Costa Rica Countdown

by: Beau Cartier

Pura Vida!!! This phrase, meaning pure life, perfectly sums up all that is great about Costa Rica. From the pristine beaches to the luxury hotels, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful Central American country. You know you’ve felt the urge to hop on a plane and spend the next week there, but in case you’re still not convinced, below is a Top 10 Countdown of why you should indulge yourself and your team in the pure life.

10. Croc Bridge
Like Crocs? I’m referring to the animal, not the comfortable half shoe/half sandal that employees of the medical field like to sport around hospitals. If you do like the animal, take a drive from San Jose down towards Herradura and stop at the iconic “Croc Bridge” for about fifteen minutes. The river below is full of crocodiles of all sizes. They gather below the bridge because people used to throw food to them there. The locals have stopped doing that, but the crocs still call the area home. You would be hard-pressed to find another location anywhere with more crocodiles in one place. Selfie time!

9. Beaches
Whether you’re a surfer girl or a feet-in-the-sand kind of guy, Costa Rica’s beaches are for you. All beaches in Costa Rica are public, and some of the best are at Manuel Antonio National Park and Jaco Beach. Manuel Antonio’s beaches are extremely beautiful and very relaxing, while Jaco Beach is surfer central. Both are great locations to spend the day.

8. Surfing
No waves, no glory. Costa Rica is home to some of the greatest waves in the world! Surfers from across the globe come to Costa Rica to experience its epic surf. If you’ve never surfed before but would like to give it a shot, there are lots of guides who will teach you at an affordable price. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the Caribbean or the Pacific side, there are a ton of great spots to catch a wave.

7. Hotels
Costa Rica has sweet hotels. While the all-inclusive model hasn’t taken over the country yet, you can find a few hotels that offer an all-inclusive experience. The majority of these are located in the Guanacaste region. If you’re looking more along the lines of a traditional EP (European Plan) hotel, you can find anything from high-end luxury to local hacienda-style hotels. Costa Rica has the perfect accommodation for anyone. A few of our favorites are the Marriott Los Suenos, Four Seasons Costa Rica, and Dreams Las Mareas.

6. Zip-Lines
Has it been a while since you soared through a jungle like a Flying Squirrel or Scarlett Macaw? I thought so. Costa Ricans are the pioneers of canopy adventures. There are several different zip-lines spread throughout the country, and all the ones I’ve had the opportunity to ride are nothing short of thrilling. If you’re concerned about your safety, don’t be. In my experience the equipment has been high-quality, the guides experienced, and the lines well-maintained. Riding one of the many zip-lines is a must!

5. National Parks
Costa Rica is practically a National Park. From the beautiful beaches at Manuel Antonio to the incredible volcano at Poas, there are more National Parks to see than anyone could cover in just one vacation. They’re very well kept and accessible to the public. Some of Costa Rica’s most spectacular sites are found in these parks, so be sure to take advantage of them while there!

4. Food
Gallo Pinto, a rice and beans dish, is one of the things I look forward to most when visiting Costa Rica. It’s served at breakfast, but many natives will have it for lunch or dinner as well. All the food is delectable, but this simple dish is soul food. The sea food is outstanding too. Be sure to visit one of Costa Rica’s hidden gems, El Pelicano, a restaurant located near Jaco Beach in the town of Herradura.

3. The Wildlife
Scarlet macaws, sloths, several different types of monkeys, and iguanas are everywhere. And if you’re very lucky, you just might see a wild jaguar. Costa Ricans are extremely conscientious of the environment and the wildlife that surrounds them. Don’t miss the opportunity to see some of the world’s most beautiful creatures!

2. Ticos (Natives of Costa Rica)
Ticos are without a doubt some of the happiest, kindest people I have ever met. No matter where you go in Costa Rica, you will be met with a smile. Whether it’s a bellman at your hotel or a local selling food in a small village, you will be treated well. The people are a huge part of what makes Costa Rica so wonderful.

1. Pura Vida
The direct translation means pure life, but when said in Costa Rica, it means so much more. The only phrase it’s comparable to that I’m familiar with is the Hawaiians’ use of the word Aloha. Pura Vida can be used for hello, goodbye, thank you, you’re welcome, take it easy, it’s all good, and many other phrases. To me, when Costa Ricans use the phrase “pura vida,” it signifies that you should live life to the fullest, regardless of your circumstances, and that is exactly what the country offers—the ability to live life to its fullest. The phrase embodies the Costa Rican spirit, and for me, it’s the number one reason to visit this incredible locale.