Costa Rica’s rich abundance of biodiversity and natural beauty soon drains a travel writer’s pool of adjectives to describe its numerous microclimates. Fortunately for the Costa Rica visitor, there’s no shortage of verbs to squander on just about any outdoor activity imaginable. For a country roughly the size of West Virginia, it’s home to nearly five percent of all species found on the planet. This incredible combination of scenic backdrops and biodiversity coupled with numerous things to do make Costa Rica a unique, one-stop-for-all-things in Central America, especially for American tourists looking to chase away the winter blues.
Most tourists enter through Costa Rica’s capitol, San Jose. Flight times from New York City and Los Angeles run at about five and six hours respectively, while Houston departures clock in at about three-and-a-half hours. The Costa Rica tourist board provides a list of international and domestic air carriers which operate in Costa Rica.
Tourism is naturally Costa Rica’s primary source of income in a country that has set aside 26 percent of its land for national parks and protected areas. The best time to visit is during the dry season from mid-December to April, according to U.S. News & World Reports. For Americans stuck in the thick of winter, the timing couldn’t be better.
Surf and Sand
Costa Rica shares long tracks of coastline with the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Surfers and beach-goers have plenty of opportunities to soak in some rays and explore many of Costa Rica’s beaches and water activities. Guanacaste is Costa Rica’s “Gold Coast” along the Pacific, and is the country’s most-visited region, while Puerto Viejo (Caribbean side) is home to Costa Rica’s biggest waves.
One of Costa Rica’s biggest draws – quite literally – is the Arenal Volcano. Located near the town of Fortuna (reachable by car or bus from San Jose), there are many sightseeing opportunities that combine viewings of Arenal. Visitors have better chances of unobstructed views of the mountain between the months of February and April.
For those who don’t like to “take it easy,” Costa Rica offers the usual package of outdoor experiences common to most touristy tropical locales, such as golf, snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding, hiking, and surfing. But the more adventurous may be interested in spelunking (cave exploring) and zip lining.
The Inquisitr reports that Costa Rica consistently ranks high in happiness surveys, and was named the “Happiest Place in the World” in 2014.