Costa Rica offers a multitude of outdoor adventure activities, including hiking, jungle exploration, bird watching, whitewater boating, and surfing, among others. Costa Rica boasts over 20 national parks and 9 volcanoes. It has miles of beaches fronting both the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts, high mountains in the interior, and all sorts of tropical wet and dry forests. Prepackaged ecotourism is well developed in many areas of the country, although it is still possible to venture off the beaten track and find a true adventure.
Costa Rica has a great variety of natural habitats for such a small country, and a high diversity of species. It has been said that Costa Rica has the greatest diversity of species (numbers per unit area) of any country on the planet. Thus wildlife watching is good almost anywhere except areas that have been developed. Costa Rica is a bird watcher’s paradise, as 850 species are known from the country.
Manuel Antonio beach
Beaches and surfing
Costa Rica has many incredible beaches, and is a popular surfing destination, because of the warm water and lack of crowds. Because Costa Rica has both Atlantic and Pacific Coasts to catch swells from both oceans, any time of the year one can find good surf somewhere in the country. There are literally dozens of breaks along each coast, some best surfed by experts only. A popular spot for beginners is Jaco, the closest beach to San Jose. Although Jaco has been criticized for over development, the surf is consistent, boards and lessons are readily available, and it is possible to get in some good wildlife watching even here. (Hike up Miro’s Mountain, a network of trails, the entrance to which is across the highway from the gas station to the south of town.)
White faced monkey
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Interactive map of Costa Rica