Are you thinking about getting away to a warm, tropical paradise during the winter season? Consider visiting Costa Rica for your next “winter” adventure. November through February are actually the best months to visit this country and be an eco tourist in Costa Rica and its peak season for outdoor recreational activities and for viewing the amazing wildlife. Costa Rica is an eco-tourist haven. Each region has different climates. For example, it only takes hours to get from their cold, mountain environment to the warm sandy beaches.
In a recent trip, my husband and I went to Costa Rica in September. Since it was the slow season, we were able to self-navigate and find many off-roading adventures. Despite knowing very little Spanish, we were able to navigate with the kind assistance from everyone we met through our travels.
Listed below is our seven-day itinerary if you want to be an eco tourist in Costa Rica:
Land in San Jose
Get some dollars exchanged to the local currency. You’ll want some local money to pay for tolls heading out of the airport and into the city. Rent a 4×4 vehicle (the roads in Costa Rica are treacherous) and get full insurance on the vehicle as well. You’ll be glad you did. Also, rent a GPS if you don’t have one already. We downloaded a map of Costa Rica on our Garmin and it was better than struggling with a handheld map.
Drive out and stay a couple days in a beach town
There are many different beach towns within a two- to four-hour drive from San Jose. Witch Rock Surf Camp is the surf capital of Costa Rica. It is located in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. It’s a hub for ex-pats. Right around the area is a wildlife refuge where you can hire a guide to take you through the marshlands and spot wildlife. Around Tamarindo is also Playa Negra (a black sand beach of Costa Rica). There’s a very quaint inn called Cafe Playa Negra that you can stay or dine at. The restaurant is a fusion of Peruvian, Costa Rican, and Spanish flavors. We actually stayed in a more family-oriented resort near Liberia called Villa de Sol in Playa Hermosa. Liberia is a great choice if you plan on taking day trips to nearby Nicaragua or visit more “remote” volcanoes.
Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest
We drove about an hour and a half to the nearby town of Santa Elena from Playa Hermosa. There are coffee plantations, waterfalls, and eco-tours you can participate in the area. In addition, Arenal Volcano, an active volcano, is also in the area. The lake is really majestic (even though it’s an artificial lake built as part of the construction of a hydroelectric dam). Stay for a night in the many hotels in the Monteverde/Arenal area. The view is truly breathtaking.
Spend a few days exploring art in the San Jose area
We stayed at a boutique hotel called Corteza Amarilla near San Jose. It’s close enough to Poas Volcano and the artisan town of Sarchi (where you can find lots of Costa Rican souvenirs and crafts). Located in Santa Ana is also a famous ex-pat woodworker, Barry Biesanz. Go check out his studio and his beautiful wood crafts. Lastly, spend a day touring the National Museums and Art Theatre.