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Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, Bild: Simon Dannhauer / shutterstock

Costa Rica – green paradise between the seas

It’s green in Costa Rica – very green. And the jungle begins at the door of the hotel. Christopher Columbus gave this paradisiacal stretch of land the name: “Rich Coast”. And since the explorer in 1502 probably did not mean the wealth of natural resources, but was probably more fascinated by the gold jewelry of the natives, he felt this country as a kind of treasure island. As a result, Costa Rica was colonized by Spain for over 250 years before the political situation in Costa Rica led to a democracy. The socialist José Mariá Figuerres Ferrer, whom his compatriots simply called “Don Pepe” for the sake of simplicity, one day abolished the military because he believed that Costa Rica was far too beautiful to afford soldiers. That was probably a good decision.

Costa Rica, Arenal Volcano
The Arenal Volcano, Image: robert cicchetti / shutterstock

Certainly, the picturesque beaches alone are a reason to travel to Costa Rica. The mangrove forests reach right up to the blue lagoons, and anyone who has experienced the colourful spectacle of a sunset from the perspective of a hammock in Tortuguero on the Caribbean Sea will never forget it. On balmy nights, you can watch the turtles laying their eggs in the sand. But Costa Rica is above all a wonderland of nature between two seas, and for some, this exotic region is a bubble bath for the soul in a pleasant climate and without the danger of terror or civil war.

Costa Rica, Rainforest
An old bridge in the middle of the rainforest, Image: Simon Dannhauer / shutterstock

Costa Rica has placed no less than a quarter of its land area under nature conservation, because no other country in the world has such a wealth of fauna and flora in such a limited area. Scientists claim to have counted 850 bird species and 150 different amphibians there alone. Costa Rica owes its fascinating rainforest to the fact that it forms a kind of biological corridor between the north and south of the American subcontinent. The country is humid and hot, and the amounts of rain are enormous in some territories.

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UNESCO has put three of the largest and most beautiful national parks on its list of World Heritage Sites. In the Parque Nacional Volcàn Poàs, a paved road leads to the vicinity of the crater rim. The largest geyser in the world is also located here. Rich wildlife can be found in Manuel Antonio Park, seven kilometers south of Quepos on the beach of the Pacific. If you are enthusiastic about the combination of beach, sea and rainforest, you are in good hands there, because the distances to the country’s attractions are short. The highest mountain massif in the Cordillera de Talamanca on the border with Panama is dominated by the 3,819-meter-high Chirripó. Pumas, tapirs, the mystical quetzal and wild boars live in the peripheral areas of the glacial lakes.

Costa Rica delights vacationers from all over the world with a wild and sublime landscape. “Small is beautiful” – this is the advertising slogan of the tourism managers of the country, which is extremely careful with its natural treasures. There are the almost impenetrable rainforests in the south, the picture-book volcanoes that stretch across Costa Rica and the misty jungle of Monteverde with its suspension bridges and the refuge of the lively Kabuzin monkeys.

If you want to experience this tropical country with your eyes open, you should opt for a round trip. The word “ecotourism” is to be taken seriously in Costa Rica, because several villages and cooperatives have committed themselves to this trend and offer excursions that focus on nature. The tours lead to the fertile and hilly regions at the foot of the Irazú volcano with a landscape that is quite close to that of Switzerland . If you want to penetrate into the depths of the rainforest, you can use the longboats and the company of local guides on the canals and river arms. It is a journey into a world where everything flies and crawls, smells and blooms.

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Travel information Costa Rica

Capital San José
Form of government Republic
Presidential democracy
Currency Colón (CRC)
Area approx. 51,100 km²
Population approx. 4,947,490 (2017)
Languages Spanish
Electricity grid 120 volts, 60 Hz
Area code +506
Time zone UTC−6