All posts by costaricarios

Four Dreamy Wedding Venues for Your Costa Rica Event

One of the first priorities when planning a Costa Rica destination wedding and adventure honeymoon is finding the perfect dreamy venue to share your ‘I dos’.

Considering our beloved balmy paradise is one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations, you’ll find an exciting array of gorgeous resorts, lodges and hotels in just about every province, all offering unique wedding packages and distinct experiences, be they in the heart of a luscious jungle, cloud forest or, perhaps the most popular choice, along a pristine stretch of stunning beach.

Choosing the right venue for your Costa Rica wedding will ultimately come down to your personal preferences yet considering every couple does share a few things in common (doesn’t everyone dream of a unique and unforgettable wedding?) we think our choice of 4 dreamy venues will tickle anyone’s fancy.

Read our guide to planning your perfect 2018 Costa Rica wedding and then check out the following 4 sensational venues that are sure to make for a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime adventure for a couple looking to get their wedded bliss off to a fabulous start.

1.   Nayara Springs, La Fortuna – for the ultimate in luxury and exclusivity

The Nayara group of luxury hotels barely needs any introduction: this is one of Costa Rica’s most exquisite boutique hotels group, revered for its attention to details, impeccable service and magnificent properties. If you’re a couple looking for a unique, upscale and totally private experience, then the Nayara Springs is the one you ought to check out. This adults-only hotel is set within the luscious landscapes of the Arenal Volcano tropical rain forests.

It boasts stunning private villas, plunge pools, indoor and outdoor showers, an in-house spa that’s won a ton of awards and, best of all, some of the most outstanding views in the whole region. Private gardens adorned with hammocks, gorgeous terraces that are ideal for some R&R, yoga classes to help you relax, sensational food at the in-house restaurant and plenty of pampering services for you, your dearly beloved and all your wedding guests.

The accommodation is drop-dead gorgeous as is every detail of this incredible hotel. Over the last five years alone, Nayara Springs has been awarded top honors from some of the most prominent travel institutions around, including Conde Nast Traveler and TripAdvisor. Ideally located in the heart of the Arenal region, Nayara Springs is an excellent choice if you want to inject some serious luxury and exclusivity into your wedding celebrations and have the best of Costa Rica right at your doorstep.

2.   Cala Luna Luxury Boutique Hotel

Cala Luna may not be as grand as Nayara Springs but it is by no means any less enchanting. This glorious property is set along a beautiful stretch of beach in Tamarindo and its understated elegance and luxury offer couples just as much comfort and beauty but in a much more intimate setting.  The laid-back vibe perfectly suits its seaside location and if it’s an intimate beach side ceremony you dream, with all the bells and whistles of a world-class boutique resort, then you won’t be left disappointed.

The service and amenities are top-notch and the staff friendly, accommodating and professional. Private villas offer you and your guests the utmost privacy with a host of outdoor spaces where you can enjoy some togetherness and joint relaxation. Have a dip in the pool, enjoy a yoga class, a revitalizing massage and an array of exhilarating activities either before or after your wedding day. Cala Luna caters to couples with varying tastes and budgets and can literally take care of every aspect of your wedding day. Visit their Wedding Page to know more.

3.   La Paloma Lodge, Osa Peninsula

Remote, secluded and incredibly good value for money, the luxurious Paloma Lodge offers an all-inclusive adventure wedding experience you won’t find anywhere else. This is the kind of place you head to when you have more time up your sleeve, a bit of extra funds in your pocket and a fervent desire to get away from it all and enjoy a truly special vacation in your life with the most beloved people in your life.

Sitting atop a steep cliff and overlooking one of the country’s most inspiring bays on the Pacific Ocean, just a few steps away from the Corcovado National Park, La Paloma Lodge is an absolute dream venue for a Costa Rica wedding. The property seems infused with the natural surroundings, with every material sourced to perfectly blend with the wilderness. The sanctuary that is your private villa comes with the comfort of air-conditioning and the kind of rustic chic décor that befits the lodge’s image.

A brand-new 3-bedroom beach house has just been completed and if you’re planning a very small family affair, for your Cota Rica wedding, this could just be the kind of exclusive and private venue you’ll love. Every aspect of this amazing lodge is designed to enhance the beauty of the Costa Rican wilderness whilst offering 5* service and amenities to its very, very lucky guests. Rates for La Paloma Lodge may seem steep but do note that they include a host of amenities and excursions so actually make for fantastic value.

4.   Hotel Belmar, Monteverde

Nestled in the heart of the wonderful cloud forests of Monteverde, the Hotel Belmar oozes romance and decadence at every turn, making it an ideal Costa Rica wedding venue for couples who seek a unique experience immersed in pristine mountainous nature. A selection of stunning and spacious chalet rooms, all beautifully decorated and infinitely cozy, can cater for large wedding parties and the added treats of hot tub, wellness spa and a terrace affording breath-taking forest views will surely captivate you all.

What sets these guys apart, however, is their incredible desire to please, seamlessly catering to every couple’s whim and creating the kind of dream wedding they desire. Nothing is too much trouble, no hurdle too difficult to overcome, no last-minute change of plans too bothersome. This kind of exceptional service is the peace of mind many seek and if you’d love that, coupled with a sensational stay in a superlative lodge, then the Belmar will certainly hit all the spots.

At Costa Rica Rios, we offer incomparable adventure vacations, be it for your honeymoon, your family vacation…or just some ‘me’ time!

Visit our Activities page and contact us for more details.
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Costa Rica Adventures – Top Activities for Adrenaline Lovers

Costa Rica AdventuresYou’d have to be hailing from another planet to not know that Costa Rica adventures is one of the best playgrounds in the world if adrenaline-pumping adventure vacations are what you seek.

Yet for many first-time visitors, the options seem a little overwhelming. What does one do in Costa Rica? And does one need to be an expert athlete to enjoy all these adventure sports everyone raves about? These are the kind of questions we often field here at Costa Rica Rios so we thought we’d compile a concise guide to introduce newcomers to Costa Rica’s most phenomenal adventures.

The main thing that should be highlighted is the fact that the primary reason Costa Rica is so revered as a sport-lover’s paradise is that all its most exhilarating activities are actually gradual and there are always options for beginners, intermediates and experts. This means you can SUP and surf if you don’t even know which end of the board is front, raft if you’ve never held a paddle in your hand and hike if you’ve never been on a wilderness trail. You can snorkel with the kids, learn a new sport with them and take grandma on a leisurely walk in a rain forest following a perfectly-kept trail. Costa Rica in this, and many other regards, is just ideal.

And given the fact that all of the best activities are offered by almost all of its amazing resorts, lodges and hotels, it also means you can book a group vacation even if one of your friends only wishes to sunbathe by the pool. On an organized group adventure tour, you can whitewater-raft whilst your friend hikes, surf whiles they snorkel and hike when they mountain-bike ride, still enjoying plenty of time together yet still relishing the activity you enjoy most.

The perfect vacation destination, for anyone?

Yes…we think so too!

Here are just some of the top activities Costa Rica offers to adrenaline-lovers:

Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking

Costa Rica AdventuresThe country’s #1 adventure sport offers two of the best aspects for which Costa Rica is so revered: super fun sports and insanely pristine wilderness. On a white-knuckle adrenaline-rush rafting expedition, you’ll be immersed in nature for as long, and as deeply, as you wish. What makes rafting here so special is that the country’s multitude of rivers offers a kaleidoscope of options. Raft for 2 hours or 2 days, choose Grade I rapids if you’re a novice or Grade V challenges if you’re a pro. Stay in a stunning resort, camp in the jungle or choose a remote eco-lodge stay instead. The variations and possibilities are simply so many. On a whitewater rafting adventure vacation, you’ll come across endemic wildlife and enjoy an exhilarating adventure in some of the world’s most revered forests and jungles, all the while having the absolute time of your life. Sound fun? You’re right!

Check out our Whitewater Rafting page to know more. Wish to try  whitewater-kayaking instead? Oh yeah…we’ve got you covered too. Costa Rica is renowned as one of the best whitewater sports’ destinations on the planet. This is the place you need to tick off if whitewater-rafting and kayaking have been on your bucket list for years.

Zip Lining

You’ve no doubt heard about Costa Rica’s zip line canopy tours, even if you’re not an avid sporty adventurer. The country’s immense swaths of pristine forests, and propensity for fun, has spawned an industry on which its reputation for adventure vacation was built. Zip lining is what most visitors want to try in Costa Rica, first and foremost and the totally safe and crazy fun activity is suitable for those with no prior experience, making it suitable for people of all ages who want to try something ‘out there’ and add some serious oomph to their vacation.

Given the popularity, zip line tours are offered in various locations, all of which will see you reach dizzying heights and fly (gravity assisted) over rivers, gorges and luscious wilderness. Many zip lining trails include aerial trams, hanging bridges and walks through glorious nature reserves. Different zip line tours also offer varying levels of death-defying flying, some of which are perfect if you’re a consummate thrill-seeker. Check out our Zip line Guide to learn about the exciting options you and your family will love.

Mountain Biking

A multitude of hiking trails in Costa Rica are dubbed ‘the best mountain biking trails on the planet’ and we couldn’t help but agree. From cloud forest ascents to volcano descents, jungle discoveries and seaside exploring: this entire country just screams to be discovered on two wheels! Our favorite best mountain biking trails span the width and length of Costa Rica, from a colossal 250-mile challenge that’ll stretch the abilities of the pros to more leisurely (and much shorter!) single-track trails that offer fabulous views the entire way. If you love pumping those legs and discovering a new country under the power of your own steam, check out our Mountain-biking Guide for inspiration.

Hiking

Hiking may not, at first, appear to be an adrenaline sport but let us tell you: hiking to the crater of a vertiginous dormant volcano in Costa Rica will set your pulse racing like few other activities! In a country whose prime aim is to preserve wilderness and make it accessible to visitors, hiking is, by far, the single most popular thing to do.

There are places you can reach on foot that simply can’t be reached in any other way, all the while indulging in wildlife spotting, soaking up the stunning scenery and stopping in remote villages seemingly removed from civilization. Hiking is splendidly rewarding in Costa Rica and, due to the sheer concentration of reserves and national parks, offered everywhere. Well-kept trails and good signage make hiking safe and fun and the variety of trails suits everyone: from those looking for a leisurely stroll to avid trekkers wanting to head off for days on end.

Hiking removes barriers with the pristine nature of Costa Rica and the slow speed allows you to stop, admire, spot and enjoy. This country is home to secret trails and famous ones, walks that are suitable for families and arduous trails best attempted by experienced hikers. No matter what kind of hiking experience you’re after, you’ll definitely find your ideal destination here.

Surfing

Just because you’re an adventure seeker and adrenaline-lover, it probably doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy spending at least a portion of your Costa Rica vacation lazing in one of its most pristine beaches. Because who wouldn’t? Well, you’ll be happy to know that when it comes to adventure vacations in this gloriously sunny land, there’s still plenty of action to be had at the beach.

Revered as a surfing mecca and favored by some of the world’s best pro-surfers who head here to practice and chillax in equal measure, Costa Rica’s coasts are tailor-made for surfing. The best spots are along the Pacific Coast, where many wicked stretches of surf are renowned for their strong currents and barrel waves, which make them ideal for surfing but not for swimming or snorkeling. What that means is that once you hit the waves, you’ll only be sharing them with fellow surfers.

Although home to some of the most challenging and dangerous surfing beaches on the planet, there are still bucketloads of calmer coves where surfing schools have set up camp with the aim to help newbies get acquainted with the sport. This translates into a kaleidoscope of options for everyone, whether you’ve never been on a board, can somewhat stand up or can surf with a blindfold. Check out our Guide to the Best Surfing Locations in Costa Rica for options and our general Surfing Guide to learn how easy it is to include a day (or week) of surfing in your adventure vacation itinerary.

But wait…there’s more! From fishing trips to bird-watching excursions, SUP lessons, canyoneering, ATV riding, hot-spring soaking and even culinary-feasting (if you do it like us it IS an adrenaline sport!) Costa Rica offers adventure-seekers a world of fun, rewarding and totally unforgettable options. That’s why at Costa Rica Rios, we’ve designed award-winning multi-sport adventure tours whose sole aim is to shake you right out of your routine-boots, give you a titillating taste of all the exhilarating fun you can have here and offer as comprehensive an adventure as humanly possible. A little bit of everything with plenty of cultural flavors thrown in for good measure and overnight stays in some of the most charming lodges you’ll ever see.

So come on down…Costa Rica awaits!

Are You Ready to Book Your Adventure Vacation?

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Best Restaurants in Tamarindo – Culinary Treats to Seek!

Plan your culinary exploits as you explore the stunning area and experience the restaurants in Tamarindo, Costa Rica’s hub of beach-side active vacations

Costa Rica’s most revered beach destination is on most visitor’s tour itinerary and it’s not hard to see why that would be. Superbly located just an hour south of the Liberia International Airport, the town sits on some of the best surfing beaches in the country, with prominent turtle nesting sites nearby and the prized Las Baulas National Marine Park on its doorstep. With volcanoes-filled national parks just a stone-throw away – prime sites for hiking and zip lining – the town makes a fabulous base for all sorts of Costa Rica active vacation experiences. To complete the delectable picture, Tamarindo also offers a bevy of gastronomic experiences, thanks to its central location and popularity. From casual fare in chilled-out cafés to sumptuous sunset dinners in the town’s most revered high-end restaurants, Tamarindo offers a plentitude of delightful culinary delights.

Best Restaurants in Tamarindo for a Casual Meal

Whether you’re up for a leisurely breakfast or a short-and-sweet lunch-break between excursions, you’ll find a wide array of casual eateries in Tamarindo that offer great fare at reasonable prices with super-swift service.

Here are three of our favorites:

Sprout

Genially found right on the main drag in between surf shops, Sprout offers exceptionally fresh fare and a chilled-out beach-vibe to match. Loads of fresh sandwiches and an array of salads will satisfy health-foodies whilst enough of the naughty stuff (fried calamari, pork sliders, jalapeno quesadillas and hand-cut chips) ought to convince those craving a splurge to stop in and have a feast. With a happy hour that lasts for 3 (3-6pm) and flowing cocktails, this place is a gem at any time of day.

Little Lucha Taqueria

Restauraunts in TamarindoLucha’s been a Tamarindo favorite since, it would seem, time immemorial and we’re quite sure that just a bite of their revered tacos will also make it yours. Yes, tacos! Lots and lots of them of a thousand different kinds!

From seafood to meat and a host of vegetarian options, Little Lucha is the one Tex-Mex place that never disappoints. Head here for Taco Tuesday specials and gorge with abandon.

La Bodega

If you’re looking for a daily fave, a place you can just roll in to of an early morning for a wicked cup of organic coffee and a healthy, revitalizing breakfast, then La Bodega is the place for you.

Here, you can dunk your toasted banana bread in your coffee or start the day Tico-style, with a giant plate of gallo pinto. Fabulous breakfast sandwiches and fresh juices are just the thing for a light snack. Street-front tables are great for people watching and the friendliness of the staff is one of the most commendable bonuses and, in case you’re wondering, there are even healthy sweet-treats to boot.

Best Restaurants in Tamarindo for a Special Dinner

Sunsets in Tamarindo are spectacular and what better way to enjoy a special dinner than enjoying the view and a fabulous meal in a gorgeous place? For romantic nights and some up-market atmosphere, there are some truly special dinners to be had in Tamarindo.

Here are just three to try on your next visit:

Langosta Beach Club

Langosta is south of the main drag, which gives its seaside restaurant a much more intimate (and quieter) ambience. Perfect for a romantic sunset dinner.

Make a day of it by enjoying the beach club facilities and stay until the sun dips beyond the horizon to enjoy great sushi and fresh seafood fare that’s caught daily. The burgers are excellent too! The ever-changing menu makes the Langosta Beach Club a wonderful place to return to during your stay and you’ll find a bevy of cocktails and beers on ice just waiting for you to arrive.

El Chiringuito

The great all-rounder, this ocean-front delight is open from 7am to late evening, offering delicious seaside brekkies and stunning sunset dinners, with lots of delicious morsels and drinks in-between. At sunset, grab a front-row table and let your toes sink into the still-warm sand and see which freshly-caught fish is on the menu for the day. Yummy cocktails and excellent food make El Chiringuito a stellar choice.

Diria Hotel Restaurant

OK, we’re totally biased here – with Diria being one of our favored Tamarindo hotels – but there’s a reason we honed in on it in the first place. This glorious family-friendly luxury hotel is a corner of paradise in Tamarindo, framed by prime wilderness and offering a cozy and private escape in the country’s foremost beach destination.

Beautifully shaded by enormous palm and fruit trees, the ocean-front restaurant is just the thing on a hot Costa Rican day. The gastronomic delights at its FIVE restaurants is excellent, as are the refreshments offered in its four bars. For an exceptional dining experience, book a table at the Diria’s Matapalo Restaurant – the hotel’s ‘showpiece’ – and enjoy the priceless view with your exquisite meal. The home-made ceviche is heavenly and a must-try.

Tamarindo is a prime spot for active vacations in Costa Rica and makes for a wonderful base to explore the Guanacaste region. Check out our Tamarindo Guide to discover all the highlights on offer in this marvelous hub of fun, surf and magical sea. At Costa Rica Rios, we love showing off this unique corner of the country and organize active vacation itineraries for honeymooning couples, families or anyone who’s up for an exhilarating time. Visit our Costa Rica Adventure Vacations page and contact us for more info.

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Costa Rica Adventure Vacations – The Best Mountain Bike Trails

Love mountain biking on your active vacation? Then you’re in luck! With so many options and fantastical landscapes, Costa Rica offers a wealth of brilliant mountain bike trails

If we didn’t know any better, we’d say that Mother Nature designed Costa Rica to satisfy the thrill-seeking needs of those who love adventure vacations. Why else would she have concocted such an exhilarating landscape of vertiginous volcanoes and rolling hills covered in luscious jungles and cloud forests? On Costa Rica mountain biking vacations, your choices are plentiful, whether you’re an experienced pro behind the handlebar or just an enthusiastic beginner.

Here are some of the best mountain biking trails to explore on your next Costa Rica adventure vacation:

Ruta de los Conquistadores

Mountain bike trailsThis mammoth trail is used for the yearly multi-stage mountain bike race that’s considered the first of its kind in the world. Professional bikers head here from every corner of the world to complete in a long and arduous track that crosses rivers, mud tracks and rises and falls sharply over its 250-mile distance.

The NY Times called this the toughest bike race in the world. The route crosses Costa Rica from the Pacific to the Caribbean in the north (from Puntarenas in the west to Limon in the east) and passes through sensational landscapes comprising high-elevation passes, steep valleys, forests and jungles, brimming with wildlife. Before you hyperventilate at the sheer thought of tackling the Route of the Conquerors, however, do note that you need not be an exceptional athlete to enjoy sections of the route. Certain stretches are not only super stunning but also not so difficult for experienced mountain bikers. If you’d like a challenge – but not a colossal trial – keep this one in mind.

Los Senderos de Colon

Over 20 miles comprising dozens of trails make up Los Senderos de Colon, a privately-owned mountain biking estate near Colon, an arty town in the San Jose Province, close to the capital city. With an array of trails suitable for beginners and plenty for experienced riders alike, this park is a fabulous choice for first-time biking vacations. On a single or multiple-day excursion here, you can bike past local farms and discover hidden waterfalls as you follow trails of diverging elevations. Steep climbs, techy trails and sweet downhill sections make this a fab all-rounder. Visit this page for a detailed map of all the trails on offer.

Nicoya Peninsula West Coast Trail

Not an official bike trail but certainly a very titillating itinerary, the Nicoya Peninsula’s western coast offers an incredibly adventurous option to those who wish to tackle a multi-day biking and even multi-activity vacation. Costa Rica’s wild west is a spectacular choice, especially when you’ve got a team of logistical assistants to help! Start from Tamarindo (a convenient starting point) and head south along the dramatic and undulating coastline, riding on dirt tracks and along deserted beaches (keeping your eyes peeled for turtles) and tackling many fantastic river crossings.  The wonderful thing about this coastal stretch is that there quite a few towns strewn along the route so you can extend your bike journey for as long – or as short – as you wish.

Nicoya Peninsula – Jicaral to Montezuma

Addicted to biking the Nicoya? Then don’t stop there! The brilliant route from Montezuma (south-west) to Jicaral (north-east) is a favorite among mountain biking circles and offers a totally different adventure to the coastal trail. It stretches for about 36 miles and boasts half a mile of elevation. It’s a stunning trail that offers a plethora of glorious scenery whilst taking you on dirt roads through the beautiful Nicoya countryside and having enough beach sections to satisfy sea-lovers.

Nosara to Limon – Cross-country Trail

Here’s one that – at least in distance – rivals Los Senderos de Conquistadores. Want to cross Costa Rica from west to east whilst exploring the amazing delights of the Central Valley? Then this amazing 300-mile challenge is for you! Start on the Pacific Coast an enjoy the next week ascending over 2.5 miles through the Guanacaste Province along the shores of Lake Arenal, east to Tabacon and La Fortuna and onwards to Puerto Viejo and south to Limon. Take advantage of trails and secondary roads to keep well away from traffic and enjoy a truly superlative experience, remembering that even doing just a section of it is immensely rewarding.

La Angelina Mountain Bike Park, Cartago

Considered the best single-track route in all of Costa Rica, La Angelina offers a steady climb, sensational switchbacks, superb views and a smooth and steep descent. An excellent workout, an unforgettable day out and superb wilderness to match. Your walking or jogging companions can come along for the wonderful views and for a chance to stretch their legs. There are plenty of trails for them too.

Las Catalinas Bike Trails, Guanacaste

A stunning trail system through the wilderness which frames Las Catalinas – the Pacific Coast’s recently developed hub – offers a kaleidoscope of trails for cyclists and walkers alike. Fabulous coastal views have earned the reserve top marks and it’s often been dubbed ‘the most beautiful mountain biking route in the topics’. There are over 10 miles of track to explore, 90% of which is single-track, all offering breathtaking views across the Pacific Coast. You’ll be surrounded by a flurry of exotic birds and will have to keep your eyes out for wild hogs, coatis and monkeys.

At Costa Rica Rios, we are your mountain biking vacation experts! We’ve been there and cycled that and know just the place for whatever skill-set or desire you may have. Take a look at our Costa Rica Mountain Biking Adventure page and our multi-sport vacation itinerary ideas and note that we create affordable, bespoke itineraries that take the stress out of planning and inject more adrenalin-pumping fun into your once-in-a-lifetime Costa Rica vacation.

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The Most Sustainable Souvenirs to Bring Home from Costa Rica

Shop sustainably and responsibly when visiting Costa Rica and make your adventure vacation even more rewarding!

As the international tourism industry moves towards a more socially and environmentally-friendly model, it may seem difficult to ascertain what constitutes a sustainable souvenir. In Costa Rica, the world’s pioneer of eco-tourism, the choice is made much easier, with a host of sustainable souvenirs taking over the market, helping visitors steer clear of anything that may contribute to deforestation or illegal wildlife capture.

An overwhelming majority of craftsmen and women in Costa Rica are exceptionally passionate about sustainability and you’ll certainly know who they are as soon as you meet them. They’ll proudly tell you the source of the product they create which is something your guide can help you confirm.

Here are just some of the most sustainable souvenirs to bring home from Costa Rica:

Coopedota coffee

Costa Rica edible souvenirThe first carbon-neutral coffee cooperative in the Americas, Dota comprises 800 farms in Costa Rica, all committed to offsetting their carbon emissions by generating energy from organic waste.

Their coffee blends have won international accolades and are certainly the best you can taste in Costa Rica, a country that exports 99% of its premium grade beans. Skip the commercial variety you find in supermarkets and head to Santa Maria de Dota to tour the facilities and stock up on some exceptionally delicious coffee your family and friends will love. You’ll find Coopedota RL about 40 miles south of San Jose, just south of El Jardin.

The Banana Paper Company products

The bane of Costa Rica’s waterways for decades, the by-product of the banana industry has been a literal environmental disaster, up until a consortium of entrepreneurs decided to create The Banana Paper Company. The BPC produces eco-friendly paper whilst, at the same time, cleaning up the country of its agricultural waste. The company produces gorgeous notepads and binder diaries in all sorts of bright colors, as well as greeting cards and coffee filters, which you’ll find in artisanal markets all over the country.

Melina wood crafts

Melina is an exceptionally great tree, growing fast and straight and, when cultivated right, taking the focus and stress off Costa Rica’s native trees. The country is a great grower of Melina trees and the wood is touted as being the saviour of the country’s forests. This ‘super wood’ is used extensively in sustainable timber farming and, in Costa Rica, makes up to almost 60% of all lumber produced from dedicated plantations. The tree was originally introduced from its natural habitat in Asia, back in 1966 and, by 1997, that initial 2000-hectare plot had grown exponentially, covering up to 50,000 hectares. With 15% of the world’s Melina timber forests now present in Costa Rica, the country exports its sustainable timber, worldwide. In Costa Rica, you’ll find all sorts of souvenirs made from Melina wood, from serving platters, cutting boards and bowls to distinctive placemats, vases and colourful masks.

Boruca carved devil masks & weaved textiles

Just a short distance south of Playa Dominical is where you’ll find the Boruca Gallery & Gift Shop, a wonderful outlet which collects and sells indigenous carved masks (and other items) from the local Boruca tribe members. Surviving almost entirely on these exceptional crafts, the Boruca people are part of a collection of several indigenous groups who inhabit Costa Rica’s southern region, high up in the Talamanca Mountain range, where they have been living for centuries. Their traditional mask-carving skills are legendary and their carving and painting skills simply stunning. Whilst Boruca men are involved with mask-carving, Boruca women produce and sell their wonderful weaved cloths and bags, which also make for perfect and sustainable souvenirs. To make your purchase responsible, head to the shop where they are collected, thus avoiding copycats who want to cut in on the market. Include a visit on your Costa Rica vacation itinerary and you’ll enjoy a superb cultural experience as well as a great shopping trip to boot.

Handmade Costa Rica Jewellery & Crafts

One of the best ways to minimize the environmental impact of your purchases in Costa Rica is to steer well-clear of mass-produced, factory souvenirs and, instead, hone in on hand-made treasures, especially those made by the country’s crafty indigenous groups. No matter where you travel in Costa Rica, you’ll undoubtedly come across local markets where artisans sell their hand-made creations directly to visitors. Not only will you bag a one-of-a-kind piece to take home but you’ll know you are not contributing to major polluting factories in the process.

Costa Rica is an incredibly unique and wonderful country to visit and showcases a long history and an interesting cultural identity. Alongside the most sustainable souvenirs you can bring home from Costa Rica, there are also plenty of cultural souvenirs that are sure to brighten up any home and bring you years of joyful vacation flashbacks. Along with your extensive collections of photos and unforgettable memories, they are all bound to enhance your experience here.

We are Costa Rica Rios – award-winning adventure tours operators showing you the very best of the country, one exhilarating activity at a time.

To reserve your adventure tour, book today!

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Costa Rica – How This Tiny Country Leads the Americas in Environmental Protection

Love adventure as much as you do the planet? Then you’d love Costa Rica! Read on to discover how this tiny nation leads in environmental protection.

Environmental protection of speciesLong before the rest of the world honed-in their environmental protection efforts on reducing single-use plastic, Costa Rica had already committed to banning them altogether.

The poster-child for sustainability and eco-tourism is often used as the bar by which all other efforts are judged. From carbon-neutral coffee farming cooperatives to world-leading projects for wildlife protection and, of course, their commitment to the preservation of native flora and fauna, this tiny country continues to lead the American in environmental protection.

And isn’t that something worth celebrating?

1.   Renewable green energy

Costa Rica is almost entirely run on renewable energy (over 300 days per year) having invested greatly in solar and wind power energy production and utilizing its hydropower and geothermal power plants to their fullest. Of course, Costa Rica can do, being home to over 60 volcanoes and 14 major rivers, each splitting into several minor ones. The country’s tropical location also translates to abundant rain every year, making the harvesting of hydropower even more successful. Pledging to be completely carbon-neutral by 2024, Costa Rica will tackle its fossil fuel emission next, overhauling their entire transport systems in the process.

Sport hunting & trapping is prohibited

In 2012, Costa Rica became the first country in the world to outlaw animal hunting of any kind both on public and private lands. At the time, this new restriction was considered extreme although, since then, the move has spurred a host of nations – quite a few African ones at that – implementing similar laws to protect their precious wildlife.

25% of the country comprises protected natural reserves

The government has set aside a quarter of its territory for environmental protection, safeguarding an array of endemic flora and fauna. That’s almost twice as much as the USA and, in the Americas, is only superseded by Venezuela, a country that despite its political and economic instability maintains an impressive land conservation rate of over 50%. All of this, moreover, is in a country which lost almost 80% of its wilderness due to over-logging and the agricultural boom of the 1960s and 70s, as it desperately tried to satisfy the food needs of the USA.

There’s a system in place which rewards sustainable agriculture

Costa Rica’s PES payback scheme aims to entice farmers to adopt greener practices such as planting and preserving trees on coffee plantations (to help biodiversity thrive and reduce water evaporation) as well as eliminate the use of pesticides. The government uses revenue from gas taxes to pay farmers to essentially reforest their farming land. The government aims to have 60% of the land reforested in a matter of decades. The move arose after the government recognized the need to protect what remained of its forests and dive, headfirst, into a fervent policy of reforestation. This incentive reward system has been in place since 1996.

Costa Rica boasts magnificent biodiversity

Despite its relatively small size, Costa Rica boasts over 5% of the world’s biodiversity (the densest of any country) and is home to more than half a million species of unique flora and fauna. Animal conservation is high on the country’s priority which is what makes this such a rewarding travel destination. If you’re a lover of pristine wilderness and active vacations away from the frenetic pace of the modern world, Costa Rica is absolutely perfect. The country is home to eight different biological zones and over 20 distinct national parks.

Tourism trumps all other industries

Costa Rica’s dedication to eco-tourism, and tourism in general, has certainly been a multi-faceted windfall. Tourism has overtaken agriculture as the country’s main earner and has provided an income for locals who would otherwise be employed in the logging and farming industries. In return, the income generated from tourism is being poured straight back into the very highlights which attract visitors in the first place. A win for tourists, for Costa Rica and for all its incredible wilderness.

Environmental protection

It is often said that like attracts like and this is certainly true of eco-friendly tourists. Costa Rica wants them! Whilst the country strives to continually improve its eco-friendliness, it urges foreign tourists to make the right environmental protection choices when it comes to activities, accommodation and even souvenir shopping. Unsustainable practices still exist here, of course, as do mass-produced souvenirs made abroad with cheap labor and hotels and resorts who care more about bling than the impact they make on the pristine land on which they are built. The country is home to a fabulous array of eco-friendly lodges and companies – like us here at Costa Rica Rios – whose environmental impact is constantly monitored and minimized. Because we all care and because we all benefit from a healthier and happier planet.

You can take affirmative action when planning your Costa Rica adventure vacation, by supporting businesses which improve the local economy via donation and employment programs, you can help with environmental protection by using biofuels for their transport vehicles and only collaborate with like-minded, environmentally-conscious business and establishments.

Does this sound like a bit of you? Then visit our Costa Rica Adventure Vacations page and ask us how we can create your dream vacation itinerary AND help protect and respect this incredible country.

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Costa Rica Family Vacation: The Best Hikes with Kids

A Costa Rica family vacation is easy when you know where to go, what to do and where to hike!

We field a lot of inquiries from parents who dream of an adventure family Costa Rica vacation but are apprehensive about how much they can do with kids in tow. Yet luckily for them, as for all families, Costa Rica is a fantastic destination for adventurers great and small, with the country offering an abundance of family-friendly activities that hit the spot with young and older alike. We often suggest to guests to let their children design their Costa Rica family adventure, a sure-fire way to elicit excitement even from the broodiest teenager! With a flurry of options and safe guidance from our experienced staff, you can all create an itinerary that’s guaranteed to be rewarding fun and totally unforgettable.

Aside from the exhilarating activities you can all partake in, Costa Rica also offers plenty of family-friendly hikes, whether your children are young, a little older, active or not so much. From our vast experience, we find that children love to hike in Costa Rica, especially as the country’s many nature reserves and national parks are brimming with unique wildlife, from monkeys to toucans and a million and one species of insects, frogs and tiny creatures that are unique, colorful and enticing.

Here are the best hikes you can do with kids on Costa Rica family vacations:

Manuel Antonio National Park – Great for first-time visitors

Costa Rica family vacationThe country’s premier nature reserve is arguably the most popular option for traveling families, as it offers a wide array of hiking trails suitable for everyone and an absolute abundance of wildlife.

On a guided walk, you’ll get the most out of your visit and will enjoy seeing your kids’ eyes sparkle as they discover creatures they never even knew existed. As the prime national park in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio boasts well-kept trails and, given the fact it frames the Pacific coast, also offers multiple chances for swims and frolics in pristine beaches. If you happen to be visiting in the hottest months, this is a fabulous choice, as it gives you all a chance to cool off in between walks.

Tenorio Volcano National Park – Great for adventurous families

Costa Rica family vacationThe hike to the spellbinding Rio Celeste waterfall is one of the most coveted activities for adventurous families and we think that this is a suitable walk for kids of all ages. The Tenorio Volcano National Park, in the province of Alajuela, is home to one of Costa Rica’s most photographed highlights, the iridescent Rio Celeste Waterfall.

A gorgeous hike here will see you cross hot springs, stunning viewpoints and end in a waterfall lookout and a striking azure lagoon that’s a feast for the eyes. The trail is through pristine wilderness so you’ll have to take extra care with smaller kids, yet the trail is well maintained and well signposted. You couldn’t get lost here even if you tried! The trail is only about a mile long and it takes 45 minutes to reach the waterfall. From there, you can take steps down to the lagoon and continue the hike along the river’s edge. The great thing about hiking to the Rio Celeste Waterfall is that it’s a one-way trail so at any time you wish to turn back you’re free to do so and know exactly how long you’ll have to get back to the entrance.

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park – Great for families with kids of varying ages

Take a jungle hike with a naturalist guide who makes the forest come to life and you’ll discover the most rewarding family hiking destination of all. Luscious rain forests, hanging bridges and even a chance for a cable-car ride or, perhaps, an exhilarating zip line, and you’ve got yourself a glorious walk with enough options to suit kids of all ages. Keep it slow and safe for littlies by taking all the walking trails, or challenge older kids to the most exhilarating activities. Plan to spend at least three hours here and do note that a full trail walk covers about two miles. There are facilities at the entrance, including lavatories and a charming eatery.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park– Great for families with younger kids

La Paz is ideal for families visiting with young children as it boasts short trails, loads of wildlife (including rescued jaguars!) and plenty of waterfalls that are super easy to reach on foot. Yes…even for the youngest tots! Fantastic and very safe trails and plenty of viewing platforms serve up five magnificent waterfalls within close proximity to one another, along with animal exhibits and even a toucan feeding show that lets kids get up close and personal with Costa Rica’s most beloved big bird. If you’ve yet to experience a Costa Rica family vacation, La Paz is quite perfect, as it’ll give you a chance to test your kids’ stamina without stretching them to over-tiredness.

Ready for a family vacation adventure like no other?

Then check out our exceptional Family Favorite Adventure Vacation or ask us how to best design your tailor-made itinerary to include all the destinations and activities you love most. Build your own itinerary and create the most unforgettable memories of all with a Costa Rica family vacation.

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How to Enjoy a Meaningful Costa Rica Vacation

You can have a nice, superficial holiday anywhere. Or you can enjoy a meaningful Costa Rica vacation you’ll never forget!

The worldwide movement towards more meaningful travels has not bypassed Costa Rica. In fact, the country is regarded as the poster child for meaningful and incredibly rewarding travels. That’s because Costa Rica vacations focus very much on experiences rather than purchases; they are immersive and interactive rather than superficial.  So enjoying a meaningful Costa Rica vacation is actually really easy, with the country’s eco-friendly nature and array of experiential activities offering visitors an insightful, responsible and unforgettable adventure.

Here are a few ways you can make your Costa Rica vacation even more meaningful:

Explore wilderness and seek unique wildlife

Costa Rica wildlife vacationOne of the best ways to connect with whichever destination you choose, is to immerse yourself in its wilderness, as only by experiencing the country’s natural treasures will you develop a kinship for its protection and preservation.

Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse nations on earth, a country that’s set aside a huge portion of its territory to protect its pristine nature and its unique fauna. The wilderness part of any Costa Rica vacation has the potential to literally transform you, change your views and your beliefs when it comes to Mother Nature. Visit Costa Rica and you’ll become an environmental warrior: you’ll worry about water conservation and environmental preservation, you’ll want to protect everything from the smallest tree frog to the largest jaguars, for you’ll have seen them with your own eyes and be left spellbound by their incredible beauty.

Choose eco-conscious lodges

Conservation is a buzzword nowadays but, in Costa Rica, it’s a way of life. A vacation destination that‘s becoming increasingly popular, Costa Rica is spearheading the sustainable tourism movement, ensuring establishments and agencies dealing with tourism abide by strict laws in regards to sustainability. Being a part of this incredible movement makes for guilt-free traveling AND helps the stunning environment.

Visit local farms

Agricultural tourism is huge in Costa Rica with many farms throughout the country open to the public. This is an excellent way of learning all about Costa Rica’s largest economic sector and getting a taste (often literally!) of all the amazing produce that originates from here. From cheese making to chocolate factories, coffee farms and organic produce farms, there are so many options to explore the agricultural side of the country. Families, in particular, always rate farm visits them very highly. By visiting local farms, you’re injecting an income straight into the local economy, helping farmers and small communities and enticing them to continue their organic and sustainable efforts. It’s a win-win!

Add a stint of volunteering to your Costa Rica vacation

Few activities can inject meaningfulness in a vacation like volunteering can and as this is becoming a very popular option for so many of our guests, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide that will help you on your quest to find a reputable beneficiary of your time and money. When done right, volunteering in Costa Rica can be exceptionally beneficial and rewarding and can certainly make your vacation a very meaningful experience.

Enjoy a family vacation

Sharing an unforgettable adventure with your family is about as meaningful as any vacation can be. In this modern age of over-connectivity and busy schedules, it can be difficult to spend quality time together and that’s where Costa Rica family vacations come in. Spend a week or more with your loved ones enjoying all the exciting activities on offer, exploring jungles, rain forests and cloud forests; hiking volcanoes, soaking in hot springs and whitewater rafting, kayaking and surfing together. Shared fun, shared enlightenment, shared volunteering and shared discoveries will go a long way to ensuring your vacation is not merely a break from your everyday life but is, indeed, a life-changing experience for you and your loved ones.

At CostaRicaRios, we take our environmental impact seriously and take steps to minimize our footprint, whilst giving back to our local community. If you’re seeking a meaningful Costa Rica vacation and want to feel good about supporting local businesses in a concrete way, then join us as we take you and your loved ones on a whirlwind journey through this phenomenal country. Visit our Costa Rica tours page and come discover how much more intense and rewarding a Costa Rica vacation can be.

Book Your Costa Rica Vacation Today

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Top Tips for Costa Rica Vacations on a Budget

Costa Rica continues to be the destination of choice for anyone looking for unique adventures in pristine nature. Read on to discover our top tips for Costa Rica vacations on a budget

A Costa Rica vacation has always been renowned for offering an exceptional value for money, with a two-week stint filled to the brim with fun and exhilarating activities costing about as much as a long weekend in Vegas. Yes…including return flights! Having said that, Costa Rica isn’t nearly as inexpensive as it used to be, back when the country enjoyed some kind of anonymity. Nowadays, the country rated as one of the world’s top holiday destinations (certainly the top adventure destination capital) has made giant leap forwards and although the value-for-money aspect of a Costa Rica vacation has remained consistently high, prices have risen overall with an improvement of infrastructure and consequential heightened exposure. All of this, of course, doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy an excellent Costa Rica vacation, for less!

Looking for excellent ways to save some hard-earned funds on your next adventure tour of Costa Rica?

Here’s how you do it!

Skip the busiest periods

When many people think of ‘high tourist season’ they usually tend to consider international school holiday times, say, during the winter months between December and April. Yet Latin Americans in general, and Ticos in particular, are big travelers and you’ll find a very distinct tourist peak even during the usual low season months, between May and November if there happens to be a religious holiday. Major Catholic holidays (including Christmas, Holy Week, Easter and the Virgin of the Angels Day) attract a huge number of visitors to Costa Rica and even in the odd long-weekend – set to coincide with a public holiday – you’ll find many flights and hotels increase their prices. Steering well clear of peak times will go a long way in keeping your Costa Rica vacation costs as low as can be. Aside from saving some serious holiday funds, traveling to Costa Rica during Green Season has many benefits. Read more about them here.

Skip all-inclusive resorts and choose smaller eco-lodges instead

Costa Rica vacationAll-inclusive resort holidays in Costa Rica are a very popular, however, they are only great value for money if you take advantage of everything the deal offers. That’s something most guests never actually achieve. Want to save money on a Costa Rica vacation? Then skip the large resorts offering everything under the sun and choose to stay in smaller and cheaper lodges where you only pay for what you need. Besides, the best Costa Rica lodges are immersed in wilderness and offer guests a stunning array of activities and delights, making them an all-encompassing Costa Rican experience in their own right. Gems like the Pacuare Lodge offer the unrivaled chance to completely disconnect from the modern world and indulge in a nature-filled adventure, complete with romance, privacy and authenticity, things that much larger and modern resorts lack. Enjoy all of this AND spend less…what more could you desire?

Bring all your essential toiletries from home

It may seem trivial to some but those who have been to tropical countries know that buying imported sunscreen and insect repellent can cost a small fortune. Bring yours from home and save a small bundle.

Choose a lodge with in-house hot springs

Costa Rica vacationMany budget travelers know that the best way to save some money is to forego expensive visits to some of the country’s most famous attractions. In Costa Rica, this would mean skipping day visits to some of the most luxurious hot spring establishments. Yet there are many hidden and cheaper treasures here, even in the famous area of Arenal Volcano. Choosing a lodge with its own hot springs means you need not miss out on the country’s most famous – and blissful – indulgence. The Volcano Lodge & Springs, for example, is an affordable 3* hotel in La Fortuna, set in luscious surroundings right at the base of Arenal. It boasts sensational views, excellent service and amenities and the added bonus of private hot springs. Granted, The Volcano Lodge may not be as luxurious as the coveted Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort but at less than half the daily rate, it’s an excellent choice if traveling on a budget.

Eat local

Costa Rica’s largest tourist spots boast an array of international eateries and, nowadays, you can find almost everything your taste buds desire. However, foreign meals using imported ingredients are inevitably more expensive, especially when compared with local fare made from locally-grown ingredients. The country boasts rich regional cuisines and we’ve previously blogged about the Slow Food Movement that is emerging in every corner of this great nation. Eating local won’t just save you a few dollars; it will open up a whole culinary world most tourists simply aren’t privy to.

Spend your money on experiences rather than souvenirs

Take all the money you’d normally set aside for souvenir shopping and use it on experiences and activities instead. Will this save you money? Probably not…but it will certainly ensure you have an unforgettable journey and it will offer you a much greater (intangible) value for your money. Costa Rica rates as one of the world’s best for immersive travel experiences and this is one country where experiential travel beats shopping. And that’s priceless.

Opt for adventure tours that bring you the best, for less

Organized, adventure-filled tours are extremely popular in Costa Rica and it’s easy to see why that is. Pooling resources and joining a great group of like-minded explorers makes the whole experience cheaper for everyone whilst offering exceptional logistical benefits. If you were to try booking a journey comparable to our 8-day adventure package for example, complete with airport transfers, accommodation, all meals, private transport between spots as well as days filled with kayaking, whitewater rafting, snorkeling, surfing, canyoning ,mountain biking and canopy tour, not to mention private guides for the whole trip,  you’ll soon realize how prohibitively expensive it would be to pay for each one individually. An amazing 7-day hot springs and wildlife adventure honeymoon for less than $1,700? Pretty hard to beat!

Organized adventure Costa Rica vacations offer you all the benefits of an all-inclusive vacation whilst focusing on the exhilarating stuff you love most. Forget the 5* bling you could find anywhere and save money by enjoying a thoroughly rewarding active vacation in the country that inspired it all.

For more info on unique group and private tours, family adventure vacations and honeymoons in Costa Rica, contact us here. We’ll help you stretch your holiday funds further and show you how priceless a Costa Rica vacation can be.

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Insider Tips for an Unforgettable Costa Rica Honeymoon

Know how to plan your perfect Costa Rica honeymoon? We do! Read on to discover our insider’s tips.

Costa Rica honeymoonCosta Rica honeymoon vacations are among the most popular tours we offer and that’s hardly surprising when you consider the country oozes so much romance, relaxation and adventure in a neat little bundle.

It’s certainly not difficult to have an unbelievable honeymoon in the land of hot springs, startling beaches, luscious rain forests, exhilarating activities and gorgeous eco-lodges but with a few insider tips you can make your Costa Rica honeymoon vacation even more unforgettable.

Choose your location carefully

No-one wants to spend half their Costa Rica vacation just traveling from one spot to another, let alone honeymooners who are wanting to make their most of their visit. Our #1 suggestion to all you future honeymooners is to make a list of your combined must-sees and must-dos and then choose a location that offers them all (or at least most) close by. This means looking beyond the most famous sights. Arenal might boast the most famous hot springs, for example, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find others equally enchanting springs close to a river you may wish to whitewater raft. Finding the ideal base means you can spend more time enjoying yourself rather than getting from A to B. This is just one of the many time-saving tips we recommend to everyone who heads to Costa Rica.

Pack comfortable clothes

Every bride dreams of packing a honeymoon wardrobe that’s Instagram-mable and totally delicious but when you set your sights on a Costa Rica adventure honeymoon, you’ll need to include plenty of comfortable everyday active wear that’ll make you raft, kayak, zip line and mountain bike with ease. Save the sweet little dress for the evenings and pack plenty of functional clothing for your adventure-filled days.

Plan some free time in your itinerary

Costa Rica honeymoonGiven the sheer volume of excellent activities on offer in Costa Rica, it’s super easy to get carried away and pack your days full of fun stuff. But hold back! Leaving plenty of free time for spontaneous outings is very rewarding and will take the pressure off your FOMO.

Accept the fact you simply can’t do it all in one visit and leave yourself the freedom to discover hidden treasures when you’re actually here. Or…simply throw caution to the wind and include some cool ideas for your romantic vacation.

Mix it up

Even the most active couples ought to remember that honeymoons should be about spending some quality and relaxing time together. To this end, we always suggest to couples to mix up their itinerary: stay in a romantic lodge, add a day at the beach, a couple pampering session and simply take a more relaxed approach to your plan, perhaps doing less than you’d normally do on an adventure vacation. Have a look at how we plan a Luxury and Adventure Honeymoon, taking notice of how we mix it up and give guests a taste of everything Costa Rica offers, whilst still including plenty of luxury downtime.

Stick to your budget

Splurging on your honeymoon is certainly an excusable indulgence but not if it comes at the detriment of your life back home. Luckily, Costa Rica is an affordable honeymoon destination, arguably one of the many reasons the country is so very popular. Once you have a budget worked out with your partner, your challenge will be to stick to it, rain, hail or shine! To help you along, we’ve devised a ‘build your own honeymoon tour’ that takes your budget into consideration as well as all the activities you wish to do. Just tell us your budget and we’ll show just how much fun, romance and excitement we can squeeze into your honeymoon, from as little as $1500 per person!

Research!

Know where to go for a romantic nightcap? Where the most beautiful honeymoon resorts are found and what kind of culinary delights you ought to seek? Scour our comprehensive blog site and discover more about Costa Rica honeymoon vacations before you travel.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that honeymoon and adventure don’t usually go hand in hand but in Costa Rica, they can! There isn’t a country on earth that can seamlessly combine the two to offer adventurous couples such a wide array of experiences. At CostaRicaRios, we’re in the business of making your adventure honeymoon dreams come true. Contact us here for more detailed info.

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