Costa Rica: pure nature

The reasons to visit and things to see in Costa Rica start with the expression “Pura Vida” (pure life), which is often on the lips of the Ticos (Costa Ricans). With that word they define not only a hedonistic state of mind but above all, the happiness of inhabiting a true Garden of Eden. Costa Rica conserve and protect its rich biodiversity, a task imposed more than three decades ago, and a challenge for the XXI century, after the tourist boom of the ’90s.

BIODIVERSITY. It has 58 different microclimates and holds 5% of the life forms on the planet in just 50,000 km². Nothing strange if one recalls that the isthmus links two continents. Mammals include jaguars, monkeys, armadillos, sloths, coatis; there are almost two hundred species of amphibians; more than 800 bird-watching; tropical fish, rays, sharks and even humpback whales living in the waters; there are more than 2,000 species of trees that grow in the soil; 10% of butterflies in the world are here… Pura Vida!

NATURE PROTECTED. It’s not easy to choose what to see in Costa Rica between its 17 national parks and 7 biological reserves. It is the Country with the highest percentage of territory embracing different categories of protection and management of natural spaces: the 25% of its total area.

HAPPY PLANET. New Economics Foundation, Costa Rica ranks first in the Happy Planet Index; and is the “greenest” Country in the world.

PACIFIC. BEACHES AND SURF. Not everything is jungle. There are beaches to see in Costa Rica, highly recommended on the Costa Rican Pacific coast. Nicoya Peninsula (península de Nicoya) in the province of Guanacaste, is the one with greater hotel infrastructure. In addition to white sand beaches and coral reefs, the coast is a favorite destination for surfers.

CARIBE SUR. The Caribbean coast holds the largest barrier reef in the country in Cahuita National Park, a must for diving enthusiasts. His Afro-Caribbean population and indigenous communities constitute a differential added value on the rest of the Country.

Costa Rica is a paradise for walkers, and most of the national parks and protected areas are visited on foot. The mountainous terrain of Costa Rica, plenty of jumps, rapids and falls of its rivers and rich fauna promote rafting. The Pacuare River is considered one of the best in the world for this practice among the must-see things to see in Costa Rica. The Country also offers several perfect places to launch on a rope through a system suspended between wooden platforms arranged over the rainforests. Adrenaline and unique perspective are secured. The less adventurous will find cable cars to comfortably walk over the treetops.

FEAST FOR LOVERS OF ORNITHOLOGY AND BOTANY. It is a top destination for devotees of ornithology. With more than 800 species of birds to see in Costa Rica, we highlights hummingbirds, macaws, toucans and the elusive quetzal. Costa Rica hosts thousand species of orchids, one of the most delicate and beautiful flower in the world, especially abundant in the Reserva del Bosque Nuboso de Monteverde (Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve), home of nearly half of the bird species in the Country.

A MODEL OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY. Costa Rica abolished its army by mid of the twentieth century, and today there are more teachers than policemen among its officials. It is a model of democracy in Central America and continues to have a strong economic and social development. The literacy rate is around 98% and education through high school is free. Its high life expectancy and low infant mortality rate are unusual in the area.

FROM CARIBBEAN SEA TO THE PACIFIC IN ONE DAY. Its small size (an area ten times smaller than the Iberian peninsula) facilitate cross it in its entirety. Having a Caribbean breakfast and a Pacific dinner is entirely feasible.

ACTIVE VOLCANOES. Seated in the Ring of Fire, Costa Rica hosts more than 100 volcanoes, 10 of them still active. Next to the Poas, Irazu, the Rincon de la Vieja and Turrialba, Arenal volcano is another essential must-see among things to see in Costa Rica, one of the most active and visited.

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