Costa Rica, Pura Vida! Phrase that is heard in every corner of the country, and is that not only produces a considerable amount of oxygen to the planet, is also home to five percent of the world’s biodiversity, which is located in its tropical forests, dry, wet and mainly rainy.
Many have heard of the Rain Forest, known for its lush green trees reaching 70 meters high, that same house a whole ecosystem of plants, birds, mammals and insects, and what better represented in the film Jurassic Park , filmed in this location, with scenes that look closely at the forest so abundant that seems endless, with waterfalls and rivers that flow into the sea.
From San José, capital of Costa Rica, tours depart national parks, protected natural treasures by the National System of Conservation Areas, which cover 26 percent of the national territory. Some located on the Pacific coast, some in the Volcanic and others in the heart of the Rain Forest and Cloud Forest.
To the northwest you come to La Fortuna, a district that protects the Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs, La Alajuela to the northwest in Santa Elena Monteverde is a private reserve owned by the Tropical Science Center and in the center of the province, the Doka coffee plantation, Poas Volcano and the Botos Lagoon.
The road continues north of Heredia where we find the La Paz Waterfall. Also, for the Pan American Highway that runs along the Pacific coast in the province of Puntarenas, is the Manuel Antonio National Park. Voyages lasting from one day to visitors.
Among hot springs
And several countries in the Americas, Costa Rica is located within the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire brings together most of the world’s volcanoes. The Cordilleras of the country has 300 volcanic foci of which less than five percent are active.
The experience begins in San Jose to the Arenal Volcano National Park, a distance of 150 kilometers. Along the way you look different landscapes, highlighting the small towns of La Heredia with rolled roofing houses all such particularity is due to the constant seismic activity that Costa Rica, which is that daily there from 100 to 300 tremors of low grade if the houses were to collapse, the roof laminate reduces the risk of its inhabitants.
Also look at cattle ranches in the wooded hills, and the more one moves north, tropical plants, until the district of La Fortuna to the Arenal Volcano, at that point you can tell its high altitude of more one thousand 670 meters.
The Arenal volcano is one of the most representative of Costa Rica, its conical shape can be seen from the arrival to the country in large spectacular images captured even in small orders.
He began his last and current period of activity in 1968 after 500 years of dormancy. Since then constantly emits gases and water vapor, with some explosions, this makes the most active volcano in Costa Rica and one of the 10 busiest in the world. Admire the decline in red-hot lava, especially at night, is an unmissable attraction.
The Arenal Volcano National Park consists of 12 000 hectares, these are the famous thermal waters from the rivers of the volcano. In this case, visited the Hotel Tabacon, noted for its 15 mineral water pools with different temperatures starting from 38 degrees Celsius to 42 degrees Celsius, and if you walk at the beginning of the river is possible to find water at a temperature of 45 degrees Celsius.
The best pools are found in the adult section, there is hot springs hidden in nature, the warm waterfalls falling with a temperature of 30 degrees. This mineral water has health benefits and beauty as the cleansing of toxins, metabolic recovery, relaxation of muscles, rheumatism and skin rejuvenation.
And for those who like cold water pools are also at low temperatures of 23 degrees Celsius to remove body heat.
The energy of the Arenal Volcano, Tabacon River heat, tropical forest life and clean air are the main factors that attract tourists to the area.
Walk in the Clouds
The next day, the tour from San Jose to Monteverde National Park, a distance of about four hours. The road is tedious, but the beauty of the place compensates the inconvenience of distance. This is the area with more vegetation in the country, there is the heart of the Cloud Forest, a wooded height that is characterized by nearly 100 percent humidity throughout the year, same as it condenses and forms fog constant within the entire Park.
Arriving at the Monteverde Reserve, a guide awaits to transport visitors to an unfamiliar place in which only shows lush vegetation and hopefully some animal.
At the beginning of the trail, Milton, the guide explains some rules of the forest, as the following in his footsteps on the paths, because if you lose it becomes difficult to get back on track for its extensive vegetation, and second, it is more feasible than an animal to humans fear to attack and third, not run when you see one, as doing so, it is likely that the predator pursues its prey. But, observing a large animal with four legs straight into the group thought the only thing was to flee. A raccoon approached fearlessly and without changing their way, so that several ran without reviewing the rules of the forest.
The main attraction of the voyage, are the suspension bridges, a journey that you can admire nature from another perspective, as if they were single or poultry, as these bridges pass very near the tops of the trees also, the fog covers bridges and it seems that you were walking through the clouds.
In addition to observing the amplitude of the Cloud Forest, as if it were an endless forest, the trees are full of birds, butterflies, insects and hundreds of plants.
The forest has over 100 species of mammals, 400 birds, 120 amphibians and reptiles as well as more than three thousand types of plants of which 500 are orchids.
During the march was observed two types of bird, bellbird and a pair of Quetzals, Milton says he is lucky to observe these species, as only seen in the nesting season in March and May.
After touring the five bridges, with lengths ranging from 30 to 300 meters and heights of 15 to 49 feet broke into the National Park Santa Elena. There, Milton takes his group different paths that run through the Cloud Forest.
Heavy clouds and trees are so close together that the site is perceived dark, as if it were an enchanted forest. The trunks and branches of the trees are almost entirely covered by epiphytes, lichens, liverworts and mosses. These trees are home to many species, which some do not even go down to the forest floor.
After visiting the various landscapes of the rainforest and cloud forest, the route continues to the tropical rainforest of Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most scenic places in the country and the busiest.
There, the main attraction is its natural reserve located on the shores of the Pacific, where you can observe species of monkeys and sloths as you walk in one of the many bays of white sand and lush foliage, in addition to providing the great mountains that surround, full of vegetation.
Manuel Antonio has a rich biodiversity, both terrestrial, with its primary and secondary forest, mangrove and beach vegetation and marine, by large coral reefs, islands and a lagoon of 14 hectares. The site attracts thousands of surfers, swimmers, Eco tourists and birdwatchers as it has 352 different species.
The tour starts on the trails of the park where it is very common to find the most outstanding wildlife, including raccoons, coatimundis, agouti, the two-toed sloth, white-faced monkey, cat of considerable size and the marmoset, a species in danger of extinction. In total 109 species of mammals hosts and 346 species of plants. The tour continues to Punta Cathedral, an island which, due to sediment accumulation, joined to the mainland, through a sandy strip. From there, we see the best views of the Pacific.
After walking around the area, do not miss swimming in the Manuel Antonio beach with gentle waves and warm water temperatures and just behind, is the South Shoulder, with great rock formations, perfect for a photo session. Also, is Puerto Escondido, but access depends on the tides found in cliffs.
Previously, the park was populated by the indigenous community Quepoa, a name that gave rise to the city of Quepos, with the arrival of the settlers, the land became cultivated areas and now a tourist center with many services, restaurants and lodging that are surrounded by vegetation.
Doka Coffee, Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall
This is one of the tours more traditional Costa Rica, a complete tour including the visit of a coffee, the observation of an active crater, hike to waterfalls and an animal shelter.
The journey begins at the Doka coffee plantation owned by the Vargas family, with more than 110 years. There, a guide leads his guests through the world of coffee. The first thing to mention is that Costa Rica stands out as one of the leading producers of coffee in the world, and not just quantity, but as the saying goes for quality, and that their crops are grown premium coffee quality, known as Peaberry. The country has the best conditions for its altitude, climate and soil type.
After a breakfast with coffee, we visit to learn a little about their history and production, since its inception, with the seed called by the Ticos, “Soldier” to the great benefits of coffee.
The guide explains that the coffee bean has two to three seeds inside. The Peaberry has only a seed, this type of coffee is equal to four percent of the total production. It is a low coffee production, but high quality.
The growth process from seed until the coffee is ready for packaging and selling takes about three months.
The second point of the visit starts on a road fenced with ferns and poor umbrellas, named after the type of plant that runs along the trails leading to one of the most popular and active volcanoes of Costa Rica, Poas, located on the Range Central Volcanic an hour and a half from San Jose.
He says his name is derived from the Latin “spikes” due to the presence of some spiny plants in the area, or the existence of a people called “Spikes.”
Upon reaching the top, there is a balcony from where there is a panoramic of the volcano. Its main crater with a diameter of 320 meters and 300 thousand meters deep, is the most attractive, since, in addition to thousands of years of activity, has a lagoon with colors ranging from green, blue, purple and yellow , which vary in chemical composition.
And is that even though its temperature is between 60 degrees Celsius, the volcano is rich in sulfur and is one of the more acidic the world with a PH of 0.4 percent, nearly pure acid. The best time to see it in the morning before the clouds come down. A second oldest crater, is home to the Botos Lagoon, now no longer active and only cold water from rain.
After observing the crater, the tour continues to the province of Heredia, where the Park La Paz Waterfall Gardens, consisting of five waterfalls. There are walking trails that run through a steep canyon next to the Rain Forest, to three of these falls, as the inputs to two of them were destroyed by an earthquake. From a platform, you can take photos of the waterfall below White Magic, too, from various points see the falls and the Haunted Temple. Also, the park is home to several animals, including monkeys, jaguars, frogs and toads. In addition, a snake, bird, butterfly and a typical cottage country, where the journey ends.