Costa Rica is officially the world’s happiest country. A recent report said so. But whether or not you believe the statisticians of the Happy Planet Index, you’ll find that anyone who has visited Costa Rica and has experienced the laid back Pura Vida lifestyle will confirm their conclusions to be true.
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Blessed with unspoilt beaches, dense tropical jungles, mist-strewn cloud forests and imposing volcanoes, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse nations in the world and a bucket list destination for nature lovers and birdwatchers. Around a quarter of the country is protected forest or nature reserve and, as a result, the amount of wildlife to be found here is simply staggering. Take a walk in Manuel Antonio National Park and you’ll likely encounter white-faced capuchin monkeys and sloths curled up in the trees, while a boat trip along the Tortuguero canals will offer up blue morpho butterflies, elusive caimans, colourful toucans and countless other birdlife. Wherever you go, the haunting sounds of howler monkeys and raucous calls of scarlet macaws will be the unforgetable soundtrack to your Costa Rican adventure. And if it’s high octane adventure that you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.
You’ll find a wealth of activities on offer here, from whitewater rafting to canyoning, kayaking, zip lining, surfing, horse riding and much more. Of course there are also more sedate ways to appreciate Costa Rica’s natural beauty, with canopy tours, nature hikes and boat trips all popular options. Accommodation here tends to be boutique style, with most hotels having less than 30 rooms. You’ll find there is a big emphasis on sustainability and an impressive number of hotels produce their own power.
Lodges are not necessarily luxurious in the traditional sense and some lack amenities, such as air-conditioning, that you might be accustomed to, but in Costa Rica luxury has a slightly different connotation. Luxury here lies in the peace and tranquillity of your stunning natural surroundings and in the abundant wildlife whose home you have the privilege to share, albeit briefly. And then there are the people. Costa Ricans, or Ticos as they are affectionately known, are some of the most genuinely warm and friendly people that you could wish to meet. You’ll hear the words Pura Vida (pure life) everywhere you go and this catchy mantra really sums up Costa Rica’s appeal - there’s a purity to life here that has been lost elsewhere. No fuss, no worries, no stress, that’s what a holiday to Costa Rica is all about. Pura Vida indeed.