Costa Rica is a vibrant country with so much to offer. World-class beaches and surf breaks, great cascading waterfalls, romantic sunsets, lush jungle treks with endless flora and fauna, and towering active volcanoes just grazes the surface of what this incredible country houses. Some of the most delicious locally grown and brewed coffee in the world perfectly complements the “Pura Vida” lifestyle of the locals and expats alike. All you need to do is sip on a fresh coconut on the beach watching the sunset, to realize that it comes as no great surprise that tourism is one of the fastest growing sects of the Costa Rican economy as the country attracted an astounding 2.6 million visitors last year alone. As a highly ethical and super green country, visitors to Costa Rica can be proud to put their money into this blossoming economy. Here are 12 reasons why you simply must visit Costa Rica:
Costa Rica has big plans to be the first country in the world (if everything stays on track) to be completely carbon neutral by the year 2021. So many eco-friendly lodges and hotels across the country contribute to this sustainability goal for tourism. Tour companies do their part as well with most companies doing their best to minimize carbon footprints on the environment. As a country that a long time ago saw the benefits of sustaining and maintaining a healthy and viable ecosystem, Costa Rica is a frontrunner of the world in environmentally friendly practices. So tourists can find comfort that traveling to this beautiful land responsibly won’t even leave a big footprint.
There is certainly no lack of adventure in Costa Rica. Adventure tourism is high and on the rise in this country that has it all. Whether you crave jungle canopy zip-lining, rapid white water rafting, parasailing, fishing, ATVing, surfing, hang gliding, kite-surfing, waterfall cliff-jumping, snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, rope swinging, mountain trekking, or paddle-boarding, Costa Rica has it in abundance. Adventure activities are found everywhere across the country for reasonable prices with well-trained and safety-oriented guides. Whatever adventure you are looking for, you will not be disappointed by Costa Rica’s fulfillment of it.
Volcanoes abound in the stunning vast land of Costa Rica. Home to six active volcanoes and another 61 dormant or extinct, there are certainly a great number to be found in this country. The mystery and the magic of these massive volcanoes of Costa Rica are found far and wide in the country. Arenal, the most visited and famous volcano of Costa Rica, has recently fallen into a resting phase, so no need to worry about destructive eruptions during your visit. The towering mountain is a glorious cloud-covered peak surrounded by rainforest beauty. If the volcano is not enough to draw your attention, then bathe in the heated remnants of its lava in one of the country’s natural hot springs.
9 Blue Zone
Nicoya, Costa Rica is home to one of the world’s Blue Zones, one of five demographic and geographic areas of the world where people tend to have unusually higher life expectancies. The organization Blue Zones states that residents of the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica are more than twice as likely than Americans to live to a healthy age of 90. What is their secret? Well, coastal living and healthy diet seem to be trends found across all of the Blue Zones of the world, but when surveyed by the organization Blue Zones, Ticos living in this part of the world said that plan de vida, or reason to live, played a huge role in maintaining a positive outlook on life and a healthy and active lifestyle. With an attitude like that, how could you not want to visit?
Surfers rejoice at some of the surf breaks that Costa Rica houses. Whether you’re a world-class professional surfer or a complete beginner, Costa Rica has the location for you to ride the waves. With open-water coral breaks and secluded, encapsulated bay sandy beaches, the waves here are made for any level. You can ride your first wave on a long foam board in Playa Manuel Antonio or catch the wave of your career on your pro-short board in Playa Pavones, which is famous for offering some of the longest rides in the world. Whatever style of surf you choose, some beach in Costa Rica can provide the ride for you.
Sloths, toucans, and monkeys galore, crocodiles, sea turtles, and exotic frogs, deadly snakes, jaguars, and stunning butterflies are just the beginning of all the wildlife that exists in Costa Rica. According to Wikipedia, Costa Rica is considered to contain a higher density of biodiversity than any other country in the world, making this small little landmass a thriving sanctuary for wildlife. Home to twenty species of venomous snakes, four species of monkeys, six species of wild cats, and 894 bird species, it is no great surprise that Costa Rica is a frequented destination for wildlife admirers. With so much preserved land protected under national park or reserve status in the country, the abundance and diversity of wildlife makes Costa Rica a must-see destination.
Costa Rica is known for its world-class coffee. The rich and earthy blends that come from this ecological country are smooth and succulent and often organic and fair-trade. If you are a coffee lover and connoisseur, the coffee alone is worth the visit to this magical country. Visit a coffee plantation to sample coffees straight from the source. Sip your favorite blend at the local hangout that offers the most beautiful ocean or jungle views to make your brew taste even more delectable. Light roast, dark roast, espresso or flavored beans, whatever you like, Costa Rica produces it perfectly.
5 Hot Springs
One of Costa Rica’s greatest gifts is the abundance of its natural thermal springs. Feeding from organic volcanic heaters, hot water is streamed down mountains to create pools of natural hot springs. These thermal waters are magical places to relax and restore. Some are located in the heart of nature, naturally surrounded by jungle and rivers, while some have become more commercialized surrounded by hotels and bars and restaurants with pools built into man-made stone and water slides and Jacuzzi bubbles added for fun. Whichever style you prefer, both are equally enjoyable and the perfect way to unwind after traveling.
The well-preserved and untouched jungle of Costa Rica is one of the country’s finest offerings. Cloud forests and rainforests cover the country, as an astounding quarter of all of Costa Rica is part of a protected forest or reserve. These lavish jungles are home to some of the greatest biodiversity in the world. Costa Rica is home to five percent of the world’s biodiversity even though the country only makes up 0.03 percent of the whole planet. Hosting so much unique flora and fauna, the jungles of Costa Rica are so worth the visit to explore some of nature’s greatest wonders.
It is no secret that Costa Rica holds some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. This small nation in the heart of Central America harbors the great Pacific Ocean on its west coast and the beautiful Caribbean Sea on its east coast, and beautiful beaches are certainly not a scarcity here. Whether you prefer big waves to surf or crystal clear waters to snorkel, secluded jungle coastlines crawling with monkeys or touristy breaks with jet skies and parasailing, white sand or volcanic black sand beaches, really whatever your heart desires, you will find the beach of your dreams in Costa Rica. With such well-preserved lands and waters, Costa Rica’s beaches are immaculate and pristine and definitely worth visiting for.
2 It Is The Happiest Country In The World
According to the most recent study conducted by The Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica ranked as the number one most satisfying country in which to live based on three component measurements: life-expectancy, experienced well-being, and Ecological Footprint. This beautiful little country ranked in a score of 64, beating out Vietnam, Colombia, and Belize. And it really is no wonder that Costa Rica ranks so high as it contains one of five of the world’s Blue Zones, is also ranked as one of the greenest and most ecological countries in the world, and has a record for being incredibly peaceful as Costa Rica has forbidden a standing army since 1949. Not surprisingly, Costa Rica is also home to the United Nations University for Peace. With so much peace, love, and happiness, how could you resist visiting this happy land?
1 Pura Vida
Pura Vida is the motto of Costa Rica. This sweet little phrase encompasses so much. Locals use this catchphrase in a million different ways. If someone asks how you are doing, the response could be Pura Vida. If you thank you waiter for bringing your drinks, he may respond Pura Vida. If the bathroom has run out of toilet paper, the woman in front of you in line may say Pura Vida. Locals passing each other on the street may exchange Pura Vidas rather than hellos. This beautiful motto literally translates to “pure life,” but the meaning of this phrase is much more complex. Ticos use this term to mean that life is good how it is. That they are living the pure life, filled with joy and gratitude; that things could always be worse so they are grateful for the way things are now. This simple little phrase embodies the country and the people as a whole. What a sweeter, gentler world it would be if we all lived the Pura Vida, the pure life.