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Central Pacific

From Puntarenas to Dominical, the Central Pacific Coast is very accessible, wonderfully scenic and full of a wide variety of activities. Great beaches, surfing and rainforests abound, and the Sportfishing is World-class. Best of all, this area is close to San Jose, which makes it an easy, very pleasant place to visit. It is the region which offers the most variety in things to do and see in one place.

Advantages

  • Convenient location
  • Wide variety of activities and attractions
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Great beaches
  • Rainforests
  • Wildlife viewing

Disadvantages

  • Can be hot and humid
  • Some hotels are expensive
Attractions
More InfoTortuga Island Catamaran Cruise

Enjoy a Costa Rican breakfast before you transfer to board a lovely catamaran yacht to Tortuga Island, which is famous for its beautiful beach. Play in the surf or sun on the beach. This is a very scenic, relaxing full day on the ocean and beach.

More InfoCarara National Park

Carara is a National Park that is full of monkeys, leaf cutter ants, frogs, sloths, iguanas and over 200 species of birds. It is less crowded than Manuel Antonio National Park and is closer to San Jose. Carara also has the second largest population of endmic scarlet macaws in Costa Rica. Less than a mile long, the Carara National Park was recently voted as the best place in Costa Rica for birdwatching. It is easily accessible and in a great location. 

Manuel Antonio National Park

Lush rainforest and beautiful white sand beaches make Manuel Antonio National Park one of the most dramatic and most-visited locations in Costa Rica.  Manuel Antonio is filled with hundreds of species of birds, plants and animals. Daily entrance fees are required. To access the nicer beaches, you need to walk about 1/4 of a mile and pay for a small boat to ferry you across a small river.

Beaches

Central Pacific beaches are the best combination of great sand and surf with beautiful rainforest in Costa Rica. Although renowned for good surfing, boogie boarding and snorkeling are also possible in select locations. Manuel Antonio National Park has a nice beach near Quepos, but it can be overcrowded, is quite small and often has vendors on the beach! The highest rated white sand beach in Costa Rica is located about an hour north in a private resort.
Rainforest

The Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica is the congruance of rare tropical dry rainforest and tropical rainforests. This transitional zone provides a unique habitat for an abundant diversity of plants, birds and animals. Warm temperatures and fruiting trees attract colorful birds and monkeys. Carara National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park are the most well known parks. We can also recommend less crowded private rainforest reserves. Whether a canopy tour or horseback riding, there is always a great chance of viewing animals while on tours in this region.
Activities
More InfoRainforest Hiking

Guided hikes are the best way to elevate an otherwise self-guided "walk in the woods" into an interactive journey of ecological education. Guides are able to point out creatures normally overlooked and explain interesting facts not found in books. Hiking is best done in the very early morning when birds and animals are most active. In addition, the lower elevation of the coast translates to higher temperatures and higher humidity.

Jungle River Cruise

Glide down a placid river ecosystem teeming with crocodiles, scarlet macaws, Jesus Christ lizards,and a multitude of plant and animal species not found by hiking through the rainforest. Mangrove forests and estuaries form unique waterways teeming with life. We do not support tours which feed the crocodiles, as this is dangerous to tour guests and local residents alike. This is a safe, comfortable way to see wildlife.

Rainforest Aerial Tram

A cascading 40-foot waterfall, giant rainforest trees and panoramic views of the ocean are all part of the ride. Open-air gondolas with canvas awnings seat eight passengers and a naturalist guide. The rugged topography of the forest means the modified ski lift skims the forest floor, and then soars to a maximum height of 130 feet above a rugged valley. The tour also includes a 45-minute guided nature walk and tour of the sepentarium exhibit featuring over 20 different types of snakes.
Canopy Tour

Our recommendation for the Central Pacific canopy tour includes a short rainforest hike and an aerial tram ride. Once you reach the top of the tram ride, traverse on overhead cables through the treetops for an exhilerating experience. This is a great adventure for all ages, is not strenuous and does not require prior experience.

Surfing

Jaco is the surf capital of the Central Pacific. Bilabong World Championships were held in nearby Playa Hermosa. Waves range from beginning level to advanced. Riptides can be present. Surfboards and lessons are readily available if needed. There are several beaches in this area which feature good surfing.

Sportfishing

The Central Pacific is home to some of the best deep sea fishing in the world. Experience the adrenaline of catching sailfish, dorado, tuna and wahoo. The Los Sueños Marina has the greatest variety of operators and pricing with no tendering required. Charters are expensive, so choosing a crew is crucial. We have over 20 years of knowledge of the boats and crew in the area, so let us help you choose the best yacht for your trip.

Horseback Riding

This is our favorite horseback riding company in Costa Rica with good equipment and healthy, well trained horses! This tour near Jaco lasts 2.5 hours through a stunning 1500 acre private rainforest farm and reserve, surrounded by abundant flora and fauna. Choose from tours that ride to a waterfall for a natural spa treatment, on forested shady old ox cart trails, or if an experienced rider, the beach.

Rafting

The Naranjo and Sevegre rivers are located near Manuel Antonio National Park. For those staying in Quepos, these are convenient rafting locations. For those in Jaco, it requires an additional drive of 1-1.5 hours to meet at the rafting office prior to the start of the tour. These half-day, Class III-IV rafting trips are scenic and enjoyable, but the best rafting takes place on the Pacuare River from San Jose.

Sea Kayaking

Kayak along the coastline to Costa Rica's top rated white sand beach where you can snorkel and have refreshments. This is an active and inexpensive way to view the shoreline and experience the ocean. For families or groups, outrigger canoes are available and are a fun way to share the paddling and the experience.

Golf

A beautifully-designed course that weaves in and out of rainforest, punctuated with scenic ocean views. This challenging Ted Robinson-design might provide you with the most scenic round of your life. La Iguana course is a par 72, 18 hole championship course located within the 5 star Los Suenos Marriott Resort near Jaco.

Hotels
More InfoPunta Leona Resort DollarSignDollarSign

Punta Leona is a Costa Rican country club and resort hotel set within its own 750-acre private rainforest reserve and the country's best rated white sand beach. It has its own Costa Rican style and "feel", is focused on nature and is not the typical "mega resort". With several different types of accomodations to choose from, couples to families to groups will enjoy their stay here.

More InfoBahia Encantada DollarSignDollarSignDollarSign

Daystar Properties comprises several condominium complexes in Jaco. Bahia Encantada is one of them located on the north end of Jaco with beachfront access. These two and three bedroom condominiums are beautiful with luxurious construction (such as granite countertops in the full kitchens) and modern furnishings (Wifi and flat screen tvs). If dining out, there are many restaurant choices nearby.
More InfoVilla Caletas DollarSignDollarSignDollarSignDollarSign

Perched on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Villa Caletas is an intimate boutique hotel. Perfect for couples seeking romance, villas and suites are scattered in hilltop gardens with breathtaking views and elegantly appointed decor. The outdoor amphitheater is ideal for weddings, concerts and watching sunsets.


More InfoLos Sueños Marriott Resort DollarSignDollarSignDollarSignDollarSignDollarSign

This 5-star resort has a World-class Marina, 18-hole championship golf course, spa, shopping area, pool complex and casino.

Condominiums are available for families and larger groups. The beach at the resort is not white sand, however, if you are staying in the condominiums, you have access to the beach club with a raised area of nicer sand.
More InfoVillas Rio Mar DollarSignDollarSign

For those wanting to get away from it all, traveling down the coast near Dominical offers a more isolated, unemcombered experience. Villas Rio Mar has simple, thatched roof villas set within tropical gardens. Due to its remote location, full meal packages are available.

More InfoTulemar Bungalows DollarSignDollarSignDollarSignDollarSign

The Quepos area is home to Manuel Antonio National Park, a well known beach area. With dozens of hotels to choose from, only a handful are beachfront. Most hotels are concentrated along the main road on the hillsides leading to the National Park. Tulemar Bungalows and Buena Vista Luxury Villas are a good choice with great views, private rainforest and beach and a good value.

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