Costa Rica

Posts on Costa Rica by Kyle the Vagabond:

Ah, Pura Vida. Few places conjure up such images of tropical

La Catarata waterfall, La Fortuna

La Catarata waterfall, La Fortuna

perfection as Costa Rica. A nation with no standing army, Costa Rica is an unrivaled tropical paradise where tranquility and quality of life seem to win out over all. Though recently prone to an influx of Western development, the nation as a whole stays true to  its Tican roots, with natural adventure lurking around every corner. Whether it is surfing legendary Pacific coast waves, whizzing through the air over rain forests and active volcanoes, or simply lounging in a hammock on a sliver of Caribbean coastline, Costa Rica is a true gem that is worthy of all the hype.

Currency:

Colones; Exchange Rate: $1 = 510 Colones (August 6, 2010) For currency conversion info visit xe.com

When to Go:

The weather in Costa Rica , like many nations, is defined by two seasons: wet, and dry.  The  “dry” can still be wet, and the “wet”…well, bring an umbrella. Costa Rica’s dry season runs from December-May,  although  the  inland  cloud forests  and  areas  at altitude  remain chilly  at  these  times.  This  is  the peak  tourist season,  however  it is realistically  the best time  to get that  picture perfect  beach moment that  you have been waiting for. During  the wet season,  rivers  swell over their banks, roads  turn  to mud,  and  the surf  on the Pacific  side  really begins  to crank.  Surf  on the  Caribbean side  is actually  at  its best from November – May.  While  decidedly wet,  the  rainy season brings  with  it less crowds,  and  a definite  added  degree of adventure.  The northwestern region of Guancanaste can be the rainiest of all. Don’t  plan  a  tight  time schedule  in  the rainy season, as  road  closures  due to  landslides  are a common  occurrence.

Travel Tip:

My recommendation for a hostel  in San Jose just before/after an airport run is Pangea. It’s a great jumping off point for those needing a little travel assistance, and it’s a safe sanctuary in an otherwise rough area.map_costa_rica

The Vagabond’s Personal Top Picks:

1. Get lost in a cloud in Monteverde

A number of different zipline companies operate in this pristine cloudforest, with all of them providing ample alone time dangling in the clouds. Chill out in the funked out mountain town of St. Elena when not in mid air.

2.  Take a stroll through Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

This southern Caribbean town near the Panama border overflows with simple Caribbean charm. The vendors are vibrant, the surf and beaches are excellent, and life moves a little slower and smoother in this reggae infused corner of the world

3. Shoot the rapids of the Rio Pacuare

A definite regional, if not global classic, the Pacuare river is a rapid-laden vein through the heart of pristine Costa Rican rainforest. Enjoy views of jungle wildlife and raging waterfalls, all from the up close perch of a hurtling high speed raft.

4. Breathe deep in Playa Samara

Unlike its Pacific beach town neighbors, Playa Samara is a true laidback beach town with minimal commercial fanfare. A white, sandy horseshoe of palm fringed beach backs up to simple beach bungalows where a hammock and a cold drink are the hardest you want to work.

5. Explore Arenal

The entire Arenal region is teeming with adventure. Hike active volcanoes by night, relax in natural hot springs, swim under waterfalls, or venture out  onto the lake to maximize the viewing potential of this fantastic inland region.

6. Surf Playa Hermosa, Jaco

A heavy beachbreak on a long stretch of sand outside of Pacific coast town of Jaco, Playa Hermosa is a Costa Rican classic and the town has some funky hostels, good bars,  and that love it or hate it touristy street charm.

Posts on Costa Rica by Kyle the Vagabond:

-Central Highlands: Arenal and Monteverde (2007)

-The Coasts: Pacific and Caribbean (2007)

-Rafting El Rio Pacuare (2007)

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