7 Amazing Things to Do in Costa Rica
Last April, our featured travel writer Brittany VanderBeek traveled to Costa Rica for the first time. She had wanted to go to Costa Rica since first learning about the intersection of business and sustainability, and this trip turned out to be an exciting dream come true. Here she shares her top recommendations for places to see, activities, things to do and ways too help conservation efforts.
Why Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is world renown for being one of the first countries to put sustainability efforts into practice. According to the Costa Rica Tourism Official Website, Costa Rica “covers only 0.03 % of the surface of the globe, [but] it proudly shelters a 5% of the existing biodiversity in the entire world. 25.58 % of the country is composed of conservation and natural protected territory.”
The exotic wildlife and green reputation have always made me want to explore Costa Rica. In addition, prior to this trip, I had traveled to Spain and South America, but wanted to learn about the Spanish and indigenous influences in Costa Rica, given my Spanish language and literature studies as an undergraduate student. Lastly, I have always heard that Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world, so I was curious to see how the Costa Ricans live with such an optimistic outlook.
What are some of the amazing things you can do in Costa Rica?
1. Learn about the intricacies of coffee production at Café Britt
You can go on a tour to learn about each step in the coffee production process and the history of coffee production in Costa Rica. Then, you can try all the rich coffees. One of my favorite things to try was the chocolate covered coffee beans!
2. Go swimming in La Catarata de La Fortuna
This was one of my favorite travel experiences because it was so refreshing to swim in the waterfall and it was empowering to know that I could climb rocks barefoot to reach the springs.
3. Relax in the hot springs in La Fortuna, and overlook Arenal
If you are staying at a resort in Arenal, I recommend getting a hot stone massage, which uses lava stones from Arenal! I had a wonderful time staying at Hotel Arenal Manoa.
4. Seek out Adventure
Take a break from modern transportation and go on adventure (horseback ride, boat ride, and bike ride) from La Fortuna to Monteverde! Anywhere Costa Rica offers a great three-hour adventure. This was one of the highlights of my trip because throughout the experience, I was able to get to know the tour guides and learn about the local lifestyle in Costa Rica.
5. Go on an evening hike through Monteverde
Traditionally, we think about touring rainforests during the day in order to see the vibrant colors and diversity of the flora and fauna. You will begin to understand nature at a whole new level by going on a night tour, where you will see creatures that only come out at night. Beware, you will likely walk next to tarantulas and snakes, but you will feel one with nature, which should help you overcome any fears.
6. Shop for souvenirs that help with nature conservation
I purchased a painting of a macaw on a macaw feather, which helped raise money to protect macaws in Costa Rica. I also purchased morpho butterfly earrings and a necklace to help with butterfly conservation and educational initiatives in Costa Rica.
7. Spark conversation with los ticos (the Costa Ricans)
Get a taste of “la pura vida,” which is a positive and friendly attitude that defines the local people. I was very impressed and inspired by “la pura vida” mindset, so I described examples in my blog, inspirNational.
I hope you have the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and enjoy “la pura vida” as much as I did. iBuen viaje!
By Brittany VanderBeek