Costa Rica's Zona Sur: The South Pacific
Zona Sur, the southwestern corner of Costa Rica, is the least populated, and by far the least visited, area of the country. It borders a largely unpopulated part of Panama; consequently, large sections of primary rainforest have been spared from development. More than of the peninsula’s forests are set aside as a huge park called Corcovado. Sizable areas of the coastline are also undeveloped, especially north and south of Golfito. And, in a cooperative effort with neighboring Panama, a huge chunk of Costa Rica and a part of Panama were set aside as La Amistad International Park, a mountainous wooded area that straddles the Continental Divide. Contiguous with Chirripó, Hitoy Cerere, Tapantí-Macizo de la Muerte, and other parks, the total area under an umbrella of protection is 340,000 hectares/839,800 acres.
On the other hand, the southern mountain slopes from San Isidro in the Valle de General, down through Buenos Aires and south to San Vito in the Valle de Coto Brus, have been extensively cultivated for agriculture, especially pineapples and coffee. Banana and oil palm plantations line the hot lowlands from Golfito south into the Valle de Colorado.
It’s a wild country in parts – with deluges of warm rain. Dress appropriately. The South Pacific region boasts wonderful scenery, fabulous beaches, dramatic mountains, endless rainforests, big tube waves, white sand beaches, dark green hillsides of coffee, plus a dolphin and whale playground – with tons of budget hotels as well as remote luxury ecolodges to enjoy.
Whale watching season is best from August through November, when whales pass in migration, breed and frolic in Golfo Dulce. Many tours and hotels offer whale watch cruises. Off the coast from Drake Bay is the Isla del Caño Biological Reserve, a popular, year-round day-trip to explore and hike, visit the cemetery of a prehistoric peoples, or snorkel and dive in the clear waters. Difficult to reach and far from San José, the south of Costa Rica is a very special, out-of-the-ordinary vacation. You can go with a wide range of package stays that include transportation from San José, or just wander around on your own.
Ischgl is a small mountain village turned hip ski resort, with massive appeal among the party-hearty young crowds. It is... Read More
Andorra la Vella is its own little world, and not just because it’s a 290-square-mile independent principality (a fifth the... Read More
Bariloche (officially San Carlos de Bariloche) is the place to be seen. It is to Argentina what Aspen is to the... Read More
Aspen is America's most famous ski resort. And that's an understatement. For, as a ski complex, Aspen is unsurpassed. Its... Read More
Zermatt is a small but glamorous mountain resort town, with a population of approximately 5,700. It is one of Switzerland's... Read More
St. Moritz is a glitzy, alpine resort town in the celebrated Engadin Valley of Switzerland, with huge notoriety as the... Read More
Lake Tahoe is the premier lake resort of America, and the largest alpine lake in all of North America. It is an absolutely... Read More
St. Anton, Sankt Anton am Arlberg in German, is Austria's premier ski-bum resort! It's actually a small village cum... Read More
Kitzbühel, a small, Tyrolian resort town in the Kitzbüheler Alps, comes with international renown and huge snob appeal, and... Read More