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Technically it's rainy season in Costa Rica right now, but the sudden onset of a dry period called veranillo usually occurs sometime between July and September, particularly along the Pacific coast. Even in the rainy season, days start out warm and sunny, with a cooling rain later in the day. Rain or shine, Costa Rica offers so much to see and do. From volcanoes to canopy rainforests, hot springs to white water rafting, Costa Rica can soothe whatever ails you.

Sun Trips (tel. 800/786-8747; www.suntrips.com) has packages to Liberia, Guanacaste during the month of August starting from $626 per person based on double share. The package includes round-trip airfare non-stop on Ryan International Airlines out of Oakland (Saturday departures only), seven-nights' accommodations at the all-inclusive Hotel Giardini Papagayo (with all meals, drinks, gratuities and non-motorized water sports for the duration of stay) and airport transfers. This rate includes all hotel and airfare taxes and fees.

Costa Rica Expeditions (fax 800/886-2609; e-mail: ecotur@expeditions.co.cr; www.costaricaexpeditions.com) has over 50 specialized Costa Rica vacations on offer. Their 10-day "Costa Rica Explorer" package features visits to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Butterfly Garden, Arenal Volcano, a charter flight into remote Tortuguero National Park and boat trips through the rainforest. It is priced from $1,898 per person based on double occupancy and includes nine-nights' lodging, most meals, internal flights within Costa Rica, the services of a bilingual professional guide and entrance fees to National Parks, museums and places of interest. This price is valid for their December 23 and December 30, 2005 departures. It's "Connoisseur" package that includes the same itinerary but stays at more luxurious hotels is priced at $100 more for September 16 and October 7, 2005 departures.

The nine-day "Costa Rica River and Rainforest" package is priced from $1,598 per person, double occupancy for departures on August 13 and November 19, 2005, or add $200 for the Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve 2005 departures. The trip features visits to Corcovado National Park, a day trip to Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp's Canopy Tree Platform, a hike through a 600-year-old primary oak forest and a two-day whitewater rafting trip on the Pacuare River. The package includes eight-nights accommodation, 21-meals, transfers, hotel taxes, entrance fees to National Parks, museums and places of interest. International airfare is additional.

Latin Escapes (tel. 800/878-9986; www.latinescapes.com) has a "Costa Rica Adventure and Beaches" special starting at $569 per person land only. The eight-day tour lets you experience the Tortuguero Rainforest by boat, the Tabacon hot springs, the lava eruptions of the Arenal Volcano and the white sand beaches of Manuel Antonio. The tour price includes all entrance fees, transfers, seven-nights accommodation with daily breakfasts and sightseeing per itinerary. The airfare inclusive price for this tour is $759 from Miami, $859 from Los Angeles and $919 from New York. Latin Escapes can also arrange short getaways like their four-day San Jose package which includes three-nights in San Jose at the Presidente Hotel, daily breakfast, full-day guided tour visiting Poas Volcano, Sarapiqui, Braulio Carrillo National Park, La Paz Waterfalls and English speaking guides for $219 per person land only, or $409 from Miami, $509 from Los Angeles or $569 from New York. Daily departures from various cities for travel by October 31, 2005. You must book these packages by July 31, 2005.

Caravan Tours (tel. 800/CARAVAN; www.caravantours.com) has a 10-day "Natural Paradise" tour of Costa Rica priced from $995 per person. The land-only tour starts and ends in San Jose and features a visit to Poas Volcano, a San Jose city tour, Braulio Carrillo Park, a ride through the jungle canopy on the Rainforest Aerial Tram, Tortuguero Park, Ca¿o Palma wildlife reserve, a cruise on the Tortuguero River, Fortuna, Ca¿o Negro wildlife refuge, Arenal Volcano and hot springs, the Monteverde Cloud Forest , Jaco on the Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio Park, Carara Biological Reserve, Sarchi and a coffee plantation. Nine-nights hotel accommodation, all meals, all activities, airport transfers, gratuities, transport and local guides are included.

Intra Tours (tel. 800/ 334-8069; www.intratours.com) offers discount airfares to Costa Rica throughout the year. Prices do not include additional taxes, which vary per departure point.

During high season (until August 15) midweek departure round-trip fares:
 

To San Jose:

To Liberia:

From Miami

$214

$424

From Washington, D.C.

$393

$488

From New York

$401

$529

From Chicago

$415

$510

 

During the fall season (August 16 to December 9) fares drop up to 20%:

 

To San Jose:

To Liberia:

From Miami

$212

$382

From Washington, D.C.

$325

$488

From New York

$364

$489

From Chicago

$396

$510

For more information about travel to Costa Rica visit www.frommers.com/destinations/costarica or click over to our Costa Rica Message Boards.