Costa Rica Your Next Vacation Destination: 7 Reasons Why

Seven Solid Reasons You Should Make Costa Rica Your Next Vacation Destination

 

Every year two million people from all around the globe are drawn to Costa Rica’s beaches, forests, mountains, volcanoes, resorts, and retreats. There is a magnetism about this special country that comes from its inspiring beauty, diverse wildlife, lovely locals, natural and cultural landmarks, luxurious and environmentally-conscious accommodations, and the ease in which both novice and seasoned travelers can experience all that Costa Rica has to offer.

If you are on the fence about whether or not Costa Rica should be your next vacation destination, let these seven reasons help solidify your decision.

 

Nature 

Did you know that nearly a quarter of Costa Rica is protected as national parks and wildlife reserves, and that almost 6% of the world’s biodiversity thrives within these protected ecosystems? In fact, there are twelve different ecosystems that you can visit, and each has its own cast of wild characters.

Alongside an experienced and highly knowledgeable naturalist and guide, you can see animals that you may have only dreamed of ever seeing, including sloths, monkeys, wild cats, iridescent butterflies, and brilliantly colored tropical birds.

Not only is spending time in nature completely fascinating, it is also good for your health. What better way to disconnect from your everyday life than by reconnecting with Mother Earth deep in a rainforest?

Baby Brown throated Three toed sloth in the mangrove, Caribbean, Pure Luxury Costa Rica

Warm Tropical Seas and Beaches

The average surface sea temperature in Costa Rica is a pleasantly refreshing 79°F. The warm shallow seas are favored by sea turtles, whales, dolphins, stingrays, manta rays, and a wonderful variety of tropical fish. This inviting temperature is also ideal for spending the day soaking, swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, or snorkeling in the sea.

And the beaches, ahh the beaches. Too many to count but with 700-miles of coastline there are a lot of beaches, white sand, gold sand and volcanic black sands. There are Blue Flag beaches up and down the coast symbolizing very pristine waters and beach. And maybe the best news, most are not crowded, you’ll find many times you are the only ones there to enjoy.

Manuel Antonio, National Park in Costa Rica - beautiful tropical beach at pacific coast. Pure Luxury Costa Rica.

Adventure

Costa Rica is a playground for the adventure-minded traveler. There are so many exhilarating adventure activities to do here including white water rafting, waterfall repelling, canopy zip lining, horseback riding, hiking, scuba diving, sea kayaking, fishing, ATV-ing and of course surfing, amazing surfing. Ready to get wet and wild?

Happy smiling woman sits on the surfboard in the ocean. Pure Luxury Costa Rica

Relaxation and Rejuvenation  

A trip to Costa Rica can cover the entire spectrum if you so desire it to, from adventure and activities every day to complete and utter relaxation. Costa Rica is the perfect place to unwind and let your daily worries and stresses melt away.

You can treat yourself to spa treatments that incorporate nourishing ingredients straight from the earth like volcanic mud, coconut, honey, mango, coffee, and cacao. You can take a long soak in a natural hot spring, swing yourself to sleep in a hammock beneath a beautiful palm tree, or float in an infinity pool while savoring a fruity frozen cocktail. Or, maybe you want to still your mind and move your body by practicing yoga in an open-air shala or simply do nothing and just embrace the sounds of nature.

Luxury

If you are seeking 1,000 tread count Egyptian cotton sheets, a private veranda with an ocean-view jacuzzi, personal concierge service, sensational meals served alongside a vast vistas, a romantic and private ambience, and convenient access to an array of amazing activities and amenities, you can find all of that in Costa Rica.

While Costa Rica can definitely accommodate any type of budget, it really shines when it comes to luxury accommodations, restaurants, and services. If you know the right luxury concierge and experience company J 

Culture

Costa Rican culture is very colorful in so many ways. The capital city of San José is home to museums, art galleries, yearly festivals, music and sporting events, and live theater. There are also ample opportunities to learn about Costa Rica’s rich history and indigenous communities while traveling outside of the city, places like Guanacaste and Nicoya Peninsula. We can all definitely learn something from Costa Rica’s past and present way of life.

3_carreta guanacasteca. Pure Luxury Costa Rica

Pura Vida

Pura Vida (literally translate to “pure life”) is a way of life in Costa Rica and one that everyone who visits Costa Rica can embrace and take home with them. Pura Vida is about living simply and consciously, thriving in the present, embracing and respecting nature, spending quality time with the ones you love, and making the time to do the things that bring you the most joy. It is also about taking care of yourself through rest, movement, and food.

It is not hard to experience Pura Vida while you are in Costa Rica. It is a pretty contagious ideology. It is this way of thinking, living, and acting that can truly enrich your experience here and grant you the chance to connect more deeply with yourself, nature, and the ones whom you are exploring this alluring country with.

Spring Break for Devil Rays?

Spring Break for Devil Rays?

Jacque Cousteau has nothing over on Barbara one of our favorite marine adventure guides when she stumbled upon something incredibly rare, a massive school of Devil Rays.

On one clear beautiful day Barbara and clients were out cruising looking for giant Manta Rays by small islands not far off the beach at Playa Coco in Guanacaste when she noticed a large number of Devil Rays, but had no idea until she jumped in the water with them…that there were hundreds!

The Devil Rays where flying around islands that are in front Playa Coco in only 40-ft of water when she jumped in to get a closer look. The captain sent up his drone to get this incredible shot!  In her 10-years she has never seen even half that many at one-time in one school. They must have been on Spring Break…?!

Devil ray school. Pure Luxury Costa Rica 2

And yes, that is Barbara in the school.  A photo is worth a thousand words…or three letters…WOW!

12 Activities and Tours in Costa Rica That Your Kids Will Absolutely Love

12 Activities and Tours in Costa Rica That Your Kids Will Absolutely Love

While Costa Rica is an exceptionally romantic destination for lovers, it is equally as fantastic for families. There are so many activities to do in Costa Rica that your children and teenagers will be over-the-moon excited to be doing with you. A family vacation to Costa Rica is the perfect way to make your family closer and happier than ever.

White water rafting

White water rafting in Costa Rica is an adventure your family will never forget! There are several world-class rivers in Costa Rica with class III, IV, and V rapids. White water rafting takes team work, and a family that rafts together stays together!

White Water Rafting. Pure Luxury Costa Rica.

Waterfall repelling  

Imagine standing on top of a magnificent waterfall that falls into a brilliant blue forest pool. Now imagine repelling your way down to that pool. That is waterfall repelling. This heart-pumping activity is sure to give you an adrenaline high and a bout of laughter when you reach the cool pool below. Repelling down a waterfall with surely be a family highlight.

Canopy zip lining  

One of the most popular family activities in Costa Rica is canopy zip lining. This is a truly unique experience where you will get to fly through the trees and view the wild forest from above; a view point not everyone gets to experience in their lifetime. Kids absolutely love this one!

Canopy Zip Lining. Pure Luxury Costa Rica.

Sailing catamaran tour

 A catamaran tour, either private or with other families, is a very stress-free, no worry, and hands-off family activity. Typically, these fun sailing trips last about four hours and are complete with an open bar, delicious snacks and lunch, snorkeling gear, water toys, and an opportunity to swim and float in a protected bay. Not to mention, the setting is perfect for that family photo you told yourself you were going to get on this trip.

River boat tour 

A river boat tour is anything but boring. Taking a boat safari down a river like the Tempisque River is sure to be filled with a lot of jaw-drops. Low elevation rivers in Costa Rica are teeming with wildlife, including dense populations of giant crocodiles. This is a nature-rich experience where you and your family will have the opportunity to get really close to some wonderfully wild creatures.

River Boat Tour. Pure Luxury Costa Rica.

Nature hiking (day and night)

 Costa Rica is bursting at the seams with plants and animals. Taking a guided day or night hike through the rainforest, cloud forest, or tropical dry forest is your best chance at spotting some of Costa Rica’s most iconic animals. If you have the chance, you should definitely take at least one day and one night hike since some animals are diurnal and other are nocturnal.

Stand-up paddle boarding 

There are countless protected bays and estuaries in Costa Rica that are ideal for stand-up paddle boarding. For those who have never tried this popular water activity, fret not, it is something that you can learn in less than a day. This is a unique way to explore the shallow waterways and spend time as a family outdoors and in nature. It is also a great way to spot marine and river wildlife.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding. Pure Luxury Costa Rica.

Surfing 

There are beginner-friendly surf breaks all up and down the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Costa Rica is an excellent place to learn and practice surfing. A private surf guide can help make your family’s quest for standing up on a wave a success. For fast learners or already experienced surfers, your surf guide can take you to some of the best breaks in the country.

Chocolate tour

What kid doesn’t LOVE chocolate? Costa Rica is famous for its cacao and chocolate. Taking a guided tour to learn about the entire process from cacao to chocolate bar is a fascinating and truly delicious experience that the entire family will enjoy.

Chocolate Tour. Cacao Pure Luxury Costa Rica.

ATV excursion

Got a teenager with a need for speed? Here’s a family activity that is sure to bring a beaming smile to your kid’s face. From cruising alongside lush mountains to deserted dirt roads that lead to hidden beaches, this is an exhilarating way to explore a part of Costa Rica.

Combo all-day adventure

Can’t decide what to do? All-day combo adventure tours take away the need to choose just one activity. Many combo tours combine between three and five activities like zip lining, horseback riding, ATV-ing, hiking, and waterfall repelling. There are even options to completely customize your very own combo tour.

Five Surf Films Shot in Costa Rica

Get Stoked to Surf by Watching These Five Surf Films that were Shot in Costa Rica

Surfing is synonymous with Costa Rica. There are right, left, reef, beach, and river mouth breaks on both the Pacific and Caribbean coast. There are consistent world-famous spots and hidden fickle gems. There are beginner-perfect waves, as well as advanced surfer-only spots. To get a little taste of what Costa Rica has to offer on the wave-front, check out these five exciting surf movies.

The Endless Summer II

Shot thirty years after the original Endless Summer, Patrick O’Connell and Robert “Wingnut” Weaver join the original cast of surfers including Robert August who now calls Tamarindo home.  in Asia, France, Australia, South Africa, Hawaii, and Costa Rica. This classic surf movie put Tamarindo on the surf map.

Endless Summer II, Costa Rica
Endless Summer II, Costa Rica

License to Chill: Burger Goes to Costa Rica

 Join the Ho Family (Mason, Coco, Michael, and Derek) and their buddy Burger (Keoni Nozaki) as they head south and score some waves on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. This goofy surf film will be sure to inspire you to grab your stick and paddle out. 

Further

Surfers Brett Barley and Ryland Rubens score multiple dreamy sessions complete with barrels, airs, and crocodiles in this short and sweet surf feature. 

 

The Vast Waters: Fresh Surfing from Costa Rica

Follow surfer Leon Glatzer as he gracefully surfs glassy Pavones, the second longest left point break in the world on the southern Pacific coast. While Pavones is on the small side in this video, this wave can hold some massive swell. 

Intermission in Costa Rica

Join Dylan Goodale, Luke Davis, Brendon Gibbens, and Michael Dunphy on a surf trip to the province of Guanacaste. This exciting surf video features several of Guanacaste’s best waves. Watch these four young surfers pull into long barrels, drop into wedgy waves, and take to the sky with impressive airs.  

11 Eye-Opening Facts You Won’t Believe about Costa Rica

11 Eye-Opening Facts You Won’t Believe about Costa Rica

 

1. Everyone’s a millionaire

The first of the Costa Rican facts is about their money. The local currency in Costa Rica is called the cólon after the famous explorer Christopher Columbus or Cristóbal Colón as he is called in Spanish. Since around 500 colones are equivalent to a dollar, you can easily be a cólon millionaire while only having a few thousand dollars to your name!

Costa Rican currency bills

2. There’s no army

Costa Rica is one of just 23 countries in the world which does not have an army. The country abolished the armed forces 70 years ago in 1948. Edgar Cardona, the Defence Minister at the time, proposed the measure to allow the government to boost spending on health and education services. This inspired decision has paved the way for decades of peace, political stability and economic prosperity compared with Costa Rica’s turbulent neighbors Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. In 1989 Panama followed suit and abolished their armed forces, following Costa Rica’s example.

3. And few street signs!

Until recently, street signs were a rare sight in Costa Rica. A $1 million dollar project was launched in the capital city of San José to install signs, but in smaller towns and rural areas most people simply rely on local landmarks when giving directions. It’s not uncommon to hear instructions like “It’s 200 meters west of the big tree” when you ask locals for help finding an address!

4. The Jesus Christ lizard

Although it might sound blasphemous to some, one of Costa Rica’s most curious animals is the Jesus Christ Lizard. Locals say the lizard was given the name thanks to its amazing ability to run on water to escape from predators!

5. There’s a university of peace

As part of Costa Rica’s commitment to peaceful conflict resolution in Central America and beyond, in 1980 the University for Peace or UPEACE was established within a nature reserve close to San José. The university has educated thousands of students from over 100 countries who have gone on to work for NGOs and government institutions in conflict situations all over the world.

6. Over half a million species live there (but it covers just 0.03% of the earth’s surface)

Despite being roughly the size of West Virginia or Lake Michigan, Costa Rica is home to nearly 6% of the world’s biodiversity. In total over 500,000 different species can be found in Costa Rica. Part of the reason for this rich diversity is that Costa Rica links North and South America and has acted as a bridge for animal and plant life for thousands of years. Amazingly, every year new discoveries are made. Between 2011 and 2013 a mind-blowing 5000 new species were found, including butterflies, moths, frogs, lizards, birds and mammals!

7. 25% of the country is protected

Costa Ricans are well aware of the rich natural beauty of their nation and they work hard to preserve it. Around 25% of the land is designated as a park or reserve to protect it from devastating practices like logging and deforestation. These areas include 27 national parks, 58 wildlife refuges and 15 mangrove and wetland reserves.

8. Living to 100 isn’t uncommon

Costa Rica has one of the highest life expectancies in the world with an average of 79 years. The laid back nation is also home to one of the world’s seven Blue Zones where people commonly live to 100 thanks to a healthy diet and stress-free lifestyle.

9. A “soda” isn’t what you think it is!

When Costa Ricans talk about a “soda”, they’re actually talking about a small restaurant which serves typical local cuisine. Usually little more than a whole in the wall, most won’t even give you a menu as they all serve the same dishes! Sodas are the most authentic places to try typical Costa Rica plates since they’re where locals go eat every day.

10. Food for life?

Speaking of typical Costa Rican cuisine, the national dish is the Casado which also means to be married in Spanish. It’s normally composed of rice, beans, fried sweet plantain and meat which are “married” together to form the dish. Another theory is that the plate is named after the idea that once a man got married, he would be provided with food for the rest of his life!

11. There are five active volcanoes

Visitors to Costa Rica often flock to the country’s famous Arenal volcano which used to erupt 41 times a day on average before activity levels dropped in 2010. Four other active volcanoes are spread across the country, including the Poás Volcano which is just 19 km from San José and last erupted in 2017.

Restaurants with a View

Enjoy Delicious Drinks and Dishes with Spectacular Ocean Views at These Five Restaurants in Costa Rica

 

What’s better than filling your belly with food and drinks that make you laugh because they are so unbelievably delicious? Doing so while marveling at the vast wide-open sea, of course. These five highly revered restaurants on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica create and serve not only the most exceptional food and cocktails but do so in an inspiringly gorgeous ocean setting. ¡Buen provecho! (Bon Appetite!)

Sentido Norte

 Sentido Norte is the restaurant at Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas. This sea and farm-to-table restaurant serves delectable beverages and plates in a space with an awe-provoking view of the Pacific Ocean and the Catalina Islands.

Dishes and drinks are created using locally sourced ingredients like plantains, coconuts, hearts of palm, avocados, cashews, chicken, pork, and seafood. Come for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or happy hour, or opt to spend the entire day up here basking in the infinity pool and eating and drinking until your heart is content.

Coco Loco

Since 2012, Coco Loco has long been a local and visitor favorite. Settled on the edge of the white sand of Playa Flamingo, Coco Loco is as beachfront as you can get. Their signature cocktail, a frozen coconut filled with coconut milk and a mixture of liquors, will definitely bring a huge smile to your face.

This is a beautiful spot to spend the afternoon and sunset while treating yourself to fresh seafood and tropical drinks.

Pangas Beach Club

Pangas Beach Club is one of the top restaurants and private event venues in Tamarindo. Located next to the Tamarindo estuary, this beautifully designed outdoor restaurant feels far removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown Tamarindo even though it is steps away from all the action. The fresh fusion menu has something for everyone, including outstanding seafood dishes, appetizers, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic concoctions.

Kua Kua Restaurant

Kua Kua Restaurant is part of the lavish Three Sixty Boutique Hotel in Ojochal. Kua Kua’s menu changes depending on what is in season. All of the ingredients used are locally sourced and fresh. In fact, every morning the kitchen team visits the local produce market and buys fish for the day straight from the local fishermen. While the food is absolutely divine, the view will take your breath away.

El Mirador Restaurant

El Mirador is one of two restaurants that are part of the rainforest and beachfront luxury resort Arenas Del Mar. Awarded the prestigious Certificate of Sustainable Tourism, Arenas Del Mar and its restaurants offer expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park. The views from El Mirador are so remarkable that it is listed in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

Visit Costa Rica’s Four Most Famous, Active, and Accessible Volcanoes

Visit Costa Rica’s Four Most Famous, Active, and Accessible Volcanoes

When you think about Costa Rica it is likely that an image appears in your mind of a tropical oasis where rainforests teeming with wildlife spill down to the edge of an alluring and pristine coastline. While this image is very accurate, Costa Rica also possesses a very fiery inland façade.

Costa Rica’s unique geographical location includes it in both the infamous Ring of Fire and the Central American Volcanic Arc. There are over 200 identified volcanic formations, and 100 of those are active. Not all 200 formations are classified as volcanoes though. There are currently five active volcanoes in Costa Rica.

With the exception of the Turrialba volcano, which has been closed to visitors since 2012 due to dangerous levels of volcanic activity, the Arenal, Rincón de la Vieja, Poás, and Irazú volcanoes can all be visited up close. There is something truly primordial and humbling about being in the presence of ancient geological giants. All of these volcanoes are part of their own namesake national park, as well.

Exploring any one of these four active volcanoes is sure to be a highlight of your Costa Rica adventure.

Arenal Volcano

The Arenal Volcano is the most iconic volcano in Costa Rica. Its shape is the cone volcano you would have drawn as a child. It hasn’t erupted since December 2010, but it is still classified as active. The Arenal Volcano National Park is an enchanting place filled with idyllic valleys, lively rainforests, natural hot springs, waterfalls, and an exciting collection of adventure activities.

You will definitely want to spend several days around La Fortuna because there is so much to see and do up here besides visiting the volcano. The area around the Arenal Volcano is dotted with multiple luxurious hotels that have their own private hot springs, volcano-view suites, and amenities that will make it hard to leave.

Rincón de la Vieja

Rincón de la Vieja is located in Guanacaste and is home to nine volcanic craters. The Santa Maria Volcano and the Von Seeback crater are the most famous though. The Rincón de la Vieja National Park is made up of multiple ecosystems and an extraordinary diversity of wildlife, including three species of monkeys, over 200 exotic bird species, and wild jungle cats. There are also multiple waterfalls, hot springs, hiking trails, and rivers to tube down.

Poás Volcano

The Poás Volcano recently became accessible to visitors again after a very active stint. The Poás Volcano has the largest active crater in the world and stretches a mile across. There are also two crater lakes that are a captivating and photo-worthy site to see. What’s great about visiting this particular volcano is that it is very easy to get to and there are well-maintained walking trails.

Irazú Volcano

The Irazú Volcano is one of the most popular volcanoes to visit due to the fact that you can drive almost all the way to the top and because of its convenient location close to San José. On a very clear day, you can actually see both the Pacific and the Caribbean coast from the submit, which is 11,529 feet above sea level. There is a half-mile looped hiking trail that you can walk and observe the main crater, as well as the Diego de la Haya, Playa Hermosa, and the Laguna craters.

The Most Beautiful Butterflies in Costa Rica

The Most Beautiful Butterflies in Costa Rica and Where to Spot Them

Costa Rica is so enchanted that nearly 18% of the world’s butterfly species are fluttering here. Butterflies are so abundant in Costa Rica that they can be seen in every part of the country and in every ecosystem, including out in the ocean. There are approximately 1,200 different species of butterflies in Costa Rica, and while all of them are beautiful, a few species really stand out from the rest. These are those special species.

Blue Morpho Butterfly

The blue morpho butterfly is by far the most iconic and alluring butterfly in all of Costa Rica. It is one of the largest butterfly species in the world and has a wing span reaching up to eight inches across. Their eye-catching iridescent blue wings make them the true jewel of the forest. They can be found in forests up to 1,800 meters above sea level and on both coasts in Costa Rica.

An interesting fact about the blue morpho butterfly is that like Rio Celeste’s mystical opaque blue waters, blue morpho wings aren’t actually pigmented the blue that you see; it is an optical illusion.

Glass Wing Butterfly

There are 64 species of glass wing butterflies. As you can guess from the name, glass wing butterflies have transparent wings. They are a migratory butterfly, but Costa Rica is right in their migratory range. They can be found almost anywhere that is between 500 and 1,600 meters above sea level, but they prefer more open terrain.

Owl Butterfly

The owl butterfly is a brilliantly patterned and massive butterfly. What makes them unique and where they get their name from is the giant owl eye-like spots on their wings. They can be found in lowland forests and are especially attracted to the sugary juice from fruits like pineapples, oranges, and mangoes.

Julia Butterfly

The Julia butterfly’s wings resemble a magnificent and fiery sunset. They flourish in open areas and in the canopy of forests from sea level to 1,500 meters on both the Caribbean and Pacific slope. They are very alert and can rapidly fly away, so if you see one take a quick look because in the blink of an eye they might be gone.

White Angled Sulphur Butterfly

The white angled sulphur butterfly is a true master of disguise. It’s angelic sea foam green wings resemble leaves. If you weren’t actively looking for this gorgeous butterfly, you would surely miss it amongst the foliage. They typically thrive in the tropical dry forests in Guanacaste.

While you can see butterflies anywhere and everywhere in Costa Rica, if you are interested in seeing a lot of different types of butterflies in one place and learning about them as well, there are three amazing places to do just that.

The Butterfly Farm in La Guacima

The Butterfly Farm in La Guacima was the very first butterfly exhibit in all of Central America. The town of La Guacima is completely dedicated to butterfly conservation. There are daily tours offered where you can learn all about the native butterfly species of Costa Rica and the conservation efforts in place in this butterfly-loving town.

The Butterfly Observatory at La Paz Waterfall Gardens 

The Butterfly Observatory at La Paz Waterfall Gardens is home to over 4,000 free-flying butterflies. There is an on-site laboratory that breeds 25 native species of butterflies and is where you can learn about and see all of the different life cycle stages. After visiting this fascinating observatory, you can visit the waterfalls, wild cat sanctuary, hummingbird garden, frog exhibit, and serpentarium that are part of La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

The Butterfly Observatory in El Castillo

Located near the world-famous Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal, the Butterfly Observatory is an education and research center that is home to the largest butterfly exhibit in Costa Rica. The observatory also has an impressive collection of frogs, insects, and orchids.