Facing the Caribbean Sea on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other, Costa Rica’s long coastlines have some of the world’s best beaches. Snorkelling or scuba diving reveals a marine life matching the diversity of the rainforests behind.
Dividing the Caribbean from the Pacific the central mountain ranges contain cloud forests and even volcanoes. In the Pacific north west are large areas of dry rainforest running down to the sea and further south are tropical beaches with secluded coves fringed by palm trees.
The central Pacific has major ports at Puntarenas and Puerto Caldera, about 2 hours from the capital San Jose. South of the town of Quepos is the Manuel Antonio National Park. Its beautiful beaches surrounded by lush wet rainforest, the park’s trails offer sightings of white-faced monkeys, sloths, coatis, raccoons, iguanas and many bird species, as well as the Costa Rican squirrel monkey only found here.
Further south is Bahia Drake, named after the famous English sailor who landed there. Nearby is the Corcovado National Park, a unique ecosystem and the last virgin natural area in Central America. Its marshes, mangroves, rivers, humid forest and low-altitude cloud forest are world-renowned for their biodiversity.
The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is a more laid-back area. A major attraction is the Tortuguero National Park, an extensive floodplain of rivers and canals explored by boat or canoe. There are nesting grounds of leatherback turtles, and monkeys, reptiles and rare frogs can be seen. This area can be reached from the port of Limon.
A number of cruises to Costa Rica include a crossing from Caribbean to Pacific through the Panama Canal. Cargo and cruise ships are pulled through its huge locks by rail tugs. The country of Panama also has rainforests and eco-attractions.
Costa Rica is a stable democratic country, with no army for 60 years. Its wildlife, beaches and local culture make it a fascinating place to visit. Where else can you hear howler monkeys in the forests, snorkel amongst exotic fish, see such a variety of colourful birds and spot some of the world’s most exotic wildlife!