Welcome to our RETRO series. As we can’t travel, we’ve dug deep into our archives and now present travel episodes created from media taken before we started travelling (augmented with licensed footage).
The 5-star all inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica, is situated in Guanacaste, Costa Rica in a seafront location on Mata Palo Beach.
The modern rooms come with free Wi-Fi, and TVs with cable channels. They also feature seating areas and ceiling fans, along with balconies and minibars. Room service is available. Suites add living areas with sofas, while upgraded suites have whirlpool tubs.
Additional amenities include a casual restaurant, a Japanese and Italian restaurant, a steakhouse and a nightclub. There are also 4 outdoor pools; 1 with a swim-up bar, a fitness center and a spa.
A 4-star sister resort, Hotel Riu Guanacaste, is right next door. Patrons of the Palace may use the facilities offered at the 4-star resort, including the pool and buffet restaurant.
We decided to take a little tour over to a local town, so while you’re looking at photos taken from our little tour van, I’ll tell you a little bit about Costa Rica – probably the world’s top eco-tourism destination.
The Republic of Costa Rica is a rugged, rainforested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. On this trip, we’re staying on the Pacific side in Liberia. To the north is Nicaragua, and to the south – Panama. Though its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes (shown on our end screen), and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its land mass is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys.
With a population of 5 million, Costa Rica has a long-standing and stable democracy and is known for its highly educated workforce.
Costa Rica experiences a tropical climate year round. There are two seasons. The “summer” or dry season is December to April, and “winter” or rainy season is May to November. And while everyone defines “rainy” differently, the kind of rain showers you’ll see here are unfathomable.
Costa Rica is the most-visited nation in the Central American region, with about 3 million foreign visitors annually. In 2015, the tourism sector was responsible for 5.8% of the country’s GDP, or $3.4 billion. In 2016, the highest number of tourists came from the United States, with 1,000,000 visitors, followed by Europe with 434 thousand arrivals.
A pioneer of ecotourism, Costa Rica draws many tourists to its extensive series of national parks and other protected areas. The trail Camino de Costa Rica supports this by allowing travelers to walk across the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast. The Ethical Traveler group’s list of The World’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations includes Costa Rica. The country scored highest in environmental protection among the winners. Costa Rica began reversing deforestation in the 1990s, and they are moving towards using only renewable energy.
Playas del Coco is one of the oldest beach communities in Guanacaste Province. This region is also one of the fastest growing areas of tourism in Costa Rica. It has long been a popular destination with both local Costa Ricans as well as visitors from other countries during the traditional holiday seasons. Local Costa Ricans refer to Playas del Coco affectionately as “El Coco”, while travellers from outside of Costa Rica use the name “Coco Beach”, when mentioning this attractive locale.
Playas del Coco is located approximately 32 kilometres (or 20 miles) from the town of Liberia, the largest town in the province of Guanacaste, and one that is connected to major historical events. While Costa Ricans have always appreciated this area as a vacation destination, the town experienced rapid growth due to the increasing number of international visitors and foreign born residents, who started arriving in the 1990s. Due to the fact that Playas del Coco is one of the few beach areas in Guanacaste with a rapidly expanding infrastructure, it has become a hub for tourism and business. Other adjacently located beach areas continue to grow as tourism related activities and the local population base expand.
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