Matt visits Costa Rica

03/11/2017

In October I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity along with 5 other travel agents to be taken to the stunning country of Costa Rica, and what a place it is! As I had such an amazing time, I thought I’d share a few words and photographs with you about the experiences that I had whilst I was there, just to give you a feel for kind of things you can see and do whilst there.

For anyone that hasn’t heard of Costa Rica before, it’s a small country located in Central America and shares borders with Nicaragua in the north and Panama in the south. It has a population of just under 5 million, with 2.5 million of them living or working in the capital San Jose. This is where British Airways fly to twice weekly, on a Tuesday and Saturday direct from Gatwick.

Costa Rica only takes up a tiny amount of space on the earth’s surface, just 0.03 % to be exact, but it features nearly 6 percent of the worlds bio diversity. The plant and animal life that you find in this country are some of the best you’ll find anywhere in the world, it is utterly incredible. The most amazing thing about Costa Rica is that you don’t have to travel deep into jungle to see things either, it’s literally on your doorstep!  In the week that I spent there I saw dozens of different species, including humpback whales, dolphins, sloths, red eyed tree frogs, albino bats, white faced monkeys, crocodiles, sea turtles … I could go on, but you get the idea.

If wild life is your thing then you should take a trip to Sierpe which is located in the South Pacific area and is one of the most important wetlands in Central America, if not the world. Seirpe is home to thousands of species of wildlife, and in the 3 hours that I spent in the wetlands, I saw the largest number of animals whilst I was in Costa Rica, including macaw parrots!

The areas and regions of Costa Rica are very spread out, so I would only really suggest doing it with a hire car, otherwise you really won’t get the full experience and get to see the country in all its glory. Car hire is readily available and can be picked up in San Jose when you land, and dropped back off when you fly home, it’s also very reasonably priced.

Our first night after we arrived was spent in the capital San Jose and we got to experience a beer and food tour, which we did on foot. Costa Rica is very big on the craft beer scene, something which I wouldn’t have imagined, with dozens of different pubs and bars offering their home brewed beverages. There is also an area called the Gastronomy Quarter, which features some fantastic bars and restaurants all located on the same street, so you can have your own pub and food crawl!

Food and drink is very cheap too, so your money goes far. It is like anywhere though, you’ll pay more in the hotel or main tourist spots, so make sure you explore, as some of the best places are tucked away. Prices range but in a normal to mid ranged bar/restaurant you’ll be looking at around $2 for a beer, $5 a starter and 8-$10 for a main. The local drink is a spirt called Cacique which I can only describe as a kind of mix between tequila and vodka… it was fine with lemonade and went down well.

Along with the wildlife, Costa Rica is a haven for sports and adrenaline enthusiast a like, due to the sheer number of activities on offer. To give you an idea we experienced white water rafting which was something I hadn’t done before, and it was incredible!!! We rafted on the Pacuare River and I have to say it was one of the best things that I’ve ever done... just the feeling of being in the middle of a jungle amongst nature whilst making you way down river rapids getting soaked through was just immense!  Other things we tried whilst there were abseiling down a water fall, zip lining , surf lessons and mountain biking.

I appreciate not everyone wants to do adventure sports, but there are things for everyone. So, if you wanted to do something that was slower paced, you could experience such excursions as jungle walks, bird watching, city tours and whale watching boat trips, so no matter what it is you are in to you’ll be able to find something suitable.

When it comes to beaches, there are many stunning options. If you wanted to go to a resort that features big all-inclusive hotels, then you need to look at the North Pacific areas. If you wanted something less touristy and more authentic then you may be better off looking at Tortugero on the Caribbean side or Domincal/Uvite (where I stayed) in the Southern Pacific.

As mentioned the areas in Costa Rica are very spread out and our trip was over 7 nights so with there being so many areas to visit we could only fit in a small section of the country, so our trip was mainly concentrated to a couple of different areas. In the central Caribbean region and the southern pacific region. There’s no right or wrong areas to go to in Costa Rica, it’s just a matter of taste.

I hope this brief Blog gives you a little insight into the trip and you liked my photographs too, Costa Rica is now up there with the best places that I have visited, which is down to the wildlife and nature on offer, but also due to the warm and friendly people that make up the wonderful country.

With that in mind, before I sign off I just wanted to say a massive thank you to our Guide Edward who made the trip so memorable and incredible, and also Freddy from the Costa Rica Tourist board for putting together such a diverse and interesting itinerary together.

So, as they say in Costa Rica… muchas gracias amigo’s, Pura Vida!

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