Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy Costa Rica
As you travel through the lush landscapes of Costa Rica, scoping for wildlife at every corner, you can instantly feel your body slow down and relax as you embrace the calming atmosphere. The air is fresh, the scenery is breathtaking, and the locals are welcoming. Within a few hours of arriving, most visitors will have already embraced the Costa Rican way of life: Pura Vida, which means ‘take it easy, slow down and enjoy the simple life’.
Hitting the road
Opting to go ‘off-resort’, we rented a car and drove around Costa Rica – an adventure in its own. Driving along the tree lined roads, sun shining, windows rolled down, inhaling the fresh air, bopping to the sounds of the local bands on the radio, life doesn’t seem to get much better. Generally the roads were easy to drive on and paved, though all are one-lane highways. We were impressed at how courteous other drivers were, always stopping to allow people to pass and cross the street (a shock to us big-city-used-to-honking folks!). That said, driving up the mountains was a whole different story: windy and bumpy, overlooking cliffs and dodging giant boulders from recent mudslides – but we lived to tell the tale!
Containing 5% of the world’s biodiversity, Costa Rica is home to some of the most magnificent jungles and a unique array of wildlife. And certainly there is no shortage of eco-adventure options for visitors. Although my wish to see a sloth in the wild was not a success, we did manage to see parrots, hummingbirds, monkeys and coatis. We hiked through several different jungles in very different regions of the country and each one was special and impressive in its own way. All of the hikes included hanging bridges, which were amazing to traverse over and provide a magnificent view of the jungle and mountains from high above.
We spent a couple days in La Fortuna, a small town situated next to the Arenal Volcano. The volcano is active, grand and breathtaking as it juts out of the rainforest providing spectacular views from all around. There are also an array of hot springs to enjoy, some quiet and peaceful situated in the forest, and others more fun and adventurous with waterslides and pool bars.
Our next stop took us to Monteverde, a town high up in the mountains, literally situated within the misty clouds. While we experienced the full brunt of the rainy season (including rain for over 30 hours straight!), it did not stop us from enjoying our guided tour of the rainforest and learning about the different types of forest and fauna in the most lush landscape I’ve ever seen.
Embracing the Pura Vida
Changing the scenery, we then ventured to the coast to enjoy some beach time, chilling out in the surfer town of Tamarindo and basking in the views of mountains and ocean in the Guanacaste region. The area is also home to geothermal activity; we were able to see boiling hot mud springs and sulphur pools which all surround another one of the country’s active volcanoes. A little bit of sun, beach, snorkeling and surfing – this part of the country is a perfect place to sit back and relax.
Sink your feet into the sand as you sit on the beach drinking a rum cocktail, watching the sun set over the lapping waves of the ocean. Close your eyes, inhale the fresh ocean air, and remember that sometimes it’s the simple things in life that give us the most pleasure. Pura Vida!