Do you know why Costa Ricans always score high on the global happiness scale? Well, instead of going on about it, I thought I would start with these 10 excellent examples…
1. The Pristine Beaches
Being a relatively small country between 2 oceans means you’re never far from at least one beach. If you want to lay down on the beach and enjoy the sun or catch some waves, then enjoy the bustling nightlife, this place is perfect. The best thing is – Busy beaches are a rarity, so you can always find a great spot!
2. The Mountains
Sitting right on top of the continental divide means that Costa Rica has plenty of mountainous areas, which provides for breathtaking views, lush hiking trails through valleys, rivers and waterfalls, and near-infinite opportunities for photographers. If you feel like getting away from civilization, you can rent a “Finca” – a secluded farmland, with an estate building, a cottage or a farmhouse and enjoy the peace and quiet.
3. Fresh Tropical Fruit
Head to the farmers market (called “feria”), and you will find the sweetest, most flavorful fruits, such as bananas, mangoes, and pineapples, but you can also find alien-looking treats like the ones above. The best thing is, it’s all so very cheap, fresh and most-importantly – DELICIOUS!
4. The Animals
Ever been to an exotic place, expecting to see all the amazing wildlife you’ve heard of, only to realize they’re not very common? Well, if you take a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park you will see sloths, colorful birds, raccoons, and monkeys. No matter where you go, you’re likely to encounter some incredible animals, since Costa Rica contains 5% of the planet’s biodiversity!
5. The Cloud Forests
Maybe you have never heard of the cloud forests of Monteverde, but if you ever imagined what it’s like to be in a fairytale forest – this is the closest you can get. The most beautiful characteristic of the cloud forests is the fog that rolls in over the trees and mountain tops. At times, the fog is so thick that you can’t see more than a few meters ahead.
6. The Cuisine
Like most of Latin America, Meals in Costa Rica are usually based on of rice and beans. The country’s most famous dish – Gallo Pinto, is a breakfast made of rice, beans, cilantro, peppers, onion, and Lizano sauce and mainly served with corn tortillas, eggs, white cheese, and sweet fried plantains. While most dishes are relatively simple, they still hold a powerful mouth-watering quality.
Had enough of nature or just need to restock, do yourself a favor and visit some of the little towns and the country’s capital – San Jose. Many of the towns have beautiful architecture, cute cafes, and lots of friendly locals. The country’s culture is rich and you’ll enjoy it just as much as your hikes or beach-bumming.
No fire and lava, but some are still active or dormant, so take advantage of the calm and you can tell everyone how you braved a volcano. The most famous volcano in Costa Rica is Arenal, close to the town of La Fortuna. The volcano hasn’t erupted in a few years, but it’s still a sight to behold, plus the many hot springs around Fortuna are amazing to bathe in during the winter.
9. Traditions & Festivities
Like most of South America, Costa Rica has a lot of national pride, clearly visible in the many celebrations and traditions that take place throughout the country. The annual pilgrimage to the huge basilica in Cartago can involve nearly two million people, and the “National Horse Parade” that takes place the day after Christmas brings out equine enthusiasts from all around the nation.
10. The People
The motto of Costa Ricans is “pura vida,” literally means “pure life”, and it encompasses the mentality of a culture that loves life and knows not to take anything too seriously. It’s hard to find an unhappy Costa Rican, and once you get used to it, you might realize you never want to leave…