In the world atlas, Costa Rica is seen as a small country. But do not be fooled: once on the ground, it is a whole continent due to the rich biodiversity it presents. In addition, movie beaches, mysterious jungles, titanic volcanoes and that warm and affectionate touch that Costa Ricans spend with foreigners make it the perfect country for a family adventure in Central America.
It is a piece of Eden that has been free from the convulsive stories of other neighboring countries in the region. Its flag is sustainability, promotes responsible tourism, invests in quality infrastructure and defends the conservation of exceptional flora and fauna that represent 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
If Costa Rica is something, it is pure nature, and, of course, also pure life. And also security, since it has been one of the countries that have adapted more and better to the new travel requirements due to COVID 19. The best option to get to know the country is to do it with TUI Spain. The Great Travel wholesaler of the TUI Group, the largest tourist group in the world, has the widest and most varied program in Costa Rica in the entire market. For more information and other offers, it is best to consult the nearest travel agency.
Given the good management and the little impact of the virus in the country, Costa Rica enabled entry by air to all countries on November 1, as long as the visa requirements were met. A few days earlier, the government facilitated the entry of tourists and eliminated the mandatory nature of PCRs to detect Covid-19. The obligation of confinements and quarantines when entering the country by air was also eliminated.
Thus, at present, Costa Rica is one of the most accessible destinations in the world, as well as one of the safest in terms of the pandemic. Today, more than ever, Costa Rica is pure life. Of course, but this falls within the usual normality in many other countries, it will require mandatory insurance to cover accommodation in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19 disease.
Nature live and direct
There are more than 238 kinds of mammals, almost a thousand birds, 2,400 butterflies, 6,700 marine species. From the friendly sloths, to the rambunctious white-faced capuchins, to unique frogs and turtles that come to the shore to spawn; with such an animal paradise, who wants to see flora and fauna documentaries when you can experience it live?
The large number of national parks in Costa Rica -around 30, in addition to several biological and forest reserves- allows total immersion in the wonders of fauna. If it is true that the highest representative of the country’s rich biodiversity is the Corcovado National Park, in the Osa Peninsula, it is no less true that it is not suitable for all audiences: you have to be willing to live a good dose of adventures for one of the largest and most intact rainforest masses in Central America for the sighting of wild fauna.
In contrast, Manuel Antonio Park is the most accessible and familiar in the country. In addition, it is one of the most beautiful natural parks in the world. It has an area of close to 2,000 hectares that can be traversed following different well-marked trails that are equipped for all audiences. Walking through them is an exceptional opportunity to see wildlife in the wild. It can be done on your own or with one of the guides who know the park like the back of their hands. The excitement of seeing a family of titis monkeys, an endemic primate of Costa Rica in danger of extinction, or a sloth is only equal to that of a safari through an African country. It is also very easy to observe capuchin monkeys, iguanas, raccoons, coatis and a good number of insects.
According to the United Nations, Costa Rica was the first REDD+ country (reduction of emissions derived from deforestation and forest degradation) that successfully managed to increase its forest cover, already exceeding half of the entire territory national (current 54%). Following this path, in May 2020 the country launched an ambitious project that uses satellites and aerial images to map the territory in order to prevent deforestation.
In addition, Costa Rica is one of the world leaders in terms of renewable energies and has recently promoted a plan to decarbonize the economy especially aimed at mitigating the carbon footprint of travel. For this purpose, a web portal has been opened where tourists can optionally calculate the emissions generated during their trip so that they are compensated. Without a doubt, the country is a good place to teach the youngest members of the family to respect the planet a little more.
Venturing into the water
It is time to approach another of the most emblematic natural spaces of Costa Rica in a different way, paddling on a kayak. It is the Tortuguero National Park, in Limón, in the Caribbean part of the country. There, its famous canals, created in the 1970s to connect a series of lagoons and rivers, are completely navigable.
As its name suggests, the main attraction in Tortuguero is watching the turtles spawn on the beaches. And it is that the area attracts 4 of the 8 species of sea turtles that exist in the world. Here, by the way, was born the movement for the conservation of sea turtles: the Caribbean Conservation Corporation. Due to the fragility of the ecosystem, circuits are highly regulated activities. In addition, on a kayak it is the best way to get closer to other fabulous animals such as alligators, river turtles, monkeys, sloths, birds, among others.
If a little more movement is preferred, there is the option of rafting. Costa Rica is one of the best countries for this sport. The most popular rivers for this experience are the Pacuare, Reventazón and Sarapiquí. Specifically, the Pacuare has several categories, depending on the difficulty. There are levels specially designed for the little ones from eight years old, where the rapids are calmer and you can take advantage of it to see all kinds of fauna and flora. For example, rivers Corobici (Guanacaste), Savegre (Manuel Antonio) or Peñas Blancas (near Arenal) allow everyone in the family to live an exciting adventure.
A beach paradise
Costa Rica is an ideal country for sun and beach plans. Whether in the Pacific coast or in the Caribbean Sea there are beaches of all kinds, from wild and isolated to more accessible and hippie vibe. There is Montezuma, which is pure beach culture, or Playa Grande, which, as its name suggests, is the largest sandy area in the country. Although you can also opt for the spectacular turquoise water beaches of Manuel Antonio, in an unsurpassed combination of nature and beach leisure.
But if what you are looking for is excellence, in terms of beaches, then you will have to look towards Guanacaste, the second largest province in Costa Rica and one of the most unpopulated. There is Playa Sámara, where there is an interesting community of foreigners who came there on the way and could never leave the place trapped by its beauty. The infrastructures are adequate, which makes it easy for families to explore the area in search of their perfect beach. For many visitors, Playa Flamingo is one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. And there are beaches for true gourmets, like Conchal, a singular beauty that is 98% made up of shells and rock strata settled by the sea.
Under the volcano
Costa Rica is a country that makes it possible to see real volcanoes and not made of papier-mâché like those in theme parks. The vast majority of these volcanoes are fully accessible and travelers can approach safely. Of all of them, the Arenal represents the perfect volcano, the one that everyone imagines, with a perfect conical shape. Although rivers of lava no longer flow like they used to, your vision is still spectacular. There are beautiful paths to explore, such as the ascent to Cerro Chato. Without a doubt, it is the most famous in the area.
However, the star family plan is on the Waterfall Trail, much more accessible for boys and girls, it is a panoramic excursion that follows a 2-kilometer circular path that can be done in an hour’s walk. The final gift is the encounter with the thunderous 12-meter high waterfall. Other candidate volcanoes to visit are: the Irazú, very close to San José and easily accessible, with its stepped craters that are a geological fantasy; and also the Poas and the bubbling turquoise lake of its caldera.
Walk above the jungle
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is the most important ecotourism destination in Costa Rica. It is the most remarkable cloud forest in the world, a prodigious orchard of intense greens, mossy lianas, ferns and bromeliads. Cloud forests are part of 2% of the planet and these 3,500 hectares of surface is one of the most representative.
It is also one of the most fun nature reserves to visit, because there is the option of doing it above the trees themselves, almost like birds, or jumping from branch to branch like friendly acrobatic monkeys. This is possible thanks to canopy, which is almost a national sport: tensioned cables that can measure up to about a kilometer and end on wooden platforms set up on the treetops. That is a unique experience that combines adventure with nature discovery. In recent years, more and more radical routes have appeared for lovers of strong emotions, but there are still classic facilities much more appropriate for the little ones in the family.