Arenal Kioro Green Luxury

Arenal Volcano from Kioro Hotel Pool

Stylish boutique hotel with Arenal volcano views from every suite

The flower-adorned approach to Arenal Kioro hints at the carefully landscaped 27 acres that set off this luxury boutique hotel and spa. Bounded by two streams, the gardens include a private hot spring. The rainforest of Arenal National Park that adjoins Kioro adds to your sense of seclusion.

Kioro’s outdoor terrace, with pool and several thermal pools, is also where you’ll find Orquídeas, with its casual lunch and themed dinner menu. Bar El Higuerón, at the hot springs, is perfect for evening cocktails, national beers, and non-alcoholic fruit juices.

There are only two suite types: Couples (king-sized bed) or Family (two queens). Cathedral ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, Spanish tile floors, and two balconies add to a sense of open space. Every suite features a view of Arenal Volcano. Wicker furniture, teak accents, and boldly colored accents in the soft furnishings bring a modern feel to the room. An in-room hot tub, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV round out the standard amenities. The suite’s bathroom features double sinks in a natural stone vanity.

Breakfast is included at the hotel’s main restaurant, Heliconias, which offers a wide variety of hot entrees, mostly typical Costa Rican fare. Pancakes or French toast, fresh fruit, pastries, cold cereal, yogurts, as well as an egg station to complete the buffet breakfast offering. Lunch and dinner service are a la carte and more upmarket, offering a full range of dishes. As with the suites, the windows on three sides of the restaurant overlook the rainforest, augmented by flowering heliconias throughout.

Neidin Spa provides guests with full-service massage treatments and more limited scrubs, facials, wraps, and baths. Titokú Hot Springs (a natural spring only 5 minutes away by hotel shuttle) offers more stress reduction and relaxation.

There are several 4.5+ star restaurants in La Fortuna for a change of pace, including:

  • Restaurante Don Rufino – local, grass-fed beef, seafood, vegetarian, classic Costa Rican casado, including breakfast
  • Soda Mina – traditional Costa Rican fare
  • Snapper’s House – fresh seafood
  • La Parrilla de María Bonita – wood-fired grill, Lebanese
  • La Forchetta Ristorante – flavors of Northern Italy

As a guest at Kioro, Arenal, you can join outdoor tours of area attractions.

Among others, activities include:

  • Caňo Negro Wildlife Refuge Boat Tour – boat ride on the Frío River, starting near the border with Nicaragua that travels through the refuge; spot monkeys, sloths, caimans, and birds, as well as rare plant and animal species
  • Arenal Hanging Bridges – a 2-mile trail of suspension bridges; views of the volcano and Lake Arenal
  • Sky Adventure Park – stunning views of Arenal from the Sky Walk, the Sky Tram, or the Sky Trek zipline; choose one or try them all
  • ATV Tour – a wild ride aboard an ATV and a stop for a swim


Arenal Kioro Green Luxury exudes an atmosphere of casual sophistication that ensures comfort and relaxation for newlyweds and families alike. Contact us to find out more.

Is it safe to drink alcohol in Costa Rica?

Pretty Woman Enjoying an alcoholic beverage poolside in Costa Rica

What you need to know about adulterated alcohol in Costa Rica

The World Health Organization has reported poisoning incidents in more than a half dozen countries worldwide. In Costa Rica, the government has confirmed methanol-related 20 deaths since WHO issued its alert. The Costa Rican government has moved aggressively to find and seize methanol-tainted alcohol since early June in the face of widespread methanol poisoning around the world.

The Health Ministry of Costa Rica issued a sanitary alert July 10, saying several brands may contain methanol. Guaro Montano and Guaro Apache, as well as 5 aguardiente (schnapps) brands: Estrella Roja, Molotov, Sachetto, Barón Rojo, and Timbuka. In addition to the warning against buying or drinking these brands, the government is asking people to report seeing any of these brands for sale at while the sanitary alert is in effect.

What you should know

  • Costa Rica’s Health Ministry said the methanol poisoning has affected mostly “people with chronic alcohol problems.”
  • Currently, Cartago, San José and Limón provinces are the affected areas.
  • Nationally, officials have seized the affected brands at distributors and retailers. Wine and liquor that were “unregistered or [that] had expired registrations” have also been seized. Similar raids are occurring nationally. So far, some 38,000 bottles of liquor have been confiscated, according to the Health Ministry.
  • As of July 24, liquor licenses will be suspended if any retailer or other establishment are found selling any of the suspect brands.
  • If you experience abdominal pain, headache, excessive or an excessively long-lasting “hangover,” or have an episode of incoordination, seek medical treatment immediately.

What the suspected brands of tainted alcohol look like

Be on the lookout for the brands that have been seized and are suspect. Always go for premium, or well known, brand liquors.



So, is it safe for me to drink alcohol in Costa Rica?

The short answer is yes but let us explain. Reputable restaurants, liquor retailers, grocery stores, and bars depend on consumer confidence in their services. They certainly take seriously the government’s warning and the resultant enforcement efforts because they depend on your patronage. Costa Rican officials are acting proactively to safeguard the supply chain.

That said, there are precautions you can take:

  • Patronize top restaurants and ask for premium brands.
  • Drink beer and wine instead and avoid the brand names listed above.
  • If your drink tastes or smells “funny,” don’t drink it.
  • You can buy duty-free alcohol in airport arrivals before leaving the airport. If you want to buy alcohol, shop at a reputable grocery store or liquor retailer.


As with any product, be wary of claims made about any brand name you don’t know. Don’t hesitate to ask your server or retailer about what you’re buying. Reputable sellers have a vested interest in ensuring your satisfaction and good health. The hoteliers of Distinctive Hotels have spent time and money on the reputation of their hotels. They want you to have confidence in their properties and feel safe during your stay in Costa Rica. If you have concerns about your upcoming visit, don’t hesitate to reach out today.


Interesting Insects of Costa Rica

Costa Rica butterfly in rainforest

From flutterbys to creepers, check out these 5 interesting insects that make their home in Costa Rica


Whether creepy crawlers are your thing or not, you have to admit that Costa Rica has an astonishing array of fascinating insects that are a delight to catch sight of. While nobody knows exactly how many different species of insects there are in Costa Rica, some claim that the number hovers around 300,000. In reality, though, it’s almost impossible to track and new bugs are being discovered all the time.

If you want to be picky, all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs. The difference is in the mouth shape, and that may be a difference without a distinction to folks like you and me. Whatever you want to call them, there are definitely a lot of cool insect species in Costa Rica.

We think these 5 Costa Rica insects are fascinating either because of their beauty or their behavior.

The butterflies found in Costa Rica make up 90% of all butterflies found in Central America, so there’s no better place to visit if you love these delicate, gorgeously colored flying insects. There are a number of really awesome butterfly observatories in Costa Rica where you can see a dizzying number of flitting and flying beauties, including Blue Morphos, Glasswingeds, or Orange Tigers. Their educational exhibits give information about the butterfly life cycle, as well as a display of chrysalises from which the butterflies eventually emerge.

Leafcutter ants—called zompopas in Costa Rica—are really fungi farmers. They carry the pieces of leaf to the nest to use as a growing medium. What’s interesting is that all that fungus emits the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide on a scale to match anaerobic manure lagoons found at milk farms. You can identify them by the trail of leaf-carrying ants.

Stick insects look exactly like their name implies. Their coloration may be brown, green, or mixed. By day, they blend into their environment by becoming sticklike, mostly motionless but moving as the plant they’re affixed to moves. At night, they forage and mate. Juanpalos, as they’re known in Costa Rica, are found in the dry tropical savannahs of Guanacaste, Rincón de la Vieja, and Santa Rosa National Parks.

Fireflies, or lightning bugs, are really beetles. In Costa Rica, you’re likely to see them just about anywhere. Their bioluminescence is the result of a chemical reaction. Color and flash patterns depend on species and gender, mostly for mating purposes. Short-lived, most fireflies never eat after the larval stage.

The long, upwardly curving horns of the Hercules Beetle have earned it its more descriptive name: the rhinoceros beetle. These beetles are enormous, growing to 7” and are very strong, carrying up to 850 times its weight. A herbivore, you’ll find them in Palo Verde, Corcovado, and Tortuguero National Parks, as well as Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge.

The best time to go bug hunting is at night, and several of the national parks and reserves often have night tours, as do some resorts. These interesting insects are worth the effort to see if you can spot them. Some of your best Costa Rica vacation stories might end up being about the adventures you had trying to see them. If you miss out on these 5, there are sure to be others that are just as interesting.


20 Amphibians and Reptiles in Costa Rica

Caiman crocodilus lying on river bank in Cano Negro, Costa Rica,

Costa Rica’s great biodiversity includes an impressive number of reptiles and amphibians; if these creepy crawlers are your thing, you’ll be delighted!


Costa Rica is a place of enormous biodiversity, including a rich variety of herpetofauna that live in the rain and cloud forests and humid lowlands of the country. Amphibians and reptiles can be as colorful and fascinating as the most brightly colored macaw and as exotic-looking as a tapir.


Rain frogs, which are quite small (1 – 2”), have suction cup-like finger disks and live in low and middle elevation forests. The Smoky Jungle Frog can grow up to 6” and discharges a neuromuscular toxin. Glass Frogs are small, translucent green tree frogs that when placed belly down on a piece of glass, its internal organs are visible, including its beating heart. The Red-eyed Leaf Frog is vividly colored and lives, as the name implies, in trees. Poison Dart Frogs are also vibrantly colored and live in humid lowlands. They eat ants, and the resulting accumulations of formic acids probably contribute to the frogs’ poison production.

The Bufo or Giant Toad is most commonly found in gardens or other human-created habitats. With an appetite as big as it is, it eats almost everything that it can swallow: insects, small mammals, spiders, and other toads. Poisonous, it’s capable of killing dogs that eat or attack it.

Salamanders, newts, sirens (externally gilled salamanders), and amphiumas (heavy, eel-like salamanders with poorly developed limbs) are amphibians with tails. Costa Rica has many diverse species that are rarely seen because of highly specialized habitat and the corresponding remote locations.



Crocodiles and caimans are similar in appearance but have different behaviors. Spectacled Caimans have broader and more rounded snouts; they often retreat when disturbed. American Crocodiles tend to be larger and far more aggressive. As you head down the freeway toward the Jaco Beach, Herradura, and Playa Esterillos area of the Central Pacific, you’ll notice a lot of tourists stopped on a bridge and peering over; they are checking out the hundreds of crocodiles that hang out right there in the Tarcoles River under the bridge. Be sure to check it out, and hang on to your camera!

Sea turtles are reptiles, and Costa Rica has many important nesting sites for 4 species: Green, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, and Leatherback. Green and Hawksbill sea turtles nest on the Caribbean coast—Greens on the North Caribbean coast, especially around Tortuguero, nesting June – October, and Hawksbills in Cahuita National Park in September and October. On the Pacific coast, Olive Ridleys come ashore at multiple sites July – November. Leatherbacks nest on both coasts: the Caribbean, March – July and the Pacific, September – March. Hawksbills are often seen foraging in Golfo Dulce.

The obvious difference between lizards, which tend to be carnivores or insectivores, and snakes is legs or the lack of them. These cold-blooded reptiles are most active on sunny days. The Green Iguana is Costa Rica’s best-known lizard; they can grow to weigh as much as 20 lbs. Other lizard species include Ctenosaurs (similar in appearance to iguanas) and crested basilisks, also known as Jesus Christ lizards for their ability to run short distances on water. Nine species of geckos are endemic to Costa Rica, eating prodigious quantities of mosquitos and cockroaches—a great reason to love them.

Most of the Costa Rican snakes are non-venomous and serve to control the country’s insect and rodent populations. Many are arboreal, while some, such as boa constrictors are terrestrial. In Costa Rica, the pit vipers include the notorious fer-de-lance, responsible for most snakebite fatalities in the country, and the bushmaster, also known as the matabuey (ox killer). The coral snake is also venomous, while the Yellow-bellied Sea Snake is from the marine family, seldom seen close to shore and only found in the Pacific.

The best way to see Costa Rica’s amphibians and reptiles is in the exhibits of places such as La Paz Waterfall Gardens or on guided day and night tours in various reserves and national parks. A trip to the Tarcoles River, whether by boat or from the bridge, will bring you as close as you care to be to crocodiles. Spectacled caimans can be seen in Manuel Antonio National Park.

These 8 Costa Rica Birds Will Take Your Breath Away

Costa Rica toucan

Birdwatcher or not, catching sight of these colorful birds will make your Costa Rica vacation a little extra special

Some 900 bird species migrate through or live in Costa Rica. Birdwatchers visit Costa Rica to check off the exotic tropical species on their must-see list. Regardless of your avian affections, you’ll be struck by the colorful beauty of the country’s tropical birds. Visitor favorites include birds from these families.


The scarlet macaw features brilliant markings of blue, red, and yellow. Highly intelligent, they can grow up to 3 feet in length. The back, head, and lower tail feathers are primarily red, while a broad blue band of feathers cover the wings and lower back. Yellow stripes above the blue band separate the red and blue. Found: Central Pacific coast, Carara, Palo Verde, and Corcovado National Parks.

Other macaw species include the blue and gold, great green, and hyacinth macaws.


The violet sabrewing is a vibrantly-colored large hummingbird (6”). Males are blue-violet on the head, back, and upper chest; females have green backs and grey chests. Both have long tails with white scalloped edges. Found: Tortuguero Island, Carara National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

The white-crested coquette males, a.k.a. the adorable coquette has a white crest and long green cheek tufts with delicately-fanned rufous tail feathers. Found: Osa Peninsula,

The colorful green violetear has violet ear feathers on the sides of the head, with green and blue feathers on its throat and belly. It and 25 other Costa Rican hummingbird species can be observed and enjoyed all over Costa Rica.


There are about 40 different toucan species, making them easy to spot and very popular birds. The chestnut-mandible toucan, a.k.a. Swanson’s toucan showcases vivid coloration against its black body. Its maroon head, back, and neck contrast with its yellow face and breast, green eyes and blue legs. Found: Carara, Corcovado, Irazú Volcano, and other national parks


Among the crane family, the green heron, with its flat, dark green crest, is notable for its dark green back and wings and its white neck/throat stripe. Found: Still-water aquatic ecosystems, Tortuguero and Corcovado National Parks, among others.

Blue herons, snowy egrets, and ibis are commonly found throughout the Americas. The roseate spoonbill, like the flamingo, gets its coloring from fish, crabs, and shrimp, which contain carotenoids. Its spatulate spoon-shaped bill allows it to feed by swinging its bill side to side in the water. Found: wetlands, marshes, and mangrove estuaries.

The bare-throated tiger heron is the most common in Costa Rica. They are named for the fine black and white herringbone pattern of their feathers. Found: in freshwater and brackish aquatic environments.

Resplendent Quetzal

In a class of their own, the brilliantly green resplendent quetzals of Costa Rica are at the top of any birdwatcher’s bucket list, visitor and locals alike. The distinctive shimmering green of its body, head, and crest (males) help it to blend into the canopy. It’s characteristic sweeping tail plumes can be as much as 3+ feet long. Small but mighty, the heavily muscled quetzal is an agile flyer. These endangered birds can be found in montane forests of Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves, as well as Poas Volcano National Park.

These birds are just a sample of the many vividly-colored tropical species in Costa Rica. Choose your vacation destinations carefully to make the most of your bird spotting opportunities.

6 Tips and Tricks for Better Costa Rica Travel Photography

Taking Costa Rica sunset photo with phone

Try these 6 ideas for better travel photographs of your Costa Rican vacation with your smartphone

You don’t have to have specialized camera gear to get some great travel photographs on your Costa Rica vacation. With a few key pieces of affordable and easy to use and move gear for your smartphone, plus a few photographic tricks up your sleeve, you can capture travel photos that will be the envy of Instagram.

Smartphone camera lenses and equipment

TechRadar has rated its top 10 lenses. Olloclip’s XS Max Clip includes a super-wide, 15x macro and 180 fisheye lens package best suited for intermediate and advanced iPhone users. Moment Tele Lens, 60mm focal length, is a good fit for beginners and works on iPhone and Android. ExoLens with Optics by Zeiss Wide-Angle offers iPhone users an 18mm with slightly awkward casing at a price you’d expect for Zeiss optics. At the more economical end of the scale, is Nelomo Universal—with a 0.65x super-wide angle, a 15x macro, and a 230 fisheye—great for beginners on all platforms.

Check your smartphone’s camera options for advanced photography capabilities. If you can, turn on the camera’s grid, it will help you compose your shot. Newer smartphone camera features could include portrait or landscape modes and pre-set light editing options.

Adobe Lightroom works on either iOS or Android phones to make lighting corrections in your photo, add highlights, or enhance color saturation. The app’s introduction helps you with various photography terms and how to use app settings to adjust your images.

Pro tricks for better Costa Rica travel photos

Regardless of the equipment you use, knowing what makes a great travel photograph is more than half the battle. Understanding and using some of the basic rules of photography can turn your ordinary pictures into truly memorable shots.

For great shots, get up early or stay late. The best light for great pictures is known as the golden hour—the hour immediately after sunrise or before sunset. You’ll get rich, warm tones in your shot and more pleasing shadows.

Another reason for early or late is people. If you’re hoping to get a great shot of the Golden Gate Bridge wreathed in fog, you don’t want a crowd cluttering up your shot. Go when the crowd has thinned out to get your shot.

Avoid placing the subject of your shot dead square in the middle of it. Imagine dividing your composition into thirds, either horizontally or vertically and put the subject off-center. That grid feature we mentioned earlier can help you here.

Work the angles. Again, play around with different angles: shoot up or down on your subject, shoot from one side or another. The different perspective can make a good picture a great shot.

Crop your shot before you shoot. Eliminate some of the foreground or distracting elements (like the annoying telephone lines in your beautiful landscape shot) before you shoot. Likewise, fill the frame with your image.

With the right tools, a little knowledge, and some effort, your Costa Rican travel photos of the beaches, rainforests and the distinctive hotels you stayed at will be the envy of your friends.

8 Amazing Animals to Spot in Costa Rica

White faced capuchin monkey Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s magnificent mammals will make you want to pack your hiking shoes and visit now.

Costa Rica’s biodiversity is well-known, with many exotic rainforest animals that are easy to catch sight of when hiking, biking, or horseback riding through one of the many protected national parks. For an eco-adventure that is filled with interesting discovery, a hiking trip to Costa Rica is just the ticket.

Among others, here are some of the fascinating wild animals that you will find in Costa Rica’s rainforest, cloud forests, and dry forest plains.


Sloths have 3 toes with long, curved claws on each foot. The claws allow them to hang upside down from tree branches high up in the canopy. As their name implies, they move very slowly. On the ground, they can barely walk, leaving them vulnerable to predators.


Coati, or coatimundi, are related to raccoons, but smaller and with long, reddish tails. Omnivorous, they eat insects, fruit, and small reptiles. They are adept climbers and forage in the trees for food. At popular Costa Rica attractions, such as Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, these opportunistic feeders will beg food from unsuspecting tourists.

Howler Monkey

Howler monkeys have an extremely loud, booming call, which can carry as much as 3 miles. Once heard, their call is forever recognizable. Living in large troops, they’ll call all day regardless of weather.

Capuchin Monkey

Named for cowled Capuchin monks, white-faced Capuchin monkeys’ have white chests, shoulders and facial ruffs around their tan faces that contrast sharply with their black bodies. Extremely social, kinship is the dominant factor in a troops social structure.

Spider Monkey

Their long arms and tails help spider monkeys swing through the rainforest canopy. Their prehensile tails make up for the fact that spider monkeys have no thumbs. Loud, these monkeys have several different calls, screeches, and barks. They forage for a diet of nuts, fruit, and even spiders in the treetops throughout their Costa Rica rainforest habitat.


Tapirs may look like pigs but are related to the rhinoceros and horse, with small elephant-like trunks that they use to grasp their food. Also, like elephants, tapirs spread plant seeds throughout their habitat through defecation, making them an integral part of the ecosystem. The young of all 5 species are colored a light brown shade to help them remain camouflaged on the forest floor.


A smaller relative of the ocelot, the margay lives in primary evergreen and deciduous forests. Dark brown or black rosettes and streaks mark its light brown fur. The margay, a skillful climber, is also known as a tree ocelot because it can spend its whole life in the canopy chasing birds and monkeys. Notably, its flexible ankles, which can turn up to 180 degrees, allow it to descend head first and grasp branches with its fore or hind paws. It can also leap some 12 ft. horizontally.


The oncilla, sometimes called little spotted cat or tigrillo, is a small cat colored much like the margay and ocelot. Smaller and slender than its cousins, it is about the size of a housecat with thick, soft fur, colored light brown to ochre and dark and irregularly-shaped rosettes. Its coloring and spots help it blend into the mottled shade of the tropical forest floor.

So, pack your hiking boots and get ready for adventure and discovery; Costa Rica’s wildlife is just a vacation stay away.



5 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Costa Rica

Kids on tropical beach in Costa Rica

Spring break adventures for the whole family are abundant in Costa Rica!

Heading to Costa Rica for Spring Break with the family, and looking for things to do with the kids? You’re sure to be spoiled for choice, so we have some suggestions to help you see more of gorgeous tropical Costa Rica.

Central Pacific Coast

Alma del Pacifico, in Esterillos Este, Parrita, just south of Jacó, on the Central Pacific Coast, is just over an hour from Juan Santamaria Airport in San José. The lovely boutique hotel’s walking paths lead through colorful ornamental, herb and vegetable gardens to your oasis bungalow. You and the family will have all the creature comforts of home, including kitchenette and terrace.

There are several great activities for all interests and ages. Manuel Antonio National Park, on the outskirts of Quepos, is a good place to start. It’s abundant wildlife, gentle surf and gorgeous white-sand beaches are just for starters. A guide can help you locate the rainforest canopy’s residents; capuchin and squirrel monkeys, as well as sloths. Shaded and paved trails lead from the forest to the beaches—there are 3—where everyone can enjoy the sun and surf. For the more adventurous, the hike up to Cathedral Point will take you to higher ground for spectacular views of the coastline. Tip: don’t leave bags unattended on the beach because the critters will definitely investigate the contents.

The whole family will appreciate a trip to Pueblo Santa Juana for a mountain and zipline tour. Activities include a hike through the rainforest hills, swimming in a waterfall pool and a visit to an authentic Tico sugar mill. In addition, you can enjoy a traditional lunch overlooking Manuel Antonio National Park before heading off for a flight through the canopy on a zipline.

Nearby, Jacó Ropes Adventure Park offers a 155-foot zipline, a Tarzan swing through the rainforest, and creek crossing via cargo net, among other activities. The kids will enjoy a chance to work off some energy while surrounded by the rainforest and its residents.


Hotel Belmar, just up the road from Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, aims to provide guests with the very best in eco-tourism. The guest chalets take inspiration from their Austrian cousins; each one beautifully and comfortably furnished. Dedicated to eco-tourism, the 5-leaf boutique hotel’s sustainable management philosophy has supported the area’s thriving local employment market.

Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, situated on the continental divide, is made up of several different reserves, including privately-held buffer zones and parts of Arenal Volcano National Park.

It’s also one of the most bio-diverse places anywhere on Earth: 3,021 plant varieties, more than 100 different mammals, including 6 different marsupials, and 400+ bird species.

Guided tours are some of the best ways to experience the Reserve. Monteverde Sky Adventure Park, is another, with many family-friendly tour choices: The Sky Tram, Sky Walk, or Sky Trek. Each offers a unique experience of the area’s cloud and rain forests, from a leisurely stroll over the trails to canyoneering and rafting. There’re adventures for everyone, regardless of ability or interest.

Spring Break never looked so good! Even the Littles in the family will have a blast when you travel to Costa Rica for Spring Break. Reach out today and talk to one of our advisers; you’ll be sure to have the perfect Costa Rica family vacation.

Exploring Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Costa Rica Guanacaste sunset and sea

Costa Rica’s Northern Pacific Beaches of Guanacaste Province

On Costa Rica’s Northern Pacific coastline, Guanacaste’s famous Gold Coast, life is indeed a beach. If you’re staying at Capitán Suizo, these are the best and most well-known beaches of the Northern Pacific coast to visit, each a gem.


Playa Tamarindo

What was once a small fishing village has grown to become a vibrant multicultural community centered around beach life. The beach is wide, long, and beautiful, perfect for long walks on the beach. The water is warm and it’s also a surfing hot spot, but still forgiving of beginners. Playa Tamarindo also received Costa Rica’s Blue Flag award in 2018, confirming the quality of the area’s services and facilities. Playa Tamarindo is next door to Las Baulas Marine National Park, where leatherback turtles (las baulas) lay their eggs.

Playa Flamingo

Part of Costa Rica’s Gold Coast, Playa Flamingo is a stunningly beautiful beach: blue crystalline waters and tree-lined beach. The beach, a crescent-shaped mile of white sand. The beach has attracted global attention for its beauty and the lavish lifestyle.

Playa Grande

The Matapalo River marks the beginning of Playa Grande in Marino Las Baulas National Park. This is where the leatherback sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs during the nesting season. Their numbers have been drastically reduced from times past, but it’s still an awe-inspiring sight.

Playa Langosta

Playa Langosta is south of Tamarindo, a 5-minute drive. The white sands on this long beach are a beachcomber’s dream. Access is via Hacienda Pinilla, making this beach less crowded than Tamarindo. If you wade across the estuary at low tide, there’s a great stretch of nearly deserted beach.

Playa Avellanas Beach

Like Langosta, access to Playa Avellanas is through the Hacienda Pinilla Beach Club, as well as a public access point near Lola’s. At Lola’s, which is practically world-famous, the beach is shaded by palm trees and food and drink are available. There are some world class surf breaks here and spots for beginners and boogie boarders, depending on area and tides.

Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal on Brasilito Bay, south of Playa Flamingo is worth the drive from Capitan Suizo’s. The beach and its setting conjure up every TV commercial ever seen. The turquoise water, white sand, and not-too-distant Catalina Islands make Conchal seem like a tropical paradise.

Playa Hermosa

Guanacaste’s Playa Hermosa is one of Guanacaste’s best swimming beaches with beautiful clear blue warm water and plenty of beautiful natural scenery to go with the laid-back vibe. Though Playa Hermosa has seen some development, it’s still a favorite with swimmers and retains its charm. The weather is nearly perfect year-round. Don’t confuse this one with the surfer’s beach further south near Jacó.


If you are planning a beach vacation, Guanacaste’s Northern Pacific beaches should be on your list of places to visit in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s Best Tours and Activities

Three-toed Sloth in Costa Rica

Exciting tours and activities mean high adventure and fascinating discovery in Costa Rica

Never a dull moment, the abundance of eco-adventure tours and activities in Costa Rica means a vacation to remember.

The early months of high season, January through March, are some of the best months to visit Costa Rica. The green season, with its daily rains, has left the rain and dry tropical forests green and still lush. Still, any time of year is a good time of year to visit Costa Rica.

No matter what you’re up for, there are plenty of things to do for everyone: adventure tours, such as whitewater rafting and zip lining for the adrenalin addicts among us,  and the more leisurely pursuits of guided nature hikes and coffee plantation tours for those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground.

Here are 5 Costa Rica tours and activities that we think are well worth your while:

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is, perhaps, the most unique in all of Latin America. It straddles the continental divide, and is the result of two separate climatic influences: Caribbean moisture-laden winds provide the mists while the Pacific side is somewhat drier. Its biodiversity is unmatched by few other places on the planet. In fact, about a third of the country’s indigenous flora is found here—more than 3,000 species; especially orchids. Monteverde is also a beacon for birdwatchers, with more than 400 species, mostly insectivores and frugivores. The well-named resplendent quetzal calls this beautiful Costa Rica cloud forest home. The best way to enjoy the canopy is a guided walk along the hanging bridges of the reserve.

Coffee lovers will appreciate a coffee plantation tour. It’s fascinating to see the process from beans on the tree to coffee in the cup. You’ll learn about coffee culture and its importance to the country. The Doka Estate, near Peace Lodge and La Paz Waterfall Gardens, is the largest coffee plantation in Costa Rica and they offer a choice of three tours (one includes La Paz).

Catch sight of turtles nesting on Costa Rica beaches. Olive Ridley and Green sea turtles begin nesting in January for the next 3 months and leatherbacks are just winding up their nesting season, meaning you may have a chance to watch eggs being laid and hatchlings make their dash to the surf.

California’s humpback whales and their calves are a common sight off the southern Pacific coast in January and February. By the end of March, they’re beginning their northern migration. There are a number of wonderful tours to enjoy Costa Rica whale watching; just ask your concierge!

Rainforest canopy zip line, tram, and hanging bridge tours are an excellent mix of adrenaline and awe. The rush from flying from platform to platform just may be as exhilarating as parachuting, only safer. You get a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest canopy and its colorful inhabitants, such as scarlet macaws and toucans, as well as monkeys and sloths. Zipline tours are available all over the country; no matter which distinctive hotel you’re staying in, you’re likely to be able to schedule this exciting tour.

Not up for being harnessed in and flying over the canopy tops? Ask about sky tram aerial rides or skywalk hanging bridges; you can leave the thrill-seeking behind and still enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest canopy.

Running the rapids while white water river rafting on Rio Naranjo or Rio Savegre is a possibility for even the most novice beginner. For really exciting rapids, go river rafting right as the green season is coming to a close- anytime in November and December. As the dry season develops, water flows tend to be lower, so January through April is a good time for those who want a more tranquil experience.

Other rivers that are part of Costa Rica’s hydroelectric infrastructure, such as the Balsa, Toro, and Sarapiquí rivers have more reliable flows due to water releases.

No matter which river rafting tour you choose, every Costa Rica river offers an exhilarating and wile ride.

The concierge staff at your hotel can help you organize any number of tours and activities. They’ll know who the reliable tour operators are and can even book for you.