Whether or not you can name the constellations or planets, it is always fascinating to look up at a clear night sky and get lost among the stars.
Anyone can enjoy stargazing. The best places to go, of course, are where the sky is wide open and very dark, with no distracting city lights. Up in the mountains, or in the desert, or out on the open ocean; it is breathtaking to stare upwards at night at millions and millions of twinkling stars and planets in a blue black sky.
Costa Rica is one of the top places in the world for stargazing according to Travel+Leisure magazine; especially now during Costa Rica summer (December through April). February and March are the best months for clear star-filled night skies. These dry season months offer astronomy buffs incredible opportunities to see the constellations of the Southern Cross, Omega Centauri, the Magellanic Clouds, the Eta Carinae Nebula, and countless other spectacles in the Milky Way.
Astronomically, Costa Rica’s location at 10 degrees north latitude, just above the equator, allows you to easily see northern and southern hemisphere constellations, the moon and planets.
Stargazers traveling to Costa Rica also get the added bonuses of watching the night sky in a warm tropical climate, and during the day enjoying spectacular natural scenery, abundant wildlife, fun adventure activities and friendly local people.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica is a superb stargazing location. Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin at the foot of the colossal, active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste is a particularly excellent place. There are no city lights near the family-owned hotel, set on a 3,460-acre ranch, to wash out the night sky. And the unique surrounding dry tropical forest trees lose their leaves like in northern autumn and winter, opening the sky even more to see stars. You can be inspired by an immense sky filled with millions of stars and listen to the symphony of tropical life at night.
Best times for stargazing in Costa Rica: from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. and again at 4:00 a.m.
More stargazing opportunities: You can view the sky as seen from various cities around the globe at the Your Sky website. Stellariumis a free open source planetarium for your computer that shows a realistic sky in 3D. If you are in San Jose, Costa Rica, visit the San Jose Planetarium at the University of Costa Rica.