Resulting from its distinctive topography and its tropical local weather, Costa Rica is a haven for wildlife. The nation lies between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and has two mountain ranges that run by almost all the size of the nation. The dense forests, sprawling seashores and enormous nationwide parks are estimated to be house to greater than 500,000 animal species, making it a dream vacation spot for biologists and eco-tourists alike!
In case you’re questioning when’s the best time to go, there are two seasons in Costa Rica: the dry season and the inexperienced season. The inexperienced season could be very lush, however the climate is extra unpredictable as heavy rainfalls may very well be anticipated on any given day. The dry season that runs from November to April ought to assure largely sunny days, however you may even see fewer flowers. November and early December are the perfect time to go to, because it’s the shoulder season when flowers begin blooming, bushes are inexperienced, and the climate is usually dry. However no matter if you select to go, you’ll see a lot of wildlife year-round in Costa Rica.
The nation has put key measures in place to guard its wildlife, and also you’ll discover loads of ecolodges and different eco-friendly lodging, all providing a variety of unforgettable sights and actions. Listed here are 10 outside exercise concepts in your subsequent journey in Costa Rica:
1. Hike by the jungle and spot wildlife
There are 3 fundamental sorts of forests in Costa Rica:
- Rainforests, that are lush, moist, and heat, making them the proper habitat for complicated and wealthy ecosystems. Whereas they cowl solely 6% of our planet, they characterize about 51% of Costa Rica’s territory.
- Cloud forests, that are all the time humid because of their excessive elevation. They’re positioned within the highest components of mountains or volcanoes, the place you may get the phantasm of dwelling within the clouds. They represent only one% of the world’s forest space, however Costa Rica’s cloud forests contribute 2.5% of Earth’s biodiversity!
- Tropical dry forests, which are typically dryer and thus much less lush than their counterparts, making them excellent for recognizing wildlife, comparable to monkeys and sloths.
Wherever you’re staying, there’ll almost certainly be a path onsite or close by. I like to recommend doing a mixture of self-guided and toured hikes. I noticed loads of wildlife wandering by myself, together with howler monkeys, white-faced capuchins, iguanas, frogs, and toads, however you’ll be able to see much more with an area information who is aware of their environment. They’ll take you off the crushed path and present you pure wonders you wouldn’t have suspected had been there. You’ll additionally be taught extra concerning the ecosystems. One other enjoyable concept is to go for a guided evening stroll within the forest. You’ll have the ability to hear all of the critters perched within the bushes after sundown and see shiny eyes looking at you each time you search for. Perhaps skip this one in the event you’re simply spooked at the hours of darkness!
2. Discover a wildlife reserve
Whereas monkeys and lizards are widespread sights in Costa Rica, some critters like sloths, armadillos, or tapirs are tougher to identify except you go deeper within the jungle. Analysis the completely different areas fastidiously in the event you want to see a selected animal, then decide the kind of tour that fits your journey stage.
Some firms supply tour packages that embrace a trek far off the crushed path for just a few days the place you’ll be absolutely immersed in nature. Whereas the thought sounds nice on paper, ask your self in the event you’re prepared to sleep in the midst of the jungle for just a few nights with minimal consolation, understanding that bugs and snakes are outdoors your tent, or inside it! I got here near heading out on the same trek throughout my final journey, however realized upon reflection that I wished a extra snug journey. Perhaps subsequent time!
There are numerous different methods to expertise the wildlife in Costa Rica. For instance, you’ll be able to go for a one-day go to in a wildlife centre. Diamante Eco Journey Park is without doubt one of the hottest. Situated in Guanacaste, this animal sanctuary is “one of many most interesting Wildlife Training Facilities in Costa Rica”. You’re assured to see sloths and jaguars, and your cash goes in direction of supporting rescued animals. Plus, you’ll get to fulfill a nationwide superstar: Lucy the sloth! She’s not the one sloth resident, however she’s probably the most well-known. I bear in mind her face was featured in every single place, from airport terminals to roadside billboards, to advertise the park.
3. Volunteer for the animals
One other method to spend time round animals, whereas doing an excellent deed, is to volunteer. As you’ll be able to think about, there are a lot of alternatives to help conservation efforts in Costa Rica. Whereas donations are all the time helpful, it’s additionally fulfilling to donate a few of your time. You possibly can be taught so much, meet the locals, and create a singular journey reminiscence. I visited Verdiazul, a company that protects turtle eggs in Playa Junquillal. Costa Rica is a nesting floor for six out of the 7 endangered turtle species on this planet. Resulting from habitat loss attributable to human actions comparable to fishing and tourism, and the decline of sea grass beds, about 61 % of the world’s 356 turtle species are threatened or extinct, in accordance with the College of California. Whereas I didn’t get to see turtles, I met a gaggle of devoted people and realized concerning the instrumental work that long-term volunteers do within the space. In addition they informed me how necessary it’s to keep away from excursions that assure seeing and interacting with turtles, as these can significantly disrupt their pure habitat and probabilities of survival.
4. Go hen watching
Costa Rica is a paradise for hen watchers, with over 900 resident hen species and hundreds of thousands of birds migrating by the pure hall between South and North America. Two of probably the most famend are the keel-billed toucan and the scarlet macaw. However there are additionally many smaller sorts which are simply as vibrant and value your consideration. La Selva Organic Station is without doubt one of the most enjoyable locations to go hen watching, as greater than half the species of birds within the nation both dwell there or migrate by the realm for the duration of the yr. Monteverde Cloud Forest Organic Reserve within the North of the nation is one other prime location for birders. And in the event you’re fortunate, you would possibly spot a uncommon resplendent quetzal; one of many world’s most stunning birds, in accordance with consultants. If neither of those reserves work in your itinerary, there are numerous different hen watching spots in Costa Rica, so don’t overlook to pack your binoculars!
5. Style domestically grown espresso and chocolate
Costa Ricans take their espresso significantly. The nation’s numerous geography and tropical local weather are optimum for rising the perfect beans. Go to a plantation or join a coffee-tasting class to be taught concerning the native beans. I did the latter, and the very first thing I used to be informed is that Costa Rica is the one nation on this planet the place it’s unlawful to provide any espresso aside from 100% Arabica. Since Arabica was the primary kind of espresso ever grown within the nation and it has a greater popularity, Robusta was banned within the Nineteen Eighties. I additionally realized that the altitude and the rising surroundings have a big influence on the flavour.
If, like me, you want each chocolate and occasional, you can even go to a cocoa farm. Cocoa has many well being advantages – if consumed unsweetened and moderately – comparable to offering antioxidants, minerals, and wholesome fat. It’s additionally a staple in our kitchens to make all types of scrumptious treats. As widespread as it’s, I solely found just a few years in the past what a cocoa fruit appears like. It made me notice how uninformed and disconnected I used to be from the meals that’s in my fridge. You’ll be taught every part you’ll want to find out about chocolate on website, and the domestically made chocolate bars make for prefect journey items in your family members, as they slot in each suitcase.
6. Find out about flowers and medicinal crops
Costa Rica shouldn’t be solely house to numerous animal species, however it’s also considerable in gorgeous unique flowers with over 9,000 recorded species! Some can solely be present in Costa Rica. The attractive Guaria Moradas Orchid is the nationwide flower; there are greater than 1,500 species of orchid within the nation. It usually adorns altars throughout Easter and is believed to deliver success and luck in addition to promote household concord, peace, and love.
A few of these flowers, together with 300 species of medicinal crops, are sometimes utilized by locals as pure treatments for his or her well being advantages. For instance, the torch ginger flower is used to facilitate digestion and to spice up the immune system, whereas the noni, also called cheese fruit, is a liver and cardiovascular tonic that helps to manage blood sugar ranges and relieve pores and skin irritations. There are botanical gardens all through the nation the place you’ll be able to admire and be taught extra about them. You would possibly even see them within the wild in the event you go to the best spots.
7. Stroll amongst butterflies
One other exercise that can add some color to your journey is visiting butterfly sanctuaries. There are over 1,500 butterfly species and 12,000 moth species in Costa Rica, which characterize 18% of the world’s inhabitants! The Blue Morpho is the most well-liked because it’s one of many largest. It’s recognizable by its vivid blue colors and enormous wings. The most effective locations to identify this blue big, together with different species, is the Arenal Butterfly Backyard. The park is family-run and places nice effort in supporting the conservation of endangered species and defending pure ecosystems.
8. Set sail for a ship tour within the mangrove forests
Mangroves are salt tolerant bushes that develop the place freshwater streams and rivers meet the ocean. They’re one of many world’s most endangered ecosystems as a couple of third of the planet’s mangrove space has disappeared within the final 4 a long time because of local weather change. I did a ship tour by the estuaries of Tamarindo, and it was by far one of the vital memorable moments of my journey. The surroundings was breathtaking, and I noticed loads of monkeys and tropical birds, in addition to large crocodiles within the water. The one factor separating the mangrove river, the place these large reptiles dwell and Tamarindo’s seashore, the place tons of of individuals swim on a regular basis, is an invisible barrier created by the actions of the water. Our information informed us that crocodiles don’t like swimming the place there are waves, in order that they naturally cease the place the river meets the ocean. Once I went for a dip on the seashore after the tour, I couldn’t keep away from the considered a crocodile snatching my legs…
9. Dive and discover the underwater landscapes
Costa Rica means ‘Wealthy Coast’ which is becoming, because the nation is surrounded by water. There are diving websites for all ranges. Snorkelers can keep by the shore the place they’ll be rewarded with the sight of lovely reef beds and vibrant fish. Superior divers would possibly encounter manta rays and white tip reef sharks, and will even see a humpback whale in the event that they’re fortunate! You may as well rent a ship to discover the shores of Costa Rica’s islands for diving, comparable to Cocos Island if you wish to see hammerhead sharks. In case you’re scuba diving or free diving over 40 metres, bear in mind so as to add Sports activities & Exercise Protection to your journey insurance coverage to make sure you’re protected in each state of affairs.
10. Bathe in sizzling springs
Throughout my final journey to Costa Rica, I stayed at Rio Perdido, a panoramic ecolodge within the tropical forest of the Guanacaste area. You possibly can learn extra about my keep and what makes this ecolodge particular by studying 8 Should-visit Eco-friendly lodging From Across the Globe. There’s a geothermal river on the grounds of the ecolodge the place visitors can swim and revel in complimentary mud masks introduced from a close-by volcano.
Moreover being an excellent website for butterflies as beforehand talked about, the Arenal Volcano Nationwide Park is house to spectacular landscapes, making it the proper cease for all types of outside adventures. As a result of area’s geothermal exercise, there are a lot of pure sizzling springs within the space. The most effective spots to take pleasure in a heat tub is Eco Thermales Sizzling Spring. At this eco sustainable family-run enterprise, you’ll be able to strive 4 completely different swimming pools of hypo-thermal magnesia-filled waters with completely different temperatures, the place you’ll be able to calm down in a beautiful surroundings. To fulfill their sustainability requirements and guarantee visitors absolutely benefit from the idyllic environment, solely 100 guests are allowed at a time, so be sure you guide forward!
I hope you’re now impressed to decide on Costa Rica as your subsequent journey vacation spot.
Keep in mind to pack the best journey insurance coverage in your adventures, and to deliver sunblock and powerful mosquito repellent. I forgot to use repellent as soon as after a dip within the river, and I obtained coated in bites inside minutes.
I hope you may have a implausible journey exploring the attractive pure landscapes of Costa Rica, and that you simply make loads of furry mates alongside the best way!