Costa Rica is famous for rich coffee, majestic volcanoes, luxurious beaches, and its laid-back pura vida lifestyle. Pura vida is Spanish for pure life which perfectly describes this magnificent country and its people. The people of Costa Rica, called ticos, are welcoming and friendly, and English is spoken in many of the tourist areas.
There is so much to do and see in Costa Rica whether you're into nature, relaxation, or just soaking up a new culture – there's something for every kind of traveler. Keep reading to discover the ten fun things to do when you visit the land of Pura Vida.
10 Go Zip Lining
Zip-lining is something everyone should experience at least once, but it's important to research which companies have the best safety records before you go.
9 Tour San José
Take a walking tour through San José to learn more about the history of Costa Rica while sampling popular foods. Or, visit the Mercado Central where you'll find everything from fresh fruits to handmade souvenirs.
8 Search For Sloths
When choosing a place to see sloths, keep some things in mind. Only patronize places where the animals are in the wild, or being rehabilitated and never spend your money where they allow tourists to hold the sloths. Holding a wild animal is stressful for them and can cause them harm.
7 Visit An Animal Sanctuary Or Refuge
Costa Rica is home to many animal sanctuaries but, unfortunately, not all are legitimate. When searching for one to visit, make sure they do not breed the animals there and that the intention is to release them back into the wild, whenever possible.
6 Take A Coffee Or Chocolate Tour
Nothing beats a delicious cup of rich Costa Rican arabica coffee, and Costa Rican chocolate is world renowned as well. The Central Valley of Costa Rica is home to most of the country's coffee and cacao plantations and many offer fascinating and informative tours for guests.
These tours are not only informative but entertaining and delicious, too. You'll hear about the history of coffee and chocolate told by a bilingual guide and be treated to a tasting or two along the way. You may even be chosen to help make chocolate. What's not to love about that?
5 Soak In The Hot Springs
The most popular area for hot springs is near the 7,000-year-old Arenal Volcano where you'll find many places to enjoy the springs – some even have water parks for kids. Or, join the locals in the natural springs of the Tabacón River for free.
4 Go Bird-Watching
There are many birdwatching tours you can take with guides who are equipped with powerful telescopes and a keen eye. Using a guide is the best way to see the birds who tend to stay hidden in the trees – the ones you'd never find on your own.
3 Visit A Soda
You'll find all these at sodas, the small, cafés found all over Costa Rica. In fact, one small pueblo could have five sodas within its limits.
2 Visit A Black Sand Beach
Costa Rica has several black sand beaches where lava deposits have turned the sand black. In Limon on the Caribbean Sea, is Playa Negra where you may encounter wild horses running in the black sand. Surfers enjoy some of the largest breaks in the world on this side of the country, and you'll witness a completely different culture from the rest of Costa Rica.
Playa Hermosa on the Pacific coast is popular for tourists who enjoy the many fine restaurants and hotels. But, if you're looking for a black sand beach that's less crowded and developed, nearby Ocotal may be a better option.
1 Explore The Cloud Forest
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is Costa Rica's most famous reserve and contains 100 species of mammals, and 400 bird species, giving you a good chance of seeing a wide variety of wildlife. Consider checking out the hanging bridges where you can walk through the cloud forest on a suspended bridge.