Five things you can experience in Costa Rica
With its long coastlines, warm ocean waters, volcanic landscapes, waterfalls, hot springs and cenotes, Costa Rica is an ideal destination for year-round adventures as well as relaxation, water sports and wellness experiences. An industry leader in sustainable tourism, Costa Rica’s expansive protected areas are especially suited for nature lovers looking for sustainable travel experiences. Below are five experiences you can have in Costa Rica.
Bird watching and nature photography
With over 900 species of birds, including at least 50 species of hummingbirds, and more species of birds per area than anywhere else in the world, Costa Rica is the ideal destination for birdwatchers and nature photographers.
Although Costa Rica is only a small country, it has five percent of the world’s biodiversity. Over a quarter of its territory is protected for conservation, including 58 wildlife refuges and 29 National Parks.
If you love getting out in nature, spotting exotic birds or photographing wildlife in its natural habitat, Costa Rica’s abundance of untouched wilderness is perfect for you.
While it’s possible to explore Costa Rica independently, a guided tour with expert local guides will ensure you are taken to the best areas for bird watching and nature photography, and you’ll feel better knowing you’re supporting the local economy as well as treading only where you should.
Hiking, biking, horse riding and zip lining
Costa Rica’s mountains, volcanoes, beaches and forests offer endless opportunities for adventure activities such as hiking, biking, horse riding and zip lining.
Experience a thrill as you soar above the forest canopy on a zip line or explore on trails that range from low level beach trails for a serene stroll at sunrise or sunset to high mountain forest trails that will lead you to hidden waterfalls.
Costa Rica mountainous forested landscapes provide ample opportunity to trek around volcanoes or traverse hanging bridges through the tree tops.
If mountain biking is more your thing, you’ll also find challenging trails around the volcanoes that will get your adrenaline pumping. Or if you prefer sitting on a horse instead of a bike, a guided horse back ride excursion can be arranged.
Health and wellness experiences
With its abundance of nature, volcanoes, forests, waterfalls, hot springs, and year-round warm temperatures, as well as a philosophy of “Pure Vida,” it stands to reason that Costa Rica is an ideal destination for health and wellness experiences.
Costa Rica’s wealth of hot springs offer rejuvenation and other health benefits, including reduction of stress, mental fatigue and tiredness. You’ll find several locations around the country that offer wellness treatments for you to select, but for a really unique wellness experience in Costa Rica, consider a therapeutic volcanic mud, coffee, fruit or cacao spa treatment.
Other nature-based wellness experiences to be found in Costa Rica include forest bathing (breathing in the fresh air of the forest), Earthing (barefoot walks on earth or sand), plus beach or forest yoga and meditation. You’ll find yoga resorts and retreats on both coasts of Costa Rica.
Relax, swim, play in the sun
With coasts on both sides of the country, the Pacific on the West and the Caribbean on the East, and only a few hours drive between them, you’re never too far from a beach in Costa Rica.
On the Pacific side, the coastline stretches 1,016 km, while on the Caribbean side, there is another 212 km of coastline, which means Costa Rica offers beach lovers plenty of opportunity to enjoy beach time, whether its to relax in the sun and sea, to walk, swim or play in the sand.
The beaches at Puntarenas are only 90 minutes from the capital, San Jose, and are easily accessed from Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela. On the Caribbean coast, Puerto Limon, the Costa Rica port of call on many Caribbean cruises, also offers beautiful beaches to explore.
To the north, the beaches of Guanacaste province, on the Pacific coast, offer some of the best locations for combining nature with beach experiences. This protected region, Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its parklands are home to around 250 species of birds.
Water sports and other water-based activities
The ocean waters surround Costa Rica maintain a consistently warm temperature year round, making them ideal for all manor of water sports including surfing, stand up paddle boarding, sea kayaking, diving, snorkelling and swimming. On the Pacific Coast, many of the beaches in Guanacaste provide some of the best surfing locations, while islands in the gulf area offer diving opportunities for all skill levels.
Inland, Costa Rica’s mountains provide many other water features, including waterfalls, rivers, hot springs and cenotes. Water-based activities include whitewater rafting along some of Costa Rica’s fast moving rivers for the thrill seekers while tubing along its slower water courses or swimming in a cerulean cenote offer slower paced experiences in nature.