A local farmer getting his bulls ready to make sugar cane juice in Costa Rica.
The people in Costa Rica
are often referred to as “Ticos" for men, and “ Ticas" for women. They are known
as some of the happiest people in the world, probably due to their relaxed and
“pura vida" (pure life) lifestyle. Generally speaking the people in Costa Rica
are very friendly and open, in fact, many tourists say that the Ticos are not
afraid to open their doors to travelers and new friends. If you make friends
with a Tico during your travels, the chances are they will try to make your
visit to Costa Rica as amazing as possible.
2. The Forests
Walking through the cloudforest in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Be prepared to see some of
the biggest leaves you've ever seen! The forests in Costa Rica look like
they've just come out of a Jerassic Park movie with their long hanging vines,
old-growth trees, giant leaves and misty atmosphere.
Take a hike through both
the rainforest and cloudforest and you will be amazed at this unique wildlife
and plantlife that is abundant there. Go with a nature guide to be shown the
hidden creatures that live there and learn a little bit about Costa Rican
nature. Or, go by yourself! Don't be afraid, just make sure you explore a
well-traveled and well-maintained area.
3. The Adventure Activities
Desafio Adventure Company's Jumping Canyon
Almost all activities that are
available in Costa Rica are
based on nature and adventure. The amazing diversity of terrain and the
different climates give life to some of the best
adventure activities in the world.
From Canyoneering and ziplining to stand-up paddling and ocean snorkeling, there is surely something for everyone.
4. The Beaches
One of the stunning beaches on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast
Costa Rica is the home to a
number of incredible beaches, many of which look like they came straight out of
Being the long, skinny
country that Costa Rica is, both travelers and locals are lucky enough to
have the opportunity to enjoy both the Pacific and Caribbean beaches. You can
easily get from one coast to the other in a matter of hours, which is ideal
because both coasts have so much to offer.
On the Pacific side of
Costa Rica, vivid turquoise waters wash up along miles of gorgeous palm-tree
lined, white-sand beaches, providing the perfect place to soak up the sun or
set out on ocean adventures.
The Caribbean coast is a
site to see because it's different form other parts of Costa Rica. It is known
for its Rastifari culture and laid back vibes, unique cuisine like coconut-milk
based beans and rice, raggae music, and some of the most gorgeous beaches in
5. The Rivers
Whitewater Rafting on the Tenorio River in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known as the
white water capital of the world for its rushing and exuberant rivers. People
visit Costa Rica from all over the world just to dip their paddle in some of
these famous rivers.
There are rivers all over
the country offering class 1 to class 5 rivers for people of all ages and skill
You can also explore some
of the calmer rivers by foot. In fact, swimming and hanging out by the river is
a normal weekend activity here for locals.
If you are ever in the La
Fortuna area, check out the famous El Salto “secret" swimming hole. It's a free
and natural sight where people gather together to spend the day cliff jumping
and swimming in the refreshing La Fortuna river.
6. The Wildlife
An Olive Ridley turtle coming up on the sand to lay her eggs.
Costa Rica is home to the
most interesting critters and animals.
Walk through rainforest
trails and you'll be able to find a sloth or two, howler monkeys, white-faced
monkeys and tons of different types of birds. Certain parts of Costa Rica are considered a
birdwatchers dream as they are home to a variety of colorful bird species.
There are many types of
interesting reptiles and amphibians, from venomous and non-venomous snakes to
glass frogs and huge spiders. Go out on a night hike and see them all come out
at night. Have you ever seen a glass frog? Its skin is so clear that you can
see the organs inside of its body.
As one of the top five
sites in the world for turtle watching, Costa Rica continues to blow people
away by witnessing this amazing phenomenon.
Thousands of turtles at once come out from the ocean to lay their eggs in the sand. Tours are
available for people to behold this magical event and taking part helps protect
this endangered species' eggs from being eaten by predators.
7. The Food
Pejibayes hanging at a local market in Costa Rica
Costa Rica's lush terrain
and abundance of rain and sun brings to life many different kinds of exotic
agricultural crops. Pineapple, papaya, mango, avocado, bananas and plantains
are usually seen as an exotic treat all over the world, but are enjoyed here as
an important staple in the traditional Costa Rican diet.
Due to Costa Rica's unique
weather and terrain, there is also an abundance of unique crops that are rare
in many other parts the world. You'll find an array of strange looking fruits -
mamon chino, pejibayes, guanabana, mangosteen, star fruit, nance – strange
enough looking to make you stop and say “what the..…?"
When you are on your Costa
Rica vacation, be sure to go shopping at the local fruit stands. Choose a bunch
of different unusual fruits and bring them back to your hotel to try.
8. The Volcanoes
The Arenal Volcano in Arenal, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is scattered with 14 active and non-active
volcanoes that form the grouping known as the ring of fire.
The Arenal Volcano, the "sleeping" volcano located
in the Northern zone of Costa Rica, was active for many years providing locals
and tourists with electric red lava light shows almost every night.
There were two substantial eruptions in the
past 50 years that devastated a large area of farms and homes. In fact, La Fortuna
" the fortunate" got its name because even though it sits at the base
of the volcano it was not affected by the huge erruption in 1968.
Tourists and locals are lucky to have these volcanoes
surrounding them, not only because of their natural beauty but because of the
hot springs created by their heat. Costa Rica is speckled by the most amazing
hot rivers and hot springs that allow people to relax and reconnect with each
other and with nature.
9. The Language
Handmade Pura Vida souvenirs at a market in Costa Rica.
Challenge yourself and
learn this beautiful and romantic language. If you are willing to learn while
you are here, the local people will be sure to teach you a few things. Bet you
that the first word a local will teach you will be "Pura Vida" meaning "Pure Life".
10. The Weather
The sunset in beautiful Samara Beach, Costa Rica.
With warm temperatures year
round and plenty of sun and refreshing rain showers, Costa Ricans are gifted
with almost perfect weather year round.
From December to May, the
dry season attracts more visitors as it is ideally sunny and hot with little to
no showers. This is the busiest time to visit Costa Rica.
From May to November is the
rainy season, with thundering showers that happen sporadically throughout the
day. Many people who don't mind the rain prefer to visit Costa Rica during this
time as prices are lower and the rain allows the hot temperatures to cool off
during the day and night.
By: Greg Reeser
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