ABOUT COSTA RICA

This tiny country (population 4 1/2 million, about the size of West Virginia) is the Mecca of tourism, especially Adventure Tourism. The natural resources of lush rainforests, miles of beaches, crystalline rivers, active volcanoes, cloud forests, and a full-fledged democracy with a large (and very well educated) middle class has made Costa Rica more popular than any other Central or South American country for North American visitors.

WORLD'S ONLY UNILATERALLY PACIFIST COUNTY

With its constitutional support of pacifism (Costa Rica has prohibited the military) and active staunch support for human rights (former President Oscar Arias won the Nobel Prize in 1980 for his peacemaking efforts to stabilize Central America), Costa Rica enjoys a growing economy and middle class. With the highest literacy, lowest infant mortality and longest life expectancy in Central America, it has become home to thousands of North Americans and Europeans seeking a life rich in experience and security.

ECONOMY

Costa Rica is the original "Banana Republic" with a traditional dependency on agriculture products -- coffee, bananas, sugar. Now the economy has changed dramatically with the increased tourism, which now is the largest industry of the country.

Most of the population live within 30 miles of the center of San José, but the countryside is still filled with small independent farms, and life moves at a very tranquil pace. Centaura avoids San José (except for the December 26 Topé!) and concentrates on the pure countryside that completely surrounds the Central Valley.

BEACHES

The PACIFIC coast is much hotter (85-95) in December thru April, and cooler when the rains start in May. On the PACIFIC the BIG rains start in late September, thru end of November. In Costa Rica's summer (middle January thru end of April) the Pacific gets very hot and dry, like southern California in July.

The CARIBBEAN (Atlantic) coast has almost the same temperatures year round -- mid 80's to mid 90's -- and the rain is also much more evenly distributed (therefore the Caribbean is a lush place).

WEATHER

Weather in Costa Rica is controlled by the trade winds from the Pacific and Atlantic. The climate is much more temperate than most people would imagine -- the higher altitude areas average 85 in the day, 65 at night, year round, except the beaches.

There are two distinct weather zones -- the Pacific (which includes the Pacific coastline and the Central Valley, dominated by San José, where the majority of the population live) and the Caribbean zone, which includes the eastern coastline, the famous rainforests, whitewater rivers, all the volcanoes, and all of the cloud forests. The Pacific zone has very pronounced dry and rainy periods (described above under BEACHES).

CENTAURA Activities

MOST of Centaura's activities are in the CARIBBEAN weather zone -- near Arenal volcano, the areas around Turrialba and the Caribbean coast. We recommend the options in the Pacific only during the dry season or when you are prepared to handle some rain (which can be a whole lot of fun, nonetheless! It's not a cold rain, but it does really soak through you -- but if you're running in the salt water anyway, who cares?)

GETTING TO COSTA RICA --

Reaching Costa Rica by air is easy -- more than 35 daily flights arrive non-stop from Miami, New York, Newark, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Washington D.C. into one or both international airports.

U.S. carriers include American, United, Continental, Delta, U.S. Air, Air West. Numerous charter operators originate in Toronto, Detroit, Indianapolis and other places coming non-stop into Costa Rica for the months of December through May. The distance from Miami to San Jose is 2 1/2 hours, about the same as New York to Miami.

For more details on what to expect in Costa Rica, see Booking Details