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You may have already heard that Costa Rica is known as one of the ‘most happy’ countries in the world but did you know it’s one of the top eco-friendly countries too? The Costa Rican government hopes it to be the first carbon neutral country by 2021, which is certainly something to be proud of. This environmental outlook sets the pace for those wishing to travel to Costa Rica, because flora and fauna are definitely the focus here. Costa Rica is filled to the brim with a rich variety of plants and animals, so it’s no wonder that Trafalgar does amazing escorted eco tours here.
Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover Costa Rica in 1502 though Isthmo-Colombian cultures had existed for much longer. The invading Spanish ruled until 1821 when Costa Rica declared independence, and although it suffered conflict and dictatorships after this, Costa Rica has had a relatively more peaceful and stable past than the neighbouring Latin American countries.
San José is the vibrant capital of Costa Rica, but it’s the vast national parks which will really captivate you. The mystical Tortuguero National Park for example can only be reached by plane or boat - there’s certainly not many places like that in the world nowadays! Surveying the Toruguero Park from a boat cruise through the small canals means you can quietly spy sloths, crocodiles, monkeys, toucans and hundreds of species of birds. If you travel from July to September, you can also take an exceptional tour to see the tortoises laying eggs on the beach.
Tiny Sarapiqui is a generally unknown area but it is home to some of Costa Rica’s most diverse and dense vegetation and wildlife. You certainly shouldn’t leave any leaves unturned in the Alma Ata Archaeological Park either, which beyond the emerald panorama and curious creatures, reveals Costa Rica’s pre-Columbian heritage. If you prefer your natural wonders bigger and slightly more dangerous, try Arenal, where you can be thrilled by spectacular views of one of the world’s most active volcanoes and then relax afterwards in the thermal mineral hot springs at Tabacon Hot Springs.
Monteverde Cloud Forest (so called due to a mysterious misty cover caused by the high altitude) will be the climax of your Costa Rican adventure though. Here you can take the gripping Sky Walk, a chain of six Indiana Jones style suspension bridges which hang high above the immense Cloud Forest. Whichever incredible national parks you take a fancy to and however many new furry friends you make, Costa Rica’s awe-inspiring spirit will stay with you forever.
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