Costa Rica is a place where opportunities are truly boundless. A peaceful green jewel of Central America, the country has not had a standing army since 1948, and has even been awarded the accolade of happiest country in the world by the Happy Planet Index in 2016. A land of tranquillity, Costa Rica lives by the concept of ‘Pura Vida’, i.e. ‘Pure Life’, an ideology that can loosely be translated into several positive connotations: ‘take it easy’, ‘enjoy life’, and ‘all good’ are just some expressions of the eternal optimism that rules supreme here.
Striking a beautiful balance with nature, Costa Rica boasts greater biodiversity than North America and Europe combined. Home to the greatest density of species in the world, the country is a conservationist and naturist’s dream. It is also the world’s hummingbird capital, with over 52 different species. A serious contender to be reckoned with in the environmental protection stakes, the country’s sustainability initiatives are visionary; after the banishment of the army, funds were reallocated to be spent on education, health and pensions. The government also uses taxes collected from the sale of fossil fuels to pay for the protection of Costa Rica’s stunning rainforests. In 2015, the country produced 99% of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to be entirely carbon neutral by 2021.
Endless diversions await the energetic in Costa Rica. Thrill seekers should take a trip to the mountain village of Turrialba, renowned for its strong coffee and being Central America’s best white water rafting destination along the Pacuare and Reventazon Rivers. An undeniably gem in Costa Rica is the Rio Celeste River in the Tenorio Volcano National Park; impossibly beautiful and blue, it draws crowds far and wide. The Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge is perfect for intrepid explorers. The gigantic 330 hectare reserve showcases pristine beaches, mangrove estuaries, primary and secondary rainforest and tree plantations. Incredible walking trails beckon - hike seven kilometres along well-kept land, or view the reserve from a different vantage point, on a platform thirty-six metres above the forest floor! Feeling brave? Zip line through the forest and catch glimpses of some of the 351 types of bird in the lush canopy!