Beautifully rugged and rainforested Costa Rica is famous for its happy inhabitants, volcanoes, wildlife, beaches and cracking cups of coffee. The diversity of the landscape from the Caribbean coast to the Pacific coast means that you can have an incredible adventure exploring this vibrant and colourful country. Husband Luke and I visited Costa Rica as part of our epic honeymoon adventure through Central America and I would highly recommend it as a destination for all the adventure and adrenaline lovers out there. Here is a handy guide I have put together on how to make the most of your time there.
Treat Yourself to a Luxury Villa
If you fancy treating yourself to a little slice of luxury then you may want to explore Costa Rica vacation rentals to see how you can spoil yourself. If there is a larger group of you travelling, renting a villa can be the better option to give you more space and a gorgeous setting to relax and unwind in. I personally a love a villa with a pool and a decking area, there is nothing better than watching the sunset, wine in hand on a lush outdoor terrace. Go on, treat yourself to an upmarket stay, you’ll totally feel like a celeb.
Check out the local cuisine
Latin American food rarely gets the foodie attention it deserves, there are many colourful and tasty plates of food to be found in Costa Rica that are totally Instagrammable! Usually, most dishes in this region consist of meat, rice, a selection of vegetables, tortilla, beans and of course, plantain. Some typical Costa Rican dishes include Casado, a ‘plate of the day’ that can be found in most diners and restaurants, Ceviche, an appetizer consisting of raw fish and Gallo Pinto, a traditional breakfast or rice and beans mixed with scrambled egg and beef.
Go Snorkelling or diving in aqua blue waters
Costa Rica offers you the chance to snorkel in two different oceans, the Caribbean and the Pacific. You’ll find pristine, nutrient-rich waters in Costa Rica, that are perfect for observing marine life and gorgeous coral ecosystems. There are many companies that operate snorkel tours and you can usually combine other activities such as kayaking or a sunset sail. Popular snorkelling spots include Playa Hermosa, Papagayo Peninsula, Manuel Antonio and Tortuga Island.
Learn to surf
With over Costa Rica 200km of coastline, and 300 beaches, Costa Rica is the ideal surfing spot, offering a range of swells and breaks to suit all abilities. My favourite spot for surfing is Jaco, the town has everything a surfer could need from hostel accommodation, board hire, surf shops and a great selection of chilled out bars. Playa Jaco is the main surfing beach here, offering a 4-kilometre strip of world-class surfing and pretty spectacular sunsets.
Zipwire through a cloud forest
Adrenaline junkies should head straight to Monteverde, the city of adventure. Soar through cloud forest canopies and experience an exhilarating bird’s eye view of the forest below on one of their zip line adventures. Be warned traveller friends, this is not for the faint-hearted as you make your way through the dizzyingly high tree platforms, via rails, suspension bridges and super long zip lines. Dare to look down if you are brave enough, or just position your GoPro accordingly.
Go whitewater rafting
Plunge headfirst into crazy, frothing white water when you go whitewater rafting in Costa Rica. One of the best places to paddle is on the river Toro (The Bull River) in La Fortuna. This river offers fast, hold-onto-your-pants rapids, combined with picturesque views, as you furiously paddle through a series of challenging class 3 and 4 rapids. Make sure you book a tour with a reputable company so you can not only be sure of your safety and experience wonderful scenery during a thrilling ride!
Visit a coffee plantation
Costa Rican coffee is some of the best in the whole world. Why not book a Coffee tour to learn about Costa Rican coffee history and production? areas like Naranjo, Tarrazu, Poas Volcano, Alajuela, and Tres Rios. Many coffee farms offer tours of their facilities, so that visitors about the history of the drink and how farmers cultivate the plants from seeds. This is surely the perfect opportunity to sample authentic Costa Rican coffee at source, you won’t get fresher than that!
Abseil down waterfalls
Love waterfalls? Why not experience abseiling down one by booking a rappelling tour in the adventurous town of La Fortuna? Hike, scramble up rocks, rappel and plunge into refreshing water, in this gorgeous, forested area. Soak up lush rainforest, wildlife and tropical birds as you bravely step off the waterfall ledge and repel through the bracing waters of a majestic waterfall.
Discover the local wildlife
There is an abundance of wildlife and biodiversity in Costa Rica. Keep your eyes peeled for sloths, monkeys, parrots, bats and butterflies. The town of Monteverde offers a range of guided night tours through the cloud forest, to seek out wildlife using nothing but a flashlight. Experienced and knowledgeable locals will point out all manner of animals and creepy crawlies as you silently venture through the forest.
Explore San Jose
The capital of Costa Rica, the rough and ready San Jose, has a charm of its own with historic neighbourhoods, restaurants, parks, art galleries, butterfly garden, museums, restaurants and the occasional colourful parade. It’s easy just to pass through here but you should really try to spend some time in the city, it can really grow on you. Try exploring some of the local bars for beers and mad samba sounds, some even let you draw on the walls you know!