Costa Rica: A World Of Nature Adventures

Three-toed Sloth – Manual Antonio National Park
Costa Rica Overview – More than just a Beach

Costa Rica, one of the best know countries in Central America, conjures up images of intense jungles filled with sloths and monkeys, beautiful beaches, volcano’s and zip-lining which was invented in the country. It is a country I have been wanting to explore for quite some time and one where I knew I would thoroughly enjoy myself. I managed to wrangle a week in May to finally get to experience and learn a little of what this country has to offer.


My driver from the airport was very friendly and super chatty. He was very quick in providing me with information on the city and country, changing topics so rapidly that I couldn’t keep up and ask questions. His friendly attitude and willingness to share his knowledge put me at ease and enhanced my excitement for the week to come.


Rather than spending the day in San Jose we headed out to Braulio Carillo National Park for a day in the rainforest. A taiper greeted us upon arrival as we prepped for our first activity; zip lining. I love heights and find zip lining almost relaxing, as a way to take in my surroundings from a different point of view. Of course, not everyone is relaxed as I am, and some certainly weren’t too keen on spending time on the platforms suspended among the trees.


San Jose Beer

After lunch we took to the aerial tram for a different view of the forest. Moving much slower in our little basket to appreciate where we were and the different flora growing in the forest. Even with a storm brewing and the rain starting to fall, it was a pleasant way to view the forest. Our nature walk was a little rushed due to the rains getting heavier and included some very poisonous frog and snake specimens on display. Our afternoon coffee was cut short a little as the heavens opened up and there was a threat that a creek we had crossed on the way in was rising quickly and may cause difficulties getting out. The day ended with a craft beer tour in San Jose, visiting a few local breweries which were surprisingly good. I had not thought that Costa Rica would have such a thriving craft beer scene and it was a great way to see some areas of the city.


Volcan Arenal

Next up we moved north to Volcan Arenal, the area famed for adventure activities and delightful hot springs. For our entire stay the weather couldn’t have been more perfect – sunny and warm and cloudless. The weather made for some spectacular views, especially when undertaking another session of ziplining. This zipline was higher, faster and longer than the first park and had a very different design for control. With a double line on Big Mama, we could race against one another which my competitive-side really enjoyed.


River Tubing

After lunch I put on yet another harness, this time to go tubing. For about an hour we walked, had a couple more zip lines and a wire to cross the river before finally reaching our innertubes. Harness off, helmets remain and life vests were issued before jumping into the refreshing water; the temperature was perfect to cool down and enjoyable to remain in for the duration. This tubing experience was quite unlike any other I have had. Rather that sitting and going down the stream we were bounced and tossed about, feeling like the spin cycles in a washing machine down through the rapids. The tubing turned out to be quite the ab the workout and a very fun experience with plenty of laughter and big grins. The afternoon was spent enjoying spa treatments and spending time in the natural thermal springs; the perfect way to end a day of adventure!


Natural thermal springs – Tabacon Resort & Spa
Natural thermal springs – Tabacon Resort & Spa
Manuel Antonio and Local Wildlife

We moved onwards to Manuel Antonio and onto the Pacific Coast which was hot, humid and had some great thunder storms to end the day. I spent a peaceful morning kayaking in the mangroves just after sunrise. While were didn’t see many animals aside from bats, birds and crabs it was a beautiful way to spend a morning. A nature walk through the park of Manuel Antonio proved to be a highlight as we saw tons of wildlife including, three-toed Sloths, white-faced Capuchin and squirrel monkeys, frogs, and basilisk lizards (the ones that run on water). Finishing the walk with a swim in the tepid ocean was an afternoon well spent. A look through the main town revealed more wildlife including a two-toed sloth, iguanas and boa constrictor.


The drive from Manual Antonio back to San Jose was about 3 hours and a very scenic drive. Stopping en-route to view a river filled with crocodiles, which for me seemed quite small compared to the Australian Salt Water Crocodiles that I am used to back at home. Thankfully the check-in and security areas were empty as I had enjoyed the drive too much and now found myself a little pressed for time to check in and continue my Central American adventures to El Salvador.


I hope you enjoyed reading about my Costa Rica experience! Continue the adventure with my short and sweet recount of my time in El Salvador!
For more trips ideas, thoughts or insights before booking your next vacation, talk to a Merit Travel Consultant first.

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