Travelers now have access to new accommodations, activities and options to get around
Costa Rica, which closed 2015 with a new record of 2.6 million visitors, is full of surprises for those looking to explore the Central American nation this year. From new accommodations to city tours, activities and festivals, the country has no shortage of choices for those seeking to experience the Pura Vida lifestyle.
Below are some of the highlights for those looking to explore the Central American nation soon:
Where to stay: new hotel and resort openings
Whether traveling for business or for pleasure, solo or with a group, visitors now have new lodging options to suit their travel preferences and budgets. Several hotels and resorts have opened their doors throughout the country including Hacienda Altagracia, a luxury property in the mountains of Perez Zeledon region, as well as the Esplendor Hotel, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Tamarindo region.
Others are slated to open their doors to travelers throughout the country, starting as early as this summer; among these are:
· Casa Chameleon Las Cantinas (Mal Pais, opening in December 2016 – will feature 21 rooms)
· Green Residence Hotel and Suites (San José, opening in June 2016 – will feature 100 rooms)
· Manglar de Osa (Puntarenas, opening in July 2016 – will feature 10 rooms)
· Nantipa: A Tico Beach Resort (Puntarenas, opening in June 2016 – will feature 44 rooms)
· Residence Flamingo by Marriott (Guanacaste, opening in November 2016 – will feature 124 rooms)
What to do: From new bus tours in San Jose to nightlife shuttles and extreme adventure activities
Those looking to explore San Jose’s rich history and culture with a certified guide can now enjoy the ease and convenience of the new hop-on, hop-off tours. Visitors have the option of hopping on or off at more than 12 stops as many times as they like throughout the day. The buses provide travelers with access to more than 50 attractions including the National Theater, the Jade Museum, the Gastronomic Road in Escalante, the Children’s Museum, the Costa Rican Art Museum, the Central Market and Plaza Tempo, among others. The service is provided daily from 8:40 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.costaricacitysquaretour.com.
When the sun sets, those looking to explore the city by night can take advantage of the new La Carreta by Carpe Chepe nightlife shuttle. Travelers have the opportunity to visit up to 30 of San Jose’s most vibrant bars as selected by a group of locals who live in – and love – the region. La Carreta runs continuously from 8:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. For more information on routes or to track the shuttle in real time, please visitwww.carpechepe.com.
Those who want to get their adrenaline pumping can venture into the new Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping tour in La Fortuna; the multi-sport canyon adventure combines hiking, rappelling, cliff jumping and swimming all in one. Thrill seekers can jump off 10- to 30-foot waterfalls and cliffs, and rappel along the edge of a thundering 140-foot waterfall, dropping into a deep pool of crystalline water. For more information, visitwww.desafiocostarica.com.
Where to go: From Guanacaste’s biggest fiesta to one of the country’s largest arts festivals and everything in between
EXPOMARIMBA 2016 – July 15-17
Costa Rica’s national instrument, the marimba, a percussion instrument similar to the xylophone, will take the center stage at this year’s EXPOMARIMBA. The event will attract locals and visitors alike to the Guanacaste region for three days filled with music, dance, religious and cultural celebrations, as well as delicious local fare. EXPOMARIMBA’s ultimate goal is to preserve and showcase the country’s local heritage, allowing visitors the opportunity to truly experience the Tico culture.
Festival de la Tortilla Palmeada al Aire (Tortilla Festival) – July 22-24
The town of Corralillo located in the province of Guanacaste will be celebrating its 10th annual Festival de la Tortilla Palmeada al Aire with live music, dance shows, contests, cultural exhibits and authentic Tico cuisine. Attendees will, of course, have the opportunity to enjoy delicious handmade tortillas, a staple in the Costa Rican cuisine. Visitors should also not miss the competition for the best tortilla maker; the corn delicacies are judged by their taste, texture and presentation.
Día de la Anexión del Partido de Nicoya – July 25
Recently selected as one of Top 26 Places to Go in 2016 by About.com, the Province of Guanacaste, in Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, is known for its breathtaking beaches, optimal surfing conditions and lush national parks. Travelers headed to the region should not miss the festivities surrounding the Día de la Anexión del Partido de Nicoya, also known as Guanacaste’s Annexation Day, in celebration of the region’s annexation to Costa Rica, July 25; festivities include parades, concerts, folk dances, handicrafts, fireworks and authentic Tico cuisine. Bullfights are also a common part of the celebration. However, as opposed to the typical Spanish bullfighting, bullfighting in Costa Rica does not aim to hurt the bull, but rather to dodge it.
Festival Nacional de las Artes de Costa Rica – August 5-14
Costa Rican culture is in many ways a reflection of its ethnic diversity with Spanish, Caribbean and indigenous influences. Those looking to explore the country’s cultural arts scene can head over to the Festival Nacional de las Artes de Costa Rica (Costa Rica’s National Arts Festival), a biennial arts festival presented by the Costa Rica’s Ministry of Culture. The event brings together the country’s best artists, providing attendees with an opportunity to enjoy artwork, live theater, dance shows and musical performances. This year’s festivities will be held in the cities of Neily and Golfito, in the country’s southern region – an ideal destination for those in search of unspoiled natural beauty, away from the hustle-and-bustle of life. For more information, visit www.festivaldelasartes.go.cr.
Fiestas Patronales de San Ramon and Entrada de los Santos – August 25 - September 1
Every year, the region of San Ramon in the Alajuela Province enjoys several days of live music, dance, cultural and religious festivities and traditional festival food in celebration of its patron saint, San Ramon Nonato. One of the most symbolic of these celebrations is the Entrada de los Santos, August 30, where more than two dozen statues of saints from various towns are brought to San Ramon and paraded through the streets.
To obtain a complete list of cultural events happening in San Jose’s Greater Metropolitan Area, please visit GAM Cultural,www.gamcultural.com. The interactive website provides travelers planning a trip to the country with information on all the latest exhibits, concerts, workshops and literary events, among others.
For more information on visiting Costa Rica, please visit www.VisitCostaRica.com.