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Costa Rica Overview

Overview| Wildlife | Activities | Weather | Safety | Health | Lodging

Costa Rica Overview
Costa Rica is an outdoor adventurer's paradise. There are miles of unspoiled beaches to see; rainforests and cloudforests to learn about; world-class whitewater rafting and canoeing, fiery volcanos and hot springs, and heart-stopping encounters with exotic wildlife and colorful tropical birds at every turn.

Twelve distinct ecological zones of breathtaking beauty cover a area the size of New Hampshire, from the mangrove forests of the Caribbean lowlands to the misty cloudforests that blanket the top of the continental divide and back down to the sunny Pacific beaches. Nowhere else on earth is biological abundance and diversity so evident than in the Costa Rican rainforests: tropical rainforests contain more than half of all living things known to man. The rainforest is a place of peace and renewal; mysterious, life-affirming, and of majestic proportions. Costa Rica alone has more plant species than the whole of Europe, and a staggering world of exotic wildlife that runs into the millions of species.

If you like to go "off the beaten path", a little extra effort will reward you with an astounding hidden wonderland that few visitors ever get to see. You'll find InnerQuest's Ultimate Wildlife Eco-Tours are packed full of the kind of experiences -- from remote river trips, to bird's-eye views from the top of the cloudforest canopy, to extraordinarily intimate encounters with wildlife -- that will leave you transformed forever . See our Itinerary for details. Back to Top

If you spend any time in Costa Rica, you will be struck by the variety of wildlife. Sit still a while in the rainforest and the unseen beasts and birds will get used to your presence and emerge from the shadows. Enormous blue morpho butterflies float by, scarlet macaws plunge and shriek, squirrel monkeys swing and play and hundreds of colorful tropical birds watch from their vantage points for any movement that will betray a stick insect or a camouflaged tree frog to scoop up for lunch. Troops of monkeys, legions of sloths, silent tree-dwelling cats, and other fruit- and leaf-eating mammals play and sleep, hunt and scavenge, mate and breed. Come twilight, an entirely new world of nocturnal animals come out to forage amidst the moist velvet blanket of the tropical night. Wildlife viewing is our passion - you'll notice this passion in our choice of locations, our enthusiastic naturalist guides, our extensive knowledge of local wildlife habits, our willingness to go the extra distance to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences with wildlife, and in the sheer volume of wildlife you'll see compared to any other tour -- including some rare and endangered animals. Click on Wildlife Encounters to see some of the animals you'll meet on your adventure. Back to Top

Accommodations: Many of our lodges have been featured in Conde Naste Traveler, Travel & Leisure, and on Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, Animal Planet and Sir Richard Attenbourough's specials on the Discovery Channel. These are amazing jungle lodges that you will never forget. We love small, family run rainforest lodges that feature incredible vistas and have a unique relationship with the wildlife and eco-systems in which they exist. Of course, they provide all of the necessary comforts including hot water, firm, clean beds, delicious meals, and a symphony of hundreds of tropical birds and howler monkeys outside your window to wake up to!

Costa Rica's rainforests, volcanoes, rivers and other natural wonders have an allure that invites exploration. Our Ultimate Wildlife Eco-tours feature overnight canoeing, bird and wildlife viewing, (our specialties) as well as hiking, cloudforest canopy tours, whitewater rafting, sea-kayaking, biologist-led rainforest exploration, and much more. In addition, nearly any other activity you can imagine can be added, from horseback riding to diving. See our Itinerary for details.
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Weather - when to go
December through mid-May is the dry season in Costa Rica, and is the best time to go because it allows the full range of exploration throughout the country, with few limitations. The rainy season usually takes a while to get started in late May, and often dies out for a couple of weeks in July before going full tilt through November. You'll quickly see how aptly named the "rainforest" is during the rainy season -- it can really rain in the rainforest! But you can expect short afternoon showers nearly any time of year depending on your location. Many of the more remote "of the beaten path" areas such as the Caribbean coast and the Osa peninsula receive as much as 150-300 inches per year! But don't be too quick to discount the "green season." It is relatively easy to adjust your itinerary to accommodate the weather and many places will be less crowded and more peaceful, which can mean an equally great environment for activities and wildlife viewing. A flexible attitude will be all you need in the unlikely event the weather causes any minor inconveniences. The only caution to Green season exploration is mid-September through mid-November, which is hurricane season. (See Itinerary)   Back to Top

With common sense, you are no more likely to run into problems in Costa Rica than you are in America. The vast majority of Costa Ricans are supremely honest and friendly people. However, there is a growing problem of petty theft and muggings that has blossomed into a national pastime. While violent crime is nearly nonexistent, the boldness of petty thieves is astounding, especially in cities, crowded markets, tourist traps, and other places where tourists make likely targets. Some simple precautions and common sense, however, can turn your from a target to a savvy traveler. Your reservation information package comes with a list of these suggestions we've found extremely effective. Once again, it is unlikely that you will experience any problems - even the worst cities in Costa Rica are quite safe compared to any US city! Back to Top

Health Precautions
Medical clinics are available in most nearby villages, and there is a decent hospital in Belize City, but don't expect the same quality of care you might get in your home town.

Water - While the water is said to be good from the tap in Costa Rica, experienced travelers still drink only bottled water as the bacteria in the tropics can be quite aggressive to unfamiliar intestinal flora. If you have doubts, do not use the tap water, even for brushing teeth. This is a wise precaution as there are several unfamiliar strains of bacteria and protozoans that can cause anything from turista (traveler's diarrhea) to an all-out attack with several days of fever, chills and vomiting. A great natural way to prevent turista is to put a few drops of the naturopathic remedy Citricidal (Grapefruit Seed Extract or GSE) in your water each day.

Mosquitoes - Mosquitoes are a minor bother, as are sandflies. Anyone who has been to the mountains in the U.S. will be surprised that there aren't as many mosquitos in Costa Rica. But while there may be fewer, they can be more dangerous as well. Occasionally, some mosquitoes in remote areas have been found to carry malaria, however, these outbreaks are extremely rare. We recommend an insect repellent with between 20-40% deet, no more and no less.

Vaccinations The anti-malaria salt "Chloroquine" is recommended by the CDC for travel to Costa Rica. This is a salt tablet taken once a week, and unlike other anti-malaria prophylactics, it is relatively free of any side effects. As a general "good idea" for any travel outside the US, we also recommend the new 10-year Hepatitis A vaccine. Otherwise, there are no other vaccines required by the CDC to travel in Costa Rica.

We will provide you with more unique tips and precautions in the information package you will receive upon making reservations for your Ultimate Wildlife adventure. Back to Top

Costa Rica Ultimate Wildlife Eco-Tours
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