Here's Why a Trip To Costa Rica Will Make You Instantly Happier

Happy family in Nosara | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Happy family in Nosara | © James Anderson/Tartan Group
Photo of Jenn Parker
3 April 2017

Costa Rica has once again received the number one ranking on the Happy Planet Index for 2016. The Happy Planet Index measures sustainable wellbeing for all people living in a particular country. It takes a look at things like life expectancy, quality of life, and the collective ecological footprint. While this isn’t necessarily a call to pack up and move to Costa Rica, a visit to this beautiful and happy country will surely have a positive effect and will inspire a glowing and joyous feeling within.

A chance to reconnect with Mother Earth

Costa Rica is one of the most bio diverse countries on the planet, and 25 per cent of the country is protected by national parks and reserves. Most visitors come from places that aren’t necessarily teeming with wildlife and ancient and magnificent plants, so for that reason a trip to Costa Rica is a chance to experience something completely different. This is an opportunity to leave the concrete jungle in exchange for the rich and captivating beauty of the natural world. Spending time outdoors and in nature has therapeutic benefits and can instill a sense of peace, wellness, and happiness for those who take the time to embrace it.

How could this face not make you smile? | © James Anderson/Tartan Group

An abundance of fun activities

Costa Rica is an ideal destination for those seeking adventure. It is also an excellent place for families as there are a great deal of family-friendly activities that everyone will enjoy. In Costa Rica, you can go zip lining, waterfall repelling, hiking, horseback riding, ATVing, mountain biking, kayaking, sailing, surfing, paddle boarding, SUPing (stand-up paddle surfing), snorkeling, and diving. You can spend time in hot springs, mud baths, tide pools, and waterfall springs. There are guided nature tours, volcano tours, chocolate and coffee tours, and indigenous tribes tours. If you want, there is literally something different to do every day.

Mangrove paddle boarding | © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Wellness, workshops, and retreats

For those seeking a more holistic and healthy vacation, Costa Rica has an abundance of wellness-oriented options, such as yoga retreats, sustainable living-related workshops, and exquisite spas. All along the Pacific coast in particular there are places to indulge in such healing, growing, and learning opportunities. Playa Santa Teresa, Playa Nosara, and the Osa Peninsula are three hotspots for these types of getaways. Taking time to take care for yourself is one of the most important things you can do for your own happiness. It is invaluable to de-stress, detox, and dedicate some time to just relaxing; your happiness is dependent on it.

Yoga and wellness at the Harmony Hotel | © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Happy bellies

Traditional Costa Rican food is truly divine. The best places to score a home cooked Costa Rican meal is at a soda. A soda is a small, family-owned restaurant that serves up a variety of must-try Costa Rican dishes; gallo pinto, pico de gallo, arroz con pollo, patacones, casados, chifrijol, sopa negra, and ceviche, just to name a few. All sodas are different and half the fun is trying a variety of them. Eating this way is also very budget-friendly. Happy bellies equal happy people.

Typical Costa Rican breakfast | © James Anderson / Tartan Group

The warm and friendly people

In general, Costa Ricans are incredibly warm and welcoming people. Tourism is a major component in their economy and, more often than not, they are happy to receive visitors in their country. Costa Ricans are typically eager to help in any way that is needed. They are great hosts and guides. It makes a big difference when you are traveling in a foreign country, where you might not be fluent in the native language, when you are received with open arms. One piece of advice, though, is that if you don’t speak Spanish, at least greet and give thanks in Spanish as a sign of respect and that you are at least trying. “Hola” is hello and “gracias” is thank you.

Welcome to your happy vacation | © James Anderson/Tartan Group