The most famous of Costa Rica's five active volcanoes is Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal), located in the northern part of the country. It's the focal point of most Costa Rica sightseeing trips and if fact, it's the country’s top rated tourist attraction. The volcano erupts daily and the eruptions are easy to view from the nearby town La Fortuna de San Carlos, just 10 km (6.2 miles) away.
La Fortuna is accessible from San Jose by bus; driving takes about 3 1/2 hours. The town
offers all sorts of accommodations, hotels and resorts and serves as a base for tourists who want to explore the volcano or other nearby attractions (like Tabacon Hot Springs or La Catarata de la Fortuna waterfalls). Plenty of organized activities are also available: white water rafting, hiking excursions, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding or canopy tours.
The capital city San José, located on a plateau in the Central Valley at 1500 m (4,900 ft) above sea level, is definitely worth exploring if you have a couple of days to spare on your vacation to Costa Rica. It offers plenty of museums, cultural venues, hotels or markets, plus a mixture of of traditional and modern Spanish architecture.
Main tourist attractions include:
the Teatro Nacional,
the Legislative Assembly building,
the Catedral Metropolitana,
The National Museum (Museo Nacional),
the Museum of Pre-Columbian Gold (Museo Oro Precolombino),
The jade museum (Museo del Jade),
Insect Museum at the Universidad de Costa Rica.
Rincon de la Vieja National Park
The park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Volcán Rincón de la Vieja) is located in the northwestern part of Costa Rica, with the nearest big city Liberia, about 25 km (15.5 miles) to the south of the park.
The park is home to two volcanoes - Rincon de la Vieja and Santa Maria with Rincon de la Vieja being an active volcano. The park is also famous for its diversity of flora and fauna, stunning sceneries, waterfalls or hot springs. The park is a very popular sightseeing destination.
Tortuguero National Park
Another national park, not to be missed by nature lovers who go for vacations to Costa Rica is the Tortuguero National Park (Parque Nacional Tortuguero), located in Limon province on the north Caribbean coast. The park's beaches are key nesting ground of four species of marine turtles, particularly the green sea turtle. It is also home to the West Indian manatee, caimans, crocodiles, and tropical gar as well as jaguars, three-toed sloths, monkeys or lizards in the forests.
The park is accessible by boat or airplane only, with the entrance located in the village of Tortuguero, about 70 km (43.5 miles) north of Puerto Limon, the capital of the Limon province.
Beaches and Beach Resorts
A lot of travelers combine sightseeing and exploring national parks with relaxing time in beach resorts during their Costa Rica vacations. Most popular beaches and resorts in Costa Rica are located on the Pacific coast, some also on the southern Caribbean Coast. The best ones can be found in the province of Guanacaste and on the Nicoya Peninsula. Very beautiful, isolated beaches are on the South Puntarenas coast, near Corcovado National Park.
Most popular beach destinations are: Corcovado on the Osa Peninsula, Dominical, Jacó,
Montezuma on the Nicoya Peninsula, Playa Grande, Tamarindo, Tortuguero.
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