There are plenty of reasons why Costa Rica is growing in popularity as a holiday destination, and not just with the nature lovers who’ve been coming here for years. Kissed by the waters of the Pacific on one side and the Caribbean on the other, you’ll find Costa Rica on the map due south of Mexico on the isthmus – the thin strip of land – that connects North and South America.
There’s something about that first jolt of caffeine on a lazy morning that stirs the spirit, especially when the flavours are rich and satisfying. In Costa Rica, coffee is as woven into the fabric of life as it is in Italy, although there’s an added bonus here, because this fantastic little South American country also happens to be one of the premier places on Earth where coffee is grown.
Directly translated from Spanish as ‘rich coast’, Costa Rica is one of the most naturally diverse countries in Central America. It serves up a multitude of ecosystems, ranging from mangrove swamps and tropical rainforests to mountainous volcano ranges and coastal retreats.
The green pitches and goals in every village are evidence of Costa Rica’s national pastime – football – but the Costa Rican culture is about much more than kicking a ball around. Thanks to its Latin routes, the area offers a rich music and dance scene, while its fertile lands produce some of the best coffee in the world. If that wasn’t enough, the old traditions of the indigenous people – Chorotega – also leave their mark to this day.
In Costa Rica they really know how to enjoy life. In fact, the national catchphrase of ‘pura vida’ essentially means ‘pure life’, so you can expect that this is one country that prioritises laid-back lifestyles so much that even the Caribbean gets a run for its money.
Home to eco-tourism, surfers’ paradise beaches and great coffee, Costa Rica also has not one, not two, but 66 volcanoes. Of these, six are still active – but don’t worry, there hasn’t been a serious eruption in a long time – while the other 60 lay dormant.
As one of Central America’s most distinctive countries, Costa Rica today is a marvel of natural beauty, abundant and diverse wildlife and spirited, peace-loving people. To make their nation what it is today, Costa Ricans have done much in the way of progress, which makes the history of the nation worth exploring during your visit.
Costa Rica is a favourite destination for adventure holidays, giving visitors the chance to enjoy outdoor fun and thrills surrounded by spectacular scenery. If you’re planning your trip, you can rest assured there’s plenty of choice for exciting activities in the area.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or are taking to the white water for the first time, Costa Rica offers a wave for everyone along its Pacific and Caribbean coasts. You’ll find laid-back beach towns bursting with surf schools and shops where you can hire boards, join a group class or receive one-to-one tuition. With hundreds of secluded beaches to choose from, check out our guide for some informed inspiration.
As well as leading the Happy Planet Index for 2016 from a total of 140 countries, Costa Rica also has an enviable reputation for being one of the most ecological countries in the world. A huge 94% of its energy comes from renewable sources, and Costa Rica is aiming to have a carbon neutral economy by 2021. This is a country that takes its green credentials seriously and we explain how that came about.