Costa Rica Discovery Guide

Overview

From coast to coast to, well, coast, Costa Rica is a beautiful and rich country (it’s in the name!) and a wonderful place to visit on your next vacation. No matter whether you are single or attached, planning retirement trips or bringing the kids along, Costa Rica has plenty to see and explore for everyone and plenty of shoreline for everyone, too.

Costa Rica is bordered on the west and south by the Pacific and on the east by the sparkling Caribbean Sea, and is the only country in the world from which you can see both oceans from a single point. Imagine standing still and being able to turn your head from side to side and see two of the world’s greatest oceans on either side of you, spreading out to infinity. The sight is enough to take your breath away, and tourists being moved to tears at the amazing sight are certainly not unheard of. Costa Rica is also rich in beautiful wild and plant life, awesome natural scenic spots, nice hotels, and sumptuous restaurants.

History
The history of this beautiful tropical country is as rich as the land itself, with a great deal of strife coloring the country from the arrival of the Spaniards, who killed off much of the native population through disease and mistreatment in the sixteenth century. Many Africans were brought in as slaves in the next two hundred years, and Jamaican workers were brought in a century later to work on the construction of the railway systems connecting the Central Plateau to the port of Limon on the Caribbean coast of the country. The same railway system also brought a wave of Italian and Chinese immigrant workers.

The country’s modern culture has little influence from the native peoples who were widely wiped out, but more modern history is still fascinating, including the fact that the country of Costa Rica was the first in the world that constitutionally abolished their army. The country has the longest standing democracy in Latin America, and is a symbol of political stability in the sometimes unstable region of Central America.

The Land
If the history of the place does not hold your interest, though, the land surely will. Costa Rica is a tropical paradise not unlike Hawaii in its gorgeous waterfalls and beautiful active volcanoes. The country is landlocked, but also comprises several beautiful islands. Over a quarter of the territory of Costa Rica is protected within national parks, which likely aid in the fact that the country possesses the greatest density of species in the entire world.

A person could spend months in the exploration of the land in this beautiful country and still only begin to touch on the natural wonders that Costa Rica has to offer. A simple hike becomes a beautiful jungle adventure. Try horseback riding to get a new perspective and a new connection to nature, or take a bike tour of a part of the country and prepare to be amazed.

Wild Life and Natural Scenes
Costa Rica has a very diverse group of flora and fauna. In spite of its small land area, this country has successfully maintained greater biodiversity compared to any European or North American country. This is attributable to its location, which is located between the Americas, allowing plants and animals from them and the Caribbean islands to relocate there. Another contributory factor is its tropical climate that creates rain forests, lakes, and rivers that are havens for these plants and animals because of the abundance of water and food. It has vascular plants totaling almost to 9,000 species and has species of trees of over 900. Its identified species of orchids alone are more than a thousand. Costa Rica has 850 species of birds, 200 mammals such as the anteaters, armadillos, jaguars and tapirs, 35,000 insects from butterflies to bugs, 150 amphibians like the poison-arrow frogs, and 200 reptiles that are not all snakes.

For those who would like to relish greenness and blueness of nature, some of the recommended popular great natural scenic spots in Costa Rica include the following:

- Arenal Volcanoes with their ever-flowing golden lava that are very ideal to be viewed at nighttimes.

- Tabacon Hot Springs. Enjoy and relax in the pools of minerals that soothe the body and soul.

- The breathtaking falls of La Catarata de Fortuna that could away the breath of anyone who would experience it.

- The enchanting Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

- Beaches off the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

Restaurants and Hotels

The Sea
The sea is another part of Costa Rica that is rich and ready for exploration. From boating trips to scuba diving to Caribbean islands, there are a plethora of places to love and explore. Spend hours relaxing on the beach in the warm tropical sunshine, and let your troubles melt away. Watch your children as they play in the surf – there are beaches all over the country, remember!

Scuba diving and snorkeling are incredibly popular pastimes for a good reason, and a Discover scuba course can have you in the water under an instructor’s watchful eye in a single day with no certification required. Children as young as ten can participate, making it an ideal family adventure. If you’d rather stay on top of the water, try boating, sailing, or even surfing along this rich coast.

Dining
The variety of restaurants in Costa Rica is only rivaled by the diversity of its ecosystem. Costa Ricans love to eat and they eat very well. Available cuisines include staples of beans, rice, and tamales. The choices range is so wide that restaurants offer food that are authentically Costa Rican, French, Japanese, and Italian. Some restaurants experiment too with Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Vietnamese cuisine. Whatever the food is, Costa Rican restaurants serve them with international finesse.

Staying
Accommodations in Costa Rica offers an array of hotels that provide great views. The Mountain Paradise Hotel is ideal for those who would want easy access to the Arenal Volcanoes. Issimo Suites are for spa lovers. The Doubletree Resort Puntarenas is for those who want to be away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, San Jose and beach lovers. For lovers, Hotel Makanda by the Sea is ideal.

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