As Central American tourist destinations go, Costa Rica enjoys enviable popularity. It’s a go-to spot for US-based travellers, but it’s also packed with enough natural wonders to tempt those based further afield.
Costa Rica: A Gem in Central America
A combination of factors contribute to Costa Rica’s appeal. The facilities are excellent, and the infrastructure is superior to many of the country’s regional rivals. But it’s the wealth of nature that really makes Costa Rica stand out. It’s home to around half a million species, which amounts to around 5% of the species on Earth. When you consider that it represents just 0.03% of the planet’s landmass, this is particularly impressive.
The top places to visit
Let’s run through some of the worthwhile places to visit in Costa Rica. If you’re planning a visit, then you might look for one of the many pre-arranged Costa Rica tours. Alternatively, you might do your own planning, and seek to visit as many of these destinations as possible.
With its iconic black-sand beaches, Puerto Viejo is a location like no other. You’ll be able to rent a cabin along the beach, and go kayaking, too. Then there’s the nearby Gandoca-Manzanillio Wildlife Refuge, where manatees and sea turtles make their home alongside many other beautiful animals.
If you’re looking to get up close to some turtles in their natural habitat, then it makes sense to pay a visit to Tortuguero, whose name means ‘land of the turtles’. This is a national park that spreads across the country’s north coastline, where a multitude of rivers and canals spread through the jungle. Take a guide and spot a turtle!
Costa Rica is a part of the world famed for its volcanic activity. Arenal has been dormant for more than a decade, but that isn’t to say that it won’t erupt in the future. You can still see evidence of recent lava flow in the nearby jungle.
If you were to imagine a tropical paradise, you’d probably envision something close to Manuel Antonio. With its beautiful white-sand beaches and gorgeous, clear blue water, this is a part of the country that receives a disproportionate share of tourist traffic. For lounging on the beach, hiking, or snorkelling, this is a perfect spot. There are also several world-class hotels in the vicinity.
The famous cloud forests are amazingly popular with tourists. Around a quarter of a million people make their way here in search of the Resplendent Quetzal: a bird so beautiful and eye-catching that it features prominently in the local mythology. The temperatures here are surprisingly cool (relatively speaking), so you’ll want to make sure that you’re packing several layers of warm clothing for the evenings.