Six reasons to visit Costa Rica

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Located at the exact centre of the Americas, Costa Rica is the tiny republic that packs a huge punch when it comes to steamy rainforests, smoking volcanoes, glorious beaches, and extraordinary wildlife. Home to an incredible 6.5% of the world's biodiversity, it’s nature’s perfect playground. Whether you’re an adventurous spirit or simply looking for peace and relaxation, here are some unmissable experiences in this eco wonderland.

Admire Costa Rica’s most photogenic volcano

Of all Costa Rica’s hotspots, the colossal Arenal Volcano gets the love for looming large over the green hillsides surrounding its base. At 5,357-feet tall, this active stratovolcano is approximately 7,500 years old – but still considered a newbie compared to other big-name giants. It last erupted in 1968, burying three small villages (Tabacón, Pueblo Nuevo, and San Luís) and killing 87 people. Thankfully, it now sits at rest and volcanologists don't anticipate any high levels of activity anytime soon.

Discover the Caño Negro Refuge

Located near the Nicaraguan border, this ecologically-rich area was declared Costa Rica’s first RAMSAR (Wetlands of International Importance) site in 1991. Not only is it a key migration route for birds coming from the north, but it provides habitats for thousands of resident species including the glossy ibis, black-necked stilt, American widgeon, northern shoveler, and black-bellied whistling-duck. The refuge is also home to over 5,000 animal species (including three species of monkeys), over 1,000 plant species, and a series of lagoons, rivers, swamps, and marshes.

Hike through Rincón de la Vieja National Park

As part of the UNESCO-listed Guanacaste Conservation Area since 1999, this eco-adventure hotspot in the north-west region of Costa Rica thrills with wetlands, cloud forests, mangroves, hot springs, boiling mud pits, freshwater lagoons, and one of Central America’s largest remaining tropical dry forests. It’s also the home to several endangered or rare plants as well as multiple species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Also worthy of your attention is Rincon de la Vieja Volcano – Costa Rica’s third most active and the largest in the Guanacaste province with an elevation of 1,895 metres.

Relax on one of Guanacaste’s beaches

It’s all postcard-worthy beaches in Guanacaste, the province bordered by Nicaragua in the north and the Nicoya Peninsula in the south. With the Pacific Ocean as a glistening backdrop, some of our favourite sandy spots include Playa Conchal for its pink sands and perfect swimming waters, Playa Avellenas for its white sands and huge waves during peak surfing season, and Playa Langosta for its rocky shoreline and coastal landscape.

Visit Las Pumas Wildlife Sanctuary

Of the six species of wild cat in Costa Rica, five can be seen at this not-for-profit sanctuary founded in 1960 by Swiss environmentalist Lilly Bodmer and her husband, Werner Hagnauer. Their aims were simple; to rescue, rehabilitate, and release (where possible) animals to the wild. Lily and Werner passed away in 2001 and 2015 respectively, but the shelter is still run by the family (the Hagnauer Foundation was set up in their honour in 2003). The centre provides a safe haven for jaguars, pumas, ocelots, margays, and jaguarundis as well as injured or orphaned monkeys, badgers, turtles, and birds.

Spend time at Santa Rosa National Park

As Costa Rica’s first official national park, this 94,000-acre landscape protects some of the world’s last remaining tropical dry forest. While most revered as the site of the 1856 Battle of Santa Rosa – the most important military victory in Costa Rica’s history – this is also where you’ll find excellent hiking trails, two sea turtle nesting beaches (Naranjo and Nancite), a wide range of habitats, interesting flora and fauna, and a history museum. It’s also home to over 250 bird species, including the parrot, parakeet, raucous white-throated magpie jay, and more.

Jungles & Volcanoes of Costa Rica (11 nights)

Accommodation: Various partner hotels

Departing: 5 Dec 2023, last few rooms remaining

Price from: £3,999pp (incl. flights)

Book now or call 020 3974 8865

Jungles & Volcanoes of Costa Rica (14 nights)

Accommodation: Various partner hotels

Departures: 17 April 2024, 3 Dec 2024, 14 nights

Price from: £4,699pp (incl. flights)

Book now or call 020 3974 8865