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What You Need to Know About Costa Rica Before You Go

Costa Rica bird

When it comes to a vacation in Costa Rica, the experts advise that “you gotta know the territory.” But how can you if you’ve never been there?

Follow the tips of Western River Expeditions, soon to enter its 59th season of award-winning adventure travel. Here are a few of many questions this company suggests you ponder before booking a Western River Expeditions’ 9-Day Costa Rica Vacation Package.

When is the best time to visit Costa Rica?  This is the question that everyone asks and the answer is, “It depends!” Mid-December to April can often be drier, but due to this, and the fact that it’s a popular time to get away to warm destinations, the crowds can be greater. During May through the first half of December, daily rainfall is more common. It’s a period the locals refer to as “the green season.” During this period, you might experience different wildlife and fewer crowds. Generally, the rain doesn’t last all day and guests find periods of lovely sunshine each day as well.

But here’s a little secret! In some years, visitors reap the rewards of Costa Rica’s “Little Summer” (Veranillo de San Juan or Little Summer of Saint John) in July. Because of a little-known weather phenomenon that in-the-know wildlife lovers are keen to, July is one of the best times to visit Costa Rica. The secret is a drier break after the rains of May and June that yield flowering trees and fruits, which attract a lot of wildlife.

Do you appreciate crowds or are you looking for something more secluded?  The time of travel will affect the crowd levels in popular destinations such as Arenal and Manuel Antonio, but Western River Expeditions has built in to its Costa Rica itinerary a few days of blissful seclusion. In the heart of the jungle sits the Pacuare Lodge, a remote rainforest paradise. Guests raft in with a small group and, once at the lodge, participants find themselves surrounded mostly by dense jungle and the sounds of the nearby river. A hike along centuries-old trails to the top of the Talamanca Mountains brings a visit with the Cabécar Indians, the largest indigenous group in Costa Rica. This is only one of the eight lodge-based activities to choose from. Extending a stay at the lodge (optional) gives visitors even more time to participate in the various experiences offered.

When is the best time to go rafting in Costa Rica?  The Pacuare River (rated among the top 10 rivers in the world by National Geographic) offers 38 Class II-IV rapids over 16 river miles with the caveat that the excitement varies by how high and fast the river is flowing. During the dry season of January to April whitewater rafting in Costa Rica is more sanguine than during the misting and green months of May through December. That said, there can always be unpredictable rainfall any time of year that raises the water levels – and the excitement levels.

Is birding a passion?  From a bird watching tour at the Pacaure Lodge, to the Mistico Hanging Bridges tour which boasts over 200 species of birds, to the Manuel Antonio National Park which is home to more than 180 different species visitors will find plenty of rare picture taking opportunities.

Interested in surfing?  Experienced surfers appreciate the bigger waves of September and October on the Pacific Coast. Adrenaline-seeking travelers wanting to take optional surfing lessons while in Manuel Antonio (highly recommended), might appreciate the somewhat tamer surf during the remainder of the year.

Do you love authentic wildlife viewing?  You’ll likely find wildlife in Costa Rica no matter when you choose to visit. One of the top destinations on the Western River 9-Day Costa Rica itinerary is the Manuel Antonio National Park. Home to a variety of mammal species, it is a thrill to be personally greeted by multiple curious Mono Titi monkeys on a day tour.

The basic rate is from $3,705 per person, double inclusive of transfers, hotels, activities, 11 meals and most activities. Western River Expeditions’ core Costa Rica program can be arranged for just two people or for up to 25 and can be customized by lengthening or shortening the trip and by adding or deleting activities. Year-round departures on a space-available basis can be tailored to travelers’ schedules.

The tour utilizes four distinguished properties selected for panache, location and comfort. In the gateway city of San Jose is Hotel Grano de Oro. At Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort guests enjoy a swim-up bar, local and international gourmet cuisine and they are positioned to explore the geology of Arenal Volcano and nearby hot springs. While on the Pacuare River guests enjoy Pacuare Lodge (National Geographic Traveler World’s Best Ecolodge). Tulemar Bungalows (a Travel + Leisure World’s Best award winner) in Manuel Antonio National Park offers and ocean and beaches.

For vacation package details please see https://www.westernriver.com/costa-rica-vacation-package.

 

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