I am planning a trip in October in Costa Rica and I see a lot of information about the central and west coast. Is there a lot to do and see on the east Caribbean coast? Any recommendations?
Yes, Jennifer there is. The Tortuguero National Park is an excellent location at which to see turtles and classic mangrove forests. There's also some decent sportfishing along with some very isolated and beautiful beaches.
That said, you really only want to go there if you are extremely motivated to find empty beaches, swamps and turtles, this area also suffers from many mosquitoes, high humidity/heat, other biting flies, serious theft and safety issues as well as limited tourist infrastructure. The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is quite different from Central and Western CR because it has been long plagued by high unemployment and chronic poverty, so safety is more of an issue than other parts of the country.
If you've not been to the Osa Peninsula (southwestern Costa Rica), then you should go there first before heading east, as it offers some of the best rainforests, beaches, ecolodges and true beauty that Costa Rica offers.
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Caribbean Coast is awesome and would be perfect for October when it's rainier on the Pacific slope. Definitely check out Cahuita (smaller, has a great national park with a lot of sloths) and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (farther south; chill little town with stunning beaches, lots of good restaurants, also chocolate tours, hiking, Jaguar Rescue Center). Caribbean coast gets a bad rap because of some crime but as long as you use common sense, it's fine. Just avoid Limon.
Tortuguero is on the east coast and is completely amazing. We went out on little boats in the mangroves and saw incredible wildlife, including baby caimans swimming in the water, all kinds of birds & insects, and lots of monkeys. Some other folks there at the same time went out at night to watch for nesting sea turtles.
Well October its the top of the raining season here, many hours a day, you should considered change the time, but if you don´t care, Good luck, but let me tell you, Costa Rica it´s a pretty small country so you can go from San Jose, to almost any coast in no more than 4 hours, or depends on you you can stay 1 o 2 days into the caribean coast, then go to Bahía Drake, next on Manuel Antonio, Jaco and if you have time Tambor, I really hope you enjoy this trip, please take into account the Hurricanes Seasson.
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Yes! Puerto Viejo is a great little town on the east coast. There are many beautiful beaches nearby along with good surf spots, great bars, and fun tours. Have a great trip!