4 May 2017
With all of the amazing things that make up Costa Rica, it can be hard to narrow down a list of the best of them. Nonetheless, we gave it a go, and managed to come up with our own list of the six absolute coolest things about this Central American tropical paradise.
Costa Rica features an incredible 800 miles of coastline, and there is a beach to suit every taste and purpose. On the country’s Pacific side, the beaches tend to be livelier, more populated, and better suited for sunbathing, surfing and people watching. On its Caribbean side, the beaches are quieter, more secluded and more pristine, and are perfect for scuba diving and wildlife watching. From craggy, cliff-side shorelines to tranquil white, black, brown, and even pink sands, every beach is perfectly picturesque in its own way.
Costa Rica’s incredibly diverse landscape offers nature-lovers endless opportunities for exploration. Twenty-five percent of Costa Rica is comprised of dense, lush rainforest, much of which is protected and nearly pristine. Costa Rica also features towering mountains, plunging waterfalls, misty cloud forests, and serene marshes. Finally, the country boasts 121 volcanic structures, and is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
While many people visit in the hopes of seeing iconic animals such as the scarlet macaw, the toucan and the capuchin monkey, not everyone realizes the vastness of Costa Rica’s biodiversity. While it makes up only .03 percent of the world’s total landmass, it houses 6 percent of the world’s species. The country is home to 130 freshwater fish species, 208 mammal species, 850 bird species, 1000 butterfly species and a full 34,000 species of insects. And if those numbers weren’t impressive enough, new species of plants and animals are discovered nearly every single day.
Costa Rica is a role model when it comes to conservation. Since the 1980s, the government has introduced a number of financing structures, which have helped to reverse forest loss and protect the species residing there. The country also has over 160 protected areas, reserves, parks and refuges, making up over 25% of the national territory. Costa Rica continues to be a world leader in slowing climate change by protecting its forests and mangroves.
Costa Rica gets 90% of its electricity from green sources; wind, water, and the country’s many volcanos. These efforts have made it a world-leader in renewable energy. Costa Rica aims to be 100% carbon neutral by 2021.
Costa Ricans, in general, are a warm, friendly, educated, polite, and generous. They welcome newcomers, and they are always happy to accommodate, and help others. Not a confrontational culture, Ticos will almost go out of their way to not hurt your feelings. If they think that a “no” will be ill-received, they will typically say “maybe” or even “yes.” You’ll quickly learn that “pura vida” isn’t just a national slogan; it’s a cultural way of life. One of my favorite local axioms is “tranquilidad ante todo” which roughly translates into English as, “Tranquility before everything.”
No matter what you love to do, there is an exciting activity waiting for you in Costa Rica. From rock climbing, to whitewater rafting, to zip-lining, or big game fishing, you can enjoy the outdoors year-round. Of course, if you just want to soak up some sun on the beach, enjoy some luxury spa time, or relax in some natural hot springs, you can do that, too.