1. Matapalo, OSA Peninsula.
If you are coming to Costa Rica to connect to nature, this is the place you are going to want to be. Based in the south of Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula is home to Central America’s most exotic plants and animals. I went with my Boyfriend to surf and see the last place In Costa Rica that I hadn’t been to before I left. I wish I had done it sooner so I could’ve gone back while I was there. He was able to get us an amazing house on the beach that his Friend owned and it was a total blue lagoon setting. Monkeys sat on our balcony every day and ant eaters scuffled around the garden. Butterflies, pigs, Snakes, armadillos, toucans, and crocodiles are the few animals to find there. If you are going there to surf, this is the ultimate surfer’s paradise. Rent a house in Matapalo and surf up to 5 different waves every day if the swell is right. We went not expecting any special swell and the waves ended up being epic. You can also take a short boat trip to Pavones where you can surf one of the longest lefts in the world. Matapalo is a tiny town where all the famous waves are, and the closest supermarket is about an hour away on a very bumpy road. Make sure you have a 4 by 4 or you are going to have serious issues getting across the rivers and up the crazy hills. Bring everything that you are planning to eat and drink because once you run out, you run out. Make sure you have gas too. We made that mistake.
View from Lapa Ríos Resort
There are Always waves to surf!
2. Swim With Bioluminescent Plankton In Mal Pais
There is a national park called Ceru National Park, located in Mal Pais. It is a place where you can do hikes, tours, visit Tortuga island and swim with bioluminescent plankton. I went with my friends, and we decided to do the night tour to swim with the plankton. Just imagine your body lighting up while you swim in the ocean at night with a jungle surrounding you. That's what I did. It is extremely hard to get photos of the whole experience taking place, and it is something you just need to experience with the eye.
3. Monteverde Cloud Forest
Every year, 70,000 people travel inland Costa Rica to hike through the cloud forest in Monteverde, above the treetops and overlooking waterfalls. It truly is the raw beauty. It takes about 3 hours to drive there from San Jose and is worth every minute of the drive. The Paths are built well making it easy to walk around. The views are spectacular.
Photo By TRIPHOBO & Costa Rica Monkey Tours
4. Puerto Viejo, Limon
I definitely think it takes a certain type of person to enjoy traveling to Puerto Viejo. Puerto Viejo is a town on the Caribbean coast and is the perfect representation of laid back, surfer, Caribbean town. As I am from the Caribbean, I Felt right at home. I was told beforehand that it was a sketchy place to be at night but once you are smart about your surroundings and not walking down dark streets alone, like any place in the world, you will be fine. The African influence is huge over there and the majority of people originate from there. They speak with different accents and represent the true Spanish-Caribbean culture. Hair weaving, bars, restaurants, and surf shops line the streets and sit on the beautiful, blue Caribbean sea. They also have opposite seasons to the Pacific side and the best time to go is during the rainy season when the greenery is lush and vegetation is plentiful. The land is alive at that time. The beaches on the Caribbean coast are absolutely beautiful and remind me a lot of home. The sand is an off-white color instead of black, and the water is turquoise instead of dark green on the Pacific. Whether you go to Puerto Viejo or not, Limon is a must. They also have a sloth sanctuary where injured or dangered sloths are protected.
Photo by Puerto Viejo Satellite
5) Rincon De La Vieja 13 Mile Hike (6.5 Each Way)
The last thing that I think everyone who visits Costa Rica, and more so, Guanacaste, NEEDS to do the 13 mile hike to La Catarata Escondida (the hidden waterfall). I know what you’re thinking… “who me?, no thanks, girl”. YES YOU. I said the same thing when I got to the park center with my friends. I thought, “no way, I am not going to be able to hike 13 miles”. But I did it. It was worth EVERY minute of the 3 hours it took us. Normal people take 2 hours, but us girls took one too many breaks. What we came across in the end of the hike was a magical blue lagoon with a stunning waterfall. I suggest that If you want the waterfall to yourself, go when the park opens because it gets very crowded around noon. Bring lots of water and snacks. I also think that the best time to go to the waterfall is at the end of the rainy season when the rivers are full of water and you aren’t likely to get stuck hiking in a thunder storm like we did. Yup… we hiked 6.5 miles of the hike in a thunderstorm. It’s a great story if you ever want to hear the full thing send me a message and i’ll tell you all about it.
La Catarata Escondida
Well, This concludes this article and I hope that some day you can experience these amazing places and activities because to me, this country represented life, energy and happiness, with style and grace.
Everything I did and learnt while I was there will be in my memory forever.