Oliver is an experienced business consultant from the UK. His job allows him to travel, which also happens to be one of his greatest passions. You can find him on Twitter.
“Pura vida”, a famous Costa Rican phrase you hear every 10 minutes, literally eans “pure life” or “take it easy”, but it has a far more profound meaning to the people of Costa Rica. It is an expression of eternal optimism, the idea that life isn’t that bad whatever the situation is. All the treasures of Costa Rica are embodied in this phrase – peace, amazing nature, positive people and tropical climate. We have to admit that the idea of living a peaceful, simple life, appreciating nature is incredibly attractive. It comes as no surprise, then, that Costa Rica has been one of the most popular tourist destinations since the late 1980s. I believe that people are drawn by this idea of “don’t-worry-‘bout-a-thing” lifestyle. Once you feel it, it’s hard to forget it.
Stunning Facts and Figures
It is estimated that Costa Rica contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity, a huge percent for a country that has only 0.03% of the world’s landmass. With such a rich variety of flora and fauna, outstanding beaches and well established national parks, it became a face of ecotourism in the 1990s. What’s more, Costa Rica is the only country in the world that meets all five criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. It is also the first country in the Americas that banned recreational hunting. In addition, this nation hasn’t had a standing army since 1949, when it permanently abolished its army. Another interesting fact is that the cost of living here is generally a bit lower, so there are many immigrants from various countries who decided to spend their life here. All of these facts, without a doubt, have a huge impact on the lifestyle of its citizens, while the tourists feel like visiting a paradise.
Get a Charge out of Water Thrills
The Costa Rican national park offers a wide range of gripping activities, such as waterfall excursions, surfing, scuba-diving and various boat tours. Playa del Coco beach is a perfect spot for scuba-diving, while Avellanas is famous for 18-foot waves. If you are in a mood for partying, go to Tamarindo. It is a bustling tourist town that attracts many surfers, professionals, as well as amateurs. If you still haven’t’ had a chance to stand on a surfing board, this is definitely a place to do it. Other challenging beaches for more advanced surfers are Playa Grande and Playas Langosta, Negra and above-mentioned Avellanas. No matter which beach you choose, they will all welcome you with the delightfully warm water you will never wish to leave.
From more peaceful activities such as bird watching, visiting thermal springs and trekking, to adventures including canyoning, horse riding or fishing, Costa Rica offers all of these, and much more. The northern part of the country comprises of swamps and dry tropical forests. This is the Santa Rosa National Park where you can see deer, iguanas and white-faced monkeys, among other wildlife. Sloths, the slowest and the cutest mammals in the world, can also be found all around the country. A few miles from Liberia, you may be surprised to find a savannah and see animals that wander around free through the knee-high grass. Zebras, giraffes, warthogs, camels, Nilgai and Watusi antelopes and ostriches are some of the species you’ll see at Africa Safari Adventure Park. If you prefer sea life, make sure you pay a visit between December and April, since during that period humpback whales are on their migratory journey south. Costa Rica is, actually, one of the best places in this part of the world to watch these beautiful sea creatures.
Wonderful off-the-beaten-path Areas
Montezuma, located on the very southern coast, is a great place for young families or romantic couples to go trekking. It’s a quiet area with nice sandy beaches and great number of excellent restaurants for true bohemians. Another place you need to visit if you want to forget all the stress is Playa Conchal (“Shell Beach”). This beach is hidden in a private bay where you feel like you are cut off from the rest of the world. The water is calm and excellent for swimming, but the most beautiful thing on this beach is, believe it or not, it’s sand. Millions of tiny little pink and white seashells are mixed up with the sand. This is a true feast for the eyes. You can listen to the gentle tumbling of waves while sunbathing, close your eyes and slowly dream away.
The best time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season, from December until April. However, if you don’t mind little rain and you want to travel on the budget, you can pay a visit during a green season, as well (between May and November). Costa Ricans will welcome you with a warm smile during the whole year. Pura vida!