When you’re looking for adventure, family-friendly activities, good food, or just relaxation, then you’re looking for Costa Rica. This beautiful country, filled with rainforests, beaches, river valleys, and biodiverse wildlife as well as great food, has always been great for taking a vacation, but it has gained even more popularity as an amazing destination in recent years.
It’s no wonder, considering that there’s something for everyone, so take a look at these amazing reasons to visit Costa Rica:
1. National Parks: Costa Rica is home to 27 national parks and five percent of the world’s biodiversity. But it’s not all just jungles. It’s also cloud forests, swamps, coral reefs, dry forests, and rainforests. One of the best things to do in Costa Rica is to take a hike on one of these protected lands, especially Tenorio Volcano National Park, where you can see the stunning Rio Celeste waterfall.
2. Volcanoes: There are currently six active and over 60 dormant or extinct volcanoes in this relatively small, country. Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica’s most popular attractions, especially for people who want to hike its rugged terrain or take a dip in the soothing geothermal hot springs. There are lots of spas and resorts in the area that take advantage of the natural hot waters.
3. Biodiverse Wildlife: Over 30 percent of the country is dedicated to national parks, which means there are lots of places for animal populations to thrive. And pretty much anywhere you go, there’s some wildlife to discover. There are over 500,000 species of animals, including scarlet macaws, howler monkeys, colorful butterflies, humpback whales, iguanas, sea turtles, and sloths to meet while you’re there.
4. Birdwatcher’s Capital of the World: A country is a wonderful place for bird watchers, but it’s particularly great if you’re looking to catch a glimpse of one of the 50 different species of hummingbirds that live there. Some of the types of birds you could encounter include the violet sabrewing, the coppery-headed emerald, and the magenta-throated woodstar.
5. Adventures: No matter what kind of adventure you’re into, you’ll find it in Costa Rica. There are dozens of tour companies that specialize in river rafting, fishing, ATV driving, scuba diving, tubing, horseback riding, and even zip-lining through the rainforest. There are also plenty of places to go hiking, surfing, and swimming.
6. Food: Costa Rica is one of those forgotten foodie destinations that people often overlook. Some popular dishes include pejibayes (peach palm fruits), Vuelve a la Vida (similar to ceviche), and arreglados (a type of sandwich). San José has been gaining popularity as a hip city for young chefs and craft brewers as well.
7. Beaches: It’s been established that Costa Rica cares about its environment and makes big efforts to protect its national parklands. The same goes for the beaches, too. Because this country has 800 miles of pristine, beautiful shoreline on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides of the country. Tamarindo, one of Guanacaste Province’s most popular beaches, is especially good for surfing and spotting sea turtles.
8. Coffee: Some of the best coffee in the world comes from Costa Rica, and it’s one of the main drivers for the country’s economy. Needless to say, you can probably find a good relaxing sip or a complete bag of coffee beans while you’re here.
9. Proximity: It’s easier than ever to get to Costa Rica from the United States. It’s only a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Miami, a six-hour flight from Los Angeles, and a five-hour flight from New York City. Plus, many airlines offer cheap flight deals to the country, so planning a budget-friendly vacation is very simple.
10. Happiness: One of the best-known Costa Rican mottos is “Pura Vida,” which means “pure life.” And Costa Ricans take this to heart. The cultures and the people are quite diverse, but many like to live by this simple sensibility to live life to the fullest, and this is probably why the country is considered the happiest, according to the Happy Planet Index. The phrase is also used as a greeting or as an answer when someone asks, “How are you?”