Costa Rica offers astonishing natural attractions: volcanoes, lush forests, wildlife reserves, and tropical beaches along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. It’s a paradise for birdwatchers, divers, and all those who love outdoor attractions.
If you want to learn how to appreciate everything in this world, just come to Costa Rica and experience “pura vida” – a local lifestyle. This country has been named one of the happiest countries in the world, mostly because Costa Ricans (Ticos) have a very relaxed, simple way of looking at life.
Costa Rica is known for its great diversity of flora and fauna. With only 0.3 percent of the world's land mass and nearly 6 percent of the world's biodiversity, this country has the highest species per area unit in the world. It is home to sloths, monkeys, racoons, agoutis, coatis, jaguars, tapirs, iguanas, tree frogs, toucans, hummingbirds and rare quetzal birds. Visit one of the national parks: Cahuita and Tortuguero in the Caribbean coast or Corcovado and Manuel Antonio in the Pacific coast. If you want to get into the wild, you can also head inland to explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.
If you like to get involved working with the animals, take part in one of the volunteer programs. Proyecto Asis Rescue Center in Arenal Volcano Area helps injured wild animals in order to restore the balance between man and nature. This wonderful educational experience will help you learn and see Costa Rican wildlife up close.
How to get there:
Take a look at the flight deals to Costa Rica:
- Flights from Luxembourg to San José or Liberia from €377 >>
- Flights from France to San José for €356 >>
- Flights from the UK to Liberia for £321 >>
- Flights from Seattle or Portland to Liberia from $341 >>
- Flights from Chicago to San José for $270 >>
- Flights from New York to Liberia for $264 >>
- From Germany to Costa Rica for only €339 >>
Where to stay:
In Liberia, we encourage you to stay at 4* La Arena Hotel for just €49/$53 per person. This well-reviewed hotels features an outdoor pool, 24-hour front desk, garden and BBQ facilities. The property offers free parking, and free Wi-Fi access is available. The functional rooms here will provide you with air conditioning and private bathrooms with a shower. Some units include a microwave. Both Playa Hermosa Beach and Playa El Coco are 25 km from the property.
In San José we recommend you to book 3* Santo Tomás Hotel for €59/$64 per person. This top rated hotel offers an outdoor pool and hot tub, surrounded by colourful flowers all year round. Free Wi-Fi and a free breakfast are provided. Rooms at Santo Tomas Hotel have classic décor, with wooden floors, hanging plants and flowered bedding. All have free Wi-Fi and an LCD TV with cable channels, and some have private balconies.
What to do:
Costa Rica offers a little something for every traveller. Whether you seek sun, wildlife or adventure, there’s much to discover. Turrialba is home to some of the most intense white-water rafting in the whole of Central America. If you’re searching for a serious adrenaline rush, go canyoning, waterfall rappelling or zip-lining in the rainforest. You can also explore the Venado Caves. If you prefer caffeine to adrenaline, visit one of the local coffee plantations to sample Costa Rica’s favourite drink right from the source. Northern Guanacaste and the Caribbean are perfect for snorkelling. If you’re a scuba diver, head to Cocos Island. Beach-lovers should head to the Nicoya Peninsula for sun and surf.
With more than 20 rivers and both Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, Costa Rica offers almost limitless options for kayakers. It is also recognized as one of the top sport fishing destinations worldwide. Nature-seekers should pay a visit to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca before venturing inland to explore one of the natural reserves. Take a night-time jungle walk with an experienced naturalist guide who can point out the nocturnal creatures living in a rainforest. During the Santa Juana Mountain Tour you can ride a horse, take a dip in the waterfall swimming pools and visit a traditional sugar cane mill. Mountain biking is another great way to explore Costa Rica. If you’re looking for great photo locations, visit La Fortuna Waterfall, Nauyaca Waterfalls or La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Near Bajos del Toro you can take the Catarata del Toro trek to see a stunning canyon and the giant waterfall dropping 122 metres (400 feet) into it.
Hike to the enchanting Rio Celeste, taking a trail from the entrance of Tenorio Volcano National Park to Laguna Azul. At the final stop (Los Teñideros), you can see how two crystal clear streams mix together. Chemicals contained within the waters of two rivers react, changing the water’s colour to amazing shade of blue.
Head to one of the volcanoes and take a hike around to check out the breath-taking views. You can go trekking at high altitudes in Poás Volcano National Park and Irazú Volcano National Park. After descending from the volcanoes, relax with a dip in natural geothermal pools. The heat from magma at the base of the Arenal Volcano has formed five therapeutic springs comprised of 50 pools of varying temperature (e.g. Tabacon, Baldi, Paraiso, Ecotermales and Titoku). Some hotels have their own private hot pools but you can also bath for free in the thermal water of the Tabacon river where the locals go.