Tag Archives: costa rica family tours

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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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: Adventures In The Jewel Of The Rainforest

Across the globe, there are a few areas that scientists consider biological “hot spots.” These regions are unusually abundant in plants and wildlife that aren’t found anywhere else. It’s referred to as biodiversity.

Costa Rica is one of these ecological hot spots. According to the book “Ecotourism and Sustainable Development” by Dr. Martha M. Honey, Costa Rica has just .1 percent of the world’s landmass, but 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity.

While other ecologically sensitive areas, like Indonesia and the Amazon region of Brazil, are fast diminishing, this isn’t the case in Costa Rica. Government leaders here realized early on what a treasure our environment is and moved quickly to protect it. About 25 percent of Costa Rica is protected as a nature preserve of some sort, the highest ratio of any country on Earth. Worldwide, the average is around 13 percent.

Among these protected areas is the Monteverde Cloud Forest, which is home to an estimated 100 mammal species, 400 bird species and 2,000 plant species. Corcovado National Park is also internationally known. It’s one of the few spots where all four monkey species native to Costa Rica can be found, and it’s famous for being quite hospitable to jaguars.

Now, exploring all of the richness of Costa Rica can be a little overwhelming. There is so much to see and do that it’s hard to manage it all on your own. This is one reason why a guided Costa Rica adventure may be right for you. A hike through the rain forest or a jungle safari can reveal some of the beautiful and fascinating wildlife native to our country. To learn about the trips that Costa Rica Rios offers, feel free to contact us. Come play in our back yard.

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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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A Costa Rica adventure, custom-made just for your family!

When you think of having a vacation with your family, have you considered a Costa Rica adventure? Costa Rica Rios has a package for your adventurous spirit! From surfing the waves to zip lining above the trees; whitewater rafting or kayaking, to mountain biking; lying on the beach or a thrilling canopy tour… Just think, we can put a custom package together for the vacation of a lifetime…Depending on your budget and your ability level, add in your desire for adventure or relaxing, and all you have to do is be there and enjoy it.

So, say your family is made up of Mom and Dad; your oldest is a teen girl; next is a ten-year-old all boy; then there is your three-year-old (surprise!) girl. Oh, and everyone has agreed to bring Grandma, because she’s never been out of the country. OK, Mom and Dad are definitely looking forward to SOME relaxation, and maybe even some romance. Maybe some beach time, and at least one dinner for two? Miss Teen seems bored with almost everything, but her eyes light up at the mention of horseback riding. And maybe some surfing lessons? (Probably a cute instructor.) Now, Mr. All-Boy wants to do everything active…twice! Grandma has heard about the unique shopping opportunities, but has always secretly wanted to learn scuba diving. Hey, she’s not too old! And Miss Surprise? She won’t be able to do some of the activities, but she will enjoy being with her family, doing what three-year-olds do best: being cute!

There are several packages to choose from, like the Week of Adventures, the Week of Rivers Kayak, and the Week of Rivers Canoe, but the best bet for your family of various desires is the Custom and Family Tour.

When you are ready to customize your family vacation at Costa Rica Rios, our knowledgeable and friendly staff would love to hear from you. They will help you figure out what to bring, which additional costs you will be responsible for, and they will help bring the variety of your family’s wishes together. Start here to begin your adventure!

If you have questions, please contact us… We would love to help!

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Useful Spanish Phrases for Your Costa Rica Adventure

While there’s no language requirement on Costa Rica Rios trips, it’s always fun to use a bit of the local dialect, right? Here are a few phrases to get you started; the locals might even mistake you for a Tico/Tica.

Más rápido, maeFaster, dude; may be useful with your whitewater rafting guide if you want to pick it up a notch (loco = crazy, by the way).

¡Pero tengo miedo!But I’m scared! This phrase is often followed by delighted screaming and laughing; say this right before you zip-line across a canopy.

¡Otra vez!Again! You loved that flight through the trees, didn’t you?

Te amoI love you. Surprise your new husband or wife with this phrase on your honeymoon as you gaze off into the Caribbean horizon.

¿Cuánto cuesta?How much does it cost? This will be useful in between adventures if you choose to snatch up a Costa Rican souvenir or two, like a bag of local coffee or artisan pottery.

¡Qué ola tan grande!What a big wave! While surfing, this may mean you either rush out to sea or rush back to shore, depending on your skill level. Or maybe you’re on the beach and want to warn your friends to pick up their towels.

¿Cómo se llama (pointing at something)? – What is that called? When you spot unknown exotic wildlife while snorkeling or hiking, use this phrase to learn their names, or ask about that volcano up ahead or the bright blue butterfly that landed on your bike.

Me duelen las piernasMy legs hurt. Speaking of bikes, your quads or hamstrings might burn a bit from that mountain biking portion of the trip; use this excuse to take a breather and a snap a few pics of the scenery.

¡Qué lindo/bonito!How beautiful! Use while pointing to that view, that flower, that sunset, that bird, etc. You’ll probably be using this one at least every five minutes if you’re not busy catching your breath or laughing.

¡Qué rico! How delicious! Compliment your chef or server, or just rave to your trip companions about the fresh fish on your plate or the fruit smoothie you’re slurping down.

¡Pura vida! – this ubiquitous Costa Rican phrase has a dozen meanings, which makes it applicable in most situations. Literally, it means “pure life” and often refers to the relaxed attitudes of Ticos (Costa Ricans). But it also can be a greeting, an exclamation of approval, a descriptor of how you’re feeling, a synonym for excellent, or just something you scream as you kayak down a rushing river.

For all your other language needs, our staff and guides have got you covered. Find the trip that’s right for you and contact us for more information. ¡Pura vida!

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Plan Your Own Costa Rica Adventure

What would your perfect vacation be? Do you think about riding around on a hot, sweaty tour bus? Or wandering around in a large group of people listening to a tour guide describe a long history of some building? Or are you looking for a wild ride down some whitewater rapids? How about a bike tour of a volcano? A zipline ride across rainforest treetops? What about all of them? Creating your own Costa Rica adventure means that you don’t have to choose just one. You can plan all the excitement you want into one big adventure.

Costa Rica offers all the adventure your family or group can handle. With a tropical climate and a variety of terrain, you can pick from the many activities that appeal to your outdoor spirit. Instead of being stuck in a pre-planned selection of a package deal, you can decide how short or long you want to go for, and what activities you do, creating your own vacation package.

If water is what you are dreaming of, you can choose to kayak, raft, or canoe on the Pacuare River where you can experience the beauty of the surrounding rainforest, with many chances to stop and swim, rest, and take in the views. Rather swim than paddle? You can take advantage of scuba diving or snorkeling in the waters off the Manuel Antonio National Park. If surfing is your thing, try catching a wave in Puerto Viejo. Or include a day to relax at one of the stunning beaches the country has to offer.

Waves and water not your thing? Try taking on mountain biking. You can choose to bike through the cloud forest as you journey to the shoulder of the Turrialba Volcano, with small villages along the way. Or choose to bike through the Orosi Valley. Pedaling too tiring? Try a saddle instead with horseback riding. You can mount up and travel up to the La Fortuna Waterfall or ride to the observatory of the famous Arenal Volcano.

Looking for a ride of a different kind? Zip line rides will have you flying above the jungle. Rise above the treetops to experience the adventure of a lifetime. Experience the rainforest like never before with a canopy tour that takes you across suspension bridges, rappelling down trees and even offers adrenaline pumping zip line rides over the trees.

With these and many more activities to choose from, you can find the perfectly balanced adventure. Take the worry and stress out of planning with all meals, lodging, entrance fees and permits taken care of. No need to have your own equipment or search for guides.  We can take care of everything.  Contact us and start planning your perfect Costa Rica adventure today.

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Top 5 Reasons to Vacation with Costa Rica Rios

1. Adventure

Conquer the Costa Rican rapids while whitewater rafting, paddle through twists and turns in a kayak, take a surf ride on a Caribbean wave. Bike down a volcano, zipline through trees, snorkel along tropical reefs. That enough adventure for you? Then you’re made for our high-adrenaline multi-sport adventure vacation package. Or, if one sport is plenty for you, try a week of canoeing or kayaking through Costa Rica’s pristine whitewater rivers.

2. Romance and Relaxation

Honeymooners rave about our tours, which, in addition to the aforementioned adventure activities, can be paired with plenty of quieter newlywed moments. Stay in a deluxe eco-lodge, enjoy a more low-key tour like the Rain Forest Ridge Walk. Go horseback riding near the Savegre River. Search for exotic critters in Manuel Antonio’s National Park. Simply relax on the beach or soak in hot springs with your amor.

3. Wildlife

Hear that hooting and hollering? That’s a howler monkey in the distance. What about the chirping that greets you in the morning? Could be a White Collared Manakin. Don’t miss the sloths; these funny-looking cuties can be seen at the sloth sanctuary or, if you’re lucky, in the trees during one of your other adventures. While canyoning in the rainforest, you may glimpse the transparent Costa Rican Glass Frog (are those its internal organs!?). Of course you’ll find fascinating fish on your snorkel dive, and you might catch sight of Green Sea, Giant Leatherback or Hawksbill turtles nesting at a marine national park.

4. Food

Pineapples, bananas, mangos, guanabanas. Fresh fish and meat paired with slow-cooked black beans and rice. You won’t go hungry in Costa Rica. Our personal chef prepares your meals daily with locally grown goods. Soon you’ll know the beauty of gallo pinto, frescos naturales, and sweet platano maduro.

5. Culture

From tour guides, to lodging staff, to vendors, and passersby, you’ll meet lots of friendly Ticos (Costa Ricans) willing to share their stories and culture with you. Of course our guides will be especially well-versed in the many facets of Costa Rican life and will be eager to share their knowledge of the country.

Browse the rest of our website, contact us with your questions, then tell your boss you’re going to need some time off.

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Supporting the Environment with our Costa Rica Guided Tours

As you can tell from what we do, the environment is an integral part of the success of Costa Rica Rios. Without our magnificent local rivers, mountains, beaches and forest canopies, we could not offer our spectacular Costa Rica guided tours. Because of this, we have made a commitment to supporting the environment, including the unique and breathtaking natural scenery of our many adventures.

We practice what we call Sustainable Tourism in a variety of ways. Much of what we do involves education. For our employees, there is always ongoing learning about how we can best support and preserve this delicate and fascinating natural environment in which we live and work.  As a company, we seek to work in harmony with other local businesses, such as when we donate all organic waste to an organic cocoa bean farm.

For our guests, the education can work both ways. We know our environment, and we teach our tour participants about how best to preserve the breathtaking natural resource that we share with them. We also welcome guest suggestions about how to improve our sustainability practices and procedures, because we know that we all have much to learn about the latest and greatest efforts to support the environment.

We have also woven some commitments to sustainable tourism into the fabric of our company’s business processes. We are member participants in 1% for the Planet, a world-wide network of over one thousand businesses that commit to donate 1% of their sales to environmental nonprofit organizations. We are seeking certification from a handful of sustainable tourism associations, so stay tuned for further news on this as our applications to these associations are completed and reviewed.

Finally, and fundamentally, we recognize that each of us as individuals has a role to play in preserving our environment for the enjoyment of future generations. What we model and teach to our guests, we hope you will take home with you, along with your pictures and memories, and apply in the special environments that you find in and near your own home towns. To learn more, contact us or check out our Sustainable Tourism webpage.

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