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Exploring Costa Rica

Our Travel Guide

I remember the first time I traveled to Costa Rica. I was amazed at the wild places, personable people, and incredible wildlife.  To be able to choose to travel to the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean and get to either within a couple of hours is incredible.  Private beaches, thick jungles and a pretty good infrastructure makes Costa Rica a must-see travel destination.  

Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous peoples before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. Costa Rica has consistently performed favorably in the Human Development Index, placing 68th in the world as of 2019, and fifth in Latin America. It has also been cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as having attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of the region. Also, Costa Rica plans to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021.

Costa Rica at a Glance

CURRENCY: The Costa Rican colón is the currency of Costa Rica. The currency code is CRC and the symbol is CR.

VISA: More than 140 countries do not need visa for 90 days, only 77 countries need a visa given by presidential decree.

LANGUAGE: The most widely spoken language in Costa Rica is Spanish, but is not the only one. The Mekatelyu, Bribri and Patois are in official use for indigenous peoples.

 

  • Sight Seeing 85% 85%
  • Cost 70% 70%
  • Ease of Travel 75% 75%
  • Activities 85% 85%

Lonely Planet states that “All trails seem to lead to waterfalls, misty crater lakes or jungle-fringed, deserted beaches. Explored by horseback, foot or kayak, Costa Rica is a tropical choose-your-own-adventure land” and we have to agree.  As a kid, Costa Rica was the way I pictured Hawaii or Bora Bora.  With many flights from the US, this is a must-experience destination.

Map thanks to Wanderlog, a vacation planner on iOS and Android

Top Experiences in Costa Rica

 

1. Manuel Antonio National Park.

Manual Antonio National Park and the surrounding area is known for her beautiful and phenomenal beaches, lush forest, and diverse wildlife that inhabits this area. When you venture into the Manuel Antonio National Park, you see immediately, iridescent butterflies and colorful birds fliting about. It is a great place for nature lovers and for walks with the family.  It is an amazing experience. This area also you can find many hotels for a slightly longer vacation, to be alone, as a couple or with a large group, but also is a home to one of the top beach resort in Costa Rica. Most of the adventure in town is centered on the oceanfront beach.

2. Arenal Volcano.

Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano

Arena Volcano is a National Park in Costa Rica. Also, is one of the top volcano viewing areas in the country. Is has amazing views, and somewhat shocking to have this volcano right in front of you. This volcano is also known for its great range of biodiversity, with approximately half of all Costa Rican birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals represented somewhere within its boundaries. The Volcano constantly emits gases and water vapor, with some explosions and sometimes loud rumblings. This can be quite scary if you are not used to it. The last activity was in 1968.

3. Monteverde and the Cloud Forest.

monteverde

This photo was taken from a tree house where you can stay in Monteverde

Is the best place to visit if you travel in Costa Rica and if you are really nature lovers. It is an amazing place for ecotourism. Here you can see and find unique plants and wildlife without venturing too far off the beaten path, this is definitely the place to come. Monteverde Clouds Forest Reserve and the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve sustain various animals and unique plants. This areas have many accommodation, restaurants, and even shops and artists´ galleries. However, be aware.  It is quite a cold area, so do not forget to bring warm clothes.

4. Dominical.

Here you can find beautiful beaches, cheap accommodation and casual open-air restaurants, this place is beautiful and great to enjoy the beaches and take some spectacular photos. Dominical is a tropical backpacker´s haven, with dirt streets. Also attracts an upper-end crowd who can find small luxury inns and bed and breakfast on the outskirts or in the hills overlooking the town. The view is phenomenal, the sand is incredible and the beaches is one of the best in Costa Rica. Among the best beaches are Dominicalito, Piñuelas beach and Ventanas beach located in a bay.

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5. Tamarindo.

If you are a lover of water sports like surfing this is the best destination, its beaches have many waves, so not all of them are recommended for going for a walk, the biggest waves are generally found here in November and December. Also, this is an area known for eco-friendly adventures and activities that include snorkeling, diving, horseback riding, zip lining, and turtle watching in season. Throughout October and March you can see the most beautiful turtles seen nesting and laying their eggs overnight. This is a great experience that you should not miss if you come for these dates. You can consult with the inhabitants of this area to know where and when the migrations of the turtles occur.

6. Mal Pais and Santa Teresa.

Is an area along the coast known for great waves that attract surfers from around the world. Generally not good for swimming, the coastal scenery is picturesque, with small coves, promontories and jagged rocks bashed by the surf. Recently Santa Teresa has become a busting surf town and Mal Pais has retained its laid-back vibe and beckons travelers in search of nature and tranquility. Behind the beach the road intersection of Carmen beach is the main commercial center of the beach communities where you find Banks, the pharmacy and car rentals.

7. Tortuguero National Park.

tortuguero

One of the inhabitants of Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero National Park is only accessible by boat or plane and is one of the wettest areas in the country. But the area offers something different than the rest of Costa Rica. It has many beaches but the coastal area is not suitable for swimming as the surf and currents are rough and strong. Sharks are common. From the hiking trails or boat rides along the Canals, you will enjoy rich biological diversity and ecosystems that support threatened flora and fauna species. Set in a natural well and of the Caribbean coast, it forms a corridor with another protected area, the Indio Mais Biogical Reserve of Nicaragua it is a key Ramsar Site.

The areas we are mentioned in Costa Rica are the most beautiful places to visit and enjoy in our opinion. Come alone or with friends and family and  take the opportunity to visit amazing historical sites, museums and diverse cultures. Before traveling in Costa Rica, keep each of these places in mind.  Just remember to bring your swim suit and hiking shoes.  You cannot go wrong in Costa Rica.

 

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