Costa Rica Rios

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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Top 10 Costa Rica Adventure Vacation Attractions

Dreaming of a Costa Rica adventure vacation and don’t even know where to start planning?

How about here!

Aimed at the first-time visitor who wants his or her first tentative taste of this diverse and unspoilt country, our list of Costa Rica’s top 10 attractions brings you face to face with the most beloved, visited and celebrated sights. And considering the fact you will undoubtedly be back for more (trust us, you will), there will always be next year to check out the hidden treasures off the well-beaten path. But for now, go ahead and drool as we introduce you to the best the country has to offer. Here is just an entrée of all that makes Costa Rica one of the world’s premier adventure vacation destinations.

1.   Arenal Volcano

Costa Rica’s poster child and most iconic highlight, Arenal is an absolute breath taker. With its perfectly conical peak kissing the sky and luscious forests framing it on every side, Arenal is that one sight you won’t want to miss. Plenty of accommodation choices make this a fantastic first-stop in a countrywide tour, and a wealth of hiking trails, activities and blissful hot thermal pools will keep you enthralled for days on end.

2.   Manuel Antonio National Park

Costa Rica adventure vacationIt’s fair to say that Costa Rica is simply one colossal national park yet there are a few pockets of the country that sparkle a little brighter. Manuel Antonio is one. Why? Because as far as national parks go, Manuel Antonio has it all and offers arguably the most comprehensive adventure experiences in the whole country.

It stretches over an extensive strip of Pacific coastline so here you’ll find sparkling beaches and plenty of water sports on offer. Take just one step away from the sand, however, and you’ll be really in the thick of things, literally speaking. Rainforests brimming with capuchin monkeys and sloths, refreshing waterfalls, historic ranches and raging rivers ideal for whitewater rafting and kayaking. In Manuel Antonio, that’s just the start.

3.   Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde is where Costa Rica’s eco-tourism life began and is one of the most ethereal destination in the country. Drenched in life-sustaining clouds, the forests of Monteverde are a unique ecosystem where endemic flora and fauna happily thrive. A cooler place to visit at any time of year, Monteverde offers a gorgeous reprieve during the hot summer months, and makes for a wonderful stop-over on the way to the coast, with plenty of hiking trails and hanging bridges set deep within the forest.

4.   Corcovado National Park

In this supremely biodiverse country, here you have the most biodiverse park of them all. Corcovado is indeed regarded the world’s most flora and fauna-enriched park and its remoteness, set deep in the Osa Peninsula, adds to its colossal appeal. If you wish to be at one with pristine nature then this is definitely the destination for you. Even though it is a remote location, getting to Corcovado is neither difficult nor expensive, although once there your best bet for getting around will be on foot, on bicycle, by kayak or even on horseback. Doesn’t that sounds magical? Corcovado is also home to some of the most outstanding eco-lodges in the entire country.

5.   Tortuguero National Park

Costa Rica adventure vacationThere are times when even a first-time visitor will crave a little ‘out there’ travel experience. In Costa Rica’s case, it’s Tortuguero they should be heading to. A splendidly remote coastal national park on the Caribbean coast, only accessible by boat or plane, Tortuguero, as the name suggests, is a haven for turtle lovers. Travel here during nesting season you can see hundreds and even thousands of nesting leatherback and green turtles. Worth every effort under the blazing sun, Tortuguero is that off-the-beaten attraction you ought to keep in mind, a place where exploring by boat and on foot will see you discover a wealth of superb wildlife, including birds, monkeys, tapirs, sloths, snakes and frogs galore.

6.   Tamarindo

If you’re planning a Costa Rica vacation lured by the seemingly endless stretches of glorious beach, then Tamarindo is where you’ll want to end your adventure. The ideal surfing paradise and a mecca for beach lovers, Tamarindo is on the northern end of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, home to an array of accommodation options and offering a mind-boggling choice of active pursuits, including surfing, zip lining, hiking, sailing, diving, snorkeling and so much more. This is one of the country’s most developed nooks so first-timers will love the comforts and ease of travel too.

7.   Irazu Volcano

Costa Rica’s highest peak sits at a breathtaking height of 11,260’ and the spellbinding craters atop the peak can be reached on foot, making this a hiker’s ideal playground. Over 2,000 hectares of protected reserve cradles the base of the volcano and hiking trails offer incredible rewards. On a crystal clear day, you could stand atop Irazu and peek at both the Pacific and Caribbean seas.

8.   Eco-adventures

As testament to the fact that this is one of the most diverse countries you could ever visit, the next three of Costa Rica’s top 10 attractions will concentrate on experiences rather than specific places. Experiences you can and will have just about EVERYWHERE you travel. First up is the exhilarating option of eco-adventure sports. Costa Rica is not just a natural haven but is a nature-filled paradise where you are allowed to climb, swim, swing and zip line your way right through the heart of it. You can learn to surf, go on canyoning adventures, propel yourself off waterfalls and down the sides of steep mountains on thrilling bike rides. The marvelous thing about Costa Rica’s eco-adventures is that they gift adrenaline seeking visitors a wide array of experiences as they discover, scour and experience the country’s most celebrated highlights along the way.

9.   Wildlife

There are a few rare countries the world over whose wildlife inhabitants alone make a trip worthwhile. Costa Rica is right up the top of that list. From colorful toucans to fierce-looking iguanas, enchanting sloths, rowdy monkeys, lazy turtles, cunning jaguars and scary crocs, alongside birds and insects galore: Costa Rica is a wildlife lover’s utopia and hides some of the world’s rarest and cutest creatures. And we haven’t even mentioned the wonders of the country’s underwater world! A marine life treasure trove that needs to be discovered by all who visit.

10. Ticos

Yet when all is said and done, with all the amazing unforgettable wildlife, adventures and sites, there’s one special highlight that deserves a mention in Costa Rica: the locals. Ticos are some of the most hospitable and friendly people you’ll ever come across, and no matter where you go, you will undoubtedly make connections with locals you simply won’t experience anywhere else. Proud of their cultural and natural heritage, head over heels in love with their country and lifestyle (and who would blame them?) Ticos share their infectious love of their own backyard with all who visit and will, rest assured, become one of the most memorable aspects of your trip.

We certainly hope to have given you plenty of juicy info on Costa Rica’s top 10 adventure vacation attractions. If you’d love some help in organizing a whirlwind adventure trip through this phenomenal country, simply contact us. We’ll show you this and more of all this incredible nation has to offer.

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Things You Should NOT Do When Visiting Costa Rica

Visiting Costa Rica in 2018? Here are some invaluable insider’s tips on what NOT to do when visiting this extraordinary, wild and totally unforgettable country.

1.   Don’t Feed the Wildlife

Visiting Costa RicaOne of the most enticing aspects of a Costa Rica vacation is undoubtedly the up, close and personal wildlife encounters which are guaranteed no matter where you go. Monkeys will swing on trees above your breakfast table at the eco-lodge, toucans will gawk and shadow your hikes and sloths will pose for your camera, totally unfazed by your presence. Yet as tempting as it may be to make your wildlife encounters even closer (you know, by handing over that piece of banana) know that you could be doing great damage to both the animal and, potentially, yourself. Wildlife is called that for a reason and their reaction to being handed food will always be unpredictable and potentially dangerous to you. Moreover, a human epicurean handout will detrimentally affect any animal’s self-reliance instincts, causing havoc to their hunting and/or gathering habits. In Costa Rica, feeding the wildlife is highly illegal anyway, so keep your food safely out of eye sight and grab of any wildlife – especially monkeys – you may come across.

2.   Don’t Forget to Look Down (When You Walk)

Rain forest and volcano hikes are among the most rewarding activities to pursue in Costa Rica, with an array of animals (in the former) and sights (in the latter) providing a feast for the eyes. Most of the visual feasting, however, will tend to distract your gaze from your walking path and being mindful of this could potentially save you from grief. Snakes and frogs seem to have a knack for crossing walking paths right in front of visitors, which is of course marvelous, except when you’re not really paying attention because you’re too busy looking up at the tree tops trying to spot sloths. Likewise on volcano hikes, uneven ground on walking trails could potentially lead to a sprained ankle, so your attention downwards – to where you put your feet – is quite an important thing to keep in mind.

3.   Don’t Put On Your Walking Boots Without Checking Them First

Visiting Costa RicaThose incredibly colorful spiders and frogs which inhabit Costa Rica’s incredible forests?

Guess what?

They love sneaking into shoes! No matter whether you leave your hiking boots and shoes outside or keep them inside your lodge room, it certainly pays to get into the habit of checking your shoes for uninvited guests before putting them on every morning.

4.   Don’t Think You MUST Fly Into San Jose

The Costa Rican capital is quite a vibrant and fun city in which to spend a couple of nights yet if you’re headed here for a short vacation, and want to maximize your time, you should consider entering the country in Liberia International Airport, in the Guanacaste Province. Liberia is a better springboard for adventures in Punta Arenas, La Fortuna and the Nicoya Peninsula, and could potentially save you quite a few hours of travel time.

5.   Don’t Ignore Local Warnings

Active volcanoes are one Costa Rica’s most enticing aspect and although the great majority are extinct, there are still a few highly active peaks which show daily signs of impending eruptions. A fuming volcano is a truly mesmerizing sight yet it can also bring danger, especially when people deliberately ignore local authority warnings to keep away. Don’t ever underestimate the power of Costa Rica’s mighty volcanoes and always follow local directives in case any emergency warnings are issued. Trust that your adventure tour company has your best interest and safety at heart, so rely on their advice.

6.   Don’t Avoid the Rain Season

The first quarter of the year is high season in Costa Rica, a time when glorious sunny skies reign supreme. But if for some reason you can’t make it to Costa Rica right now, don’t be discouraged and don’t, whatever you do, avoid the rain season. From August to November Costa Rica enjoys a healthy dose of rain, yet most showers are concentrated only in a couple of afternoon hours, still leaving you plenty of time to enjoy your chosen activities. Prices decrease dramatically during the rainy season, crowds dissipate and, even if a few areas of the country suffer from flooding and are inaccessible, there are still plenty of forests to visit and volcanoes to climb nonetheless.

We’ll help you do, see and experience all the right things when you’re in Costa Rica, so check out our comprehensive array of adventure tours and come discover this exceptional country for yourself.

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Discover the Best of Costa Rica – Overview of Every Province

Costa Rica may be renowned as a compact country that’s easy to explore yet the diverse topography means that you will discover an immense diversity as you travel through the country. So, if there is something very specific you have in mind, it is a great idea to have an overview of what each province has to offer to experience the best of Costa Rica.

Here is your guide to Discover the Best Costa Rica – Province by Province.

Overview of Costa Rica Provinces

Each province in the country boasts a capital city bearing the same name. These towns don’t just make for brilliant base points from which to explore further but they also offer a glimpse of the country’s culture and history. Although ‘nature’ certainly takes center stage all over the country – with most visitors simply wishing to spend as much time as possible in one of the many revered national parks – spending a few days in the main towns, to meet locals, get a sense of the Pura Vida philosophy for which the country is beloved, visiting museums and enjoying the local cuisines are all very rewarding experiences.

San Jose – The Central Valley

The greater province of San Jose is arguably the most developed region of all, boasting highways and great tourist infrastructure. This central region also boasts the highest population density in the country although the moment you step away from the city’s outskirts you’ll mainly see villages and settlements and not large cities, as such. San Jose is very fertile and boasts many ranches and coffee plantations, amongst its luscious verdant hills. The province is actually quite extensive and covers just under five million hectares of stunning lowlands and steep volcanoes, stretching from the capital city, which is in the northern border, all the way south past Uvita. The highlights of San Jose Province are the Chirripo National Park (with Mt Chirripo offering excellent options for volcano and mountain climbing – read more about Chirripo permits before visiting) Los Quetzales National Park (comprising cloud forests set amidst the high peaks of the Talamanca Mountains – a protected home for the magnificent quetzal bird) and La Cangreja National Park, home to an impressive number of migratory birds and beloved by bird enthusiasts. All three major parks offer an array of hiking options. Due to the sheer variety of activities, ease of access and great infrastructure and accommodation options, the San Jose Province is perfect for honeymooners, families and active tourists alike. Most especially those who are limited on time.

Alajuela – The volcanic hub of the north

Best of Costa RicaNorth of San Jose Province, Alajuela reaches to the border with Nicaragua and boasts four of the country’s biggest highlights: the Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna Waterfall, La Paz Waterfalls Garden and the Poas Volcano National Park, the latter boasting one of the largest volcanic craters in the world. The region’s capital is the second-largest city in Costa Rica and is also renowned as an enticing cultural hub, yet it’s the natural highlights of the province which demand the most attention. Fantastic thermal springs and endless hiking options suit active and less-active travelers. Poas, in particular, boasts very easy walking trails which lead to breathtaking viewpoints, so if you want to soak up the views but not overdo it, this is a great park to visit.  Take note, parents! With the sheer abundance of waterfalls, thermal springs, hiking and mountain biking options, as well as canyoning, ziplining, kayaking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding and more, Alajuela is perfect for an adventure vacation in Costa Rica.

Guanacaste – The northwestern Pacific coast

The beach hub of Tamarindo is the epicenter of Guanacaste’s seaside fun and attracts families and honeymooners as well as surfing buffs and snorkelers. Extensive stretches of idyllic white-sand beaches and warm waters teeming with underwater life are the calling cards of the northern half of Guanacaste, whilst the south boasts wonders like the Las Baulas Marine National Park and Rincon de la Vieja National Park, among quite a few others. The absolute must-visit province for beach lovers, Guanacaste offers endless coastal adventures mixed in with enough mountainous destinations, volcanoes and wildlife-brimming forests to make it an unparalleled all-rounder.  This region covers the northern half of the Nicoya Peninsula, revered for its untouched wilderness and lack of crowds. Brimming with wildlife reserves, postcard-perfect beaches and kaleidoscope of adventures in drop-dead-gorgeous forests, Guanacaste is ideal if you want a taste of all that Costa Rica has to offer.

Puntarenas – the central and southern Pacific coast

Puntarenas follows the western coastline of Costa Rica, starting from the Gulf of Papagayo in the north (and covering the southern half of the Nicoya Peninsula) and stretching all the way south to the border with Panama. Narrow yet extensive, Puntarenas is the most diverse in terms of accommodation choices, with a vast array of luxurious resorts on the northern coast of the mainland. Among the many attractions of this very extensive province are the Manuel Antonio National Park (the most visited in the whole country), the spellbinding Monteverde Cloud Forest and the Corcovado National Park in the Osa Peninsula, one of the remotest and least developed nature reserves of all. For water-based activities, you really can’t go past Puntarenas, with the region’s best beaches home to surfing camps and a host of beachside fun, like SUP, kayaking, snorkeling and diving. If you have more time and an adventurous spirit, don’t miss a chance to visit Corcovado, a treasure of nature that’s brimming with an impressive cache of wildlife. Head south during whale migration season and you can enjoy one of the most unforgettable Costa Rica experiences of all.

Cartago – The central valley and eastern volcanic hub

East of Puntarenas and bordering the San Jose Province, Cartago joins the latter in comprising the remainder of the Central Valley. A thrilling destination for active tourists, Cartago is home to Irazu and Turrialba volcanoes and shares an entry into Chirripo National Park. Irazu is one of the most active volcanoes in the country and a very popular destination, with plenty of hiking options available. The mountainous topography of Cartago lends itself well to adventure tours and it is right here that the mighty Pacuare River originates. The Pacuare is the base for our thrilling whitewater rafting and kayaking tours which we run from the Limon Province, just to the east.

Heredia – A small northern pocket of unexplored wilderness

An often-overlooked province due to its remoteness and lack of infrastructure, Heredia takes up the northern fringes of the country and is tucked right between the Alajuela and Limon provinces. Mostly wild and inaccessible, Heredia is home to the stunning Braulio Carrillo National Park, one of the least visited but most impressive parks in the entire country. The park boasts a brilliant eco-friendly cable-car which gets you into the rainforest with very little effort, and is home to the vertiginous Barva volcano, a stratovolcano complex which stands at a breathtaking 9500 feet. The hike up the volcano is challenging yet immensely rewarding and attracts active visitors looking for loads of adventure in the heart of a splendid and lesser-visited national park. Despite the remoteness of the province, the volcano is only a short drive north of San Jose so super easy to access, even if you’re short on time.

Limon – The unspoiled Caribbean coastal hub

Aside from a sensational array of adventures, Limon is also home to some of the country’s most magnificent parks, including Tortuguero National Park, one of the world’s most precious turtle nesting sites. Limon’s Caribbean beaches are unspoiled and less frequented and the province’s remoteness means both local and tourist numbers are contained, spawning a spectacular concentration of unique and rare wildlife species. Puerto Viejo and Tortuguero are the two most popular bases here and, despite the province’s lack of major tourist infrastructure, there are still plenty of fantastic options for families and honeymooners who wish to experience untouched wilderness yet still enjoy modern comforts. If you wish to get off the well-trodden path in Costa Rica and relish its incredible natural treasures, then you’ll find no better province to visit. Especially on a fully-organized and guided adventure tour.

Want to know more about Costa Rica’s magical provinces? Visit our Destinations Page for more details on the kind of adventures you can expect in every corner of the country and check out our adventure tours page for start dates and availability of our Week of Adventures, Week of River Kayaking, Honeymoons and Family and Custom Tours. We run the most respected and professional adventure tours in Costa Rica and take pride in showcasing the very best of Costa Rica.  For more details and come see for yourself how unforgettable this country really is!

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Guide to Volunteering in Costa Rica – For a Meaningful Travel Experience

Costa Rica volunteerCosta Rica is swiftly becoming the poster child for meaningful travel experiences, least of all for the sheer number of reputable, sustainable and responsible volunteering projects found all over the country. Many return visitors who have been and have fallen in love with Costa Rica are choosing to add a stint of volunteering to their yearly adventure vacation, giving back to a country that – increasing modernity notwithstanding – still struggles with poverty, wildlife protection and environmental conservation.

Volunteering projects offer placements which range in duration from days to weeks and even months at a time and, whilst some require a level of expertise in a given field, many simply require you to offer compassion and a willingness to help.

Finding the right project to dedicate your time and effort to will require a certain amount of research and insight on your part, so we thought we’d lend a helping hand by highlighting a few very important aspects of volunteering in Costa Rica.

Volunteering in Costa Rica – Why Keeping Your Expectations in Check is Essential

Choosing the right project for a rewarding volunteering stint in Costa Rica should take some time. Romantic ideals aside, you should ensure that your chosen project be transparent in what it aims to achieve and, more importantly, what it expects of you. By the same token, you ought to familiarize yourself with volunteering abroad if you’ve never undertaken such a project.

Many first-time volunteers are left disappointed when they realize that they are, more often than not, a ‘cog in the wheel’ of a long-term and complex project. Your day-to-day task may not be as glamorous as you imagine and, even if volunteering for a number of weeks, you may not see the results of your hard work during your tenure. This is the nature of the game, the actual essence of most volunteering projects. ALL the collective work of ALL the volunteers is pooled together to make a project a success, so if you expect instant gratification, you may be left disappointed. Moreover, responsible projects ought to place the emphasis very much on the receiver of help and not the giver and if you’re serious about being helpful you should appreciate this very much.

If it isn’t in the best interest of an animal to continuously be exposed to new people, for example, your work may well be ‘behind the scenes’. Wildlife volunteering projects still need people to prepare food and clean cages, collect data or help with construction. If the aim of a particular project is to reintroduced rehabilitated animals to the wild, you can pretty much guarantee you won’t get to cuddle it. If you’re ecstatic knowing that your personal help has contributed to the release of such an animal, then, by all means, go right ahead. If you’re hoping for a more hands-on experience, however, choose your project accordingly.

Keeping your expectations in check is crucial to ensuring your experience be fun, rewarding and satisfying. At the end of the day, volunteering projects are only successful if volunteers thoroughly enjoy their experiences.

Choosing the right volunteering project

Considering the criticism that many international volunteering organizations have faced over the years, much of which was utterly warranted, you should be ruthless in your research for the right project. For every well-planned organization, there are half a dozen poorly-designed ones that manage to harm the very cause they wish to assist. Offering your time and effort to the right project, therefore, isn’t just beneficial to you but also to the community and cause in question. Much like the kind of planning needed to organize any kind of trip abroad, volunteering also requires meticulous research. If you wouldn’t use the hypothetical yellow pages to choose a hotel abroad…don’t use it to choose your volunteering project.

Seek out a legitimate project that offers a safe placement for you; one that boasts excellent reviews by previous volunteers and, more importantly, one that clearly communicates its intentions and expectations with you. Their work should be prominent in Costa Rica’s media and their successes well documented. Seek out news articles, blogs and forums on every project you come across and it’ll be much easier for you to weed out the great from the sub-par.

Choosing the right volunteering project should also involve a little soul searching on your part. Determining the kind of work that you’re likely to enjoy may be deceptively difficult. Take projects involved with the education of impoverished children, as an example. You may well agree that this is of the utmost importance in any developing country, yet if you don’t really enjoy spending entire days surrounded by children, let alone weeks, it’s best to leave the volunteering spot to someone who will. Not only will you be better off doing something you actually enjoy but those all-too-important children will also have a much better time with a volunteer who enjoys their company. So be brutal in your assessment of your own desires and skills and choose to volunteer in a project whose work you know you will enjoy.

Taking some time out of your life to volunteer abroad is no small feat: choose wisely and it could well be one of the most meaningful and gratifying travel experiences you’ll ever have.

Paying to volunteer – why this oxymoron makes sense

Start researching the most popular and best volunteering projects in Costa Rica and you’ll soon discover that all-too-familiar oxymoron: volunteering costs money. Why on earth should a volunteer PAY to help? Well, for the very logical reason that projects must spend money to receive volunteers.  A lot of money, in fact. It costs money to house you and feed you for the duration of your stay, to recruit you in the first place, to assist you in settling in and in training you. It costs money to organize transport and to build all the facilities to make you safe and comfortable. If a project is responsible, it won’t just leave you to fend for yourself. It will look after you and for that…it needs funds. Considering all of its profits should, theoretically, be poured back into the project itself, it makes sense that you’ll need to effectively pay your way during your stay. Most organizations don’t receive government funding and rely on the donations to carry on their important work, combined with whatever funds are left over after your placement fee is spent (on you). Professional and responsible volunteering project should have no issue providing you with a clear breakdown of how your fee is spent so you can best ascertain if you’re willing to contribute to their project.

The most popular volunteering options in Costa Rica

Animal care, rehabilitation and conservation work plays a huge role in Costa Rica’s volunteering sphere, as does work in remote communities building much-needed infrastructure and helping at-risk communities. There are many projects, all over the country, which rely heavily on volunteers’ help, both local and imported. Before you go ahead and research the best projects in Costa Rica, have a read of National Geographic Guide to Voluntourism, which highlights a few key points you ought to also keep in mind whilst listing the most prominent international organizations around.

Volunteerism has been placed under the microscope over the last decade (for many valid reasons) and the great benefit of this is that it’s forced organizations to be much more transparent in what they do and how they do it. If, by the end of your research, you decide that you’d rather offer a donation rather than your time and effort to a particular cause, do know that your invaluable contribution will be much appreciated by whichever reputable organization you choose to help.

Here at Costa Rica Rios, we’ve been voted One of the Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth by the National Geographic and take our role as ambassadors very seriously. We not only commit to sustainable tourism in a country which desperately strives to uphold it but we contribute to our local communities, employing and training local guides and donating to our local orphanage and any business which needs a helping hand. We do this because we believe that through responsible tourism, everybody wins, Mother Nature included. All of our Adventure Tours in Costa Rica are planned with our mission and values in mind so if you’d like to come and discover all the amazing experiences this incredible country offers, contact us today.

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Top 10 Reasons to Visit Costa Rica in Rain Season

Costa Rica rain seasonWe’re huge proponents of visiting Costa Rica during Green Season, also known as rain season. Amidst the quite lusciousness of its national parks, the slower pace of travel and genial savings which can be found just about everywhere, adventures in Costa Rica during low-tourist season absolutely rock.

Here are just 10 more reasons to visit Costa Rica in Rain Season:

  1. Flights to Costa Rica are CRAZY cheap

Costa Rica is an inexpensive destination for North Americans yet never are the savings as enticing as during this upcoming green season, which starts in May. You can reach San Jose, the capital, for under 300 USD from numerous US cities, including New York, LA, Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, Washington, Miami and Chicago, and just over 400 USD from Boston, San Francisco and Houston, to name but a few. Reduced flights prices will continue for a few months, so check out Skyscanner or your favorite flight booking website and discover how affordable a quick getaway to Costa Rica can be.

  1. The savings don’t end there!

All of Costa Rica’s most coveted travel experiences, from accommodation in gorgeous eco-lodges to thrilling adventure tours, are also discounted during the low tourist season. Take advantage of the savings to partake in activities, or stay in lodges, that would normally be out of your budget range. Visiting Costa Rica in rain season is the #1 choice for budget travelers and anyone wanting to get the most out of their vacation spending spree. So whether you save a few hundred dollars, or simply indulge in more luxuries and experiences, traveling to Costa Rica between May and November is an incredibly rewarding thing to do.

  1. It actually won’t be all that wet, after all

This luscious and incredibly fertile country enjoys a very healthy rain rate at any time of year with only the first couple of months of the year being exceptionally dry. Yet rain is what keeps the country’s forests and its astonishing wildlife thriving, so you should actually expect some rain no matter when you travel.  However, and like many tropical destinations, Costa Rica receives most of its rain in the early afternoon (even during rain season) washing out travel plans for just a couple of hours. It is still unusual to see torrential downpours that last for an entire day (even during the rainiest month of September and October) which is why it’s wise to plan most of your outings for the hours prior to lunch time. Take advantage of the above-mentioned savings and stretch your vacation to include more days, so as to give you more time to do and see everything that’s on your list.

  1. You’ll have some of the most popular places all to yourself

There’s no denying that Costa Rica is an immensely popular travel destination and those who visit during high tourist season have to contend with substantial crowds in the most popular spots. Visiting Costa Rica during rain season, however, offers you the chance to share those super special spots with far fewer people. Aside from savings, avid low-season travelers quote ‘smaller crowds’ as the prime reason for visiting Costa Rica during rain season, especially as most of the country’s towns are quite small and can feel congested rather quickly. If it’s your first time visiting and you wish to see the most popular national parks – like Manuel Antonio and Arenal – visiting during the rain season is a brilliant idea indeed.

Dreaming of having one of Costa Rica’s most spectacular beaches all to yourself? Then book your trip for the next few months!

  1. It’s blissfully cooler & waterfalls and forests are resplendent

Ticos call the rain season their ‘winter’ and although this may seem a bit of a stretch to North Americans (who are used to winters being freezing and snowy) temps are certainly lower than at any time of year. For active travelers and anyone who finds tropical heat oppressive, the rain season months are ideal, with average temps falling below their yearly average (90F) making for excellent hiking in otherwise steamy forests. If that’s not enough, the country’s tropical forests are absolutely resplendent with abundant rains, so green and luscious! Waterfalls and rivers are bursting, also making for amazing water-based adventure vacations. If you normally avoid very hot destinations because your skin is sensitive to the strong sun, then this may just be the ideal season for you to visit Costa Rica.

Include a visit to one of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica and come discover what all the dry-season travelers miss out on and check out the very best places to visit during Green Season.

  1. Different ecosystems mean there’s always a dry corner, somewhere in Costa Rica

Costa Rica may be a small and compact country yet its central mountain range – which essentially dissects the country in two – translates to different regions enjoying quite diverging climates. So when we talk about rain season, in fact, we’re mainly discussing only the western half of Costa Rica, the side of the country that sees the highest number of tourists. Head to the eastern half, however, and you’ll find a totally different climate.  Between May and November, the Caribbean coastline of Costa Rica is at its driest and although the climate there is much less predictable it is, generally speaking, always drier there than on the Pacific coast. Moreover, even the Pacific coast boasts its own variants, with the rains in the Guanacaste region typically not starting until the end of June, whilst the southern Osa Peninsula enjoying arguably the longest rain season of all. So don’t consider ‘rain season’ as one uniform travel time in Costa Rica. Is there somewhere specific you wish to travel to? Let us know what it is and we’ll advise you as to the best month to visit during the long Green Season.

  1. It’s perfect for those who prefer to be flexible

‘Flexible’ is the one thing you should be when visiting Costa Rica during the rainiest months and if you’re not a flexible traveler when you arrive you probably will be by the time you leave. Sure, some people prefer firm plans and structure…but not everybody does. If you’re the kind of adventurer who prefers to take things as they come, to change plans at the last minute and swap one activity for another at short notice, due to an unforeseen downpour, then this is definitely the time you should travel here!

Because isn’t normal life structured enough?

  1. Costa Rica is still pure perfection…even when it rains

We’ve had guests gush excitedly at having found the most popular national parks almost deserted during a trip in rain season and others who simply couldn’t believe just how stunning the country is when it receives a healthy amount of rain, both aspects which elude dry season visitors. Is a little rain really going to ruin your whole vacation in Costa Rica? Absolutely not! Costa Rica is paradise on earth, with an abundance of precious wilderness and wildlife that’ll just blow you away. It would take more than a downpour to dampen your incredible experience in this magnificent destination. Whilst there are still copious reasons for visiting both during dry and rainy months, rest assured that your vacation will be resplendent, no matter what time of year you visit.

  1. Rain season is also turtle nesting season!

We’re not the only ones who love Costa Rica when it rains. So do turtles! ­occur in the Nicoya Peninsula year-round yet happen with more frequency and boast mind-boggling turtle numbers in the wetter months between August and November. Reason enough to visit then? We think so!

Find out more about Costa Rica’s magical arribadas before planning your trip and we bet you’ll want to include a few days at Ostional Beach just to witness this truly remarkable spectacle of nature.

  1. Your packing list remains unchanged

Locals may call this season their winter but to be honest, from a visitor’s perspective, temps are so ideal that your dry season Costa Rica packing list can remain unchanged. Aside from the addition of mosquito repellent (which is a good idea at any time and imperative during rainy months), you’ll still just need one warm fleece if traveling at altitude and a rain jacket, something you’d be advised to pack anyhow. Visiting Costa Rica during rain season is no more troublesome, in this regard, which makes a quick last-minute getaway even more appealing.

At Costa Rica Rios, we also take advantage of low-season specials to tour the country and discover new corners we’ve yet to travel to, all the while still offering an exceptional week of adventure tours for those lucky few travelers who realize how gorgeous the country is during this time of year. So why not come have some fun with us? Visit our adventure tour page and click on each option to see tour dates and availability.

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Explore the Highlights of Costa Rica’s Magical Limon Province

Stretching the length of Costa Rica’s 125-mile long eastern Caribbean coast and covering over 3,500 square miles of spectacular wilderness, Limon is – without a doubt – the country’s most distinctive province. Home to just over a quarter of a million people, many of whom boast Afro-Caribbean roots, the Limon Province is revered for being home to some of the most outstanding and remote highlights in the entire country, including the Pacuare River (the best rafting river in the country), the Tortuguero National Park (an idyllic turtle watching destination) and the Cahuita National Park (a revered snorkeling destination). Lesser visited than its western counterpart, the Limon Province offers a host of very authentic Costa Rica travel experiences and is, contrary to popular belief, actually easy to reach from the capital, San Jose. Some of its most enticing corners may be harder to reach (a few only accessible by boat or plane!) yet the rewards, for those with a few more days up their sleeve, are immense. Pristine jungles and forests, as well as indigenous villages seemingly untouched by the passing of time, are just a few of Limon’s most alluring attractions.

For nature and wildlife lovers and for adrenaline-seeking adventurers, the Limon Province is not to be missed.

Here are just some of the exceptional experiences you can have in Limon:

Watch a turtle nesting spectacle in the Tortuguero National Park

Limon Province wildlifeOne of the world’s best turtle-watching destinations, the Tortuguero National Park is tucked in the north-eastern corner of the Limon Province and only accessible by boat or plane. A prime spot for Hawksbill, Giant Leatherback, Green and Loggerhead turtles, the beaches of Tortuguero can transform into a hive of absolute activity during nesting season, although the entire park hides a wealth of other unique creatures, including manatees, river otters, American crocodiles, caimans, sloths and several species of monkeys. The best way to explore the park is by boat or kayak and the best time of year to visit, for the greatest chances to watch turtles nesting, are the months between June and November. Read our Tortuguero guide for more detailed insights.

Learn to surf in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

The southern Caribbean coast is a world onto itself and the two main towns, Puerto Viejo and Cahuita, offer a very distinctive Costa Rica beach experience. Infrastructure here is not as developed as on the western coast so you’ll notice a most distinctive lack of luxury resorts and hotels lining the shores. Instead, you’ll be amazed to see luscious rain forests catapulting into the turquoise sea here, leaving enough glistening sandy shores for you to enjoy. For a sublime spot of R&R in a quieter and more culturally immersive region, you really can’t go past the beaches of the Limon Province. And if you’re up for a bit more action then head straight for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, where a host of great surfing schools have set up shop.

Visit the Jaguar Rescue Centre Foundation near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Animal lovers looking for an exceptional wildlife experience ought to keep the Jaguar Rescue Centre Foundation firmly within their sights. This incredible animal sanctuary rescues orphaned, mistreated, injured and confiscated animals, with the aim to release them all into the wild once they’re back in prime condition. On a visit you can enjoy a tour of the refuge and gain a deeper understanding of the problems faced by some of the country’s most precious wildlife. You’ll get to meet baby monkeys and sloths (although direct contact is, obviously, kept to a minimum) and get to meet some of the full-time residents who call this place home. An ethical and immensely successful rehab center, the Jaguar Rescue Foundation is just a few miles south of Puerto Viejo and easy to visit from town.

Raft and kayak the Pacuare River

The crown jewel of the Limon province, the Pacuare is one of the world’s top-rated rafting rivers and attracts adventure seekers from all the world. Stretching for more than 70 miles across some of the most untouched landscapes in the country, the Pacuare offers 16 distinct rafting sections, spanning the gamma from Class II to Class V rapids. Suitable for beginners and advanced rafters alike, the Pacuare is the most sought-after adventure vacation destination in Costa Rica and one-week itineraries (like this one) offer an impressive number of activities. The river is flanked by primordial rain forests and features deep gorges, waterfalls and a mind-boggling array of unique wildlife. On a rafting and kayaking trip on the Pacuare River, you can enjoy a truly immersive Costa Rica experience, staying in eco-lodges tucked in the heart of unspoiled forests, visit indigenous villages and, of course, enjoy a bevy of active pursuits, including rafting, kayaking, zip lining, hiking, mountain biking and more.

Ready to get way off the beaten tourist path in Costa Ria and explore the magical Limon Province? Visit our adventure vacation page for fantastic travel inspiration and contact us for more detailed info on how to best add side-trips to your itinerary.

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Costa Rica’s Best (Secret) Hiking Trails

Costa Rica hiking trailsWith over 26 national parks and countless reserves spanning the width and breath of the country, Costa Rica’s many hiking trails showcase the immense diversity of the glorious landscape.

From endless stretches of coastal rain forests to high-altitude mountainous terrain, exploring the country on you own two feet is in-arguably the best way to really soak up the splendors. Encounter wildlife, swim under waterfalls and soak in thermal springs as you discover Costa Rica at your own pace.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker looking for a challenging adventure or simply an outdoor enthusiast craving some alone time in pristine nature, Costa Rica offers an impressive array of hiking trails, no matter where you go yet among the seemingly endless well-trodden trails, there are some that still fly way under the tourist radar.

Here are some of our favorite Costa Rica’s Best (Secret) Hiking Trails, perfect for all those who wish to explore the country off the beaten trail:

Braulio Carrillo National Park

Costa Rica hiking trailsIf you happen to be a Costa Rica enthusiast and you’ve never even heard of Braulio Carrillo, don’t despair: you’re not the only one. Hidden in plain view and with a highway that runs straight through the heart of it, this spectacular national park is only steps outside of San Jose and is, in fact, one of the largest reserves in the entire country yet is often overlooked by visitors who head straight to more famous spots like Manuel Antonio.

Well, dear off-the-beaten-trail hiker, that just spells great news for you. With great hiking trails guiding you through luscious primary and secondary rain and cloud forests, Carrillo covers over 44,000 hectares of unspoilt wilderness and boasts a truly impressive diversity of landscapes. From the top of Barva Volcano, some 9500 feet up in the clouds, you’ll soak up all-encompassing views of the Caribbean selva below and will be above all the rivers of the Central Valley which originate here. Home to more than 600 distinct species of wildlife (including jaguars, toucans and tapirs and monkeys) and more than 600 unique trees and plants, Carrillo is revered in Costa Rica for being a pivotal ecological natural haven.

Three ranger stations and a maze of hiking trails could keep you busy here for days on end, just remember to always pack a warm clothing layer as the climate, at high elevations, can be harsh. Including a hike in Braulio Carrillo is very easy when traveling east out of San Jose, into the Limon Province.

Rainmaker Conservation Park

To highlight the fact that some of Costa Rica’s best secret hideouts are literally nestled in plain views, you’ll find this exceptional (and quiet) park merely half an hour’s drive from Manuel Antonio, arguably the most visited park in the country. Ideal for those who are headed in this region but wish to spend a few hours hiking in a more secluded rain forest, Rainmaker offers a leisurely hiking trail through its pristine primary rain forest, which means the trees here have never been cut down.

You may not find as much large wildlife here as you may see in Manuel Antonio (not nearly as many monkeys, for example) but you will encounter swaths of colorful butterflies and poison dart frogs, birds and a flurry of interesting insects. Astonishingly, more than half of the flora and fauna in the whole country can be found here. On a hike through Rainmaker, you’ll cross hanging bridges suspended halfway up the thick rain forest canopy (acrophobia sufferers beware!) and pass several gorgeous waterfalls as you follow the winding path of a river. The main loop requires a moderate level of fitness but if you’re up for the challenge you can tackle the offshoots which head higher up the mountains.  The views from up the top are absolutely sensational and you’d actually be hard-pressed to find better, anywhere in Costa Rica.

Take a photo of the hiking map board near the entrance and design your route to suit your skill level and time constraints. A crisp cold beer from the Perro Vida Brewery right in the park makes for a perfect reward on a hot summer’s day. As usual when hiking in a rain forest, wear good hiking shoes, bring a rain jacket and do wear your swimming costume under your clothes, there are plenty of swimming spots in Rainmaker!

Santa Rosa National Park

A remote park set in Cost Rica’s northwest Guanacaste region, Santa Rosa is usually reserved for experienced hikers looking for an out-there challenge but there is one hiking trail that is accessible for everyone.

Whilst much hiking effort and skill is required to access the furthest reaches of Santa Rosa, many of which are over multiple days, there are a few shorter trails that still offer fantastic hiking experiences whilst meandering through the park. Revered for harbouring one of the last remaining dry tropical forests on our planet, Santa Rosa is home to an array of natural diversity. Its forest boasts different species of monkeys, coatimundis, jaguars and whitetail deer and its secluded beaches are favored nesting sites for Olive Ridley turtles.

There are also excellent SCUBA and snorkeling just a few miles out. Mangroves, evergreen and deciduous forests, marine habitats, savannahs and splendid beaches abound and on a hiking trail through Santa Rosa you can really soak it all in. Whilst some of the beaches are favourite local surfing spots, the sheer number of hiking trails and remoteness of the park means you’ll still see far fewer fellow visitors here.

Reserva Biologica La Marta

Hiking the trails of the La Marta Wildlife Refuge is one of the favorite on-land activities on offer in our whitewater rafting and kayaking tours on the Pacuare River. Both rafters and their non-paddling companions relish the chance to stretch their legs and explore the incredible UNESCO-listed rain forest brimming with sensational wildlife.

As a former mining land – now completely protected for preservation – La Marta offers a little of everything for the curious traveler: historical sites, an astonishing array of unique flora, countless exotic birds as well as pristine streams, a resplendent rain forest canopy and, after ascending to La Mina, the highest point, simply sensational views across the Talamanca Mountains. The 3-mile hike takes about three/four hours and can be completed by just about anyone with a moderate level of fitness and good hiking shoes (the trail can be muddy and slippery at times). Don’t forget the bug spray, wear a long-sleeve top and bring a rain-jacket no matter what time of year you visit. La Marta offers various hiking trails (over 10 miles in total) of varying difficulty, crossing rivers, waterfalls and hanging bridges, and offering great view points along the way.

A great full day excursion out of Turrialba, 2hrs east of San Jose. What we love most about hiking in La Marta is that it’s one of the least visited parks in central Costa Rica so, on some days, you’ll feel like you have this striking place all to yourself.

No matter how many times you’ve visited Costa Rica – or how many years you’ve lived here – there is always something, new, secret and enticing to discover. At CostaRicaRios we love doing just that! So visit our Costa Rica active vacation itinerary ideas to learn all about the active ways you can explore the hidden treasures of our beloved home and contact us for custom tours designed with your most fervent wishes in mind.

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Why Costa Rica Rates Among the World’s Best for an Immersive Travel Experience

Spending more on experiences rather than souvenirs, coming home with a more enlightened vision rather than just a suntan, and gaining a deeper understanding of a foreign culture – instead of being on the lookout for recognizable hints of ‘home’: this is the kind of immersive travel experience Costa Rica offers. As more and more people seek out the unique, the different and the experiential, Costa Rica is swiftly rising in popularity, thanks to a bevy of unique traits that attract those who want to fully experience their holiday destination.

For those wanting to steer clear of Disneyland-type tourist traps and all those who want a cultural experience along with plenty of adventure and R&R, Costa Rica is ideal. The sheer diversity of the country, the ancient history, culture and incredibly organic essence, means vacations here are never superficial.

Costa Rica has a way of capturing the heart of all those who visit, so go ahead and discover more of this incredible country and come see for yourself why Costa Rica rates among the world’s best countries for truly immersive travel experiences.

Each of Costa Rica’s regions offers very distinctive experiences

Homogenous landscapes, cities besieged by international fast-food chains and glitzy hotels are the usual calling cards of mainstream travel destinations, the kind you could just about interchange. Costa Rica, however, showcases the kind of distinctiveness that’s revered among discerning travelers looking for a multi-dimensional vacation. Want to have an incentive to not just travel to a new country but travel through it, too? Then Costa Rica is for you!

Unique volcanic travel experienceEverything about Costa Rica is unique and unmistakable: from the country’s volcanic peaks framed by luscious primordial rain forests to its exceptional wildlife, its gorgeous authentic villages, cuisine and architecture and the unparalleled friendliness of its people.

Moreover, every corner of the country displays its own distinct flavor and offers its own specific attractions and, given its compact size, even on a short Costa Rica adventure vacation you can soak up an array of different sights: hike up an active volcano, search for sloths and jaguars in the jungle, surf and snorkel its turquoise waters and have the option of remoteness and modern luxuries, depending on where you go. So leave the same-same destinations behind and come discover a country that’ll blow you away with its diversity.

Costa Rica spearheaded the ‘eco-friendly tourism’ movement

The environmental impact of travel is fast becoming a real concern for a lot of people and it’s in this regard that Costa Rica shines resplendent. Considered the poster child for ecotourism, Costa Rica made environmental preservation a priority before the concept became a worldwide trend.

Responsible tourists love knowing their impact, on their planet, is kept at a minimum when they visit Costa Rica, a country that rates its lodges and resorts on the merits of their eco-friendliness. The commitment to preserve its unique wilderness and wildlife is what has created a country that is, for the most part, a natural playground. Immersive travel experiences in Costa Rica mean you can dive into stunning forests, unspoiled nature reserves and pristine waters that lack the kind of pollution found elsewhere. Celebrated the world over for offering very organic travel experiences, Costa Rica boasts luxurious and rustic eco-resorts that are discretely built in glorious wilderness, offers eco-friendly adventure sports aimed at enjoying the startling nature (without spoiling it) and serves up fresh local produce at every turn. One of the most bio diverse nations on earth, as well as one of its most conscientious: Costa Rica personifies the best of ecotourism and you can indulge here guilt-free, knowing your own outstanding adventure makes but the tiniest of impacts.

Costa Rica is safe and peaceful – you can travel extensively

Latin America, as a whole, has suffered greatly over the past few decades due to a few countries making headline news for all the wrong reasons. Yet among political and social unrest in the region, Costa Rica has always remained a beacon of peace and stability. Unlike many other countries worldwide, the whole country is free and safe for you to visit: there isn’t a corner of Costa Rica that’s out of bounds for foreigners due to lack of safety. You can visit Costa Rica and not worry about a military coup (the country has no army!) or social revolution. This is one of the safest and happiest countries on earth, so you needn’t lock yourself up in some swanky resort and shut out any domestic problem but are free to explore far and wide, meet locals and discover the most remote corners of the country.

Costa Rica offers seclusion, remoteness and adventure – at one with nature

Immersive travel, nowadays, is synonymous with experiential travel in natural surroundings. Today’s modern adventurer wants to ‘do’ stuff rather than just admire it from afar and local travel specialists agree that this recent change in travel focus is not just restricted to the young generation: specialty adventure travel is fast becoming Costa Rica’s most sought-after highlight, for young adventurers, multi-generational families and honeymooners alike. Tourists head here to hike and bike and whitewater raft, to zip line, snorkel and SCUBA dive. They come here for wildlife spotting and volcano climbing and, above all, they come here to escape the hectic routine of their everyday and very modern lives. They want to feel at one with nature, they want to fall asleep to the call of howler monkeys and toucans and want to partake in activities that will revitalize their souls and inject some heart-thumping adventure into their lives.

Want an immersive and interactive travel experience that’s totally out of the mainstream tourism? Costa Rica is it! Visit our adventure travel page for inspiration and contact us to know more about unique, action-packed adventures in one of the world’s most spectacular countries.

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Discover the Pacuare River: Costa Rica’s Best Adrenaline Rush

Named by National Geographic as one of the world’s greatest rafting rivers, the Pacuare is Costa Rica’s most phenomenal playground. Revered by adventure seekers in the know, the Pacuare River is indeed Costa Rica’s best adrenaline rush. A collection of exceptional rapids have made this the whitewater rafting, kayaking and river boarding capital of the country and the prized river has hosted no less than three World Rafting Championships in the last two decades. Yet the immense attraction of the Pacuare River isn’t found only in its raging rapids: flowing for more than 60 miles from its source in the Talamanca Mountains all the way to the Caribbean, the Pacuare River crosses some of the most spectacular and diverse wilderness in the entire country.

The Pacuare River is the true personification of ‘tropical paradise’, as it meanders through deeply carved gorges right in the heart of some of the most pristine and unspoilt rain forests on earth. Not only does the river offer warm waters in which to play but its surrounding landscapes hide a kaleidoscope of unique wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, raccoons, iguanas, an infinite array of exotic birds, as well as coatis, ocelots and – for the luckiest of visitors –  even elusive jaguars.

Pacuare RiverAn unforgettable ride on the Pacuare River isn’t just exhilarating and soul-reviving, it is also insanely scenic.

Eco-lodges embedded in the jungle – like the Pacuare Eco Lodge – make for fantastic base points and when you embark on an adventure-vacation in Costa Rica’s best rafting region you’ll get to experience no only the country’s pristine wilderness but also its indigenous culture. That’s what makes the Pacuare River so unmissable: it’s easy to get to yet still feels incredibly remote, and offers the best of the country’s nature and culture.

Rafting the Pacuare River is, perhaps surprisingly, suitable for anyone with an adventurous spirit. Although there are plenty of Class IV and V rapids, there are also a handful of sections suitable for beginners who visit on guided trips. Aside for the expert stretches which require a great deal of skill, the Pacuare is also renowned as a fantastic beginner rafter’s river. Unlike many other rafting rivers all over the world, moreover, the Pacuare offers year-round adventures so no matter what time of year you can manage a week off work and routine, you can always come over and enjoy a superlative adventure.

The Pacuare may travel unrestricted for its entire length yet this doesn’t mean that the landscape remains uniform. The Lower Section, for example, runs for more than 20 miles and drops over 1000 feet, offering Class III and IV rapids and breathtaking waterfalls as the river flows into the stunning Huacas Gorge. Hikes and other non-rafting activities (such as canopy tours, ziplining and mountain biking) are always on offer in this superb wonderland of nature and the proximity of the turquoise seas means you can easily add a day or two of snorkeling, surfing and SCUBA diving to your itinerary.

The best starting points for adventure vacations on the Pacuare River are only 80 kilometres east of San Jose which you means you can step off the plane and find yourself immersed in this pristine wilderness within just a few hours. Ease of access, short transfer times and, of course, the luxury of short flights from the US is what makes a week of adventure in Costa Rica such a popular vacation option. No long-haul flights, no jet lag, no tiredness and fabulous value for money are just a few of the reasons Costa Rica is one of the most popular destinations for US and Canadian residents, and when you choose an adventure vacation on the Pacuare River your rewards are tenfold.

Ready for the adventure of a lifetime on the Pacuare River? Then visit our Costa Rica Rios page and come discover how much fun, exhilaration and relaxation you have on one of the world’s most celebrated rivers.

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