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Just over twice the size of Wales yet home to approximately 5% of the world’s bio-diversity, Costa Rica packs a powerful eco-punch for a country of its relatively diminutive size, and it makes a superb destination for a wildlife-based walking holiday: Gentle Walking & Wildlife Costa Rica.
Situated between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, and sandwiched between the Pacific and Caribbean oceans, Costa Rica has a vast array of eco-systems. Tropical dry forests, tropical rainforests, mangrove swamps, coastal wetlands, high plateau, mountain ranges, geo-thermal features and cloud forests support a remarkably varied range of flora and fauna. Sloths, toucan, jaguars, resplendent quetzals and giant turtles are the exotic headline attractions but there are myriad mammals, birds, monkeys, butterflies, reptiles and insects to keep even the most hardened wildlife expert interested. In fact, 250 species of mammal, 400 different reptiles and amphibian, 900 species of birds, a quarter of the world’s butterfly population and an incredible 250,000 species of insect, call Costa Rica home. This means that wherever you go in Costa Rica you are never far from an amazing wildlife experience.
Costa Rica has four mountain ranges with the highest peak, Chirripό, standing at 3,820m/12,533ft. Two of the mountain ranges are volcanic in origin - the Central Mountains and Cordillera de Guanacaste - part of the Central American Volcanic Arc which stretches for over 900 miles from Guatemala to Panama and has the highest density of volcanoes in the world. Arenal and Rincon de la Vieja are two of the most accessible volcanoes (depending on volcanic activity) and both offer fantastic walking opportunities as well as thermal pools and other exciting outdoor adventures.
The contrasting coastal regions of Costa Rica are also big draws for visitors. The eastern, Caribbean coast is straight, flat and only 132 miles long whilst the Pacific coast on the west of the country runs for 632 miles has two major peninsulas and numerous islands and inlets. On both sides you can find superb white-sand beaches and warm tropical waters. Tortuguero, on the Caribbean coast is an exception in that it’s not the beaches that attract visitors but turtles as this is one of the most renowned sites for nesting turtles anywhere in the world. Although, even when the turtles aren’t nesting there’s an abundance of other wildlife to discover in this watery haven.
The people of Costa Rica, known as ‘Ticos’, are proud stewards of this rich natural heritage with over a quarter of the country legally protected, including 26 National parks and numerous forest and wildlife reserves. Eco tourism has become an important contributor to economic success in Costa Rica helped by the country’s peaceful outlook, political stability and a strong democratic tradition that sets it apart from its neighbours. Along with its welcoming culture, good quality accommodation and a wide range of exciting outdoor activities to enjoy, Costa Rica is rightly considered one of the world’s prime eco-tourism destinations.
Whether you want to hike on trails through ancient forest, zip through the canopy of a cloudforest, peer into a volcano, discover endless exotic wildlife, soak in hot springs or relax on a pristine beach, our Gentle Walking & Wildlife holiday in Costa Rica is the perfect choice for you.
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