Costa Rica, the tropical paradise, is located in the heart of Central America, bathed by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, with a total area of 51 100 km² (19729.82 mi²), It is the second smallest country in Central America. It is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which is the reason why Costa Rica protects the 27 parks that cover over a quarter of the country.
Costa Rica is one of the main eco-tourism destinations in the world, drawing visitors from all over the globe. This little paradise is composed of an incredible diversity of flora, fauna, and geography; encompassing countless rivers, impressive volcanoes, beautiful beaches and cheerful, friendly people.
Below, we will mention 10 reasons why Costa Rica is such an interesting country, and why you should visit soon. This is only a start, much more awaits:
Costa Rica is known as the happiest country in the world. It is a very peaceful country without an army. The natural beauty is combined with the hospitality and warmth of its people.
A common phrase among locals is “Pura Vida” or “Pure Life” which is heard every day, and can be used to greet, to say goodbye, to show a good mood or appreciation.
If you ask “How are you?” People will answer to you “Pura Vida” and when you meet with someone that you know in the morning, the person will say “Pura Vida” instead of saying good morning.
In Costa Rica, you will never lack a smile and the greeting “Pura Vida,” is a phrase that sums up what a vacation in Costa Rica has to offer you.
Costa Rica is located in the tropical climate zone, and therefore has similar thermal conditions throughout the year. Its fantastic weather is one of the main attractions of the country, with 265 days of sunshine every, year and an average temperature, on the Pacific Coast, of 24-29 degrees Celsius (75-84 Fahrenheit) throughout the year.
Costa Rica hosts more than 100 volcanoes, 6 of them still active: Poas, Irazu, Rincon de la Vieja, Turrialba and Arenal Volcano.
The most famous volcano in the country is called Arenal, with a perfect conical form, located in the town of La Fortuna and it has not erupted in years. The town, that houses it, is well known for the beautiful view of the Arenal volcano, also for its hot springs and beautiful lake. The hot springs are famous for their curative and cosmetic properties.
A volcano in the capital city:
Irazu Volcano National Park is easily visited from San Jose. It is located about 54 kilometers (33.55 miles) from this city; and about 31 Km (19.26 miles) from Cartago, the ancient capital of the country. It is a tourist attraction and one of the most visited national parks in Costa Rica.
Irazu Volcano is still active, and is the highest in Costa Rica at 3,432 meters (11259 ft.). Its huge crater is surrounded by a lunar landscape, and it has a green lagoon at the bottom. From its top and during the day, you can see both coasts: the Caribbean and the Pacific.
On your visit you can observe and admire three craters:
- the main crater,1050 meters in (3444ft.) diameter and 300 meters (984ft.) deep
- “Diego de la Haya”, a sulfurous green lagoon, which is 690m (2263 ft.) in diameter and 80 meters deep (262 ft.).
- “Playa Hermosa” crater in the beach area; originally a huge active crater, it is in the process of natural regeneration of its flora.
The temperature ranges between 17° C (63ºF) and 3°C (37ºF). From April to December, it has high rainfall, with an annual average of 2,158 mm.
The Poas Volcano National Park has one of the most spectacular volcanoes in the country, the oldest and of extraordinary beauty. Located in the province of Alajuela, 45 km from San José, this volcano rises to approximately 2,700 meters (8858ft.), above sea level. Being very close to the city of San Jose, the park is a popular destination for tourists from around the world.
At the top, there are two craters: the main crater is considered one of the largest in the world (1.5 km and a depth of 300 more). The secondary crater, called “Botos Lagoon”, has a diameter of 400 meters (1312 ft.) and a depth of 14 meters (45 ft.). Its color varies, from light blue to green, and it continues to emanate sulfuric gases.
The best time to observe the crater is early in the morning before the clouds begin to cover it.
In the Poas, there is minimal rainfall from December to April and May to November peak, with an annual average of 3,500 mm. The site is characterized by fog and horizontal precipitation, especially in the evenings. The average temperature is 12°C. (54ºF)
A mystic paradise, called the little Amazon of Costa Rica, for its canals and marshy lagoons where the green turtle lives, with other species such as crocodiles and manatees. This natural beauty invites you to visit Costa Rica.
Tortuguero National Park is located in the northern Caribbean region of Costa Rica, between the Parismina River and San Juan River, on the border with Nicaragua. It has an annual average temperature of 26° C (79ºF), a terrestrial area of 18946.9 hectares, and a marine area of 52.265 hectares.
It is one of the richest regions in flora and fauna of the country; in this area you will find rivers, canals and lagoons. These are used both by the locals, and by nature lovers, to admire the lush flora and fauna.
Tortuguero National Park was created to protect the nesting area for sea turtles, such as the giant leatherback, green turtle, loggerhead turtle and the hawksbill turtle, which is the smallest in size and considered in the process of extinction for the value of their shells (used in handicrafts).
It is a destination worth visiting, one of the best, known internationally for its main attraction, the sea turtles that nest on its beach. A stunning natural phenomenon, to witness, that occurs mostly between July and October.
The special feature of this biome is the fog that envelops the trees and mountains; it is a unique and special environment. A representative example is the Biological Reserve Monteverde Cloud Forest that is famous worldwide. This wildlife area has been created to protect the flora, fauna and water resources, and to carry out both scientific and environmental education programs.
Monteverde Biological Reserve covers an area of 10,500 hectares (25,946.4 acres), more than 90% of which is primary virgin forest. It is located northwest of Costa Rica, in the provinces of Alajuela, Puntarenas and Guanacaste. It lies in the Tilaran Mountain Range, approximately 172 km northwest of San Jose, or about a three-hour drive from the Central Valley. It is considered the best known cloud forest in the world, for its biodiversity, and for its contribution to conservation and scientific research.
Monteverde’s climate is very cool and rainy, so we recommend bringing warm and waterproof clothing.
A jewel in the jungle, it is a unique place of great natural beauty, with one of the most picturesque rivers of Costa Rica; an important national and international tourist destination.
Rio Celeste is located in the Guatuso canton of Alajuela, in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, one of the youngest in the country. The park was created in 1995 to protect the Tenorio Volcano, which is still active today. The park has four different bio zones, as well as the beautiful turquoise waters of the famous Rio Celeste. The water is not clear, but instead has an intense turquoise rarely ever seen. The scientific explanation holds that the coloration is caused by a single chemical reaction of volcanic minerals.
Among its main attractions is the waterfall, 20 meters (66ft.) high, at the base of which water accumulates with an intense blue color. In the “Teñideros”, tourists are impressed to learn about the physical origin of why the river is dyed with this color so peculiar.
It is one of the most amazing islands in the world, located in the province of Puntarenas. Declared a National Park, by the Government of Costa Rica in 1978, Cocos Island is a lush green paradise on the ocean, and was discovered by the Spanish navigator Juan Cabezas in 1526. It is located 532 km (330.58mil) from the Costa Rican coast. It covers a terrestrial area of 2,400 ha and marine area of 97 235 ha. Although being an uninhabited island, it has rangers, biologists, marine researchers present 24 hours.
The island is considered a natural laboratory for studying the evolution of species. It is extremely rainy, about 7,000 mm per year of precipitation, and covered by an evergreen forest. The island has been described by oceanographer Jacques Cousteau as “the most beautiful in the world”. There we can find the odd hammerhead shark, humpback whales, hawksbill turtles and a beautiful variety of coral species.
It is no wonder that it is a favorite for divers worldwide.
Thanks to the biodiversity of Costa Rica you can live many unique experiences; this country is one of the main destinations for you to enjoy an exciting holiday full of nature and fun. Throughout the year you can choose from a wide variety of adrenaline activities.
What makes this country so popular is not just the tropical climate and the warmth of its people, but also the safety of its adventure activities. The country is very strict about rules, accident prevention and safety.
Some of the adventure sports options that you can find are:
Zipline: A fun and exciting “sport” called Canopy Tour, where you can breathe fresh air and fly above the trees. It was born in Costa Rica to investigate natural areas without damaging the ecosystem. You can practice this exciting sport in many different environments such as waterfalls, mountains, beaches, rivers, volcanoes and forest. The less adventurous will find cable cars or suspension bridges to comfortably walk the treetops.
Rappel: In Costa Rica this is a fun, safe and exciting way to experience some of the most beautiful landscapes of this wonderful country. The sport, also known as canyoning, involves controlled descent down a rock wall with a fixed rope. Often, this descent is through a waterfall. The duration of this tour is approximately four hours. This is one unique way to explore nature, which is always accompanied by an experienced guide.
Some of the most popular places for rappelling are where there are exciting waterfalls, such as the Arenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio in the Central Pacific, Rincon de la Vieja in Guanacaste and Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Bungee: One of the attractions with more adrenaline. Costa Rica is a perfect place for people who seek to participate in these activities. The place best known for Bungee is the Colorado River Bridge. It is located at a height of 265 feet, making it one of the highest in the Americas. Located just 40 minutes from the capital of San Jose in Naranjo, Alajuela, and the bridge is conveniently located near highways that many travelers use to go to the Pacific coast. Colorado River Bridge allows the adventurous to experience a free fall before the elastic pulls them up. Additionally, since the bridge is closed to traffic, adventurers don’t have to worry about vehicles.
The bungee in Costa Rica is extremely safe, since all companies have been certified by the Association of North American Bungee. Jumpers must take certain precautions before taking part in this adventure. The sudden slowdown at the end of the jump increases blood pressure in the upper body, so travelers should be sure your heart is in good condition before you leap.
White Water Rafting: This is the best adventure in the country, combining adventure, nature and spectacular scenery. Costa Rica has one of the best rivers for rafting. In this activity, an inflatable raft is used to go down the river rapids. This raft is made from highly resistant materials.
The rivers where rafting is practiced in Costa Rica have varying degrees of difficulty. The Pacuare River is considered one of the best in the world for this practice, and among the must-do activities of Costa Rica.
Kayak: Costa Rica is a great destination for travelers looking to enjoy kayaking while on vacation. This adventure activity can be done in the sea or a river; sea kayaking is easier to practice than in a river because the river has strong currents. All you need is a kayak and a paddle, making this an exciting and accessible activity for all kind of tourists. Some of the most sought after places in Costa Rica to practice this activity are in the Tortuguero National Park and the Manuel Antonio National Park.
Horseback Riding: On a ride you can go anywhere. It is recommended for horse lovers and adventurers of all levels. Very picturesque and safe roads are usually taken. It can be done at the edge of the beach or between villages, forests or mountains. In most national reserves or parks you can have the opportunity to ride; from tours of a few hours, to adventure tours that can take a whole day.
Surf: This fascinating sport resides between the white beaches and the powerful waves. Costa Rica is known world-wide for its surf. All along the Caribbean coast as well as the Northern, Central and Southern Pacific are more than 200 beaches where you can surf. Some of the most famous destinations and waves include:
Dominical, Tamarindo, Roca Bruja, Playa Avellanas, Mal País, Jaco, Playa Hermosa, Pavones, Matapalo and many others…
Hiking: Costa Rica is a paradise for walkers, as most of the national parks and protected areas can be visited on foot.
It is an activity that has grown increasingly over the past two years. Costa Rica is a major tourist attraction, and one of the most visited places for this activity is Chirripo, the highest mountain in Costa Rica. The best hiking in Costa Rica can be found in national parks and reserves, such as: Manuel Antonio National Park, Monteverde Biological Reserve, Rincon de la Vieja, Rio Celeste and many others.
For diversity and exuberance of reefs and variety of marine life, Costa Rica has become the perfect destination for “diving lovers.” Many visitors come to the country with only an interest to explore the underwater world; in our waters it is possible to observe coral reefs, turtles, sharks, beautiful colors of tropical fish, manta rays and many other species.
Most of these dive sites in Costa Rica belong to protected areas throughout the country; there are excellent dive sites both on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Among the best diving areas for the beauty of marine life: Diving in the North Pacific: Catalina Islands, Bat Islands and Cocos Island; Diving in the South Pacific: Caño Island; Diving in the Caribbean: Cahuita National Park and La Uvita Island. There is also usually good snorkeling in Manuel Antonio National Park, and the islands between Dominical and Marino Ballena National Park.
Regarding the activity of “Fishing” – Costa Rica is like a dream come true for fishermen; it is a paradise along its 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of coastline in the Pacific and in the Caribbean, for world-class fishing. But not only at sea, there are rivers and lakes, too, where fish can reach a weight of up to 2.25 kilograms.
Costa Rica is an ideal place for fishermen, and is one of the world’s countries that has the largest coastal, lake and river resources for sport fishing tourism. Along our Atlantic and Pacific coast are areas to fish, considered among the best in the world. There are places like Tortuguero, Barra Del Colorado and Culebra Bay.
Recreational fishing is practiced in three ways:
Marine fishing can be coastal, open sea or underwater.
Lake fishing, practiced on banks or internal waters.
River fishing also practiced on banks or internal waters.
Please note that fish move seasonally. From May to September, the best catches are offered in the Gulf of Papagayo, Tamarindo, Flamingo Beach and Coco Beach. While November to March is the best time to go to Golfo Dulce, Playa Zancudo, Puerto Jimenez and Golfito. Fishing in the Caribbean coast of the country focuses more on Tortuguero and Barra Del Colorado, around rivers, estuaries and lakes.
Some of the best places in the country for fishing are Los Suenos in Playa Herradura, and Quepos in Manuel Antonio.
A great cafe culture, considered among the best in the world. It has eight coffee regions where, thanks to land and weather conditions, an Arabica coffee of exceptional quality is produced.