TRAVEL SERIES: Costa Rica

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The lush rainforests, the vast biodiversity, the volcanic terrain, and the beautiful coastlines of Costa Rica have always appealed to my strong case of wanderlust. Excitement flooded through me as I stepped off the plane and into one of my bucket list destinations.

The fresh air filled my lungs, the coastal breeze blew through my hair, the warmth from the +35 degree heat hugged my body, and immediately I knew I would love this country.

“Pura Vida,” a young woman with a beautiful sun kissed glow greeted us with a bright smile. The people of Costa Rica are charismatic and friendly, embodying this common phrase – simply meaning a pure and simple life. This lifestyle creates the charming and upbeat atmosphere that dominates their lovely culture.

The Occidental Papagayo located in Guanacaste acted as my homebase. I ventured off resort to explore the beautiful Pacific coast and highland regions.

I’ve been told I’d be remiss if I did not zipline while in Costa Rica but had assumed it would be over hyped and less exhilarating than what everyone was making it out to be. As someone who loves a good thrill and trying new things, I decided ‘why not’ – and am now reiterating this advice to you!

Diamante Eco Adventure Park is home to Costa Rica’s top rated and longest ocean view zipline. The park doubles as an animal sanctuary and provides an amazing daytime adventure. They offer three packages; the zipline, the sanctuary, or the everything pack. Opting for the latter, I spent the morning wandering around the wildlife exhibits learning from the knowledgeable guides about the biodiversity in Costa Rica. The zipline was the cherry on top of an already amazing day.

“Ready?” our zipline guide Jason  asked with a smirk as he waited for the go-ahead to release the strap on my harness and send me soaring.

“Ready!” I anxiously smiled back.

He let go.

Zipping atop the trees, feeling as though I was flying, I took in the beautiful never ending view.  The rush of the wind, the shining sun, and the sound of the crashing waves along the shore was riveting. I felt invincible and free. To cap off the line, the final leg is a rope bridge suspended above crocodiles. The giant creatures waded in the pool below as we crossed. From start to finish, the day was unforgettable.

A volcano adventure was next on my Costa Rica bucket list.

Hiking through the rainforest was exquisite. Howling Howler monkeys climbed the trees; whistling water gushed from the beautiful terrain; glistening light peeked through the treetops; and pesky inspects swarmed our legs. Handy tip: do NOT forget bug spray!

Aside from the bugs, the beauty from the nearly untouched forest was awe-inspiring. We rode horseback down the mountain to the volcanic crater, springs, and mud bath,  witnessing in amazement the vast landscape that seemed to stretch on and on. The volcanic mud is said to have healing, anti-aging, and therapeutic benefits from the minerals it beholds. My skin felt softer than ever after smearing the slimy grey mud that smelt of sulfur all over my body. Definitely worth it.

The volcanoes are a massive aspect of the landscape in Costa Rica and divide the country in half: one side along the Pacific Ocean and the other along the Caribbean Sea. If you’re the adventurous type, I highly suggest hiking one of the volcanoes as it will provide you a taste of the diverse ecosystem.

As the week flew by, I kept being asked if I had been out to Coco Beach, also known as Playas del Coco or El Coco. Curiosity flooded my system and on my last day I ventured out to explore the fun coastal community that I kept hearing about. I found myself devouring delicious nachos at Zi Lounge, souvenir shopping in the small shops, and indulging in ice cream on the beach as the sun set. This area is a hotspot for tourists and locals alike and welcoming to everyone young and old. Coco Beach was definitely the perfect place to spend my last day relaxing in the paradise that is Costa Rica.

Cheers to an amazing a week embodying Pura Vida!

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