Monday 24 February 2014

Top 10 Things to Do In Costa Rica

In 2007, I took my first international trip to Costa Rica and fell in love, not only with the country, but the adventure of traveling itself. I started C'est La Vie a few months after that trip so it was never documented on this blog, but I've always wanted to share the attractiveness of the country as it still sits as one of my Top 5 Countries. Lucky enough, Devon DeMars of There D Goes, just came back from the land of "Pura Vida" and I couldn't agree more with her list of things to do. Enjoy!

Planning for (or daydreaming about) a trip to Costa Rica? It’s a popular destination for those looking for adventure and leisure alike, but there are some definite “must-do’s” when going to this Central American country. 

  1) Go ziplining

You’ve probably heard about this before, as it is a popular activity in Costa Rica. There are several different zipline companies in different areas of the country, but one fun place to do it is in Monteverde where you will be able to glide down several different ziplines over the lush cloud forest. One zipline company I recommend is Costa Rica Sky Adventures.  

Snapped a picture of my mom’s nervous smile before our first zipline!

  2)   Grab some coconut water 

Costa Rica can be warm and humid, and you’ll want to stay hydrated, so do it with one of the freshest and healthiest drinks available – a coconut! They are inexpensive and easy to find, generally at a stand on the side of the road, where the merchant will machete chop it open for you then and there. So refreshing!

  3)   Explore the cloud forest              

The Costa Rican cloud forest is famous for its numerous flora & fauna species. It’s best to explore with a guide who can point out all the interesting plant and animal life that you might not have noticed without a trained eye. (Trust me on this.) You can often find monkeys, sloths, bats, lizards, birds and butterflies in their natural habitat and snap amazing photos.

  4) Visit the Arenal Volcano

The Arenal Volcano and surrounding town of La Fortuna is a highlight of many tourists’ trips. With a lush tropical climate, the scenery is beautiful and the imposing view of volcano is impressive. La Fortuna is a small town with several restaurant choices, shops, and things to do.

  5)  Dip in the natural hot springs

While you’re near the Arenal Volcano, stop by a natural hot spring! Most of these hot springs have been turned into beautiful pools, where guests can relax and test out the different temperatures of the pools before enjoying a traditional Costa Rican dinner.

  6)  Take a “Tico Tour”

A “Tico Tour” is a day trip to a small, local village where you can explore the lifestyle of small-town Costa Rica. Many Tico Tours include a guided nature walk, a traditional “campesino” style meal, swimming and/or fishing, horseback riding, and information about the town and local way of life. Check out the Santa Juana Mountain Adventure tour if this type of day trip sounds right up your alley.

After all the day’s activities of hiking, swimming, horseback riding and fishing, this meal and view were the perfect way to end the tour

  7)  Learn about local farming and agriculture

Costa Rica has several coffee and vanilla or chocolate plantations that are interesting to tourists. Visit one to learn how coffee, vanilla, chocolate or other items are harvested and get a new appreciation for your cup of joe!
Henry, owner of Villa Vanilla, explains how chocolate is created from cocoa beans

  8)  Sit back and relax

When visiting a beach town, take some time to relax and soak up the sun by the pool or ocean. Costa Rica is a beautiful place to kick back, but don’t forget to wear your sunscreen! The country is very close to the equator, and the sun’s rays are likely much stronger then what you are used to. 

  9)  Rent a moped

Many small tourist towns can be explored on foot or by cab, but another way is by moped! If you are an adventurous soul, you can rent a moped for the day or week and use it to get around town. You’ll feel like a local and make memories as you won’t forget zipping around town.

  10) Go surfing

Tamarindo Bay and other areas of Costa Rica are famous surf spots that you won’t want to miss if you love water sports. There are several places to rent surf or boogie boards. If you don’t want to surf, you can’t go wrong with just exploring the habitat along the beaches and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Devon DeMars is a lifestyle blogger at There D Goes writing about fitness, beauty and travel adventures. When she’s not blogging you’ll find her always on-the-go exploring her town of San Diego, day dreaming about her next adventure, training for her first marathon, finding a new favorite wine, or visiting her friends and family across the country. You can see what she’s up to on her lifestyle blog or on Twitter at @ThereDGoes.