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The Gap Year Blog

Why You Should Go To: Costa Rica!

3 Feb 2016 00:00 AM
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Costa Rica is a tropical hotspot situated between Panama and Nicaragua, a destination worth a visit for anyone dreaming of seeing exotic wildlife in their natural habitats. But if that hasn’t convinced you yet, maybe these facts will!

1. The country does not have an army 

In 1949 Costa Rica decided to not have an army anymore. This decision has been honoured till this day today.  

Where to find out more: Learn more about the country’s history and wy they abolished their military.

 2. It’s a biodiverse hotspot for wildlife lovers

Over 25% of the country is protected in national parks due to the country's progressive policies on environmental protection – and they carry 5% of the world’s biodiversity. The country is full of amazing wildlife, scenery and beaches… So it’s the perfect place to volunteer in conservation!

Where to find out more: Find volunteer opportunities here.

 3.  Experience a ‘Pura vida’ lifestyle

Pura vida is a common saying in Costa Rica that means ‘pure life’ – life is good. This perfectly captures Costa Rican culture that is relaxed and laid back, especially if you visit the Caribbean coast!

Where to find out more: Learn all you need to know about Costa Rican pura vida culture here.

4. Sloths – do we have to say more?


These fellows never fail to impress. You can’t help but smile whenever you are lucky enough to encounter a sloth hanging around a tree in the jungle, they are simply too cute.

Find out more: Well, sloths does not come with a manual… But if you fancy seeing one, rainy season can be better than dry season when flora is flourishing! Most national parks have sloths in them, so get out there and take a look around.

5. Volcanoes

Costa Rica has quite a few active volcanoes that are lined up on a long chain through the country. The volcanoes attract a lot of attention from visitors and it’s not just because they look impressive but because they play a key role in the country’s natural diversity. Many years back the eruptions caused the soil to be full of minerals that supported the forestation of the land. So make sure you thank them!

Find out more: Arenal is one of the most famous of Costa Rica’s volcanos due to it being the most active one. It can be seen from the Arenal National Park.  

6. Glorious beaches and surfing


Like many other countries in Central America, Costa Rica does have some amazing beaches. If you plan on surfing this is the place! Great weather, good waves and clear water… What more can you ask for?

Where to find out more: Get some good tips here.

7. It has been ranked the happiest country on Earth

Well, it pays off to live a relaxed lifestyle and smile a lot… Clearly Pura Vida is the way forward

Where to find out more: Read more on the Happy Planet Index’s website.

8. They have canopy tours in the jungle!


If you want to see wildlife from a different angle, why not join a canopy tour in the jungle? This is a fast-flying tour where you ride on a zip-line which allows you to experience nature from above. Who knows, maybe monkeys will fly by?

Where to find out more: Check out Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve's website.

9. Amazing waterfalls!

Costa Rica is full of waterfalls and waterholes and while some of them are easily located within national parks such as Montezuma others are less accessible. Many guidebooks will help you locate some of these well kept secrets but the best won’t be there, mostly because they are a hard to find… so be a true adventurer and find them on your own!

Where to find out more: These waterfalls are considered some of the best.

10. You can volunteer on a turtle project!

Seeing turtle hatchlings is a dream for many travellers and in Costa Rica it can come true. If you volunteer on a turtle conservation project in Costa Rica you get to gain the necessary skills so that you can help these magnificent beings.

Where to find out more: Read more about Frontier’s turtle project and find out how you can become a part of it.

There you go… Are you ready to fly? Maybe not just yet, but if you are considering Costa Rica as your next destination you should definitely take a look at our exciting volunteer projects in the country. 

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

By Caroline Edwards