Arenal Volcano National Park
North of San José is the 121 km2 Arenal Volcano National Park. The park offers a sea of opportunities and experiences. Do you want to look at beautiful animals, wild volcanoes or bathe in thermal water holes on your journey, then it happens here.
The park’s ultimate star is the 1,633-meter-high volcano, Arenal, which with its enormous unfolding outshines any other attraction in the park. In 1968, Arenal erupted after being inactive for 400 years. It cost almost 100 people their lives. Since 2010, the volcano has been inactive again.
In Arenal Volcano National Park, you can spot capuchin monkeys, three-toed sloths, white-nosed rhinos and hundreds of different bird species. After a long day of hiking in the beautiful park, you can end the experience with relaxation in the nearby thermal baths.
Through the fog of Monteverde
Close to Arenal is the natural-rich eldorado, Monteverde, where lush ferns, thousands of orchids and a myriad of colorful birds, among others, have their home. Monteverde is also called the fog forest, as the heavy cloud of fog rarely leaves the company of the moss-covered trees.
The humidity in Monteverde is probably the highest you will experience on your trip to Costa Rica. In combination with the lack of sunlight, some rather unique growth conditions for the flora are formed here. Therefore, you will also find 2,500 different plant species in the area.
Monteverde is an incomparable destination for those traveling to Costa Rica with an urge for a good adrenaline rush. Coupled to thin steel wire, you can experience Monteverde by ziplining, hovering over the tops of the treetops. On foot, you can also explore the heights, as you can walk around the many suspension bridges that are fastened well above the ground.
Visit the turtles in Tortuguero
Tortuguero is the name of yet another unique national park that gets many to travel to Costa Rica. Four amazing turtle species live in the park. In the wettest time of the year (July – October) the turtles lay many eggs, of which tiny chicks hatch and sprint into the sea before your eyes.
In addition to the shielded reptiles, in Tortuguero you can scout for sloths, jaguars, tapirs and many more amazing animals. Take a boat trip along the canals, which meander through the park’s lush flora. From the boat you can spot the fearsome crocodiles and the adorable manatees.
Feel free to join a local guide in Tortuguero National Park. They know the area as their own back pocket and show enormous respect for nature. It takes the memory of a local man to tell the stories that, among other things, the guides know.
Carnival in Limón
On your Costa Rica trip, you are invited to the most festive and colorful experience of your life. From October 12 and about a week onwards, the streets of the city of Limón are packed with feather boas, Latin rhythms and natives in costumes representing all the colors of the rainbow.
Carnival in Limón is great travel memory. It is an open invitation to dance, party and song that you should definitely accept. The festival begins on the anniversary of when Christopher Columbus dropped anchor off the coast of Costa Rica in 1502.
If you are not that much into swinging your hips to exotic rhythms, then you can still participate in the festivities. On every street there are small makeshift restaurants from which you can enjoy a drink or Costa Rica’s national dish consisting of rice, beans, coconut milk and Caribbean spices. Carnival in Limón is for everyone, including visiting tourists.
Eat on a “Soda”
Traditional Costa Rican food should without exception be consumed on a “Soda”. Here you eat side by side with the locals, but you have to look far for pizza, burger or other ubiquitous dishes on your trip to Costa Rica. Only local and extremely tasty dishes are served here.
A Soda can be a bit reminiscent of a food market, as they are sometimes gathered in clusters. Such places are pure festivity, because the large selection and the modest prices allow you to taste through several “sodas” with a clear conscience.
You can also enjoy breakfast from the traditional eateries. Gallo Pinto is the most common meal in the morning, but it is definitely not reminiscent of a typical Danish breakfast. The dish consists of rice and beans.
Cities in Costa Rica
From a bird’s eye view, every Costa Rican spot is green and lush. However, there is a bit of city life to pick up, on your trip to Costa Rica, in the capital San José, which has 350,000 inhabitants.
In San José you can not pass a street corner without encountering the text “Pura Vida” which means “The pure life”. Pura Vida is a versatile expression with which you can both greet, thank and declare that life is wonderful.