Click the dots on the map above to view pictures I have taken in these locations.
Costa Rica is by far the most traveled country in Central America. Staying peaceful over the past decades and using foreign aid money wisely, the country has developed quickly and has really ramped up its tourism in the past twenty years. It’s a country known for its outdoors and adventure sports. From rafting rivers to bungee jumping and ziplining, you can do a lot in this relatively small country. However, the country has really become “Americanized” with shopping malls, fast food restaurants, and general way of life common in the US. The traveler looking for a unique cultural experience in Costa Rica will have a tough time. It’s a relatively expensive country and very easy to get around. I think it’s a great country for the beginner traveler looking for an adventure.
The capital city, San Jose, is not what I’d call an interesting city. The city center is worth seeing if you need to stop here for a day, but you’re not missing out if you don’t see it. I found it a nice spot to relax and take in a city after spending several months in Nicaragua. Other than that, there aren’t too many reasons to spend a lot of time here.
I visited Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the southeast Caribbean coast for a few days. The town is very-laid back and very rasta-ish. It seems to be a place where locals and travelers alike party and enjoy a good amount of marijuana. Many foreigners visit here and never leave for that reason. The beaches just outside of town are worth the visit. Renting a bicycle was a great day-trip to enjoy the area.
I had the chance to go white water rafting in the famous Rio Pacuare. This was my first time rafting and was a good experience. The river and surroundings were beautiful, but I expected it to be more exciting. The rapids were level 3 and 4, but I rarely felt any adrenaline pumping. I may have expected too much, but I’ll have to try it again in the future with a level higher.
One of the most incredible natural things I’ve witnessed was in Tortuguero on the northeast coast of Costa Rica. The place is known for the large amount of enormous Green Turtles who lay their eggs on the beaches of the national park. The turtles come up on the beach at night, so it’s common to take a guided tour to see the nesting (they do a great job at preserving the area, and they’ve made it illegal to be on the beach at night without a guide). The night tour was fine, but the real magic happened in the morning. Waking up to see the sunset on the beach, I searched with some friends to find a turtle in daylight. We succeeded and saw a 150 pound turtle slowly makes it way into the Caribbean Sea after laying about 50 eggs. Shortly after disappearing into the sea, we found about 30 babies hatching from their eggs nearby. Somehow, someway, the tiny newborn turtles made their way across the beach and into the water where they swam off in hopes of survival. If you can make the trip between the months of July and September, you would not regret it!