Costa Rica

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Caribbean Coast 1995 ] Central Highlands 1995 ] Pacific Coast 1995 ] Final Leg 1995 ] Victoria to San Jose 2008 ] Southern Sky Fiesta 2008 ] Poas & Sarapiqui 2008 ] Arenal Volcano 2008 ] Arenal to San Jose 2008 ] San Jose to Victoria 2008 ] La Ensenada Nature Walks 2008 ] Horseback Riding 2008 ] Mangrove Boat Ride 2008 ] Tractor Ride 2008 ] Carara National Park 2008 ] Likes & Dislikes ] Victoria to San Jose 2009 ] Southern Skies Fiesta in Costa Rica 2009 ] Tamarindo 2009 ] San Jose to Victoria 2009 ]


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HINT: Although I would suggest you start with the first link in one of the three itineraries below, if you are only interested in certain parts of Costa Rica, by all means click on a specific link. You can find your way through the whole trip beginning to end by clicking on the "Next" links at the bottom of each page.  Of course, the text link navigation bar to be found at the top of each page is also an excellent way to explore the JoeTourist website, especially if you want to jump around.


February 2009

This was a two week trip to Costa Rica. The first week was the same Southern Sky Fiesta tour I took last year arranged through TravelQuest International (see below for details).  The second week was on our own arrangements.  Some friends and I traveled to Tamarindo, which is in the northwest corner of Costa Rica - a resort area with beautiful beaches and Leather Back Turtles.
bulletVictoria to San Jose - traveling to San Jose from my home took a day, also includes our travel the next day from San Jose to La Ensenada "Star" Lodge
bulletSouthern Skies Fiesta in Costa Rica- La Ensenada "Star" Lodge, where we did our celestial observing and other activities
bulletTamarindo - some friends and I had a week of "beach time" here in the NW corner of Costa Rica on the beautiful Pacific coast
bulletSan Jose to Victoria - I stayed at a funky hotel in San Jose before departing for home


Butterfly on a flower in Costa Rica

February 2008

This was a 12 day package offered by TravelQuest International, a US-based tour company who specialize in astronomy tours, especially solar eclipse tours. I selected two back-to-back tours.  The Southern Sky Fiesta tour was focused on observing the southern sky that is visible from Costa Rica.  The Volcanoes and Rainforest tour took us to see two volcanoes and several types of rain forest.  Both tours had subject experts along:

bulletGary Seronik writes for Sky & Telescope magazine and is a dedicated observer of celestial objects
bulletSteven O'Meara is a volcano expert who contributes to National Geographic magazine and dedicates himself to improving volcano prediction
Pura Vida frog graphic
bulletVictoria to San Jose - traveling to San Jose from my home took a day
bulletLa Ensenada Lodge - San Jose to La Ensenada "Star" Lodge, where we did our celestial observing, Horseback Riding,  a Tractor Ride & daily Nature Walks (at the Lodge); and we went on side tours to: Carara National Park and a Mangrove Boat Ride (departing from the Lodge)
bulletPoas Volcano & Sarapiqui River region - Poas is the first volcano we see up close, then rain forest tours to La Selva and Tirimbina
bulletArenal Volcano area - on our way to Arenal we do some river rafting, then see Arenal as up close as is safe to do, and manage to also squeeze in some relaxing soaks in volcanic pools
bulletArenal to San Jose - I experience my first cloud forest at El Silencio before returning to San Jose
bulletSan Jose to Victoria - the trip home from San Jose took two days

Costa Rican flagJanuary 1995

This was a bus tour package deal from Fun Sun Tours (based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada). The Two Oceans Coast to Coast Tour gave us two weeks in Costa Rica, covering the Caribbean coast, the Pacific coast, as well as some interesting inland destinations...all for a very reasonable cost.

We stayed in San Jose (the capital of Costa Rica) for a couple of days, which gave us time for a look around the city, and to see a few of the sights. Our hotel is the Centro Colon - a nice hotel, centrally located in the hotel district, and only a couple of years old. Moderate rates, 24 hour coffee shop/restaurant, casino, bar, gift shop, and part of an American-style mall with some nice shops. The coffee in the coffee shop is the best we tasted in Costa Rica...and that's going some, considering Costa Rica grows so much coffee!



Caribbean Coast of the trip (#2 on the map) took us on a 4 hour river boat trip up a jungle canal to the Jungle Lodge, located within Tortuguero National Park.


Central Highlands (#3 on the map) - we stayed at a resort near Arenal Volcano which boasted volcanic hot pools for the guests. Along the way, we saw a botanical garden where many of the exotic tropical flowers we order from our florists at home are shipped from. We were even sprayed with volcanic ash from a rumbling volcano!


Pacific Coast (#4 on the map) - we had the quintessinal tourist experience, including: staying at a huge resort which boasted acres and acres of swimming pools, went on a luxurious yacht to a tropical island in the gulf, and hiked among iguanas in the jungle!


The final leg of our journey (#1 on the map) on our way back to San Jose we toured a painted ox cart factory and then to a butterfly farm. Our last night in Costa Rica (and San Jose) saw us experience the traditional hospitality of the Ticos atop Pico Blanco - a mountain overlooking the city. Folkloric dancers, traditional Costa Rican food, and warm and friendly Ticos all contributed to a wonderful final memory of Costa Rica.


Map of Costa Rica


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Other Links

Costa Rica's Travel Net - a wonderful resource if you are planning to visit Costa Rica. Maps, tours, hotels, car rentals, facts and figures galore!

Costa Rica Home Pages - lots of travel-related information about Costa Rica.

List of birds of Costa Rica - Wikipedia - here is a reference to the many birds to see in Costa Rica

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The Ticos: Culture and Social Change in...
Take this book along to read while you are in
Costa Rica - interesting background info about
the people.

The New Key to Costa Rica
This very popular travel guide is a
great way to plan your trip to Costa Rica




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