Costa Rica is known for its rich biodiversity. It is home to nearly half a million species- on average, you can see roughly 235 plant species, 17 bird species, and 5 different mammal species for every 1,000 km! With its epic spans of beautiful rainforest-covered land, this Central American country is a true island paradise…

Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

When deciding your itinerary for this trip, you made special note of this quaint little island town during your research. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is widely known for its sultry authentic atmosphere- a quintessential picture of island life.

Though out of the way from your other plans, you hear this place is worth it. You’ve chartered a ride down to this southeastern Costa Rican village to pick you up shortly after landing in the country’s capital, San José.

The drive is anything but boring- you spend most of it gaping at the expansive miles of gorgeous forestland. It does take a little longer than anticipated, so much of the day is spent by the time you reach your final destination. This place better be worth it…

As your driver pulls up to Puerto Viejo, you notice that you couldn’t have arrived at a more picturesque time.

When you step out of the car, you can already tell the drive was worth it. You see that the sun is just setting- casting an ethereal golden light onto the creamy white sandy beach that surrounds this paradise. “If there is a heaven,” you think “this is what it would look like”. You look towards the clear aquamarine waters to see surfers riding the waves; some are starting to call it a day and heading up to a nearby beachside bar to grab an after surf drink. You decide to do the same.

Sipping on a large fruity drink, you walk down the sandy main road lined with bungalows, hotels, restaurants, and shops. You browse at one shop, buying a souvenir or two to commemorate this trip. Puerto Viejo already holds a special place in your heart and you’re sad that you only get one night here. Smiling as you semi-seriously contemplate staying here and starting to weave baskets for a living, you make your way down to the beach. The stars are popping up in the dimming sky and starting to shimmer while the silver quarter moon slowly rises over the horizon.

Letting the waves crash over your feet, with the distant tinny notes of steel drums coming from the town, you take in every little detail- trying to etch this memory into your brain forever. You remember thinking to yourself, “This was definitely a good place to start your Costa Rican adventure”.


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Monteverde Cloud Rainforest Preserve

Another car ride spent staring at the amazing landscape and you’re in Santa Elena, ready to explore the 25,700 acres of rainforest that is the Monteverde Cloud Rainforest Preserve.

You traverse the forest, stopping occasionally to study an aguacatillo or to catch a glimpse of a hummingbird. You are literally walking in (and in the case of the Sky Walk Hanging Bridges, high above) one of the most vibrant ecosystems that exists in the entire world; you are having a hard time wrapping your brain around the beauty of this place. Everything is so lush and green! You silently wish you could turn into one of the native animals and live here forever. What can you say, this place brings out the Romantic in you…

Feeling bolder than usual- it seems the beauty of the rainforest has inspired you- you decide to go on a ziplining tour. Once atop the platform however, your confidence wavers a bit when you look over the edge and see how high up you actually are. The attendant finishes strapping you into the harness and gives you the thumbs up. It’s time to step over the edge. Like ripping off a band-aid, you basically leap off the ledge- there, the worst is over!- and open your eyes.

If you were envious of the land-dwelling inhabitants, you were definitely jealous of those that got to experience an aerial view of this landscape. You laugh out loud as you race through the jungle, thinking how much shorter Jurassic Park would have been if the characters had only had a zipline…

You breeze through canopy after canopy of tree covered forest only to be welcomed suddenly by a wide open view for miles around for the rest of the journey.

By the time you reach the other side, you feel more exhilarated than you’ve ever felt. You are ready to take on the next adventure!

Arenal Volcano and Thermal Springs

A stone’s throw away from the Monteverde Preserve, you head over to Arenal Volcano National Park in Fortuna. You saw this location pop up often in your search results for “things to do in Costa Rica”. Excited to see a real volcano, you hurry through the front doors. Upon admittance, you head over to the Arenal Observatory Lodge and look out.

There in front of you looms the Arenal Volcano. You suddenly understand Shelley’s thoughts upon seeing Mont Blanc; just like Shelley was in awe of the mountain, you too are taken aback at the Arenal Volcano’s majesty. You look down at the brochure you snagged on your way in, suddenly more interested in the history behind this mountainous volcano.

You learn that the Arenal Volcano was quiet for hundreds of years until one day in late July 1968; while it was active, a large amount of visitors were known to travel just to stand at the base of the volcano to get a look at molten lava flowing down its sides. The volcano has been inactive since 2010. As you read this, you are somewhat disappointed that the chance of seeing an eruption just went down to zero.

Regardless of inactivity, the volcano is still a sight to behold. You sit and stare for you don’t know how long, but suddenly it’s growing late, the volcano turning into an ominous looking shadow in the distance, and you must be getting back to your hotel to pack up for your next journey…

Coffee in Costa Rica

Arabica was the first coffee planted in Costa Rica towards the end of the 1700s. Although widespread cultivation in the country was slow, Costa Rica eventually became the first Central American country to have a coffee industry. By 1829, Costa Rican coffee was the desire of many foreign buyers and the country’s economy was flourishing.

The cash crop quickly surpassed what had otherwise been Costa Rica’s main exports (cacao, tobacco, and sugar) and subsequently spread all over the country. Almost all coffee growers are private farmers tending coffee crops no larger than 12 acres. The fertile Central Valley is the country’s most ideal place to grow coffee.

Costa Rica is ranked #14 in the World’s Top Coffee Producers, exporting ~ 1.5 million bags per year.

A Trip to Remember

From the idyllic beach village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, to tree tops of the lush Monteverde Cloud Rainforest Preserve, and finally to the base of a massive volcano, you’ve explored some truly bucket-list worthy destinations in Costa Rica. Smiling to yourself, you know your new memories from this vibrant country will last a lifetime.