Costa Rica is THE natural destination. If the country has a culture and some interesting sites, it will delight adventurers looking for landscapes, nature and wild animals.
This small Central American country has become in a few years the world champion of sustainable happiness. It is expressed in all its forms, starting with its “almost official” motto ¡ PURA VIDA ! costaricans constantly use to accentuate an omnipresent happiness.
Aware of its extraordinary natural resources with its 33 national parks and 116 volcanoes, Costa Rica seeks to protect them. The notion of sustainable tourism takes on its full meaning here with many parks limited in terms of public, sanctuaries designed to protect animals, 1/4 of the country is a protected territory…etc
Costa Rica’s biodiversity is the richest in the world with 5% of the world’s species listed there!
Thanks to this idyllic living environment, Costa Rica has succeeded in establishing itself as the most egalitarian and democratic country in Latin America. A situation that undoubtedly contributes to the benevolence of its population.
San José and the Central Valley to immerse yourself in the heart of the country
San José does not have a major cultural interest, although there are several museums. It is above all the most populated and lively city, especially its main street. It is a must to visit the rest of the country because it allows access to the whole Central Valley and other regions.
Tourists generally only make a quick trip to the Central Valley, preferring coastal areas. However, the Central Valley has an exceptional natural heritage with its many volcanoes, dense forests and fauna unique in the world. The inhabitants are also very warm and proud to live in this country which protects nature so well. They will be happy to show you their daily life and will surely invite you to one of the many ancestral festivals.
It is possible to make many excursions in this region, in particular, to reach the top of the volcanoes or to discover the magnificent animals that inhabit the Central Valley. You may find the famous sloths or the red-eyed treefrog, a national symbol. It is also in this part of the country that coffee and cocoa plantations are located. Many of them will open their doors to you for a visit and a small tasting. Finally, the surrounding natural resources have encouraged the practice of many sports: canyoning, via ferrata, climbing trails, canoeing, mountain biking… No doubt that lovers of sports in nature will find an ideal playground there.
The Pacific coast of Costa Rica for its beaches and national parks
The country’s Pacific coast is a true postcard landscape with pristine white sandy beaches that invite you to swim. Bordered on one side by the turquoise waters of the ocean and on the other side by the dense and humid forests where you can observe some mythical animals: toucans, jaguars, pumas, sloths… etc.
The north of the coast is particularly favourable for surfing, with some well-known spots such as Puerto Viejo. This region of Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula owned small villages where local fishermen and surfers meet in a holiday atmosphere.
The centre of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is a good compromise between idleness and the observation of the local fauna and flora. There are some national parks, several diving spots and beautiful beaches such as Manuel Antonio beach. However, it is also the most touristy part of the country, and some travellers regret the denaturalization of this region with some animals accustomed to humans.
This is why many travellers prefer the southern part of the coast. Here, nature is particularly well preserved thanks to the immense Corcovado National Park. It has the highest density of plant and animal species in the country. It is even possible to sleep in the park for a night excursion. However, to preserve this exceptional place, the number of visitors is limited and you may have to book several weeks in advance. Finally, the southern Pacific coast has the most mythical diving spots where it is possible to observe a very large quantity of exotic fish, marine turtles, rays, dolphins and some species of sharks or whales. It is a must for all nature lovers.
The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica for its reggae atmosphere
There is little doubt when you arrive in this region of Costa Rica, you quickly understand that Jamaica and the Caribbean are only a few kilometres away by boat. The atmosphere is totally different from the rest of the country. Indeed, due to difficult access, this area has long remained isolated from the development that occured in the country. There is therefore a mixture of Costa Rican culture but also Caribbean influences.
We come here mainly to discover the Tortuguero National Park, and its exceptional fauna. Crocodiles, sloths, frogs and monkeys populate this park and its unique mangroves. It is also the ideal place to observe turtle egg laying and egg hatch from March to October. Every year, thousands of turtles come to lay their eggs in the sand of the park’s beaches. At hatching, all baby turtles try to reach the ocean. It is also possible to volunteer in one of the many turtle protection organizations.
But the Caribbean coast also offers snorkeling with exceptional water quality and particularly spectacular fishes.