Finally, we bring up the last part of this series of 50 things you should do when visiting Costa Rica:
41. Look for snakes in Cahuita National Park
A very striking animal that can be found in the South Caribbean area is the yellow tinsel. It is a poisonous snake with a beautiful color. They are not usually very large; at most they are about 80 centimeters long. They usually live curled up in trees.
It is relatively easy to sight them in the Cahuita National Park, which can be accessed with a voluntary donation. In addition to finding fauna, Cahuita is a spectacular place to snorkel if the sea is calm.
When we went up there, in December 2017, we were quite disappointed with the state of the park. We understood that a few days before there was a strong storm that threw down many trees and others, but we found it unacceptable that a national park is full of waste from its visitors.
42. Eat authentic Caribbean “rice and beans”
Another essential thing to do in Costa Rica is to eating its typical Caribbean dish: rice and beans. As the name suggests, the meal consists of white rice with sautéed beans and coconut milk. It is usually served as an accompaniment to most local dishes.
43. Relax in the Gandoca Manzanillo Reservation
We dare to say that our favorite beaches in the entire country were those of the Gandoca Manzanillo Reservation. They are surrounded by palm trees and dense tropical vegetation, with sand of an ideal tan color and crystal clear water. They are small beaches but there are not many people either, so you can enjoy it quietly.
The entrance to the reservation is free and, although it is a huge space, it is not advisable to leave the main path that leads to a viewpoint. The main risk is to end up lost on the secondary roads!
44. Do not miss out on going to Playa Punta Uva
Another splendid beach in the South Caribbean area is Playa Punta Uva. Like all the beaches in the area, it is surrounded by palm trees and has very clear water. In addition, it is easily accessed through a path that leaves the main road, which is appreciated because other beaches are more hidden.
Our advice: We stayed at the La Kukula Lodge, quite close to this beach. If you are looking for a quiet environment and sleep in the middle of nature, we recommend it 100%.
45. Cross the border and discover the earthly paradise of Bocas del Toro
If you spend several days in the Costa Rican Caribbean, you should not miss visiting the famous archipelago of Bocas del Toro. Although it is in Panama, you will notice that it is super easy to get there from Costa Rica either on your own or with several organized excursions. And you will also notice that Panama is much cheaper than Costa Rica.
Once there, you can enjoy their islands; all of them bathed in crystal clear waters so that you can indulge yourself. Actually, there are several interesting islands, connected to each other by their famous water-taxis.
46. Visit an animal rescue center
One of the most beautiful things to do in Costa Rica is to see the great work that many centers do rescuing animals and returning them to their habitat as much as possible. Some of the best known are Jaguar Rescue Center, Sloth Sanctuary or Tree of Life in the South Caribbean area. All of them organize tours to show the work they do, as well as raise money with the entrance fee to continue helping animals in need.
47. Spot a sloth moving slowly in the trees
We could not forget one of the animals that generate the most curiosity among foreign visitors. Sloths are truly a national symbol. They conquer everyone with their slow movements and their sleeping postures in the trees.
This slowness is due to its diet based on the leaves of trees belonging to the genus Cecropia. Such a diet gives them very little energy; they have components that make them difficult to digest. Some people say that these leaves even act in a similar way to a psychotropic substance in humans. Sloths can take more than a month to digest them!
Did you know that…? Sloths are related to anteaters.
48. Sleeping and eating inside an airplane, something different to do in Costa Rica
For aircraft lovers, in the area of Manuel Antonio there is a couple of exciting places. The first place is the Hotel Costa Verde that has an old remodeled Boeing 727 that belonged to South Africa Air and Avianca airlines, which serves as a luxury room. Of course, each night costs around US$ 400, depending on the season you go.
The second place is El Avión restaurant, where you can settle for a cheap dining, especially if you have a tight budget. As the name suggests, the restaurant sets the tables around a C-123 Fairchild cargo plane. In addition, from its terrace you will have incredible views of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
49. Climb Cerro Chirripó and sight both oceans, a great plan to do in Costa Rica for mountain lovers
If you are in shape and you like challenges, an essential activity to do in Costa Rica is climbing Cerro Chirripó. At 3,820 meters of altitude, it is the highest peak in Costa Rica. From its summit, on clear days, you can even sight both oceans. Of course, to get there you will have to break a sweat!
At this stage, we want to emphasize that it is not an activity suitable for everyone. The fact of the matter is that you have to be physically prepared and have tried to reach peaks of a similar altitude before, because altitude sickness can play a trick on you.
The climate in the high mountains is ever changing and temperatures can turn 0 ºC during part of the ascent. So you also have to be dressed with a suitable outfit and very resistant footwear to carry out this activity.
The most advisable thing is to dedicate 2 or 3 days to it; the most common strategy is doing it in 2 stages. The first stage, of about 6 or 7 hours, consists of climbing up to 3,400 meters to Refugio El Páramo, where we recommend spending the night. And the next day, in the second stage, try getting through to the summit in about 2 or 3 hours. Sighting the sunrise from the highest point in the country is, without a doubt, something unforgettable to do in Costa Rica.
Important note: In order to do this activity, it is mandatory to book it 10 days in advance on the official website of the National System of Conservation Areas of Costa Rica.
50. Do not stress out… Be “Pura Vida”!
Costa Ricans go right for their own pace. As we have said before, Costa Rica is considered one of the happiest countries in the world, so people try to smile despite any problem. In short, this is a great country, but what did disappoint us was its infrastructure; sometimes you might get stuck for more than an hour in one of the typical traffic jams. What is more, when there is an accident on the road, everything collapses.
But, despite all disappointment, do not stress you out; just follow the “pura vida” style and… Enjoy all the recommended things to do in Costa Rica!