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Costa Rica Travel Pictures

Costa Rica, in Central America, has long been a popular travel destination, especially for North Americans, who fly to San Jose for a winter getaway to explore the volcanoes, like La Paz at Poas and Irazu. You can hike to waterfalls, view wildlife and birds in the cloud forests, tour coffee plantations and get in some sun time on the wonderful beaches, like those around Punta Leona near Jaco on the Pacific coast.

Welcome to San Jose ~ Gateway to Costa Rica Valley, mountains around San Jose Costa Rica.

Visitors may fly into San Jose, then rent a vehicle and drive around the country, stopping at hotels and B&Bs along the way.

A 4 wheel drive is recommended.

This is the view from the Poas highway outside San Jose.

Others, like me,  stay in San Jose (Hotel Irazu, Adventure Inn) and take day trips (some last 3-8 days!) touring around Costa Rica.

See more  San Jose pictures, information . . .

Poas Costa Rica Botanical Gardens, Waterfalls, La Paz Volcano Near Poas, Costa Rica at the botanical garden, you'll see wonderful tropical plants.

Day tours from San Jose to Poas National Park and area is a great bargain for those who want to see a lot in a short time!

There's the Volcano La Paz that tops out right in the cloud deck, so visitors who get to actually see into the volcano crater are indeed lucky!

The nearby botanical gardens, a hike down to Poas waterfalls, a tropical bird aviary, a small zoo with tigers, a snake area, butterfly conservancy, and a restaurant for a great buffet lunch make this a great day trip! More  . . .

Coffee Plantation Doka Estate - Popular stop on tour from San Jose Costa Rica Entrance to Doka Estate coffee plantation tour from San Jose Costa Rica.

On the way to La Paz at Poas, we first stopped to see coffee plants in the field of the plantation, then pick a ripe red bean and see the moist white raw coffee bean inside.

Then the tour takes you into the plant where coffee beans are hulled, washed, sorted and sent to the  drying areas.

The onsite restaurant was our stop for breakfast (included) -- a Tico special with Gallo Pinto (black beans and rice), scrambled eggs, tortilla, fruit, juice and coffee.

More at Coffee Beans Growing page and Coffee of Costa Rica.

Punta Leona Resort on Pacific Coast Beach, Costa Rica Pacific Beach on Pacific Ocan at Punta Leona, Costa Rica, near Jaco.

This wonderful beach at Punta Leona is one of hundreds that line the Pacific coastline of Costa Rica!

I came to Punta Leona on another day trip from San Jose that included a stop for breakfast on a hillside overlooking a vast valley.

On to the crocodile and wildlife viewing on a river boat ride, then on to Punta Leona resort for lunch and to spend the afternoon on the beach, or in one of the resort pools, or taking the shuttle a short distance to the more open surfing beach. Meals were included, and wonderfully tasty!

Costa Rican Wildlife a Big Draw for visitors  Wildlife in Costa Rica : Monkey on roof of dining room at Punta Leona.

Costa Rica teams with wildlife, like this monkey spotted on the roof of the dining room at Punta Leona near the Pacific coast.

Elsewhere, I saw crocodiles in the wild, many birds along the river side, a bandicoot (like a  raccoon) at Volcan Irazu, butterflies and a wonderful aviary, including a hummingbird feeding station at Poas.

Many more tours are available, which means a return trip to Costa Rica for me, to see the active volcano Arenal and the nearby hot springs day spa, and Tortuguero, the national park on the Caribbean coast.

More . . .

Costa Rica Day Tour to CartagoCathedral in Cartago, Costa Rica on a Sunday morning.

Sunday morning worshippers packed the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles in Cartago, Costa Rica, south east of San Jose.

Cartago was the first capital of Costa Rica, and this area is the breadbasket of the Central Valley, with farmers' crops planted up the steep slopes of Irazu Volcano.

On the road up to Irazu, we crossed the Continental Divide. More . . .

Welcome Sign at Entrance to PN Volcan Irazu, Costa Rica Volcano Irazu, near San Jose Costa Rica, one of the highest in the country.

The half day trip southeast from San Jose took us through Cartago (above) and up the winding switchback road to the top of the Irazu Volcano, at more than 11,000 feet (3353 m).

At the top of Irazu, and even before, you're higher than the cloud deck, and the views are of an undercast valley, three craters, two lagoons and the (closed, active) Volcan Turrialba. More . . .

Costa Rica International Airport at San Jose SJO Airport at San Jose Costa Rica.

Airports at both San Jose (SJO) and Liberia (LIB) are undergoing expansion and renovation. Only passengers are allowed into the SJO terminal which has only check in counters, ATMs to change money or withdraw funds to pay the departure tax, and a washroom.

Security checks passports, ID  at the entrance, and again as you line up to check in, and again as you head to security. See Costa Rica Travel information page . . .

Costa Rica is easy to fall in love with, and  many visitors choose to become home owners and residents. Others come here specifically for treatments at Costa Rican clinics (cosmetic, medical or dental). Whatever the reason for your trip to Costa Rica, you'll find it a wonderful place to visit!