Last updated by Kennedy Stadler
Misty rain forests, bewitching volcanoes, black sand beaches and white-faced monkeys. These are the glimpses of the miraculous that await in Costa Rica, a place you need to check out before you check out. Here are our five reasons why you can’t miss out on all of this Central American awesomeness.
1. Be Wowed by a Volcano.
Until 2010, Arenal was an active volcano, blowin’ smoke and riling everyone up, spewing lava, gas and ash on a regular basis.
But as of late, it’s been as quiet as a church mouse. However, even without all the fireworks, it’s amazing. There is so much you can do around it: ride horses around the base–it’s a rain forest–rappel down waterfalls, soak in geothermal baths (hot springs heated by the volcano) or walk over the canopy on precarious suspension bridges!
2. Zip Line Over the Canopy.
This exhilarating, (or terrifying) thrill ride was invented in Costa Rica in 1974 by a Cal State grad student, Donald Perry, to study the mystifying canopies of the Costa Rican rain forest. This single act of science evolved into the fun/chills/scares-a-second that you can have when you visit the lush, beguiling country called Costa Rica. Arenal is one of the best places to do this, along with the Jaco Rainforest, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio.
3. Surf (or Learn to) in Tamarindo.
This surfing mecca (shown below) boasts a wide variety of sunny places to get your wave on. For beginners, the beach right in the center of Tamarindo is great; the surf is best during mid-high tide. For long boarders, El Estero, the river-mouth at the north end of the beach, is perfecto; the solid right beach break is where you’ll find your nirvana. Other places to check out in Tamarindo are Pico Pequeno, a rocky point that’s best surfed at mid tide. Isla Capitan, a small islet in the bay of Tamarindo, is the place to hit when you’re up for southern swells.
For all you experts, Playa Negra is the sweet spot: it’s a right point break with very fast waves that’s best surfed during the transition of tides. And after you’ve crushed it in the surf, kick back, and ponder this mesmerizing sunset. (No, we did not retouch this pic!)
4. Walk on Black Sand Beaches.
This may seem a bit counter intuitive, but trust us, it’s the coolest–and you can find them many areas in Costa Rica. In Playa Negra, you’ll want to check out Puerto Viejo. It’s on the Caribbean coast and it might be the best. Wear sandals because the sand gets hot, but that’s okay. All you have to do is dip into the cool waves a few feet away. Also in Playa Negra, you’ll want to visit Los Pargos. This beach was made famous in the movie “Endless Summer II.” Be sure and grab some snaps and tag them #endlessummer and then educate everyone about your historical filmic tidbit. Playa Panama is north of Los Pargos and is good for swimming and tanning; it’s a protected cove that’s lined with mesquite, Brazilwood and sarno trees.
Playa Hermosa is a few miles south of the town of Jaco in the central Pacific region of Puntarenas – the currents are too strong to swim, so just stroll, but if you’re a surfer, then go for it. Or you don’t have to do anything at all, except relax under a palm tree with a drink from one of the nearby beach-hut bars.
5. Gawk at the Wildlife.
Unlike the zoo, you can get up close (but maybe not personal) with so many kinds of adorable, entertaining animals. The very active Capuchin (also called white-faced) monkeys are always happy to gobble up some snacks. And if you look closely, you can normally find some sloths having a slumber party up in the trees. Did you know that sloths only “use the facilities” one a week? (That’s a long time to hold it!)
You in? We know you are. How can you not be? And we make it so easy to get there! Our vacation packages and exclusive beach deals make booking your Costa Rica vacay easy peasy lemon squeezy.