Why you need to visit Costa Rica
Costa Rica and I go way back. My first visit was in 2002 and it was what got me hooked on the country. My girlfriend at the time, a high school sweetheart had a free place to stay on the beach. Her grandpa owned a house along with a hotel. We stayed for 3 weeks which wasn’t nearly long enough. Of course, we dreaded going back to the cold weather in Canada.
How it all started
We were in Guanacaste, one of my best memories was sitting down on the beach with a pig called Lola. The beach bar/restaurant had become famous for having a pet pig that would frolic in the sand, mingling with the tourists and locals. We stayed in her grandpa’s house with a couple from California. The guy’s name was Shawn and he was a really good surfer, I remembered watching him rip it up at the beach where the pig was. The surfing is really good in Costa Rica. The old movie “Endless Summer” is what put it on the map for surfing. I remember a picture of someone riding a monster wave that was taken just outside the hotel of the family. It was something like 55’ and her uncle told me it was a record wave.
The fishing also got me hooked on the country. Her uncle took me out fishing and it was a blast. There is nothing like catching a yellowfin tuna, cutting it up on the boat with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Wow, what an incredible memory. My girlfriend was pretty upset because there was only room for one more on the boat and her uncle chose me.
Moving to Costa Rica
Fast forward 15 years and I find myself in Costa Rica again, not as a visitor but as a resident. I moved here in 2014 and started up a vacation rental website. It’s nice to meet people from all over the world and help them make their vacation memorable. Here are my most suggested places to visit while traveling Costa Rica.
The town of La Fortuna is must see if you enjoy a little bit of a cooler climate combined with hot springs. The area has natural hot springs and also man made fancy ones located inside hotels. This is a great place for foodies and backpackers. There is a volcano in the area named Arenal that gives some great photo opportunities. If you travel around the lake you will get some pictures from a better angle. The volcano was active up until about 7 years ago. Lake Arenal is the largest lake in Costa Rica. The area around La Fortuna is also a hot spot for adventure tours.
This place is pure magic! The white sandy beaches and good vibes that visitors get from the beach town are epic. There are plenty of good restaurants to choose from in Manuel Antonio and accommodations are bountiful. There are lots of eco-nature tours to partake in and if you’re looking to get the adrenaline going there is a plethora of adventure tours. The main attraction is the National Park. The park is the most visited national park in Costa Rica, once you come here you will realize why. The monkeys will steal your heart and maybe even your lunch too if you aren’t careful. If you’re looking to catch all the wildlife action then hiring a guide with a telescope can be a great idea.
I would recommend getting a hold of St Michaels Eco Farm which is located between Jaco and Manuel Antonio and on the way to and from Manuel Antonio. If you like organic food this is a must stop. They have all sorts of exotic fruits to try along with veggies and healing herbs. One of the main reasons I moved to Costa Rica is for the fresh fruits and veggies.
I like the mountainous areas of Costa Rica because of the cooler fresh climates. One of my favorite places in the world is the area surrounding Cerro Chirripó. The air that you breathe feels so fresh and clean when inhaled and appreciated. The rivers combined with the mountains makes the perfect environment to just relax and read a book. You can make arrangements to climb the mountain bringing you to the highest peak in Costa Rica at 12,533 feet but you do need to prearrange a permit. There is also a cloud forest in the area. People are asked to pay a small donation to enter the trails that bring you to several waterfalls. Be completely in peace with nature and feel like you are connected. There is also a hot spring the area, it is not the best I have ever been to but very relaxing indeed.
Miro Mountain Jaco
On your way back from Manuel Antonio as you make your way into Jaco there is a great lookout. As you come down the hill from Playa Hermosa there is a gas station on the left-hand side, across from the gas station there are two dirt roads, take the first, when you get to the peak and see a gate for Trillos Colorada take the road on the left and look for the trail. Here is a video I made so you know what to expect.
I think one of the reasons Costa Rica is such a great environment is because of the laid back vibes you get. There is a famous saying here that is “Pura Vida” it translates to pure life and the locals uses it daily to greet people and just about anything else, but it also seems like a way of life. In fact, Costa Rica has been voted the happiest place in the world by the happy planet index for many years. PURA VIDA, nos vemos.