Costa Rica However You Please

Ethan Todras-Whitehill has a nice overview of Costa Rica’s myriad travel opportunities on He calls the counry a “Rorschach test for travelers.”

I think this is a solid analogy because–with so many drastically different ways to enjoy the “Rich Coast” nation–depending upon whether you elect “adventure” or “respite” as the theme for your trip, your choice will reflect what you hope to get out of the experience.

The article covers the three big draws of Costa Rica travel sector. These categories, as he refers to them, are “Eco-Tourism,” “Adventure-Tourism,” and “Luxury Tourism.” Enjoy the sample:

Planning a trip for myself and my father last November, I set myself a challenge. How many Costa Ricas could we sample in just eight days? I settled on three: the rich primordial forest, the adventurer’s playground and the beachfront paradise. After subtracting travel time within the country, we would have a day and a half to two and a half days at our chosen location for each one, time enough for a taste, at least, of the country’s riches.

Twenty-seven percent of Costa Rica’s land area is devoted to national parks and reserves, one of the highest percentages for any country. Monteverde, which is the primary place marketed to eco-tourists, is between two reserves — Monteverde and Santa Elena — deep in the Costa Rican highlands. It is well developed, with hotels, several restaurants, shops and art galleries. It even has an asphalt road connecting the two reserves and villages between, which is curious since the four-hour drive through farms and orchards to get to the area from San José is rocky and rutted — a result, locals say, of an earlier desire to keep down the number of visitors (now, most would prefer that the government pave the road). It is an oasis of infrastructure amid the rural and the wild.
(Photo courtesy of Michael Nagle for The New York Times)