Jungle spilling out onto the ocean’s edge, and overhead troops of capuchins swing. Laid-back surfer communities line the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans, and the tranquillity of wildlife is only interrupted by the ruckus caused by scarlet macaws and distant grunts of howler monkeys.
Costa Rica is the ‘Rich Coast’ between Nicaragua and Panama. Framing this dramatic tropical paradise, the northeastern borders are met by the Caribbean Ocean, and in the west lies the vast Pacific. Running down the country’s centre, two cordilleras of mountains and volcanoes journey the entire country.
A pocket-sized country, Costa Rica is only 19,700 square miles, and it is nearly 5 times smaller than the UK. Yet it is one of the most biodiverse places on our planet, and it is home to 12 different ecosystems. From the animated hummingbirds flitting the cool northern cloud forest to the elusive jaguars who roam the wild south.
Proud of their impressive efforts towards conservation, the Tico culture is defined by positivity and protection of their incredibly rich land. Costa Rica’s positive rhythm reverberates through towns and communities, and Tico’s wear their heritage with pride, often using the phrase ‘Pura Vida’ as a passing greeting.
Costa Rica is an emblem of ‘pure life’, and in their ongoing effort to protect this wildlife haven, a quarter of the country is preserved in 28 National Parks and numerous Wildlife Reserves. Animal populations continue to thrive in the famously lush landscape.
A flight into San Jose jets visitors straight into the Central Valley, where the largest city and cultural capital dwells. From here, many flock straight to the palm-fringed coastline or north of the valley towards volcanic territories.
Arenal, a hotspot for adventure sports and trekking, is centred around Costa Rica’s youngest stratovolcano. A perfectly conical structure juts miles into the clouds with grooves and furrows embellishing its slopes; these are the battle wounds from the lava flow and past eruptions in the not-so-distant past. Today, visitors bathe in thermal pools heated by magma, take refreshing dips in glowing waterfalls and zipline through the treetops.
A journey to the west Pacific coast, and Manuel Antonio awaits those who want to experience the most iconic wildlife without having to delve too deep into the wild. The smallest of Costa Rica’s National Parks, this beach-fronted paradise is not limited by its size.
Working further down the coastline, Uvita’s whale-tail-shaped sands and converging currents are a hotspot for humpbacks, and as the forest becomes increasingly untamed, the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park are where pumas roam the lodge’s grounds by night.
Paddle or jet into pristine habitats. Tortugero National Park over on the opposite Caribbean Coastline, in the Limon Province, is only accessible by plane or boat. It is a turtle heaven that attracts nature enthusiasts from around the globe. 11 different habitats rest peacefully within its boundaries.
One of the world’s most renowned destinations for its epic wildlife and spectacular beaches, Costa Rica is a nature lover, and conservationist’s dream come true. A Central American perfect paradise.