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Surf Jaco Beach; Costa Rica

What was once a sleepy resort area,  Jaco Beach in Costa Rica is now a growing tourist destination for surfers, beach bums and party animals looking for a good time on a budget.

Jaco is a 2 mile (3km) stretch of sand beach with clean water, nice waves, and is the perfect place to hang out or learn to surf.

While not at the beach, where’s plenty of restaurants, hotels, shops, and other attractions to keep busy. Continue

Beach, Jungle Trekking; Corcovado, Costa Rica

Consider yourself warned: if you’re looking for an “accessible” jungle tour, then keep looking.

Corcovado National Park – located on the Osa peninsula in southwestern Costa Rica – is neither easy to get to or around.

But as visitors soon realize, this inaccessibility rewards those willing to jump off the Gringo Trail and enjoy several days adventuring through this largely undeveloped land.

For many, Corcovado represents what Costa Rica was a decade ago: quiet, charming and intriguing (if not overly inviting).

There are four entrances to the park, all of which are accessible by 4X4. Keep in mind that – once you arrive at the park entrance – your only choice is to hike.

For this reason, weather plays a major role in multi-day treks. Extreme heat, humidity and frequent rainstorms make for difficult (but highly rewarding) trekking.

Hate hiking in mud?

Then consider hiking the coastline instead. Just be sure to check the tides, as they rise quickly and make both beaches and adjoining rivers impassable.

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Watersports; Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Sure, it’s in Costa Rica, but Puerto Viejo is… well… different.

Located along the Caribbean coast, Puerto Viejo is a larger, more popular version of Cahuita, with a growing infrastructure built up by backpackers – in search of Playa Cocles’ beach and Rasta vibe – and surfers hellbent on riding the infamous Salsa Braza waves.

In other words:  there’s a lot to do.

Surf… sand… parties… rainforest tours, and much, much more make Puerto Viejo an excellent place to drop your bags, hit the beach and soak up its atmosphere. Continue

Canopy Tours; Monteverde, Costa Rica

When visiting Costa Rica, certain images come to mind: thick, verdant forests, jungle canopies bathed in green, colorful quetzals with giant tails and hundreds of animal species lurking just beyond sight.

These images come to life in Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde.

And these real-life images – coupled with one of Costa Rica’s most impressive cloud forests off in the distance – make Monteverde a true must-see in Central America.

But don’t take our word for it.

Newsweek magazine included Monteverde on their list of 100 Places to Remember Before They Disappear, while National Geographic called it the “jewel in the crown of cloud forest reserves.”

Indeed.

Its name translates to “Green Mountain”, a fitting name thanks largely to the omnipresent clouds produced when warm coastal breezes cool inland. All this moisture provides explosive growth to over 2,500 species of plants and animals within the park, including jaguars, ocelots, tapirs, over 400 species of bird and hundreds of orchid species.

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Turtles; Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

There are two excellent reasons to visit Tortuguero National Park in northeastern Costa Rica: firstly, the giant sea turtles (or tortugas in Spanish, which provide the park’s namesake) who come here each year to hatch; and secondly, the numerous water canals which connect Tortuguero to Limón and Costa Rica’s mainland.

Fortunately, one flows to the other.

But don’t rush. Like many places in Costa Rica – most notably Corcovado National Park – getting to Tortuguero is only half the fun.  Plan on spending at least three days exploring canals and turtle nesting-grounds.

Of course, there are more than just turtles.

Great green macaws, howler and spider monkeys, anteaters, toucans, and the omni-lethargic sloth are all commonly seen/heard along the canals. (Jaguars live and hunt in the park but are very rarely seen).

Further downstream is the sea, frequented by sharks who come here to feed on turtles. Needless to say, swimming is not advised.

It is possible to explore the park independently, though lodges easily organize tours of the canals, hatching grounds and transport to/from the park. While tours are a much easier way to get around here, expect to spend most of your day in groups. Continue