge of the itinerary and inclusions. You’ll be amazed to discover how affordable this all is, in Costa Rica, where a week’s unforgettable adventure can cost as much as just a couple of days in Disneyland.

When it comes to value for money, Costa Rica is an unrivalled travel destination.

Impromptu family getaways – just pack up the kids and GO!

The end of the year is one of the most stressful times of all, with a host of social and family obligations adding to an already over-done, over-worked and over-tired household. So why not throw it all in, pack the bags and the kids, drop the dog off at the in-laws and take a last-minute flight to Costa Rica? Deals on our family favorite adventure vacation packages are this year’s very best bargain and deliver you all to a weeklong jaunt through unspoilt rainforests, pristine beaches and the base of the most eye-catching volcano of all. Rafting, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, hot springs and stunning beaches, in the two most coveted regions of the country: Manuel Antonio and Arenal. This family package vacation serves up an exceptional compromise between organized and spontaneous fun, leaving all the tedious organizational work to us and leaving you and your family to simply sit back…and relish.

Delayed honeymoon? Cosa Rica…for barefoot bliss

Barefoot romance really is the best way to describe Costa Rica, a country that’s risen through the ranks to be dubbed one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations. But to be honest, a couple need not even be actually on honeymoon to indulge in the delights. Surely every couple deserves at least one honeymoon a year?! Unwind, reconnect and revitalize on our Barefoot Romance Honeymoon packages – currently on sale – and let us plan your action-packed love fest, complete with accommodation, activities and some meals, for less than an average nightly hotel room rate back home. Insane! Indulge in two glorious resort stays, enjoy daily adrenalin-pumping activities and cap off your week with a few lazy days in a super-romantic beach bungalow, watching the waves lap at your feet and basking in one of the most glorious tropical sunsets you’ll ever witness.

Ready to inject some serious romance back in your life or planning a last-minute honeymoon?

Your honeymoon paradise awaits!

At Costa Rica Rios, we love to plan and offer the best value-for-money adventure packages in the country and have been awarded copiously for our efforts over the years. Not only with industry awards, always so graciously received, but primarily by our treasured guests. Our continued commitment to showcasing the best of Costa Rica is evident in the continuous glowing reviews of those who come, enjoy, indulge and return, time and again, to explore yet another hidden corner of this jewel of a country WITH US.

So what are you waiting for?

If there’s ever been a perfect time to ditch the freeze and escape to Costa Rica…it is right NOW!

 

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Your Ultimate Guide to Tamarindo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Your Ultimate Guide to Tamarindo showcases the premier surfing and luxury resort destination in all of Costa Rica. The heart and soul of one of the most developed regions of all, Tamarindo is often overlooked by nature-lovers who seek more middle-of-nowhere travel experiences. However, Tamarindo is a brilliant destination in its own right and boasts enough modernity to make it a sublimely relaxing stopover either before or end of more adventurous journeys to the Nicoya Peninsula and the furthest reaches of the Guanacaste Province. Loads of gorgeous accommodation options and a thriving seaside town offer you the best of Costa Rica, be it food, shopping, activities and scenery.

Because more than anything else…Tamarindo is resplendent.

guide to tamarindoThere are some very good reasons why Tamarindo has grown from small and quiet fishing hamlet into a thriving tourist hot-spot. Its strategic location on the western Pacific coastline of Costa Rica means Tamarindo is a fantastic base point from where to explore the two national parks to its northern and southern end, picturesque mountains to the east and awesome surfing waves to the west. This entire region is naturally gifted, offering immense options for outdoor pursuits.

Tamarindo and its surrounds are excellent spots for animal-spotting, volcano hiking, trekking in pristine nature, canopy ziplining, horseback riding on the beach, deep sea fishing, surfing, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, sailing and every other water sport under the blazing Costa Rican sun.

All of this (and so much more) is on offer within merely an hour’s drive from the Liberia International Airport.

Yes…there are very good reasons Tamarindo is just so popular.

Tamarindo’s Best Highlights

Playa Tamarindo – Few things can be as blissful as taking a gentle stroll along Tamarindo’s 2-mile-long beach upon arrival. Beautiful swimming at high tide, fabulous sunbathing spots, surfing lessons for beginners and sensational sunsets are on the menu here, every single day of the year. Within just a half hour drive in both directions, experienced surfers will find fiercer and more impressive waves to tackle. From Playa Tamarindo you can join a flurry of seaside adventure trips, including sailing and snorkeling trips by day and heavenly sunset boat tours in the late afternoon.

Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge – Covering more than 1,200 acres of protected reserves and mangroves, this wildlife refuge is brimming with enticing animals – including 400lb American crocodiles – and the best way to explore it is by kayak (if you dare) or boat tours.

Catalinas Islands – For the best SCUBA trips in town. The reefs of Catalinas are inhabited by an impressive concentration of marine life and colorful, thriving coral, as well as magnificent underwater canyons hiding reef sharks, Pacific giant mantas, turtles, star fish, eels and SO much more. The Catalinas are a cluster of uninhabited islets close to Tamarindo’s coast and offer more than a dozen separate, distinctive and rewarding dive sites. So many, in fact, that you can dive for several consecutive days here and never have to visit the same place twice.

Although you may just want to.

Las Baulas Marine National Park – Baulas are giant leatherback turtles in Spanish and in this aptly named national park on the fringes of Tamarindo, you’ll see one of the world’s largest concentration of its largest sea turtle during nesting season, between October and May each year. Revered for its colossal arribada (mass nesting turtle arrival) La Baulas is a fervently protected reserve and your night-time visits will be highly-controlled and immensely educational. Witnessing 800 female turtles heading ashore to nest would have to be one of Costa Rica’s truly astonishing sights.

Adventure activities – From white water rafting to kayaking, ziplining and more, Tamarindo is a great springboard for adventure tours of Costa Rica when what you also crave is a vibrant beachside base.

Shopping – Tamarindo’s town centre is peppered with gorgeous boutiques selling artisan products, organic skincare and handmade swimsuits and sarongs, all interspersed with the ubiquitous souvenir stalls. Because no-one ever suffered greatly after a little spot of retail therapy!

Resort stays –Tamarindo plays home to a vast collection of revered resorts. Places like Diria Resort, one of our faves, offer an impressive array of activities and amenities in-house, ideal if you wish for a few relaxing days where not much is required of you except to wake up and gather just enough energy to laze around some glorious pool or idyllic stretch of beach. In and around Tamarindo, you’ll find a host of accommodation options to suit families, honeymooning couples and singles alike, of all ages and budgets.

A Guide to Tamarindo – How to Reach It

Tamarindo is less than 30 miles from the Liberia International Airport so ideal if you’re flying into Costa Rica through its northern airport. The seaside town is also only a 45-minute flight from San Jose if you happen to bag cheaper flights to the capital city instead.

Best Time to Visit Tamarindo

Costa Rica’s climate is divided into dry and rainy seasons, with the former happening between December and April, and the latter from May until November. Although you may be tempted to book your Tamarindo tour for the dry season, do note that temps can be soaring….as can crowds. For the very best enjoyment of the town and all it has to offer, we’d highly recommend you aim to visit during the splendid shoulder-season weeks, between the end of April and mid-May, and again towards the end of October. This way, you’ll get to share this corner of paradise with fewer tourists but still have all activities available to you.

Dreaming of fantastic adventures in Tamarindo? At Costa Rica Rios, we plan group and bespoke tours to the most magical corners of the country, combining adventure, adrenalin, relaxation and indulgence into each and every trip. Contact us if you’d like to know more.

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Costa Rica’s Magical Arribada of Olive Ridley Turtles

Arribadas are synchronized turtle nesting events on a mass scale, whereby tens of thousands of turtles converge on very specific beaches to lay millions of eggs, simultaneously. For threatened Olive Ridley Turtles, the favored beaches are along Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline and, more famously, Ostional Beach in the Nicoya Peninsula. Arribadas, whose term translates to ‘arrivals’, are incredibly magical events to witness and occur over a period of several days, usually up to a week.

Costa Rica’s magical arribada of Olive Ridley turtles are recognized as one of the world’s true wonders of nature.

 

olive ridley turtlesWhat makes arribadas so exceptional is the fact that not much is known about them. To this day, scientists are still in the dark as to how thousands of turtles know to return to their own nesting beaches, year after year, and all at the same time. Their innate homing ability is one of the greatest mysteries of nature, especially when one considers the sheer distances each animal covers, over the course of a year. Moreover, as turtles reach maturity at about 10 years of age, it means that hatchlings who are born here will not return for at least 10 years. Yet they will still know that this is the beach they were hatched and this is the only place in the world they must return to

In Costa Rica, bearing witness to an arribada is one of the most iconic experiences you could ever dream to have and if you time your visit to the country just right, you could include one in your itinerary.

Costa Rica’s Olive Ridley Turtles – One of the Country’s Most Precious Assets

One of the world’s last true unspoilt countries, Costa Rica is home seven marine turtles, including the threatened Olive Ridley and the Giant Leatherback, the largest species of its kind on our planet.

Olive Ridley turtles arribadas occur sporadically all year long yet the ones with the highest numbers happen during the rainy season, between August and November. They take place about 10 days before each new moon during this period, and you’ll see endless waves of sea turtles to come ashore and lay millions of eggs in shallow holes in the sand. Aside from one other specific spot in India, this is the second largest Olive Ridley turtle nesting site on the planet. The immensely instinctive behavior of nesting turtles makes them very determined, so they seem not to be affected by onlookers at all. Understandably, there are very strict codes of conduct during arribadas in the most visited beaches, to help avoid the kind of disruption which occurred in Guanacaste back in 2015 when thousands of turtles, and onlookers, descended on the same beach simultaneously.

There are volunteer associations that help hatchlings make it ashore. Given that arribadas occur during low tourist season, the local Ostional Guide Association is always happy to accept help in times of need and if you’d love to be a part of this incredible event, and lend a hand, you can contact them here.

Arribadas – a Danger at Every Turn!

Arribadas are dangerous affairs, both for the mothers that come ashore to lay their eggs and the eventual hatchlings who will struggle and face unfavorable odds to make it to the sea. Predators and threats abound, not only from other animals (including human poachers) but also from their own kind. Arribadas happen in waves (literally and figuratively speaking) on any given night, and due to their sheer numbers and the turtle’s seemingly self-centered instinct, the first ‘wave’ of laid eggs actually has a high chance of being destroyed by subsequent turtles who trample all over them. The local government has been criticized for making this the only place where harvesting turtle eggs is legal yet their rather logical solution to a huge problem has actually been very effective at promoting the overall survival of the species.

In Ostional, locals are allowed to take and sell a certain number of turtle eggs that belong to the first wave of an arribada, eggs that have the highest chance of being destroyed. They can fetch a considerable amount of money. In return, however, locals keep a vigil over the subsequent waves, helping to keep poachers, stray dogs, crocs, vultures and coatimundi at bay and giving the hatchlings the best chance at life. It is a solution which drew skepticism at first, but one which seems to be working remarkably well. Local communities are also being educated as to the importance of these arribadas and are becoming quite vocal protectors of the events.

Although human help is arguably warranted, it is also restricted. Witnessing an arribada, in all its natural glory, therefore, can be both mesmerizing and totally heartbreaking. Not every turtle and egg can and should be saved or helped. Nature also needs to take its course.

Costa Rica’s Olive Ridley arribadas can attract up to 150,000 turtles. The largest ever recorded occurred in November, 1995, when half a million turtles turned up for an arribada of astronomical proportions.

After an Arribada…Come Hatchlings!

Around 45 days after eggs are first laid, another wave occurs. This time, of tiny little Olive Ridley turtles hatchlings! Their own struggle to reach the seas is monumental. Flapping over what is, to them, colossal sand dunes, the hatchlings must dodge predators at every turn. Although, once again, human help is at hand, the actual scrambling to sea from their nest is a very important process as it helps the baby turtles develop their lungs. Moreover, scientists –even though are not 100% certain – do believe that setting a course over sand to the sea helps them develop the very homing skills they’ll need to tap into, in order to return. So in this particular case, help is mostly limited to protecting the hatchlings, not picking them up and taking them to sea.

Scrambling to the sea is something they must do on their own.

Survival odds may be stacked against Olive Ridley turtles from before they are even born yet thanks to a little bit of human help, and Costa Rica’s magical arribadas, the state of the species continues to improve, year after year.

Traveling to Costa Rica during rainy season offers huge rewards. Not only can you bear witness to a magical arribada on the Pacific Coast, but you’ll find fewer tourists and lower prices no matter where you go. For help in planning an adventure-filled trip to this outstanding country, contact us today.

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Top 10 Costa Rica Instagram Accounts You Need to Follow

Whether it’s to research a new region of the country you haven’t yet visited, discover hidden treasures off the beaten path, or to simply satisfy the heart and soul with idyllic images of your upcoming trip, the Top 10 Costa Rica Instagram accounts you need to follow are blissfully inspirational. And just a little bit wanderlust-inducing…

  1. Visit_CostaRica

Top Costa Rica instagram accountWe love that the Costa Rican government showcases such a fervent commitment to eco-tourism and protection of the amazing wilderness and wildlife, and their efforts to show off the best assets of the country should be recognized.

The official Instagram of the country’s Tourism Board has access to an endless cache of seriously drool worthy photos and a quick scroll is enough to make you want to pack those bags for a trip with no return date.

  1. Discover Costa Rica

Diego Eskenazi describes himself as a wildlife seeker, nature addict and consummate photographer and, luckily for us all, the immensely talented man calls Cosa Rica home.

Diego LOVES colors and it seems that no effort is too much to capture breathtaking sunsets, elusive wildlife and even the tiniest of creatures. This talented photographer’s extensive travels means you’re exposed to an array of destinations, as well as photographic subjects. Great Costa Rica travel inspiration and wonderful research base point.

  1. This is Costa Rica

Some of the most spectacular Costa Rica drone photos on the net, right now, This Is Costa Rica is visually mesmerizing, to say the least. These guys don’t just make you wish you could see a bird in the country…they make you wish you could be one.

  1. CRAnimalRescueCentre

Helping in the rescue and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife, the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Centre – located in the Alajuela Province – does really amazing and much-needed work. These guys are true angels and the photos and videos they upload to their Instagram account are infinitely heartwarming. For those stressful days at work when only an impossibly adorable photo of a sloth being weighed will do.

  1. Costa Rica Traveler

Andres Madrigal is a photographic contributor to the local Tico Times news service and widely acclaimed inspirational Costa Rica Instagrammer.

If his outstanding photos don’t make you want to go to Costa Rica five minutes ago, then you need to refresh your browser! Andres travels the country extensively, bringing the world some truly astonishing scenes

  1. Picsbypipo

Nature-lovers and extreme wilderness seekers will get their pulses racing just scrolling through this Instagram account. Most of the photos are captured, in action, with a GoPro Hero 3.

  1. EatCostaRica

Because mouthwatering Costa Rica food!

With detailed description of the places behind the delicious photos posted, this is THE best travelling foodie’s account to follow. Don’t mind our drool….

  1. MyTanFeet

Living the dream-life of adventurous couples the world over, Yeison and Samantha get up to all sorts of inspiring shenanigans all over Costa Rica. From rafting to repelling, snorkeling, hiking, wildlife-spotting and more, these two embody the very essence of the country’s Pura Vida mantra. And their Instagram account proves it.

  1. PacuareLodgeCostaRica

One of the most stunning lodges in the whole country manages an Instagram account that’s as delicious as the culinary treasures that emerge from its gourmet kitchen. This place offers a super intimate rainforest lodging experience and their Insta-GLAM account will fuel your indulgent jungle dreams to no end.

  1. Costa Rica Rios

Well…we don’t normally like blow our own trumpet but if you’ll excuse us, we may just sneak ourselves in there. Why? Because we do all the hard work for you, bringing you the very best and most evocative Costa Rica Instagram pics right to your feed. You’re welcome!

At Costa Rica Rios, we bring you the most mesmerizing adventure vacations to Costa Rica, a country not even Instagram’s best filters can do justice. So turn your daily swoon worthy photo scroll into an unforgettable real-life adventure and come experience Costa Rica up, close and very personal.

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Costa Rica’s Love Affair with the Slow Food Movement

The Slow Food Movement was first dreamed up in Italy in 1986, as a way to combat the popularity, worldwide, of unhealthy and environmentally damaging fast food. The premise is quite simple: to shine a light, promote and protect authentic regional cuisines, and preparing wholesome and nutritious meals using only organic, locally-sourced produce. The idea spread around the world like wildlife, infecting countries as far afield as our own beautiful Costa Rica. The culmination of Costa Rica’s love affair with the Slow Food Movement was the wonderful Slow Food Fair which took place last month in the capital, San Jose.

Slow Food Movement

slow food movementFeaturing stalls brimming with regional culinary specialties of the highest order, from cheese to coffee, chocolate and unique fruits and vegetables, as well as stalls selling local arts and crafts, the Slow Food Fair – or Mercado de la Tierra – aimed to showcase unique regional produce and products that are made with so-called ‘clean technologies’, which are farming methods specifically designed to reduce environmental and animal impact.

The premise of the movement is admirable and it’s certainly found its ideal home in a country so enriched with regional culinary culture.

The Slow Food Movement focuses on the conscientious farming, production and consumption of food. It promotes local produce, wherever one may be, and the sharing of food to prevent wastage and mindless consumption. Costa Rica, at its core, is the very personification of this movement. Meander your way through any of the weekly produce markets held all over the country, and you’ll feast your eyes on fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs you’ve probably never seen. Vibrantly fresh, aromatic and undoubtedly local, the fresh produce here is second to none. The country is brimming with organic farms, where GMO is shunned in favor of sublimely fertile soil and an ideal climate. Add to that a culture that is near food-obsessed and what you have is a feast for the palate and the soul. Every single day.

Mind you, it hasn’t always been like this in Costa Rica, a country that has always had the potential for great culinary greatness, but one seduced by the allure of the imported. Like many other countries in the tropics, the belief has been that imported must always be better than local when, in fact, it most often isn’t. In the last few years, however, there has been a noticeable shift in thinking, not just in Costa Rica but in other less-developed countries too. A return to nature, if you will, and the sparking of a new and deeper love affair with indigenous ingredients to make authentic dishes following old-school regional recipes.

The tourist industry hasn’t exactly been kind to local Costa Rican cuisine either, if truth be told. Many come here for a week, surmising local fare to be bland and simple, never giving a second-thought that perhaps they should frequent a kaleidoscope of different food outlets. Instead, they’ll look out for Italian pizza joints or sodas selling hamburgers and chips. But authentic Costa Rican food is delightful and unique, flavorsome and wholesome. And, more often than not, is prepared and savored at leisure.

Clandestinos are local unlicensed restaurants and, not unlike agriturismo farms in Italy, lack any kind of structure or menus. They are held in people’s homes, are known only to locals and having a meal at one can take anything from half an hour to three hours, depending on what time of day you visit. Clandestinos serve the most authentic food in the country, cooked by mothers and grandmothers with recipes passed down through the generations. Whilst most tourists pay top dollar for mediocre fare (the travesty of this is they go home thinking food is boring here) astute travelers know to seek out a clandestino. They go there with only a few dollars in their pocket and plenty of time up their sleeve. Real Costa Rican food, of delicious tastes, local ingredients and old-world methods, takes time. And it’s always worth it. Yes, you can find tamales, empanadas and ceviche served in touristy restaurants, but once you taste them a la authentique, you’ll never go back.

Eating like a local in Costa Rica necessitates knowing a local in Costa Rica. So next time you head to this mesmerizing country, make friends with your guide and ask them for recommendations.

The slow food movement has always been part and parcel of Costa Rica life. When you visit Costa Rica, leave your watch at home and seek a more authentic culinary experience in this magical place. Your taste buds will thank you for it.

 

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