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