Tag Archives: Costa Rica Adventure Packages

Spotlight in Puerto Viejo and the Southern Caribbean Beaches

surf costa rica on your adventure vacationPuerto Viejo and Cahuita lie within the province of Limon and are the two main tourist towns of the southern Caribbean coast in Costa Rica. They are like a country within a country (think Texas) and you will feel like you crossed a border somewhere and ended up on a Caribbean island. The culture is very different than the rest of the country, with a more Rasta and Caribbean flair, unique cuisine emphasizing the use of coconut milk, curry and fresh seafood, and a laid back friendly pace of life. They celebrate Carnival, just like in the Caribbean Islands, and the whole province celebrates with a long weekend of partying, extravagant costumes, lots of music and delicious street BBQs.

Wildlife

costa rica wildlife sanctuaries are importantThe area is a natural habitat for a wide variety of exotic creatures and is home to the famous Sloth Sanctuary. There, they rehabilitate and care for injured or orphaned sloths and try to teach visitors about this extraordinary animals. There is also the Jaguar Rescue center in Playa Cocles that also helps needy animals and is open for morning tours, but in the afternoons they are busy taking the animals into the forest to see which ones are ready to fend for themselves in the “real world.” There are also several national parks and reserves, with well kept walking trails to follow. This is where you will see an incredible amount of Costa Rican wildlife. I have never been to this part of Costa Rica without seeing many monkeys (howler and white-faced) and sloths, as well as tons of exotic birds, iguanas, turtles nesting, some snakes and more. If your Costa Rica adventure vacation is not complete without some wildlife, you should definitely consider a visit to this area.

caribbean beaches are unpopulated and stunningBeaches

The beaches along this coastline are stunningly beautiful with the jungle touching the sand, which leads into the clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. They are almost always empty, giving you a feel of really getting away from it all. Rent a bike and ride up and down the coast until you find your own special piece of paradise. Our favorite beach is Punta Uva. It’s a truly idyllic spot, with calm warm waters which are great for our young kids, some nice snorkeling, soft sand and just enough waves to boogie board sometimes. You can also rent sea kayaks or stand up paddle boards and explore the rocky outcropping that makes a natural boundary for the beach. Playa Cocles and Playa Negra are better known for their excellent surf. The world-famous Salsa Brava is an epic break that comes up in an easterly swell and can be massive! It’s recommended for experts and pros only as the reef below can do some real damage to the unlucky.

Things to See and Docosta rica snorkeling and wildlife

Although this area doesn’t feel super touristy, there is still plenty to do. Learn about the indigenous people, swim in waterfalls, snorkel the Caribbean sea, take a surf lesson, rent a SUP board,zipline through the rainforest or go horseback riding. The hotels are mostly small boutique hotels with bungalows dotted around tropical gardens. They’re perfect for couples on their honeymoon, intrepid travelers and families on their Costa Rican family vacation. We prefer to stay outside of the town for a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere.

Puerto Viejo has around 49 countries represented by the expatriates who call it home, which means there are a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. From authentic Italian to Thai to simple but delicious sandwiches on freshly made bread, you’ll be able to get something to please everyone. Don’t forget to visit Bread and Chocolate (open for breakfast and lunch) and try their delicious iced coffees and homemade organic chocolates.

So, if you are someone who likes to experience something a little different on your vacation, doesn’t need 5-star all-inclusive resorts and likes to explore the less explored, then the Puerto Viejo could be a good place to finish up your Costa Rican adventure vacation or adventure honeymoon. Contact us today to see how it can fit within your itinerary.Costa Rica Animal

 

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Spotlight on Turrialba

active costa rica volcano

Turrialba is a small agricultural town in the heart of Costa Rica that has largely been left unaffected by the vast number of tourism flocking to other parts of the country. That is not to say it is uninteresting or has nothing to offer! On the contrary, this little town has many treasures to enthrall the discerning traveler. Nestled in a valley, surrounded by primary and secondary rainforest, one of the most active volcanoes in Costa Rica to the north, as well as the highest volcano in the country, and with the highest mountain on the horizon to the south, its beauty is unquestionable. Located just 1.5 hours form the capital city of San Jose, Turrialba is worlds away from the hustle and bustle.

If your idea of a Costa Rica adventure vacation includes meeting locals and getting a feel for the culture, then this is the destination for you. Its warm and welcoming community is friendly and fun, always rising to the occasion when there is something to celebrate. It seems nearly every second weekend there is something going on, from a mountain bike race to runs to cultural festivals and fairs. It’s also the hub for many indigenous people, who come in for their weekly market shopping and other necessities.

luxury boutique hotel in costa rica

There are no large chain hotels, but several smaller boutique lodges that cater to almost any budget. So if you want luxury on your family vacation or adventure honeymoon, you can still get it in Turrialba.

Turrialba is also the gateway to many adventures. With more than 22 canyons in and around the town, canyoning has become one of the most popular adventures in the area. The beautiful thing about the canyons here, is that the tours all run on a “leave no trace” policy, meaning that when you are rappelling down waterfalls there are no fixed points and all the ropes are set up at each drop by your expert guides

canyoning in the rainforest of costa rica

There are numerous mountain biking trails for enthusiasts, and you could fill your entire Costa Rica adventure vacation with a different trail every day. And the hiking is incredible. There are many private and public reserves to visit including a UNESCO Natural Heritage site just a 20-minute drive from downtown. Due to the low number of visitors to the national parks around here, there is a lot of wildlife. We have been lucky to see the shy and rare Tayra twice this year, as well as an abundance of sloths, toucans and many other exotic creatures. No Costa Rica vacation is complete without a little wildlife!

hiking costa rica's rainforest

The most important archaeological site is also located here and is a wonderful place full of mystery and intrigue. You’ll be able to learn about the pre-Colombus people and their way of life. Dotted all around the valley are relics from the past and many stone carvings and artefacts.

Turrialba is best known as the gateway to the Pacuare River, home of the best whitewater rafting in the country and some of the best whitewater in the world. National Geographic voted this river “one of the top 10 commercially rafted rivers in the world”. There are two ways to raft the Pacuare: A one-day trip that leaves early in the morning and has you off the river by mid-afternoon, or an overnight excursion where you will spend a night or two in a beautiful and remote jungle lodge. An overnight in one of the Pacuare River’s lodges is generally a highlight of any Costa Rica trip.

costa rica wildlife

An unusual fact about Turrialba is that it is home to the Rawlings baseball factory, and every baseball used in Major League Baseball in the USA is made here in this town. The factory produces 50,000 handmade baseballs every week to be shipped to the USA! Also hosted in the town is the world coffee bean bank. This means that if a crop of coffee, anywhere in the world, was to be wiped out due to plague or other phenomena, we have the original strain ready to start the replenishment. If you like your family adventure vacation to include a little education, this is a great place to start.

So if you are planning your honeymoon or your annual family adventure vacation, why not get away from the crowds and experience a little bit of the “real” Costa Rica? We would suggest at least a two-night stay in the Turrialba area before moving on to your next destination.

To see how Turrialba could fit into your next vacation plans, contact us for more information. You won’t be disappointed.

whitewater rafting past waterfalls on the Pacuare River

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Taking It Slow: In Search of Turtles in Costa Rica

Turtles are known for taking it slow and basking in the sun in Costa Rica. They love swimming in the coastal waters and are sometimes found on the beach, especially during nesting season. If you’re looking for turtles in Costa Rica, you’ll find three different types at Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica. Tortuguero is home to the Green Sea Turtle, Giant Leatherback and Hawksbill Turtles. It’s fascinating to watch the hatchlings crawl from their nests down to the water. It typically happens at night, when the sand is cooler.

Green Sea Turtles

The Green Sea Turtle is one of the oldest species on Earth, existing before even the dinosaurs. They have green skin and brown, black, yellow, gray, green or olive shells. They are an endangered species, also referred to as the Eastern Pacific Green Turtle, and are sometimes simply called green turtles. They are one of the few species that leave the sea and come onto land to sun themselves when they’re not nesting. They are the largest of the sea turtles. Adults commonly weigh in above 300 pounds and can be as much as five feet long. The females nest on the beaches from July to October.

 Giant Leatherback

Leatherback turtles often grow more than three feet long, weighing in at close to a ton. Their large front flippers can grow to be more than eight feet long, giving them a distinct advantage in the water. Leatherbacks are dark gray or black with white speckles and a much lighter underside. The females come ashore between February and June to dig nests and lay their eggs. When the turtles hatch, they all move down the beach, paddling through the surf and into the water. Most males will never return to land. The Giant Leatherback is the largest known living turtle species. It’s a deep diver that spends more than 99 percent of its day swimming. It doesn’t have a bony shell like most other types of turtles. There are ridges on Leatherbacks, but they have no claws in their flippers and no teeth in their mouths. They use spines in the throat and horny points on the upper lip to eat. They are an endangered one of several endangered species protected in Costa Rica

Hawksbill Turtles

The Hawksbill Turtle typical grows up to just under three feet long. They weigh in at a maximum of 200 pounds.  Hawskbills are named for their hawk-like beaks for mouths. They are among the most endangered turtle species, often hunted for their colorful shells. They eat mostly sea sponges, using their sharp beaks to catch them. Hawksbill Turtles are harder to spot around the beaches of Tortuguero, because they like to nest in seclusion about every two weeks beginning in July. They usually build a maximum of four nests per season, laying 150 to 200 eggs per nest.

If you love turtles, and sea turtles in particular, be sure to tell our staff when you’re booking your vacation with Costa Rica Rios. We’ll help you find the best turtle-watching spots to see these fascinating creatures. Contact Costa Rica Rios today to make plans and reservations.

 

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Finding Some Peace On Your Costa Rica Adventure

From a zip-line jungle canopy tour to whitewater rafting, the adrenaline pumping options for your Costa Rica adventure are endless. But Costa Rica also promises world-class PEACE at the United Nations University for Peace, which is headquartered in Ciudad Colón, San Jose, Costa Rica.

The UPEACE system was created in 1980 with a mission “to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace and with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence, to stimulate cooperation among peoples and to help lessen obstacles and threats to world peace and progress, in keeping with the noble aspirations proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations”. The University for Peace offers master’s degree programs in Peace and Conflict Studies. It also conducts training programs, study abroad programs and undergraduate credit building programs, all aimed at building a community of people who want to further peace and reduce conflict throughout the world.

UPEACE’s main campus in San Jose boasts a Nature Reserve, Recreational Park and Monument to Disarmament. While visiting the campus, enjoy tours focusing on natural history and Central American history, as well as UPEACE’s history and ongoing work. With biking paths, walking trails and observation points in place, and a hummingbird garden coming soon, a stop at the Reserve is a wonderful addition to your Costa Rica trip.

The University for Peace offers several activities for students. They include the 1 Billion Rising movement held this past February, and coordinated dances held in 207 countries with 1 billion participants to draw attention to the problem of violence against women. More than 30 UPEACE students participated in flash mobs at two of the university’s Costa Rica campuses. Contact us at Costa Rica Rios to plan your custom Costa Rica adventure today.

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Whale and Dolphin Watching On Your Costa Rica Adventure

Nestled between Nicaragua and Panama in Central America, Costa Rica has dual coastlines that offer whale and dolphin enthusiasts many opportunities to observe these beloved creatures. The warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, which form the eastern border of Costa Rica, and the Pacific Ocean, which forms the western border, are a favorite of up to 25 different species of whales and dolphins. Some travel up to 5,000 miles to breed and give birth in these waters.

Whale Watching

Costa Rica has the longest humpback whale watching season in the world. These graceful giants come to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica from North and South America and Antarctica. From August to November and December to March, humpbacks can often be spotted in the areas of Drake Bay, Cano Island and Corcovado. Ballena National Marine Park, along the central Pacific Costa Rican Coast, was established in 1990 to protect the whales for which it was named. Ballena means whale in Spanish. Killer whales and sperm whales are also frequently spotted. Two popular places to see sperm whales are Drake Bay and Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife refuge. They are visible from the beaches. If you want a closer look, it’s wise to take a whale-watching tour.

Dolphins Galore

Several dolphin species inhabit the waters of Costa Rica year-round. On the Caribbean side of the nation, bottlenose and spotted dolphins can be found near Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Manzanillo. Bottlenose and spotted dolphins are also commonly found all along the Pacific Coast. From December to March, the spinner and common dolphin species flock to the area as well. The common dolphin species is known for its high-flying antics and is a favorite of dolphin watchers.

Many organized dolphin-sighting tours are available in the northern, central and southern areas of the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. You don’t have to take a tour to see these friendly marine mammals, however. Dolphins are often seen from the beach or while snorkeling, fishing, sailing and on other adventure excursions. Don’t expect to find a “swim with the dolphin” encounter, though, as this practice was stopped in 2006 to protect the species.

The choice of adventures in Costa Rica is vast. Costa Rica Rios has been voted one of the Best Adventure Travel Companies in the world by National Geographic Adventure. We specialize in all-inclusive adventure vacations. Contact us to help you plan your Costa Rica adventure.

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How the World Cup will Enhance Your Cost Rica Adventure

The World Cup Draw for soccer in Brazil 2014 is officially over, and Costa Rica finds itself in the dangerous Group D with European powerhouses Italy and England, and South American juggernaut Uruguay. Though Group G (where the US was placed) is widely considered the ‘Group of Death’, the Ticos certainly won’t feel lucky to be grouped with such stiff competition. It will, however, make for an incredible summer adventure in Costa Rica.

Traveling to a soccer-crazed nation like Costa Rica during a World Cup summer is an experience like no other. National pride is at an all-time high. Towns and cities bloom into vibrant communities, and entire nations gasp, rejoice and cry as one at the mercy of “the beautiful game.” Whether you watch La Sele play on TV in a breezy beachside bar, in a packed plaza that projects the game on a big screen, or in the home of a friendly Tico, you can be sure that the whole country will be watching alongside you.

Costa Rica failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and now it takes great pride in the fact that their in-form national team made it through to Brazil 2014 in dominating fashion. One of only two Central American teams to qualify, as Honduras is also competing, Los Ticos will be the proud ambassadors of their continent and culture on a global stage. It will undoubtedly be an amazing summer to join in the adventure.

Contact us to find the Costa Rica adventure that’s best for you.

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Costa Rica Adventure: Natural Perfection Inspires Video Game Designers

“We want to recreate the most amazing nature that you see in any video games,” says Andreas Öberg of Avalanche Studios, creators of the best-selling Just Cause video game series. That’s why he and a team of designers, artists, photographers and sound engineers traveled to Costa Rica in 2013 to gather inspiration for games in development. They knew they would find the perfect backdrop in a Costa Rica adventure.

The crew spent time in and around the Braulio Carrillo National Park, also known as Parque Nacional Braulio Carillo, recording every aspect of their surroundings. They captured the complexity of the vegetation, the precise curve of the toes of a three-toed sloth, even the sounds of the jungle — monkeys, birds and all. With time-lapse photography, they captured the changing patterns of the clouds in the sky and the colors of the sunset over the sea. They used super-slow motion to record the rolling surf and every subtle movement of the water droplets clinging to the rainforest plants, because depicting water realistically is one of the more difficult challenges for video game artists.

As imaginative as these game creators are, they know that nothing beats working with original material. And Costa Rica, with its pristine natural environments, provided them with all of the inspiration they could have hoped for to make an amazing game.

Even though it’s just minutes from San José and accessible via a major highway, Braulio Carillo National Park is one of the most carefully preserved natural places on earth, and one of the most ecologically diverse. It spans more than 100,000 acres with altitudes that range from the beach at sea level to more than 9,500 feet above sea level, encompassing micro-climates from sultry rainforest to misty cloud forest as well as several volcanoes. There are miles and miles of walking trails for visitors to follow and an aerial tram that will carry you if you prefer to see the view from above. Either way, you won’t need a full camera crew to appreciate this spectacular natural beauty!

For a closer look at Costa Rica’s wildlife, the crew also visited the Toucan Rescue Ranch, a licensed rainforest wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release facility. All creatures are welcome and cared for here — toucans, of course, but also sloths, kinkajous, otters, and even rare and endangered animals like the oncilla, a beautiful spotted wildcat that’s native to Central America.

To experience some of Costa Rica’s incredible biodiversity during your adventure vacation or honeymoon, contact us today!

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Birdwatching on Your Costa Rica Adventure

Costa Rica is well known as one of the top birding destinations in the world. More than 840 species of land and sea birds call Costa Rica home, far more than inhabit North America. A Costa Rica adventure should include some bird watching to really understand Costa Rica and its diverse habitats. It can be fun for amateurs and experienced birders alike.

The amazing diversity of birds that can be found in Costa Rica stems from some fortuitous circumstances. Millions of years ago, the continents were adrift and not in the same positions they are now. As they slowly floated about the oceans, the continents drifted together. With help from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the bridge of Central America slowly formed. The various species from North and South America met in the middle, and the mild climate allowed many of them to thrive and multiply. Migrants from both South and North America also visit Costa Rica during their respective winter seasons.

The current climate and terrain of Costa Rica provide excellent habitats for birds. There is an abundance of trees and bushes with fruit that birds feast on year round. The birds, in turn, pollinate the fruit and spread the seeds after feeding. A wide array of habitats, including mangrove swamps, wet Caribbean coastal plains, dry northern highlands, pacific lowlands and mountain ranges, provide a home for the various species.

When you visit Costa Rica, some of the bird species you may wish to find include the quetzal, the toucan and the frigate. The beautiful quetzal can be hard to spot, but with its long tail and glorious coloration it’s a favorite. Males have emerald green bodies with red breasts, and a long tail which grows during mating season. You may spot a quetzal in the cloud forests or mountainous areas in northern Costa Rica.

The jungles are full of toucans, easy to spot because of their large, distinctive yellow bill. While the bill seems too large for the body, they are actually hollow and very lightweight. Toucans eat mostly fruit. As the seeds pass through their bodies and are deposited in various places, trees are planted in other locations where they don’t have to compete for light with more mature trees.

Along the ocean, you can see frigate birds swooping and performing acrobatics. They often harass gulls or other sea birds into dropping their fish so they can fly in and steal them. There will always be more than one, and their formations while flying can be very entertaining.

When you’re in Costa Rica, make time to find and observe the amazing bird life. Whether it’s part of a hike, a river kayaking tour, a visit to a volcano or a formal garden, you’ll discover that birdwatching adds an exciting dimension to your Costa Rican adventure. Contact us to learn more about the best birdwatching spots in the country for your next trip. tucancillo verde could be seen on your costa rica honeymoon

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Dance Your Way Through Your Honeymoon In Costa Rica

In most parts of Latin America, there is one thing that brings all people together. Regardless of religion, economic status, or political beliefs, one thing unites everyone: dancing. It is this that is the blood of the culture.

And Costa Rica is no exception. Indeed, you would be hard pressed to find a city or village (“pueblo”) without a dance on Friday night (or, in many places, every night). Here are some of the most popular dances that you can enjoy with your new life partner. Practice the steps before your trip (or take a class in country, or just wing it) and go wild!

 

  • Salsa. The most popular dance in Costa Rica, it merges quick direct and sensual movements. While it is beautiful to see expert salsa dancers whirling over the floor, the steps are pretty simple to pick up and a few simple spins are not difficult to pull off with a little practice. Originating in Cuba, the music features Afro-Caribbean beats and is influenced by Mambo.
  • Merengue. A fast, two step beat, it features quick footwork and swaying hips. Couples dance in a small circle, taking up little more than a few feet. But believe us, that is enough for an exhilarating dance!
  • Cumbia. A dance that originated in Colombia, its rich music features a strong percussive rhythm. Costa Ricans have made Cumbia their own–incorporating steps from their native “Swing Criollo,” a dance of bouncing steps and small kicks. This special version is a great source of national pride for Costa Ricans.
  • Folkloric Dances. Though these dances are more easily viewed than participated in, they can be a real treat to watch. Each dance tells a story. The Punto Guanacasteco is a heated dance of seduction, and La Cajeta is a long affair paired with the making of sweet candy (which gives its name to the dance) and socializing. Indigenous dances like the Boruca Diablitos, which is a celebration of the Indigenous people’s triumph over the colonizers (held every January), are a real treat to see.

For the perfect honeymoon in Costa Rica, there is little better than letting your feet fly. The plentiful dances can be a wild experience and a great way to meet locals and experience the authentic flavor of he country. Ready to go? We’re ready for you. Just contact us to plan the perfect adventure for you and your partner!

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Explore The Amazing Cuisine During Your Costa Rica Honeymoon

A costa rica honeymoon is full of exploration, the glowing sun, gorgeous natural sights and the embrace of the beach. Because of all this, perhaps food isn’t the first thing that jumps to mind when you consider this unique country. However, Costa Rica is home to a unique, widely varied and ubiquitously delicious cuisine. Whether you prefer mingling with locals in small, scrumptiously authentic eateries or dining on the succulent and original delicacies of five star restaurants, your taste buds will have a blast in Costa Rica.

So what’s the food like exactly?

Gallo Pinto, the country’s national dish, is a simple and satisfying combination of flavorful black beans and pure white rice mixed with onions, bell peppers, and a wide variety of other possibilities–whatever tickles your fancy. Lunch often includes fresh corn tortillas, fresh white Costa Rican cheese, meat or fish, eggs, and Salsa Lizano–a flavorful sauce with just enough heat and sweetness to make your eyes roll back in bliss.

Although these staples can be found in nearly every household in the country, it is far from the limit of Costa Rican cuisine. With fresh vegetables as the main ingredient, the food is remarkably healthy and tends to be well seasoned without too much chili, as some other Latin American cuisine often is (though ask for Chileros–fresh salsa made with Habanero peppers if you are a fan of spicy food). Arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), delicious salads, savory plantains that are fried, mashed, or cut into soups are a few of many mouth-watering dishes.

Corn is utilized well in Costa Rica. From tortillas to pancakes, soups to dessert breads, this staple can be found in a huge variety of dishes. Try the tamales–puréed corn steamed in a banana leaf and mixed with whatever cheeses, vegetables, meats, and chilies you desire.

For desert try plantains baked in a sugar based sauce. Tres leches (three milk sponge cake), pudina (bread pudding), and pan de elote (sweet cornbread) are also unbelievably tasty, and not overly sweet.

Ready to take your taste buds on an adventure? Just contact us and let us know what we can do for you. We’re happy to answer questions, give advice, or create a tour for you. Hope to see you soon!

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