Travel Stories

Costa Rica 2018 with Christine

Costa Rica 2018 with Christine

Costa Rica, located in Central America, shares its borders with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the southeast, with shorelines on the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east. An eco-tourism hotspot, Costa Rica is a haven for nature lovers, devoting 26% of its land to national parks, wildlife reserves and protected lands.

My visit to Costa Rica took me to the Guanacaste region, a province in Northwestern Costa Rica bordering the Pacific. Guanacaste is one of the more popular destinations in Costa Rica and is where you will find the bulk of all-inclusive and vacation resorts catering to visitors from around the world. Home to beautiful beaches, Guanacaste is a great destination for swimming, surfing, snorkeling or simply relaxing and listening to the soothing sound of the ocean waves hitting the shoreline. Of course, there is much more to do than lazing around on the beach as Guanacaste is home to incredible natural parks where you can visit active volcanoes, enjoy a mud bath, soak in the hot springs and swim under crystal clear waterfalls. Nature walks, cloud forests, butterfly gardens, horseback riding and nature safaris are all offered as day trip excursions giving visitors the opportunity to experience nature in some of the most beautiful and fiercely protected natural reserves in the world.

It was during one tour with a local that I was happy to learn that hunting for sport is illegal in Costa Rica and the concern and care for its wildlife extends amongst all Costa Ricans. We were fortunate to be introduced to a local Costa Rican who provided driver service for us and highly recommend hiring a local driver as an option if you wish to customize your own tours to exactly what you want to see and do. Our driver’s name was Diego and he was a wealth of knowledge and information stopping to take us into the jungle to see the monkeys in their wild habitat, including some mothers with days-old babies clutching on their back, as they swung from tree to tree, it was a surreal opportunity to see these amazing animals in their habitat, living life as they do, freely, every day.

The funny thing is, it was exceptionally easy for Diego to spot the monkeys and I guess, if you grow up living amongst them it would be, however, without his knowledge we would never have experienced our intimate encounter with these amazing animals. As we travelled the roads our attention was brought to the rope bridges hanging from one side of the road to the other. Created especially for the monkeys, these bridges have been put in place as a safe option for the monkeys to crossroads, to help them avoid the danger of power lines or to use when tree boughs don't extend across for safe access. It was a true look into the care and concern of the Costa Rican people doing all they can to help keep their wildlife safe.

There are many activities that allow visitors to enjoy the natural habitat while getting an adrenaline rush too. Sport fishing is also a very popular activity with Marlin and Mahi Mahi being two of the common catch. ATV tours, river rafting and of course, the canopy tours/zip-lining are some of the most popular in the world. For those who are really looking for an adrenaline rush, the Superman Zip-line at Diamanté Eco Adventure Park is sure to get your heart racing. A Zip-line tour offering five different lines and the only zip-line in Costa Rica offering an expansive ocean view, the Superman line allows you to fly like a bird, with your body strapped in horizontally flying over a mile across at a height of 856 ft. In all honesty when we got to the top of the mountain. I was considering backing out due to the realization of just how high I was when I saw my husband, who I had to talk into doing it, was already strapped in and being pushed off the platform. Of course, at that point, I had no choice but to go. After it was over and the initial shock wore off, I have to say it was definitely one of the highlights of my experiences in Costa Rica and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to push their boundaries.

I would be amiss if I failed to mention golfing as my family often decides on a destination that offers the challenges of a new course to add to their resumes. While there are several courses I could mention, The Ocean Course at Peninsula Papagayo is one of the most popular. Situated next to the Four Seasons Resort which also offers stay and play packages, it is a par 72 Championship golf course designed by Arnold Palmer. With majestic views of the Papagayo Peninsula, it is diverse in plant and animal species. You may also be fortunate enough to have an audience of howler or white faced monkeys cheering you on.

The diversity of Costa Rica has something for everyone but especially for those who appreciate the beauty of nature, for those who want to experience it and learn about it. My visit left me with special respect for the country and especially the Costa Rican people, not only for their sincere kindness but mostly for protecting their natural habitat. Costa Ricans’ desire to respect and protect their abundant wildlife, letting them live freely and in as safe an environment as possible, is a true look into the overall beauty of Costa Rica.

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