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5 Fun Facts about Isla Bolaños

Costa Rica is small in size, but it is big on the diversity of places to visit on and off the beaten track.  While this bucket list destination is well known for its live volcanoes, lush rainforests and beautiful beaches, Costa Rica has lots more to explore! One of these remote and untouched gems is a small island on the far northern Pacific coast. Let´s learn 5 Fun Facts about Isla Bolaños!

Guanacaste is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Guanacaste Volcanic Mountain Range to the north. It is located on the Nicoya Peninsula and is the oldest geological region of the country. Crops and cattle farming extend over the tropical dry forest plains. It is also home to the Guanacaste International Airport (LIR) hat services the region and daily flights from the major US hubs making getting here extremely easy! Just pick up your Poas Rent-a-car just minutes from the terminal and you are off!

To the far north of Guanacaste, you will find the historic Santa Rosa National Park that forms part of the Guanacaste Nature Conservation System. It protects some of the last remaining tropical dry forests in the world and has some spectacular beaches too. It is also where the famous battle against the US mercenaries occurred and where the now Costa Rican national hero, Juan Santamaria came to be.

It is also home to Isla Bolaños or Bolanos Island that sits off the far northern coast of Guanacaste and Costa Rica.  While small in size, it is big on possibilities and owns some fun facts that makes it stand out in the ocean.  Enjoy a 25 minute scenic boat ride from the mainland to reach the island and its small rocky hill that stands just 81 meters high and that sets the scene for some very interesting nature-rich occurrences. Here are some of them!

1.    It is a bird sanctuary

Isla Bolaños is a special place for a number of marine birds, the reason behind Costa Rica declared it a wildlife refuge back in 1981. It´s strategic location and climate conditions converts this little landmass into a sanctuary for three bird species in particular.

  • American Oystercatchers: This species has a distinctive black and white plumage and a long, bright orange beak that has a special function; eat oysters. The use the Bolanos Island for nesting and parents will alternate incubating the eggs.
  • Magnificent Frigates: These magnificent birds use Bolanos Island as their mating grounds. The male Magnificent Frigates have a distinctive bright pink-red throat that inflates especially during mating season.  This species is the largest of the frigates and quite impressive looking.
  • Brown pelicans: The Isla Bolaños is one of the few places in the world where the Brown Pelicans nest. Both parents participate in the nesting process sharing the load.

2.    You can see three volcanoes from the beach

At low tide, Isla Bolaños is dotted with white-sand beaches that extend out of the pristine, turquoise-colored water. This combination guarantees a paradisiacal beach and swimming experience just in itself.

What makes the Isla Bolaños beach day even more stunning is that thanks it its strategic position off the far northern, Guanacaste coastline is that three volcanoes can be observed from a distance.  The Orosi, Rincon del Vieja, and Cacao volcanoes can be seen in the distance, and they are impressive. While the Orosi and Cacao volcanoes are extinct, the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is very much alive and likes to remind us of its existence once in a while. This volcano´s slopes are also a very popular place for adventure activities and the thermal springs.

3.    It belongs to the Guanacaste Conservation Area – Santa Rosa National Park

Isla Bolanos belongs to the network of protected lands that presently covers 25% of Costa Rica.  Thanks to its importance for marine birdlife, this little hill in the ocean was designated as a wildlife refuge back in 1981 and is now part of the Santa Rosa National Park. This park is easily reachable by car with ample parking so that you can explore the park and its historical treasures on foot.

Costa Rica began creating its network of protected land in the early ‘70s and now boasts nearly a quarter of the country and nearly a third of its marine area within this network. No small feat for a small country but just one example of how Costa Rica has shown the world that conservation and preservation can be sustainable.

4.    It is a great place to do Wind Surf, Kayaking, and Kitesurfing!

The bay area in which Bolanos Island sits is a favorite for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Salinas Bay is rated as the 8th windiest place in the world which translates to perfect conditions for kitesurfing and windsurfing.

Isla Bolaños has a beautiful white-sand bar that creates butter flat water which is just what kite surfers look for so bring on the wind and the flat water conditions that the bay provides.

For kayaking, the warm protected waters of the bay and around Isla Bolaños will give you beautiful views of the island, the stunning coast, the volcanoes in the background, and of course, the bounty of birdlife that has chosen Isla Bolaños to nest.

5.    It only receives around 1.5m of rain a year!

Isla Bolaños is one of the driest areas of Costa Rica receiving around 1.5 meters of rain a year. This ultimately influences the vegetation that can be found on the island which is why the pelicans and frigates come to the island to nest.

The lack of rain creates a dense dwarf forest with trees that provide fruits for the birds but also the possibility of building their nests in the forest canopy when the time comes.

This little island offers the perfect conditions for these birds to reproduce, nest, and rear the next generation of these feathered friends. Nature is wise, without a doubt.

Poas Rent-a-car will take you to the farthest corners of Costa Rica. With its fleet of over 200 cars ranging from sedans to Premium SUV´s, there is an off-the-beaten track for all of them and for you to explore.  The far northern Pacific Ocean coast is one of them and the Isla Bolaños one of its treasures. Book your Costa Rica vacation car now and Poas rent-a-car will take you everywhere.

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What Costa Rica’s South Pacific Coast is all about!

Costa Rica is a country of contrasts in many ways. This little corner of the world is the fusion of mountain ranges, beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, rivers, vast plains, and islands compacted into a small yet immensely beautiful place. With such a range of landscapes and spaces, comes a diversity of wildlife too and together, a nature wonderland comes to life. This is what exploring Costa Rica´s South Pacific Coast is all about!

Ready for a journey of intense untouched, close-to-nature experiences?

Costa Rica is bordered by the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. While both are dotted with beaches, rivers, and coastal lowlands, they are very different, just another example of beautiful Costa Rican contrasts.  Both are extraordinary in their own right too and when visiting Costa Rica, are worth visiting and exploring in the comfort and reliability of your Poas Rent a car.

Where is the South Pacific Ocean Coast?

The south Pacific Ocean coast begins at the surfing hub of Dominical and extends right down to the Panama border. This long stretch of coast is bordered by the impressively towering Talamanca Mountain Range that is home to Costa Rica´s highest peak, Chirripo. This mountain-climbers dream destination reaches the very impressive height of 12,500 feet above sea level. From the highest mountains to the shores, this region of Costa Rica is intensely beautiful.

How do I get there from San Jose?

The South Pacific Coast can be reached from San Jose using one of two routes out of the city that ultimately connect upon reaching Dominical. Let´s map them out.

  • Via Route 27: This privately operated modern road means you are in the South Pacific zone in no time.   This new and improved access has been one of the best things to happen to Pacific Coast and has contributed to its growth and visitation. Driving is easy and very scenic as you wind down the mountains onto the coastal lowlands.
    Look for the signs to Jaco and Dominical which will take you onto the coastal road Route 34, that borders the beaches, small fishing villages and tourism hotspots. This is a surfers and a beach-lovers paradise so keep your eyes on the road as you may be distracted as you glimpse the pristine waters through the lush vegetation that embraces the coast!
  • Via Route 2:  This route will take you through and over the Talamanca Mountain Range and the highest altitude roads in the country. Thanks to this, dramatic paramo landscapes, cloudy forests and quaint rural towns will be your travel companions as you make your way over the range and down into the thriving city of San Isidro del General, also known as Perez Zeledon.
    You will pass through the city to connect with the road that will take you down onto the coast to Dominical and here you will take a left onto Route 34, the coastal highway that extends to the Panama border.

Which route is better? That is a difficult one to answer as both are beautiful. While Route 27 may be an easier drive, Route 2 is a more scenic one so make your call as you hop into your car on the day you travel south.

What are the “must-sees”?

The South Pacific coast of Costa Rica is full of amazing places to visit and experiences to live.

  • Whale Watching at Marino Ballena National Park: The Humpback Whales just love this marine sanctuary, and they travel every year to mate, give birth to their calves and nurture them in preparation for their long swim back to the Poles. This is nature at its best.
  • Hiking through the rainforest on the Osa Peninsula: Considered one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, the Osa Peninsula is home to Corcovado National Park, and it is teeming with wildlife. Hike the rainforest and experience the very best of this tropical paradise.
  • Exploring the Golfo Dulce: One of the four tropical fiords in the world, this calm body of water is spectacular. Perfect for dolphin and whale watching, exploring the river inlets, beaches, lush rainforests that border it or just sit in quiet contemplation.
  • Surfing at Pavones Beach: For the surf fans, Pavones Beach is a dream come true. It´s claim to fame in the surfing world is that it is the world´s longest left. Not only is it a surfer´s paradise, its remoteness and location is stunning and untouched. Well worth the drive down the coast to what the locals call the “deep-south”.
  • Visiting the Pre-Colombian Stone Spheres: One of the archeological mysteries of the world are found on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Perfectly carved stone spheres were created by the Diquis culture that existed between AD 700 to 1530.  Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are a number of hypothesis in relation to these spheres that range in size from a few centimeters up to 2 meters in diameter.  What they were made for remains the unanswered question.

Will I see lots of wildlife?

The South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is a wildlife lovers dream come true. National Geographic named the Osa Peninsula “the most biodiverse intense place on earth” and they are the experts. With 2.5% of the world´s biodiversity and covered in lush rainforest that is protected within a national park that is part of Costa Rica´s protected areas network that covers 25% of the country.

You can drive onto the Osa Peninsula where the Corcovado National Park easily nowadays as there is a new road that makes getting there all the faster.

Thanks to the fact that this region of Costa Rica remains less developed that other parts of the country and tourism is predominately eco based with boutique hotels, lodges, retreats, the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is a haven for nature lovers and off-the-beaten-track followers. The great thing is that you can still get behind the wheel of your car and drive into the wildness!

Poas Rent a Car has a modern fleet of sedans and SUV´s that will take you to the farthest corners of Costa Rica, including the vivid close-to-nature experience of the South Pacific Coast.  With offices in the two international airports, pick up is seamless and you will be on the open road, ready to explore this beautiful country in no time. Ready for some adventures?

 

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Let´s discover 5 Volcanoes in Costa Rica that are visit worthy

Let´s discover 5 Volcanoes in Costa Rica that are visit worthy

Costa Rica is a country full of beautiful, natural landscapes that make the road trip as entertaining as the final destination.  Additionally, you are never far from anywhere in this little country in the middle of the Americas thanks to its very convenient size.  Let´s say you can catch the sunrise on one ocean and the sunset on the other in just one day. One thing that will be your constant companion during your travels through Costa Rica is a volcano as there are many.  Let´s discover 5 volcanoes in Costa Rica that are visit worthy!

Costa Rica has three volcanic mountain ranges that are home to over 200 identifiable volcanoes but only five are considered live as of today.  In true volcano form, it´s status could change at any time!  While their status is “live”, each of the Costa Rican volcanoes are very different and offer a unique experience from the moment you take the wheel in your Poas Rent a Car that will take you up and around the 5 volcanoes in Costa Rica that we will visit during our journey.

In true Costa Rican form, all our 5 volcanoes are within the protected areas network of National Parks which guarantees visitors the safety and infrastructure groundwork that a visit to a volcano deserves.  This becomes particularly relevant when you will be looking down into the crater of the live volcano so buckle up and let’s begin our travels to these majestic exemplars that our planet is alive and active!

1.   Poas Volcano

 

The Poas Volcano and Poas Rent a Car´s namesake, overlooks the Central Valley and sits on the western slopes of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range.  As you fly into the Juan Santamaria International Airport, you will see it and during your time in the bustling valley, it can be seen everywhere you go.

The ride up to the Poas Volcano is one of the prettiest.  As you drive up to the crater, you will travel through coffee plantations, strawberry fields, quaint, rural towns, lush dairy farms and the fresh, mountain air.  It is also a perfect opportunity for panoramic views of the sprawling major cities of San Jose, Heredia and Alajuela that cover the valley floor.

Due to the recent volcanic activity of the Poas Volcano, a series of additional safety protocols have been implemented.  After leaving your Poas Rent a Car in the carpark, the fun begins as you walk the last 200 meters to the volcano crater.   At this altitude (nearly 9000 feet!), the vegetation changes dramatically and is commonly covered in clouds.

And then, you reach the observation deck and see the incredible crater before you.  Although it is difficult to appreciate, you are looking at a mile wide, 900ft deep crater, making it the second largest in the world.  A sight to see to say the least!

Don´t forget to make a reservation prior to arriving.  This can be done on the SINAC webpage.  Poas Rent a Car recommends getting up to see this amazing sight in the early morning before the clouds roll in.

2.Irazu Volcano

 

The Irazu Volcano is also a day road trip away during your stay in the Central Valley. Located on the eastern slopes of the Central Volcanic Range, you will feel like you are walking on the moon as you walk towards the crater that you can peer down into.

On a clear day, you can see both the Caribbean and the Pacific Oceans as well as the crater.  You will also be visiting the highest active volcano in Costa Rica at 11,260 feet tall so you may be lucky to see some spectacular views of Costa Rica as well as the volcano itself.

To get to the Irazu Volcano, you will also be able to enjoy some sightseeing along the way.  You will pass through the city of Cartago, and home to the iconic Basilica of the Virgen of Los Angeles, Costa Rica´s patron saint.

Poas Rent a Car recommends an early drive up through the rich, agricultural fields on the slopes of the Irazu Volcano and if time permits on the way back, a visit to the Orosi Valley. All the roads to the Irazu Volcano and the Orosi Valley are in great conditions, albeit windy but very scenic.

 

3.Arenal Volcano

 

The Arenal Volcano may well be Costa Rica´s best known volcano and its fame is well deserved.  This impressive 5300ft high formation is about 56 miles north of San Jose along a very picturesque route and it never ceases to amaze you with its presence.

Your stay in the Arenal Volcano region is one of nature and adventure. All the Poas Rent a Cars fleet can enjoy this area thanks to the great roads that will take you around the volcano, to visit the lake, through the rainforests and over the Costa Rican northern lowlands.

The adventurous side of the Arenal Volcano is the form of ziplining, hiking, white water rafting, rappelling, all under the watchful eye of this sleepy giant that can be observed and enjoyed wherever you may be in the area.  And then, treat yourself to a bathe in the thermal springs, a wonderfully relaxing gift that the Arenal Volcano graces its visitors with.

4.Tenorio Volcano

 

North of Arenal Volcano, you will find another one of Costa Rica´s iconic natural landmarks that sits on the slopes of the Tenorio Volcano.   It is Rio Celeste or Blue River, and it is an amazing place to visit.

The Tenorio Volcano belongs to the Guanacaste Volcanic Range that is home to a number of volcanoes in their different states.  This range divides the province of Guanacaste and the Northern Lowlands, the side where Rio Celeste runs.

Tenorio Volcano boasts 4 volcanic peaks and twin craters and while it is possible to reach the crater by horse, this volcanoes claim to fame is that incredibly impressive blue river that is used to promote Costa Rica all over the world.  Rio Celeste is worth the walk to witness the exquisite blue colored water and other volcanic manifestations within the riverbed.  Walk through the lush, rainforest while spotting the multiple hues of turquoise blue along the way.

With the Tenorio Volcano in the distance, a visit to Rio Celeste is an adventure into the magical world of how volcanoes can produce such beauty through chemical reactions and the suns rays.

The trip to Rio Celeste is along a recently repaved road from the small town of Bijuagua. Poas Rent a Car recommends you take this upgraded route that is very pretty too.

 

5.Rincon de la Vieja Volcano

 

Last by not least, our journey to discover 5 of Costa Rica´s volcanoes, takes us to the province of Guanacaste to the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.  The adventure-rich slopes of the Rincon de la Vieja volcano attract many a thrill-seeker to enjoy ziplining, rappelling, tubing down rivers and canyoning among other fun-filled activities.

A mud bath and thermal springs are also part of the adventure, all nestled into the rainforest.  A visit to the national park includes a walk to view the mud baths and fumaroles is a great way to begin your day of volcanic adventures.

Poas Rent Car recommends you stay on the coast and take a day trip up onto the Volcano. This means you get the best of both worlds, the beach, and the adventure blast. Think about ending your trip here and dropping your Poas Rent a Car at the Guanacaste International Airport before heading off home.  It has offices in both international airports making picking up and dropping off a breeze!

Your road travels through Costa Rica can include a visit to 5 volcanoes.  Let Poas Rent a Car be your driving companion through your journey to discover them!

 

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