Costa Rica is the home of 'Eco-Tourism'. With so many diverse natural attractions it is no mystery why. Although Costa Rica is geographically a small country, there are an endless number of places to see. Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse places in the world. More than a quarter of Costa Rica is under some category of protection including the 11 conservation areas made up of a total of 161(or more) national parks, wildlife refuges, biological reserves,protected zones, forest reserves and wetlands. With so many natural wonders to explore, the most difficult thing is choosing which to visit first.
Depending on your interests, you can bask in the sun at any one of the more than 50 beaches, visit some of the more than 160 parks, reserves and conservation areas, or visit one of the most active volcanoes in the world. San Jose and Cartago, among other cities, house some of the country's most interesting museums, including the Gold Museum and the National Theater.
The National Park system was established in 1970. Since that time, the network of national parks and other protected areas has grown (and continues to grow), leading to Costa Rica's thriving ecotourism and to the successful protection of diverse natural habitats found throughout the country. Lots of activities are available in any one of Costa Rica's 26 national park; from scuba diving and snorkeling, hiking and kayaking to bird and wildlife viewing and whale watching. You won't be bored while visiting Costa Rica. Butterfly gardens and other natural history museums like serpentariums and ranarios (snake and frog museums, respectively) allow for close observation of Costa Rica's wildlife, and provide good places to visit on rainy days.
Costa Rica is a paradise of exceptionally beautiful beaches. It is blessed with more than 800 miles of coastline divided between the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Picture perfect, palm-lined beaches and a relaxed atmosphere make Costa Rica one of the best kept secrets in Latin America. With so much coastline, it is easy to find a deserted stretch of beach to laze the day away. Tropical forests teeming with birds and monkeys line the seashore, offering patches of shade and wild entertainment. Warm, turquoise waters grace the sandy shores and coconut palm trees dance in the breeze. On all of Costa Rica's beaches, the first 50 meters above the median high tide is considered protected public lands and many beaches are Ecological Blue Flag recipients.
Adventure seekers will be thrilled and beach bums will be tanned, relaxed and rejuvenated. Our beaches, rainforests, rivers, coral reefs and volcanoes provide a wide array of activities including bird & wildlife watching, surfing, whitewater rafting and snorkeling. With so many activities available in Costa Rica, there is always something to do!
Images and descriptive text courtesy of the Costa Rica Tourism Board.