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Shade palm on a sunny day | © Wayne Silver
Shade palm on a sunny day | © Wayne Silver
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21 Reasons Why a Trip to Costa Rica Could Change Your Life

Picture of Jenn Parker
Updated: 13 June 2017
There is no experience quite like traveling. Traveling outside of your home territory opens up a world of possibilities. It is through travel that we learn about different cultures, ways of life, history, and the natural world, and about ourselves. Nothing can take the place of firsthand experience. Sometimes, it is through our travels that we evolve. Costa Rica is one of those places that has the power to promote a personal evolution and change from within. It is also likely that you will have experiences in Costa Rica that you have never had before.

Break Your International Barrier

If you have never left your home country, you might feel a little anxious about doing so. There’s a first time for everything and Costa Rica is a great first-time international trip. The place is safe and welcoming, and as soon as you step foot in this beautiful country, all of your worries will melt away. A trip to Costa Rica might inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone more often.

Recharge Your Batteries

Everyone needs a break every once in a while. Our health and happiness depend on us allowing ourselves to recharge. Between work, family, and life demands, some of us feel so run down and stressed out. A trip to Costa Rica is the perfect opportunity to kick back, relax, and recharge. You will return home feeling like a brand-new person.

Relax by the pool and the sea
Relax by the pool and the sea | © John Menard/Flickr

Reconnect With Your Loved Ones

Costa Rica is a family-friendly, kid-friendly, and reunion-friendly destination. It is also a romantic destination that is perfect for a couple’s getaway, a honeymoon, or even a wedding. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to spend with the people you love the most. A trip to Costa Rica is the perfect excuse to get together and create some memories.

Take a romantic beach walk
Take a romantic beach walk | © Wayne Silver/Flickr

Reconnect With Yourself

Costa Rica is also an ideal destination to travel and explore on your own. Taking time to just be with yourself is invaluable. You can find all the time and space you need in Costa Rica. When you dedicate some time to yourself, you are creating the space for self-growth, discovery, and improvement.

Take some you time
Take some you time | © Rie H/Flickr

Learn to Practice or Teach Yoga

There are some amazing retreats, classes, and teacher training sessions taking place all over Costa Rica all year long. Yoga is good for the mind, body, and soul, and practicing yoga by the beach or in the rainforest makes it even more magical.

Beach yoga
Beach yoga | © Vajra Sol Yoga Adventures

Learn to Surf

If learning, or trying, to surf is on your bucket list, Costa Rica is a great option. There are multiple beginner-friendly surf zones and tons of surf schools, camps, retreats, instructors, and shops dotted all along both coasts. Tamarindo, Nosara, Santa Teresa, Jaco, and Puerto Viejo are popular surf destinations here.

Plenty of places to learn
Plenty of places to learn | © Marc Veraart/Flickr

Learn Spanish

The ability to speak Spanish can help you in your career and make international travel to Spanish-speaking countries, such as Costa Rica, more enriching. There are over 100 Spanish schools and institutes in Costa Rica. There are opportunities either to take short day courses or to spend several months learning the language.

Lend a Helping Hand

While Costa Rica is quite developed, it is still a developing country that benefits greatly from international volunteers. There are volunteer programs that specialize in turtle conservation, wildlife rehabilitation and foster care, education and teaching English, healthcare, and community development. Volunteering abroad is an amazing way to help others in need while you are traveling, and it will leave your heart feeling fulfilled.

Protect the Environment and Mother Earth

Costa Rica is a beautiful example of how we can live harmoniously with nature. There are several organizations, communities, and businesses that are working to operate in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way. A trip to Costa Rica might inspire you to start making simple lifestyle changes, such as starting to recycle and not using single-use plastics, when you return home. We have one planet, and it’s up to us to take care of it.

Protect the magic
Protect the magic | © Thierry Leclerc/Flickr

Experience Wildlife

Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Around 5% of the world’s biodiversity lives in this small Central American country. About 25% percent of Costa Rica is protected by national parks, wildlife refuges, and reserves, and there are countless nature tours and eco-activities to choose from.

There is no brighter red
There is no brighter red | © Andrew Morffew/Flickr

See Animals That Can Be Found Only in Costa Rica

There are multiple species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, marine animals, and land mammals that can be found only in Costa Rica. For example, you can only find the mangrove hummingbird, the black-cheeked ant tanger, the green-striped glass frog, the blue-sided leaf frog, the Costa Rican blenny, and the variable pocket gopher. Taking a tour with an experienced naturalist is your best chance of spotting these rare creatures.

Find Yourself Surrounded by Orchids

Costa Rica is home to nearly 1,400 different species of orchid. There are many places that you can visit to check out this vast variety. The Lankester Gardens, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, and the Monteverde Orchid Garden all have an incredible collections of native Costa Rican orchids. Visit one of them to learn all about orchids and find out how to grow and take care of your own.

Hairy orange cup fungus
Hairy orange cup fungus | © Katja Schulz/Flickr

Swim Beneath a Waterfall

If you want to experience the raw power of Mother Earth, swimming beneath a waterfall is an incredible way to feel it. Costa Rica is home to dozens of famous waterfalls. Most of them require you to hike in, but once you get there your reward is a refreshing cool pool beneath a magnificent cascade.

Nature’s swimming pool
Nature’s swimming pool | © Sumurai8/Flickr

Visit an Active Volcano

Another way to be reminded of our Earth’s astonishing power and beauty is by visiting one of Costa Rica’s active volcanoes. Costa Rica has nearly 200 volcanic formations, and half of those still show signs of volcanic activity. Five are classified as active volcanoes.

Volcanic views
Volcanic views | © Carol Patterson/Flickr

Unleash your Inner Child and Adventurous Side

When visiting Costa Rica, there’s a great selection of adventurous and adrenaline-pumping activities to choose from. When is the last time you laughed or screamed from a thrilling experience? Canopy zip lining, Tarzan jungle swings, waterfall repelling, ATVing, suspension bridge walks, and whitewater rafting are just a few of the things that you can do to bring out your inner wild child, who has probably been resting dormant for too long!

See the Forest From a Bird’s Eye View

There is nothing quite like seeing the rainforest from the canopy. Canopy tours, zip lining, and suspension bridges offer you a totally difference view of one of the most beautiful forests on Earth. This is a great chance to have some special wildlife encounters and breathe in the freshest and cleanest air.

Treetop walk
Treetop walk | © Wayne Silver/Flickr

Change Your Views on Sharks

If you have the opportunity to scuba dive at the Bat Islands or Cocos Island, you will likely have some pretty amazing shark encounters. Most people are afraid of sharks and for that reason don’t care much about shark conservation. However, sharks are beautiful and intelligent creatures, not mindless man eaters, and they play a very important role in the health of our oceans. A great deal of people in Costa Rica (sadly, not the government at this point) are highly concerned about shark conservation and are trying their best to protect these quickly diminishing apex predators. Seeing them in their natural environment and coming out of the experience unscathed might inspire you to help protect sharks too.

A very special encounter
A very special encounter | © RYO SATO/Flickr

Tantalize Your Taste Buds

Traditional Costa Rica food is truly divine. Costa Rica dishes are full of flavor, use fresh ingredients, and are made using “grandma’s recipe.” Your best opportunity to taste authentic Costa Rican food is by visiting a soda (a small family-owned restaurant that serves traditional dishes). Gallo pinto, chifrijol, patacones, ceviche, and casados are dishes you will likely crave once you return from your trip to Costa Rica. Fortunately, there are cooking classes you can take to learn how to make some of them when you return home.

Have the Best Cup of Coffee of Your Life

Costa Rica is world-renowned for its coffee, and rightly so, as it is some of the best-tasting coffee in the entire world. To make the perfect beverage even better, enjoy it in one of the most picturesque settings, whether you are beachfront, in a treehouse, or in the jungle.

The best way to start your day
The best way to start your day | © NH53/Flickr

Break Your Consecutive Sunset-Viewing Record

How often do you watch the sunset at home? Sunsets are a huge part of the culture in Costa Rica, especially on the coast. Most people make a point of watching the sunset every day. There is something truly magical about them. You will understand once you see your first sunset here, and will likely make a point of seeing it every night of your stay.

Everyone loves sunsets
Everyone loves sunsets | © Marc Veraart/Flickr

Witness the Mysterious Green Flash

While there are many disbelievers, the green flash does exist. It is a natural phenomenon that takes place right before the sun kisses the ocean goodbye. The best time to see the green flash is during the dry season when there is minimal cloud coverage. Keep in mind that the green flash is very subtle and not a huge explosion of green. It is a common sighting in Costa Rica, though, if you look very carefully.