Sámara seen from a Flying Crocodile ultralight flight. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Flying Crocodile Ultralight Flight, Costa Rica

Want to try a flight in an ultralight plane? Head to Playa Buena Vista and the Flying Crocodile Flying Center where Guido Scheidt, a licensed commercial pilot, will take you up in one of his state-of-the-art fixed-wing or autogiro ultralights. Trips from twenty minutes to three days are offered, as well as lessons; stay in one of the nearby cabins for the full experience.

Playa Espadilla in Manuel Antonio National Park. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Planning Your Time in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Region

Costa Rica’s Central Pacific zone is predominantly a beach destination. It’s easily explored along the coast highway, with side roads branching off into the mountains or beaches. Take at least one week to explore the entire region north to south, or three days if you want to concentrate on either Manuel Antonio, Jacó, or Dominical—the three main destinations.

Crystal-clear stream on Cerro Chirripó. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Hiking Chirripó National Park

Chirripó National Park protects hundreds of thousands of acres of of high-elevation terrain surrounding Cerro Chirripó, Costa Rica’s highest peak. No guides are required for hiking the Termómetro trail, but they are compulsory for the Herradura trail.

Male green iguana in orange mating color. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Plan a Visit to the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Caño Negro is a bird-watcher’s paradise. The reserve protects the largest colony of neotropic cormorants in Costa Rica and the only permanent colony of Nicaraguan grackles. The reserve is also remarkable for its large population of caimans. Find out all you need to know about visiting the refuge and surrounding area.

Kura Design Villa in Costa Rica's Central Pacific. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Unique Costa Rica Retreats: Lodges, Reserves, and More

Consider a stay at a mountain or rainforest lodge, an aerial tree house, or even a working farm for a unique Costa Rica experience. Most have naturalist guides and activities such as canoeing and hiking. Some offer luxury fit for a king; others are basic, although no less endearing.

Sámara seen from a Flying Crocodile ultralight flight. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Planning Your Time on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula

Known for its magnificent beaches and a long dry season with sizzling sunshine, the Nicoya Peninsula is the epicenter of Costa Rican beach vacations. Most tourism activity is along the dramatically sculpted Pacific shoreline. Although each beach community has its own distinct appeal, most remain barefoot and traditional, appealing to laid-back travelers who can hang with the locals and appreciate the wildlife that comes down to the shore.

Because of its strategic location, the Dúrika Biological Reserve serves as a refuge to many endangered species, such as the Harpy Eagle. Photo © Brian Gratwicke, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Buenos Aires and the Durika Biological Reserve

The gateway to the northern section of Parque Internacional La Amistad is Buenos Aires, a small agricultural town in the midst of an endless green ocean of piñas. Here you’ll find the Reserva Biológica Durika, a self-sufficient agricultural community operating an authentic ecotourism project that welcomes visitors.

Peccary at La Selva Biological Station. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Plan a Visit to La Selva Biological Station

One of Costa Rica’s premier birding sites, La Selva Biological Station offers guided nature walks with phenomenal wildlife viewing. There are a handful of tours offered, including an early-bird walk and for those who choose to overnight in comfortable dormitories, a nocturnal tour.

Rafters passing through lowland rainforest on the Río Naranjo. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Outdoor Activities Near Quepos, Costa Rica

The small yet booming port town of Quepos is the gateway for travelers heading to Costa Rica’s Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, seven kilometers south over a sinuous mountain road lined with hotels, restaurants, and bars. It’s a great base for all kinds of outdoor activities and adventures from sportfishing to horseback riding. You can mangrove estuaries, wildlife habitats, embark on an in-depth farm ecotour experience, and all of that is just for starters.

Scuba divers set out from the Águila de Osa Inn at Drake Bay. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Things to Do in Drake Bay, Costa Rica

On the north side of the Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay lies between the mouth of the Río Sierpe and the vastness of Parque Nacional Corcovado. It’s a good base for sportfishing and scuba diving, and for hikes into nearby wildlife refuges and the national park.