Costa Rica is in a very unique situation. Like its fellow Central American neighbors, it separates the Caribbean from the Pacific Ocean in the area where the separation between the two is narrowest. Costa Rica is also the southernmost nation before Panama, where the Pacific and Caribbean finally meet.
This tropical location is a great place to go for a vacation, one that is too often overlooked. While relatively small, Costa Rica is packed with opportunities for recreation, with options at sea like booking catamaran tours as well as countless other choices for landlubbers.
The nation has had striking success with ecotourism, providing access to their natural beauty in a sustainable and low-impact way through amazing recreational activities. With thousands of acres of forests at elevations from sea level to 12,530 feet, the tropical climate nevertheless has impressive variability.
For those with a more urbanized plan for their trip, the country is populated with an interesting mix of cultures. While most residents speak Spanish, there are five other native languages still in use in some areas of the country. This interplay of European and native cultures is reflected in everything from fashion to dance. An evening spent on the town in Costa Rica will provide a wide array of things to do, see, and eat.
Of course, any country with the rare distinction of bordering two oceans just a short distance apart must be famous for beaches. Costa Rica has miles of beaches with opportunities for diving, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, and much more. The Caribbean coast has coral reefs and shallower waters, while the Pacific side boasts opportunities for surfing and other serious adventures.
Regardless of the day’s agenda, it will come to an end, and travelers need a place to rest and relax for the following day’s activities. Costa Rican cities and towns provide options far superior to the endless string of beachfront hotels often found in coastal areas in other countries. The Central Valley region is home to the “bright lights and big city”, and many of the choices here are luxury accommodations. These include international chains as well as unique local establishments. The Northern Plains region features many spa resorts in beautiful rainforest locations. The country’s other regions have offerings all over the rest of the spectrum of size, type, and character.
As travelers meander from one destination to another in Costa Rica, they will find transportation remarkably easy. The entire country, west to east, can be driven in about three hours, but air travel can cut that time by 75% to keep schedules efficient. Initial access to Costa Rica comes via dozens of international carriers flying into airports in Alajuela and Liberia. There are numerous car rental agencies available to the self-navigating traveler, while others can choose local travel guides for help in hitting the best destinations.
With such a short flight time from the southern U.S. and little to no time zone change for most Americans, Costa Rica is a practical trip that bypasses jet lag and often avoids complicated flight patterns. Exchange rates make the dollar a powerful currency in Costa Rica, as are the Euro and many other western options. The small nation packs in a lot of appeal to voyagers from all over the world, making it a significant travel economy.