There are reasons galore to travel to the Central American nation of Costa Rica, from its memorable food and culture to its stunning beaches and scenery, friendly people, interesting history and more. However, you really can’t spend time in the country without taking in all the natural beauty and wildlife attractions it has to offer. Read on for a selection to add to your itinerary next time you’re in Costa Rica.
Check Out Arenal
Pick up a Costa Rica travel guide and you will notice recommendations to visit Arenal, in the northern part of the country. Here you’ll find one of Costa Rica’s most popular attractions: the Arenal Volcano. Until 2010, it was one of the world’s most active volcanoes, but its eruptive cycle paused, and today it remains in a resting phase. The volcano soars up to almost 5,500 feet and looms over the surrounding hillsides.
A good way to see the volcano, as well as the beautiful rainforests around it, is via a zipline experience. Sky Adventures operates Sky Trek tours which allows visitors to soar over the tops of the tree canopy, flying between canyons and down mountainsides. The tour starts with a fun, open-air gondola ride that takes passengers up to a 4,100-foot-high observation area, which provides breathtaking views.
In addition, consider enjoying the same company’s Sky Walk tour, which will have you walking across a series of hanging bridges right at the top of the forest canopy. This allows you to see the amazing biodiversity of the area. Naturalist guides accompany each tour, so you will learn about local flora and fauna while you’re exploring.
If you want to relax after your adventures in Arenal, go spend some time soaking in the region’s hot springs. These occur due to the geothermal activity which arises beneath Arenal Volcano. They also happen to provide unobstructed views of the dormant mass, which is a bonus.
Do Some Scuba Diving
Costa Rica is also the perfect place to do some scuba diving. While there are hot spots all over the country that divers love, it’s hard to miss Drake Bay. Situated in the northern part of the Osa Peninsula (which is one of the most remote regions of Costa Rica), Bahia Drake, as it’s said in Spanish, was named after Sir Francis Drake. The explorer discovered the area in the 16th century during his global voyage.
Drake Bay, and in particular Cano Island which sits around 13 miles off the coast, is the ultimate destination for nature enthusiasts. You’ll find the bay tucked between rocky cliffs, secluded beaches and thriving rainforests. It’s excellent, therefore, for divers who want to escape the crowds.
The diving is excellent here because visibility isn’t affected by seasonal rains in the way it is in other locations. Furthermore, the lack of development here keeps the water clearer. Cano Island is a protected marine park, too, so no fishing is allowed for three miles around the landmass. The collection of shells, or harvesting of marine life in any capacity, is also prohibited.
As such, you’ll notice the waters are teeming with all sorts of sea creatures for you to spot. Look out for reef sharks, turtles, a variety of fish species, eels, sting rays and lots of coral. If you go during the right times of year, you’ll also have the chance to see humpback and pilot whales as they migrate through the area.
See Stunning Waterfalls
In Costa Rica, you generally don’t have to look very far to find a waterfall to admire. Plus, you can visit spectacular ones that you either horseback ride, hike, mountain bike or even rappel to.
One of the most popular waterfalls in all of Costa Rica is the remarkable Rio Celeste Waterfall. Found in Tenorio Volcano National Park, in the northern region of Alajuela, this otherworldly natural wonder occurs where the Celeste River roars down over a cliff into a waiting pool below.
The waterfall is especially memorable because of its colour. The freshwater river is a striking shade of blue, due to the chemical combination of sulfur and calcium carbonate in the water. This means that, often, the waterfall itself actually appears to glows blue as it falls. While it is a leg-working hike to get to Rio Celeste, the exercise is well worth it when you arrive.