With cold days of winter in full effect we all secretly dream of being on a beautiful
beach with a delicious refreshing tropical drink. Working long winter hours can drive
us to new levels of stress and sometimes depression. That is why I believe that every
person should set some goals of taking a real getaway vacation once a year as long as
it’s physically possible. I thankfully have managed to stick to those goals more or less
for almost 15 years now. We all have good and bad years when it comes to planning
our vacation. This past 2018 was my bad year due to my father’s health problems and
eventually his passing. That required me to travel to Europe three times within six
months to deal with things no one is ever ready for.
But eventually days slowly become a little brighter while life around us keeps rolling
forward. That being said don’t give up on your goals even if your days get darker for a
I have been lucky enough to see a little bit of this world from many different locations.
Whether it was Europe, North America, Central America, Caribbean Islands, etc. Do I
wish that I could have visited a lot more than I did? ABSOLUTELY.
Many of us wish they could travel the world and not worry about regular life such as
work and bills. Unfortunately most of us have responsibilities we have to take care of
first before we can spend our hard earned money on few days of living like celebrities.
A wise person once told me that you can have all the money, cars and houses in the
world but when time comes for us to die as we all do sooner or later, the only things
that go with us are the memories of our lives and you never lose what you have seen
or experienced. Do as many things on your bucket list as you can so when that final
time comes, at least you’ll know you gave it your best.
I happen live in NYC which is truly a city that never sleeps. Yet I came across many
people some of them I even call friends, that have never left this city or tri-state area
due to fear of traveling outside their comfort zone.
I myself am not an enthusiast of flying but I know that any day living here can be my
last and damn me if I’m not going to take an advantage of seeing the world or at least
parts of it. Climbing a volcano in Costa Rica, hiking up and down a steep wall of the
Grand Canyon or simply watching the sunset while swimming in crystal clear waters
of Antigua or Jamaica. Why would you not want to experience that? I know we all got
a little too comfortable in the last 10 years or so with our smartphones, smart home
systems and other crap that makes our lives feel complete with only one touch of our
finger. But trust me when I tell you this: Unplug for a few days, maybe even a week or
two and see this beautiful world in its natural form and you will not regret it.
Now that I got that off my chest let me tell you about a beautiful country called Costa
Rica. Everyone has heard of Costa Rica in one way or another.
Many of you heard about it from drinking their world famous coffee, others maybe
watched a soccer game between US and CR on television and then there is the fact that
many films were also filmed in Costa Rica. Some of the well know ones were: Jurassic
Park opening scene showing Isla del Coco as the fictional Isla Nubar, After Earth
starring Will and Jaden Smith, Suicide Squad, BBC documentary LIFE and many
others. Don’t believe me? Then check it out for yourself. Look on any search engine
and you’ll get a long list of movies. The reason why so many directors love filming in
Costa Rica is really simple, the country is unbelievably beautiful specially when it
comes to filming scenes that are showing untouched nature or life on fictional Earth
Costa Rica ( translates to: Rich Coast in english ) in located in Central America,
bordered by Nicaragua in the north and Panama in the south. On the east coast it’s
connected to the Caribbean Sea and on the west coast Pacific ocean. Country
population is somewhere under 5 million people with the largest city which also
happens to be the capital, San Jose has around 334,000 people within city itself and
additional 2 million living in surrounding metropolitan areas.
Costa Rica like many latin countries was under Spanish rule in the 16th century until
independence as part of the First Mexican Empire followed by United Provinces of
Central America from which they declared full independence in 1847. After some ups
and downs including a brief civil war it abolished its army in 1949 and became one of
few sovereign countries without an army. The country has put a lot of effort into
education and the environment including promoting ecotourism.
First thing you learn really quick when you arrive in CR is the hospitality and attitude
of Costa Rican people rubs off on you in a good way really fast. I mention hospitality
and attitude because Costa Ricans are very proud, hard working, happy people, many
of them speak english and even though they will welcome you with open arms they
will also quickly let you know when you are not pulling your own weight by littering
or damaging parts of nature. So please show your respect when you arrive there, it
will help you tremendously.
There are many beautiful and interesting destinations you can choose from in Costa
Rica and this list is put together according to my personal choices for destinations. Thit
does not mean that they are any less interesting or beautiful by not being number one.
There are also many other CR locations I haven’t put on the list simply because this
blog would become as long as an encyclopedia. I’m sure someday soon I will add a
continuation to this blog but for now please enjoy these choices.
#6. San Jose
There are the obvious places such as the capital San Jose located in the heart of Costa
Rica. This place is perfect if you are looking to experience the city life that is a bit
calmer than the one you’re probably used to but still offering a rich cultural
experience and a lively nightlife. So if you really want to stay busy there are tons of
Just to name a few there are National Parks such as Irazu Volcano NP, Poas Volcano NP,
Barva Volcano NP and gardens like La Paz Waterfall, Botanical Orchid as well as coffee
plantations to visit. You have local choices like museums, concerts, plays, ballet shows,
many many restaurants, and shops.
This is one of many places in Costa Rica that you can visit year round.
Closest airport is the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)
#5. Puerto Viejo
This is a Southern Caribbean Sea coastal town with more of a Rasta vibe and is still
considered to be a bit of off-beaten track experience. Sure you’ll find plenty of hotels
that are cozy and beautiful but don’t expect see some huge resort style places where
every wish is your command. You are here to experience a little bit of new life instead
of hunkering down in your room with service bell in your hand.
Puerto Viejo is perfect for couples who are looking for an adventure or some sort of
rekindling in their relationship. It’s also a perfect place for nature lovers or budget
You can explore the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, hike in Cahuita National
Park or visit the BriBri Indigenous reserve. For a more active adventure seekers you
can always try surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, ATV tours, white water rafting,
horseback riding, experience the Leatherback turtles nesting, etc. There are truly tons
of things to do in this small town.
Closest airport is the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)
#4.Tortuguero (place of the turtles)
Located in the North-east area of Limon province facing the Caribbean Sea and
Because of its yearly arrival of four different species of sea turtles that nest on the
local beaches, the town’s name of Tortuguero really means “place of the turtles”. Best
part is that the town supports itself almost entirely through ecotourism. That is why
this is a perfect place to learn about eco-friendly lifestyle for anyone who is up for it.
This place is completely different then anything you can experience in the World and
even in Costa Rica itself. It’s super peaceful yet modern enough for the average city Joe
to adapt to untouched nature at its best.
This is another year round location with hiking, canopy tours, sport fishing, wildlife
watching and more. Great places to go to are Cariari National Wetlands, Tortuga
National Park, Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge, Turtle Museum at Sea Turtle
You can enjoy the local family run restaurants on top of your all-inclusive hotel
Closest airport is the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) and Tortuguero
“No shoes, no shirt, Nosara” is the towns moto. That should tell you enough that in
Nosara, laid back has a new level to its meaning. It’s located in the Nicoya Peninsula
which is one of the most western parts of CR coast.
If you are a surfer, paddle boarder or yoga enthusiast this is your place to finally find
your inner peace.
From the beach itself to the bars by the beach, you get a real chill vibe in all the areas.
Beaches have dark volcanic color sand, most roads are more of dusty pathways and
wildlife seems to be steps away in every direction. But if you really are looking for a
wildlife experience, you should go to Ostional Wildlife Refuge. There you can witness
something called (arribada) where endangered sea turtles such as Olive Ridley come
ashore by the thousands to lay their eggs over several months.
Other activities you can do around here ATV tours, hiking, canopy tours, horseback
riding, sea kayaking, sport fishing, snorkeling, whale watching, dolphin watching. You
can also explore las Baulas National Park, Palo Verde National Park, Curu National
Wildlife refuge and much much more.
You can stay at many of the beachfront lodges or if you prefer something more
luxurious than in the hills above Nosara you will find your paradise.
You can also enjoy the many local restaurants and live music spots.
Closest airports are the Liberia International Airport and Nosara Regional Airport.
#2. Drake Bay
This destination is for the true nature lovers. It’s one of the most remote regions of the
country. It’s located in the Osa Peninsula where Corcovado National Park is considered
one of the most Biological Diverse Regions on Earth by National Geographic. You can
stay here on one of the newly build eco friendly lodges and resorts. This places is a
real paradise on Earth where only a few places can claim to compete with this natural
wonder. If you are looking to reset your life or find yourself inside, this is absolutely
the place to be. This is also one of few places on this planet where you can find a
pristine beach and spend the day all by yourself without seeing another human being.
Talk about true peace.
Places you can explore are Corcovado National Park, Osa Wildlife Sanctuary, San
Pedrillo Waterfalls, La Llorona Waterfall, Cano Island Biological Reserve. You can also
experience diving, snorkeling, sportfishing, mangrove tours, hiking, dolphin and
whale watching or simply wildlife watching.
There are plenty of luxury eco-lodges spread out and around but this is a pretty
remote area and mostly approachable by boats so don’t expect much of food or night
life around there. Most places have meals included in your stay so do your research.
Avoid going there in September and October as the rainy season keeps most of the
lodges around this area closed for two months or so.
Closest airports are Drake Bay Airstrip and Palmar Sur Airstrip.
#1. Guanacaste Region
Papagayo beach, Coco Beach, Matapalo Beach, Flamingo Beach and many more
surrounding areas of Gulf of Papagayo.
If you are looking for a perfect getaway vacation that isn’t overcrowded or too
secluded then these are your places.
One of many top choices around for all-inclusive resort enthusiasts is the well known
to most Riu Palace.
top notch designs.
choose from no matter what is your preference. From small rooms for rent at local
homes and hostels to dozens of small hotels that grow choices of large resorts. Beach
front, city or mountain top, whatever you want you can find around the Guanacaste
Region. People here are really friendly as they are in other parts of the country as well.
There are many European and US citizens that have recently relocated to these areas
so with a little to no effort you can find a local business that speaks your language.
Best part about staying here and other parts of Costa Rica is that the local vendors
don’t bother you like in other tourists destinations. If someone approaches you to buy
anything as soon as you tell them no thank you they just keep on going. Even if you tell
them come back to in four days they somehow manage to remember not to bother you
until that day and even then they will only politely remind you that they haven’t
forgotten about you. You can confidently leave your resort area to take a cab to town
or even go to an attraction destination of your choice without fear. But as always stay
alert because safety starts with you first, even back at the comfort of your own home.
You can explore Guanacaste National Park, Santa Rosa National Park, Lomas de
Barbudal Wildlife Refuge, Ponderosa Adventure Park, Palo Verde National Park, Las
Baulas Marine national Park, Take a tour to Arenal Volcano National Park with a
butterfly sanctuary tour in the jungle and eventually Volcanic hot springs.
Activities you can try are Sailing, ocean kayaking, banana boating, bird and wildlife
watching, scuba diving and snorkeling, hiking, jet skiing, surfing, sport fishing,
horseback riding etc. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or on your honeymoon or maybe
going through a rough divorce/breakup. You will definitely find what you’re looking
for in the area of Guanacaste Costa Rica.
Closest airport is Liberia International Airport.
Hope you enjoyed reading this blog and find it helpful in more ways than one. Safe
travels and enjoy.