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Costa Rica Central Valley


Poas Volcano, Botos Lake, La Paz Waterfalls, & white water rafting

Grecia, Sarchi, Zarcero, oxcarts, topiary, & butterflies

Crater of Poas Volcano.

Crater of Poas Volcano.

Tours

We use the best tour operator to book all kinds of tours to Costa Rica, including independent tours and packages. If you have a group we can design a tour for your group. Check with us for details or for other information. Please contact us to book your travel. We book travel worldwide. Check out our Special Promotions.

Regions of Costa Rica

Costa Rica can be broken down into a number of regions or specific destinations. You can start with an overview of Costa Rica. For specific details of a region or destination choose the one of interest. There is the Central Region, which includes San Jose and the Central Valley, and features the Poas Volcano and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. San Jose area hotels are found on a separate web page. Hotels at other destinations are reviewed with a specific destination's web page. To the north of San Jose is Arenal where you find the spectacular Arenal volcano, and Monteverde where the very impressive Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is located. Tortuguero is found in the eastern part of Costa Rica on the Caribbean Sea. There you see great wildlife from boats in rivers and canals. The region in the northwest adjoining the Pacific Ocean is Guanacaste. This is where you find popular beaches and the beach town of Tamarindo. This is the driest part of Costa Rica. The Central Pacific region includes the Jaco area and the near by Carara National Park. The Central Pacific also includes Manuel Antonio and the very popular Manuel Antonio National Park. In the southwest region on the Pacific coast is the Corcovado National Park. It is in a remote location, but is a great place to visit. Contact Us for more information.

Poas Volcano

In the central region of Costa Rica near San Jose there are a number of interesting things to see and do. One morning we went to the Poas Volcano National Park. To get there you travel through coffee fields with colorful beans. The volcano reaches a height of about 8,600 feet (2.62 kilometers). From the parking lot you can walk to the crater of the volcano, which is one of the world's largest being more than a mile wide (1.6 kilometers). The crater is pictured above. The volcano is active, and geysers can be seen in the crater. There is a nice short walk through the woods to an older crater that is now the attractive Botos Lake. In the park you will find the Puas Plant, which is pictured below. The best time to see the Poas Volcano is usually early in the morning, since it is often lost in clouds. It can be cold at the high elevation, so it is best to take a jacket or sweater.

Puas Plant at Poas Volcano.

Puas Plant at Poas Volcano.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz Waterfall.

La Paz Waterfall.

Not far from the Poas Volcano are the La Paz Water Fall Gardens. Within a cloud forest are five splendid water falls connected by trails. Viewing platforms are provided for observing the water falls. To appreciate the size if you look closely in the picture of the water fall above you will see two people on a ledge above the bottom of the waterfall. There are some beautiful trails to check out, which Rebecca is doing in the picture below.

Rebecca on a trail at Laz Paz Waterfalls.

Rebecca on a trail at Laz Paz Waterfalls.

On the way to the falls you will come to a very large and impressive enclosed butterfly garden. The Butterfly Observatory is shown below. Even without the falls the butterfly garden is worth the trip to La Paz. Many beautiful butterflies can be seen and photographed, such as the beautiful one below. There is also a fascinating exhibit showing the birth of butterflies. In the hummingbird garden you can see many gorgeous hummingbirds at feeders.

Butterfly Observatory at La Paz Waterfalls.

Butterfly Observatory at La Paz Waterfalls.


Butterfly in the Butterfly Observatory.

Butterfly in the Butterfly Observatory.

Coffee & bananas

The climate in Costa Rica is very favorable for growing coffee and bananas, and you can see lots of fields of these agriculture products there. The quality is very good leading to large exports to North America and Europe. Note the pictures below.

Bananas.

Bananas.


Coffee.

Coffee.

Grecia, Sarchi, & Zarcero

Church with weld joints in Grecia.

Church with weld joints in Grecia.

Not far from the Poas Volcano National Park are the interesting towns of Grecia, Sarchi, and Zarcero. In Grecia is the Church of Mercy, which is a very unusual church having been made out of steel. The church was built with steel parts brought from Belgium in the late eighteen hundreds. In the picture above you can see weld joints. It was decided to build the church out of metal because it was thought that such a structure would have a better chance of surviving earthquakes than the commonly used construction techniques.

Oxcart in Sarchi.

Oxcart in Sarchi.

In Sarchi you can buy beautifully decorated miniature oxcarts, which are made there. Before mechanized transportation was available oxcarts were used to haul goods such as coffee beans. Oxcarts are sometimes seen even today, and we did encounter a farmer with one being pulled by oxen. There are also a number of shops in Sarchi where you can buy souvenirs, including some carved out of wood. Note the picture of an old oxcart above.

Topiary in Zarcero.

Topiary in Zarcero.

In front of a church in the town of Zarcero is some amazing topiary.  The plants have been cut in the shape of people, animals, and other things, as seen above.  Traveling throughout this region, and Costa Rica in general, you see one gorgeous landscape after another.  You will want to take lots of pictures when you go there. See the picture below.

Coast Rica landscape on way to Arenal.

Coast Rica landscape on way to Arenal.

White-water rafting

For a totally different experience we went white-water rafting in the Reventazon River east of San Jose. We had never rafted before, and what at first appeared to be very scary turned out to be exciting and a lot of fun. Much credit goes to our guides. They teach you the techniques of how to paddle in the swift river currents. All you have to do is follow their instructions. You will likely want to do this again. You can get very wet, so it is necessary to protect your camera in a waterproof bag if you take it with you. The rafts used and a picture of us soaking wet after rafting are seen below.

Rafts for white water rafting.

Rafts for white water rafting.


Sunny & Rebecca wet after white water rafting.

Sunny & Rebecca wet after white water rafting.

Regions of Costa Rica

Costa Rica can be broken down into a number of regions or specific destinations. You can start with an overview of Costa Rica. For specific details of a region or destination choose the one of interest. There is the Central Region, which includes San Jose and the Central Valley, and features the Poas Volcano and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. San Jose area hotels are found on a separate web page. Hotels at other destinations are reviewed with a specific destination's web page. To the north of San Jose is Arenal where you find the spectacular Arenal volcano, and Monteverde where the very impressive Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is located. Tortuguero is found in the eastern part of Costa Rica on the Caribbean Sea. There you see great wildlife from boats in rivers and canals. The region in the northwest adjoining the Pacific Ocean is Guanacaste. This is where you find popular beaches and the beach town of Tamarindo. This is the driest part of Costa Rica. The Central Pacific region includes the Jaco area and the near by Carara National Park. The Central Pacific also includes Manuel Antonio and the very popular Manuel Antonio National Park. In the southwest region on the Pacific coast is the Corcovado National Park. It is in a remote location, but is a great place to visit. Contact Us for more information.


Photo of Sunny & Rebecca by an unknown photographer. Remaining photos by Sunny Breeding. We sell prints and images.