Costa Rica, one of the world’s most biodiverse countries is a popular destination among lovers of wildlife and nature – but that’s not all there is to it. It is expected to be one of the top destinations for travellers in 2019, offering adventure, culture and even some useful insight into living a happy life.
It’s the happiest country in the world
According to The Happy Planet Index Report, published by the New Economics Foundation, Costa Ricans – or Ticos as they like to be known – value something above money: happiness. This is down to their ‘Pura Vida’ philosophy – a phrase which translates as ‘the simple life’ and encapsulates Costa Ricans’ ability to appreciate the little things. Combine this with the abundance of wildlife, lush rainforests and pristine beaches and Costa Rica is a place that is hard to pull yourself away from.
You can try thrilling activities like volcano trekking
As well as zip-lining in Monteverde – where it was invented – white-water rafting and whale watching, one of the most exhilarating experiences to try in Costa Rica is volcano trekking around the Arenal Volcano – the most active volcano in Costa Rica. Hike through old lava flows with a guide and be sure to take in the natural gems of the national park, which is alive with an abundance of wildlife. While you’re at the Arenal Volcano National Park, be sure to snap a photo next to the Cerro Chato Volcano which has a fantastic green-coloured lagoon within a collapsed crater.
It has a plethora of ecosystems
Although it is one of the smallest countries in Central America, Costa Rica has a variety of ecosystems including tropical lowland rainforests, cloud forests and coral reef. Strewn with alluring flowers and other vegetation, the cloud forests in high-altitude places like Monteverde and Bralio Carillo provide water to ecosystems beneath them. There is also highland mountain rainforests, with evergreen trees stretching as far as the eye can see in contrast to the arid Paramo ecosystem in the Talamanca Mountains, where you’ll find lizards, snakes and hardy plants. The ethereal mangrove forests and wetlands are best explored by boat – watch out for caimans, crocodiles and birds of paradise.
The beaches are unique and diverse
Sitting between the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica is blessed with pristine beaches, all unique in their own way. One of the most popular beach is Manuel Antonio, which sits shrouded in a blanket of trees in the national park of the same name. The Costa Ballena get its name from its sandbar which is shaped like a whale’s tail and coincidentally, is a major destination for spotting humpback whales from August to October and December to April. For a relaxed, surfing vibe, head to Tamarindo on the northwest coast.
Costa Rica is home to an abundance of wildlife
There are more than 500,000 animal and plant species in Costa Rica, making it one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. With more than thirty national parks, it is easy to encounter the many fascinating species living there, including native ones like tapirs, coatis, ocelots and capuchin moneys – however you don’t see them solely in national parks and reserves but also when walking or driving around in towns and villages. So keep your eyes peeled for a loitering three-toed sloth, awesome rhinoceros beetles and colourful birds like the scarlet macaw.
Thomas Ryves is Marketing Director at Exsus Travel. Exsus Travel specialises in creating the very best luxury tailor-made holidays, honeymoons and family adventures in over 80 destinations worldwide.
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