Text and Photos: Demian Colman
With special safety precautions, health protocols, and above all, gorgeous landscapes and always welcoming and smiling people, the pura vida country is once again opening its doors to anyone who hears the call of the Central American jungle. Panorama magazine is happy to remind you of six good reasons to visit Costa Rica.
Surfing, diving, and beaches of white, cocoa, or ebony sand. This Central American country boasts a gamut of beaches that will appeal to all types of visitors. For example, Jacó beach on the Pacific coast is the best place to party; its bars and restaurants are well-known to tourists who are more interested in nightlife than sleep. Jacó is also the gateway to several natural parks, which makes it the perfect blend of fun, nature, and adventure.
On the Caribbean coast, Tortuguero offers a chance to commune with nature. The National Park is renowned the world over for its sea turtle conservation programs. Scientists and the general public can watch green sea turtles lay their eggs, and this time of year is perfect for counting the hundreds of eggs laid by each female turtle. In a few months, the newborns will mark the beach with their miniature footprints.
Guanacaste, famous for its deluxe hotels and holiday villas, represents a different side of the country. Its miles of jungle-fringed beaches make it perfect for anyone seeking luxury, comfort, and privacy in a post-pandemic vacation.
The Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) notes that 68% of tourists come in search of sun, sand, and sea, but Costa Rica is more than beaches.
This Central American country has learned to use its forests responsibly. The humid tropical forest offers recreation, conservation, adventure, and science. If Costa Rica is famous for anything, it is a commitment to conservation, which does not necessarily preclude using the environment for adventure tourism, which is also one of its chief attractions.
Sarapiquí (Heredia province) is home to Tirimbina and Pozo Azul, which represent two opposite, yet complementary concepts. At Tirimbina, the science complex, the resident staff studies every square inch of forest, and guests can enjoy relaxing and taking specialized tours guided by the scientists themselves.
A few miles away, visitors can go glamping at Pozo Azul, where they will find a little more adventure: rafting down a river while being misted by sprays of water, ziplining through the treetops, or simply going for a pleasant horseback ride.
This small country located at the planet’s mid-section features a belt of more than one hundred volcanoes, making the landscape as rugged as it is spectacularly beautiful. Of the myriad volcanic formations, tourists are often drawn to the seven active, smoking volcanoes.
The most popular are Arenal and Poas. Their intimidating smoke plumes are best appreciated from the volcano’s flanks. You can stop and savor a delicious local coffee while wondering whether the panorama will peek through the mist or remain veiled. Thanks to craters that have turned into lakes and trails populated by monkeys, birds, insects, and squirrels, these iconic volcanoes are a tourism gem.
There is also Irazú, Rincón de la Vieja, Turrialba, Chato, and especially the Tenorio volcano, where turquoise waters flow hypnotically downhill in a sublime river.
Costa Rica reaches extremes in landscapes, fauna, and colors. This is the place for an adrenaline rush, since the experiences on offer are equally extreme.
At the end of this lockdown era, this is an ideal fresh-air destination where you can feel the wind in your face once again as you parachute, paraglide, zip line, or bungee jump. You might also try new ways of seeing the world: canyoning; inching across high, slender bridges through fanciful jungles; or mountain biking before taking a refreshing dip in the rapids, surfing endless waves, or deep-sea diving.
Whatever gets you going, you’ll find it here. Costa Rica will give you a good time while keeping you safe.
Costa Rica has enjoyed prosperity since becoming a republic. As a people, Costa Ricans recognize the importance of education and culture, which has given them one of the highest literacy rates in Latin America, along with a culture rich in history, art, and music.
The capital city of San José is evidence of the economic bonanza that led to an educational and cultural revolution. The National Cultural Center, the National Theater, and the National Museum invite you to delve into Costa Rican culture and discover the manifest face of its destiny.
The indigenous, coffee-growing, and farming regions retain the traditions that make the country an oasis in the middle of a sometimes manic continent. Sarchí is the perfect place to get a close look at the country’s most traditional culture. This small, tranquil town is the birthplace of the famous ox cart, the symbol of the country’s workers and artisans.
Much of what allows Costa Rica to live up to its name of “the Rich Coast” is related to its natural beauty, but the country would not be what it is without its conservation policies and the obliging, attentive nature of its people. So, the sixth reason to visit Costa Rica is the prevailing feeling of pura vida. As soon as you land, you realize that you have arrived in a country that will make an impression that goes beyond mere memories. As soon as you can, pack your suitcases, slip on your face mask, and head for this destination that will conquer you while still leaving you feeling free.