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 Islands Information

Place: Costa Rica

Experience an Exotic Costa Rica Vacation
By Caitlin Moore

Stories of political unrest, hurricanes, and not-so-tourist-friendly areas have a way of scaring people away from visiting Central America come vacation time. However, you’d be wise to investigate the situation for yourself before crossing Costa Rica off your list. This beautiful, surprisingly quiet and peaceful country has all the qualities that make for an exotic and relaxing trip, so consider this oasis for your next holiday if you’re in the mood for something different yet delightful.

Costa Rica has miles of coastline to take advantage of, so if you want to surf, snorkel, or just laze on the beach you won’t have to look too far. Along this line of thinking, some consider Nicoya Peninsula to be the most beautiful spot in the country. Popular beaches border a tropical yet dry rainforest where agricultural and ranching developments are also found. Fun mixes with authentic terrain here, and you’ll find that the result is almost overwhelming.

Wildlife preserves and parks will acquaint you with Costa Rica’s focus on conserving precious flora and fauna, and you’ll have the chance to catch sight of the world’s largest species of turtle. Northeast of Nicoya are some fascinating caves, and throughout the forests are birds, iguanas, and howler monkeys. Playa Samara, Montezuma and Playa del Coco are all places worth investigating as well if you’re lucky enough to find yourself on the peninsula with time to meander and be amazed.

Internationally recognized for all that it has to offer, Wilson Botanical Garden brims with rare, indigenous, eye-popping species of plants. Grab a map and head out for a self-guided walk or follow a tour guide who will tell you what’s what. Either way you go, you’ll end up dwelling over medicinal herbs, colorful flowers, and an array of birds that will make binocular wearers jump for joy. If you’ve come all the way to Central America, taking in the natural landscape like this is a must.

Surfers will find Costa Rica to be a paradise, and notable places to catch a few waves include Playa Naranjo and Ollie’s Point. Seek out the famous “long lefthander” that the Golfito region is known for if you want a true challenge. Experience both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as you tour the many beaches, and be assured that non surfers will find plenty to do as well. If you’d rather not feel the pull of the tides and the crash of the waves, just sit back and take it all on from ashore.

In a matter of three hours you can go from one side of Costa Rica to the other, so in order to see as much as possible you’ll likely be moving around a bit. If you happen to pass through the capital, San Jose, be prepared for a bustling city that’s a little gritty but definitely worth exploring. Museums, theatres, shopping, and excellent food will all compete for your attention as you navigate the noisy streets that weave through skyscrapers and typical big city sights. The energy is palpable, so you may not find San Jose to be the place to achieve the ultimate feeling of relaxation, but it makes a nice contrast to your quieter escapades.

As you wander the cities taking in the language and the culture or tour the rainforest stretching your neck to view the untamed upper canopies, you’ll be glad that you’ve strayed from the beaten path to take a vacation that is out of the ordinary yet perfectly safe. As you drink refrescos (fresh fruit, sugar and water) after a day of hiking or as you stroll across a black sand beach, you’ll be torn between telling the world about your wonderful trip and keeping it your own little secret. Later you can do whatever you think is right, but be sure to enjoy the peaceful moments as they occur.

As far as where to stay while in Costa Rica, lodging options are plentiful. In the spirit of this distinctive trip, however, you may find yourself gravitating towards a vacation rental. By settling into a house or villa that captures the tropical vibe, offers great views, and provides better than average amenities like a washer and dryer, a covered porch, plenty of closet space, and long-term availability, you might be tempted to leave your old world behind and take up a new identity as a tico (local). Conveniences like being able to walk to the beach without ever feeling crammed into a boxy hotel will be key in contributing to your overall sense of happiness during this well-deserved getaway.

Costa Rica vacation rentals by owner are plentiful and sure to add a little extra something to what already looks like an incredible trip, so go online today and start seeking out the perfect place. is an extensive vacation rental marketplace that will help make your next trip better than your last.