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GUIDE TO COSTA RICA, CENTRAL AMERICA:
Rica Vacation Guide by Jim Kesel
Rica : The Vacation That Will Change You by Danna Schneider
Rica for the perfect eco-tourism destination by Anne
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Rica : The Vacation that Will Change You by Danna Schneider
My recent vacation in Costa
Rica was the first time I had ever traveled internationally, so naturally
I was a little nervous about all of the "unknown" factors, like visiting
a foreign country whose primary language was Spanish, getting through customs,
finding my way around, and all those other "what if's" that tend to go
through your mind when you're doing anything for the first time.
|Little did I know that this
would be by far the best place I'd ever visited as far as visually stunning
nature, but also the most hands-on when it came to seeing and sometimes
interacting with nature.
My sister and I started on
our adventure when we met from adjoining flights at the small airport in
San Jose, which is the capital of Costa Rica. We didn't stay though,
as we had reservations at a resort in Arenal, which was about three hours
from San Jose.
If you want to travel somewhere
but you don't want to drive, it is very easy to arrange either public or
private transportation anywhere you need to go, however, there are not
many roads, so if you rented a vehicle with a GPS included, it could easily
The only drawback we found
with public transportation was that, although it was less expensive than
private transport, you did need to set aside a few more hours to get to
your destination, as they had many other pickups to make which added more
time to the trip. However, when you consider that gasoline cost five
dollars a gallon throughout pretty much the whole country, public transportation
still seemed a genuine bargain.
As I stated earlier, we stayed
first in Arenal, which is an area famous for the Arenal volcano.
Arenal is a unique volcano because it actually erupts every night, and
although you need to be close to the mountain to actually see it well,
you may still see a bit of the bright eruption from a distance. Arenal
was a beautiful area. Not only that, there were a ton of activities
that you could sign up for within about one hour of the mountain, such
as horseback riding, ziplining, hot springs tours, rainforest canopy tours
We chose first to go horseback
riding to La Fortuna Falls, which was a visual spectacle unlike any I've
seen. La Fortuna Falls was a magnificently huge waterfall that required
you walk down several hundred steps just to see the whole waterfall from
the bottom up. There was also a lookout point about halfway through
where you could gaze at the magnitude of the fall's size, but also take
the lush tropical surroundings and watch for exotic birds and animals along
Then came the canopy ziplining
tour, which was not for the faint of heart, but by far the most exhilarating
and rewarding experience during our stay. We travelled about one
hour from our Arenal resort to the rainforest canopy, and from the drop
off point, hiked about a half mile to the zipline platforms after we were
suited up in our gear and had signed release forms.
Ziplining through the canopy
of the forest at up to 40 miles per hour, and several hundred feet off
the ground was unquestionably scary, but after we completed the first platform,
everyone on the tour couldn't get enough of it. There were 11 platforms
in all, and the scenery from above was breathtaking. It is an experience
I will never forget, and I'd recommend that anyone who fancies this sort
of sport to do it while in Costa RIca.
|From Arenal, we headed up
the coast to Jaco. Jaco was probably our least favorite stop of the
trip. It's short on scenery, and the blatant prostitution is definitely
intimidating, not to mention unsavory, especially for women travelling
alone or families. The overall feel there was also not as friendly
and open as our previous stay at Arenal, so we only stayed for two days
and moved on to another small hotel in a tiny surf community called
The stay there was really
nice, laid back and relaxing. You could sit at little restaurants
and bars right on the beach and watch the whales blowing and the surfers
catching waves and the feel was just very casual. There were tons
of beach areas to surf at too, if that's what you're into.
From Playa Hermosa, we moved
on to Manuel Antonio. Manuel Antonio was, by far, the richest in
up-close and personal encounters with wildlife, since it harbors a huge
national park that is a haven for wildlife.
Not only is there an abundance
of wildlife, but the animals there are so used to humans that they will
not hesitate to cross directly in your path on one of the many hiking trails,
or even snatch your lunch from your backpack as you're basking on one of
the inlet beaches along the trails. Yes we actually had small white-faced
monkeys steal our lunch, they are notorious for their kleptomania!
In Manuel Antonio, you can
choose from several reputable hotels, and there is also some great eating
at one of their many laid back outdoor restaurants which feature the national
dish of rice and beans, fish, beef and breakfast served all day.
In addition to seeing more
monkeys than I can remember, we also got to see a sloth right outside of
our hotel hanging out in a tree, parrots, miniature raccoons, lizards large
and small, and several other unidentifiable wildlife scurrying through
our path in the park or enjoying themselves in nearby trees.
As you can probably tell,
Costa Rica was the trip of a lifetime - for me. I suspect that most
others who take a trip there would think the same. It's richness
in beauty, wildlife, friendly culture and diversity in activities will
please even the most discriminating travelers and thrill seekers.
And oh, you can also just be a beach bum if you want, too!
|About the Author: Danna
Schneider is the cofounder of www.dietingmagazine.com , where you can find
information on weightloss products, fitness equipment and diet reviews,
and dieting tips for losing weight.
ANTONIO VACATION RENTAL VILLAS AND CONDOS
Lydia, Vacation Rental Villa, Manuel Antonio
Lydia is located in Manuel Antonio Coast Rica, right outside the main town
of Quepos. It is accessible either by plane or car. It is
a beautiful, scenic 3 hour drive from San Jose, over the mountains of the
Central Valley, through the hills of infamous coffee plantations and down
the coast through typical Costa Rican villages and rows upon rows of majestic
palm trees. Complete the drive in a half day or let us suggest some wonderful
stopping points. If you wish to fly, Quepos airport is only a 20 minute
flight on Sansa Airlines from San Jose International Airport. Sansa flights
run several times a day and are very affordable.
Rica Villa MA02, Vacation Rental Villa, Manuel Antonio
Perched atop the highest
hill in Manuel Antonio, this first class resort home commands a 270-degree
view. You will have direct views from every room to the world famous
National Park and the surrounding mountains. This 5200 square foot
home is one of the largest and most private in the area. It features 4
luxurious air-conditioned bedrooms with full bath suites, each with its
own spectacular view. The master bedroom suite features a king
sized bed, large private balcony and a bathroom that includes a jacuzzi
tub and a stone shower. The other three bedrooms have queen sized
beds and beautifully appointed bathrooms with custom sinks made of hand
carved stone or glazed earthenware bowls.
Villa, Luxury Vacation Rental Villa, Manuel Antonio
in the rainforest and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the villa is located
in Manuel Antonio, one of the most beautiful coastal areas in Costa Rica.
This is where the rain forest literally reaches down to meet the sea in
one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Completed in 2004, the
villa offers all modern amenities and personalized services, while you
experience the natural serenity and splendor of Costa Rica. With exotic
wildlife and beautiful birds to view right outside your windows, and only
minutes away from Manuel Antonio National Park, Pacific beaches, restaurants,
nightlife, Spanish-language schools, and the sport fishing town of Quepos,
the villa is ideally located for you to enjoy a wide range of activities
and adventures. Sleeps 10-14
del Pacifico, Vacation Rental Villa, Manuel Antonio
del Pacífico is a stunning 3-story villa with a breath-taking Pacific
Ocean view. The home is approximately 2,500 square feet and has 4 bedrooms
and 3 baths, sleeping 8 comfortably. There are two queen beds, one king
bed, a double bed and a daybed in the den that could sleep a 9th person,
if needed. The common areas include a kitchen, dining area, living area
and den with cable TV. The 3rd floor bedroom has a private entrance and
private balcony. Remember, in our home, each bedroom is air-conditioned
so those who want to fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean and jungle
can do so, while those who need air-conditioning are able to use their
own a/c to control the room's temperature.
Antonio Luxury Villa, Vacation Rental Villa, Manuel Antonio
Ocean View Vacation Home in Manuel Antonio Area, Puntarenas, Costa Rica,
Central America. House - 7 Bedrooms + Loft - 7 Baths - (Sleeps 12-18).
The villa is a beautiful, 6000 square foot, three-level home that can be
rented in its entirety or as three individual, spacious suites. Each
suite has a kitchen, one to two bedrooms, one to two bathrooms, and sleeps
from four to six people.
Colonial - Luxury Vacation Rental Condominium, Manuel Antonio
in March 2006, this new condominium is said to be the most high-end condo
in all of Costa Rica. Two, three or four bedroom units are available either
individually or combined. Only 2 condo's occupy each floor, so it is very
private and secure. Located in the heart of Manuel Antonio, the Pacifico
Colonial offers the sweet comforts of home gilded with the luxuries of
errant royalty-vaulted ceilings, custom built European windows, hand-made
doors and cabinetry, Brazilian granite countertops, Italian porcelain floors,
and stained-glass windows & accents. Each condo has at least one large
jacuzzi tub. Don't let the Old World architectural features fool you, however-the
modern amenities are also inlaid within the beautiful design.
for more options in Guanacaste
IN COSTA RICA:
for more options in Guanacaste
for more options in Puntarenas and surrounding areas
Papagallo by Occidental, Playa Manzanillo, Guanacaste
The Allegro Papagayo by
Occidental is located on the Gulf of Papagayo in northern Costa Rica on
the dryer and sunnier west coast. Situated on Manzanillo Beach, it is only
a 35 minutes drive from the International Airport in Liberia. Allegro Papagayo
Resort Hotel is perfect for your family vacation or romantic getaway. Enjoy
our lush tropical landscaping, the flora and fauna, accommodations, great
restaurants, and many activities that Allegro Papagayo offers. Relax in
one of our open air restaurants or bars and watch the sun go down on the
blue, tropical Pacific Ocean. The Allegro Papagayo has a nearby Beach
Club where you can enjoy your favorite beverages, use our lounge chairs
and maybe participate in water sports. Use our large tropical pool, with
a separate section for children.
Beach Resort, Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste
Situated in the province
of Guanacaste, on the northwest Pacific coast of Costa Rica, lies Flamingo
Beach Resort - an intimate oasis for travelers seeking an exotic, enchanting
escape. Picture yourself lounging on the pristine white sands of Flamingo
Beach - one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, framed by tall
coconut palms and lush mountain foliage. Engage in a wealth of available
water sports, explore spectacular national parks and charming villages
nearby, or simply relax in our spacious, well-appointed Costa Rica hotel
rooms. A scenic, 45-minute drive from Liberia International Airport brings
you to our tropical paradise. Come experience this premier beachfront hotel
in Costa Rica, reflecting a rich local heritage in an unspoiled natural
Barcelo Playa Langosta, Langosta, Guanacaste
Barcelo Playa Langosta Resort
and Casino is an all-inclusive property located next to the Tamarindo beach
area, approximately 30 miles from Liberia International Airport and over
225 miles from San Jose International Airport. This beach has reef for
snorkeling and surfing. The resort has a river mouth. Hotel amenities include
two a la carte restaurants, shopping boutique and gift shop, dance area,
casino, two pools (adults' and children's), Jacuzzi, pool bar, beach snack
Beach Resort, Ocotal Beach, Guanacaste
Ocotal is a four star beachfront
resort, a leader among Costa Rica's hotels and resorts, with an extra touch
in style, comfort and service. The property lies along the country's beautiful
northern Pacific coastline, a privileged location with panoramic breathtaking
views of Papagayo Gulf, offering an extensive variety of services, including
romantic honeymoon packages, weddings, the best scuba diving in Costa Rica,
sport fishing, exciting adventure tours, snorkeling trips, kayaks, mountain
bikes, superb cuisine, comfortable rooms, all with great ocean view and
surrounded with the captivating magic of the tropics.
for more options in Santa Cruz and surrounding areas
Resort by Hilton Puntarenas All Inclusive
This all-inclusive hotel
is located by the ocean, in Puntarenas. At this all-inclusive property
meals and beverages at on-site restaurants and bars, taxes, and gratuities
are included in room rates. Recreational activities and entertainment may
also be included. There may be charges for dining at some restaurants,
special dinners and dishes, some beverages, and other amenities. The hotel
has 2 outdoor swimming pools, a health club, a fitness facility, and a
children's pool. High-speed (wired) Internet access is available in public
areas (surcharges apply). Business amenities at this 3.5-star property
include a business center, meeting rooms for small groups, and secretarial
services. There are 7 restaurants as well as a bar/lounge, a poolside bar,
and a swim-up bar.
Sabanero Eco Lodge, near Santa Cruz
This Cana Fistula hotel
is situated by the ocean. Area attractions include Avellana Beach and Tamarindo
Beach. This Cana Fistula property has a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Wireless
Internet access is available in public areas (surcharges apply). For a
surcharge, guests have access to an airport shuttle. The staff can arrange
tour/ticket assistance and wedding services. Additional amenities include
an outdoor pool and a garden. Balconies are featured in guestrooms. Guestrooms
provide in-room safes. Guestrooms feature refrigerators. Additional amenities
include air conditioning.
Rica Vacation Guide by Jim Kesel
If you are embarking on a
Central or South American journey and Costa Rica is one of your stopovers,
then you certainly need to find a reliable Costa Rica vacation guide to
make the most out of your stay. To get a brief overview of what you should
learn from a good vacation guide, read on and be armed with the basics.
Costa Rica is part of Central
America and its neighboring countries are Nicaragua on the north and Panama
on the south. On its western side, there is the Pacific Ocean and on its
eastern side, there is the Caribbean Sea.
|You may be surprised to
know that the best time to visit Costa Rica is during the early parts of
the rainy season of May to July. Some towns in the country even experience
an elevation in terms of visitors, making the tourist officials regard
it as a 'mini-high season'. During this period, traveling might a bit more
challenging due to the slight downpours and rain showers. Pack your raingear
and bit more patience for the ultimate Costa Rican wild adventure. The
mountains and high plateau also offer cooler temperatures to the visitor.
There are many different
regions in Costa Rica. There are the Plains of the North, Guanacaste, Nicoya
Peninsula, Central Valley, Central Pacific, Caribbean Costa Rica, South
Costa Rica and Cocos Island National Park.
The capital city is Costa
Rica is San Jose and their official language is Spanish. Other cities in
the country are Alajuela which is the location of Juan Santamaría
International Airport, Cartago which is the country's first capital and
Heredia where tourists can visit coffee plantations. Quepos city is also
notable as it is located in the Central Pacific coast and is the entry
point to the Manuel Antonio National Park.
||There are also the cities
of Jacó which has a worldwide reputation as a surfing paradise and
where superb dining selection abounds, Liberia which is the gateway to
the fantastic beaches of Guanacaste and Pochote which is located on Whale
Bay near Puntarenas. Costa Rica's second largest international airport
is also located just outside of Liberia providing easy access.
Of course, an excellent Costa
Rica vacation guide book should not be quick to miss the cities of Puerto
Limón which considered the main city on the Caribbean side of the
country, Puntarenas where one can take the ferry going to Nicoya Peninsula,
Parismina which is located in Tortuguero Canals and Tamarindo City which
is also quite famous as a beach haven for tourists.
Although English is widely
used in some areas populated by tourists and many businesses are operated
by European entrepreneurs, it is recommended that you learn some Spanish
and a few frequently used Costa Rican expressions.
The Spanish words 'Ma'e'
means 'dude' and is generally used among friends; 'Pura Vida' literally
means 'pure life' but is used by Costa Ricans to express agreement or enthusiasm.
A 'pulpería' is a general merchandise store, while if you hear the
word 'tuanis', it should be an expression of 'okay' for most natives.
Costa Rica is a beautiful
tropical paradise that welcomes all visitors seeking an escape from the
hectic everyday stress of urban life. The people of Costa Rica are friendly
and helpful in providing you with a great vacation.
Rica Hotels / Costa Rica Vacation
|About the Author - James
Kesel, MS, is the publisher of the Inexpensive Costa Rica Vacation website.
Providing great information on vacations and travel in Costa Rica. Use
the www.costa-rica-source.com/vacationguide.html to plan you vacation in