Along the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, dozens of inviting beaches run the gamut from frost-white to chocolate, and islands and offshore coral reefs open up a world more beautiful than a casket of gems.
The nation’s 12 distinct ecological zones are home to an astonishing array of flora and fauna—approximately 5 percent of all known species on earth—and include more butterfly species than in the whole of Africa, and more than twice the number of bird species in the whole of the United States. Stay here long enough and you’ll begin to think that with luck you might, like Noah, see examples of all the creatures on earth.
Unlike many destinations, where humans have driven animals into the deepest seclusion, Costa Rica’s wildlife loves to put on a song and dance. Animals and birds are prolific and relatively easy to spot: sleek jaguars on the prowl; sloths moving languidly among the high branches; scarlet macaws launching from their perches to squawk away.
Since my first visit, the country has also exploded as a world-class venue for active adventures—scuba diving, sportfishing, white-water rafting, surfing, and horseback riding. The adrenaline rush never stops, be it ATV tours or zip-line adventures.
Plus, the nation boasts a huge choice of fantastic resorts, boutique hotels, rustic lodges, surfer camps, and budget cabinas. And while its neighbors have been racked by turmoil, Costa Rica has been blessed with a remarkable normalcy—few extremes of wealth and poverty, no standing army, a proud history as Central America’s most stable democracy, and a quality of life among the highest in the Western Hemisphere.
Excerpted from the Eigth Edition of Moon Costa Rica.