Costa Rica at a glance

Visit Costa Rica and prepare to be immersed in its abundant nature. This small country, which occupies just 0.03% of the earth's surface, contains a whopping 6% of its biodiversity. More than a quarter of its territory is dedicated to national parks and nature reserves, some of which can be visited independently by following marked routes, and others which are best seen with a guide for multi-day hikes. Despite the country’s pint-sized proportions, it’s divided into many different regions, each blessed with its own distinct treasures; with so much to see, our Costa Rica travel guide aims to help you decide where to go, what to do and what you need to know about this pocket-sized country before visiting.
San José – the country’s bustling capital – is located in the Central Valley and surrounded by some of the most beautiful volcanoes in the country, which can be visited with experienced local guides. On the eastern side, the Caribbean coast is famous for Tortuguero National Park (named after the turtles which hatch here between July and September), and a string of beaches tailor-made for swimming or surfing. Head for the southern centre in search of colourful quetzals, or to the Osa Peninsula for the wildlife-filled Corcovado National Park. On the Central Pacific side, Manuel Antonio National Park is easily accessible and also rich in wildlife, with some beautiful beaches to visit, too. For avid wave riders, the Nicoya Peninsula is known for its perfect swells and pristine beaches, while the underwater world surrounding Cocos Island is heaven for aquanauts. Finally, seek out the resplendent cloud forests and cone-shaped Arenal Volcano in the northern central zone, for more glorious nature and guided treks. Once you’ve exhausted our Costa Rica travel guide, the next most important thing when planning any trip to Costa Rica is to get to grips with the local expression ‘Pura Vida’, which means ‘simple life’ or ‘pure life’, and is so much more than just a saying, it’s a way of living. Learn that, and you'll be good to go.
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