Moving in the Right Direction - Costa Rica's Southern Zone
Nov 24, 2012
Six or seven years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find someone to take you to Costa Rica’s Southern Zone in the South Pacific. The roads, hardly more then glorified paths, were nearly impassible thanks to crater-size potholes, cavernous ruts and the need for cat-like reflexes to avoid other cars that appear out of plumes of dust. In spite of this, it was then and still is a destination worth getting to. Thankfully, these days it’s much easier to reach the Southern Zone by both car and plane. Although the government is rumored to be adding an International airport, current air travel into the Southern Zone is restricted to small, local airstrips. The new coastal highway, however, has improved the drive leaps and bounds over what it used to be. Opened in January 2010, it now takes just over a mere 3 hours on new, smooth pavement to get from Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, to the Southern Zone – a far cry from the 8 hours it used to take.
Amenities In The Southern Zone
Still moderately untouched, Costa Rica’s South Pacific is a mecca for those looking to vacation or live in an area almost unaffected by tourism. Soaring mountains plunge down to endless stretches of sandy beach and wild forests filled with the sounds of various monkeys and birds is exactly what folks coming to the Southern Zone are looking for. You won’t find big, fancy resorts or a ton of tourist-oriented activities on this part of the coast. Instead, small boutique hotels and chic Bed & Breakfasts litter the South Pacific. That being said, there is certainly no shortage of gourmet fare! With the introduction of property development comes food and drink available to anyone visiting or living in the South Pacific. A French restaurant, coffee shop, well-stocked deli, produce market and pizzeria are all available for vacationers and residents alike. As it’s easy to find an empty beach in this part of Costa Rica, tourists and residents spend most of their time fishing, swimming, surfing, bird watching or simply enjoying a picnic in the tropical paradise that is the South Pacific.
National Parks In The Southern Zone
As a country, Costa Rica has an abundance of National Parks throughout, and an incredible two-thirds of them cover the Southern Zone. In addition to the in-land nature reserves, you will also find the Ballena National Marine Park, named after the humpback whales that come here to breed from December to April. Ironically, the coral reef that is visible and accessible during low tide strikingly resembles a whale’s tale! Here you can see a plethora of marine life, in addition to several protected species of plants and trees. The Corcovado Park, however, takes the crown for National Parks in the Southern Zone. It is the most biologically intense place on earth, according to National Geographic. Ecologist’s and adventurous tourists flock here to experience its wildlife (140 mammals and 400 birds!) and explore its 41,000 hectares.
There's no doubt about it, Costa Rica's southern zone has a lot to offer! And thanks to the new highway, more people are heading to this part of Costa Rica to explore it's beauty. The implementation of another International airport will only increase the traffic to this part of the country.