Faremax Top Logo
Faremax Side Logo

King Of The Swingers

San Jose, Costa Rica

Have you ever felt like being Tarzan? Or Jane? Or maybe even Cheetah? The tropical paradise of Costa Rica could be just the place to have these dreams come true…

Empty Beaches of Costa Rica But first you have to find somewhere to stay. The tiny Central American country is full of excellent resorts for vacations, and many US tour operators and vacation providers offer all-in-one packages to suit all kinds of budgets. Typical of Costa Rican Resorts is the Grand Papagayo, on the coast of the central San José province. The Grand Papagayo is typical of Costa Rican mid- to up-market all-inclusive resorts. Its exquisite Mediterranean architecture and quiet location on Culebra Bay conceal a real palace of varieties for the vacationer intent on fun and relaxation. The resort features three restaurants, two bars, an adult pool, a kids’ pool and a beautiful crescent of private, golden beach.

The Grand Papagayo also offers a range of activities far beyond the scope of what might be considered normal. Golf is nearby; you can play tennis on an indoor court; relax in a fully-fitted health club and spa; go sea fishing; scuba dive; snorkel; learn to drive a powerboat; Jet ski, water-ski and windsurf.

But there’s far more to see and do in Costa Rica than simply lounge by the pool for the duration of your stay. Costa Rica, although small, is a country of trees. The Grand Papagayo resort is surrounded by ‘dry’ forest. But much of the country is made up of that landscape which is so essentially Latin American: rainforest.

Rain Forest of Costa Rica One of the impressions that first time visitors to rainforests often come away with is how empty it all is. If that seems strange – surely the rainforest is a lush, dense jungle? Well, it may be up above, but the forest floor can be strangely dull. Because the canopy overhead is so thick and lustrous, there are many areas where little grows around the bases of the trees. In a strange sense, it’s a desert.

But get up into the canopy and you’re in a different place altogether. The rainforest canopy is a unique ecosystem. It’s an exaggeration to describe somewhere like that as ‘a different world’ – but the canopy really is. It’s a weird halfway point between the earth and the heavens, which seems so solid you could almost walk over it – though you’d be very ill-advised to do so.

But how do you get up there? Peering up from the ground or hovering above in a helicopter would be little use: you can’t appreciate the canopy without getting right up close to it. Surely that’s only for the birds?

Costa Rica Rainforest Well, it isn’t. A local company, run by Canadian entrepreneur and ecologist Darren Hrenluk, has taken over 400,000 people up into the high branches since it was founded in 1994. The Original Canopy Tour conveys its guests around a system of ropes, slides and platforms built into the very center of the rainforest canopy itself. It has a reputation for being super-exciting, but at the same time super-safe. "I could not live with myself if anybody got hurt, so every step of the way I have double and triple redundancy on all systems," says Hreniuk. "To a point it is a little ridiculous, but I would rather be ridiculous and be safe."

The Original Canopy Tour also employs local people as guides, and makes huge efforts to protect the delicate rainforest ecosystem. In short, if you’re vacationing in Costa Rica, you really can’t miss the Tour – although still a relatively young enterprise, it’s one of the defining experiences of the country.

Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano When you’ve finished playing Tarzan, you might like to spend some time exploring San José itself. The city has a delightfully relaxed ambience – to the point where younger travelers may find it a little sleepy. Most of the real fun in Costa Rica is to be had on the coasts and in the forests. For all that, it’s a friendly city – reflecting the fact that Costa Rica is by far the most politically stable of the small Latin American countries. From the point of view of the traveler, it’s also the safest, with a relatively low crime rate for the area. On a managed vacation, staying in a resort, crime is not going to be a problem for you, and you can have satisfaction of knowing that your foreign exchange dollars are contributing to the economy of a country whose people have really worked hard to keep their democracy stable and intact.

Costa Rica still has the atmosphere of a young, upcoming country. Perhaps because of that apparent youth it attracts very many US and European travelers in the 18-35 age range, who help to give the place that special vibe. But it’s a great place for families too – especially the ones who like to play Tarzan!

© 2001-2012 Faremax, Inc.  All rights reserved.
faremax.com and its contents are trademarks and/or service marks of Faremax, Inc.
Use of this Website constitutes acceptance of the User Agreement and Privacy Policy