Costa Rica
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Top Costa Rica


One of the best ways to see the vast array of flora and fauna that makes Costa Rica one of the most diverse Latin American countries is on foot. While hiking or trekking through the different regions you will get to see the colors and animals from an up-close-and personal viewpoint. The tropical country is home to more than 9,000 plant species and over 1,400 animal species within an area the size of Vermont or New Hampshire. Taking a hiking or trekking tour into one of the national parks or reserves will ensure you leave minimal footprints in Costa Rica, which has prided itself on its ecotourism approach to travel. Roughly 25 percent of the country is protected land that you get to explore in an environmentally friendly way.

Whether you prefer the forests or mountains valleys there are all sorts of settings to appeal to your eyes. As for your feet, if you like the tranquil hikes (or strolls) to the strenuous hikes, Costa Rica has it all, including day trips and backpacking trips. Most tours can be combined for adventure as well, such as including a zip-lining experience in the treetop canopies or the opportunity to relax in natural hot springs. You will most likely also get the chance to swim in waterfall pools.

One option is a tour that takes you hiking in the lush rain-forest around the Arenal Volcano National Park and ends with a nice soak in the Tabacon Hot Springs. You could witness a phenomenon on a more challenging hike through the Tenorio Volcano National Park, which is the location of the Celeste River. As you go along you will see two clear-water brooks merge magically together in a turquoise blue. Unfortunately, it´s not really magic, the color transformation is due to the volcanic minerals.

For night owls, venture off into the darkness at the Ecocentro Danaus private reserve near La Fortuna with a flashlight and guide to hike a well-cared for trail. You will learn about the animals that come out to play under the moon. Those who like to rise with the sun can take part in an early morning bird-watching hike that eventually takes you into the Montverde Cloud Forest, which is where 400 species of birds take residence, and where you will spot and identify each flapping beauty such as the Toucan.

If you want to get a closer and clearer look at plants and flowers instead of seeing them as a blur while zip-lining, take a tour on the suspension or hanging bridges in the treetops at Montverde or Arenal. You control the pace of your hike as you cross different bridges varying in height that are connected by trails. These hikes can be done by yourself or with a guide who will have knowledge of the area’s animals and vegetation to share with you, as well as some cultural history. An all-day trekking adventure in the private forest reserve near Braulio Carrillo National Park will get you in-touch with the Costa Rican geography – literally, in-touch – hiking through mud and swimming in the river.

A challenging, but rewarding hike in the Rincón de la Vieja National Park will lead you to the Blue Lake and Cangrejo Falls after 3.25 miles. It is a good spot to relax and eat a packed lunch because it is another 3.25 miles back. The park also offers many other trails to craters.

Costa Rica has miles and miles of trails to walk, hike and trek through the forests, near volcanoes and along rivers that often combine educational aspects to help you gain an understanding of the diverse country and knowledge of the environment.

By Allison Carlton

I am. a traveling bard. a word warrior. who is. pursuing a search. a mission. an adventure. a quest. a voyage. a journey....

27 Oct 2010

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