OMG what an amazing destination!

May Swan-Easton on 25 September 2018
Cemented as the most popular Central American country for Brits, it’s easy to see the appeal of eco-haven Costa Rica. This tiny nation is devoted to ‘Pura Vida’ (best translated as ‘full of life’ – you can even get the T-shirt). English is widely spoken, US dollars are commonly accepted, and the country feels safe and welcoming – in 1948 Costa Rica disbanded its army and put the money into education and healthcare.

Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world according to the 2016 Happy Planet Index which looks at wellbeing, life expectancy and ecological footprint. (The UK came 34th!)

Similar in size to Denmark this narrow strip of land with sea on either side, forming a link between Nicaragua and Panama, has created a carnival of bio-diversity. You can drive between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts in three hours, and in a week go from exploring the rainforest to admiring volcanoes to surfing off golden beaches.

Costa Rica has something for everyone; abundant wildlife from turtles and sloths to crocodiles and the national rainbow-coloured quetzal bird (that I was lucky enough to see) plus crimson-fronted parakeets and over 50 species of hummingbird. There are more species of birds in Costa Rica than in the whole of Europe. You’ll find 129 volcanoes, thermal springs, ziplining, coffee plantation tours, surfing, white-water rafting, horse-riding, cycling and abseiling down waterfalls to name but a few things for your ‘to do’ list/‘once in a lifetime’ list.

There’s lots of gallo pinto (rice and beans), but also ample supplies of fresh fish and luscious tropical fruits which makes dining out a daily adventure. Costa Rica has also seen a rapid rise in the craft brewing industry.

Over a quarter of the land is protected and green thinking is a reality: recycling bins are everywhere and hotels are genuinely committed to sustainability. There’s also a ban on swimming with dolphins and whales. Wherever you look, this is a destination where nature comes first.

Best time to go? – well that depends on what you want to experience…….