For some time now, Costa Rica has been a destination I have been wanting to visit. While nothing is yet set in stone, I am hoping to visit the country within the next year. To prepare, I have been talking to Megan of Where in the World is Megan Claire? and have asked her to write a guest post all about the country. After reading about her adventures there, I am even more excited about my own visit.
Costa Rica is an incredible country, offering long stretches of deserted white sand beaches, dense jungles filled with a rich diversity of exotic wildlife, lush rainforests, raging rivers, towering volcanoes, and smiling communities. Recently, I spent six weeks in Costa Rica as an International Student Volunteer, spending time on wildlife conservation projects in the Southern region of Golfo Dulce. I was truly amazed by how pure the country was – the beaches really are second to none, the scenery is phenomenal, and I interacted with wildlife I had never before encountered! On top of all of this though, Costa Rica has an adventurous activities scene which rivals that of New Zealand!
Costa Rica’s landscape and temperate climate lends itself to outdoor activity, and it is the perfect destination for anyone wanting to combine a love of the outdoors with an adventurous spirit! Throughout the country there is a wealth of activities and attractions so exciting and in locations so breathtaking that after finishing our conservation projects we dedicated a full two weeks solely to an adventure tour! Our days included time soaring through the treetops and our nights were spent in amazing cabin accommodation amongst rare rainforest species. We enjoyed white water rafting, hiking, abseiling, zip lining, mountain biking, horseback riding, bungee jumping, surfing, swimming, canoeing and canopy tours! Our biggest challenge was trying to fit it all in! Here are my favorite activities from my time in Costa Rica!
While I have previously skydived, I have always been terrified at the thought of bungee jumping. Somehow, however, I managed to convince myself to participate on one of our first stops at Tropical Bungee! Jumping from the Colorado River Bridge was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life!! 265 feet high, it is one of the highest bungee bridges in America, and one with the most visually stunning backdrop – although it was kind of hard to enjoy the scenery while we were standing on the wrong edge of the bridge! While half of us jumped, the rest were content enough with sitting on the banks and watching the action! Tropical Bungee offers jumps every day with round trip transportation from San Jose. Departures are at 8am and 1pm.
We spent two full days of our two week tour soaring over the jungle on Costa Rica’s famed zip-lines! This is one of the top tourist attractions in Costa Rica, and consists of platforms connected by thick cables stretching across tree-ladden ravines, hillsides and valleys. We were strapped into harnesses, clipped into the cables and sent flying from one platform to another! I was really impressed overall by the length, speed, height and views offered!
There are so many options in terms of Zip-lining, so make sure to do some research first to find a reputable tour operator. Recommendations include Selvatura Park, The Original Canopy Tour and The Canopy Adventure Tour.
Visiting Costa Rica without making it to a rainforest is missing the whole point of the country! There are amazing hiking trails throughout each region which are some of the most tranquil and beautiful in the world. While spending time in La Paz and Peace Lodge, we hiked to crashing waterfalls, gentle streams and a huge array of unusual wildlife, including three-toed sloths and howler monkeys!
Potentially the most fun we had while in Costa Rica was spending three days white water rafting with Rios Tropicales. Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world to ride rapids, offering a variety of rapid ‘classes’ for all skill levels including both beginners and the most experienced rafters. We definitely weren’t experts; in fact, I had no rafting skills at all! Regardless, we had an absolute BLAST riding the river rapids!
Unfortunately, it was unsafe to visit the volcanoes while we were in Costa Rica, however the country has a wealth of them. Five are active and another dozen are dormant, however, they could awaken in the future! Depending on the volcano, you can climb, drive or horse-ride to the top and look over the edge into the massive craters! We got the most amazing view of what Costa Rica has to offer in terms of volcano’s while in La Fortuna. Arenal is the most active and unpredictable volcano in the country and is a stunning backdrop to the small town. We were quite happy admiring it from the ground – it’s far too dangerous to climb or hike…you can see tendrils of lava slinking down from the cone!
After having tramped around the rainforests and being pumped full of adrenaline from the bungee jump and river rapids, we needed to unwind, and the best place for relaxation is at one of Costa Rica’s famous hot springs – the water heated from volcanic rock underground. The different springs generally include numerous pools and vary in temperature from 80 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit! We visited the hot springs resorts of Baldi and Tabacon in La Fortuna over two days, helping ourselves to a mud wrap while we were there!
A lot of the activities mentioned above obviously include risk. In fact, I had to sit through what felt like several hours of lecturing from my parents after posting the video of my bungee jump online! However, Costa Rican operators work to very stringent safety standards and have a really excellent track record in making their activities as safe as possible.
I would go back to Costa Rica in a heartbeat – I have some of my fondest traveling memories from my trip there. I returned home with more stories, videos and photos than I had space for on my computer and love to keep pulling them out whenever I feel the need to give my parents a heart attack! It truly was the adventure of a lifetime!
Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last seven years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure! Her husband, Mike, is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home. Meg has recently launched “Where in the World is Megan Claire?!”, an up and coming travel blog which aims to give you the best tips and advice on travelling, volunteering, living, working and holidaying abroad. She hasn’t been everywhere, but it’s on her list! You can follow her journey on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.