Costa Rica Hotels

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Your key to the peaceful jewel of Central America lies in one of the many Costa Rica hotels, where the clear salt waters of the ocean and the verdant landscapes of the volcanic interior are never too far away. Whether you choose the country's Caribbean or Pacific coast, Costa Rica is rich enough for you to delight in spending a week at one resort. It's not so large, though, that you can't explore miles of its beaches, coastlines, natural parks, rain forests, and other natural beauties if you prefer.

South of Nicaragua and north of Panama, Costa Rica remains largely agricultural despite significant technology and tourism. A democracy that gained its independence from Spain in 1821 and has not had an army since 1949, it has seen only two brief episodes of violence since the late 19th century.

Coastal plains, home to most Costa Rica hotels, are separated by rain forest and mountains, among which are two active volcanoes and the capital city of San Jose. Approximately 250 miles north to south, Costa Rica is a naturalist's wonderland about the size of the state of West Virginia. About 180 miles east to west at its widest point, the country is less than 100 miles wide south of the Peninsula Santa Elena in the northwest.

Accommodations at Costa Rica Hotels

Your choice among Costa Rica hotels will be wide no matter where you stay. Prices are moderate to downright inexpensive, especially when considering the splendid and sandy beaches and wide range of activities. Individual rooms are always available, of course, but suites are more common. Along the coasts, ocean views and glorious sunsets are almost impossible to avoid. Nightlife and fine restaurants are as plentiful as the natural beauties.

The first thing to do in choosing among Costa Rica hotels is narrow your focus on where to base your vacation. The capital of San Jose and Monteverde, amidst the rain forest and volcanic mountains, are two appealing inland areas. If the intense clean blue surf of the ocean and sandy beaches are more to your liking, you'll look west to the Pacific or east to the Caribbean. The resorts to the west center on Tamarindo in the north, Jaco and Manuel Antonio in the central region, and the Osa Peninsula in the south. On the Caribbean side are Tortuguera and the South Coast.

Be prepared for lush gardens, swimming pools, full restaurants, and full kitchens in many of the Costa Rica hotels you'll consider. Typically equipped with air conditioning and ceiling fans, rooms and suites will generally sleep from two to eight. In-room safes are sometimes offered to protect your valuables. Hammocks, balconies, patios, and verandas are the rule rather than the exception, whether you're staying in a condo or villa style resort.

Attractions at Costa Rica Hotels

Choosing your destination might be in part a matter of settling among the countless attractions of Costa Rica. For a country slightly smaller than West Virginia, its biodiversity is almost overwhelmingly abundant. You can trek in its pristine rain forests, state parks, and wildlife sanctuaries. As many as 850 species of birds are native to Costa Rica, among them the brightly colored macaw and indigo-capped hummingbirds. Armadillos, tapirs, jaguars, four types of monkey, and other fauna live among 1,500 species of trees and other flora.

If you want to enjoy the water and wide expanses of sandy beach, you'll want to choose one of the many Costa Rica hotels along its 1,260 kilometers (783 miles) of coastline. Then comes the important decision of deciding among snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, surfing, and scuba diving. If you stay long enough or plan carefully, however, you won't have to decide. You can do it all!

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