Costa Rica is full of jungle-y paradise, beautiful beaches, and even a few pre-Columbian ruins. If you’re looking to know more about the country before setting off on your adventure there this summer, these three apps will help make sure you have all the information at hand as soon as possible.

Costa Rica is a country in Central America. It is known for its jungles, beaches, and volcanoes. I am planning to take a trip there soon! To get the most out of my trip, I will be writing about it on my “costa rica travel diary.”

“However, did you feel secure?”

It’s a question we’ve been asked many times since returning from our fantastic family vacation to Costa Rica.

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And what is our unmistakable response?

“It’s quite secure.”

Playa Fantasia Fantasia Playa (Photo via Noreen Kompanik)

Costa Rica remains one of the most popular adventure travel locations in the world, and for good reason. There aren’t many places where you can gaze into an active volcano while soaking in hot springs one day, hike deep into a lush rain forest the next, white-water raft down a rapid river the next, and then head to its picturesque Pacific coast to catch a wave, tour a national park, or relax on its beautiful beaches. It’s a nature lover’s paradise.

When you combine the inviting friendliness of Costa Ricans with their marvelously fresh and inventive local food, you have the perfect formula for an unforgettable pura vida experience.

Marriott Los Suenos Los Suenos Marriott (Noreen Kompanik photo)

Where Should You Stay?

Costa Rica is a tiny nation with a lot to see and do. Quite a bit. Both first-time and return tourists will tell you that seeing and doing everything on your bucket list in one trip is almost impossible.

It is true that it is not a vast nation, yet it is abundant in natural marvels and biodiversity.

This is why it’s critical to have a home base that’s convenient to your scheduled activities. No matter how beautiful the landscape, you don’t want to spend your holiday in paradise driving for hours.

We chose to hire a vehicle rather than use public transit. Again, for safety reasons, but also because driving in Costa Rica is relatively simple and GPS is surprisingly accurate. Oh, the vistas we would have missed if we hadn’t had the flexibility and freedom we had.

We picked Marriott Vacation Club Los Sueos, which also has a hotel on site, since this was our family’s first vacation to Costa Rica and we were still in the thick of COVID regulations. The resort is located along Herradura Bay in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Region and is incredibly stunning.

With every imaginable facility at our disposal, our two-bedroom ocean-view villa was definitely a “home away from home” experience. We really enjoyed waking up each morning to the sounds of a waterfall-filled stream and a couple of toucans who looked to be at ease on our balcony, coffee in hand. The pool areas at the resort were beautiful, and having the beach so near by was a bonus.

The resort’s safety precautions were amazing, and they did an excellent job of outlining expectations prior to our arrival. In the foyer and other interior public areas, masks were mandatory, and every employee and visitor gladly obeyed.

Capuchin White-Faced Monkey at Manuel Antonio National Park Manuel Antonio National Park’s Capuchin White-Faced Monkey (Photo via Noreen Kompanik)

National Parks are great places to visit.

It’s critical to prioritize what you want to see and do in this Central American paradise. For us, our vacation was all about seeing Costa Rica’s national parks, waterfalls, and rare flora and animals.

A visit to Manuel Antonio National Park is a definite must-do. You should hire a qualified naturalist guide, such as Tucanes Tours photographer Daniel Bolaos. We were able to take advantage of all Costa Rica’s breathtakingly beautiful parks had to offer thanks to this astute guide. Booking a private tour for our family added an extra layer of protection.

This spectacular preserve is home to a huge range of flora and fauna, with three long strands of exquisite white sand Pacific Ocean beaches and miles of lush rainforest and woodland. Four monkey species live in the park: white-faced capuchins, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and spider monkeys. We spotted a variety of colorful lizards and iguanas, as well as sloths, toucans, and other animals. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Carara National Park, although being one of the country’s smaller reserves, is home to some of the country’s most diverse fauna, including several bird species. Carara supports flora and fauna from all over Costa Rica, from the marshlands to the mountains, since it is located in a transitional zone between the humid and dry forest.

Costa Rican Poisonous Dart Frog Poisonous Dart Frog of Costa Rica (Photo via Noreen Kompanik)

I’m not sure we’ve ever seen so many different kinds of wild mushrooms, so many toxic dart frogs, so many big centipedes, so many uncommon indigenous flora, and, my my…the birds. Scarlet macaws and multi-colored toucans were among our favorites.

Our tour included a visit to the Tárcoles River viewpoint, which is home to one of the world’s greatest crocodile populations. We counted 15 big and terrifying crocs sunning on the riverbanks at one time, not to mention others quietly disappearing under the surface of the water. Though they are the stars of the show here, more than 58 species of birds, including the endangered roseate spoonbill, live along the shoreline of this unique and varied habitat zone.

One of Jaco's 10 secret waterfalls One of the ten hidden waterfalls in Jaco (Photo courtesy of Noreen Kompanik)

Costa Rica Waterfalls are a great place to play.

When visiting Costa Rica’s rainforests to see its awe-inspiring waterfalls, having a guide is essential once again. The majority of these can only be reached on foot. These locations are familiar to guides, who can assure hikers’ safety along the journey until they reach the spectacular falls.

The towering Bijagual Waterfall, at 600 feet, is one of Costa Rica’s highest. The waterfall is partially accessible on horseback through a beautiful green forest near Jaco on the Central Pacific Coast in the hilly area of Bijagual. The riders then go a short distance to the foot of the thundering falls. Three natural pools approximately six feet deep at the foot of the falls provide a peaceful dip to cool off after the journey down.

If you like waterfalls, and you have the opportunity to trek through a tropical forest and see not one, but 10 in a single trip, you are really living. We put on our swimsuits, water shoes, sunscreen, caps, and bug spray and set out for an adventure in neighboring Puntarenas, thanks to Mango’s Adventures, a family-owned adventure business.

We climbed granite walls, traversed fast-moving streams, and discovered waterfall after waterfall. We crawled under gushing waterfalls, rappelled to higher falls, and cooled ourselves in lovely natural pools.

Jet Ski Adventure Adventure on a Jet Ski (Photo via Noreen Kompanik)

Beautiful Beaches by Jet Ski

The Central Coast of Costa Rica is known for its beaches and sea. We also went out on two-man jet skis to take in more of the natural splendour and explore some of the more remote tempting white dunes.

We were able to see beaches, cliffs, and coves from an entirely new viewpoint after departing from Herradura Bay. We flew passed Herradura Island, Punta Leona’s protected natural areas, and Punta Canejo’s surfer’s paradise beach.

Playa Escondida, hidden away in a private rainforest cove, is one of Costa Rica’s most quiet beaches and unique hideaways. We were surprised to see another another waterfall, produced by a stream running down from the mountains above, only feet from the shore. The waterfalls were flowing at full speed due to a wet period shortly before our trip, making it the ideal spot for a back massage from the intense bombardment of water.

A neighbor invited us over to observe a family of spider monkeys as we were getting ready for a beach vacation (the one monkey that had eluded us until now). A couple of sea turtles were swimming in the crystal-clear tourmaline waters right next to us as we returned to our jet skis, not to be outdone.

Our last beach destination before returning to Los Sueos was Playa Fantasia, Jaco’s Garden of Eden. Only accessible by boat, this corner of heaven is teeming with tropical animals. It’s also quite private and secluded. “If we were ever stuck on an island, this would be the place,” we thought.

The Playa is flanked by two massive volcanic reef formations with abundant marine life in underwater coves and groves. The snorkeling is excellent here. Outside the reefs, the pounding surf made for a wild ride back.

Nothing could stop us from soaking up all the riches Mother Nature has given upon this tropical paradise once everything was said and done, while always keeping safety in mind. Costa Rica exceeded our expectations by a factor of 10, and we can’t wait to return. We’ll go back to see its volcanoes, cloud forests, and other natural beauties next time.

“Believe in the miracle of pure life,” one of the locals told us during our stay. Yes, we believe in the “good life’s” enchantment. Costa Rica epitomizes everything, and it was breathtaking!

Costa Rica is a country that has many things to offer. One of the most popular attractions in Costa Rica is the jungle-y paradise. With so much to explore, traveling safe is essential. Reference: costa rica road trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Costa Rica safe to travel right now?

A: Costa Rica is generally safe to travel in. The crime rate levels are low and the country has no major active conflicts with other countries, so its not an intense area of concern for travelers.

What should I avoid in Costa Rica?

A: The most common things to avoid in Costa Rica are drinking the tap water, wearing shoes on the beach (its considered disrespectful), and eating raw food.

Is Costa Rica safer than Mexico?

A: The answer to that question is no, Costa Rica is not safer than Mexico.

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