It’s that time again! Another year is coming to an end and 2015 is upon us. Hopefully 2014 took you to some amazing places around the world and you have exciting travels planned for the New Year. If Costa Rica isn’t already on your list, here are 13 experiences that will surely tempt your wanderlust.
Become Part of the Fairy Tale at the Río Celeste
Like something out of a storybook, the Celeste River has striking baby blue water that’s so blue, it doesn’t look quite real. The color comes from a chemical reaction so happens naturally, but we’ll let you be the judge. Just look at those magical sheets of aqua rolling over the Río Celeste Waterfall.
Soar Through the Clouds in Monteverde
One of the coolest ways to experience Monteverde’s hazy cloud forest is on a zip line. Feel the mist hit your face as you fly from platform to platform to get outstanding views of Costa Rica’s many shades of green.
Sink Your Toes Into Sand Made of Shells
Soft granules of ivory, pink, and tan make up the sand at Playa Conchal on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast. Take in the view of the calm cove from a beach chair, or dip in the balmy turquoise water when you need to cool off.
Bathe in Mineral-Rich Mud
Take a bath with mineral-rich mud that comes straight from the earth in Rincon de la Vieja, then relax for a soak in thermal pools heated by the area’s volcanoes.
Get in Touch with Nature in Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio is brimming with tropical rainforest and wildlife. Sloths lounge in trees, exotic birds sing from the canopy, and three different kinds of monkeys can be spotted. You’ll see the most at the national park, but don’t be surprised if you see wildlife, especially monkeys, hanging out around town.
Swim in a Serene Natural Pool at the Nauyaca Waterfalls
If you haven’t swam in a waterfall by the end of your vacation, they might not let you back on the plane. Costa Rica has beautiful waterfalls around every corner, but one of the best for swimming are the Nauyaca in the Southern Zone. Just look at those two dramatic tiers and oversized pool.
Be Humbled by a Giant Volcano
When in the presence of Arenal Volcano, it is hard not to stare and marvel at the sheer power and beauty of nature. Head to La Fortuna to get the closest view of this cone-shaped giant.
Soak in Thermal Pools Surrounded by Lush Jungle
Unwind in the natural hot springs around Arenal Volcano. Area resorts have pools with manicured gardens, swim-up bars, and mini-waterfalls, or you can visit one of the rivers to soak for free. These hot springs are true to the name, as some are as hot as 50°C (122°F).
Sip Coffee from the Source
Coffee is an important part of everyday life in Costa Rica. It is enjoyed throughout the day, and cafecitos often follow meals. To see how this important crop is grown, head to Café Britt or a smaller producer to get a behind-the-scenes look.
Peer Into the Crater of an Active Volcano
Not far from the capital city of San José is Poás Volcano, an impressive volcanic crater that also happens to be one of the largest in the world. Get a glimpse of the stunning, yet highly toxic, blue-green crater lake from Poás Volcano National Park.
Snorkel the Pristine Reefs of the Caribbean Coast
Costa Rica’s oceans are known more for surfing than snorkeling, but the coral reefs along the Caribbean Coast are prime for marine exploration when waters are calm. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a great jumping-off point, and the laid-back feel will make you forget all the stresses of 2014.
Take in a Glorious Sunset on the Gold Coast
At around 5:30 every single day in Costa Rica, the sun sinks into the mighty Pacific, and people gather along the beaches of Guanacaste’s Gold Coast to witness the show. Ever-changing shades of orange, pink, and purple fill the sky, and are the perfect end to a perfect day.
Fall Asleep Under a Palm Tree
The country’s motto is pura vida (pure life), and the locals take it quite seriously. Life moves a little slower in Costa Rica, and by even just spending a week or two here, you’ll feel more relaxed and carefree. Embrace the pura vida pace and park yourself in a hammock for the day. You are on vacation, after all.
We hope we’ve inspired you to discover Costa Rica in 2015! Let us know what’s on your dream list this year in the comments below.