There is, in Central America, a little piece of paradise with its own name: Costa Rica. With its exuberant nature, its precious culture, its varied fauna and its dreamlike landscapes, it is spread out over 51 thousand square kilometers, giving anyone who fantasizes about visiting it plenty of reasons not to postpone it any longer.
And it is that the country of Pura Vida is the essence of its volcanoes, which rise towards infinity seeking to touch the sky. It is the tranquility of its paradisiacal beaches, which extend both through the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea. It is the way of being of its people, the Ticos, friendly, welcoming and always ready to make the stay unforgettable. It is the flavor of their rice and beans, but also that of the avant-garde cuisine that is molded in the restaurants of San José. It is, after all, all those reasons why every time someone visits a small corner of their wonderful land, they will want to return.
Today we are going on a trip to Costa Rica to tell you, one by one, the reasons why it is one of the most special countries in all of America: exotic, sustainable and diverse, there is no other that surpasses it. Of course: if when you finish reading this article you feel the irrepressible urge to buy a flight for your next vacation, do not blame us… Rather, thank us!
Costa Rica is the country of ‘Pura Vida’ for its exuberant nature
There is nothing that we are going to reveal with this sentence, but we want to “reconfirm it”: Costa Rica has an immense green heart. Its territory is conquered by a nature that translates into the lushness of its jungles and forests, in the palm trees that populate its coastline, in its waterfalls, or in the coffee plantations in which that exquisite fruit is produced with which later enjoy the traditional “chorreados”: the Tico coffee par excellence.
In its small territory, it is home to almost 1 million species. Or what is the same; about 5% of the planet’s biodiversity, and 25% of its geography is protected by the National System of Conservation Areas. That is why a trip to Costa Rica will always be full of activities that allow you to enjoy nature, whether it is walking along the trails of its national parks – let’s call it Tortuguero, Guanacaste, Braulio Carrillo or Cahuita, just to name a few – or doing whatever active tourism activity in unique environments. Do you need more reasons to dare to visit it?
For its beaches: Authentic earthly paradises
Paradise is, without a doubt, the best word to describe those immense expanses of white sand —and black!— And turquoise waters that decorate both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, giving us unparalleled landscapes.
And it turns out that, in addition, between both coasts, there is barely a distance of 212 kilometers. What does this mean? That, if we feel like it, we can dive into the warm waters of the Caribbean in the morning, and surf the waves of the Pacific, ideal for practicing this sport, in the late afternoon. In short: we are talking about around 600 beaches where we can indulge in the pleasure of contemplative life, lie down in a hammock and read a good book while the sun’s rays tan us.
Or something even funnier; we can also take the opportunity to dive and discover the marine ecosystems that populate the coast doing snorkeling, one of the most enriching aquatic activities that can be done here, although not the only one. Do you want more data? Sure, write down some names: Guanacaste, the South Caribbean and the beaches of Puerto Viejo, the South Pacific and some of its treasures, such as Golfo Dulce and the Osa Peninsula, or, why not, any of the more than one hundred islands with those that Costa Rica has, are just a note of the many paradises in the form of a beach that this country treasures.
For its volcanoes: Characteristic of the Tico territory
In addition to its nature and its beaches, if there is another attraction that makes thousands of people decide to visit Costa Rica every year, it is its volcanoes. The country is located on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire and, as a consequence, has three volcanic mountain ranges: the Guanacaste Range, the Central Volcanic Range and the Talamanca Range. What does this mean? Well, no less than 200 different volcanoes are spread throughout its geography, although currently only five of them remain active: Irazú, Poas, Rincón de la Vieja, Turrialba and Arenal, the most visited.
Best of all, there are many options to explore the landscape conquered by the volcanic cones that are scattered throughout the nation: from hiking trails that run along the slopes of Arenal or eternal zip lines that cross the surrounding rainforest between trees. , to walks that lead you to reach the crater of the Irazú volcano -only 30 kilometers from the capital- or viewpoints that allow you to contemplate, always from a certain distance, the main crater of the Poás volcano and its sulfurous waters.
For its citizens: Unique people in the world
They are friendly, welcoming, endearing, and always having a smile on their face. Costa Rica has many natural treasures, yes, but perhaps one of the most valued is that of its own inhabitants: without a doubt, the country would not be the same without the Ticos.
Because they are the ones who immediately dare to start a conversation anywhere and in any situation. Those who take pride in their homeland and show it delighted. They always have a “chorreado” coffee ready to serve and invite the traveler. Those who are helpful, happy and honored by all those adventurous spirits who choose their wonderful land to spend a few days on vacation.
They always say “Pura Vida” whether to express thanks, good morning or goodbye. So what can we say; it is nice to travel like that.
For its gastronomy: Delicious in every way
One may think before leaving for Costa Rica that the most famous national dish is its ‘arroz con frijoles’ or, as it is called by the Caribbean region, ‘rice & beans’.
What is not so real is that this is the only recipe that can be enjoyed in the country of ‘Pura Vida’, not at all! In fact, you just have to take a look at the menus of some of the restaurants in the capital or visit one of its markets to make sure that the national product is the most varied. And for example, a button: names as appetizing and exotic as tamales, chicharrones or empanadas are also part of the Costa Rican cookbook. What is more, we can mention the gallo pinto, the pot of meat, the casado, or even the ceviche.
But if you go for something more avant-garde, there is nothing like cheering up with any of the restaurants that are scattered around Barrio Escalante, an authentic gastronomic temple in San José. It is there where some chefs are experimenting more with the flavors and ingredients, taking ideas both from the stoves of other parts of the world and from those that the indigenous people have been in charge of developing for centuries, to give them their place in today’s cuisine and, incidentally, give us a real feast for the senses.
For its wonderful fauna: Simply spectacular!
We already mentioned it above: almost a million different species populate Costa Rica, which places the country among the 20 richest in the world in biodiversity. Or, in other figures: its lands are home to around 250 species of mammals, among which 28 are aquatic, 900 species of birds, 230 of reptiles and approximately 190 types of amphibians. How to compete with that?
This is the great reason why most travelers arrive eager to contemplate its natural wealth and enjoy it. The best part is that you do not have to try too hard. There are many occasions when, just by being good observers and taking a closer look at what surrounds us, we will discover the odd animal that we live with without even realizing it; from a curious sloth that sleeps its eternal nap in a tree in the garden of our hotel to a beautiful iguana camouflaged among the vegetation of the park.
And if we have to give some names, then no problem at all: quetzals, toucans, hummingbirds, howler monkeys, raccoons, jaguars, white-faced monkeys, dolphins, whales, red-eyed green frogs, snakes, crocodiles, turtles or the aforementioned sloths are just some of the exotic animals present in Costa Rica and that make up its diverse nature.
For its capital city: A vibrant and thriving city
San José is the gateway to and from Costa Rica, and sometimes, due to the desire to get into the pure and harsh nature of the country as soon as possible, it goes unnoticed. Big mistake! And the fact is that the great capital has so many attractions that it is worth spending at least a couple of days to explore it.
And by attractions we mean, not only the majesty embodied in buildings such as the National Theater, inaugurated in 1897, or the bustle of the Central Market, the nerve center. We also mean its lively nightlife, concentrated in places like Calle 21, or the urban art tours that can be carried out in the area to see the murals and graffiti of both national and foreign artists. It also does not hurt to throw in gastronomy and go into Barrio Escalante, or take an interesting route of craft beers through some of the bars, terraces and markets that are more fashionable.
Because San José does not have a single face: it has as many faces as you want to know. You just have to be willing to do it!
Because Costa Rica is simply unique
What can we say about a truly democratic country, which eliminated its army more than 70 years ago and has never participated in any war? These are just some of the data that, added to everything we have already mentioned, make the Central American country an exceptional place.
But there is still something else: Costa Rica has been betting on sustainability for many years, something that is not only considered a practice in the country, but a whole way of life. In fact, a key fact is that it aims to be the first carbon neutral country in the world, something it hopes to achieve in 2021. Almost 93% of the electricity it consumes is produced from renewable energy, something that makes it a great example to be followed.
Having said that; is there any doubt that Costa Rica is the perfect destination to enjoy a 10/10 scale vacation?
And long live the ‘Pura Vida’ way!