Traveling Through Central America – Costa Rica

Imagine being on vacation and seeing volcanoes, cloud forests, and valleys of rivers. Picture yourself walking along beautiful shores of beaches or through natural reserves. Well, look no further than Costa Rica, a country becoming known for its rich biodiversity and environmental attractions.

 

Costa Rica is located in Central America, on the isthmus between North and South America. It’s a peaceful country that has not had a military in almost 50 years! Costa Ricans are called “Ticos” and are known for being very hospitable and friendly. On the Caribbean side of the country, there is a large population of Afro-Caribbean people who have origins from Jamaica. The residents maintain their Jamaican culture through their food, dance and traditions.

There are over half a million species of wildlife throughout the country. Twenty-five percent of the country’s landmass is comprised of protected natural areas, which is the largest percentage in the world. There are options for adventurous excursions to climb, hike, go water rafting, or surf. Visitors can go on nature walks to observe animals, such as birds and turtles, and fauna in their natural habitats. If you are looking to really take in the natural experience, consider taking a canopy tour. Here you can glide along in a harness on suspended cables as you observe nature in different environments, including mountains, canyons, waterfalls, and tropical forests.

Snorkeling in a coral garden with colorful tropical fish, Caribbean sea.

In addition, there are coral reefs to explore and areas for fishing. Scuba divers love to travel to Cocos Island National Park where animals such as hammerhead sharks, humpback whales, dolphins, hawksbill turtles, and coral species reside. Another popular site is La Amistad International Park, which is a bi-national park between Costa Rica and Panama that encompasses humid, rain and cloud forests as well as indigenous population reserves. Costa Rica also has some of the most important nesting beaches in the world for sea turtles, like the giant leatherback and the loggerhead turtles.

Juan Santamaria memorial park in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

If history is what you’re into, visit the Guayabo National Monument, the most important archeological site in Costa Rica. There you will find a 700-year old aqueduct and the “calzada,”, which is a stone walkway used as a transit route. The aqueduct amazingly still functions today and is identified as a World Engineering Heritage Site. You can also search around the country for hundreds of stone spheres that were left behind by indigenous people. The significance of the stones is still a mystery.

It’s certainly a unique country with a grand beauty that should not be missed. Each year Costa Rica is growing in popularity for tourists and visitors from around the world.

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