Living “la pura vida” is easy in Costa Rica, which features mist-cloaked volcanic peaks, cascading waterfalls and golden beaches fringed by emerald-green jungle. The Central American country is a pioneer of sustainable tourism and is passionate about protecting its enchanting landscapes.
Things to do in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has incredible biodiversity, with more than half a million species living within its borders. In addition to local wildlife like sloths, giant anteaters, toucans and howler monkeys, there’s a chance to spot rare and endangered species such as tapir, ocelot and jaguarundi.
From ziplining through the jungle to hiking volcanic peaks, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure in Costa Rica. Take an exhilarating white-water rafting trip along the Rio Balsa and head to Playa Tamarindo to check out the surf scene.
Pristine jungles, gorgeous beaches and a famously laid-back lifestyle have helped put Costa Rica on the map as a premier wellness destination. The country is peppered with yoga retreats and meditation centres where you can rest, relax and reset.
Marooned in the Pacific Ocean, Isla del Coco is a remote island paradise where you can discover some of the top dive sites in the world. Swimming with hammerhead sharks and cruising with manta rays are just some of the reasons divers flock to Isla del Coco.
As you travel through Costa Rica, you can sample local staples like “gallo pinto” rice and beans, fried plantains and tamales wrapped in banana leaves. There’s no shortage of rainbow-coloured tropical fruit, including mangoes, papayas and pineapples.
Escaping to laid-back beach towns is one of the best ways to enjoy Costa Rica. On the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa is a sun-kissed surf town with lively nightlife and excellent restaurants. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca has a colourful Caribbean flavour and is surrounded by lush rainforests and family-run cacao farms.
Getting around Costa Rica
Costa Rica is well-serviced by local buses that run to cities, towns and villages across the country. Rental cars are a good way to explore Costa Rica at your own pace. Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) in Alajuela is a 20-minute drive from San Jose.