By Rachael Funk
Costa Rica is not only considered one of the world’s happiest countries, it is also one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet. Offering everything from lush jungles to sunny coastlines, the raw power of Costa Rica stays with travelers long after they’ve returned. If you’re thinking about Costa Rica on your next escape, here are the top 10 reasons why you should visit.
Costa Rica’s main export is coffee, and you’d better believe they know what they’re doing! With nearly 400 million coffee trees growing in the country, more than 300 different varieties of Arabica coffee comes from Costa Rica. Arabica beans are so beloved, there is even an executive order banning the growth or production of any other variety of coffee bean.
9. Cool Vernacular
Instead of saying “hello” or “hola” as a greeting, Costa Ricans generally greet each other with a cheery “pura vida.” More than a term that translates to “pure life,” pura vida is a way of life. “Nos Juimos” is used to mean “we’re outta here,” but is usually shortened to “N.J.,” which sounds like “en-ay hota.” Some Costa Ricans refer to their partners as “media naranja,” which translates to “the other half of the orange.”
8. Hatching Sea Turtles
If you are ready to watch one of nature’s most awe-inspiring miracles, hit Costa Rica during nesting season! Leatherbacks nest from March to July on the country’s Caribbean coast, and September through March on the Pacific Coast.
7. Outdoor Activities
White-water rafting, surfing, hiking, horseback riding, zip lining, snorkeling, canyoning, waterskiing, even volcano surfing (which is really cool) are all options you can choose during your vacation! Not to mention sunset cruises, private boat tours of hidden beaches, beach massages, and the Fiestas Civicas you can enjoy! No matter what your physical fitness level is, if you’re bored in Costa Rica, you’re not doing it right.
6. Monteverde Cloud Forest
This dreamy forest is located so high in the Tilaran mountain range, most of it is usually covered in clouds! You’ll need a raincoat and some warm clothes since the clouds usually produce a steady drizzle, but if you’re looking for surreal beauty, you can get it here in spades.
There are over a dozen volcanoes in Costa Rica, including the 5,358-foot tall Arenal Volcano. The country’s three volcanic range systems include the Guanacaste Range, the Central Volcanic Range, and the Talamanca Range, which is comprised of only one volcano: the El Viejo.
4. The Rio Celeste
Located in the Tenoria Volcano National Park, the Rio Celeste is an 8-mile stretch of stunningly blue water. This hidden gem is as gorgeous in real life as in photos and gets its color from the way the water reflects light in the river, creating an optical illusion. Local legend says the color of the water is the result of God washing his paintbrushes after painting the sky.
3. The Animals
In a country that boasts the most species of hummingbirds in one place, you’re sure to experience a wide range of wildlife you wouldn’t encounter anywhere else! Sloths, monkeys, frogs, birds, even jaguars live here, so be sure to keep aware of your surroundings and never approach an animal in the wild!
2. The Beaches
Bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica has the distinction of being able to offer excellent beaches on both coasts. With beaches offering black, white, pink, brown, and tan sand, you’ll be able to hunt down the perfect spot with exactly the aesthetic your Instagram has come to expect from you. No matter which coast you’re on, there’s sure to be a pristine beach very close by.
1. The People
Costa Ricans have a well-earned reputation of being extremely friendly and welcoming to visitors. The “pura vida” motto is something taken to heart by the locals and creates an atmosphere of joy that is almost palpable. Though there are millions of reasons to visit Costa Rica, the best one is to be able to meet some of the best people on the planet.