An eco-tourism paradise, filled with exotic wildlife, towering volcanoes, luscious green rainforests, rivers and gorgeous white sandy beaches along the coasts of the Caribbean and pacific bodies of water (where its name of “Rich Coast” is derived) . Costa Rica is an active traveller’s haven with x-treme adventure sports ranging from zip lining to surfing to white-water rafting.
My sister and I spent 3 weeks travelling throughout Central America with our first stop in San Jose, Costa Rica. San Jose is the country’s capital and cultural hub with museums, parks and restaurants but it lacks the antique colonial landscape that one would expect to find in a Latin American city. So my advice for you is to step out of the city and into the picturesque countryside, where you will experience the true wonders of what Costa Rica has to offer.
We headed to La Fortuna with our backpackers tour group (thanks to the amazing Gap Adventures), settled into our cozy accommodation, ate some scrumptious tacos and made our way to the side of the Arenal Volcano to relax and catch a glimpse of the nocturnal red-lava flows. The next day, we got our adrenaline pumping with whitewater rafting down the class II rapids of the seven mile Balsa river. After attempting to understand our local (Tico) instructor, we jumped into the small raftboat and tackled the small waves while ever so often screaming “pura vida” (pure life) at the top of our lungs with our paddles high up in the air. We made it safe and sound to our final destination despite the few moments where we lost a collaegue who fell overboard. Oops! Well I definitely want to try out Class III rapids on our next trip and hopefully will not be a victim to those powerful white waves. After an adventurous day in the wild rapids, we soaked and rejuvenated our soar bodies in Arenal’s natural hot springs – this hot spring facility has both cold and hot pools with long waterslides taking you rapidly from one pool to the next and was a perfect way to end such an eventful day.
We then ventured off to Monteverde, the cloud forest reserve (also known as Mother Nature’s playground), where we ziplined with Sky Trek canopy tour company. The panoramic sight from being 100 ft high in the sky is unreal. Just be careful, or you may end up like one of the unfortunate young ladies, who panicked and flew straight pass the guides, pass the end point and into a massive tree trunk. It did not look like fun. So stay calm and relax on Sky Trek’s unique systems of trails, suspension bridges and secure zip lines!
Also note if you are heading up to Nicaragua – be prepared to spend all day at immigration as it is the most intense border crossing I have ever experienced – a lovely one mile walk through the mud with your luggage and very little shade in between the borders. These two central american nations sure do want to make it difficult for the other to enter. No idea why especially as each country has its own unique characteristics with a culture and landscape like no other!
Take a real adventure through the jungles of Costa Rica and explore the natural beauty of this awe-inspiring eco-tourist destination! Pura Vida!