Even during its rainy season, Costa Rica is frequented by thousands of tourists for its gorgeous gulf waters, lush tropical forests and abundant wildlife. Most travelers begin in their journey in Alajuela, if for any reason because of its Juan Santamaria International Airport. From here a cab can rush you off to the capital of San José for about £12. The architecture and tourist scene here is slightly mediocre, and unless you are hankering for the world’s best churros or a visit to the Museums of Jade or PreColumbian Gold, you might want to give the city a miss.
Instead begin along the northern pacific region of Guanacaste, known as the tropical dry forest region and prized by locals and expats for its beautiful beaches and superb surfing. Explore Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park’s millions of exotic flowers and plants, bubbling mud pits and sulphur pools. Otherwise Guanacaste is a fairly sporty destination. The Pan-American Highway runs along the coast, and its nice to stop beach towns like Playa Negra and Playa Azul for a seafood lunch, some snorkeling, kayaking, golfing and big sport fishing, all of which attract serious sports enthusiasts to the region annually in droves.
Buff surfers and their groupies, not to mention of slew of beach vagrants, tend to orbit around the south in Dominical, an area known or its fabulous beaches, challenging rip tides and blinding mango sunsets. Surfing novices might take a class at Alejandro Cerdes Costa Rica Surf Camp, Green Iguana Surf Camp or Tres Olas Surf Camp—take your pick, there are numerous others to choose from. Whale watching and snorkeling are also major attractions here, with just as many tour operators as there are surfing camps.
The northern plains of Costa Rica are less lively and sparsely populated, yet home to some of the country’s most lunar looking environments as a result of the active Arenal Volcano. The area is mountainous and stunning, with loads of fun activities to occupy your time like hiking along hanging bridges, cave explorations and dozens of thermal pools and hot springs.
End your sojourn in Corcovado National Park, a rainforested section of southern Costa Rica deemed over and over again to be one of the most biologically populated places on the planet. The rainforest is an Eden of rivers, waterfalls, rockformations and beaches, complimented by hundreds of species of birds, like Scarlet Macaws; mammals like pumas and monkeys, and amphibians such as crocodiles and frogs. Corcovado Expeditions (www.corcovadoexpeditions.net), offers some of the best tours of the park, which is an excellent place to spend a couple of days alone or with friends and family.