Costa Rica Guide | Why the Central American Country Is An Adventure Paradise
Find the meaning of 'Pura Vida' in this amazing natural playground
Ask a room full of people to close their eyes, picture paradise and say what they see. Some would say white beaches, palm trees and turquoise ocean. Others may see lush forests alive with a sea of colours from flora and fauna. For some it would be soaring mountains, and epic views over breathtaking landscapes, rich with adventure.
What many wouldn’t realise is, whether they know it or not, that they’re all picturing Costa Rica.
Costa Rica, sitting in the chain of countries that make up Central America, is a relatively small country - less than one quarter the size of the United Kingdom. However, Costa Rica makes up for it’s diminutive size by packing in some of the most diverse landscapes, and opportunities for adventure that will last for a lifetime. After all, you know what they say about good things and small packages.
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"Costa Rica is home to one of only five ‘Blue Zones’ in the world - places where people are healthier, and live longer than anywhere else on the planet"
Thanks to it’s warm, tropical climate, Costa Rica is a year round destination, whatever kind of adventure you’re looking for. Furthermore, with British Airways now offering flights direct to the capital, San Jose from the UK, getting there has never been easier.
Action and adventure is never far away when you visit Costa Rica. Head to the coast, especially on the west side of the country, and you’ll find some pretty special surf spots. From gentle beach breaks, to testing point breaks, and even some river surfing, Costa Rica has something for everyone who’s happiest among the waves.
Guanacaste in the North West of the country has a lot of amazing surf spots, as sets of waves roll towards Costa Rica from the Pacific ocean. The area attracts some of the best surfers in the world - a fact attested when Costa Rica hosted the ISA World Surfing games in 2016. But it's also home to some of the best surf schools in the world should you be new to surfing, or live too far from the ocean to get the hours in regularly enough at home.
If you prefer getting around on two wheels, then Costa Rica has some pretty special cycling routes, whatever kind of biking you do. Thanks to the many peaks in Costa Rica, you’re never far from a mountain bike trail.
Head to Turrialba on the Caribbean coast and you’ll discover one of the most breathtaking scenic trails anywhere in the world. From fruit plantations, to a whole host of native wildlife, including Blue-crowned Motmots and Howler Monkeys, you’ll want to pack a camera as well as your cycling helmet.
"Cerro de la Muerte is one of Costa Rica’s highest summits, and known by the locals as The Peak Of Death"
If you like your mountain biking spiked with a little more adrenaline, head to Cerro de la Muerte in the Los Quetzales National Park. At over 3,400 metres, it’s one of Costa Rica’s highest summits, and one the locals call The Peak Of Death. Road cycling is also hugely popular with visitors and locals alike in Costa Rica, and Cerro de la Muerte offers some of the steepest switch-backs you’ll ever ride, although the popularity of larger vehicles on The Peak of Death may prove enough to make you want a slightly more sedate route.
Costa Rica’s amazing terrain makes for some breathtaking climbing, rappelling, and canyoning. Chirripo National Park if then home to the Talamanca Mountain Range, which has the second highest peak in Central America at a staggering 3800 metres. It has routes that will test even the most elite climbers in the world.
If you'd prefer a little less chalk on your hands, it also has miles and miles of incredible hiking trails. For those that make it to the top, the rewards are views over the vast rainforests beneath. There are also over 200 volcanos to discover in Costa Rica although, fear not, only six remain active. Even so, the active ones, including the famous Arenal, are a source of many hot spring pools. Ideal after a day of hiking trails.
If you like your adventure a little quieter, there’s plenty of animals in Costa Rica for you to photograph. Whether that’s snorkeling with tropical fish, whale watching in the Marino Ballena National Park, discovering the incredibly coloured birds native to the country, or seeing nesting turtles on the beaches at Tortuguero, there’s always something for nature lovers. 25 per cent of the country is made up of conservation and naturally protected areas, making Costa Rica a genuine natural playground.
In fact, if getting closer to nature is your thing, then Costa Rica really is paradise. Five per cent of the world’s biodiversity can be found native to the country. Thanks to the widely diverging terrain and habitats, there is life of all kinds in Costa Rica. From preserved National Parks, to grand Rainforests, massive rivers, to powerful streams, gentle coastal bays to warm tropical seas, for millennia, Costa Rica has proved to be the perfect home for so much incredible wildlife.
You’re guaranteed a warm welcome in Costa Rica, which is one of the safest countries in the world. Locals are very proud of what they call “Pura via" or The Pure Life. It’s a holistic mantra that means to have a pure, natural energy, mind, and spirit. But it’s more than just a saying. Costa Rica is home to one of only five ‘Blue Zones’ in the world. These are places where people are healthier, and live longer than anywhere else on the planet.
It’s impossible for this not to seep into your skin when you’re there, revitalising you with an effervescence that will stay with you, whether you’re hiking in the mountains, surfing in the ocean, or taking things a little easier and relaxing in this amazing country.
For more on Costa Rica and to plan your trip, visit experiencecostarica.co.uk.
For you chance to win an eight day trip of a lifetime for two to Costa Rica, including return flights B&B accommodation, transportation and a whole load of adventure gear from Paramo, visit experiencecostarica.co.uk.