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Visit Costa Rica: Volcano, Beach, and City

Reasons to visit Costa Rica: amazing volcanoes, gorgeous beaches, and a wonderful capital city. Read descriptions of these Costa Rica destinations.

Costa Rica is a small country – in Latin America, it is the second smallest country after El Salvador – but what is lacks in territory, it makes up in attractions, which include beaches, volcanos, wetlands, rainforest, historical cities, and culture. Here, we highlight 3 destinations: the beaches of Jaco, the Arenal Volcano, and the capital city of San José.

Jaco is on the west central coast of Costa Rica in the Puntaarenas district. It is about an hour by car from San José and is a getaway for residents and travelers seeking warm beaches, excellent fishing, and an overall relaxing atmosphere. Playa Jaco is the main attraction and is filled with restaurants, bars, and boutique shops. Surfers come here in search of the big swells, and wanna-bes will find plenty of surf schools to choose from. Playa Hermosa is another notable beach, famous for its clean beaches. Carara National Park is 9 miles (15 km) north of Jaco where visitors will have the opportunity to see scarlet macaws, armadillos, and otters. Manuel Antonio is 1 hour south and has extensive hiking trails and beautiful beaches, including Manuel Antonio, Espadilla Sur, Teldoro, and Playita.

The Arenal Volcano rises over the small town of La Fortuna de San Carlos. The volcano, which is still active, is among Costa Rica’s top destinations. It is 6 miles (10 km) from La Fortuna and became active in 1968 after being dormant for 400 years. The 1968 eruption wrought destruction on the small town, killing 80 people and 45,000 cattle. Since that time Arenal has continuously spewed molten rock and ash. Other attractions are the La Catarata de la Fortuna, a waterfall and the nearby Tabacón Hot Springs, as well as whitewater rafting, hiking, kayaking, and canopy tours. La Fortuna has excellent 5-star luxury resorts, some of which have hot springs, and great lodging options also exist around the main plaza. In February, the town hosts the Fiestas de la Fortuna with bullfights, carnival rides, music, and food.

To get to these destinations, travelers will necessarily have to start in San José, the capital of Costa Rica. But this cosmopolitan city offers attractions that are also worth visiting. San José is 3770 feet (1235 meters) above sea level and is nestled into a valley surrounded by volcanoes and mountain ranges. The architectural style of this colonial city is “Caribbean Victorian” with wooden frames, wrap-around porches, tin roofs, and exteriors painted in pastel colors. In the center of town, visitors can see the National Theater, Plaza de la Cultura, the main Cathedral, Parque Central, and the Gold Museum. San José also boasts a rich cultural life, with numerous theatrical, musicalFeature Articles, and miscellaneous other artistic events throughout the year. The international airport is 20 minutes away from the center. Numerous day trips and tours can be arranged to surrounding attractions.

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This article about Costa Rica was written by a travel-loving expert intrips to Costa Rica at Costa Rica For Less, a member of the Latin America For Less family. Latin America For Less offers a completeSouth America vacation packages to destinations across Latin America, including Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia.The company is unique in its ability to offer a price match guarantee as well as the highest standards in quality and customer service. Fully customized itineraries coupled with personal and friendly service are the hallmarks of a Latin America For Less vacation.

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