In 2016 Costa Rica was voted the world’s happiest country, and this fairly small republic can be found just to the south of Nicaragua in Central America. To the northeast lies the Caribbean Sea and to the southwest is the Pacific Ocean.
Costa Rica is renowned for its long and stable democracy and has been a favorite destination for tourists for many years. There is so much to do and see in Costa Rica that we decided to feature some of the very best destinations and adventures just awaiting discovery.
Arguably, Costa Rica is number one in the world as an ecotourism destination. It has an incredibly diverse animal and plant ecosystem, with almost a third of the country devoted to nature reserves and national parks. The tourist industry of Costa Rica has fully embraced these natural attractions and promotes sustainable tourism. There are environmentally friendly tours, eco-lodges to stay in, and schemes where tourists can offset their carbon footprints whilst they are in the country. It is a good idea to look out for the five leaves rating system which is a program that is set up to minimize any impact on the environment.
The Fountain of Youth
The Nicoya Peninsula on Costa Rica has amazing low rates of mortality among middle aged people. One of the reasons for this is the diet of the people from this area of Costa Rica, beans and corn are staple ingredients of the food here which were inherited from the Chorotega tribe which were the indigenous people. The best resorts to visit on the Nicoya Peninsula are Malpais and Manzanillo, where accommodation ranges from hip bars to beach shacks. If you like beach culture and snorkeling, then this peninsula is just the ticket. Apart from the beautiful beaches, the Nicoya Peninsula is surrounded by Cabo Blanco, which is the oldest protected area of Costa Rica.
Visit the Volcanoes
There are several impressive volcanoes in Costa Rica, including some still very active ones. The biggest and most active is Arenal, which is surrounded by a national park and is simply awesome. The park gives many opportunities for those that love hiking, including a lava trail which was formed by an eruption in 1968. The wildlife of the park is also breathtaking, with regular sightings of majestic wildlife such as parrots, toucans and tanagers. The great volcano has not been active since 2010, so it is quite safe to take advantage of the numerous hot springs dotted about, notably Tabacon. Whilst visiting the area be sure to check out La Fortuna Waterfall which is simply stunning.
Check Out the Sabana
Sabana is what the Costa Rican’s call savannah, and Liberia is at the hub of Costa Rica’s sabanero culture. This is cowboy country, and tourism is almost as popular as beef production, but not quite and a visit to one of Liberia’s ranches will give you the opportunity to be a cowboy for a day. Or simply saddle up and ride off into the wilderness to discover the local wildlife, which includes over three hundred species of birds, as well as jaguars, pumas and tapirs. We continue our look at the best things to do and see in Costa Rica in part two of this blog.