Costa Rica has become one of the world’s top tourist destinations. In fact, over 2.4 million tourists flocked to Costa Rica in 2013 and those numbers only continue to go up. But what is it that makes Costa Rica so amazing? Is it the pristine beaches? The luscious nature? The roaming wildlife? How about all of the above, or rather, all of the below…
1. Relax on the white sand beaches
This small country is lined with coasts. The jury is out on what Costa Rica’s best beach is, but everyone can agree that the beaches in Costa Rica are surreal. The warm water glistens in the bright sun and the sapphire waves crash against sparkling beaches. Whether you choose to visit the secluded shore at Manuel Antonio or join the lively party in Tamarindo, you are guaranteed to find a beach that will take your breath away.
2. Start your morning with a trek through the jungle
Okay, so maybe trek is a bit of an over-exaggeration, but the outdoorsy travelers out there will love Costa Rica’s seemingly endless network of trails. From the cloud-covered trails of Monteverde to the sun-drenched paths of Manuel Antonio, there are countless hiking opportunities for all levels.
3. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife
When exploring the many trails throughout Costa Rica, don’t forget to look up. A good eye is sure to find parrots, monkeys, sloths, and more hiding in the trees. Even if you do not see them, you are guaranteed to hear them. The sounds of monkeys howling and birds singing has come to be a sort of a national anthem for Costa Rica.
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4. Explore Costa Rica's many volcanoes
From Poas to Arenal to Irazu, the surface of Costa Rica is speckled with gorgeous volcanoes. Arenal (pictured) is by far the most famous volcano in Costa Rica, but they are all worth a visit. There are few experiences as unique and thrilling as standing at the base of an active volcano and gazing at the tracks left by lava from the previous eruption years ago.
5. Restore your body the all-natural way
Like any proper tourist-friendly country, Costa Rica has plenty of spas that offer massages, yoga, and more. But for a one-of-a-kind healing experience, head to the thermal hot springs next to the Arenal Volcano. I recommend Tabacon, a stunning thermal resort that features multiple pools of various heats, all kept warm by the volcano, which you can see rumbling in the background.
6. Eat like you have never eaten before
The main local dish in Costa Rica is casados. Casados is a huge plate of food consisting of rice, beans, plantains, fish or meat, and steamed vegetables. It’s extremely cheap, shockingly filling, and surprisingly delicious. But don’t get fooled into thinking your whole time in Costa Rica will be fueled by beans and rice. Head into some of the more popular stops, like Tamarindo and San Jose, and you will find mouth-watering Cuban food, impeccable ceviche, and enchiladas that will leave you begging for more.
7. Bring home the story of a lifetime
When you go to Paris, you see the Eiffel Tower. When you go to London, you eat fish and chips. When you travel to Costa Rica, you enjoy the experience of a lifetime. The natural diversity of the country will keep you wide-eyed the entire time. Throughout Costa Rica, you will have the opportunity to take part in amazing adventures such as ATV tours, zip-lining, turtle watching, surfing, and more. By the time you go home, you will surely have endless stories to share with your soon-to-be-jealous friends.
Costa Rica is the place to be
Costa Rica is the perfect balance of foreign and familiar. The country has been hosting tourists for long enough that you will have no trouble finding comfortable housing, free Wi-Fi, and iced coffee. Costa Rica has done a remarkable job of preserving their country. About 12% of Costa Rica is made up of protected lands and there are over 36 parks across the country. A trip to Costa Rica is truly unforgettable and sure to satisfy any traveler’s wanderlust.
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