Mistakenly named “The Rich Coast” after the conquistadors saw the locals adored with imported jade and gold jewelry and assumed the country was rich with precious metals and stones – this country may not be over flowing with valuable materials, but it is in every sense, the most rich and sumptuous destination in regards to beauty, nature, wildlife and experiences. At the forefront of ecotourism in the 1970s, Costa Rica is still one of the leading countries in eco-friendly travel – and my goodness does it show. All you have to do is look out of your plane window as you come in for landing, and the sheer wealth of natural beauty in this Central American country is strikingly apparent. Mammoth green coverings barely cut up by harsh road lines, peppered with volcanic giants, and flanked on each side by glittering, enticing blue. The reforestation that has taken place over the last 20 years has by in no means halted the development of tourism, in fact, quite the opposite. Whilst developments are under stricter laws, this country has managed to use these laws that protect that natural splendour, to create incredible, beautiful properties, that embrace and engage with the surrounding life, whilst still keeping up with global tourism expectations of refined, contemporary comfort.
With this new, natural development and increased tourism, has come not only an eco-responsibility, but a new focus on safety within that natural environment, to ensure that guests of all ages can all experience the beauty of this country.
Arrive at the airport and immediately you feel like you’re at the heart of the country, with natural sanctuaries like Xandari offering a quick access respite, still only 20 minutes away from San Jose, but surrounded by rainforest with its own trails and self-guided hikes around the five waterfalls.
To travel to the various different biospheres and wildlife hotspots of the country, there are transfers to suit all families and budgets – from small domestic flights, to luxury 4×4 private road transfers, to really wowing the kids and chartering private planes or helicopters and arriving in James Bond style into the jungle!
No matter what the age of your children – Costa Rica has the activities and experiences to excite and inspire all, beautiful beaches for sun worshippers to soak up the rays on, ziplining, white-water rafting, kayaking and rappelling for the older adrenaline junkies. There are animals all over including sloths, whales, alligators and birds. It’s a real mecca for nature lovers to get lost in finding stunning vistas and inspired hotels to ignite the imagination of all the family, from the Tarzan style remote lodges on the coast, to the Jungle tree houses in the thick rainforest.
Nature is not the only appeal of this country worth learning about, the rich “tico” culture is an incredibly exciting and unique one to experience whilst visiting the country. Enjoy engaging with the indigenous locals at Pacuare Lodge as they work their traditional weavings and sculptures into future furnishings for the lodge, or have your family welcomed into the home of a Costa Rican family, to learn how to make tortillas and filter your coffee like a gaucho – there is so much to learn and so much to do, it really is the family vacation we’ve been waiting for.