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Looking for ideas for your next trip? Travelers are taking to Costa Rica in big ways. In recent years, roughly 2.5 million tourists have made the trek to this small Central American country while spending more money and staying longer than other comparable destinations like Spain, Mexico, and the Bahamas. So what makes Costa Rica such a trendy hotspot for vacation seekers? From unrivaled natural landscapes to adrenaline-rising adventures to laid-back culture, Costa Rica has everything you could hope to find in a vacation destination.

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What Is Costa Rica Known For?

Costa Rica has carved out a special place in the hearts of travelers from around the world for its truly unique activities, scenery, and approach to life.

Natural Beauty and Diversity

Costa Rica is a relatively small country; it’s only a tad bigger than the state of West Virginia. However, its landscapes are made up of pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and towering volcanoes, making it one of the most diverse places to visit on the planet. Over five percent of the world’s known species can be found there.

Costa Rican locals, called Ticos, respect the natural beauty of their country. Conservation efforts have resulted in the creation of over 160 total protected areas, including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and preserves. Nearly all of the beaches in Costa Rica are protected, in part due to efforts to preserve habitual sea turtle nesting grounds. Aside from these creatures, expect to see sloths, monkeys, tree frogs, and macaws daily.

Adventure Tourism

Costa Rica is the ultimate outdoor playground for adventure enthusiasts. There are so many different things to do that you can pick a new activity every day of your trip. However, there are a few choices that should be high up on your list. For starters, there’s nothing like ziplining through a rainforest teeming with wildlife in the place where recreational ziplining was invented. If you stay near one of the country’s volcanoes, consider a hike up to the summit. There are also a lot of watersports activities to enjoy, including surfing, paddle boarding, scuba diving, snorkeling, and world-class whitewater rafting. For more casual adventures, all-terrain vehicle tours and horseback riding are great options.

The Pura Vida Lifestyle

A main reason many visit Costa Rica is to live out the Pura Vida lifestyle, at least for a little while. This unofficial slogan, which translates to “pure life,” has become a mantra that Ticos live by. Locals are known for being very laid back and friendly. They are never in a rush, taking time to appreciate the little things in life and find beauty in the world around them. Ticos also believe in living well. Aside from enjoying and caring for nature, they choose to live a life of gratitude and contentment, follow healthy habits, and focus on family and community. This may even be why the country is considered the 12th happiest country in the world in 2024 per the World Happiness Report.

Things to Consider When Booking a Trip to Costa Rica

Before you start planning your trip to this slice of paradise, there are a few things to keep in mind.


Most of the country is a rainforest, so you should expect some rain, even in the dry season. The dry season lasts from December to April, while the rainy season is from May to November. While prices for accommodations are much more affordable in the rainy season, expect heavy rains that can be disruptive.

Early Mornings and Nights

Unlike other tropical destinations, Costa Rica isn’t really known for its nightlife outside of places like Jaco or San Jose. Many locals choose to spend evenings with family, so tours and activities start earlier in the day. While the country is generally safe, it’s a good idea to return to your accommodations in the early evening rather than being out very late.

Different Ways to Stay

There are a lot of different accommodations in Costa Rica. Family-friendly hotels, all-inclusive resorts, and eco-lodges are some of the most popular options. Cabanas and hostels are available as a more budget-friendly choice. With so many places to stay, be sure you know exactly what kind of amenities you want your accommodations to have. Some accommodation options like eco-lodges may be priced similarly to traditional hotels but do not always come with the amenities you expect due to sustainability initiatives.

Patience is Required

Remember to go with the flow. Per the Pura Vida lifestyle, you shouldn’t expect anyone to be in a rush. Shop owners may talk with customers despite long lines or tour guides may deviate from schedules to encourage others to stop to see special sights.

Plan Your Escape

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