Costa Rica’s natural beauty and charm make it a popular tourist destination.
- Visit an active volcano. Costa Rica has six active volcanoes and more than sixty dormant ones. The tallest, Irazú, is over 11,000 feet (3,400 m), but only two of the six are over 10,000 feet (3,300 m). Pictured above is Arenal, shrouded in clouds.
- See the amazing oxcarts in Sarchí. If you’re headed from San José to Arenal, off one of the major routes is the town of Sarchí. They make traditional oxcarts there, which are colorfully painted. They also craft a variety of other wooden items including bowls and very comfortable chairs. You can take a tour of their woodworking facilities, which are water powered.
- See the beautiful pottery of Guatil, which still makes pre-Colombian pottery from local clays and ingredients. Sadly, that way of life is threatened by the sale of the clay mine. The pottery tradition in this region began 5,000 years ago. Eight hundred years ago, when the Chorotegans came from Mexico, they formalized the style of pottery still made today. Here’s a lovely page with some pictures of pottery being made.
- Surf! Costa Rica is famous for its surfing spots, ranging from beginner to advanced, though the Caribbean coast only has advanced surfing. Biggest waves are from May through October on the Pacific coast, which you may wish to avoid if you’re a real beginner. Here’s a link for more details on surfing locations.
- Relax in a hot springs. There are quite a few of them around Costa Rica, many clustered around Arenal. Hot springs range from the huge variety of pools, with varying temperatures, at Tabacon down to much smaller, more private sites.
Photo: Arenal Volcano. © 2013 by Deirdre Saoirse Moen