Costa Rica is a beautiful little country located in Central America, and it means Rich Coast, literally.
That tells a lot if you think about it, I mean the first Europeans who arrived there were absolutely stunned by its natural beauties, hence today’s travel article is about Costa Rica!
Bordered by Panama in the south east, Nicaragua to the northern border, Ecuador to the south and the Caribbean Sea on the Eastern border, Costa Rica has a population of four and a half million people and a land area of 51,100 square kilometers.
Almost one quarter of the people live in San Jose, the main city and the capital of Costa Rica.
This little country is an actual pearl if you take into account its geographical relief, which contains almost anything a tourist would “wish upon a star”, ranging from miles of palm fringed-beautiful sandy beaches to smoldering volcanoes, steaming rain forests bursting with wild life (including humming birds) and untamed tumbling rivers.
Mother Nature took its best shot with Costa Rica and the end result was an epic win, a true show-off for the amazed traveler.
I also must confess that Costa Rica, a verdant piece of Central America is a bastion of peace, liberty and democracy, being the only country in this geographical area which doesn’t have a standing army.
Pacifism, thy name is Costa Rica!
Over twenty five percent of the country’s lands are declared protected natural areas for ecological-tourism, Costa Rica being a true world pioneer in this regard. If 25% sounds like a lot, well, it is! I mean, that’s more than any other country on the planet, and if you want to admire splendid National Parks, this is the place you were looking for.
Costa Rica excels in its natural reservations, which are the country’s greatest glory, pride and joy, being comprised of an astounding variety of micro-climates, landscapes and a rich and vivid fauna and flora.
Quetzal, the almost sacred national-anthem, I mean bird, lives in the steamy forests of Monteverde and the coastal region of the country, namely Corcovado harbors 4 native monkey species.
If you’re an admirer of wild life and untamed natural beauty, Costa Rica will be a delight for your senses and don’t forget to bring your best camera!
For example, the Nicoya Peninsula, located on the North West of the country is bursting with wild life, like wild cats, dolphins and whales. Also, Tortuguero harbors leather-back turtles in its beaches, canals and mangrove.
For adrenaline junkies, Costa Rica offers an alternative to wild life contemplation: you can go surfing, tree top zip wiring, quad biking or whitewater rafting, these are just a few examples of “extreme” activities the country offers to its visitors.
I already mentioned volcanoes, so hiking is another possibility, especially a hard-core hike on the grumpy and steaming Arenal Volcano. Alternatively you can wallow in the country’s hot water lagoons and take a mud bath in Irazu or Poas.
Even if the country doesn’t excel in terms of city-life and modern architecture, you can still pay a visit to San Jose or Ticos, to get the general idea about urban life in Costa Rica!
What to see, what to do
If you’re a true descendant from monkeys, as papa Darwin used to preach back in the day, you may go take a climb in Santa Elena’s tree tops, a little town located near the Monteverde Cloud Forest, where forest based activities are hugely popular. Here you can move between forests using ropes and rope bridges and what not, like a true monkey in its natural habitat! That spells massive fun, as you can easily imagine, and you can admire the local wild life in the process.
The main city, San Jose, will offer you a lot of cultural treats, like the Mercado Central, Teatro Nacional or the Catedral Metropolitana, along with the National Museum, the Legislative Assembly building and the Museum of Pre Columbian Gold.
The Osa Peninsula harbors beautiful and absolutely empty beaches, being one of the most awesome places to visit while in Costa Rica. This area is home to over half of the country’s wild life species, with the main attraction being the National Park in Corcovado, one of the most biological-rich places in the world. The biodiversity here is absolutely unique.
Drake Bay is a place where you can admire whales passing by, especially hump back species, down on the Osa Peninsula. The best period for whale, bottle nose and spotted dolphins watching is from August to March, when these species migrate from the North and South using the Drake Bay.
Costa Rica’s top kite-surfing and wind-surfing spots are on Lake Arenal, which rests quietly and splendidly 1700 meters above sea level in the north west of the country. You will find here great tourist resorts and agencies where you can rent any type of equipment imaginable.
Food and Drink
Being a Caribbean country, Costa Rica’s cuisine ranges from satisfactory to…let’s say sublime. Specialties include casado (beans, rice, stewed beef/chicken, salad, fried plantain and cabbage), olla de carne (plantain, corn, yuca, soup of beef and chayote), sopa negra (poached egg and black beans), meat and veggie stews (picadillo), a staple dish called gallo pinto (rice and black beans) and bocas (snacks). Regional drinks include coffee, cornmeal drink flavored with cinnamon, fruit drinks called refrescos, pipas (fresh coconut water) and Cuba Libre(rum and coke with a touch of lime).
To enter and visit Costa Rica, you’ll need just a valid passport, no Visa.