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For less seasoned world travelers, heading to a foreign country, especially if you don’t speak the native language, might induce a bit of anxiety and hesitation. While this is understandable, you should not feel at all anxious or hesitant about visiting Costa Rica. Costa Rica is an incredibly tourist-friendly country that welcomes people from all over the world with warm and open arms. An impressive number of Costa Ricans, especially in the tourist industry or professional fields such as healthcare, speak English. Almost two million people visit Costa Rica every year making tourism one of the top industries in the country, so you can imagine how amazing Costa Rica is at receiving and accommodating guests.
With nearly 25 percent of Costa Rica protected by national parks and reserves, and five percent of the world’s biodiversity occupying this comparatively small country, Costa Rica is a nature- and animal-lovers paradise. There is an abundance of wildlife and plant life to experience in all different types of ecosystems. There are cloud forests, rainforests, low mountain forests, highland mountain forests, mangrove and swamp forests, dry forests, volcanoes, hot springs, valleys, and beaches. There are incredible naturalist-guided and self-guided nature tours and hikes available all throughout the country.
Costa Rica’s marine territory is significantly larger than its land territory. There are over a dozen marine parks and reserves, and more that are included as part of the terrestrial national parks and reserves. It is estimated that Costa Rica is home to around 25 different species of whales and dolphins, hundreds of species of tropical fish, and a vast array of rays, sharks, mollusks, cephalopods, and coral. You can can venture out on a whale and dolphin watching tour, a diving (scuba, snuba, free diving, or snorkeling) trip, or a catamaran sailing excursion, where you will have the special opportunity to experience some of Costa Rica’s marine wonders.
There are so many thrilling adventure tours that you can embark on during your Costa Rican vacation. There are tours that range from child-friendly to adrenaline junkie-friendly. Some of Costa Rica’s most popular adventure tours are canopy zip lining, waterfall hiking, ATVing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and suspension bridge walks. The fun is never ending in Costa Rica. In places like Rincon de la Vieja and Arenal, there are even all-day and multiple-day adventure tours that include multiple different adventure-packed activities.
For the water-lovers and adventurers at heart, Costa Rica has a lot to offer in water-based activities. You can’t talk about Costa Rica without at least mentioning surfing. There are surf breaks for all different levels up and down both coasts. Places like Tamarindo, Samara, and Nosara are great beginner spots. You can also spend time in or near the water by paddle boarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, fishing, white water rafting, kayaking, waterfall repelling, soaking in natural hot springs, or just swimming. There are so many things to do that you will never get bored in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is a lovely place to spend some quality time with the people whom you love. It is also a perfect place to spend some good quality time with yourself if you are solo traveling. Between the great selection of accommodations, from budget to luxury, beautiful nature-infused settings, exhilarating activities, diverse and delicious dining options, and space to just get away from it all, Costa Rica makes it easy to disconnect from your day-to-day life and reconnect with your partner, family, or friends.
We are all busy people. Most of our lives are fast-paced and packed with responsibilities that relate to our careers, our families, our social calendars, and just life stuff. Our overall health and happiness depends on giving ourselves a break and a chance to recharge every now and then. Costa Rica is a divine place to do this. There are fantastic eco-lodges nestled deep in the jungle, luxury boutique hotels on the edge of the sea, world-class spas and spa treatments, and opportunities to be surrounded by nothing but nature.
Costa Rica is host to an astonishing number and variety of retreats. There are yoga, surfing, paddle boarding, Spanish immersion, sustainable living, permaculture, photography, detox, and wellness retreats offered all year around all over Costa Rica. There is no experience quite like going on a retreat. Retreats provide the setting, resources, guidance, and teachings to learn, grow, rejuvenate, reconnect, and make new friends from around the world.
Costa Rica is a culturally rich and vibrant country. There’s a wealth of cultural experiences to be had during your visit. San Jose, in particular, is home to a fascinating variety of museums and art galleries. It is here that you can see and experience the artistic side and history of Costa Rica. You can also enjoy live music and theater productions in the city. There are beautiful historical landmarks, traditional town fiestas, and indigenous tribe reserves that you can visit.
Traditional Costa Rican food is incredibly appetizing and will likely leave you missing it greatly when you are gone. Traditional dishes like gallo pinto, chifrijo, patacones, ceviche, casado, sopa negra, arroz con pollo (or vegetables, seafood, or meat), empanadas, fish tacos, and whole red snappers are must tries. While there are tons of top notch, internationally-inspired restaurants that are worth trying, make sure that you take advantage of the homemade Costa Rican cuisine that you will find at local sodas and family-owned restaurants around the country.
Costa Rica is famous for its coffee, cacao (chocolate), and Cacique (guaro). Who doesn’t want to drink delicious coffee in the morning, eat antioxidant-rich and locally produced chocolate in the afternoon, and sip Cacique at sunset? These are just a few things that you will have the opportunity to indulge in during your Costa Rica dream vacation. There are fabulous coffee and cacao tours located in the Central Valley and on the Caribbean coast.
Pura vida (literally translating to “pure life”) is a way of life in Costa Rica and one that everyone who visits Costa Rica can take back with them. It is living simply and intentionally, always being present, appreciating nature, embracing and cherishing loved ones, taking time to do the things that you love, and taking care of your mind, body, and soul through food, movement, and rest. It is hard not to feel and understand what pura vida is all about when you are in Costa Rica. This simple saying is laced with some deep wisdom, ideas, and practices that promote happiness within and toward others.