|Spanish, some English||Colónes|
Welcome to my FIRST blog post! Ah!
What I first should get out of the way is what kind of traveler I am. I go to touristy spots, but don’t necessarily like it. I enjoy spending at least half of my time off the beaten path, and half doing the ‘must see’ items on every bloggers checklist. Kind of passing through the popular spots like “okay, saw it, check!” but truly enjoying the times I am in a random place doing well, random things.
There are a few reasons I chose Costa Rica as my first post. First, I just got back from visiting so I still have that ‘high on life’ feeling the country leaves with you. Second, it’s my favorite country that I’ve visited to date, and the only one (besides Mexico for family reasons) I have visited twice. I have a weird rule about going places twice, I just think there is so much in this world to see, why not take all the time you have to see as much as you can!
But wow, oh wow. Imagine yourself perched on a treetop leveled hotel, downward facing dog, sipping coffee and getting ready for a day of relaxing. Or hiking? Or surfing? Or animal watching? Or… you get it. There is a reason people flock from all over the world to see this tiny Central American country. Actually, there are several reasons. This destination truly leaves even the most experienced backpacker or mainstream tourist in awe. It’s a one size fits all, truly.
Check out the 5 reasons I think it needs to be your next trip!
1. Every Area is Different
You will never run out of things to do here. Mark my words. I’m convinced you would need a month minimum to make your way around this country to see everything it has to offer, so unless your boss will give you the time off, I’d plan on sticking to one or two areas. I promise it will take up a week or two’s time.
On the pacific, you have great surfing. The Caribbean, turtles and nice beaches. For everything in between, it varies from volcanos, hiking, cultural tours, chocolate tours, zip lining, ect. Every area has its own specialty and reason to go there. Some of the more popular tourist areas include Manuel Antonio, La Fortuna, Tamarindo, Jaco, and Tortuguero. There is honestly more places to visit, but to narrow it down I’ve chosen these.
Manuel Antonio is a National Park of lush bio diverse rainforest right on the beach. This is a great area to mix nature with beach relaxing. La Fortuna is famous for the picturesque Arenal volcano. It towers over the town and has hot springs, zip lining, lake activities, and hiking nearby. I highly recommend Costa Rica Sky Adventures if you visit the La Fortuna/Monte Verde area. Tamarindo is very touristy, with lots of shopping and restaurants right on the beach! Jaco and Tortuguero are both beach towns with gorgeous beaches, although you might get lucky enough to see turtles hatching at Tortuguero.
There are endless amount of things to do in Costa Rica, not the mention yoga retreats, boat rides, snorkeling, rock repelling, ATV’s… the list goes on and on. Stay tuned for travel guides on some of the areas I’ve visited and make sure you subscribe via email at the bottom of the page to get notified when I post them.
2. Los Animales
The animals! Costa Rica has nearly 6% of the world’s biodiversity. That literally means 6% of ALL the known plants and animals on the planet, are in this small country. More than any other country on Earth. That’s insane. But it shows.
Most people hope to see a monkey or a sloth, which yes you should totally try and find some while there, but there is some other amazing things to be found in the jungle. There is a range of birds flying around such as macaws, toucans, and parrots. There is also jungle cats like ocelots, pumas, and margays. What most people don’t think about is the wide range of insects, frogs, snakes, and other small mammals.
The best way to see these animals you ask?
You probably won’t even have to try. Most taxis and shuttle drivers will see animals on the side of the road and stop for you to take pictures. One of the most common places to find sloths is in the trees right next to the road! On the way to your hotel be sure to look out the window, this is how I spotted a red macaw one time. Another choice is going to one of the many sanctuaries around the country. There are unfortunate stories of cats, sloths, and birds being kept as pets (which is illegal in Costa Rica), and they are brought to sanctuaries unable to return or, if bred, never experience the jungle.
On a different note, there is hiking tours in all the national parks that will take you through the rainforest to spot some wild animals. It’s totally safe and very much worth doing. I do recommend doing a guided hike because the locals are extremely good at spotting wildlife. A guide will also tell you interesting facts about the area, animals, and country. Plus, you can make friends this way! Don’t be scared to do a guided tour at night. There is a lot of bugs, yes it’s true, but the frogs and small nocturnal creatures that you spot is truly interesting and a once in a lifetime experience. This is how we learned and saw that Costa Rica has nocturnal porcupines that live in TREES. The night tour we did, you can find here.
3. The People
“Pura Vida” is what the Ticos and Ticas say. “Pure Life” is what it translates to, meaning life is good. It’s said as a goodbye, a hello, or when it’s time to party. The saying is a staple across the country and adds to the relaxing vibes Costa Rica offers.
Tico(a)s are very friendly and inviting people. As a woman safety is always a concern when I travel, but I have never felt more relaxed when talking to complete strangers. Weather Im eating typical food in a local restaurant, on the street, or at my hotel, I, and my friends who have visited, have always been met with kindness.
Most locals LOVE their country and will be happy to tell you about the area they live in. Also, a few years back Costa Rica got rid of their military and put all that money into education, making the countries illiteracy rate now only at 2%, the lowest in all of Central America. Tico(a)s love their communities and are always welcoming to tourists. I have never had a bad experience with a local, which is something I could never say about where I live!
Even our tour guides throughout the years, we have made plans with or kept on social media to keep in touch with. I would bet on meeting a friend or two during your trip.
4. Cacique Guaro
I had to make this point.
Costa Rica’s infamous liqueur. Honestly, my second time going back to Costa Rica this was all I could think about having again. A sweet, sweet Guaro Sour (a popular drink made with Cacique Guaro). The best way to describe a Guaro Sour is a mix between a margarita and a Moscow mule. Not too sweet, but easy to down a few within minutes. Oops.
The liqueur is made from sugar cane, and when made into a Guaro Sour usually contains sugar, limón, and topped with a cherry. It’s a must, every restaurant and hotel makes them!
It’s close! Go!
It takes me two planes to get there, which is a travelers dream. Some places like LA or Miami have non stop flights to San José. Of course this one is for my North/South American readers.
Costa Rica is a beautiful, magical place that has something for everyone. It’s also the cleanest place I’ve ever seen in my life. Probably due to how well they protect their environment (don’t plan on any place having plastic bags!).
Well, are you convinced?
I hope my first blog was something helpful. Leave me comments and subscribe to email notifications for future posts!