Costa Rica’s Tourism Board has launched Costa Rica Sanctuary – a new campaign to promote the country as a ‘safe’ destination and inspire travellers post COVID-19. Julia Bradbury is one of the ambassadors, to showcase Costa Rica as the ultimate natural escape: a ‘sanctuary’.
Costa Rica is doing better than most other Latin American countries regarding Covid-19. Cases are very low, vaccination is moving fast, and safe travels protocols are in place. The country re-opened its borders to foreign visitors on August 1st. 2020. Costa Rica is working closely with the WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) to implement a Global Safety Stamp of safe travels protocols. This will allow travellers to recognize those places around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standards. Costa Rica does not ask for PCR test, only to fill out a digital form and purchase a travel insurance. There are many flight options via Europe or the USA.
Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, with 6% of all known plants and wildlife found in its 30 national parks and wildlife refuges.
This small, eco-friendly country is the perfect destination for families, self-drivers, honeymooners or anyone looking for adventurous activities from zip-lining in the cloud forest to white-water rafting. The country enjoys both Caribbean and Pacific beaches, tropical jungles and mountain forest all within a day’s drive.
Here are five of our favourite places to be found in the land that lives by the refrain of ‘Pura Vida’ (Pure Life).
Monteverde cloud forest
Monteverde’s misty cloud forest is literally dripping with flora and fauna. With hundreds of species of mammals and birds and thousands of plants it is literally a nature-lovers paradise. The region is a model of sustainable tourism where naturalist guides accompany you on walks to help identify what you see. Take professionally run adventure activities like zip-lining. Keen birders may get a glimpse of the resplendent quetzal, especially between February to May. You can spot a wide range of tropical bird species year-round, including toucans, macaws and hummingbirds.
Arenal volcano region
Arenal is one of the best known of the hundreds of volcanoes found in Costa Rica. It was quite active until recently. Surrounded by lakes, rivers and waterfalls, the picturesque region is popular among adventure enthusiasts who head there for hanging bridges and zip-lining. Take a hike through the primary forest, home to toucans and sloths. Enjoy relaxing in thermal springs after a hard day’s hiking on the lava strewn slopes.
The north-east enjoys drier weather all year, and home to stunning beaches. There are chic resorts or surfing beaches to suit all tastes. There are still a few isolated fishing villages to stumble upon, particularly if you opt for a self-drive holiday. The volcano of Rincón de la Vieja is nearby, where you can see bubbling mud fumaroles, go horse-riding or taste sublime bean to cup fresh coffee.
Tortuguero is only accessible by water or air. Visit this region of tropical forest and natural canals by boat. Explore the beaches where nesting green sea turtles come ashore at night from July to October. In January to April, it is the turn of the giant leatherbacks. The hawksbill turtle can be found all year-round. Even when there are no turtles the unique coastal forest has plenty to offer.
The Osa Peninsula is the most pristine of wildlife hotspots. This isolated peninsula juts into the Pacific to the south west of the country. Stay at some stunningly sited eco-resorts and lodges, often with views of the Pacific and surrounded by jungle. The Corcovado National Park is well protected and home to scarlet macaws, several monkey species and jaguars. Nearby is Drake Bay which is a good place to go whale-watching.