Costa Rica has done a great job marketing itself as an eco-tourism country. It has been generally good to the rain forests. The country is beautiful, well-developed and super-easy to travel around.
The jungle of the Manuel Antonio park in Quepos, on the Pacific Coast, is breathtaking. It is, however, wide open to the tourists and therefore you are getting the clinically clean, safe, Disneyworld-version of the rain forest: sidewalks, safety signs, guides with telescopes and all that. No, I am not complaining. I guess that’s what you get when you want to prevent the rain forest from being cut down in order to grow coffee. So, once you can get past the Disney-quality of it, please do invest in a jungle guide (he will not come dressed in a Mickey Mouse costume, I swear). For an untrained eye, it is hard to see any animals, aside from the monkeys.
The park fee allows you to access the private beach within the park, which is small, clean and very romantic. Keep in mind that the Pacific beaches in Costa Rica are typically black, not like the white Caribbean beaches.
Speaking of coffee – make sure to stop by in Cafe Milagro in Quepos for a cup of freshly roasted, locally grown coffee. Yum.