Explore Product Manager Linda Harris was lucky enough to visit Costa Rica recently. It was her first time in Central America so, needless to say, she was very excited. Here are her top five highlights of Costa Rica.
1. Tortuguero is located on the Eastern coast of Costa Rica and feels like a ‘mini Amazon’, you travel by boat to get there, and whilst staying in the lodges you venture out onto the canal by boat to look for wildlife. The lodge I stayed in had the canal at the front of the property and the Caribbean Sea at the back. Unfortunately I was there at the wrong time of the year to see turtles which I am sure would have made Tortuguero even more spectacular. I enjoyed wandering round Tortuguero village which is interesting as there are no cars and the locals get around on foot, by bike or water taxis.
2. Arenal was more of a highlight a few years ago than it is now. The Arenal Volcano was dormant for hundreds of years till it exploded in 1968. A few years ago, it used to explode regularly but the volcano has been quiet since 2010. I went for a guided walk in the national park and the guide explained all about the history and science of the volcano which I found fascinating and made much more sense to me than learning about volcanoes in high school geography! The national park also has a lot of flora and fauna to discover too.
3. Monteverde – To get to Monteverde, you have to travel on some bumpy roads but it is worth it! This area is famous for its cloudforest reserves – Monteverde and Santa Elena. I explored the nature reserve in the daytime and also on a night walk which is good as you get an opportunity to see nocturnal species.
4. Manuel Antonio is a beautiful national park, located on the Pacific Ocean. As well as spotting wildlife (it is one of the best places in Costa Rica to view sloths), it also has stunning beaches.
5. Nature - Costa Rica is all about nature, learning more about the rainforest and trying to spot animals. I was very happy with the variety of wildlife I saw - I saw iguanas everywhere I went, all four types of monkeys that they have in Costa Rica (howler, squirrel, capuchin and spider), lots of frogs (frogs are not my favourite creature, but these were very small and colourful e.g. red with black legs etc so even I liked them!) and on a nightwalk I saw a tarantula. However, Costa Rica is best for birdlife; it has more species than much bigger places like North America or Europe. The bird everyone always wants to see in Costa Rica is the resplendent quetzal (they were considered divine by ancient civilisations) and I am pleased to say I saw one in Monteverde. My favourite wildlife sighting though was sloths in Manuel Antionio. Several members of the product team here at Explore are obsessed with sloths so I knew they would be very jealous!
By Linda Harris
Choose from our selection of adventures in Costa Rica.