Every intrinsic jungle path leads to a steamy waterfall, or a golden beach, or a volcano – Costa Rica exhibits an organic land of mother nature’s finest creations. The country of just under five million, located at the heart of the blissful Americas, is an explosion of everything a backpacker could possibly ask for, with an enterprise of adventure tucked away around every corner of the country that shares access to both the Caribbean Ocean and the great Pacific. Although, it may be worth noting that the capital, San José, is a crumbling city ridden with corruption, thievery and roads more broken than a crushed biscuit. San José holds a third of the country’s overall population, and with that comes horrendous congestion, troublesome public services and a broken political system.
Typical traffic in San José, Costa Rica. Does this look fun?
Beyond the doomed city however, there lies a tropical haven of natural creations stretching all the way to the sun-fried horizon for as far as the eyes can see.
Infinite rolling greenery, no matter which direction you point your camera
The agricultural industry is blossoming (quite literally) in Costa Rica. The country boasts an economy reliant on mass organic exports in bananas, pineapples, coffee, sugar, rice and an abundance of other fresh goods. Nearly 10% of the country’s land mass is utilized for the farming of natural goods. Economical growth has been significantly reliant on the government rifling additional financial support for the boundless acres of natural farmland that blossom with the sweet sight and smell of fresh goods for as far as the nose can smell and the eyes can see.
Arenol Volcano sleeping in the scorching summer sun
In 1968, 5,000 ft. high Arenol Volcano annihilated three small villages in a furious eruption of molten rock, smoldering lava and suffocating ash. Nowadays, the towering volcano lies grazed in a thicket of jungle, rivers and grasslands, offering explorers the opportunity of infinite adventures in hiking, white water rafting, and everything you never thought to do back home – like dangling your legs off the verge of the summit of a blistering hot volcano while immersing in the stunning views of the Tilarán Mountain Range located to the south of the volcano. Hot spring pools have also been set up for hire on the hillside of the gigantic volcano.
Hidden beaches can be found in hot spots scattered up both coasts of the country
The hidden beaches of Costa Rica are another beckoning attraction of these lands, existent only to those that search thoroughly enough through the intense jungles and greenery that stretch for seemingly limitless miles across the coast of the enchanting waters of the Pacific and the Caribbean oceans. The local favourite, “Ventanas”, or “Windows” in English, located in Costa Ballena, acquires its name from the two sea caves that can be explored upon low-tide. This tourist-free beach can only be accessed via a farm owned by a local family, who charge for rare entry onto its precious white sands. Alternatively, if you’re poor and live on the Galapagos Islands, you could swim the 1,422 km distance and arrive at the beach just in time for rice and bean supper.
Sea cave at the Ventanas beach in Costa Ballena
Another of Costa Rica’s many under-the-radar beaches is that of Playa Barrigona, which sits adjacent to the five hundred acres of jungle territory owned by the famous actor Mel Gibson, who of recent times listed the acres of land for sale on offers of $30 million. The breath-taking views of the beach can still be gazed upon via a rugged dirt track leading straight to the blissful sands and waters that await those who discover the nation’s best kept secret (from lousy tourists).
Perhaps the most intriguing of Costa Rica’s vast attractions however, is the burgeon of national parks that inflate across 25% of the nations stunning landscapes – inclusive of a series of protected rainforests, cloud forests, tropical dry forests and wetlands. In total, there are precisely fifty national parks to be explored, which renders this country as the perfect retreat for any avid adventurer.
Avoiding the crowded city of San José, where woman are unable to walk through the mall without running the risk of having their jewelery stolen, Costa Rica is certainly one of the most stunning natural beauties on the planet, and is surprisingly vacant of tourists making it a gem for any backpacker looking to release the shackles of mainstream travelling destinations. Costa Rica really is the perfect location for the man with the map!