Sensational national parks hosting an inestimable treasure of biodiversity with fascinating habitats, all in a glorious
If “go big or go home” is your motto, then it will be almost impossible to find a destination even remotely comparable to Costa Rica, at least in terms of bio-geographical diversity. As the name itself suggests, “rich coast”, this is a luxurious territory abounding in wildlife, out of which 80% is protected. Designated by National Geographic “the most biologically intense place on Earth”, a quarter of this Central American natural paradise is actually a national park (the largest percentage of protected areas in the world). From tropical jungles, luxurious rainforests and active volcanoes to soft beaches on the Caribbean coast, there is so much you can do here that sleep will definitely become an option. Try kayaking, diving, snorkelling, trekking, horse riding or bird watching, even spend a couple of days in the indigenous communities and you’ll never want to get back to the dull grey concrete jungle where you came from.
Everything about Costa Rica is overwhelming, jaw-dropping, incredibly luxurious, breath-taking. For exhilarating ways to explore the jungle that will make your heart skip a beat, if you’ve got the guts for it, jump in a zip-line ride over the scenic dense forests or go river rafting. Home to monkeys, macaws and sloths, lizards and other exotic creatures, it will be like watching a National Geographic documentary live. Water sports are also an inspired idea to have a great time, such as snorkelling, kayaking or river rafting. Go on a horseback adventure on intricate mountain paths, take a day trip to one of the hundreds of volcanoes, both active and dormant, cool down inside a bat-filled cave or watch some sea turtles nesting, there is simply too much to do here for you to waste even one second.
Hummingbirds, toucans, parrots and macaws will mesmerise wildlife lovers, all filling the rainforests with their melodious tweets. Not so ear pleasing, but definitely impossible to ignore, the howler monkeys making those roaring sounds are sure to give you chills. Other than these, you might be kept wide-awake by some small rodent known as singing mice with their bird-like high-pitched chirps, tree frogs or geckos, a species of some very loud but adorable lizards. No point in bringing earplugs, they won’t do the job. But, hey, there’s no reason to complain, it is part of the tropical charm!
With such a variety of climates, there are always hundreds of species of blooming flowers perfuming the air. Top of the list would be the purple orchid, more precisely Guaria Morada, the national flower, a local lucky charm. Other strong fragrances will come from the Cortez Amarillo, a tree with yellow flowers, the Red Ginger and the Dahlia Imperialis. Apart from the flowers, the supreme aroma is none but the smell of rain right in the rainforest: fresh, sense awakening, cooling, soothing.
You cannot miss the omnipresent dish that governs all local tables, gallo pinto, consisting of nothing more than seasoned rice with baked beans. Even though it might not seem that appealing, you will definitely find there is a particular charm to it that makes it so popular among locals, so definitely give it a try. Also, based on similar ingredients, casado, married men’s dish, was originally wrapped inside a banana leaf, but not anymore, don’t worry. If you want to play it safe, then arroz con pollo will certainly remind you of those laid back, nice family dinners. For the most delicious coffee cup you have ever tasted, don’t you ever miss the local “coffea arabica”, Costa Rica’s “golden bean”, famous worldwide for its unparalleled flavour. Want something alcoholic? Una cerveza, por favor!
Exotic, thrilling, a rainbow of colours, that’s what Costa Rica is. Surrounded by so many colours, sounds, tastes and smells you will definitely feel as mesmerised and overwhelmed as Adam and Eve when first setting foot in the Garden of Eden. Either wandering through the jungle or enjoying a chilled evening in a local bar, you will truly understand the happiness of being one with nature. Bewitched and filled with adrenaline, you will learn the supreme lesson that Costa Rica has to teach: living life to the fullest.