Tag Archives: costa rica adventure vacations

Costa Rica Travel: A Food Extravaganza

Costa Rica foods

If your future vacation plans are taking you to Costa Rica then you’re in for some amazing meals! Known for their mild yet flavorful cuisine, the food in Costa Rica is both homey and healthy. For many vacationers the main attraction to a specific area is the food (and special dishes do make up a larger portion of our identifying cultures). You’ll enjoy many meals with your family and fellow travelers as you enjoy the beautiful land of Costa Rica.
The City of Costa Rica has put millions of dollars into its tourism and since people from all over the world vacation there, you can find and taste just about any type of food you want. But, if you’re looking for authentic cuisine you’re going to love the local fare as well. Rice and beans are a staple that are served at just about every meal, including breakfast! You’ll also find a heavy use of plantain, from the banana family, which can be fried, mashed, cooked into chips or made into soup.
A typical breakfast features rice and black beans, eggs, tortillas, fried plantains and a big cup of coffee! Main meat dishes use pork or beef but you can also get chicken and fish (especially along the coast).
Although the meals can be starchy, the use of an abundance of fruits and vegetables and lack of dairy products make this a fairly healthy nutritional region. The tropical fruits and veggies found in Costa Rica will make meal time fun and educational for the whole family, not to mention delicious! You’ll have plenty of fresh papaya, guava, watermelon and coconut to eat! In fact, coconut is another “Tico” favorite and is featured in many dishes.
Costa Rica’s main export is coffee, and rich bold coffee is available everywhere you look. It’s a caffeine lover’s dream vacation! Served black or with milk, the fresh beans are hard to beat. Another local special you can enjoy while shopping in the tourists districts is Agua de pipa (quite literally a young green coconut with a straw). Suffice to say, you will be well feed during your Costa Rica Rios Adventure Vacation!

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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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Costa Rica: The Rainforest vs The Jungle

costa rica wildlifeIf you’ve never been to a tropical climate, the idea of a jungle or rainforest may sound very exotic. It is. Costa Rica has both rainforest and jungle. Some people refer to these forested areas interchangeably. While the two eco systems are very similar, there are a lot of differences that come into play. The biggest contrast is the amount of sunlight that peeks through the treetops. It dramatically changes the environment. If you’re planning a vacation or a honeymoon in Costa Rica, it’s helpful to know how these beautiful landscapes teeming with wildlife compare to each other, especially if you want to go exploring.

The Jungle

Amid the wilderness of Costa Rica is the jungle. It’s a dense forest comingled with trees and vegetation. The trees grow close together, and leafy vines seem to connect the dots. Animals have free range, roaming among the trees or through the wealth of plants that create a thick groundcover. The jungle is also filled with the sounds of wild animals singing, chattering and calling to each other amid the rustle of leaves and flowers. Humans find it more challenging to navigate, but it’s quite a sight to see. One of the most exhilarating ways to view the jungles of Costa Rica is to take a zipline ride over these scenic forested areas. Whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River is another option.

costa rica adventure vacations in the rainforest

The Rainforest

The rainforests of Costa Rica are similar to the jungle, but they have layers. There’s little vegetation on the ground except where the stray ray of sun shines through. You won’t find the dense tangle of plants and vines growing under your feet the way it is in the jungle. Instead, there’s a high canopy of treetops that shields the sun from peeking through. Vines climb up long tree trunks to reach the sunlight. This is where the vast majority of rainforest animals live. In this setting, trees can range from 60 feet tall to well over 100 feet. A lower canopy of treetops blocks out sunlight below 60 feet, creating a humid environment. The cool breezes rarely

The Animalsbreak through this layer, but the sounds of the busy animal kingdom in the treetops filters down below and fills the air. It’s much warmer on the ground. The moist hot air creates a lush environment for ferns and flowers in this tropical setting. Rodents and reptiles roam the ground in this rain-soaked environment, which is dotted with rivers, streams and waterfalls.

Much of the wildlife is the same in canopies of the jucosta rica waterfall in the rainforestngle and rainforest. Monkeys, macaws, anteaters, snakes and sloths are just a few of the wild animals found in the Costa Rican jungle. A trek through the rainforest also reveals various species of birds, monkeys, snakes and sloths. Creatures like the peccary, lizards, tree frogs and an assortment of cats and rodents also roam the jungle and rainforest, foraging for food and water.

A jungle or a rainforest can grow naturally, creating an ecosystem where plants and animals thrive. When part of a rainforest is cleared, however, rays of sunlight encourage growth of vegetation across the ground, creating a jungle instead.

If the idea of trekking through the jungle or wandering through the rainforest intrigues you, it might be time for a visit to Costa Rica. At Costa Rica Rios, we help people plan vacations and honeymoons with as much or as little adventure as you like. Check out our photo gallery from The Jungle Lodge on the Pacuare River to see some of the unique tropical scenery you can encounter on your trip.Costa Rica bird watching is a popular past time

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Hot Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

try surfing on your costa rica honeymoonIf you dream of surfing in Costa Rica, you’ve probably heard that there are at least 1,000 surf-able breaks and beautiful beaches here. The culture is very accepting of surfers, and you’ll find a number of shops near our busiest beaches. The best surfing spots in Costa Rica are legendary, but there’s a great mix of lesser known beach breaks that can give you an unforgettably great ride. While it was hard to pick out just a handful of favorite surfing destinations, we’ve highlighted a few hot spots located around Tamarindo, Puerto Viejo and Pavones that are well worth mentioning.

Tamarindo

One of the most appreciated surfing spots in Costa Rica is Tamarindo. Located on the northern end of the Pacific Coast, there are several breaks to surf in the area. If you want to experience as many surfing spots as you can find close together, Tamarindo could be the place to start your quest. Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point are among the favorites, and both are accessible only by boat. If you saw the movie “The Endless Summer II,” you already know about Ollie’s Point.

  • Witch’s Rock is a two-mile stretch that’s best at high tide. Be prepared for some steep waves. It’s considered one of Costa Rica’s best places to surf, so it gets crowded on occasion.
  • Ollie’s Point is a year-round surfing destination that is loaded with hollow waves. If you’re looking for a place to surf when the tide is going out and the swells are southwest, try this one.

Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is located on the southern Caribbean Coast. It’s not as busy as Tamarindo. There are a few surfing spots close to each other that give you a great experience, but it can be inconsistent, depending on the time of year you visit.costa rica honeymoons and family vacations are a great time to try surfing

  • The waves at Puerto Viejo, sometimes called Salsa Brava for its powerful big tubes, build from deep water and break on a shallow reef. Bring your A-game. An easterly swell produces the best surfing conditions.
  • Black Beach is a year-round surfing destination with best results from a southern or easterly swell. If you’re looking for something less crowded, put this one on your list – especially if you’re an early riser who likes good waves before breakfast.

Pavones

Pavones is among the legendary surfing destinations in Costa Rica. Located on the South Pacific Coast, this small town enjoys a big reputation. Pavones is a popular destination for the avid surfer. If it’s too crowded or not a great day for swells, consider nearby Punta Banco.

  • Pavones offers about three-quarters of a mile of left, and it’s considered one of the longest in the world. It has fast waves with good shape. It can be inconsistent and small at times, but when it’s on, it’s on.
  • Located about two-and-a-half miles south of Pavones, Punta Banco has a reef break and generally a smaller crowd. It’s a good choice at middle to high tide when there’s a western or southern swell. It can be a little hard to paddle into at times, which is why it’s less crowded than Pavones.

family surf lessons in costa rica If you love to surf, Costa Rica holds an adventure for you. There are many surfing hot spots with different types of breaks, from big waves to short and strong ones. When you’re ready to book a scenic surfing vacation in Costa Rica, contact Costa Rica Rios. We’ll help you build your own vacation, finding the best breaks for your skill level and plan some great accommodations for your stay.

 

 

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5 Things to Pack for Your Costa Rica Adventure Tour

Whitewater Rafting on the Pacuare River

You’ve purchased your package and are counting down the days until the big trip to include hiking, zip lines, swimming, sea turtles and other exotic animals, surfing, and kayaking. But, are you really ready for your Costa Rica adventure tour? Here are a five quick tips for what to pack for your Costa Rica vacation.

  1. Head Lamp – This little gadget is a favorite among hikers, cyclists and kayakers for its hands-free function. A headlamp with LED lighting, adjustable elastic band and adjustable light direction is ideal. Many are quite lightweight and comfortable.
  2. Quick Dry Attire – Athletic apparel companies manufacture quick-drying attire for sports activities. These types of clothes are great for kayaking and rafting, but also for boat trips and stand-up paddle boarding. Made to wick away moisture, these shirts, shorts and other garments help prevent skin rash and cold body temperatures that can be caused by wet clothing.
  3. Small Package of Laundry Detergent – When you’re having lots of fun, it’s hard to stop for the boring shopping activities like buying laundry detergent. It’s easier to plan ahead and take along a travel-size package. With the warm and humid temperatures found in Costa Rica, it’s easy to quickly soil your clothes with sweat and dust. A simple wash in the hotel bath or sink can fix that.
  4. Waterproof Bags for Electronics – With all the water sports activities you likely have planned for your trip, it’s best to bring a few waterproof pouches to protect your electronic items. Digital cameras, film recorders, cell phones and computer devices can easily be damaged without proper care.
  5. Quick Dry Towel – Usually made of super-absorbent and finely woven micro-fiber or micro-terry, these towels are very handy in many kinds of adventure activities. Quickly towel off after a dip in the ocean, a splash from the raft or an unexpected jungle rain shower.

Contact us for more tips and travel advice when you book your Costa Rica adventure through Costa Rica Rios.

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Take a Costa Rica Biking Adventure

One of the more unusual ways to take in Costa Rica is by bike. Because some of the outlying areas have rough roads, a mountain bike is the best option. Seeing the gorgeous countryside at the slower pace of a bike will allow you to get an inexpensive and unique perspective of life in Costa Rica.

There are more than 80 different bike routes to choose from, including gentle hills and rugged mountains. Here are a few areas you don’t want to miss.

Lake Arenal and Arenal Volcano:  This is one of the best areas in Costa Rica for biking. Trails take you through primary forests and waterfalls. There’s also a hot springs nearby where you can relax after a day’s ride. Some uphill routes take bikers on roads normally travelled only by local farmers and horses.

Ruta de los Conquistadores:  One of the world’s most challenging bike races takes place in Costa Rica from Thursday, Nov. 6 to Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Bikers cross Costa Rica from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coast, about 400 kilometers or 250 miles, over three days. Check out the official site for more information if you’d like to follow sections of the race routes.

Turrialba:  Bike routes in this area pass by archaeological sites and refreshing freshwater pools. There are more difficult single rider trails as well as remote backroads. The Pacuare and Reventazon Rivers of the region are some of the most famous in the world for whitewater rafting. There are also several volcanos to investigate.

Irazu:  One bike route takes you from the top of Irazú volcano passing coffee plantations and cattle farms. This is one of the best downhill rides in Costa Rica. The Irazu Volcano National Park has an unusual landscape that almost feels like the moon, with craters lined by scorched trees. There are also sparkling mineral pools fed by rain.

Nicoya Peninsula:  This is an area of Costa Rica that most visitors miss. Biking routes in this area include beaches and fishing villages, as well as coffee plantations. Stop en route to take in some water sports like surfing, fishing, snorkeling and diving. The Nicoya Peninsula is rich with natural assets including  turtle beaches, subterranean caves and excellent birding locations.

For your next Costa Rica adventure, consider a bike tour. What better way to take in the majestic nature of Costa Rica than by traveling in a green, sustainable way?  For more information about adventures awaiting you in Costa Rica, contact us today.

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The History of Zip Lining

Now mostly enjoyed as an adventure thrill, zip lining was actually an invention of necessity. Using gravity as a power source, workers in remote geographic regions, like China, the Costa Rican rainforest and the Australian Outback, once strung cables between two points to primarily move people and supplies. Oftentimes, zip lines were installed over canyons or rivers where other means of travel were difficult or impossible. The principle is still the same today, although the materials and technology are stronger, safer and just plain better.

Currently, zip lining is also known in various parts of the world as the flying fox, foefie slide, zip wire, aerial runway or aerial rope slide. History shows zip lining referred to by other names, including the flying fox and Tyrolean Crossing.  The term “an inclined strong” was used to describe it in the 1897 H.G. Wells novel “The Invisible Man.” Zip lining is a booming area of adventure tourism activity, especially in Costa Rica, where zip lines have been used since the 1970s. Other destinations for great zip lining include Nicaragua, Jamaica, Alaska, British Columbia, South Africa, Thailand, Israel, Spain and the Czech Republic. More than 700 zip line courses are available around the world.

In terms of specifications and safety, zip lines are designed to bear great loads and are safe when used properly. Platforms on a zip line course can hold at least 40,000 pounds. The half-inch wide, galvanized cables used in zip lines have a break strength greater than 22,000 pounds. The pulleys used to connect riders to the line have a break strength that’s more than 14,000 pounds.

Zip line tours in Costa Rica include views of waterfalls, the Pacuare River and rain forest canopy, Arenal Volcano, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and native wildlife. There are dozens of miles of zip line for adventurers to enjoy.

Contact us to learn more about the zip line options available in Costa Rica.

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Wake Up And Smell The Coffee On Your Vacation in Costa Rica 

When you mention Costa Rica, most people may not think of coffee. They envision the warm turquoise waters, pristine beaches or lush tropical rain forests. But Costa Rica also has a thriving coffee industry. And its coffee plantations are a perfect way to immerse yourself into the country’s sights, smells and tastes during your vacation in Costa Rica.

Once coffee was introduced to the nation, its Central Valley quickly became Costa Rica’s coffee-producing center during the late 18th century. The ideal climate and slightly acidic soil provided perfect conditions for the coffee plants to thrive. In only a few decades’ time the number of coffee plantations grew, and exporting to neighboring countries and other continents began.

As word of Costa Rica’s aromatic Arabica blends spread to the rest of the world, so did the country’s export business, which provided a financial boom for the people of this nation. Costa Rica’s growing infrastructure was largely financed by the coffee trade’s success. The “Ferrocarril al Atlantico,” the first railroads to the Atlantic Coast, and the National Theater are often listed as developments made possible by the efforts of the coffee growers.

Today, many coffee plantations in Costa Rica offer tours to educate you on the cultural impact the industry has had on the many facets of life. Whether you live here or your on vacation in Costa Rica, you can learn the entire process of how the beloved, rich cup of coffee is made. Begin with a trip to the growing fields, continue on through a tour of the roasters and conclude by indulging your taste buds with a fresh cup of joe.

Take the opportunity to learn the rich culture and history of the coffee industry in Costa Rica. Contact Costa Rica Rios and let us help you plan your customized adventure vacation.

drink coffee during your costa rica adventure vacation

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Coast to Coast Vacations Afoot in Costa Rica

If there’s one thing that vacationers, honeymooners and adventure enthusiasts agree upon about Costa Rica, it’s that the unspoiled natural environment and the country’s commitment to preserving it make for a memorable experience. The many running and biking trails and events for endurance runners also provide ample opportunities to take in all that there is to see about Costa Rica while getting plenty of exercise, and a race or other trail adventure will leave you feeling like a participant in something truly special. If you’ve never made a vacation out of running – or if you have, but Costa Rica’s still on your bucket list – one of the following trail running events would be a great reason to make it happen in 2014.

The Irazu Volcano 5k, 10k, 21k half-marathon and 42k marathon will be held on Saturday, March 29, 2014. Registration is 185 USD for international participants and 50 USD for locals. The marathon start time is 7 a.m., and all other races begin at 6 p.m. The marathon begins in the town of Tres Rios, just a few miles from the volcano, and the night races take off from San Juan de Chicua, a small town along the Irazu Volcano Trail where all of the races will finish. This is not for the faint of heart. It’s a run uphill toward a volcano, and the race features a gain in altitude of up to 2,360 meters, or 7,800 feet. Most of these races will be relatively easy for someone with a decent mileage base to train for, but a training plan should include lots of hill repeats.

The La Transtica Coast-to-Coast Ultra Trail event will take place from Wednesday, Nov. 19 through Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. Participants  arrive in the capital city of San Jose on Nov. 19 for a couple of days of medical and administrative checks, as well as a chance to look at the crocodiles. Runners head out on Nov. 21 to complete the race. It’s approximately 117k for the adventure race and 198k for the extreme race, in stages of 25k and 40k respectively. It’s a good idea even for experienced trail runners and ultra-marathoners to begin training several months out. Each leg of the race will have between two and four aid stations, and a catered dinner in the town where that stage ends. Runners will go through several towns before finishing in La Transtica for the award ceremony and a well-deserved celebration dinner and overnight hotel stay before being transported back to San Jose.

Costa Rica is the perfect place for runners of all ability levels to explore new surroundings while experiencing a natural environment that’s unlike any other in the world. For the running destination vacation of a lifetime, contact us to book your Costa Rica adventure tour today.

running La Ruta 2013, Costa Rica
Our good friend Casey with the Tarahumara ultra-marathon runners, at the 2013 La Ruta race, before she won the ladies 52km category.

Check out more photos from La Ruta here….

 

 

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28 Costa Rica Locations Listed Among the World’s Most “Irreplaceable” Places

A team of international scientists recently compiled a list of the world’s most “irreplaceable” natural environments. These 2,300 places were recognized for their “unique habitats” that support rare plant and animal life.

Not surprisingly, some beautiful places in Costa Rica featured prominently in this survey. All told, 28 locations — many of them national parks or other preserves — made the list. Among them are Los Quetzales and Guanacaste national parks, Cocos Island World Heritage Site and Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve. These areas are home to exquisite plants and animals, including , multitudes of frogs, parrots, orchids, tapirs, monkeys and other exotic creatures. Perhaps one of the most striking is the quetzal, a bird with beyond-belief plumage.

As Costa Rica residents and tour operators, this news doesn’t surprise us. We have long known that Costa Rica is recognized worldwide as an important country for biodiversity. The unique rainforest environment here attracts birds, plants and animals that are rare global treasures.

Costa Rica is unique because so much of our country is untouched by civilization and technology. Many visitors come to Costa Rica each year to explore these beautiful natural areas and witness sights they simply can’t find anywhere else. This makes Costa Rica one of the top-visited countries worldwide.

If you are interested in gathering more information about the Costa Rica trips we offer, feel free to explore our website or contact us. We can put together some private guided tours for your group that feature some of the 28 most irreplaceable places on earth. Don’t forget to bring your camera and pack your binoculars.

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