Needing some vitamin sea? This country offers visitors stunning beaches, humid rainforests, bubbling hot springs, and towering volcanos. Did you know that Costa Rica is the first tropical country to have put a stop to deforestation and actually reversed the damage it had done? The country still works to restore its valuable ecosystem and brings biologists and ecologists to study the vast flora and fauna.
1. Tabacón Hot Springs
If you decide to splurge on anything during your trip to Costa Rica, might I suggest you stay at the Tabacón – Thermal Resort & Spa. It is a little pricey, around $420-500 per night. However, you can get a room with an invaluable, unobstructed view of the volcano.
Upon check-in, you will receive a bracelet that will allow you access to the largest network of hot springs in the area, including some that are just for hotel guests. If you decide that this price is out of your budget, and I understand, then consider booking a day pass that usually combines with a meal for cost of $89-110 per person.
2. Zipline above the rainforest
Full disclaimer: I am not a fan of heights, jumping from them or dangling precariously from a wire above the treetops. However, my family wanted to partake in this event. Since I had never gone ziplining, I figured I would give it a try. I was right, it is not for me! If this sounds appealing to you, then consider adventuring with Sky Trek.
Located in both the Monteverde and Arenal (La Fortuna) areas, you will get the best view of the mountains and rainforests. That is, assuming your eyes aren’t shut or glass over like mine were. Rates are between $58-84 per person. All necessary safety precautions are taken, and you are never left unattended. I purchased the package that included the hanging bridges hike (yes, more heights) and the zipline tour.
3. Visit the Gold Coast
This refers to the northwest section of the country, also known as Guanacaste, one of the best places to visit in Costa Rice. This 400-mile expanse of coastline is known for its beautiful beaches, tropical forests, five-star accommodations, world class surfing waves and a variety of cuisine. Head over to Tamarindo which is one of the most popular beaches and surf towns in the area. It offers surf lessons, markets, and shops. If animals are more your thing, go to the estuary that splits Tamarindo from Playa Grande for a tour. It is home to crocodiles, monkeys, coatis, and many species of birds. The Viento Fresco waterfall is also close by.
4. Sloth sightings
One of the best places to see this slow-moving animal is the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. This center rescues and cares for injured, orphaned, and abandoned sloths. The owners, Luis and Judy Arroyo purchased 32 acres of rainforest and had the Costa Rican government declare it a biological reserve in 1975. They provided birding tours until a deadly earthquake in 1991. After rescuing a baby sloth named Buttercup, whose mother had been killed by a vehicle, the Arroyo’s began a rescue center. The reserve became an authorized rescue center in 1997 and has since helped many of these adorable animals rehabilitate to return to the wild. Buttercup passed away in 2019 at the old age of 27, she was the oldest captive-living Bradypus in the world.
- La Fortuna near the Arenal Volcano is a stunning fall. Spanish for fortune, this waterfall is fed by the Tenorio River and is visited by several tours and hiking trails.
- Rio Celeste is in the Guanacaste region and is known for its blue color and tropical surroundings. According to local legends, when God painted the sky, he washed the blue paint off in the river turning it a beautiful shade of turquoise. Scientifically speaking, it is the result of a chemical reaction between the volcanic minerals and the rainforest.
- La Paz Waterfall is in the Cloud Forest and is the most visited, privately-owned, ecological attraction in Costa Rica. The fall can be reached by a hike that incorporates five waterfalls in a wildlife preserve with over 100 species of animals.