|Costa Rica: a guide for beginners||| Print ||
|Friday, 19 March 2010 21:05|
Chris Moss offers a guide to Costa Rica, ahead of this year's celebrations to mark the bicentenary of Latin America's fight for independence.
South America’s Switzerland – peaceful, army-less, sometimes a bit dull. Costa Rica won independence from Spain on September 15 1821. Hitherto the country had functioned apart from the Capitanía General of Guatemala for some time and Costa Rica was used to a degree of autonomy; it still is.
Top five attractions
White-water rafting at Turrialba; the surfing scene on the Nicoya peninsula; Rincón de la Vieja national park for riding and volcanoes; the Monteverde cloud forest; and, if you can visit in May, watching the arrival of the Olive Ridley sea turtles on the beaches of the Pacific Coast.
Try the cowboy town of Liberia, in Guanacaste province.
Tour: Costa Rica Highlights
Starting in San José, take a 13-night tour of some of the most beautiful national parks. Visit the Corcovado National Park and hike the Casa Corcovado trails, tour the Arenal Volcano Park and Monteverde cloud forest. Can be done as a fly-drive.
Price: from £2,330 per person, including accommodation, guiding, transfers, escorted tour, admissions, transport, breakfast and full board at Corcovado. No flights included. Contact: 020 8742 1556; windowsonthewild.com
Souvenir to buy
Costa Rican coffee is among the best in the world.
Quirky Costa Rica
Instead of hola (hello), Costa Ricans say “Pura vida” (pure life) or “Que tuanes”, which is of obscure provenance, but may be a corruption of the English “Get-to-our-knees” – in other words, I like you so much I am genuflecting.
Monkeys are Made of Chocolate by Jack Ewing (Pixyjack Press), a celebration of jungle life and man-and-nature symbioses by a resident with 30 years’ observations.