Must-see destinations in Costa Rica: The land of volcanos and some of nature’s beauty
A trip to Costa Rica did it. It changed my entire view about the natural beauty of the Central American country. The tropical beaches, rugged mountains, unspoiled nature, beautiful people and numerous, lovely waterfalls and tourist destinations are ever so charming. Trust me, my 10-day experience in Costa Rica is what I can’t forget in a hurry. It’s an awesome place you’d love to visit.
Exclusively in this blog, I will literally take you on a journey to Costa Rica. You’ll definitely learn some tips and local info that can make your visit even more splendid. Thanks for reading!
Arriving in San Jose, Costa Rica
Our flight from Canada lasted about seven and a half hours. Before we touched down in San Jose at 1:30 am, I had already scheduled accommodation and car rental for an easy, smooth arrival. I like to do this anytime I’m on a pleasure trip. At 32 Celsius/ 86 Fahrenheit, when we arrived in San Jose, the weather was hot all through in the city.
Now, Costa Rica is known to conserve 13,000 square kilometers in parks and national reserves, which are homes to numerous plant and animal species. So on the second day after my arrival, I decided to check out what some tourist attractions look like and my first stop was the Irazu Volcano National Park. It’s a one and half hour bus ride from my destination in San Jose.
In summary, Irazu Volcano felt like a vast, beautiful wasteland.
My experience in Santa Teresa
My next destination was Santa Teresa, a 5-hour shuttle bus ride and ferry costing $50 US. The first thing I needed was to visit the beach and cool off. I’ve been told that the water is as warm as the air, so I decided to have a feel for myself. Forgetting that I wasn’t a good swimmer myself, I was lost in the moment and everything happened so fast. I was far from shore, almost drowning.
What I didn’t realize was the fact that I’d walked into the water without knowing what direction the current was headed. Being an amateur swimmer, swimming back to shore was difficult. I screamed for help and lifeguard came to my rescue. Lo and behold, I’d taken a few gulps of saltwater before help arrived.
They took me to the Lifeguard Clinic for adequate care, thanks to my traveling insurance. The next few days were spent relaxing, walking around the beach and digesting the breathtaking view. And my favorite spot was the Casa Zen, where I made new friends and got used the country’s atmosphere.
Moral lesson: pay close attention to your surroundings, take one conscious step at a time, and don’t forget to always have travel insurance.
…off to Montezuma
My next destination was Montezuma, a 45mins shuttle bus ride. Montezuma is not only a quiet town, but it’s also one of Costa Rica’s most laid-back destinations. It is tremendously blessed with loads of natural beauty. You’ll find dozens of beaches, both large and small, within a walking distance. And waterfalls too.
My hostel was up in the hill, very close to the jungle. And every morning was lovely. I woke up to the chatters of monkeys, the sound of lizards scaling the wall and twittering birds. It’s something to remember.
Did I mention that the coast of Montezuma offers a playground for surfers? It attracts some of the best surfers you’ve ever seen, trusts me. Within my short stay, I realized surfing is pure art – a beautiful sight for onlookers and extraordinary fun for the surfer. I soon developed an interest and I walked up to a new friend for surfing. The 3 hours lessons of straight surfing taught me never to be overwhelmed by the fear of water. I got my confidence back. And loving the water as it was, I made surfing my newly found watersport.
At the end of it all, I learned that a vital lesson; a person is never too old to travel or try new interesting things.
Interesting facts about Costa Rica
- Most Costa Rican Hotels aren’t built to exceed the height of trees.
- Gallo “Pinto”, as the locals love to call it, is a delicious breakfast dish that’s made of rice and beans. This food has roots in both Costa Rica and the Nicaraguan culture.
- You can’t flush your toilet paper. The pipes used in Costa Rican plumbing are too tiny to afford passage for papers.
- Visitors in Costa Rica need to carry a returning ticket and reveal their destination in Costa Rica.
- Bamboo trees were original imported from Asia. And now, the jungles are overwhelmed with bamboo overgrowth.
- Montezuma doesn’t have abundant turtle population in its wildlife. But they have Hawksbill Sea Turtle nests on Playa Montezuma and Grande. During nesting seasons, their conservation centers help release baby turtles (into wildlife) at 4pm every day.
- There’s an underwater volcano in Costa Rica with the erupting bubbles visible on the surface of the water.
- Humpback whales are more common in Montezuma and Malpais, especially between August and January. If you cast a look at the horizon, you’d easily spot one or two whales coming up for air as it shoots water into the air.
- Four monkey species are native to the forests of Costa Rica – the Central American squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii), the Panamanian white-faced capuchin (Cebus imitator), the mantled howler (Alouatta palliata) and Geoffroy’s spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi).
- A typical Costa Rican school day is split into two sessions. Students can attend classes in the morning or afternoon. Daily schedules vary depending on the type of institution, but generally start at 07:00 until 17:00. Outside the city, school only goes up to grade 6.
- Most of the locals are passionate fishermen and farmers.