Reasons Why Costa Rica Should Be Your Next Vacation Destination

Explore the picturesque landscapes along your travels through the paradise that is Costa Rica
Explore the picturesque landscapes along your travels through the paradise that is Costa Rica | © Roberto Nistri / Alamy Stock Photo
Jenn Parker

Costa Rica is a fantastic choice for solo travelers, backpackers, couples, families, friends, celebratory trips, weddings, elopements and culturally immersive learning experiences. The country has been a hotspot travel destination for quite some time, and the reasons why are rather simple. However, here they are – just in case you still need convincing.

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Welcome to Costa Rica

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 apprehension. 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 tourism industry, speak English. Almost 2m people visit the country every year, making tourism one of its top industries, so you can just imagine how amazing Costa Ricans are at receiving and accommodating guests.

Nature in Costa Rica

The La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is one of many areas showing off Costa Rica’s natural beauty

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 – it’s a nature and animal lover’s 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 to explore. There are also incredible naturalist-guided and self-guided nature tours and hikes available throughout the country.

Marine life in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s marine territory is significantly larger than its land territory. There are more than a dozen marine parks and reserves and more that are included as part of the terrestrial national parks and reserves. It’s 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, molluscs, cephalopods and coral.

You can venture out on a whale- and dolphin-watching tour, 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.

Adventure in Costa Rica

Zip-lining is a popular activity in Costa Rica

There are so many thrilling adventure tours that you can embark on during your Costa Rican vacation, ranging from child-friendly to adrenaline-junkie-friendly. Some of the most popular adventure tours in the country are canopy zip-lining, waterfall hiking, ATVing, horseback riding, mountain biking and suspension bridge walks. The fun really is never-ending in Costa Rica. In places such as Rincon de la Vieja and Arenal, there are even all-day and multiple-day adventure tours that include different adventure-packed activities.

Water sports in Costa Rica

Nosara is a great place for beginner surfers

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 the surfing opportunities. There are surf breaks for all different levels up and down both coasts; places such as Tamarindo, Samara, and Nosara are great beginner spots.

You can also spend time in or near the water by paddleboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, fishing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, waterfall repelling, soaking in natural hot springs or just swimming in the beautiful waters.

Quality time in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a lovely place to spend some quality time with the people you love – it’s also a perfect place to spend some good quality time with yourself if you’re traveling solo. 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, friends or self.

Rest and relaxation in Costa Rica

We’re all busy people. Most of our lives are fast-paced and packed with responsibilities that relate to our careers, our families and our social calendars. Our overall health and happiness depend on giving ourselves a break and a chance to recharge every now and then. Costa Rica is the ideal place to do this. There are fantastic ecolodges nestled deep in the jungle, luxury boutique hotels on the edge of the sea, world-class spas and spa treatments and countless opportunities to be surrounded by nothing but nature.

Retreats in Costa Rica

There are many retreats available in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is host to an astonishing number of retreats. There are yoga, surfing, paddleboarding, Spanish immersion, sustainable living, permaculture, photography, detox and wellness retreats offered all year round. There is no experience quite like going on a retreat, which provides the setting, resources, guidance and teachings to learn, grow and reconnect with new friends from all around the world.

Culture in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a culturally rich and vibrant country. There’s a wealth of cultural experiences to be had during your visit. San José, in particular, is home to a fascinating variety of museums and art galleries. It’s here that you can see and experience the artistic side and history of Costa Rica.

You’ll 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, too.

Food in Costa Rica

Savor traditional Costa Rican food, such as arroz con pollo

Traditional Costa Rican food is incredibly appetizing and will likely leave you missing it when you’re gone. Traditional dishes such as gallo pinto (rice and beans), chifrijo (crispy pork, rice and beans), patacones (fried plantains), ceviche, casado (a traditional lunch with a variety of ingredients), sopa negra (black bean soup), arroz con pollo (rice and chicken), 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 home-made Costa Rican cuisine that you will find at local sodas (traditional restaurants) and family-owned restaurants around the country.

Coffee, cacao and Cacique in Costa Rica

Coffee beans harvested in Costa Rica are some of the best in the world

Costa Rica is famous for its coffee, cacao and Cacique. 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 offered in the Central Valley and on the Caribbean coast.

Pura vida in Costa Rica

Pura vida – translating as “pure life” – is a way of life in Costa Rica and one that everyone who visits 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’s hard not to feel and understand what Pura Vida is all about when you are in Costa Rica. This simple saying is laced with deep wisdom, ideas and practices that promote happiness within and towards others.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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