If you're looking for adventure, travel to Costa Rica. It's bigger than most think, and there are tons of activities to choose from. It has rain forests, hot springs, volcanos and beaches. You can hike, surf, zip line, snorkel and more. It's also home to 5% of the world's biodiversity, and about 25% of the country is protected parks. I lived in Costa Rica in 2005, but this post about a trip I took last year with a friend!
Playa Hermosa is a quaint location on the west coast of Costa Rica. It's pretty mellow, but a short cab ride away is the more lively Coco Beach. We relaxed by the pool most of our stay, and took some epic day trips to nearby locations.
Coco beach has a strip of bustling bars to go out and/or watch fútbol (soccer). It's a lively small city full of life. If you want to party and hot the beach, this is definitely a great place to visit.
Monteverde is a cloud forest, home to the world’s most complex ecosystems. Imagine a nature walk across hanging bridges high above the tree line. First we visited the hummingbirds gardens with 14 species of the tiny, lively colored birds zipping around. They were all colors and sizes. We took the zipline tour which includes the longest cable in Costa Rica at 1km (over half a mile). We rode some of the lines tandem, some upside down, and rode the longest one superman style over the rain forest. For the adventurous spirits out there, I highly recommend this day trip by Mardigi Tours.
Sunset Cruise (from coco beach)
Taking a sunset cruise from Coco Beach is a must! The snorkeling is just fair bit the views out are on the water are worth the trip. It's beautiful on the ocean with so many colors filling the sky at sunset. It's also an open bar out on the water and they aren't stingy with the cocktails. We quickly made some friends on the catamaran, and were pretty sauced by the end of the trip. Our new friends included a native "Tica" (Costa Rican Woman) and so they quickly became our hosts in Coco Beach and led us to the best bars and restaurants. Que bueno!
Rincon de la Vieja
This day trip from Playa Hermosa takes you on a water slide over a ¼ mile long through the forest. It's incredibly exhilarating ride going high speeds! Wear good water shoes because you have to hike up to it first! After the slide you horseback ride for approximate 45 minutes to a thermal hot springs in an extraordinary location at the bottom of the volcano. The horseback riding is not my favorite, but that's just personal preference, I've never been a fan. The thermal mineral pools were really nice. We lathered up in the mineral rich volcanic mud, then rinsed and relaxed in the varying temperatures of the surrounding pools. We were even lucky enough to see a large colony of monkeys swinging through the trees above.
Tamarindo is another great location for nightlife. It's one of the more frequented "touristy" cities on the west coast of Costa Rica. The party scene is alive and well, there are loads of restaurants to choose from. The ocean is perfect for both beginning and advanced surfing! I wish I could've stayed longer to ride some more waves but we were only there for a day trip from Playa Hermosa, about 2 hours away.
There are so many great places to visit in Costa Rica! In all my travels there these are my top picks:
Manuel Antonio National Park for rainforest with monkeys along a pristine beach
Monteverde for adventures like zip lining, hiking and seeing wildlife
As the locals say, Pura Vida! Leave a comment if you have any questions.