Experience Costa Rica in so many ways

Costa Rica is one of the most visited countries in Central America. Tourists from all over the world have been going to the country for years. It has become a hot spot for retirees and ex-pats due to its great weather, amazing beaches, and friendly locals. But as a young adult, I believe those in their mid-20s to early 30s can also have an experience of a lifetime while in Costa Rica.

I love Costa Rica. It was the place that I visited as a young teen and it became a place that inspired me to travel as much as I could. It holds a special place in my heart. I’ve been back to visit Costa Rica many times since then, falling in love with it over and over again.

I don’t want to mislead anyone and say like many others who write travel blogs, that Costa Rica is cheap and extremely affordable.  And, while that can be true at times, (there are ways one can save money in Costa Rica) the beauty of these destinations is worth what one has to pay.

Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is located on the South Caribbean coast near Panama. Puerto Viejo is popular with young people and backpackers because of its great beaches, surfing, and party atmosphere. The town is very lively and you’ll find something going on every night. It’s probably the most popular destination on the Caribbean coast. There are also many quiet beach hotels around for those who are looking for some peace and quiet. There are always private homes that are available for rent. There is also a jaguar rescue center nearby that rehabilitates all sorts of wildlife. You can go nearby, to a town called Cahuita. Here you can also experience the afro American Caribbean culture. The food and activities make this place a really unique experience. You can spot animals, hike, swim and even surf!

Tortuguero

Tortuguero is probably Costa Rica’s most diversified place within its borders.  It dominates the northern coast, with Tortuguero National Park spanning over 77,000 acres. This massive area is a series of rivers and canals that crisscross the jungle. The biggest draws to this area are the large numbers of turtles that come seasonally to nest along the shoreline. The best time to see them nesting is during August, September, and even October months. If you’re visiting during the off-season, you will still be able to go hiking and participate in canal cruises and there is always plenty of wildlife to see year-round.

Arenal

The Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica’s many volcanoes. It still erupts from time to time, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see lava flowing down the volcano. (Though, it’s less likely to happen as the volcano has been dormant for several years).The area has tons of wonderful activities: there is an awesome waterfall known as La Fortuna. The national park has great hiking, sunset views over the lagoon, rafting options, and even famous hot springs. With so much to do, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most visited places in the country.

Manuel Antonio

One of Costa Rica’s most popular beach destinations, Manuel Antonio’s wide, white-sand beaches and warm blue waters aren’t the only attractions people come to see. The nearby national park has hundreds of thousands of yearly annual visitors and it is home to great hiking trails, a number of secluded beaches, and is home to variety of different types of monkey species. It’s become more crowded and developed over the years as many North Americans have come to pay a pretty penny to buy or rent a private home here. As a young individual, you can still have an incredibly diversified experience in Manuel Antonio.

 Monteverde

Monteverde is home to the nation’s prime cloud forest. It is home to the elusive quetzal bird. This can be the reason alone that some visitors go to Monteverde, just to get a sight of this rare bird. The area is one of the largest eco-tourism destinations in the country and holds nearly a quarter-million of tourists each year. Monteverde, which rests right on the continental divide, experiences high winds and unusual weather patterns. The entire area is very green and wet. Anyone can witness this amazing scenery on a zip-line adventure through the tree canopy or you explore some of the sky bridges in the area.

Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano is probably San Jose’s most popular destination. This Volcano is an active stratovolcano filled with sulfur lakes. The lakes are so still, you’ll look and think that it is a work of painted art! The volcano last erupted in 2017 and has actually erupted about 40 times since the 1800s. There are some small trails around the area too. Arrive early in the morning to avoid the clouds closing in and ruining the view.

Santa Teresa

At the bottom of the coast of Nicoya, you will find the hippie backpacker town of Santa Teresa. This “town” is really nothing more than a beach with a road lined with eateries, yoga centers, surf shops, and hostels. Everyone gets up early to hit the waves, so the overall atmosphere in town is pretty relaxed. You won’t find a lot of crazy parties here. Santa Teresa is a good place to lie on the beach, hang out with people, and relax. Because of the “chill” vibe, many people end up staying in Santa Teresa for weeks, and even months, on end.

As you have read, Costa Rica is not only for those looking to make a permanent move with families, or those nearing retirement. As a young individual, you can experience Costa Rica in so many ways. I promise this trip will change your life and the perceptions you have of this world or at least give you a hint on what to do next

Costa Rican Wildlife and Nature Hot Spots

Located on a bridge-like terrain that connects North And South America; Costa Rica is geographically gifted when it comes to biodiversity. With thousands of miles of protected, untouched reserves and coastlines; Costa Rica easily contains one of the richest wildlife atmospheres on the Planet. Here I will try to give you some of the most known and visited spots that you can find in Costa Rica; that demonstrates just how full of diversity this country really is.

Sarapiquí

Located close to the Costa Rican and Nicaragua border, Sarapiquí sits on the Sarapiquí River. This area consists primarily of the rainforest; it has an amazing amount of diverse wildlife and is home to more than half of Costa Rica’s bird species, as well as nearly 2,000 different plant species, several dozen species of bats, and numerous different wild cats. The forest can be seen on foot or by white-water rafting and kayaking along its water paths. Many people also use it as a base for visiting the volcano known as Poas.

Arenal Volcano

Within the very prosperous and fertile northern lowlands lies a perfectly symmetrical volcano; Arenal. It has been inactive for nearly 10 years. This after regularly spitting out ash and lava following its eruption in the 1960s. Arenal allows visitors to have an abundance of outdoor activities, from hiking through the mountains to kayaking or rafting along its rivers. You can step onto the Arenal Hanging Bridges to walk through the forest canopy, while looking out for different animals like monkeys and sloths, and pay a visit to Proyecto Asis wildlife rescue center to find out how they help protect the forest’s endangered species.

Rio Perdido

This 600-acre private reserve in the San Bernardo Lowlands is where two canyons bring together cool waters Rio Blanco and the hot waters of Rio Perdido, which is known for having a number of hot springs; up-stream people can hop between the hot and cold water. All of this is surrounded by a tall forest, which is home to many birds, reptiles, and mammals, with hiking and cycling trails and a 200-foot hanging bridge to walk along, while seeking out the waterfalls.

The Cloud Forest Reserve

With a canopy that is often hidden by clouds, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve harbors some of the most diverse wildlife in Costa Rica. This reserve contains roughly 2.5 % of the world’s biodiversity. Around 10 % of the flora is strictly native, and there are over 750 different species of trees alone. Alongside the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, there’s the Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve, which ranges from 2,300 to 5,900 feet above sea level and spreads around 1,975 acres. This mystical private reserve is usually free from the common tourist, enabling those who do visit to be able to see wildlife more often.

Tortuguero National Park

Situated on the country’s northern Caribbean coast, Tortuguero National Park has become famous across the globe as an incredible nesting ground for sea turtles, including the endangered Deep Sea Green Turtle. The national park (Tortuguero) also has freshwater creeks and lagoons to explore. One can travel and navigate by boat along the park’s waterways to see river turtles and caiman and hike through the rainforest for sightings of howler monkeys and toucans.

Palo Verde National Park

Here in the Guanacaste Province, wetlands and tropical dry forest co-exist as the result of the Río Tempisque flooding the arid land. Set out on a cruise through 12 different habitats to see its verdant mangrove, aquatic plants, and forest that encompass around 150 species of trees. Birds are the greatest attraction here though, with a small island in the river providing the perfect habitat. In the dry season, wildlife gathers around the park’s water sources, providing opportunities to see howler monkeys and white-tailed deer, among other species.

Manuel Antonio National Park

This national park on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast encompasses wild rainforest, white-sand shores, and a coral-rich marine environment. Hiking trails weave through the forest and along the coastline, taking in the staggering biodiversity of tropical vegetation and wildlife species. Around 109 species of mammals and 184 bird species have been spotted here, making it especially rewarding for wildlife sightings. After hiking through the rainforest, take a cruise out to see dolphins and turtles, and kayak through the mangrove.

Pachira Group in El Tortuguero

If you want to enjoy the tropical atmosphere and diversity of species in peace in El Tortuguero, the Pachira Group is the place to stay. The Pachira Group offers great packages starting at $145, which include; air-conditioned transportation from San jose to Tortuguero and back, boat transportation to the lodge, food, hospitality, and bilingual tour guides. You can visit all the canals, the town, and you can go on private walks; visit the Museum of the Green Turtles which all are included.  You also have additional options like “el canopy” and “el spa”.

The lodge is strategically located only 5 minutes away from the extraordinary Tortuguero National Park, and right across the main canal facing the town of Tortuguero. Surrounded by a network of very scenic canals, this is considered one of the most exotic regions of the world. Families and individuals have the 3 options of hospitality lodges: Pachira, Aninga, and Evergreen; a total of 193 rooms. All rooms have ceiling fans, private bathroom, hot water, and wifi.

Pachira and Aninga are located in front of the main canal, while Evergreen sits alongside the Penitencia Canal. In the pool area, there if a bar-cafe area which provides visitors different types of snacks. Visitors are also able to enjoy breakfast while touring the canals of El Tortuguero pending the weather.

The biggest attraction here at El Tortuguero are the Green Sea Turtles that come seasonally to lay their eggs. Tourist staying staying with the Pachira Group have access to to get private guidance to the beachfront in order to observe these amazing creatures in their natural habitat.

The Caribbean province: a natural paradise in Costa Rica.

Clear turquoise water, palm trees, yellow sand, is just a glimpse of the things you will find in the Caribbean coast. With the highest percentage of protected land in Costa Rica, the Caribbean coast is formed by imposing mountains and idyllic beaches. This coast has missed part of the touristic development boom and instead has remained a pristine and unique part of Costa Rica with a culture of its own. A decade ago, the road to get to this coast was not simple at all, with a never-ending dirt road with many curves and potholes, making it difficult for tourists to visit the place. Nonetheless, with the construction of Route 32, the travel time has now been reduced from 8 hours to 4 making it more accessible for people to come visit.

 

On your way to this region, you will pass through the wonderful Braulio Carrillo National Park and from there on, a majestic trajectory to the low lands of the Caribbean begins and a noticeable change in the climate and panorama.  In the north part of the province, the most exuberant part of Limón is found in the shape of Tortuguero, a vast section of land highly protected and the most important point in the Atlantic coast of the continent where green turtles lay their eggs.

 

Nestled on the southern edge of the coast is another National Park called Cahuita, created with the intention of preserving the large offshore of coral reef. The tranquil waters of this typical town in Costa Rica also makes it a hot-spot for tourists, and perfect for snorkelers who wish to see the variety of vibrant tropical fish and over 30 species of coral. Another important point around this wonderful coastline is Puerto Viejo, a culturally sound town that is famous for its identity seen through its music, wonderful food, and beaches. In the bottom of the coastline next to the border with Panama you can find yet another Refuge called El Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo, protecting almost 4,500 hectares of land and also the home for 4 species of turtles that come and lay their eggs.  Most of the zone’s coast is also covered by lodging options, specially conformed by traditional Bungalows, a very particular construction of this zone.

 

In a class of its own, it is clear to see that Limón possesses a unique culture and way of living. Its recent new sleep accommodation options has also turned into a touristic point of interest and one you should definitely go and see for yourself.

Tortuguero: a stunning national park filled with  rainforest and canals

Considered one of the richest lands in flora and fauna, Tortuguero is a sight you can’t pass by.  Located in the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica in the province of Limón, Tortuguero seems like a world apart and has an area of 18.946.9 hectares terrestrially speaking and 52.265 in the marine section. One of its most important inhabitants is the sea turtle; in fact, this land is a sanctuary for these beautiful animals as they come spawn their eggs all year long, with October- December being the highest peaks.

 

Moreover, it is important to note that the entire park is crossed by a natural system of lagoons and navigable canals that offer scenic views of the rainforest and some of its inhabitants such as the terrestrial turtle, manatees, sea cows, caimans, a great variety of crustaceans and more than 52 species of fish. Other more wild fauna that can be found around the area are jaguars, congo monkeys, poisonous snakes and frogs, raccoons, and bats. Having said this, Tortuguero’s natural abundance makes it a perfect location for investigation and ecotourism and is one of the more preserved locations in Costa Rica because of this.

 

Apart from Tortuguero’s natural splendor, cruising along its canals you will be able to appreciate Caribbean culture in the Tortuguero Village, a humble town where locals and visitors live and enjoy the beauties of the place. Here in the Caribbean side there is a strong Afro-American cultural heritage and this is also strongly manifested through their food found in the their  local restaurants where you can find their traditional “rice-n-beans” or their fresh fruit juices.

 

The climate in Tortuguero is humid and is one of the zones where it rains the most (between 5.000 mm and 6.000 mm per year) and thus keeps the forest and fauna well kept. With no artificial ingredients, Tortuguero is the closest experience to natural and authentic living you can find, therefore representing a one-of-a-kind vacation or living experience that is hard to match anywhere else.

 

If you want to live within nature and possibly see giant turtles nest and hatch their youngsters, Tortuguero is the place to visit.

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