In Central America, just south of Nicaragua and north of Panama is Costa Rica. Costa Rica has the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west side. Therefore, the majority of Costa Rica's borders, sixty-five percent, are coastline.
Although a relatively small area, about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined, it has everything one could want in a vacation. Beautiful white sand beaches, great surf, active volcanoes, natural hot springs, and towering rain forests are just some of the sites in Costa Rica. Site seeing in the area is relatively simple via rental car or public bus.
A number of the principal mountain ranges are volcanic, and visitors can easily visit many of these areas. In the province of Cartago, for example, which is not far from the capital of San José, you will find Irazú volcano, which erupted in the early sixties. Poás volcano, located in the province of Alajuela, has one of the largest active craters in the world. In addition, Arenal volcano, in the northwestern region, delights thousands of visitors each year to a constant stream of red, hot lava rocks tumbling down its slopes.
Picturesque forests grow in the crater of the dormant Barva in Heredia. Arenal, a young volcano in the northern part of the country is constantly active (and is the site of a spa with natural hot springs). The country's highest peak, Mount Chirripó, is not volcanic; it measures 12.412 feet. On a clear day one can see both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans from atop Mt. Chirripo.
The capital of Costa Rica is San José and is a good starting place for exploring the country. It is conveniently located in the center of the country and all the bus lines stop here. The port of Limon on the Caribbean Coast has quite a different atmosphere from the capital. Life is easy going on the Caribbean coast compared to the city life in San Jose.
San José is located in the Central Valley region of the country. Evenings in San José can be cool do to the high altitude, but you will not forget that you are in a tropical place even in this bustling city. The city itself is busy and filed with traffic. There are many things to do, but travelers often miss these sites choosing instead to head straight from the airport to beaches or rainforests. Although San José is not the most beautiful city in the world, it is generally safe and has a lot to offer tourists.