Costa Rica ecological tour planning made easy Costa Rica, in the middle of Central America, is a friendly and stable country, filled with long expanses of beach, lush green forest, mountain retreats, and a plethora of plant and wildlife. You can explore Costa Rica’s back roads on a mountain bike, swing through the forest tops on a canopy tour, and wrestle a billfish along the central Pacific coast. There’s also horseback riding, best-in-the-world windsurfing, kayaking, and just kicking back in a quiet cabin. A Costa Rica ecological tour has a lot to offer.
Bird and Wildlife Watching
With over 850 species of resident and migrant birds, a Costa Rica tour abounds in great bird-watching sites. For optimum viewing, spend the night at the Savegre Lodge off the road to San Isidro de El General. Quetzal sightings are almost guaranteed there. Alternately, head out to the La Poloma Lodge in Drake Bay, where you can sit on your cabin porch and watch the avian parade go by. Monteverde National Park, too, is filled with exotic birds and is perfect for day-trippers.
A canopy tour is the Costa Rica ecological tour that’s not to be missed. These one-of-a-kind tours allow visitors to experience the tropical rainforests and view the two-thirds of the wildlife there that lives in the canopy, the uppermost, branching layer of the forest. Most canopy tours involve strapping yourself into a climbing harness and being winched to a viewing platform some 100 feet above the forest flour. There are a series of viewing platforms and you click a harness and pulley arrangement to glide from one platform to the next. It’s not as difficult as it sounds and the operator will teach you all you need to know. It offers incredible viewing. Another option for less adventurous types is an aerial tram tour. There are currently two such trams in the country.
No Costa Rica ecological tour would be complete without a trip to the beach. With over 750 miles of shoreline on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, Costa Rica is a beach lover’s paradise. Try Santa Rosa National Park if you want to get away from it all. Though you’ll have to hike to the beach, the unpopulated expanse of sand there is worth the trek. Manuel Antonio was the first beach to become popular in Costa Rica and its idyllic beaches, framed by lush forests, still draw visitors. The newest hot spot in Costa Rica is Maipais, along the Central Pacific coast. Here you’ll find deserted beaches, great surf, and a smattering of surf camps, called “cabinas.”
San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city, is home base for many a Costa Rica ecological tour departures. The international airport is located here and the city is a good place to shop for the excellent home-grown coffee, spicy salsas, and colorful hand-crafted ideas, such as oxcarts, textiles, hammocks, and gold reproduction pre-Columbian jewelry. San Jose was built on coffee profits in the late 19th century and excellent examples of that period’s architecture, such as the lovely Teatro Nacional still stand. Also interesting is the Museo de Oro Banco Central, a locally directed museum that houses one of the largest collections of pre-Columbian gold in the Americas.
While in San Jose, enjoy one of the city’s many excellent restaurants. Costa Rican fare is hearty and features local seafood, plenty of beans and rice, plantains, and oxtail soup. Steakhouses, featuring South American beef, are popular in San Jose, as is Caribbean cuisine, and a wealth of diverse ethnic restaurants.