In Costa Rica, “Pura Vida” is everywhere. For the locals, it’s not only an expression that literally means “pure life,” but it has also come to characterize the entire nation and their way of life. The “Pura Vida” expression can be used to say “hi” or “thank you” or even “sure”. It can also be used to further along a positive message when things aren’t going great. It’s an outlook on life and a phrase that portrays the Costa Rican culture. When you travel to Costa Rica, you will experience the positive message in all that you do and see, and through the people you meet.
Costa Ricans are hospitable, welcoming and humble. They make you feel like their home is your home. They are a proud nation, proud of their heritage, proud of their culture and proud to introduce it to visitors like you. They want to teach you about their world, their traditions and their foods.
As you travel throughout the country, you’ll find that the restaurants vary, from resorts to the kitchens of locals who open their homes to you. Every meal is served with fruit, so expect the freshest fruit you’ve ever tasted in you life such as papaya, different types of melons and pineapples that are delicious. The food is flavorful but not overpowering. One of the most traditional plates in Costa Rica is called casado and you find it at “sodas” (a local restaurant). This dish consists of a variety of items piled up to almost over-flow the plate with the bright colors and delicious flavors. You can always expect a large heaping of white rice, black beans, salad, fried plantains and delicious chicken.
Costa Rica is known for a few diverse things like coffee beans, rain forests, amazing zip-lining, and hot springs.
The grano de oro or the golden beans, as coffee beans were originally known, have played a significant role in Costa Rica since the 18th century. They are also one of the things that brings tourism to Costa Rica. You can tour a coffee plantation and learn about the history and production of coffee and will often be given a fresh cup of coffee at the end while learning how to recognize the different flavors. Some of the popular coffee farms are Café Britt, which is the largest independent coffee label in Costa Rica, El Toledo is a small family-owned organic farm and Espiritu Santo where you’ll get a comprehensive understanding of the history of brewing coffee on this family-owned and run farm.
Costa Rica is also known for its lush rain forests. Hiking up Monte Verde Cloud Forest will be an experience you won’t forget. When you start, the temperature will be warm and humid but by the time you make your way up the 5,000 foot climb the air will be much cooler and you’ll find yourself wishing you had long pants on.
While you’re in the rainforest, you can also go zip-lining for an amazing panoramic view of the rainforest. You’ll be so high up that you might even see a howler monkey; they’re difficult to spot at first, but once you train your eyes you can see many of them in the trees. They are typically high up in the trees munching on food.
The hot springs on the side of one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Arenal, are also very popular site. Once you get in, it feels just like a hot tub, but it’s the size of a swimming pool. Pair that with a cold drink and you just gave yourself a dose of relaxation and pura vida.
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This all-inclusive, eco-friendly retreat, found on Costa Rica’s unspoiled shores, offers a superb balance between luxury and local culture.