Costa Rica is a natural beauty: we enjoy 1250 miles of uncrowded and secluded coastlines on two oceans, and in between the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans are 33 national parks, over 55 volcanoes, 16 wildlife refuges, hundreds of private and public protected reserves and the world’s happiest people. In addition to your personal gratification your vacation here helps supply the funds needed to maintain one of the world’s most bio-diverse countries.
With all the new flight from the U.S. & Canada to both San Jose & Liberia airports and British Airways launching its new direct flight from London Gatwick to San José, one of Central America’s safest, greenest and most developed nations is suddenly a lot closer to the UK, U.S. & Canada. Already a favorite with American travelers, this diminutive country’s appeal is multi-faceted. The most obvious draw is its breathtaking natural beauty. Costa Rica’s coastline looks out on to two oceans, and between these are 32 national parks (a quarter of the land mass), 60-plus volcanoes, 15 wildlife refuges and hundreds of protected reserves. All this makes for animal and bird watching that is the envy of far bigger countries – and even continents (Costa Rica has more butterflies than Europe & more birds than N. America and Canada combined).
To make matters even better, 27 years ago, Costa Rica’s government decided to bet on controlled eco-tourism over the gated, mass-market offering found in places like Cuba, Dominican Republic and Aruba. The accent was, and remains, on adventure and active holidays and mixing with locals. This doesn’t mean food and drink and luxurious accommodation aren’t available; it just means that the focus of your trip will be spotting monkeys, tracking down the rare resplendent quetzal, walking through the canopy, mountain biking or white-water rafting. December to April is high season, because it’s also dry season, rainy season is May – Nov – meaning quieter beaches but some tricky back roads, which quickly turn to mud. 2 WD is fine for dry season but 4 WD is recommended for rainy season.
Walk and watch
For a small country – it comes after Bosnia and Herzegovina on the size ranking– Costa Rica crams in extraordinary biodiversity. With Bill Beard’s it is ideal for first-time visitors who want to sample the country’s highlights without any fuss, taking in the Manuel Antonio National Park, which boasts gorgeous beaches as well as protected forests – home to sloths, pelicans, white-faced monkeys and anteaters – the dreamily beautiful Monteverde Cloud Forest, and the Arenal volcano, one of Costa Rica’s most picturesque. There are many breath-taking hikes & boat rides available, and extra excursions can be added, including white water rafting, zip lining, canoeing and horse back riding.
Costa Rica’s roads are safer, more scenic and quieter than those of its neighbors and having four wheels opens up un-touristy towns and villages. Journey Latin America’s 14-day self-drive journey starts off with a trip east to Caño Blanco to catch a boat to Tortuguero National Park (to which there is no road access) to see caiman, iguanas, river turtles and more than 320 species of birds including toucans and parrots. Next come cacao-growing areas and a stunning drive up to the Monteverde cloud forest, to see more flora and fauna and perhaps take a ride on a zip line. A journey north on the Pan-American Highway concludes at the Rincón de La Vieja National Park, set around an active volcano, and surrounded by lush cattle-raising cowboy country.
It’s not only sloths who get to chill in Costa Rica. While many beaches are framed by jungles and wild-looking landscapes, they can still be used for the usual beach stuff: sunbathing, swimming, sport fishing, surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving. The Nicoya Peninsula is physically separate from most of the country and its balmy blue waters are a fixture on the American surf itinerary. Dirt roads are motorbike-friendly and it’s easy to move between hip Malpais and Santa Teresa and arty Manzanillo. Hotels run the gamut from ultra-exclusive boutique pads and full-service resorts to surf shacks and house lets. The food in Nicoya is probably the best in the country, with some swanky poolside restaurants around Santa Teresa.
The resplendent quetzel, arguably the most beautiful bird in the world . Most travelers tick off a few dozen birds and butterflies, perhaps a mammal or two. But a Costa Rica birding itinerary is aimed at those who are serious about their binocular-usage and committed to full pro “twitcher” khaki get-up and to pre-dawn getting up, too. Taking in the tropical forests of the Carara National Park on the Pacific coast, the wetlands of the La Ensenada Wildlife Reserve and Monteverde, the guided group will expect to spot wonders such as the emerald toucanet, the long-tailed silky flycatcher and a vast array of hummingbirds, trogons, woodcreepers, manakins, tanagers and other species. The high point for many is a sighting of the resplendent quetzal, probably one of the most beautiful birds in the world.
As Central America’s most adventure-focused destination, Costa Rica has become a favorite with the new generation of avid hikers. Exodus’s popular 14-night Coast-to-Coast Ride takes in a long stretch of the beautiful Pacific seaboard, including the Manuel Antonio National Park and the less explored Osa peninsula, visiting indigenous spherical rock sculptures and working palm plantations. After stopping at the species-rich Wilson Botanical Gardens, famous for its orchids, the group enjoys a breezy downhill ride, while the crossing of the 11,000-foot Cerro de la Muerte Pass is by bus. The group visits a coffee ranch to see harvesting and processing, and cycles past the Turrialba and Irazú volcanoes. When not in the saddle, there are river launch transfers and kayaking is available as an additional excursion.
Boat Trips put you in touch with nature without the need to build additional roads
Boat trips are very popular for wildlife observation and we have several to choose from depending on your itinerary and location. Cano Negro is teaming with wildlife as well as the Tempisque and Palo Verde Rivers. If you really want to see a jungle then try Tortuguero Canals that run from Puerto Limon to Tortuguero.
On any of these motorized wildlife observations tours you will see monkeys, toucans, scarlet mccaws, crocodiles, lots of birds such as broad billed herons, the ever popular Jesus Christ lizard and much more.
Families and other fauna
Costa Rica is great for the best kind of family holiday – that is, one that incorporates lots of outdoor fun, a bit of eco-minded education and some memorable encounters with wildlife. keeps family groups busy with humpback whale-watching off Drakes Bay, a river trip aboard a raft on the Rio Tempisque, mountain hiking at the foot of the Arenal volcano, a canopy tour and ziplining through the rainforest and some beach time at the Manuel Antonio National Park. There’s a good chance of seeing monkeys, sloths and iguanas, as well as lots of birds, at all sites.
Snorkeling & Sunsets
Just about all visitors to Costa Rica will get adventurous for some of the time, some extreme, some medium exertion and some just a relaxing adventure to snorkle, fish, eat, drink, sail and watch the sun go down over the Pacific. Cruise along the Pacific Coast watching for humpback whales, orcas, dolphins, turtles and flying fish. Snorkel in secluded bay with included snorkeling equipment. Open bar is included for the duration of tour, and the crew will prepare a light meal and delicious snacks. Pull anchor, raise the sails and watch the spectacular pacific sunset sky explode into a multitude of colors. The tour ends as the sun sinks below the horizon.
104 Adventure Tours That Bill Beard’s Operates Throughout Costa Rica: LEARN MORE
Our agents can set up the all inclusive or al a carte vacation package and itinerary you want throughout the country. We can add any or all of these tours and activities to your vacation. There is no charge for our service and we’ll save you money and lots of time and you’ll get the vacation you want.
*We have a wonderful NEW DVD, it is 23 minutes: LEARN MORE
Bill Beard’s Costa Rica has privately escorted tours and first class accommodations throughout the country that may be added to other packages.
Our Reservation Office Is Located In La Fortuna, Costa Rica In The Shadow Of Arenal Volcano, behind the Catholic Church, Near The World Famous Hot Springs.
Sign up for our Latest Newsletter & Adventure Travel Deals
IMPORTANT NOTE – Please be advised that every reasonable effort has been made to keep all prices up to date and free of errors or omissions. Prices and policies from our vendors and the Costa Rican government are or omissions. Prices and policies from our vendors and the Costa Rican government are subject to change without notice. Invoices will be issued at the time of booking to confirm all final rates and offers.