From the Pacific coast to the Caribbean; from the peaks of its famous volcanoes to the dense valleys where green explodes: Costa Rica is nature, adventure, rest and relaxation. Characteristics outlined by its more than 51 thousand square kilometers defined by the diversity, that of its landscapes and that of those who inhabit them. A quality that invites you to experience the country with passion and intensity: there is no other possible way to understand this land, to feel Costa Rica.
Corcovado National Park: An Idyll With Nature
Starting this particular trip through the country of Pura Vida in the beautiful province of Puntarenas, the largest of all, leaves no room for error: largely deployed along the Pacific coast, its dream beaches and its natural wealth are more than enough excuse to explore it.
Famous for its landscapes and for its historic fishing port, Puntarenas also seduces for its immense natural wealth. Nothing like going to the Osa Peninsula, where the Corcovado National Park is located, one of the most remote places and with 2.5% of the world’s biological wealth: it is home to an extensive list of animal and plant species.
Just a little further north, Costa Ballena honors its name by giving away one of the most enriching experiences: whale watching – humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins are regulars in the area – is one of the wonders to enjoy in this Costa Rican corner. Without leaving the waters that bathe its coastline, kayaking, diving or surfing tempt the traveler to continue living its most maritime side.
There is nothing like getting lost in its lonely beaches — Tortuga Beach, Uvita Beach, Dominical Beach… -, walking its natural trails or starting bird watching in this wonderful natural Eden. To finish? A foray into the Marino Ballena National Park: with its 110 hectares of coastline and more than 5,300 hectares of ocean, it protects one of the most beautiful coral reefs on the planet and where you can also observe the Lora turtle. What better way to feel Costa Rica?
A Trip To Another World: The Splendor Of The Central Valley
More than two thirds of the population of Costa Rica resides in the Central Valley and this, like everything else, has an explanation. The enormous beauty that characterizes the area – who does not prefer to live surrounded by beautiful landscapes? -, and the importance of agriculture, already give us the reasons: you just have to look at the immense coffee plantations that cover the valleys on the slopes of its iconic volcanoes to understand it. And we explain it: volcanic activity makes its soils fertile and rich in minerals, which has allowed it to grow one of the best coffees in the world.
One of those volcanoes is precisely the Poás, which arose in the heart of the Alajuela province and protected by the Poás Volcano National Park; It is a still active volcano and has one of the largest craters in the world. The ascent to contemplate its crater, whose lagoon of bubbling and acidic waters is one of the most representative pictures of the country, is a must: when the clouds that take over the top disperse and show the beautiful picture, one feels that the time stops.
Of course, the neighboring La Paz Waterfalls also knows a lot about privileged environments: its longest waterfall, Magia Blanca, has a 28-meter drop. Surrounded by pure green and immersed in the lushness of the rainforest, with them nature does its thing again and gives away one of those images that remain forever etched on the retina.
The Arenal: Magic In The Costa Rican Heart
It is not necessary to leave Alajuela to continue enjoying the Pura Vida. In this case, admiring, face to face, the Arenal, considered one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world: its conical shape, practically perfect, is the target of all eyes.
The great luck is that you can enjoy its profile from practically anywhere kilometers away: either while walking the suspension bridges between rain forests, soaring through the skies when practicing canopy, soaking in the hot springs of its pools or walking through twisting trails in the Arenal Volcano National Park, its silhouette remains impassive from afar, attentive to everything that happens around it.
Alajuela is also part, by the way, of the neighboring Highlands of San José, which range from the outskirts of the Costa Rican capital to localities with deep-rooted traditions such as Grecia or Sarchí. Of them, the colorful hand-carved and painted carts used in the past to transport the coffee beans grown on their land are famous. Learning everything about this beautiful cultural heritage is possible by visiting the Eloy Alfaro Carretas Factory, founded in 1920: a small multicolored universe where you can let your imagination flow.
San José: Past, Present And Future
It is not difficult to challenge the mind to times gone by when strolling through neighborhoods like Amon or Escalante in Chepe, a name that Ticos affectionately assign to their capital. In the latter, Escalante, past and future reach out to a table full of traditional flavors: old houses of neo-colonial and Victorian architecture are today home to innovative restaurants in whose kitchens the ingenuity of their young chefs is unleashed.
But to fully understand the essence of this beautiful capital, it is best to walk. Let go. Getting lost in its streets in search of what truly gives it life. An obligatory stop is the National Theater of Costa Rica, from the late 19th century and a symbol of Costa Rican culture, whose visit reveals its intricacies and allows you to discover its majestic halls and architecture.
Chepe continues to shine in its innumerable museums, from the one dedicated to jade to the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. Also in its award-winning National Museum, symbol of the abolition of the army in the country. After the intense cultural bath, it will be the turn of the most lively San José: the one that lives in the Central Market, where it is necessary to soak up the color and the hubbub of the Ticos among affectionate greetings, the music arising from any corner and the aroma casado and gallopinto that emanates from its traditional food stalls.