North Costa Rica
According to 800zipcodes, the northern part of the country, adjacent to the Nicaraguan border, differs markedly in its natural complexes from the center of the country. The main element of the landscape here is the tropical plains “llanuras”, overgrown with high evergreen vegetation. This area is little visited by tourists and prone to floods, but this does not detract from its merits. The main attractions of this area are the caves of Venado, the Caño Negro Forest Reserve (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Caño Negro), the waterfalls of La Paz and San Rafael, the Sarapiqui region with its forest tourist camps and research stations of La Selva and Rara-Eivis, as well as the area of archaeological excavations in Kutris.
The eastern part of the country is a zone of winding canals, selva, picturesque mountain ranges and an original population. Here they speak a strange mixture of Spanish, English and Indian languages, listen to reggae, grow cocoa and rice, and the indigenous people of the country live in forest reserves, where access to tourists is limited.
The most colorful city in the eastern part of the country is Limon. Not the safest and far from the cleanest city in the country, it is famous for its markets, the Ethnohistorical Museum, the Carnival (October 12), the luxurious Playa Bonita beach, as well as the largest diaspora of Jamaicans, with all the relevant attributes. Noteworthy are the Estrella Nature Reserve, Itoy Serere Park (part of the La Amistad International Park), coral reefs, the famous black sand beach in Cahuita and the National Park of the same name, rafting through the jungle channels from Tortuguero to Barra del Colorado, La Salsa Puerto Viejo Brava (one of the best surf spots in the country), Bribri “banana country”, numerous Indian reservations on the territory of the international park Itoy Serere (La Amistad), as well as the magnificent beaches of Playa Piriciki, Playa Chiquita,
The northern part of the Atlantic coast is absolutely flat and dotted with a whole network of channels. In terms of precipitation (more than 5000 mm per year), this area occupies one of the first places in the world, so the climate here is quite difficult for Europeans unadapted to such conditions. But on the other hand, there are luxurious fishing, vast tracts of rain forests and a huge number of wild animals.
The most attractive for most tourists are the northwestern part of the country. The climate here is milder, and it rains less than in the rest of the country. Luxurious beaches stretch here for many hundreds of kilometers, and the concern of the government of the country about the environment is most clearly visible – in recent years, through the efforts of the authorities here, in parallel with the development of tourism infrastructure, environmental technologies are being introduced, which allows us to consider local beaches the cleanest in Central America, and natural complexes – one of the most unusual in the country. In addition to the beautiful tourist complexes of the Nicoya and D’Osa peninsulas, which can be listed for hours, it is worth visiting the Kourou nature reserve, the Baya Ballena whale bay, rocky bays and waterfalls near Montezuma, the Wilson Botanical Garden (part of La Amistad Park), the Ostjonal reserve protecting sea turtles and the country’s first wildlife reserve of Cabo Blanco, Corcovado Park and Caño Island, the picturesque bay of Baia Draque (Drake Bay), the Marenco Reserve, the Golfito Free Trade Zone, Santa Rosa National Park, the resort town of Jaco and Isla Bolanos National Forest Fauna Reserve. One of the most attractive cities in Costa Rica is located here – the “white city” of Liberia, Guanacaste National Park with Orosi (1486 m) and Cocoa (1660 m) volcanoes, numerous mud volcanoes and hydrogen sulfide springs in the Rincon de National Park. la Vieja, the Arenal volcano and the lake of the same name (by the way, popular with windsurfers), Tabacon hot springs, Catarata de la Fortuna waterfalls, Monteverde rainforest reserve, Santa Elena Forest reserve.
The country is also ideal for active recreation. It is best known among surfers who have long chosen the local shores. On the Atlantic coast, beaches suitable for this sport can be found in the area of Puerto Viejo (Salsa Brava, Playa Cocles) and Limona (Playa Bonita). Much more popular is the Pacific coast in the Mal Pais, Santa Teresita, Playa Grande, Playa Jaco, Playa Carillo, Playa Hermosa, Playa Esterrillos Oeste, Playa Dominical and Playa Pabones, as well as quieter waters in the area of Playa Tambor, Playa Naranjo, Playa Herradura and Playa Manzanillo. The best time for the “big wave” here is the period from July to August.
Windsurfing is cultivated on Lake Arenal, located at an altitude of 1700 m above sea level. The lake is deservedly considered one of the best places on the planet for practicing this sport – the winds here are quite strong and constant, especially from April to December. The best places for scuba diving are the hard-to-reach islands of Isla del Coco and Caco Island, the beaches of Playa Flamingo, Playa Junquial, Nosara and Playa Lapita. The area of the Ballen Marine National Reserve, the Baia Draque area and, of course, Cahuita with its famous coral reef, which is part of the National Park of the same name, are famous for their underwater world.
The Pacific Coast, from Papagayo Bay to Golfito, is known for its excellent sport fishing grounds. Sailboat, marlin, tuna and wahoo are traditional local trophy fish. The Tortuguero canals and the area around Barra del Colorado are famous for their excellent freshwater fish catches, and trout is caught in many of the country’s mountain rivers.