There’s a reason why tourists that love tropical places often have Costa Rica on the top of their lists. With beaches, rainforests, wildlife, and sun, it’s no wonder why many people speak so highly of this country. Here are 15 reasons to visit Costa Rica.
1. Gorgeous beaches
There are over 300 beaches in Costa Rica, and each has its own breathtaking view. So go work on your tan, bask in the sun, go for a refreshing swim or go fishing. You’re literally in paradise.
Costa Rica has dozens of intense waterfalls that are accessible to tourists. In fact, several waterfalls are open for visitors to swim and take natural showers.
3. Great weather
Costa Rica receives 12 hours of sunlight each day and rarely gets cold. Costa Ricans hit the beaches year ’round, even in the winter when the temperature only drops to 70 degrees.
Throughout Costa Rica (especially San Jose), street food and cafes serve authentic cuisine of black beans, rice, chicken, plantains and fish. On the streets, you can find boiled peaches (above) and unusual snacks to bring out the food connoisseur in you.
5. Wild monkeys
What’s more exciting than seeing monkeys in the wild? Costa Rica’s forest is blanketed with squirrel monkeys, capuchins, and mantled howlers. Some parks or hotels near (or inside) the forest will let you feed them (if they come to you from their trees).
For those of you who are not squeamish with fascinating-looking bugs, Costa Rica is a haven for a plethora of oddly-shaped and strange bugs. Grasshoppers, spiders and millipedes of strange colors can be spotted in the deep jungle.
7. Protected National Parks
Costa Rica is aware of de-forestation problems and actively works against its forest’s endangerment. Over 20% of Costa Rica’s territory is protected and illegal to chop down trees. Visitors have a choice of exploring 34 different protected areas to see the country at its best and untouched by humans.
8. Hot Springs
Because of Costa Rica’s many volcanoes, there are several hot springs available to the public to relax in. The hot springs are completely natural and clean, and most springs have an adjourning hotel to let visitors frolick in the warm water.
9. Parque Nacional Corcovado
Covering 164 square miles of natural rain forest, beaches and wildlife, this area is dubbed as the world’s most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity by National Geographic. There, visitors can see tapirs, anteaters, squirrel monkeys, three-toed sloths, jaguars, as well as dolphins, manatees and humpback whales. Be sure to book with a trained tourist guide or group instead of wandering in alone, otherwise, you’ll find yourself lost in a true wilderness.
There are up to 1,251 species of butterflies in Costa Rica, making this place a fantastic spot to sight-see the planet’s most lovable insect. Although you can see some in towns or San Jose, it’s better to visit the rain forests for better views.
Many of the best coffees are imported from Costa Rica. When visiting, it’s an absolute must to hit the nearest cafe and sample their freshest local brew. Even better, you can visit the Tarrazu area where they grow some of the world’s best coffee beans. Coffee facilities in Tarrazu are open to tourists during peak seasons.
The country currently hosts six active volcanoes and 61 dormant volcanoes. Arenal is the country’s most popular and striking volcano. At 5,437 feet tall and covered with green foliage, Arenal has been active for 43 years and its crater is available for tourists to hike nearby and peek inside. Just hope that it doesn’t feel like getting feisty during your visit.
13. Bird-watching paradise
Attention ornithologist nerds! Costa Rica is home to more than 840 species of birds including the firey-billed aracari, macaws, toucans and magpie jays (above). When visiting this great country, be sure to bring your binoculars. Whether you’re a bird fanatic or not, you’ll easily turn into an instant bird-watcher once you notice the unusual and intensely-colored birds in the surrounding areas.
With strong waves and less crowded beaches, surf enthusiasts find Costa Rica to have the best combination to engage in their favorite activity. No need to worry about bringing a surf or boogie board with you on a plane, there are plenty of places to rent them. Cowabunga!
15. Ranked as the happiest place on Earth
According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica earned the #1 spot as the happiest country in the world. So forget the anti-depressant pills, head down there, mingle with the locals and let their good mood rub off on you.