Costa Rica is fantastic for wildlife and adventure enthusiasts, with exciting experiences to offer everyone. I have just returned from a ten-day experience led trip with Camino Travel testing out their best adventure activities, while staying in magnificent eco-hotels and getting up close to Costa Rica’s wonderful wildlife.
I’ve travelled to Costa Rica a couple of times and always in November, which is considered the green season and the end of the rainy season (May to November). I’ve learned that if it rains, it tends to rain in short bursts in the morning or afternoon, which don’t disrupt your day too much. The temperatures are still warm and tropical in the rainy season (25C-27C on average) and there are fewer people travelling, which is a huge bonus. However, if you prefer to be guaranteed more sunshine, then it’s best to travel between December and May, but it will be busier.
Finca Rosa Blanca was my first stop, one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, with a huge emphasis on sustainability and supporting the environment. I enjoyed an organic coffee tour to learn how they take beans to cup to make some of the finest Arabica coffee in the world. After enjoying a cup or two, we travelled on and enjoyed a few hours of wildlife watching at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. This is a great place to get a taste of the wildlife that you may see during your time in Costa Rica, I saw many sloths, monkeys, wild cats, and some very colourful hummingbirds.
On the journey from La Paz Waterfall Gardens to Arenal, we spotted some sloths chilling in the trees and saw some colourful toucans. The countryside in Costa Rica is teeming with wildlife and has rich soils and fantastic tropical climate for growing fruits, we drove past many banana and pineapple plantations, coffee farms and coconut trees. I enjoyed a ‘pipa fria’ on the way – a deliciously fresh and cold coconut water. We finished off our first day exploring with a visit to Tabacon Hot Springs, Costa Rica’s largest network of naturally flowing thermal mineral springs in Arenal’s private and secluded rainforest reserve. In my opinion, this is the best place to relax after your first day acclimatizing to the change in time zone.
If you enjoy adrenalin then the Arenal Sky Tram and Trek is a must, it’s one of Costa Rica’s longest zip lines, offering stunning views over the Arenal Lake. However, if you need to find some water-based activities for your clients, then the Guanacaste Coast is easy to access from Arenal (Approx. 3-4 hrs drive). Here you can choose from kayaking, SUP, snorkeling, surfing or fishing. You can visit Samara or Nosara to enjoy the Pacific Coast, there are some excellent hotels to choose from as well, which Camino Travel can advise on.
Costa Rica offers some of the best white water rafting in Central America on the Pacuare River, where you can enjoy an exhilarating raft over grade I and II rapids to the Pacuare Lodge or Rios Tropicales Eco Lodge. Pacuare Lodge is another National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, a very special place for those seeking a luxury rainforest experience. I stayed in one of their river view rooms, which came with an amazing balcony, with a hammock, a great place to sit and listen to the sounds of the river and rainforest. Rio Tropicales is a comfortable eco-lodge option for those that want to enjoy a river view and hike in the primary rainforest surrounding the lodge, it’s great for groups and less expensive.
Puerto Viejo, located on the Southern Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica offers a more laid-back atmosphere, with palm-fringed beaches and delicious Caribbean cuisine. Bikes are available to rent, to cycle from beach to beach, and you can stop off on the way to visit the Jaguar Rescue Centre or sit and have a few beers sat next to your favourite palm tree. The Aguas Claras Hotel is a 5-star boutique hotel, a short walk away from the tranquillity of Playa Chiquita beach. The hotel is beautifully decorated with Costa Rican art and is owned by a Costa Rican artist, who really cares about sustainability and protecting the natural environment. It was the perfect place to kick back and relax on the beach at the end of a fabulous time touring through Costa Rica.
The diversity of wildlife and activities available in Costa Rica, as well as the very high standard of service and accommodation, make Costa Rica one of the best destinations to travel to in Latin America. If you are interested in knowing more about Camino Travel and Costa Rican itineraries please contact Katrina (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.