A hidden rainforest trail leads to an azure-blue pond, where a waterfall plunges down, inviting you to a refreshing dip. Walk on up the hill discovering plenty of wildlife and birds along the way. Stand still, awe-inspired at the view over the forest canopy. Zipline down back to your hotel and enjoy a spot of kayaking, rafting, snorkelling or sailing or simply an afternoon on the beach. This is La Pura Vida - Costa Rica style.
Most travellers to Costa Rica will start their trip in San José in the Central Valley. It is an area that can keep you busy for a few days, what with its steaming volcanoes, coffee plantations, verdant jungles clinging to steep mountains and rivers that tumble down the slopes.
Those rivers are perfect for white water rafting. Ranging in difficulty from class I to V, anyone can enjoy a rafting trip. From half to two day trips, some of them staying at jungle lodges, this is the perfect way to discover the jungles of Costa Rica.
Travelling north, almost every guest in Costa Rica will at some point visit the Monteverde cloud forest. It is here that Costa Rica's ecotourism began and it is here that you can hike through cloud forests in search of birdlife, while engaging in adventure activities such as ziplining.
Ziplining is one of the prime activities in Monteverde. You walk to a platform overlooking the forest canopy, put on your harness, hook on to the line, push off and away you go! There is nothing quite like gliding through the forest, as free as a bird.
Nearby Santa Elena forest reserve is still refreshingly undiscovered. Here you can hike through the jungle, enjoy the views and be surprised by the wildlife you may come across.
Costa Rica is after all home to 5% of the world's lifeforms, making the country a prime destinations for wildlife watching. Be it birds, mammals, insects or reptiles you are after, you will be not be disappointed.
From Monteverde, many short tours make a beeline for Arenal. And while its iconic volcano no longer erupts, the area still has enough hiking trails, outdoor activities and hot springs to merit a visit. After a day out on the trail, soak in a hot spring and take time to relax and....
Short tours will next turn their attention to Manuel Antonio where monkeys swing down the trees right to the ocean and its dreamlike beaches. Throw in a good size national park and plenty of water and land-based activities and you have a must-visit destination, the perfect finale to any highlights trip to Costa Rica.
Kayaking and boating are two excellent ways to experience the mangroves along the coast here, giving you access to places you cannot get to by road or on foot.
But seasoned travellers will want more than a week's vacation. They will want to visit Tortuguero in the north east of the country. A remote network of canals and waterways that intersects the lowland jungle, Tortuguero is the perfect getaway for nature lovers. Paddle a canoe or take a guided tour and discover hidden wildlife and plants along the banks.
And for people in the know there is Corcovado in the deep south west of Costa Rica. National Geographic called it 'the most biologically intense place on earth'. Home to many endangered species, this is one of the last great stands of tropical rainforest in Central America. It is a great place to stay in an eco-lodge. Imagine staying in a lodge where, when you step out, you are surrounded by nothing but nature. Birds sing in the trees, a troop of monkeys swings in the canopy and the vegetation is so lush you have to rub your eyes to make sure you are not dreaming.
Mid-December through April is the dry season and the most popular time to travel to Costa Rica. During the green season rain falls mostly as afternoon showers and landscapes turn lush and verdant. The height of the green season is September and October when travel is not recommended.
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