Costa Rica, with its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture and stunning wildlife, has long been a peaceful haven in Latin America for US tourists – but now, it seems that the rest of the world is getting in on the action.
Recent figures have shown that the number of US tourists is declining in favor of visitors from other regions, predominantly Central and South Americans, keen to experience the Costa Rican promise of ‘Pura Vida’ (pure life).
With the launch of a new route from Air Berlin this November, that could soon include European tourists, although visitors would do well to visit before the rush really begins – in the first three months of this year, the country has already seen a spike of 7.8 percent in arrivals.
Already lauded this year by the International Business Times and TripAdvisor, Costa Rica is a rich and thought-provoking destination – here’s a look at some of the best things to do in a country that prides itself on having ‘no artificial ingredients’:
See the wildlife. Costa Rica is one of the planet’s most biodiverse nations, offering everything from bird watching to whale-spotting thanks to terrain which is uniquely varied. The best way to do this, however, is to?
Take a canopy tour. Invented in Costa Rica in the 1990s, the idea of whizzing above the treetops on a zip line has gained popularity across the continent, but the country’s incredible forestry remains one of the best places to do it.
Raft. Costa Rica offers some of the world’s best white-water rafting, even if it is terrifying. Still, the risks are easy to forget as you bounce down the Río Reventazón, hanging on by a thread and trying desperately not to miss the incredible jungle wildlife.
See Liberia. Costa Rica’s capital San José isn’t for everybody, but Liberia offers a far more charming base from which to explore the country and an increasing number of international flights to get there.
See the Pacific and the Atlantic – from a volcano. Thirty kilometers outside of San José, the Irazu volcano is the most active of Costa Rica’s volcanoes, but for now it makes a great day out. From the 3,432-meter high tip – accessible by car through the national park – it’s possible to see both oceans on a clear day.
Get muddy. Don’t miss a chance to splash around in the volcanic mud pits of parks like Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja, which sits 25 km to the north of Liberia. There are several independent spas in the region.