If you really love scenic locations with plenty of wildlife, then you should plan to spend your vacation backpacking through Costa Rica. The best time of year to visit depends on whether or not you like crowds. From December to April is peak tourist season in this country with crowded beaches and attractions and higher prices. The rainy season during the months of June to September, which is also hurricane season is not a good time to visit because the roads often become impassable. The best time to plan your backpacking trip is from mid-October to mid-December because the temperatures are just right and you still have sunny weather.
You do have to plan your trip carefully because it is not an easy task to find your way around Costa Rica unless you have some idea of the layout of the country. The road system is very poorly maintained. Even though it is only 100 miles wide at the widest point, this journey can take a very long time. The country is made up of five regions, so the best advice is to choose two of these regions for your first visit and them make plans to return for another backpacking vacation to see the others.
It will take you about two days to backpack through San Jose and the Central Valley. This region is home to the majority of the population of Costa Rica. In this area you can visit a volcano, hike through a cloud forest and engage in whitewater rafting on rivers classified as Class 1v. Some of the Olympic kayaking teams actually train on the rapids in the rivers of this region.
In order to backpack through the Alajuela And Northern Guanacaste Region, you need to allow yourself four or five days. This region is located inland from the Pacific and contains one of the last dry tropical forests in Central America located in an inland area. Here you will find clear areas where there are scattered umbrella-shaped conacaste trees standing alone, under which the Brahman cows seek shade from the sun. Climb up the Monteverde Range to backpack through the Cloud Forest Biological Reserve of Puntarenas. You can also take a four-hour drive from San Jose to reach this forest.
The Nicoya Peninsula and Quepos will take you about four-to six days depending on how much time you want to spend in the various locations. This area is the domain of surfers, international tourists that own houses here and the tico farmers of the country. You can spend time on the beaches and trekking inland to see the wide variety of wildlife and birds. As a side trip you can take the ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya to visit Manuel Antonio National Park, where you will meet other backpackers resting on the beach.
The Osa Peninsula is located in the Southern part of Costa Rica. Allow yourself at least five days for backpacking in this region. This area has one of the most biologically dense rainforests on the planet and was one of the first ecological reserves to be built in the world. Here you will glimpse many of the elusive animals that inhabit the rainforest, such as howler monkeys and scarlet macaws. There are many public and private reserves in this area.
The accommodations you choose when backpacking in Costa Rica depend on your finances. There are cheap hostels and hotels as well as expensive resorts in all regions.