Have a life-changing adventure in Costa Rica
Costa Rica isn’t just one of the world’s best eco-tourism destinations – it’s a place that will change your entire outlook on the world around you. To be honest, we were a little overwhelmed at the research phase alone…
30% of the country is made up of protected parkland, wildlife refuges, or private nature reserves, making a haven for plants and animals – and anyone who loves the wilderness. From the natural magic of the country’s famous cloud forests to the jaw-dropping beauty of the wild coastline, it’s home to a wonderland of ecosystems and unforgettable experiences.
We’ve highlighted some of the most exciting things you can do in Costa Rica, to get you inspired and help you begin planning what’s sure to be the best holiday you ever go on.
Live your best parklife
It’s almost quicker to point out which areas of Costa Rica are not protected from development. Whether you’re touring the entire country or sticking close to one area, you’ll always find somewhere to immerse yourself in nature. The country has:
- 26 National Parks
- 58 wildlife refuges
- 32 protected zones
- 15 wetland areas
- 11 forest reserves
- 8 biological reserves
Located on the Osa Peninsula in southern Costa Rica, Corcovado National Park is the biggest national park, boasting an incredible catalogue of biodiversity. It contains 13 different ecosystems, including beaches, rainforests, and swamps, which are home to many rare species such as Baird’s tapir, jaguars, scarlet macaws and harpy eagles.
If you’re closer to the west coast, check out Manuel Antonio National Park. Packed with stunning beaches, hiking trails, swamps, and lagoons, you’re sure to catch sight of a plethora of wildlife. The park hosts over 180 bird species and more than 100 different kinds of mammals.
Just watch out you don’t get mugged by a monkey – in certain parts of the parks, monkeys have become so used to people that they’ve developed somewhat of a reputation for stealing food and other valuables!
Eat, explore, and sleep sustainably at an eco-hotel
Wherever you happen to be staying, you’re sure to find accommodation with a conscience. Out of respect for the beautiful surroundings, many hotels strive to follow sustainable practices.
Costa Rica even runs a Sustainability Certification Program – hotels and tour operators are given a rating of 1-5 leaves (instead of stars) based on how environmentally-friendly they are. Factors that are taken into consideration include:
- interaction with natural resources
- impact on the local community
- how they give back to programs of development
Finca Luna Nueva: More than just a place to stay
If you find yourself in the San Ramón area, check out Finca Luna Nueva. Along with the incredible facilities, you can take advantage of being inside a “living classroom”.
Located in the rainforest, there’s always a miracle of nature occurring around the hotel. Many guests never leave the grounds and spend their entire stay hiking through the trails, birdwatching, and relaxing in the spring-fed jacuzzi.
There’s also a farm on site where you can learn about the establishment’s efforts to promote regenerative agriculture and reverse climate change through organic farming practices.
Where adrenaline meets tranquility: La Carolina Lodge
Fancy living on edge of a volcano? La Carolina Lodge, in Bijagua, San Miguel, is positioned perfectly on the eastern slopes of Volcano Tenorio right on the banks of a fresh water river.
Go swimming, find a waterfall, try horseback riding, or simply indulge in a luxurious spa treatment – tailor your stay to suit your mood.
Complete with family-style open air dining with ‘farm to table’ menu, you can get a taste of everything wonderful that Costa Rica has to offer. Make sure to try the casado – a dish of rice and beans mixed with a variety of different local treats, such as fried plantains, onions, and, if you’re lucky, fresh avocado!
Immerse yourself in the local wonders
Every day in Costa Rica is an adventure, and wherever you go there are plenty of opportunities to tick things off your bucket list, from ziplining and river rafting to epic hiking tours through the national parks.
Just make sure to look for activities that have a minimal impact on the environment – keep an eye out for the Sustainability Certification Program leaf rating and choose organizations that cycle proceeds back towards supporting the local area.
If you’re a foodie like us, you’ll be overwhelmed by the colours on your plate. The nutrient-rich soil and temperate climate makes Costa Rica one of the best places in the world for produce. Visit a local farm or drop by a market and get up close and personal with the fruit and veg – Mercado Central in San Jose is famous for its rainbow of freshness.
It’s hard to mention Costa Rica without talking about its iconic exports – cacao and coffee. Look for a local tour of a plantation and don’t miss out on the chance to taste delicious local beans while also getting a feel for how important these things are to the economy of the local area.
Costa Rica is sure to excite, surprise, and humble you, giving you an entirely new appreciation for the magic of the natural world. We just have one question – can we come along?!