6 tips for going off the beaten track in Costa Rica
The nature in Costa Rica is overwhelmingly beautiful, there are many cool activities and the wildlife is unique. No wonder Costa Rica is a popular travel destination. Want to discover some hidden gems? Liesbet, your local travel specialist at Better Places Travel, gives her six tips for going off the beaten track in Costa Rica.
The volcanic area around Río Celeste
When you think of volcanos in Costa Rica you will probably think of the Arenal, but the country has more areas with volcanic activity. Around the Río Celeste in northern Costa Rica you will find a beautiful nature reserve, the Tenorio Volcano National Park. Here you can take beautiful walks to waterfalls, lagoons and hot springs. The area is relatively remote and there are only a few small-scale lodges. Which is why groups do not go there and that makes the area less visited.
The pristine jungle at Golfito / Puerto Jiménez
Not far from the border of Panama, on a bay in the Pacific Ocean, you will find Golfito and Puerto Jiménez. From there you can visit the Piedras Blancas National Park, an unspoilt jungle and a paradise for bird lovers. You can also take beautiful boat trips, were you have a good chance of seeing whales and dolphins. There are also few lodges here and the area has not been discovered by mass tourism.
The cultural treasures of the Orosi Valley
Not far from the capital of San José lies the Orosi Valley, a place that is skipped by many travellers. Unfortunate, because the valley is an oasis of calmness, with beautiful forests and fertile coffee fields. The best coffee from Costa Rica comes from here. You can also visit the Guayabo National Monument, with its archaeological excavations from pre-Columbian times. An active aqueduct has been found and you can admire the well-kept petroglyphs. In Cartago, you can get to know the Tico’s everyday lives by staying a night in a homestay.
Stay overnight at the Bribri Indians
The Bribri Indians live in the Yorkin Indigenous Reserve, and their villages are only accessible by boat. If you want to learn more about the Bribri’s lives, traditions and culture, you can spend a night in a local community. You will enter the jungle in a traditional canoe to get to a Bribri village. You will sleep in a simple home with a family, go around the area with a guide and learn how the Bribri make their traditional cocoa paste.
The leatherback sea turtles of Punta Mona
It is the world’s largest turtle and there are not many places on earth where you can see them: the leatherback sea turtle. In Costa Rica it is possible, at Punta Mona. It’s quite a trip to get there, but it’s worth it. You will travel by boat to Gandoca, located in the southernmost tip of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Gandoca has small cabins so you can stay overnight and here you have the opportunity to see the huge leatherbacks (they can be up to two meters long) coming up the beach.
Kayaking on luminous water
On the Nicoya peninsula there are plenty of nice beach villages, where you can relax. That alone is a reason to visit the peninsula. But if you want to experience something very special, take a kayaking tour and experience the bioluminescence. This is the effect of fish, plankton, octopus and bacteria that create their own light. The result is a shining blue sea full of sparkling lights. Kayaking over this water is an experience you will never forget.