Costa Rica seems designed for adventure, exploration and the sporting life. The beaches and forests offer endless opportunities for activity and discovery but the urban centers, especially San José, are home to the cultural and historical aspects of Costa Rican life. Thanks to Costa Rica's small size, excellent infrastructure and natural benefits, it's possible to enjoy seaside sports, forest explorations and cultural events all within the same weekend. The beauty of Costa Rica is that you never have to choose just one location and just one activity – you can see and do so much more in a limited time.
Both of Costa Rica's coastlines are huge attractions for both tourists and locals alike. Only hours from the main population center in the Central Valley, the beaches offer great swimming, surfing and sunbathing. Those wanting to get closer and interact with some of the sea life can snorkel, scuba dive, fish, or just wait on the beach for sea turtles to come closer to you.
As you move towards the Central Valley, beaches give way to forests, mountains and volcanoes. Clever entrepreneurs have designed several convenient ways for you to enjoy these ecosystems. You can interact with the wildlife in controlled settings like sloth rescue centers and butterfly farms, or set out on a river tour or forest hike to see alligators, birds and frogs in their natural habitat. The ability to fly through the canopies of cloud and rain forests is a specialty in Costa Rica. Zip lines and suspension bridges can be found throughout Costa Rica's forests, allowing humans to get a bird's and monkey's eye view of their habitat. If you want to explore volcanoes and waterfalls, you can do that by foot, bike or on horseback.
In the Central Valley, you'll find another side of Costa Rica that doesn't involve exploration and activity. Throughout the valley you can visit beautiful churches, manicured parks and interesting museums. San José is home to world class restaurants, theaters and clubs and also plays host to some of the most exciting cultural festivals in the country. The Central Valley is also the place to shop for traditional crafts like pottery, furniture and jewelry.
Thanks to Costa Rica's rich history and its global reputation as a peaceful country, there are a number of events throughout the year that attract both local and global attention. National bicycle and adventure races are often held in Costa Rica to take advantage of its various terrains. Both international and local surfing competitions are held regularly on the Pacific coast. You can also attend more traditional events, like rodeos in Guanacaste and annual cultural and religious festivals across the country. There is always something to see or do in Costa Rica, no matter where your interests lie.
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