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Beaches, jungles and beyond: Top sights to see on Costa Rica tours

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Updated: 7/10/2013 10:59 am

Dazzling natural diversity is the calling card of Latin America's popular Costa Rica. For travelers, its beaches beckon, but so do misty cloud forests, jungle lodges and an amazing variety of bird, insect and wildlife species. North to south, east to west, Costa Rica has many activities - the biggest dilemma is figuring out what to choose. Costa Rica tours take the uncertainty out of the equation, focusing on the best adventures, excursions and accommodations - so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.

Most travelers want variety in their vacations, perhaps including a few adventures like whitewater rafting throughout their trip - and Costa Rica perfectly caters to that desire. The country's motto of 'Pura Vida' or 'pure life' is all about enjoying the beauty of nature and kicking back. Getting to, from and around the country is easy, and Costa Rica tours offer the added benefit of cost savings. Tours from an expert tour operator like Tauck can save travelers up to 40 percent over the cost of planning independently.

If you're dreaming of a trip that blends natural paradise, eco-adventures and the opportunity to immerse yourself in a gorgeous tropical atmosphere, a Costa Rican vacation should be at the top of your list. These are just some of the experiences you'll be able to enjoy:

* Savor the perfect cup of coffee - right where it grows. Costa Rica's climate is ideal for growing coffee, and some of the best beans in the world are ripe for the tasting on your visit to the country. Visiting a working coffee plantation shows you the process behind making your favorite brew, and includes a tasting experience during which you can sample some of the best roasts the country has to offer.

* Explore the highlights of San Jose, the capital. Set against a backdrop of verdant mountains, San Jose is a vibrant city that provides a great introduction to Costa Rica's past and present. Delve into the country's pre-Columbian glory at the Gold Museum, which displays artifacts that both dazzle and educate. The elegant National Theater is also a must-see attraction; its marble and gold interiors and handsome neoclassical facade make it one of the country's architectural showpieces.

* Get a different perspective on the water. Seeing the country by land is one thing - adding on the chance to sail the deep blue seas along the coast is something that sets top-notch Costa Rican tours apart from the rest. Tauck's tours include a small-ship cruising experience aboard m/v Tere Moana, which sails to off-the-beaten track destinations, small islands and hidden harbors.

* Encounter rainforest wildlife up-close. Costa Rica is home to hundreds of thousands of different species of mammals, birds, insects and other wildlife, making it one of the most biodiverse places in the world. Rainforest eco-park visits are an essential part of Costa Rican travel, and give you a chance to look out for spectacular wildlife such as toucans, jaguars and red-eyed leaf frogs.

A trip to Costa Rica is an opportunity to step into another world - one where exotic birds trill in rainforest canopies, where unspoiled nature is always nearby, and where daily life moves at a slower pace. For more information about Costa Rica tours, visit Tauck online.

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