Learn about Costa Rica by reading Fiery
Sunsets in an Eco-Paradise by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel Writer. It
features a mini, but thorough tour of the destination, plus all
you'll need to know to plan your trip including getting there, objective
information on places to stay and eat, and things to do. At the
end of the article, we've provided a summary of the contact information
for your easy reference. Enjoy!
Fiery Sunsets in an Eco-Paradise - Costa Rica, Central America
by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel Writer and WTA
Monkeys are everywhere in Costa Rica!
Photo courtesy of Sandy Zimmerman
Costa Rica, which means “rich coast” in Spanish, offers large
areas of undisturbed rainforest, excellent luxury hotels and beautiful
beach resorts. It’s bordered to the north by Nicaragua, Panama to
the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea
to the east and is officially known as the Republic of Costa Rica.
In 1502, Christopher Columbus made the first European landfall to
this area, which was his fourth and last voyage to the New World.
Settlement began in 1522.
Costa Rica is the most visited nation in Central America and
since 1999 tourism earns more than the combined exports of the country's
three main crops: bananas, pineapples and coffee. Eco-tourism is
extremely popular with many tourists visiting the extensive national
parks and protected areas around the country. Costa Rica was a pioneer
in this type of tourism and the country is recognized as one of
the few with real eco-tourism.
Imagine a country where monkeys are everywhere! It’s a thrill
to look up in the trees and see monkeys along the main highways
and even at restaurants. Because Costa Rica requires builders to
devote a large percentage of their property to nature, visitors
have many choices of seeing the jungle, beaches, volcanoes, and
exciting villages. Approximately 25% of the country's land resides
in protected national parks and/or areas, which is the largest percentage
of protected areas in the world.
Poás Volcano National Park covers approximately 16,000 acres
with the summit being 8,900 feet. Poás Volcano is located in the
Central Volcanic Conservation Area near the Pacific Coast. Its main
crater is 950 feet deep and is active with small geyser and lava
eruptions, with the last major eruptions occurring during 1952-54.
Two additional craters are also located in the park - the extinct
Von Frantzuis crater and the Botos crater, which is a beautiful,
cold, green, crater-lake with a diameter of 1,200 feet. The Botos
crater has not erupted for about 7,500 years.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is home to about 2,000 plant
including numerous orchids.
Over 400 types of birds can be found here, and over 100 species
of mammals. As a whole, approximately 800 species of birds have
been identified in Costa Rica. Corcovado National Park is very popular
with tropical ecologists and you can expect to see an abundance
of wildlife here as well. National Geographic has even called it
"the most biologically intense place on Earth". Another national
park that you might like to visit is Tortuguero National Park. It
also has an incredible biological variety due to the existence of
its eleven different habitats, including rainforest, swamps, beaches,
and lagoons. It has a tropical climate, is very humid, and receives
up to 250 inches of rain a year.
Costa Rican beaches are often referred to as the most idyllic and
beautiful in the world. With a coastline that stretches over 1,100
miles, Costa Rica is home to a multitude of amazingly breathtaking
beaches. From rocky shores to gorgeous white sand beaches, the fantastic
coast offers something for everyone. Golden, gray, black, and pink
sand beaches can be found all along the coast and most of them are
very close to each other. Some of the most famous beaches are Esterillos,
Jaco, Hermosa and Boca Barranca.
Be sure to visit the Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica (National
Theater of Costa Rica) which is located in the central section of
San José. Construction began on the theatre in 1891, and it opened
to the public on October 21, 1897, having performances several times
a week. Performances by the National Symphonic Orchestra (NSO) take
place at the theatre during NSO's regular season, and include both
Costa Rican and foreign composers.
Costa Rica is truly an eco-paradise beckoning you with adventures!
Choose any type of eco-adventure from white-water rapids, floating
on a raft down the river among the crocodiles and birds, a jungle
walk, or go horseback riding in the rainforest. Via Tur Travel (www.viaturcostarica.com)
creates tours especially for you. The stops on your tour will be
special, not just a break from traveling. Eat lunch at the residence
of one of the former presidents of Costa Rica, learn how to milk
a cow, hike to the top of a volcano, or take a boat ride through
the jungle. Whether you’re visiting for business or vacation, they
accommodate all tourists. Would you like a highlights tour or a
special interest tour? Or are you looking for a pampering, self-indulgent,
If you are seeking a unique setting for a wedding, Via Tur will
suggest some of the most beautiful locations on a beach, in the
jungle, at a ranch, near a volcano, on a catamaran, or even a traditional
ceremony. There are meeting, conference and convention facilities
in San Jose and throughout the country. This is the best place to
mix business with pleasure by taking unique tours before or after
Places to Stay
The restaurant at the Bahia del Sol Hotel includes outdoor dining.
Photo courtesy of Sandy Zimmerman
The Bahia del Sol Beachfront Hotel Resort (www.potrerobay.com)
offers secluded beaches and an abundance of nature. You will see
very few people for 5 miles on each side of the Potrero Beach. The
Bahia del Sol is an experience! You can watch the sunset and dine
at a table on the beach surrounded by flaming torches. Gentle ocean
breezes caress you as you listen to the sound of the waves reaching
Whatever you have in mind, the event planner can make your dreams
come true. Go barefoot in the sand, have your event under a palapa,
at the pool, or on the grass. They use sand, flowers, shells, fruit
and nature for their decorations! Parties or weddings can be arranged
on a yacht or sailboat with everyone arriving back at the resort
for the reception. You can also try Costa Rican, Hawaiian or other
The statue garden at the Hotel Parador Boutique
Resort is a must see.
Photo courtesy of Sandy Zimmerman
Surrounded by a 25 acre rainforest jungle, the Hotel Parador
Boutique Resort and Spa (www.hotelparador.com)
is in a setting created by nature just for their guest’s enjoyment.
The Parador’s unique Caribbean beauty and jungle adventures are
combined with the luxury of a Roman-style villa. You can see views
of the Pacific Ocean and jungle from the rooms, pools, and restaurant.
The owners brought many of the furnishings, art works and statues
from Europe. While walking through the garden paths, every turn
brings a unique Romanesque statue. The interior décor has touches
of early English knights, Italian pillars, and even Don Quixote,
the Man of La Mancha. With such a beautiful setting, it is not surprising
the Parador holds 25 weddings each year either at their bougainvillea
roof terrace, garden, pools, or banquet rooms. Whatever type of
conference or affair you want, they can do it. You decide the theme.
If you want to savor a luxurious body treatment, their Pacifica
Spa offers therapeutic massages, a whirlpool, a plunge pool, Swiss
showers, steam room and even yoga.
You can also take the Monkey Trail from the Parador to the cliffs,
then hike through the rainforest and return to the hotel an entirely
different way along a small meadow. What an adventure!
When a hotel embodies the essence of adventure, it becomes an
outpost to escape from the world. Arrive at the entrance of the
Alta Hotel (www.thealtahotel.com)
and immediately realize that this resort is going to be different
from all of the others. The architecture resembles a Moorish-Spanish
castle with the theme carried throughout the rooms. Curved arches
top the doors and walkways, hand-crafted metal work grace the chandeliers,
balconies, and even toilet paper holders. The executive chef encourages
guests to challenge him if they want anything special. Diverse selections
such as Moroccan chicken, Dwenjang Korean salmon, Indian T-bone
steak, seafood gumbo, Cajun calamari, jambalaya rice, and more are
offered! You can order anything on the menu at any time of the day.
The chefs are ready for parties, weddings and business conferences
in their banquet room, around the pool, and in the garden.
Costa Rica is serviced by several airlines which offer direct
flights from the United States to their capital San Jose.
Costa Rica Convention & Visitors Bureau,
Notice: This information is current as
of November 2008. It is recommended that you contact the numbers,
and/or visit the websites above to determine any changes to the