Tag Archives: Costa Rica

Costa Rica Green Season – A Rewarding Hidden Secret

Costa Rica Green SeasonWe love Costa Rica green season. To us, it’s the calm before the storm although it may seem the opposite to those who’ve never visited during the months of June and July. During the Green Season, the country is blissfully drenched in sporadic downpours, the revered rain cleansing the wilderness and filling those raging rivers (we love to raft in) up to bursting point.

Experiencing the heavy rains, knowing they are the precursor to an upcoming exciting rafting season, has us all smiling contentedly with every drop. So we relax and rest, await in anticipation, and take advantage of the ‘calm season’ to tour the country. Because to seasoned Costa Rica aficionados, Green Season is the ideal time of year to experience parts of the country you’ve yet to visit.

You’ll still see plenty of glorious sunshine when you travel to Costa Rica during Green Season.

Get Costa Rica all to Yourself

Travel through Costa Rica in Green Season and you’ll find beaches are devoid of crowds. You won’t need to be a booking-master and can wing it anywhere at the last minute, can score exceptional deals on resorts and – more often than not – end up having the whole place to yourself. It’s the kind of loneliness discerning travelers simply cherish to bits. You’ll definitely come across other visitors, no doubt, adventurers who actually go out of their way to only ever visit Costa Rica during Green Season. Some come here year after year, only in June or November. They find that the whole country is at its absolute verdant best, and the lack of crowds and stifling heat are priceless bonuses to boot.

Rest Your Body & Rejuvenate Your Soul

Costa Rica Green SeasonWhat we also adore about Green Season is that those afternoon rains (which come like clockwork anytime between 3 and 4pm) force us to indulge in a local tradition that’s far too underrated: the siesta! Rather than running around like headless chickens, we take a book (or maybe just an eye-mask) and bask in some afternoon rest, arguably the most coveted luxury all travelers seek. Travel here during the busiest months and your FOMO will propel you out the door at first light, trying to fit in as many activities as possible into a single day. Vacations in Costa Rica can be exciting and fun-packed, which also means you may need another vacation just to rest from all the adrenaline rushes. Travel to Costa Rica in Green Season and the once a day rains will force you to stop, breath, chill and recoup. It’s an absolutely delightful – and addictive – way to travel. You can use the afternoons to indulge in spa treatments, really savor a long and leisurely lunch and soak up the sight, smells and delights of the many beautiful eco-lodges all over the country. Doesn’t that sound a tad delicious?

And it’s Gaining Popularity…

Having said all this, Green Season travel in Costa Rica is increasing in popularity. Apparently…someone let the cat out of the bag! So July, which actually coincides with European school holidays, is becoming progressively busier down this neck of the luscious woods. But June is still sublimely quiet and, to many, it’s still the best month to visit. Everything just about drops in price in June: from flights to accommodation and car rental deals, the usual big-ticket expenses, can be nabbed at anything up to 30 and sometimes even 40% off.

It’s not the first time we’ve waxed lyrical about Green Season travel in Costa Rica. We’ve already blogged about the brilliant delights of Green Season, and even given you a rundown of the best places to visit during the rainy months.

Because above all else, the Costa Rica green season is still a brilliant way to explore the country and discover its pristine wilderness and its exceptional wildlife. With so many animals out to play thanks to the rains, tours and excursions are immensely rewarding, even with gum boots and poncho in tow. So come on down! Hike a volcano, go zip lining, or thermal pool soaking and don’t, whatever you do, let a few drops of rain deter you.

Traveling while in a Costa Rica green season is that hidden secret you absolutely must experience for yourself.

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Costa Rica in March: Best for Beaches, Wildlife & Fiestas

WildlifeMarch is an exciting month to visit Costa Rica. Being the last of the dry season and at the tail end of the high tourist season sees the country at its best with abounding wildlife and verdant landscapes along with greater availability and a drop in accommodation and tour prices.

The western half of the country, which includes the popular hubs of the Osa and Nicoya Peninsulas, as well as Guanacaste Province, are simply superb to visit in March. El Niño is having a particularly drying effect on the Pacific side in 2016, and extremely wet on the Caribbean. Although this is great news for travel-related activities, don’t be surprised if you must contend with occasional power cuts. Costa Rica relies heavily on hydroelectric power, and as rivers dry up, power supplies are somewhat rationed. But rest assured, this is certainly not enough to put a damper on your vacation!

Costa Rica beachBeaches are pristine and dry, boasting balmy waters and sparkling sandy shores. With barely a cloud in the sky, March is ideal if beach-bumming, snorkeling and relaxing is on your agenda.

Wildlife viewing is also perfect at this time, as rain-free days and nights make jungle hikes enjoyable and easy, and creatures tend to be a lot more active as they seek watering holes.

Wildlife Highlights

SlothMonkeys, sloths and larger animals are all quite active in March and easy to spot, as they tend to spend much less time in thick forest coverage – there’s no need to seek shelter from the elements when the climate is dry and delicious- and as water holes shrink in the heat many of the animals are lured out for a refreshing drink, making wildlife watching particularly great. All of Costa Rica’s major national parks are very rewarding to visit at this time of year.

For turtle hatchling viewing, March is also ideal, with the Pacific coastline hosting colonies of Olive Ridley, green and leatherback turtles, with the latter being the last of their kind for the season. Since nesting season peaks at around Christmas time, this is the perfect month to catch the little ones in flapping action!

Excellent whale watching spots towards the end of the month are all along the coasts of Guanacaste and Nicoya, where humpback whales make their seasonal swim. Many more actually migrate off the eastern shores; however, they tend to take a much wider berth and are usually invisible from the beach.

Bird watching aficionados will also enjoy the blooming population in the wetlands of Tortuguero and Cano Negro, where northern birds retreat to for a balmy and much more agreeable winter vacation.

Cultural Highlights

Costa Rica ox cart paradeThe cultural calendar for March is jam-packed full of colourful celebrations, with the month being a precursor to Easter, the busiest and most celebrated event in the Costa Rican calendar. The Oxcart parade (El Dia del Boyero) which takes place in San Antonio de Escazu on the second Sunday in March, is one of the most colourful of the year. Proud cart owners parade their incredible works of art in what is one of Costa Rica’s most unique events. Watch ox-pulled carts fill the streets of San Antonio and witness the blessings of the animals by local priests.

On the 19th March, you’ll find St José, one of the country’s most revered Saints, being celebrated all over the country. Alongside cruelty-free bullfighting shows, you’ll stumble upon amazing food and produce markets, arts and craft stalls and an evening filled with music, dancing and fiesta-making!

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting San José in March 2016, you can attend the fantastic International Arts Festival, which is held between 15th and 25th March, only on even-numbered years. This fortnight event serves up an amazing array of great artists, performers, and musicians, in concerts, fiestas and events held all over the capital. Look for a reason to make a short-notice getaway to Costa Rica? This is it!

Adrenalin sports highlights

surfingAlthough the heart of dry season spells lesser flowing rivers, daytime water release plans means white water rafting in the central region is still very much offered! The lack of rains and stormy seas makes March absolutely ideal if you’re heading to Costa Rica on a surf learning vacation, something you can do all along the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, and the beaches of the Manuel Antonio National Park. A dry climate, of course, is what makes this one of the year’s best months for zip-lining, mountain biking and hikes immersed in pristine nature.

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Five Stunning Hidden Costa Rica Gems You’ve Never Heard About

Costa RicaHad you traveled to Costa Rica  a decade ago, almost half the country would have been considered one colossal hidden gem. With the lack of modern infrastructure and paved roads, most of the gorgeous natural treasures were only accessible to those with a 4WD vehicle and nerves of steel.  Today, Costa Rica gems have been made more accessible to tourists looking to spot a once-in-a-lifetime spot that’s just breathtaking.

Government initiatives over the last few years have aimed at bridging the gap between superlative five star eco-lodges and below par infrastructure.  It has gone a long way in making most of the country accessible, to most of the visitors. But does that mean that every single corner of Costa Rica has been developed and exploited? Not by a long shot.

Manuel Antonio National ParkYou can head here in high season and head to the Manuel Antonio National Park, and spend your days sharing the immense natural treasures with hordes of fellow tourists. Or…you can skip the crowds altogether and discover the side of Costa Rica which, despite the highways and resorts, seems to be utterly untouched by the passing of time.

Below are some of the best hidden gems in the country, which you’ll find way off the beaten tourist path.

Hacienda Baru

Hacienda BaruThis most delightful wildlife refuge and ecolodge is set amidst primary and secondary forests along the Pacific coastline in central Costa Rica. Renowned as a nature and wildlife lover’s paradise, Hacienda Baru offers the chance for innumerable treks right outside their charming bungalows and is ideal for anyone who wants to get back to the basics and forego epitome luxury for a truly organic experience.

Turtles nest on the shores to the west, a high canopy walk and platform satisfy bird lovers and platform tents are perfect for those who wish to simply get away from it all. The amenities are basic but certainly do the job, yet it’s the outstanding setting which really sets this ecolodge apart from all others. If you wish to include a couple of days of bona-fide forest living then this spot is definitely ideal for you.

Nauyaca WaterfallsNauyaca Waterfalls

Nearby hacienda Baru is where you’ll find Cataratas Nauyaca, a less hidden treasure perhaps, but an equally stunning one. Horse trek tours to the falls are popular with passing visitors, yet the somewhat arduous hour-long hike can be done independently and is extremely rewarding. The falls themselves are out of this world, with a 130 and 65 feet drops over tiered landscapes. The best part? That would be the glorious 10,000 square foot sparkling pool in which they cascade. Bring a packed lunch and your swimmers and spend an entire day here. It’s heavenly!

Barra Honda National Park

Barra Honda National ParkOne of the most overlooked national parks in the country hides a complex system of live caves which are thrilling to explore at length. The perfect destination for adventurous explorers, the caves at Barra Honda descend up to 780 feet underground, and showcase a breathtaking collection of stalagmites and stalactites. Amazingly, the flatness above ground belies the treasures hidden within. There are over 40 caves which have been discovered below, only 20 of which have been, mapped out. Visit Pozo Hediondo and its colony of 5000 bats and the magnificent Hall of Pearls. To explore the caves on your own, you must bring climbing equipment and register your visit. Alternatively, you could always join an organized tour.

Boruca Indigenous Reserve

Boruca Indigenous ReserveThe Boruca are an indigenous tribe in the Costa Rican south-Pacific region. This reserve was the first of its kind to be established (in the 1950s), and was aimed at protecting and nurturing the ancient lifestyle and customs of the country’s indigenous population. Renowned for their arts, crafts, and incredibly colorful celebrations, the Borucas are a proud people who are always happy to welcome visitors into their village. If travelling to Costa Rica for New Years Eve, you can organize a personal visit to the tribe, where you’ll witness the amazing 3-day long Fiesta de los Diabilitos, where the tale of fights between natives and conquistadores is told via dances, vivid and scary masks, music and much fanfare.

Samara Beach

Samara BeachThose who have stumbled upon Samara Beach, just a short drive away from Nicoya town, will attest to it being one of the country’s best swimming spots.

The town itself is gorgeous, without any major amenities (no ATMs) but with a smattering of cute B&Bs and lovely cafés. The shores are spotless and waters pristine, so if you’re looking for that one ‘heavenly’ spot in which to end your tour of Costa Rica, in sublime peace and quiet, then consider your search complete.

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Discover the Majestic Mountains of Costa Rica

Costa Rica may be best known as an ideal sun-worshipper’s paradise, and very few would ever dare argue. With its seemingly endless stretches of beautiful beaches, all framed by luscious tropical jungles cascading straight into crystal clear waters, there’s no denying that, in this nook of the world, surf is queen.

Yet discerning travellers know that Costa Rica is a country which has been inherently shaped by its majestic mountains. Every aspect about this enticing land has been formed, coloured and flavoured by its five mountain ranges. Collectively, they’ve spawned 16 climate zones, 14 major river systems, numerous caves and canyons, seven active volcanoes and over 60 which are either extinct or temporarily pretending to be. Overall, Costa Rica’s horizon is dotted by 176 peaks. When you consider just how small this country really is (ranked 129th in the world by area) then those numbers start to sound quite impressive indeed.

Naturally, this spells great news for all those who enjoy idyllic beaches yet wish for a healthy dose of active pursuits when on vacation. After all, as all adrenalin junkies know far too well: Where there’s a mountain…there’s always adventure!

The adventurer’s dream locations

The most revered aspect of Costa Rica is its diminutive size, which makes a rewarding and varied vacation infinitely easy. You have no excuse to not choose visiting here: you could easily go from beach to peak in a matter of hours. Adrenal junkies, or anyone who loves to get their pulses racing in stunning natural surroundings, will have an absolute field day in this most diverse Central American country.

Here’s a general overview of Costa Rica’s majestic mountains, and all they have to offer…for your adventurous pleasure.

Cordillera Central

Turrialba VolcanoHome to some of the most famous volcanoes in the country, including Irazu (the highest at 3,432m), Poás, Barva and Turrialba, the Cordillera Central is part of the Andean-Sierra Madre Mountain Range which runs the entire western spine of the Americas. Recent seismic activity has caused both concerns and enticement, and this region is becoming increasingly popular with adventure seekers who wish to get off the beaten path, as infrastructure here is still somewhat limited. The sheer amount of fun and active pursuits which can be offered here makes this one of the most popular spots in the whole country, and the one from where Costa Rica Rios run their week-long adventure trips. Along with Cordillera Talamanaca, this is Costa Rica’s only other mainland UNESCO listed site.

Cordillera de Guanacaste

The Cordillera de Guanacaste is on the northern edge of Costa Rica, and rides its wave along the border with Nicaragua. The three most popular volcanoes here are Rincón de la Vieja, Miravalles and Oros; with the first two being spectacularly semi-active. The ease of access, excellent infrastructure, magnificent nature and proximity to the coast make this arguably the very best mountain range to explore. This is the one of very few places where you can hike up a volcano, and frolic in the turquoise waters of the Pacific, all on the same day. Cordillera de Tilarán

Volcano ArenalVolcano Arenal, one of the world’s most active peaks, resides in this splendid mountain range, which continues just south-east of Guanacaste. Just south of Lake Arenal is the Monteverde Cloud Forest, one of Costa Rica’s premier eco-tourism destinations and a phenomenal wildlife lover’s paradise.

Cordillera de Talamanca

This southern mountain range is shared between Costa Rica and Panama, and home to the former’s highest peak: Cerro Chirripó, which stands at 3,820m above sea level. A summit ascent of Chirripó is one of Costa Rica’s many bucket-list activities yet is anything but a walk in the park. The challenging hike requires much sweat, a few tears and perhaps a few emotional outbursts but, it should be said, is infinitely rewarding and very much worth all the work. Talamanca is geologically distinctive from its northerly neighbours and is, essentially, one ginormous granite batholith. It was inducted in the UNESCO World Heritage Club in 1983, and was the first Costa Rican treasure to have been bestowed this honour.

Cerros de Escazú

The Cerros de Escazú is often considered a northern extension of Talamanca, and makes up a big portion of popular San José Province. Although the whole country is renowned for its biodiversity, this region is particularly rich in flora and fauna variety, and is thus under Presidential Order protection. Particularly popular with hikers, rock-climbers and mountain bikers, the Cerros de Escazú offer excellent side-trip options from San José. 

Planning an action-packed adventure in Costa Rica is child’s play, as you can see, so if you wish to bring home more than just a suntan you’d do well to include a few mountain escapades in your trip itinerary. Indulge in the trip of a lifetime with Costa Rica Rios and we’ll prove to you that if Costa Rica’s surf is queen, then its peaks are most definitely king.

 

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More Than A Week Away From It All

In this down-sized economy, companies are running leaner and offering new employees less vacation benefits. In turn, as our work schedules get more demanding and e-tools make us more likely to be “plugged in” to work 24/7, our stress levels are through the roof!

Costa Rica Rios Adventure Vacation with Cliff Jumping.

We are living in a “time is money” generation and have lost sight of why we really need time away from the office. A vacation isn’t just a job perk, it is medicine for the body, mind and soul that cleanses us from stress and increases our productivity in the long run. Thinking that we have to much to do and are too needed at the office keeps us from the main event in our lives – living!

Think of it this way, your job is a means to an end. The goal of working should be to fund your perfect life. Life is all about experience and adventure, that’s why getting away from it all by taking a Costa Rica Adventure Vacation can help enhance your life in ways you never even thought of before. Did you know that when Forbes Magazine polled 400 of the richest business people in the US, that they weren’t really any happier than the average American? That’s because status and money doesn’t bring you life satisfaction. Experience, adventure and relationships with family do.

Stress and anxiety are bigger risk factors for heart attacks than hamburgers and genetics combined. Did you know that people who take an annual vacation of one week or more at a time are significantly less likely to have heart attacks? Not only can a vacation help your heart, but it can improve your sleep habits and help clear your mind so that you are super productive when you return!

Costa Rica Rios Adventure Vacation White Water Rafting in Costa Rico Rapids.

For families the benefits of a Costa Rica Adventure Vacation are double! Spending one to two weeks of quality time (that would be time uninterrupted with cell phone calls and e-mails) with your children helps them to become more resilient adults with higher self-esteem. Husbands and wives, parents and children and even siblings need that extra stress-free time to bond and build relationships. So this year, try to plan your work schedule around your vacation time and not the other way around!

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Perfect Wedding Finale – The Grand Adventure Honeymoon!

Start your lifetime of memories as a family off on the right foot with a heart-thumping, awe-inspiring honeymoon that you’ll remember for the rest of your lives. Adventure vacations aren’t for everyone but if you’re full of spirit and love being active then you could be in for the thrill of a lifetime!

Couple whitewater kayaking in Costa Rica on an adventure vacation.

Adventure honeymoons can take you to exotic locations and help you explore many new opportunities. You and your partner can work hand in hand while kayaking, zip-lining, surfing, or whatever your heart desires!

First, sit down with your loved one and talk about your ideal honeymoon. Make sure you’re on the same page. An adventure honeymoon will allow you to cover a lot of ground in one trip, encompassing travel, beautiful sights and fun activities! There is sure to be something to please both of you and the elements of the vacation can be picked out and agreed upon ahead of time or you can fly by the seat of your pants if you’re more into spontaneity.

Couple jumping off a cliff in Costa Rica.

Make sure you plan ahead and have your passports ready. If you don’t have a passport you will want to apply for one in plenty of time before the wedding. Depending on your wedding day and reception plans, you will have to decide if you want to leave for your honeymoon right away or at a later date. Make sure to pack your adventure clothing including good shoes for walking and hiking. Bug spray and sunscreen are also good bets to bring along as these items can be pricey in tourist areas. And most importantly, try to leave the stress of wedding planning and working behind as you head off to the vacation of a lifetime with your spouse!

Many people dream of sandy beaches and exotic cocktails for their honeymoon and if you’re looking to combine amazing tropical scenery with awesome adventure then look no further than Costa Rica! Surround yourself with the culture and extreme landscapes that are packed with adventurous opportunity! Your honeymoon can be packaged into a romantic yet energetic vacation by the experts at Costa Rica Rios!

Hiking, swimming, surfing, zip-lining, snorkeling, white water rafting and more can be enjoyed by day while fabulous dining and relaxing poolside can be the perfect ending to your activities. Fill any downtime with sightseeing, shopping and relaxation. Your tours and hikes will be fully guided for your safety. Adventure honeymoons are growing in popularity and you’ll be amazed at how much fun can be had!

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Lifelong Benefits Of An Adventure Vacation

Thinking of packing up the kids for yet another road trip to visit the world’s largest ball of string, or another exciting trip to a hotel Elvis once stayed at? Think again! Adventure vacations are quickly rising in popularity and can provide lifelong memories for all ages. Sometimes you have to think outside the box to please everyone!

Whitewater rafting adventure with Costa Rica Rios in Costa Rica.

Vacation days are a scarce commodity and should be planned wisely. Adventure vacations can take you around the world and provide extensive opportunity for physical activity, friendly competition and awe-inspiring sight-seeing. Children and adults of all ages can benefit from being immersed in a new and exciting culture. Think of all you could learn from being totally surrounded by another language, new foods and different ideas.

In order to plan your perfect family adventure vacation, seek out the plans and packages available to you and decide if you want all guided tours or would like to go your own way. It is advisable to take guided tours with children and teenagers for safety but both types of adventure packages are available.

Carefully research your destination. Printed books and guides are a great start but to really get down to the details check out online magazines and blogs. You can find locals and travel enthusiasts online who have first-hand experience visiting all the sites and activities you are planning. Also take note of the climate and weather. You wouldn’t want to plan your vacation in the middle of a typhoon! Your travel advisor should also be able to tell you when the best travel times are.

The more the merrier on an adventure vacation! More families means more fun, so gather up your extended relatives and friends and make a huge go of it! You can also be paired with other families through your travel advisor – some of whom could become lifelong friends and pen pals for you and your kids!

Make sure to heavily document your travels with high quality photos and video. If your vacation is tropical invest in a camera that can go underwater. If you’ll be doing a lot of high octane adventure there is an amazing little action camera called the “GoPro” you can attach anywhere to get a first person point of view of all the incredible action!

Once you get home from your vacation, have a viewing party to share your experiences with family and friends. Then you can make scrapbooks or digital photobooks with all of your amazing photos and footage. This is a vacation you won’t soon forget but dragging out the photos every few years sure helps! Your children can recount their adventures for generations to come! 

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