Why Costa Ricas Pacific Coast?
Costa Ricas Pacific Coast is comprised of the Guanacaste and Puntarenas provinces, which are brimming with the eco-experiences that Costa Rica is famous for. Youll find volcano-lake kayaking, cloud forests, surfing, and Costa Ricas lushest protected national park, among more exciting pursuits. Youre in for a feast of muchbetter adventures!
Monteverde is a small town in the Puntarenas province in Costa Ricas north pacific. Here youll find one of the lushest Cloud Forests in the world, complete with ziplining, butterfly gardens (with the famous Blue Morpho butterflies among other breeds), and homey hostels with beautiful panoramic views of the valley.
Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve alone is home to three-wattled bellbirds, bare-necked umbrellabirds, keel-billed toucans, long-tailed manakins, and resplendent quetzals, as well as white-faced and howler monkeys, jaguars, agouti, and the three-toed sloths. Visitors may hire guides from the national park centre, and even zipline through the forest canopy to further their cloud forest experience.
From Monteverde, you can easily find and take the well known Jeep-Boat-Jeep combination to the town of La Fortuna, home to Arenal Volcano. Arenal Volcano is Costa Ricas youngest and most active volcano, and in fact ranks in the worlds top 10 most active as well. It regularly spews or dribbles fresh lava for visitors to marvel at, which makes it one of Costa Ricas must-see attractions.The quaint town of LaFortuna is littered with hostels, restaurants, bars, and tons of tour operators offering kayaking, ATV adventures, horse riding, waterfall hikes, Arenal Lake kayaking, Sarapiqui river white water rafting the list is endless. Also be sure to check out the various hot springs in LaFortuna as well Baldi hot springs offers the most comfortable prices and has a pretty solid springs-and-dinner package. Look out for the famous Fat Lady welcoming statue in the entrance!
Further south, Playa Jaco (Jaco Beach) is a haven for surf fiends. Visitors can expect great waves and an assortment of classy hotels, laid back hostels, and buzzing nightlife. Check out The Surfer Factory Surf School, which has 3 locations along the beach, offering hostel accommodation, board rental, and instructors if desired, all for comfortable prices. Jaco can get a bit seedy at night, but is a popular destination with locals and foreigners alike remember, its only 4 hours from the capital San Jose.
If sun and sand are your kind of thing, more beautiful beaches can be found in Manuel Antonio National Park. The park is made up for four sprawling white sand beaches, sheltered by lush rainforests. Visitors can go snorkeling, diving, sea kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking here. As one might expect with a Costa Rican park, Manuel Antonio boasts an astounding variety of ecology, wildlife and birds: toucans, parakeets, dolphins, whales, iguanas, and 3 of Costa Ricas 4 monkey species.
Finally, we have Corcovado National Park, located in the Osa Peninsula of South West Costa Rica. Corcovado protects the biggest forest onf the American Pacific coastline, as well as one of the last lowland tropical rainforests in the world. Camping is allowed at various spots of the forest near the San Perdillo, La Leona, and Los Patos ranger stations.
Hiking routes through the forest often bypass natural waterfalls, rivers, and natural habitats. Corcovado is home to a host of exotic animals such as the gold frog, four species of sea turtle, golden orb spiders, and even the extremely endangered Harpy Eagle. Corcovado has been famously described as the most biologically intense place on Earth by National Geographic definitely well deserved!
Favourite Spot for Surfing on the Pacific Coast?
Jaco is your best bet frequented all year round by locals and foreigners, and being so close to the Central Valley, theres not much need to look any further. Theres also bound to be youths kicking footballs around on the beach and its quite easy to strike up an impromptu kickabout.
Favourite Spot for Hiking?
Bit of a trick question you cant really go wrong anywhere on the pacific coast. Arenal Volcano is a real eye opener, and its charming setting in the town of La Fortuna is quite accessible to Monteverde, so in those two youve got a good combo option. Corcovado National Park probably offers a bigger myriad of wildlife to admire, and camping, whilst Manuel Antonios hiking is a bit more laid back and includes white sand beaches.
Favourite Spot for Sport Fishing?
Costa Ricas Pacific Coast is widely regarded to be one of the best deep sea fishing in the world. Even a novice like myself caught a small roosterfish after an hour see picture! Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, and Roosterfish are caught all year round, but for those more ambitious and experienced anglers, ask around for when 100 pounders are most plentiful. Check out Cabo Blanco on Flamingo Beach, Gulf of Papagayo its one of the countrys more known sport fishing centres.
Favourite Sport for Kayaking?
Arenal again who wouldnt want to kayak in a volcanos lake? Damas Island also offers a spot of mangrove kayaking, with nighttime options.
Manuel Antonio is the jewel in the crown. Guanacastes Playa Hermosa isnt bad either, and although Playa Jaco is more famed for its surfing, the sea mist that mingles with the beachside palm trees is a beautiful sight.
Favourite Places for Food?
Id recommend any homey looking Soda that you can find. Sodas are Costa Rican diners that serve local favourite dishes. I recommend the Casado con Bisteak (Casado with steak). Casados are large plates of rice, beans, potatoes, vegetables, and salad, usually eaten with a slice of steak, pulled pork, fried fish, or other meat. A decent Casado will cost around 1500-2200 Colones (About 3-5 USD) and can be quite enormous. Also look out for Platanos (fried plantains), Lengua (cows tongue), and Olla de Carne (a big bowl of meaty vegetable soup).
Favourite Watering Holes?
Jaco has the most active bar scene that I know of youll find a variety of watering holes down the main street no problem.
Anything else I should know about Costa Ricas Pacific side when Im planning my muchbetter adventure?
Get yourself kitted out! Such is the variety of outdoor activities available on the Pacific coast youll be grateful for sturdy shoes, waterproof jackets, and a trusty backpack. If youre looking to party, head for Playa Jaco.
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