If Costa Rica isn’t at the top of your holiday dream list, get ready for a serious shake-up. This sliver of Central American coastline might be pint-sized in the grand scheme of things, but it packs more wildlife, tropical terrain and jaw-dropping beaches into its little finger than even the biggest sun-drenched destinations. All Inclusive Costa Rica holidays are a holiday game changer.
Costa Rica at a glance
Found on the central American isthmus – that wiggly stretch of land suspended between Mexico and South America – Costa Rica translates to ‘rich coast’ in Spanish. And with good reason, too. Costa Rica has a total of 1,290 kilometres of coast, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Beaches here are renowned for their untouched vibes, made even more sunbathe-worthy by the country’s tropical climate.
Costa Rica fell under Spanish rule in the 16th century after colonists were enticed by the wealth of gold belonging to the natives. The country only received its independence alongside the rest of Central America following the end of the Mexican War of Independence in 1821.
While it may be small in size, Costa Rica has the greatest density of species in the world. This is due to the fact more than 25% of Costa Rica’s national territory is protected, making its national parks and coastlines incredible spots to see rare flora and fauna.
5 fun facts about Costa Rica
- 10% of the world’s butterfly population lives in Costa Rica.
- Though Costa Rica only makes up 0.1% of the world’s land mass, it’s home to around 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
- Costa Rica only really experiences two seasons – a dry season in what is traditionally winter and spring, and a wet season in the summer and autumn.
- In 2012, Costa Rica became the first country in the Americas to ban recreational hunting.
- Costa Rica permanently rid itself of a standing army in 1949.
Things to do
Corcovado National Park
The biggest and widely-touted as the best national park in Costa Rica, Corcovado National Park covers 424 square kilometres of what National Geographic has called ‘the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity’. Here, you can expect to see the endangered Baird’s tapir, ocelots, pumas, all four Costa Rican monkey species and sloths, among countless other animals.
The beach in Playa Tamarindo is one of the most popular in all of Costa Rica among families and partygoers alike. It’s especially renowned among surfers, as well as Leatherback Turtles that come here to nest. Facilities on the beach range to everything from watersports to bars and restaurants behind the sand.
Tortugureo National Park
This remote park is reachable only by airplane or boat, but don’t let that stop you, as it’s still one of the most popular attractions in Costa Rica. The land encompasses rainforests, swamps, beaches and lagoons that are home to animals like crocodiles, manatees and a number of turtle species.
The Irazu Volcano is the highest active volcano in Costa Rica, but is luckily serviced by a bus that will take you up to the top. There are also roads leading to its summit craters, where you’ll find crater lakes.
Here are some of our top money-saving deals on holidays to Costa Rica.
14 nights, Bed and Breakfast
This 4* stunner directly overlooks the beach, though it’s worth noting, so does the hotel’s gorgeous infinity pool. There’s a chic buffet restaurant on site, but also on offer is a free shuttle bus service to the local beach club and the centre of Playa Tamarindo.
Riu Palace Costa Rica
14 nights, All Inclusive
It doesn’t get much swankier than the uber-gorgeous, 5* Riu Palace Costa Rica – a tropical beachfront hotel with all the flair of the Riu brand. Its grounds are paved with lush green gardens, funky interior decor and spacious pools equipped with in-water loungers.
Riu Guanacaste Hotel
14 nights, All Inclusive
Twinged with Spanish colonial vibes, this chic hotel exudes an air of seclusion and is nestled right up alongside the beach. Staying here, you’ll have your pick of five restaurants with worldly cuisine, watersport rentals, a healthy selection of bars and the hotel’s very own disco.
So, what do you think? Has Costa Rica topped your holiday list? Let us know in the comments.