Costa Rica Vacations
Mention Costa Rica and people think paradise. The country's Disney-like cast of creatures - ranging from howler monkeys to toucans - are prolific and relatively easy to spot. The waves are prime, the beauty is staggering and the sluggish pace seductive.
Costa Rica, despite being such a tiny nation, draws well over a million visitors every year - and you can see why. The incredibly varied topography means you can cruise a cloud forest one day, climb a volcano the next, and finish passed out on a hot sandy beach.
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Nestled in the verdant forests of Costa Rica's magnificent North-Pacific Riviera, this resort is an enchanting place where challenging golf meets thrilling eco-adventure.
Smaller than West Virginia and larger than Switzerland, Costa Rica packs in some of the world's most diverse natural landscapes. Wedged between Nicaragua and Panama, its craggy western border is constantly pounded by Pacific surf, while the temperate Caribbean hugs tropical lowlands and swamps to the east. Costa Rica is defined by its diverse climates and topography: mangroves, swamps, sandy beaches, numerous gulfs and peninsulas, tropical dry forests, rain forests, cloud forests, temperate highlands and a variety of offshore islands. It is split in two by a series of volcanic mountain chains that run from Nicaragua in the northwest to Panama in the southeast. The highlands reach up to 3820m (12,532ft) above sea level.
What To See
Getting back to nature has never been easier.
Impulsive adventurers seeking an adrenaline rush will find it in Costa Rica. The country's laid-back pace also suits beach bums and hammock-surfers. Surfers of another kind will find their break in the glorious swells, and those searching for jungle critters will not be disappointed.
Costa Ricans love to party, kicking off the New Year with 10 days of beer-drinking, horse shows and other carnival events in the tiny town of Palmares. You've two opportunities to catch the Fiesta de los Diablitos; it takes place in Reserva Indígena Boruca (December 31 to January 2) and in Curré (February 5-8). Men wear carved wooden devil masks and burlap masks to re-enact the fight between the Indians and the Spanish. In this version, the Spanish lose.
Día de San José (March) honors the capital's patron saint, and Fiesta de La Virgen del Mar (Festival of the Virgin of the Sea), with its colorful regattas and boat parades, is held in Puntarenas and Playa del Coco (July).
Día de Guanacaste (July), celebrates the annexation of Guanacaste from Nicaragua. There's a rodeo in Santa Cruz on this day. Virgen de Los Angeles (August) is celebrated with an important religious procession from San José to Cartago.
Día de la Raza (Columbus Day) takes place in October - the town of Puerto Limón celebrates with a four-day carnival. It's all about colorful street parades, dancing, music, singing and drinking!
Families visit graveyards and have religious parades in honor of the deceased on Día de los Muertos (All Souls' Day). During Las Fiestas de Zapote, at the end of the year, a week-long celebration of all things Costa Rican (namely rodeos, cowboys, carnival rides, fried food and a whole lot of drinking) takes place in Zapote, southeast of San José.