Costa Rica - Contents

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Costa Rica - Contents
©Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd
“ All you’ve got to do is decide to go and the hardest part is over. So go!”
TONY WHEELER, COFOUNDER – LONELY PLANET
PAGE
2
PLAN
YOUR TRIP
Photos, itineraries, lists and suggestions
to help you put together your perfect trip
Welcome to
Costa
Rica
COUNTRY
• The original
• Comprehensive
• Adventurous
The Tropics in
Technicolor
Whether you’re following the metallic
shimmer of a blue butterÁy from palm to
palm, staring into the yawning mouth of
a deep purple orchid or watching wisps
of fog roll in to soften the jagged edge of
mountains, Costa Rica’s vivid colors last a
lifetime. The canopies rustle with riotous
troupes of white-faced monkeys, hillsides
echo with the squawks of scarlet macaws
and you can reach up to the trees and pick
your day’s lunch: a ripe starfruit. It might
seem at times like some kind of wondrous
tropical fantasy land, but this is Costa
Rica.
Outdoor Adventures
11
Rainforest
hikes and brisk high-altitude
trails, rushing white-water rapids and
10
world-class surÀng: there is a dizzying
suite of outdoor adventures. They come
in every shape and size – from the squealinducing rush of a canopy zip line, to a
sun-dazed afternoon at the beach. The
country’s national parks allow visitors to
glimpse the seething life of the tropical
rainforest, its simmering volcanoes and
cloud forests oՖer otherworldly vistas and
its reliable surf breaks are suited to beginners and experts alike. Can’t decide? Don’t
worry, you won’t have to. Given its diminutive size, it’s possible to plan a relatively
short trip that includes all of the above.
11
CASEY MAHANEY / LONELY PLANET IMAGES ©
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6
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YOUR PLANNING TOOL KIT
CHRISTIAN ASLUND / LONELY PLANET IMAGES ©
Welcome to Costa Rica ..
Map ..................................
21 Top Experiences ........
Need to Know .................
First Time ........................
What’s New .....................
If You Like ........................
Month by Month .............
Itineraries ........................
Activity Guide .................
Travel with Children .......
Regions at a Glance .......
Get the right
g guides
g
for your
y
trip
p
29
Itineraries
Whether you’ve got six days or
60, these itineraries provide a
starting point for the trip of a
lifetime. Want more inspiration?
Head online to lonelyplanet.
com/thorntree to chat with other
travelers.
SurÀng
Wildlife-Watching
Costa Rica’s east coast may move to
the laid-back groove of Caribbean reggae, but the country’s best year-round surÀng
is on the PaciÀc coast. It’s home to a number
of seaside villages where the day’s agenda
rarely gets more complicated than a scrupulous study of the surf report, a healthy application of sunblock and a few cold Imperial beers.
With plenty of good breaks for beginners, and
the country’s most reliable rides (including
perhaps the world’s second-longest left-hand
break, in Pavones – p393), Costa Rica has
inexhaustible potential for surfers. Mal País
11
10
Volcán
Arenal
‚
Monteverde & Reserva
Biológica Bosque Nuboso
•#
•
Monteverde #
• La
#
Playa #
Fortuna
•
Tamarindo
É
CARIBBEAN
SEA
É
_ SAN JOSÉ
#
•
#
É
•
#
Jacó
SHOESTRING
• Big trips,
small budgets
• Multicountry
É
É
Montezuma
Monkeys and crocs, toucans and
iguanas – Costa Rica is a thrill for wildlife
enthusiasts. World-class parks, long-standing
dedication to environmental protection, and
mind-boggling biodiversity enable Costa Rica to
harbor scores of rare and endangered species.
Simply put, it’s one of the best wildlife-watching
destinations on the globe. In fact, visitors hardly
have to make an eՖort; no matter where you
travel in the country, the branches overhead are
alive with critters galore, from lazy sloths and
mischievous monkeys, to a brilliant spectrum of
tropical birds. Capuchin monkeys
e
É
#
÷
#
Parque Nacional
Manuel Antonio
PA C I F I C
OCEAN
DISCOVER
• Best-of
• Photo-packed
• Inspirational
PHRASEBOOK
Looking for other travel resources?
UNDERSTAND
475 COSTA RICA
PAGE
Costa Rica Today ...........
History .............................
The Tico Way of Life .......
Landscapes & Ecology ..
Wildlife Guide ..................
476
479
488
493
507
GET MORE FROM YOUR TRIP
Learn about the big picture, so you
can make sense of what you see
population per sq km
COSTA RICA
UNITED STATES
CANADA
≈ 2 people
úñez de Balboa heard rumors about a large sea and a wealthy, gold
roducing civilization across the mountains of the isthmus – almost cer
ainly referring to the Inca empire of present-day Peru. Driven by equal
arts ambition and greed, Balboa scaled the continental divide, and on
Se tem er 26, 1513, he became the Àrst European to set eyes upon the
PaciÀc Ocean. Keeping up with the European fashion of the day, Balboa
mmediately proceeded to claim the ocean and all the lands it touched
or the king of Spain.
The thrill of discovery aside, the conquistadors now controlled a strategic western beachhead from which to launch their conquest of Costa
Rica. In the name of God and king, aristocratic adventurers plundered
indigenous villages, executed resisters and enslaved survivors throughout the Nicoya peninsula. However, none of these bloodstained campaigns led to a permanent presence as intercontinental germ warfare
caused outbreaks of feverish death on both sides. Since the area was
scarce in mineral wealth and indigenous laborers, the Spanish eventually came to regard it as the ‘poorest and most miserable in all the
Americas.’
New World Order
It was not until the 1560s that a Spanish colony was Àrmly established
in Costa Rica. Hoping to cultivate the rich volcanic soil of the Central
Valley, the Spanish founded the village of Cartago on the banks of the
Río Reventazón. Although the Áedgling colony was extremely isolated,
Costa Rica Today
Weathering the Economic Storm
Visit World
Mysteries at www.
world-mysteries.
com/sar_12.htm
for an investigation of Costa
Rica’s mysterious
stone spheres.
Population:
25 million
Adult literacy:
%
Population
ng below the
verty line:
%
Annual
rbon-dioxide
missions per
rson: 1.85
ALFREDO MAIQUEZ / LONELY PLANET IMAGES ©
1737
1821
The future capital
of San José is established, sparking
a rivalry with neighboring Cartago
that will eventually
culminate in a civil
war between the
two dominant cities.
Following a unanimous
declaration by Mexico
on behalf of all of Central America, Costa
Rica Ànally gains its
independence from
Spain after centuries
of colonial occupation.
Even despite the economic tumult that has rocked the world since 2008,
Costa Rica’s economy has remained remarkably stable thanks to consistently growing returns on tourism. Tourism now outpaces both agriculture and industry for the biggest slice of the economy. If you’re concerned
about the availability of an English menu, take note: North Americans
now account for nearly half the country’s 2.2 million annual tourists.
Aside from tourism, the country’s principal agriculture exports include
pineapples, coՖee, fruits and plants, while industrial exports include microchips, construction materials, fertilizer and medical equipment.
Poverty levels have been kept in check for more than 20 years by
strong welfare programs. Although approximately 21% of the populace
lives below the poverty line – up 5% since 2008 – beggars are few an
far between, and you won’t see the street kids you see in other Latin
American capitals. In fact, a good system of social services has ma e
panhan ing and begging extremely rare in Costa Rica.
Foreign investors continue to be attracted by the country’s o itica
LONELYPLANET.COM
For travel information,
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chapters
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» Parque Nacional Volcán Poás (p103)
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newsletter
13/07/2012 1:40:25 PM
ON THE
ROAD
PAGE
50
YOUR COMPLETE DESTINATION GUIDE
In-depth reviews, detailed listings
and insider tips
Northern
Lowlands
p453
Northwestern
Costa Rica
p130
Central Valley
& Highlands
Península
de Nicoya
Caribbean
Coast
p397
p94
p209
San José
p52
Central Pacific
Coast
p274
Southern
Costa Rica
p334
Península de Osa
& Golfo Dulce
p358
SURVIVAL
517 GUIDE
PAGE
Directory A–Z ................. 518
Transportation ............... 531
Language ........................ 539
Index ................................ 549
Map Legend .................... 559
VITAL PRACTICAL INFORMATION TO
HELP YOU HAVE A SMOOTH TRIP
Nica
Air
Airports & Airline
Transportation
GETTING THERE
& AWAY
Entering the
Country
» Entering Costa Rica is
mostly free of hassle, with
the exception of some long
queues at the airport.
» The vast majority of travelers enter the country by
plane, and most international
Áights arrive at Aeropuerto
Internacional Juan Santamaría, outside San José.
» Liberia is a growing destination for international Áights; it
in the Guanacaste province
serves travelers heading
Península de Nicoya.
» Overland border crossings
are straightforward and
travelers can move freely between Panama to the south
and Nicaragua to the north.
» Some foreign nationals will
require a visa. Be aware that
you cannot get a visa at the
border. For more information
on visas see the Directory
(p528).
Passport
» Citizens of all nations are
required to have a passport
that is valid for at least six
months beyond the dates of
your trip.
» When you arrive your passport will be stamped.
» Though seldomly enforced,
the law requires that you carry
your passport at all times.
» Costa Rica is well conn
ed by air to other Central an
South American countries,
as well as the USA.
» International Áights arrive
at Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría
(%2437-2400; www.aeris.cr),
17km northwest of San José,
in the town of Alajuela.
» Aeropuerto Internacional
Daniel Oduber Quirós in Liberia also receives international
Áights from the USA, the
Americas and Canada. It
serves a number of American
and Canadian airlines and
some charters from London.
Flights into Liberia have
increased since the 2012
opening of a new terminal.
» The national airline, Lacsa
(part of the Central American
Airline consortium Grupo
TACA), Áies to the USA and
Latin America, including Cuba.
» The US Federal Aviation
Administration has assessed
Costa Rica’s aviation authorities to be in complian
with international safet
standards.
HANGE & TRAVEL
t relies on carbon-based fuel gene
THIS EDITION WRITTEN AND RESEARCHED BY
Nate Cavalieri,
Adam Skolnick, Wendy Yanagihara
00-title-page-cos10.indd 1
13/07/2012 9:49:58 AM
Every listing is recommended by our authors, and their
favourite places are listed first
Look out for these icons:
Our author’s top
recommendation
A green or
sustainable option
No payment
required
SAN JOSÉ . . . . . . . . . . 52 Costa de Pájaros . . . . . . . . 157 Playa Junquillal . . . . . . . . . .233
SAN JOSÉ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
AROUND SAN JOSÉ . . . . . . . 85
Los Yoses & San Pedro . . . .85
Escazú . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89
CENTRAL VALLEY &
HIGHLANDS . . . . . . . . 94
ALAJUELA &
THE NORTHERN VALLEY . . 95
Alajuela . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
Parque Nacional
Volcán Poás . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Northwest to Sarchí. . . . . .106
HEREDIA AREA . . . . . . . . . . .112
Barva . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
CARTAGO AREA . . . . . . . . . .115
Parque Nacional
Volcán Irazú. . . . . . . . . . . . .120
Valle de Orosi . . . . . . . . . . .120
TURRIALBA AREA . . . . . . . 124
Parque Nacional
Volcán Turrialba . . . . . . . . . 129
Juntas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Monteverde &
Santa Elena . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Reserva Biológica Bosque
Nuboso Monteverde . . . . . 177
Ecolodge San Luis &
Research Station . . . . . . . . 181
Cañas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
Puente La Amistad. . . . . . . 183
Volcán Tenorio Area . . . . . . 183
Volcán Miravalles Area . . . 187
Bagaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Parque Nacional
Palo Verde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
Liberia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .190
Parque Nacional
Rincón de la Vieja. . . . . . . . 197
Area de Conservacion
Guanacaste . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
Parque Nacional
Guanacaste . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
La Cruz. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
Bahía Salinas . . . . . . . . . . 206
Santa Cruz. . . . . . . . . . . . . .235
CENTRAL PENINSULA . . . 236
Nicoya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .236
Nosara Area. . . . . . . . . . . . .239
Refugio Nacional de
Fauna Silvestre Ostional . .246
Playa Sámara . . . . . . . . . . .247
Playa Carrillo. . . . . . . . . . . . 251
Islita Area. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .252
Playas San Miguel &
Coyote . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .253
SOUTHEASTERN
PENINSULA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254
Playa Naranjo . . . . . . . . . . .255
Paquera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .256
Playas Pochote &
Tambor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .257
Cóbano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260
Montezuma . . . . . . . . . . . . 260
Cabuya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
Reserva Natural
Absoluta Cabo Blanco . . . .267
Mal País &
Santa Teresa . . . . . . . . . . . 268
PENÍNSULA
NORTHWESTERN
DE NICOYA. . . . . . . . .209
COSTA RICA . . . . . . . 130
CENTRAL PACIFIC
NORTHERN PENINSULA. . 212
COAST . . . . . . . . . . . . 274
ARENAL ROUTE . . . . . . . . . .131
Ciudad Quesada
(San Carlos) . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
La Fortuna & Around . . . . . 134
Parque Nacional
Volcán Arenal . . . . . . . . . . . 145
El Castillo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Laguna de Arenal Area . . . 149
Tilarán . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
INTERAMERICANA NORTE . .157
13-on-the-road-title-cos10.indd 50
Playa del Coco . . . . . . . . . . 212
Playa Hermosa . . . . . . . . . . 215
Playa Ocotal . . . . . . . . . . . . 216
Playa Grande. . . . . . . . . . . 220
Parque Nacional
Marino Las Baulas
De Guanacaste . . . . . . . . . .224
Playa Tamarindo . . . . . . . . .225
Playas Avellanas &
Negra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
PUNTARENAS
TO QUEPOS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
Puntarenas . . . . . . . . . . . . .278
Parque Nacional Carara . . 281
Tárcoles & Around . . . . . . 284
Jacó . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 288
Playa Hermosa . . . . . . . . . 296
Playa Esterillos . . . . . . . . . 298
Parrita & Around . . . . . . . 299
13/07/2012 3:20:08 PM
See the Index for a full list of destinations covered in this book.
On the Road
PARQUE NACIONAL
MANUEL ANTONIO &
AROUND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Quepos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Manuel Antonio Village . . . 315
Parque Nacional
Manuel Antonio . . . . . . . . . 317
QUEPOS TO UVITA . . . . . . . 322
Rafiki Safari Lodge . . . . . . .322
Matapalo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .323
Hacienda Barú
National Wildlife Refuge . .323
Dominical. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .324
Uvita . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .329
Parque Nacional
Marino Ballena . . . . . . . . . . 331
NORTHERN CARIBBEAN . .410
PENÍNSULA DE OSA
& GOLFO DULCE . . . .358 Parismina. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .410
TO CORCOVADO VIA
PUERTO JIMÉNEZ . . . . . . . 362
Reserva Forestal
Golfo Dulce . . . . . . . . . . . . .362
Puerto Jiménez. . . . . . . . . 364
Carate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371
TO CORCOVADO VIA
BAHÍA DRAKE . . . . . . . . . . . 374
Sierpe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 374
Humedal Nacional
Térraba-Sierpe . . . . . . . . . . 374
Bahía Drake . . . . . . . . . . . . .375
Reserva Biológica
Isla del Caño . . . . . . . . . . . .382
PARQUE NACIONAL
SOUTHERN
CORCOVADO. . . . . . . . . . . . 382
COSTA RICA . . . . . . .334 GOLFO DULCE . . . . . . . . . . 388
THE ROAD TO CHIRRIPÓ . .335
Santa María &
Valle de Dota . . . . . . . . . . . .335
San Gerardo de Dota . . . . 338
Parque Nacional
Los Quetzales . . . . . . . . . . 340
Cerro de La Muerte . . . . . 340
San Isidro de El General . . 341
San Gerardo de Rivas . . . .343
PARQUE NACIONAL
CHIRRIPÓ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .345
THE ROAD TO LA AMISTAD . .350
Reserva Biológica Dúrika . .350
Reserva Indígena Boruca. .350
Palmar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .352
San Vito . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .354
PARQUE INTERNACIONAL
LA AMISTAD . . . . . . . . . . . . 356
13-on-the-road-title-cos10.indd 51
Golfito . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 388
Parque Nacional
Piedras Blancas . . . . . . . . . 391
Playas San Josecito,
Nicuesa & Cativo . . . . . . . . 391
Zancudo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .392
Pavones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .393
PARQUE NACIONAL
ISLA DEL COCOS . . . . . . . . 395
CARIBBEAN COAST . .397
THE ATLANTIC SLOPE . . .400
Parque Nacional
Braulio Carrillo . . . . . . . . . .401
Guápiles & Around . . . . . . 402
Cariari . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Siquirres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 405
Puerto Limón . . . . . . . . . . 406
Parque Nacional
Tortuguero . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 412
SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN . .420
Reserva Biológica
Hitoy-Cerere . . . . . . . . . . . . 421
Aviarios del Caribe
Sloth Sanctuary . . . . . . . . . 421
Parque Nacional
Cahuita. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 431
Puerto Viejo
de Talamanca . . . . . . . . . . .432
Manzanillo . . . . . . . . . . . . . 448
Refugio Nacional
de Vida Silvestre
Gandoca-Manzanillo . . . . 449
Bribrí . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 451
Sixaola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .452
NORTHERN
LOWLANDS . . . . . . . .453
THE SARAPIQUÍ VALLEY. . 456
La Virgen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 456
Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí
& Around . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .459
SOUTH OF PUERTO
VIEJO DE SARAPIQUÍ . . . . 462
Estación Biológica
La Selva . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 462
HWY 126
TO SAN MIGUEL . . . . . . . . . 464
SAN MIGUEL
TO LOS CHILES. . . . . . . . . . 464
Venecia & Around. . . . . . . 465
Los Chiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . 466
Refugio Nacional de Vida
Silvestre Caño Negro. . . . 468
13/07/2012 3:20:13 PM
› Costa Rica
85ºW
86ºW
Sapoá
Peñas
Blancas
Santa
Cecilia
La Cruz
11ºN
Lago de
Nicaragua
San
Carlos
Los
Chiles
o Fr í o
Santa Rosa
Central America’s largest
tropical dry forest (p200)
San José
Upala
nC
a
Río
Rí o T
enor
a
er i
Rí
o
Tempis
Rí o
que
ast
nac
ua
Caño
Cordi
llera
Negro
de
Volcán Rincón
Llanura de
Rí
G
de la Vieja
Guatusos
(1895m)
Volcán
b
Golfo de
e
Li Santa
s
Papagayo
María
rlo
(1916m) io
San Rafael
LIBERIA
de Guatuso
Sa
Nosara
Laguna
Nuevo Arenal
El Coco
Muelle
A slice of sophisticated
de Arenal
o Arenal
de San
í
Bagaces
R
Carlos
jungle living (p239)
La
Tilarán
Fortuna
Filadelfia
Volcán
Arenal
Cañas
(1633m)
Huacas
Bebedero
Jabillos
Santa
Playa Grande
Ciudad Quesada
Puerto
Elena
i
l
l
(San Carlos)
Playa Tamarindo
Humo
Monteverde e ra d
Tamarindo
Santa
e Ti
Coralillo
larán Zarcero
Cruz
Puente La
Paraíso
Nicoya
Amistad
Pe
San
Miramar
nin
c Ramón
rr an
sul
a
Hojancha
ad
10ºN
oB
eN
Rí
Carmona
y
icoy
Nosara
Esparza
Ferr
a
PUNTARENAS
San Mateo
Playa
Playa Sámara
les
Naranjo
co
Sámara
Mellow out and learn
Bejuco
Santiago
to surf (p247)
Paquera
Golfo de
í de Puriscal
RParque
Nicoya
Tambor
Nacional
Carara
Playa Santa Teresa
Montezuma
Jacó
Mal País
Parque
Nacional
Santa Rosa
rd
Co
t
In
a
er
er
m
o
Tá
r
a
na
ica
Montezuma
Triple-tiered waterfalls and
fine food (p260)
Parrita
Mal País & Santa Teresa
A paradise of surf, yoga
and sushi (p268)
To Isla del Cocos
(300km; See inset)
86ºW
9ºN
87º06'W
0
0
Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal
Hot springs and excellent
hiking (p145)
87º04'W
87º02'W
PACIFIC
4 km
2 miles
OCEAN
5º34'N
5º32'N
Isla del Cocos
Cerro
Iglesias
(634m)
ELEVATION
3000m
2000m
1000m
0
5º30'N
0
0
50 km
25 miles
85ºW
02-destination-map-cos10.indd 4
13/07/2012 12:40:45 PM
Top Experiences ›
83ºW
CARIBBEAN
Sarapiquí Valley
A paddling paradise with
excellent ecolodges (p456)
NICARAGUA
SEA
11ºN
Río S n
Parque Nacional Tortuguero
Glide on waterways past
herons and nesting turtles
(p412)
ta
ven
San José
Dig into Costa Rican culture
and cuisine (p52)
zón Parismina
Southern Caribbean Coast
A remote mix of indigenous,
Tico and Afro-Carribean
cultures (p420)
CARTAGO Turrialba Moravia
Paraíso
Tapantí
Rí
o
Quepos
Parque
Nacional
Chirripó
Rivas
Savegre
San Isidro de
Parque Nacional
El General
Manuel Antonio
Dominical Rí
Rí o
Teliré
Shiroles
Cerro
Chirripó
(3820m) Reserva Co rdi
Tala ller
Biológica
ma a d
Durika
nc e
a
Ujarrás
Cahuita
Puerto Viejo
de Talamanca
Bribrí
Rí o
Si
Amubri
ola
xa
Parque
Nacional
Los Quetzales
Pandora
strella
Rí o E
La
ri
Santa María
de Dota
Rí o
San Ignacio
de Acosta
San Marcos
de Tarrazú
Valle de
Parrita
Pacayas
10ºN
PUERTO
LIMÓN
Ch
ir r i p ó Atlá
nti
co
SAN JOSÉ
Siquirres
Rí o Pacua
re
rd
Co
Ciudad
Colón
Tortuguero
Parque
Nacional
Tortuguero
Rí o
Re
Rí o
T
Rí o To
ro
Rí o Ch
a
Barra del
Juan
Colorado
ó
Boca
ip
irr
Tapada
Llanura de
San Carlos
Llanura de
o
Tortuguero
uer
Pital
ortug
Puerto Viejo
de Sarapiquí
Cariari
San
Llanura de
Miguel
Parque Nacional S a n t a C l a r a
Guácimo
Volcán Poás
Guápiles
Volcán
ill
Poás
er
(2704m)
Volcán
a
ALAJUELA Cen
tra Irazú
(3432m) Lajas
l
HEREDIA
Sixaola
Guabito
Changuinola
Bocas
del Toro
Almirante
o Ge
ner
al
Cerro Chirripó
Buenos
Aires
Icy lakes, wind-swept highs
Valle del
and rugged hiking (p345)
General
Bahía de
Potrero
Paso
Grande
Coronado
9ºN
Palmar
Real
Norte
Rí o Cotó n
Ciudad
PANAMA
Valle de
Santa
Cortés
Int
Coto Brus Elena
Fi
era
l
a
Sabalito
Cos
Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio Sierpe mer
teña San
ica
Accessible rainforest and
Vito
na
Río
Boquete
Agua
beautiful beaches (p317)
Sereno
Buena
Golfo Golfito
Rincón
Dulce
Río
Neily
Parque
Claro
Península Puerto erry
Nacional
F
de
Osa
Paso
Corcovado
Jiménez
Playa
Laguna
Concepción
Canoas
Zancudo
Corcovado
Valle de Coto
David
Carate
Colorado
Uvita
Golfo Dulce
Kayak mangrove channels
alongside dolphins (p365)
Puerto
Armuelles
84ºW
02-destination-map-cos10.indd 5
83ºW
13/07/2012 12:40:50 PM
OUR STORY
A beat-up old car, a few dollars in the pocket and a sense of
adventure. In 1972 that’s all Tony and Maureen Wheeler needed
for the trip of a lifetime – across Europe and Asia overland to
Australia. It took several months, and at the end – broke but
inspired – they sat at their kitchen table writing and stapling
together their first travel guide, Across Asia on the Cheap.
Within a week they’d sold 1500 copies. Lonely Planet was born.
Today, Lonely Planet has offices in Melbourne, London and
Oakland, with more than 600 staff and writers. We share Tony’s belief that ‘a great guidebook
should do three things: inform, educate and amuse’.
OUR WRITERS
Nate Cavalieri
Coordinating Author, Central Pacific Coast, Southern Costa Rica, Península de
Osa & Golfo Duce Nate Cavalieri traveled extensively in Latin America on a 2009
trip around the world, but quickly realized that Costa Rica required a lengthy
return visit for his undivided attention. Nate lives in Oakland, California, where he
writes about life’s most colorful diversions: travel, music and professional cycling. His dozen titles for Lonely Planet include guides to the Caribbean, Mexico,
Northern California and Colorado. For this edition he took up surfing, got really into the mythology
of the Quetzal and nearly destroyed an economy-class rental car. You can check in on him via Twitter (@natecavalieri) or visit www.natecavalieri.com.
Adam Skolnick
Northwestern Costa Rica, Península de Nicoya, Northern Lowlands Adam Skolnick writes about travel, culture, health, sports and the environment for Lonely
Planet, Men’s Health, Outside and Travel + Leisure among others. He has authored and co-authored 16 previous Lonely Planet books, and has travelled and
reported throughout Central America. You can read more of his work at www.
adamskolnick.com.
Wendy Yanagihara
San José, Central Valley & Highlands, Carribean Coast On her first trip to Costa
Rica in 1996, Wendy wandered out to Zarcero to check out the loopy topiaries of
the public plaza, and met Evangelisto Blanco himself (the man behind the landscaping). Fifteen years later, she was pleased to discover that both Zarcero and
Señor Blanco have changed only slightly. She has covered the Nicoya Peninsula
and northern zone before for Lonely Planet, but on this trip she discovered the
surprising delights of San José and a taste for Caribbean rondón. When not on the road for Lonely
Planet, she lives in southern California.
Published by Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd
ABN 36 005 607 983
Although the authors and Lonely Planet have taken all reasonable care in preparing this book, we make no warranty about
10th edition – October 2012
the accuracy or completeness of its content and, to the maxiISBN 978 1 74220 018 7
mum extent permitted, disclaim all liability arising from its use.
© Lonely Planet 2012 Photographs © as indicated 2012
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in China
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic,
mechanical, recording or otherwise, except brief extracts for the purpose of review, and no part of this publication may be sold or hired, without the
written permission of the publisher. Lonely Planet and the Lonely Planet logo are trademarks of Lonely Planet and are registered in the US Patent
and Trademark Office and in other countries. Lonely Planet does not allow its name or logo to be appropriated by commercial establishments, such
as retailers, restaurants or hotels. Please let us know of any misuses: lonelyplanet.com/ip.
37-our-writers-cos10.indd 560
13/07/2012 10:31:43 AM
29
Itineraries
Whether you’ve got six days or
60, these itineraries provide a
starting point for the trip of a
lifetime. Want more inspiration?
Head online to lonelyplanet.
com/thorntree to chat with other
travelers.
‚
Volcán
Arenal
Monteverde & Reserva
Biológica Bosque Nuboso
•
#
•
#
Monteverde
• La
#
Playa #
Fortuna
•
Tamarindo
É
CARIBBEAN
SEA
É
_ SAN JOSÉ
#
•
#
Montezuma
É
•
#
Jacó
É
É
e
É
#
÷
#
Parque Nacional
Manuel Antonio
PA C I F I C
OCEAN
Two Weeks
Essential Costa Rica
This is the trip you’ve been dreaming about: a romp through paradise with seething
volcanoes, tropical parks and ghostly cloud forests.
From San José, beeline north to La Fortuna. After hiking the forest on the flanks
of Volcán Arenal, soak in the area’s hot springs. Then catch a boat across Laguna de
Arenal, and a bus to Monteverde, where you might just encounter the elusive quetzal on a
stroll through the Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde.
It’s time for the beach: head west to the biggest party town in Nicoya, Playa Tamarindo,
and enjoy the ideal surf and rowdy nightlife.
Continuing south, go through Montezuma where you can connect via jet boat to Jacó,
another town with equal affection for surfing and partying. Spend half a day on the bus
down to Quepos, the gateway to Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. A full day in the park
starts with some jungle hikes and wildlife-watching and ends with a picnic and a dip in the
park’s perfect waters.
09-itineraries-cos10.indd 29
11/07/2012 2:23:36 PM
30
É
É
•
Reserva #
Volcán
Biológica #
• Arenal
•
#
Bosque
•
#
Nuboso
Playa Sámara
Monteverde
•
#
É
PL AN YOUR TRIP I T I N E R A R I E S
Playa
Tamarindo &
Playa Grande
La Virgen
& Río Sarapiquí
CARIBBEAN
SEA
_ SAN JOSÉ
#
É
•
Mal País & Playa #
• #
Santa Teresa Montezuma
e
#
PA C I F I C
OCEAN
Two Weeks
Northern Costa Rica
A deep exploration of the north presents travelers with all of Costa Rica’s banner
attractions and some of its off-the-beaten-path destinations in a tidy, low-mileage
package.
After landing in San José, make for the hanging bridges and breathtaking scenery
of the Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde, one of Costa Rica’s most unique
and iconic destinations. Just watching the mists roll over the dense forests is entertaining,
but the add-ons here sweeten the deal: there are dizzying zip lines and areal walkways,
excellent hikes and one of the country’s best butterfly gardens.
After a few days in the cloud forest you’ll be ready for Arenal, the country’s biggest active
volcano. Though just a quick bus ride away, the glowering mountain seems like a different
world. Although it seems to be in heading into a period of dormancy, Arenal remains an
incredible sight. Another few hikes and you’ll be ready for the area’s hot springs.
Now, leave the tourists behind and head into the northern lowlands, an agricultural zone
where real-life Costa Rica awaits. Community tourism initiatives have sprung up in this
historically farm-based economy, with inviting ecolodges and family stays. After a couple
days of connecting with easygoing Ticos, make for La Virgen to raft the county’s wildest
waters on the Río Sarapiquí.
With the remaining week, it’s time to hit the beach. Catch a bus for Playa Tamarindo,
to party with other travelers, sample some of the country’s finest international cuisine and
take a few surfing lessons. If you’re here during turtle season, Playa Grande will host a
horde of nesting leatherbacks; if you’re not, the human action on the beach is an equally
illuminating mating ritual.
You can either stay put or string together a series of southbound buses to visit one
heavenly beach after the next: there’s stunning sand and contemporary cuisine at Playa
Sámara or legendary swells at Mal País and Playa Santa Teresa. Any of them would be
excellent places to swim in warm Pacific waters and chill out on the beach. Wind down
your trip with a bit of yoga at Montezuma and head back to San José via Jacó by jet boat
and bus.
09-itineraries-cos10.indd 30
11/07/2012 2:23:39 PM
31
PL AN YOUR TRIP I T I N E R A R I E S
LOOK DIE BILDAGENTUR DER FOTOGRAFEN GMBH / ALAMY ©
PAUL TOPP / DREAMSTIME©
09-itineraries-cos10.indd 31
» (above) Hiking in the Reserva
Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde
(p177)
» (left) Volcán Arenal (p145)
11/07/2012 2:23:39 PM
32
SAN JOSÉ
_
#
É
É
Parque Nacional
÷
Carara #
É
Quepos & Parque
É
Chirripó
Nacional Manuel
•
Jacó #
•
#
Antonio
#
•
San Gerardo de Rivas &
• É
#
Cloudbridge Nature Preserve
֥
#
Hacienda Barú #
Urita &Parque Nacional
÷
#
National Wildlife
Marino Ballena
Refuge
Dominical
Pacific Coast
Southern Costa Rica
É
É
Parque Nacional
փ
Corcovado #
É
É
PA C I F I C
OCEAN
‚
PL AN YOUR TRIP I T I N E R A R I E S
CARIBBEAN
SEA
•
#
Puerto
•
#
Península Jiménez
de Osa
Two Weeks
Two to Three Weeks
Pacific Coast Explorer
Southern Costa Rica & Osa
Kick things off in the resort town of
Jacó, a scrappy, if cosmopolitan enclave of fine dining and raging nightlife. In case you need a reminder that
you’re still in Costa Rica, backtrack north
up the coast to Parque Nacional Carara,
home to large populations of enchanting
scarlet macaws.
Heading south along the coast, drop in on
Quepos, a convenient base for the country’s
most popular national park, Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio.
Here, the rainforest sweeps down to meet
the sea, providing refuge for rare animals,
including the endangered Central American
squirrel monkey.
Continue on south – stopping to sample
the roadside ceviche stands – and visit Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge to
look for sloth, or keep heading south to Dominical for more waves. For deserted beach
wandering keep on to Uvita, where you can
look for whales off Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
From Uvita, you can either continue
south to the far-flung Península de Osa, or
head to San José.
Hand’s down the best itinerary for
adventurers. Either head down
the Pacific coast or fly into Puerto
Jiménez, which serves as the gateway to Osa. Here, you can spend a day or so
kayaking the mangroves and soaking up the
charm of this tiny town.
The undisputed highlight of Osa is Parque
Nacional Corcovado, one of the country’s
best wildlife-watching spots. Spend a few
days exploring the trails with backpack in
hand; particularly well-equipped travelers
can trek across the entire park.
Return to Puerto Jiménez and link up
with the Uvita, where you wander empty
beaches and surf a bit in the Parque Nacional Marino Ballena. Then, it’s off to
the mountains. Link together buses for San
Gerardo de Rivas, where you can spend
a day getting used to the altitude and hiking through the Cloudbridge Nature Preserve. End the trip with an exhilarating
two-day adventure to the top of Chirripó.
09-itineraries-cos10.indd 32
11/07/2012 2:23:42 PM
33
_
SAN JOSÉ #
•É
#
Monumento Nacional
É
É Arqueológico Guayabo
•
#
Parque
• #
#
•
•
#
É
É
Guápiles
É
÷
#
CARIBBEAN
SEA
Nacional
Refugio Nacional
Cartago Orosi
÷
Río Cahuita #
Vida Silvestre
•
#
Valley Pacuare
÷ de
#
Puerto GandocaManzanillo
Viejo de
Talamanca
É
PA C I F I C
OCEAN
PL AN YOUR TRIP I T I N E R A R I E S
Volcán
Poás
Tortuguero & Parque
Nacional Tortuguero
•
#
Cariari #
•
Central Valley
Caribbean Coast
One to Two Weeks
One Week
Carribean Coast
Central Valley
Spanish gives way to English, and
Latin beats change to Caribbean
rhythms as you explore the ‘other
Costa Rica.’
Hop on the first eastbound bus out of San
José for Cahuita, capital of Afro-Caribbean
culture and gateway to Parque Nacional
Cahuita. Get your fill of this mellow little
village before moving on to Puerto Viejo
de Talamanca, the Caribbean’s center for
nightlife, cuisine and all-round positive
vibes.
From Puerto Viejo, rent yourself a good
old-fashioned bicycle and ride to Manzanillo, from where you can snorkel, kayak
and hike in the Refugio Nacional de Vida
Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo.
For the adventurous at heart, grab a boat
from Moín to travel the canal-lined coast to
Tortuguero, where you can watch nesting
green and leatherback turtles. Of course, the
real reason you’re here is to arrange a canoe
trip through the mangrove-lined canals of
Parque Nacional Tortuguero, Costa Rica’s
mini-Amazon.
After spotting your fill of wildlife, head
back to San José via water taxi and bus
through Cariari and Guápiles.
The central valley circuit is about
sleeping volcanoes, strong cups of
coffee and the spiritual core of the
country. Since most tourists head toward Costa Rica’s distant beaches, you’ll enjoy mountain markets and colonial squares
without the huge crowds.
Begin the scenic circuit of the region’s
gaping volcanoes by hiking the volcanic
lakes and trails surrounding Poás, one of
Costa Rica’s most accessible glimpses into
an active volcano. Move on to the Monumento Nacional Arqueológico Guayabo,
the country’s only significant archeological
site, where visitors marvel at petroglyphs
and a system of aqueducts.
With the geological and archeological
wonders complete, rush the white water of
the Río Pacuare, one of the country’s best
white-water runs, and some of the most scenic rafting in Central America.
Finally, swing south into the heart of the
Orosi Valley, Costa Rican coffee country,
and take the caffeinated 60km loop passing the country’s oldest church and endless
green hills. End this short circuit on a spiritual note at the country’s grandest colonial
temple, the Basílica de Nuestra Senora de
Los Ángeles in Cartago.
09-itineraries-cos10.indd 33
11/07/2012 2:23:42 PM
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