Costa Rica is a very cool country. It is pretty unique in a number of ways. For one, it doesn’t have a military- the peacenik in me thinks “that’s awesome” but the part of me with an International Relations degree is sweating in panicked confusion.
It also has undergone extreme measures for plant and animal wildlife conservation. Some of the most extensive in the world. A total of 25% of Costa Rica is protected territory! There are countless education programs that teach about protecting and conserving the many natural wonders of Costa Rica. It ranks among the top 20 countries in biodiversity. And, Costa Rica has a goal to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021- that’s amazing!
The country is lined by both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It has volcanoes, rain forests, rugged mountains, hot springs, and gorgeous beaches. So much to offer! Below is a list of the many amazing things I did during my journey through Costa Rica.
Explored the cloud forest
The Monteverde Cloud Forrest Reserve provides bridges so you can experience every level of the rain forest. From the steamy forest floor, you can spot the frogs, snakes, and unique insects that live there. Be careful not to step on the many lines of marching ants! Towards the middle you can examine the leaves and growing fruit up close. Interesting birds and small mammals weave through the trees. From the highest layer, you will witness the expanse of the forest, seemingly going on forever. You may even see some monkeys!
Getting active in the rain forest
The rain forests also provide the perfect setting for two fun activities: zip-lining and waterfall rappelling. It may seem intimidating, but you don’t have to be skilled to do either. Trust me, if I can repel down a waterfall, you can too.
And of course, there is hiking galore.
Saw the active volcanoes
Arenal National Park features a large, active volcano. We found a hike that led to a great view point!
Learned about the wildlife
We took a guided tour with a knowledgeable guide who taught us about the animal and plant life of Costa Rica. She explained the conservation efforts and the best ways to spot certain species. I definitely learned a lot. For instance, did you know the rings on the trees come from changing seasons that start and pause growth? Costa Rica has a tropical climate all year round so the trees never stop growing- and therefore have no rings!
Swam in the hot springs
We visited the ethereal Tabacon Hot Springs. The many springs have varying temperatures from cold to scalding. There is diverse tropical wildlife to create a very natural-looking experience. The Tabacon also has a luxury resort but you can pay to only use the hot springs.
If you’re on a tight budget, there are also many free hot springs in Costa Rica.
lounged in a resort by the beach
We stayed at Dreams Las Mareas in El Jobo. The all inclusive resort was amazing. The beaches were yellow-flagged, however, for potentially harmful wildlife. We tried to do some snorkeling but it was pretty foggy from the kicked up sand and my sister got stung by a jellyfish. We didn’t go in the ocean again. Honestly, the resort was nice enough and there was so much to do that the ocean wasn’t required to have a good time.
Plus, there are lots of monkeys that swing through the trees lining the resort. Through the week, we searched in vain, scouring the trees for monkeys while we hiked through the rain forests. Then, low and behold, we saw dozens while floating in the pool of a resort!
My trip to Costa Rica was amazing. The various aspects of traveling there are so diverse, it really felt like the complete package. Plus, visiting Costa Rica changed the way I look at and behave around nature. For one, I always make sure to step out of the way of marching ants!
Have you ever been to Costa Rica? How was your experience?