Costa Rica's climate and geography summon a welcoming retreat. The region is celebrated for its flourishing tropics and wildlife; the minute you visit its rainforests alive with howler monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, countless lizards, poison-dart frogs, exotic birds, insects, and butterflies -- just to name a few -- you'll understand why. Travelers on our Costa Rica tours can choose from a wide variety of activites to explore this region including hiking, horseback riding, snorkeling, and for the thrill seeker, there are great zipline opportunities and world-renowned whitewater rafting. Costa Rica has a long, proud history of ecotourism. It has one of the most developed conservation programs in the Americas and enthusiastically invites travelers to experience its treasured landscape.
Over a quarter of this country is protected by national parks, reserves, or private foundations. A Costa Rica tour is a way to view conservation at its best, and explore examples of successful eco-lodges, ecotourism, and preservation efforts. Here are just a few of our favorites.
Bordering Costa Rica's largest and most pristine nature reserve, Selva Bananito is part of the same rich ecosystem as the La Amistad International Peace Park. The lodge prides itself on providing first-rate comfort while trying to limit human impact on the environment. It uses no electricity, has solar-heated water and hosts only a small number of visitors at any one time. Selva Bananito also founded the revolutionary Limon Watershed Project; the goal of the program is educate the public and to protect as much of the rain forest vegetation growing along the upper watershed areas in the Province of Limon, which is the main water source of one the countries major cities, Limon.
La Cusinga lodge is named after the fiery-billed Aracari bird, native to the area. Its rainforest-surrounded beach is part of the Ballena Marine National Park, created to protect its coastal marine inhabitants and endangered species. La Cusinga offers diving and snorkeling during your Costa Rica tour, as well as inland adventures in the jungle. The lodge uses hydropower for electricity.
The beaches of Tortugero National Park are considered the principal nesting site of the green sea turtle in the Western Hemisphere. Along with the sea turtle, the park's waterways are home to other exotic and endangered wildlife like manatee, egrets, and crocodile. The treetops are alive with toucans, monkeys, big cats, and a countless variety of butterflies.
Made up of 400 forested hectares, 80% of which are virgin, the Savegre Reserve is used as a living research laboratory by institutions around the world. The reserve is famous for its oak forest and epiphyte vegetation. It is also one of the best places to spot the Resplendent Quetzal during Costa Rica tour. The Savegre Mountain Lodge is owned and ran by the Chacon family, pioneers in ecotourism.
Located on the Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park is considered to contain some of the best remaining original rainforest in Central America. The park teems with wildlife and is a great place within the region to spot elusive wildlife and learn about rainforest ecology.
Dormant for centures, Arenal Volcano explored in a massive eruption of molten lava and ash in 1968. Since that time, it has continued to belch great clouds of ash and occasional lava. It is now one of the world's most active volcanoes, and volcanologists from all over the world come here to study this tropical wonder. Its consistent rumble and bubbling makes for an exciting visit and calls to the adventurous heart in every traveler. The volcano is part of the Arenal National Park, and bordered by Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve. Founded in 1972, the reserve encompasses six different ecological life zones and protects more than 100 mammal species, 400 bird species, and upwards of 1,500 plant species. A visit to the Arenal Volcano is a great addition to any Costa Rica tour.
Famous for its scenic views, the Pacuare is just as celebrated for its Class III-IV whitewater rapids. The Pacuare River and the Pacuare Protected Zone are located between the coastal lowlands and Costa Rica's highest mountain range. This pristine jungle region, considered one of the most important protected regions in Central America, is still inhabited by the Cabecar Indians. A rafting trip ventures through virgin forest and steep gorges towering above the riverbanks, offering some of the finest rapids in Latin America.