Costa Rica is a dream destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. Located in Central America and characterized by dense forest and calm beaches, there is never a dull moment in the small country. But if there does happen to be a dull moment you will enjoy that too because Costa Rica is all for embracing the simplicities in life. Here are 20 reasons you must visit Costa Rica in your lifetime!
1. Roam the island via an ATV tour!
The ATV tour was probably my favorite thing that I did in Costa Rica. You follow a tour guide who takes you through bumpy forest landscapes, thick mud and small creeks. On my tour we got great views of the ocean but other tours will give you magnificent views of the volcanoes around Costa Rica. Don’t wear your favorite clothes on the tour because they are bound to get wet or muddy.
2. Swim by the waterfalls.
The waterfalls in Costa Rica look like they came straight out of a post card. There are several tours that will get you up close to the iridescent beauties and the cool water feels so nice after a long hike.
3. Go caving!
Go caving or spelunking and discover caves that were formed millions of years ago. Tourists can see the natural beauty within the caves such as the stalagmites, stalactites and waterfalls. They might also encounter some fish, bats and cave insects. And It will definitely be a journey to remember.
4. Get the adrenaline pumping by going zip lining.
You can’t go to Costa Rica without zip lining, you just can’t. Costa Rica is known for its long zip lines that will give you picturesque views. You will get to soar over thick forest canopies, view large volcanoes and catch a glimpse of waterfalls below you. Sometimes the tour guides even let you zip line upside down.
5. Go on coffee tours.
Costa Rica has several coffee plantations throughout the country. Visitors can take a tour through the plantations, learn about coffee’s important role in Costa Rica’s economy, learn how to make coffee from experts and of course participate in a coffee tasting. Also depending on which company you choose, there are fun activities to do along with the coffee tour such as hiking, visiting waterfalls, and zip lining.
6. Go on chocolate tours!
Calling all chocoholics, or at least those who aren’t too fond of coffee, the chocolate tour is definitely a must see. The tours will teach you all the steps that come with making chocolate from the bean to the store. The Caribeans Coffee & Chocolate tour will actually take you on a journey through time. You start by tasting chocolate in the way the Aztecs would have made it, in liquid form, and ends with tasting chocolate the way most of the world eats it now, as chocolate bars.
7. Pura Vida lifestyle.
Pura Vida or pure life in English, is a common greeting and goodbye that Costa Rican’s use. I heard that expression a lot in my short time in the country. It’s phrase meant to encourage you and those around you to embrace a pure simple life, live in the moment and live your best life. Everyone you meet in Costa Rica is so happy and you will really feel that they live by the Pura Vida lifestyle. In some ways Pura Vida is Costa Rica’s version of Carpe Diem.
8. Fresh and delicious seafood.
Costa Rica has very fresh and appetizing seafood. Since many tourist cities are close to the beach you can guarantee that your food will be very fresh.
9. Breathtakingly beautiful beaches.
The beaches are gorgeous and very relaxing. You’ll see many families at the beach, some boats or people surfing but it’s nowhere near as loud, crowded or touristy as American beaches. Many of the beaches there will give you views of the spectacular mountains and I think they’re the best place in Costa Rica to catch the sunset or sunrise.
10. The most Instagram worthy sunsets.
Definitely try to make it to the beach or to a place where you can see the vast sky because Costa Rica sunsets are to die for.
11. Explore the Cloud Forest.
Located in the Central Highlands of Costa Rica, the cloud forest is one of the most popular places to visit in Costa Rica. It’s called the cloud forest because the high elevation combined wth 100% humidity make clouds hover around you like fog. The clouds give the forest an ethereal feel and straight out of a storybook. And if you walk over a bridge, that moment when you can’t see the ground beneath you it will be as if you’re floating above the earth.
12. Try horseback riding!
Not a fan of hiking? Me either. Our tour guides put us on horses to take us up the mountain for the zip line and it was a blast. Not only was it fun laughing with my family as we struggled to ride the horses, we were able to enjoy some beautiful views. Plus, the horses walk the same route everyday so they were basically steering themselves which helped. There are also horseback tours on the beach for those who prefer an ocean view.
13. Take pictures of all of the wildlife.
The wildlife in Costa Rica is unreal. From the moment you step out of the airport you will see gorgeous birds flying above you and monkeys like to climb the power lines. When my family and I hiked through the woods we saw gigantic ants, multicolored butterflies and (spoiler alert) so many monkeys.
14. Relax in the tranquil hot springs.
Slow down and find peace at one of Costa Rica’s tranquil hot springs. The springs range from 80 to over 100 degrees (because it’s heated by a volcano and all) and the minerals in the water are supposed to be very good for your skin. Depending on which hot springs you go to, there might be a spa, mud baths and water slides.
15. Clear your mind by trying yoga.
A huge part of living the Pura Vida lifestyle means being relaxed. Costa Rica hosts many yoga retreats out in the jungle or by the beach to escape the noise of the city and allow your mind to be still.
16. See the many volcanoes!
There are over 100 volcanoes in Costa Rica but only five that are active. Tourists can get great pictures of two volcanoes by hiking through Arenal National Park.
17. Go white water rafting.
During the rainy season (our summer) white water rafting is the thing to do in Costa Rica. Whether you decide to raft a more intense river, a calmer one or just go on a relaxing river safari, you will be in for a fun day.
18. A surfing paradise.
Costa Rica is a surfers dream destination. For those who have never surfed before there are several surfing schools scattered around popular beaches to teach you the basics and help you catch your first waves. For the veterans, Playa Guiones, Playa Tamarindo and Playa Pavones are where you want to be.
19. Music festivals galore!
Music lovers will love the diverse mix of music Costa Rica has, from reggae and rock to salsa and bachata. Festivals are growing in popularity because of the wide range of music In the area. Among some of the most popular include the envision festival in February, The International Festival of Music held every summer during the last two weeks of august and the Monteverde Music Festival a six week long music festival hosted by the Hotel Fonda Vela.
20. Explore unique markets.
For shoppers, Mercado Artesanal is the place to visit. It’s an open air market in San Jose featuring handmade jewelry, fabrics, wood carvings and more. Also the Mercado Nacional de Artesanías has many souvenirs and keepsakes made by locals that are worth checking out.