The Monteverde Cloud Forest in the Tilaran Mountains of northwest Costa Rica is one of the world’s premiere destinations for naturalists. A cloud forest is an especially beautiful and rare type of rain forest created by frequent mists from low-lying clouds. This cool and moist environment is characterized by massive trees covered by thick “carpets” of small plants. Much of the resident wildlife is endemic to these habitats. In addition to forest hikes, visitors can enjoy many other area attractions including horseback riding; dining in numerous restaurants; live frog and butterfly exhibits; bird watching; crafts and gift shopping; “zip line” tours and bridge walks in forest canopies; a visit to a native orchid garden and more.
Also known as Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, it is only a 1.5 hour drive north of San Jose. One route takes you past the dramatically forested mountains of Braulio Carrilo National Park, the other past Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfalls. Lowland offers exceptional wild and birdlife. World famous La Selva Biological Station is located here. Monkeys, parrots, toucans, iguanas, caiman, sloths, poison dart frogs and basilisk lizards are regular rainforest residents.. The Sarapiquí River is great for Class III white water rafting upriver and wildlife boat cruises downriver.
The city of San José is the national capital and economic center of Costa Rica. It is currently undergoing a renaissance with pedestrian streets and modern high rise buildings. Yet it still retains much of its past multicultural heritage in restored elegant old buildings, historic statues and parks. Its many international restaurants offer excellent cuisine, and its theaters host numerous concerts and performances. Nightlife abounds in clubs with dancing to salsa, merengue, or rock music! San José has several public museums including The National Museum, Gold Museum and Jade Museum. All have excellent exhibits and the latter two feature artworks by prehistoric indigenous people.
The most noted feature of the Peninsula de Nicoya are the beaches. Each one has a dramatic coastal scenery and a small village with its own distinct charm. Some of the most popular are: Santa Teresa, Mal Pais, Montezuma, Tambor, Samara, Nosara and Carrillo. The Nicoya Peninsula is divided into the province of Guanacaste in the north, and the province of Puntarenas in the south. Water sports such as surfing, fishing, snorkeling and diving define much of the character of the Peninsula. With a distinct dry and warm climate for more than 6 months of the year, the Nicoya Peninsula is also known for its great weather.
This area is made up of highly scenic rocky areas and coves. Frequent rains nourish a very wet tropical forest rich in biodiversity. Many sport-fishing and diving tours to Isla del Caño depart from Drake, as well as tours to Corcovado National Park. The 100,000 acre wilderness park of Corcovado offers ancient forests, scarlet macaws, all four of the nation’s monkey species (the only park that does so), plenty of other wildlife and the slight possibility of encountering a jaguar. Although this region is remote and the rainforests pristine, attractive area nature lodges make one’s visit comfortable.