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Experience Costa Rica’s Green Season: When Nature Paints the Land Green

Welcome, fellow travelers and nature enthusiasts, to the lush paradise of Costa Rica! Nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, this tropical haven is renowned for its captivating biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes. While varying shades of emerald, green is a predominant color thanks to the lush tropical forests, and palm trees all through the year, experiencing Costa Rica´s Green Season is when nature truly paints the land green and takes it to a new level. 

Costa Rica, known for its abundant biodiversity and many micro-climates and ecosystems, offers a unique charm that transcends seasons. While many travelers flock to this tropical paradise during the dry season, the Green Season, also known as the rainy season, holds its allure. Join us to explore its wonders and why visiting Costa Rica during the Green Season is a delightful opportunity to witness the country’s vibrant colors, experience its natural wonders, and embark on unforgettable adventures.


When does nature paint Costa Rica Green? 

The Green Season in Costa Rica extends from mid-May to mid-November, and it brings afternoon showers that begin in the early afternoon and usually finish just in time for the stunning sunsets. This quieter period of Costa Rica´s tourism calendar brings new opportunities to enjoy the unexpected delights that rain can bring. 

It also coincides with two magnificent sea-faring migrations. During the Green Season months, the majestic humpback whales arrive in the warm, protected waters of the southern Pacific coast and Golfo Dulce to breed, give birth and nurture their calves, while the prehistoric sea turtles lay their eggs in Tortuguero on the northern Caribbean coast, Ostional in Guanacaste and along the Osa Peninsula.

Lush Landscapes take green to a new level.  

Immerse yourself in the emerald wonders of Costa Rica’s tropical rainforests. These vital ecosystems act as the planet’s lungs, producing oxygen, regulating climate, and housing countless species. Corcovado National Park, located on the Osa Peninsula, is often referred to as “the most biologically intense place on Earth.” Here, explore dense vegetation, marvel at colossal trees, and listen to the harmonious symphony of chirping birds, buzzing insects, and the gentle rustling of leaves.

As the name suggests, the Green Season transforms Costa Rica into a lush, vibrant paradise. The rainfall nourishes the land, breathing life into the flora and painting the landscapes in vivid shades of green. Forests become denser, rivers flow abundantly, and waterfalls cascade with renewed energy. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Costa Rica’s rainforests, national parks, and botanical gardens, where nature thrives in its full glory.

An abundance of Wildlife is a paradise for nature lovers.

Costa Rica stands as a beacon of biodiversity, boasting an impressive array of ecosystems within its compact borders. Roughly 5% of the world’s species call this small Central American nation home. From the lush rainforests of the Caribbean to the misty cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica nurtures an incredible variety of plant and animal life. Wander along nature trails, and you may encounter sloths lazily hanging from trees, vibrantly colored toucans soaring overhead, or playful monkeys swinging through the branches.

The Green Season brings an abundance of wildlife, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. The rain revives the habitats, attracting a variety of creatures. From colorful tropical birds like toucans and macaws to playful monkeys swinging through the treetops, the Green Season offers ample opportunities for wildlife sightings. Explore Costa Rica’s national parks, such as Manuel Antonio, Cahuita, or Palo Verde, and embark on guided tours to spot fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.

Fewer Crowds means Greater Tranquility and Connection.

One of the remarkable benefits of visiting Costa Rica during the Green Season is the tranquility it offers. With fewer tourists compared to the peak dry season, you can explore the country’s attractions at a leisurely pace and truly connect with its natural wonders. Enjoy the serenity of pristine beaches, hike through rainforest trails without the crowds, and savor the magic of Costa Rica’s hidden gems with a sense of tranquility that can be elusive during busier seasons.

Traveling during the off-peak season allows you to experience the true essence of a destination without the hustle and bustle of peak crowds. Imagine strolling through trails through the cloud forest, savoring the local cuisine at your leisure, and taking in the serene beauty of attractions undisturbed by throngs of tourists. Whether you’re hiking to and exploring recently discovered waterfalls or relaxing on idyllic beaches, the off-peak season grants you a sense of tranquility and an opportunity to connect more intimately with your surroundings.

Refreshing Rain Showers make for Beautiful Photography

While some may shy away from rain, the refreshing showers of the Green Season have their charm. These brief tropical downpours are typically followed by clear skies and sunshine, creating a beautiful interplay of light and colors. Embrace the occasional rain showers, as they provide a delightful respite from the warmth, rejuvenate the air, and lend a soothing soundtrack to your explorations. Don’t forget your raincoat or umbrella and prepare to embrace the enchantment of the rain-kissed landscapes.

Rain showers can add an enchanting touch to the scenery, creating dramatic visual effects that are perfect for photography enthusiasts. The raindrops bouncing off water surfaces, rainbows arching across the sky, and misty landscapes contribute to a unique and ethereal atmosphere. Embrace the opportunity to capture breathtaking shots of landmarks, landscapes, and cityscapes adorned with raindrops, showcasing a different perspective of your chosen destination.

Green Season Brings Deals, Discounts, and Flexibility. 

Traveling during the Green Season offers another enticing advantage: deals and discounts. Many hotels, resorts, and tour operators offer attractive promotions during this period, making it an opportune time to experience the best of Costa Rica while enjoying significant savings. Take advantage of special rates on accommodations, tours, and activities, allowing you to make the most of your budget and extend your adventures even further.

The Green Season in Costa Rica also offers a greater degree of flexibility and freedom to shape your itinerary.  You can explore popular attractions without long queues or time restrictions without the constraints of peak-season demand. Take spontaneous detours, discover hidden gems, and embrace the joy of serendipitous encounters along the way.

Embrace the enchantment of the Green Season and allow Costa Rica’s allure to captivate your heart. Book your trip to this tropical paradise during the Green Season and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Proimagen – Futuropa Group invites you to experience this captivating and immersive destination in the company of its associates. Let them show you how Costa Rica´s Green Season redefines green! 


Plan your Summer Vacation to Costa Rica

One of the great things about living in the tropics, like Costa Rica, is that you have eternal summers! The other great thing about this little corner of paradise is that you are only a plane away from escaping the cold of winter, and Costa Rica is happily awaiting your visit to enjoy some summer love. So, we invite you to exchange the winter snow for the summer sun in Costa Rica this 2023! Here are some getaway goals to consider while you plan your summer vacation to Costa Rica!

With both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean to relax by, volcanoes to explore, rainforests to be hiked, and adventures to be had, Costa Rica is filled with summertime vacation activities. The average temperatures range from the 70s at higher altitudes up to the 90s on either coast, which means the balmy weather and sunny days are as warm a welcome as the world-renowned Costa Rican hospitality.

1.           Surf the waves or take a class.

Many Costa Rican beaches are great places to learn to surf or put your riding the waves knowledge into practice.  Not only are they gorgeous, but they also boast some incredible surfing waves, and many have an excellent surfer vibe too.  At beaches like Santa Teresa, Montezuma, Nosara, and Puerto Viejo, bikes and surfboards are the primary forms of transport, so hop on and ride to the rhythm of their unique vibes and great waves.

Surfing is really popular on both of the Costa Rican coastlines, and this year-round surfer’s paradise has earned its reputation for some good reasons. First, thanks to the different swells and waves, there is a place for novice board riders up to the surfing pros, which makes this little corner of the world so popular for wave riders.

For beginners wanting a class to learn the basics, Tamarindo, Guiones, and Santa Teresa have several surf schools, so let the fun begin!   It is exhilarating and gives you such a sense of accomplishment when you can say you road the waves in Costa Rica.  This is a travel goal come true, and what better summer vacation adventure than learning to surf?

2.           Wellness in Nature

Not only is Costa Rica, a magnet for surfers, but it is also the perfect setting and vibe for wellness seekers too. Many hotels and resorts host yoga retreats or classes and have serenity Spas to experience natural wellness.  After some extraordinary years of challenges and changes, what better way to spend your summer than doing yoga or enjoying the luxury of a massage or facial by the beach, on the slopes of a volcano, or in the rainforest? Perfection and balance.

Whether you come for a yoga retreat, teacher training, or to do some yoga classes during your stay, Costa Rica has the perfect natural backdrops and seasoned yogis to connect to life and spirit. Experience the sound of the waves, tropical breezes, and rainforest sights while perfecting your downward-facing dog, tree, and planks. Favorite yoga destinations include the Golfo Dulce, Montezuma, Santa Teresa, and Playa Grande.

Make this summer a time to reach self-awareness and joy and to share with others

Forest Bathing

While Costa Rica may be best known for adventure in the rainforest, it is also the opportunity for forest bathing. This form of ecotherapy discovered by the Japanese is the simple act of walking in forests and other environments and connecting with your surroundings. National Geographic has called Costa Rica a “forest bathing paradise.”  Try forest bathing while exploring the cloud forest in Monteverde, the tropical dry forest of Guanacaste, or the rainforest of Sarapiqui.

.3.           Citrus-orange Sunset Watching


Costa Rica offers its spectators the most amazing sunsets that set the sky ablaze with oranges, reds, and purples.  This is a community affair; every afternoon, many beaches fill with people waiting to witness this natural phenomenon that never ceases to amaze you.

Remember that in Costa Rica, because it is so close to the Equator, our beautiful sunsets begin around 5:30 pm and extend to about 6:00 – 6:15 pm. In addition, Costa Rica doesn`t have daylight savings, so there is no need to set your watches as sunsets are about the same time every day all year round.  This means you can organize your day of summer-time adventures around this golden hour.

Sunset watching is a great time to pick up a freshly brewed cup of Costa Rica coffee or a freshly made cocktail or juice and pick your spot on the sand or from your mountaintop retreat to view the colors lighting up over the sky and to the horizon. What a perfect way to finish a day exploring Costa Rica´s mountains, beaches, coasts, cities, and coasts.

4.           Enjoy the forests from new perspectives!

Did you know that nearly 60% of Costa Rica is covered in forest? Thanks to anti-logging laws and an innovative plan by the Costa Rican government to give incentives to take care of nature, Costa Rica has become an example to the world of how it can be done!

So, when you visit Costa Rica, delve into the cloud forests on the highest mountain peaks, lay on rainforest-laden beaches, and hike through dry, tropical forests in Guanacaste on the Nicoya Peninsula. Explore the forests by walking along their floors, flying through their canopies, or rafting down rivers that flow through them. The forests are adventurous and wildlife-rich, from whichever perspective you enjoy them.

Some of the best-known forests that visitors enjoy are:

  • Manuel Antonio National Park: A favorite for many visitors. This is an easy walk through a wildlife-laden forest to one of Costa Rica´s most beautiful beaches.
  • Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula – National Geographic named it one of the most biodiverse places in the world!
  • Rio Celeste National Park: This is hiking boots worthy as you border the bluest river immersed in the rainforest. A colorful experience, to say the least.
  • Tortuguero National Park: Explore the rainforest from a boat that will take you through the water canals. A wildlife lover’s paradise!

Costa Rica looks forward to being part of your summer vacation. With daily flights from the major North American and European hubs, Costa Rica adventures are just a few hours away. Proimagen Futuropa looks forward to seeing you! Let us know if you have any questions about planning your summer vacation to Costa Rica!to be continue

10 reasons why Costa Rica is one of the best vacation spots in the world!

Part I

The are many reasons to visit Costa Rica. Whether you are looking for great places to stay, rainforest-embraced beaches, fantastic climate, or an adventure-filled vacation, Costa Rica has it all! Filled with a diversity of landscapes, animals, national parks, bustling cities, and delicious restaurants, it is no wonder that Costa Rica is a regular on the top places to visit and continues to gain popularity. So, what is this little place all about? Let´s explore 10 reasons why Costa Rica is one of the best vacation spots in the world!

1.           The Happy Country

Costa Rica is consistently up high on the happiest countries in the world charts and when visiting, you inevitably feel and see happiness everywhere you go. Costa Ricans are warm and happy.

The country of happy people goes hand-in-hand with the life philosophy summed up in the famous Costa Rican phrase “Pura Vida”.  It is about enjoying life with the right attitude and Costa Rica does that very well.

2.           Live volcanoes

Costa Rica is very much alive, and its chain of live volcanoes is just one way of enjoying its vibrancy. No two are alike either so the possibilities are endless for exploring the five live volcanoes and multitude of dormant or extinct ones.

Peer down into the craters of the Poas Volcano and the Irazu Volcano and hike the Turrialba Volcano. Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is an adventure mountain with fumaroles, mud pools, and hot springs while Arenal Volcano is the epicenter of hot springs and rooms with a volcano view.

3.           Where the wild things are

National Geographic believes that the Osa Peninsula is the most ecologically diverse place on earth! We won’t doubt the experts when it comes to where the wild things are. Costa Rica is a wildlife lover´s paradise with an estimated 5% of the world´s biodiversity dwelling in its rainforests, coastal lowlands, forested mountains, mangroves, wetlands, and everywhere in between.

Costa Rica is the best destination for viewing the resplendent quetzal, humpback whale observation, and of course, sloth showing. Spot the colorful frogs and delight in the cheeky monkeys. Wild things are plentiful and so much fun to watch! Check them out in the protected areas network that covers 25% of the country!

4.           Coffee and Fresh Food!

Costa Rican coffee is the best start to your day when visiting Costa Rica. The golden bean not only is delicious and uplifting, but it is also the shining star of Costa Rica´s rich history and cultural awakenings.

Costa Rica is a land of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, and produce readily available and delightfully converted into culinary pleasures in eateries around the country. A new generation of young, innovative chefs has brought new flavors and ingredients to the table offering explosions of new tastes and touches to the traditional Costa Rican menus.

Tip: San Jose has become a hotspot for foodies with a range of trendy restaurants and cocktail bars opening up in both the modern and historic quarters of the city.

to be continue

The seas and rivers of Costa Rica. More than fun!!

Aquatic Adventures

The mix of bumpy oceans and calm bays in Costa Rica offers something to suit your style. We invite you to step out of your comfort zone and try something you have never done before. Whether if in the water or on the water, like scuba diving or canyoning in a waterfall!.

Before starting any of these aquatic adventures in our country, spend the first nights in San José to get acclimatized with the surroundings, and discover some of our capital city jewels. You can choose to stay at either at Palma Real hotelBarceló San José Palacio hotel or Apartotel Villas del Río.


In Costa Rica, besides the rain, cloud and dry forests, beaches, volcanoes, hot springs, wild rivers, and breathtaking lakes, all surrounded with colorful flora and fantastic fauna, another beautiful world awaits that offers sights that are spectacular as well. Under both the Pacific and the Caribbean ocean scuba divers and snorkelers may have encounters with world-famous marine life forms.

Near the coasts, you can find islands like the Catalinas Islands, the Islas Muriciélagos, on the North Pacific, and Isla del Caño, on the Southern Pacific, which have many excellent dive sites for exploring. For those advanced explorers, worthy of note is Cocos Islands, 300 miles from the mainland, declared a UNESCO World Heritage. The night diving there amongst sharks, hammerheads, white-tipped, or even bull sharks will absolutely thrill you.

No matter what you choose to explore, one way or the other, you will easily merge under the sea to become a speechless witness to the magic of these waters. Here you can be sure to capture unique photos and mind-blowing memories.

For quick and safe access to the different regions of our country, you can contact Aerobell Airlines to shorten distances with a smooth flight. And our affiliated hotels, such as Capitan SuizoPlanet Hollywood Beach ResortFiesta Resort, or Cristal Ballena Resort and Spa, will be more than happy to accommodate your needs.


For those a bit more daring looking for one of the best surfing getaways, you have to come to Costa Rica, a world-class destination to hit the beach either on the Caribbean or Pacific coasts, offering white-sand beaches with unparalleled waves. Our country has an abundance of open shorelines and hidden coves, perfect for surfers who want to test their skills.

Across both coasts, beginners and experienced surfers congregate to discover the best and biggest waves at the best spots such as Pavones, Puerto Viejo, or Playa Hermosa, which is home to several national and international surf contests each year. Jaco beach is very appealing to surfers worldwide. Tamarindo, on the Pacific Coast, stands as the most famous surf area providing access to Witches Rock, Langosta Beach, and Playa Negra, just to mention a few. Playa Pavones is excellent for one the longest left- breaking waves in the world. Other popular surf spots include beaches such as Santa Teresa, Mal País, Nosara, Playa Grande, and Avellanas.

So it does not matter if you have not surfed before as there are experts on hand to help you. And, for those experts carrying their own surfboards, there are some excellent surf breaks along the coastlines to master.


When it comes to rafting adventures, we have a wide range of options and river difficulties. So, whether you would like to take a leisurely float down the river to spot wildlife, or you are interested in challenging yourself on adrenaline-packed rapids there is a whitewater rafting trip for you.

The perfect time to come and enjoy white water rafting in Costa Rica is during the rainy reason months when the rivers offer ideal water levels. Costa Rica has excellent river systems that produce world-famous whitewater rapids, as well as beautiful scenery along the banks.

If on the Caribbean side, and before challenging yourself in one of the wild rivers, spend a couple of nights at quaint Casa Turire bordered by La Angostura Lake with the imponent presence of Turrialba mountains or at Tirimbina Lodge and Rain Forest Center, where you can live a unique experience in the rain forest.


If you are looking to enjoy relaxing kayaking days, enhanced by the surrounding natural beauty, and abundance of wildlife around the bodies of water, get ready to explore a few! Kayaking is an outdoor activity that can be thoroughly enjoyed by visitors of all ages and interests, from beginners to more adventurous travelers.

Another excellent destination for tourists looking to kayak or canoe is the river community of Sarapiquí, an ideal place for kayakers to set up single or multi-day trips. Our affiliates offer tours that include equipment, food, lodging, and bilingual guides.

Some of the rivers in the Arenal area, do provide fantastic opportunities to view part of flora and fauna of Costa Rica. With humongous trees hanging over the water, the Fortuna River is a surpassing setting to spy on monkeys swinging in the trees as well as sloths and a large number of noisy birds.

Stand Up Paddle

Stand up paddle turns out to be an effortless and super fun activity, no matter the body of water on which you want to try it, for the first time, when no experience is needed. You will find paddling surprisingly easy!. Some of the most popular areas in Costa Rica to paddle on freshwater are Tortuguero and the wetlands of Caño Negro. Lake Arenal offers besides an incredible view of the volcano, the chance to paddle around the lake’s many bays and coves, which tranquil waters provide visitors with a smooth and comfortable ride. Sitting on top of stable SUPs allow yourself to glide silently under trees, surrounded by the greenery and depths of a rain forest, which is home to chattering monkeys, sleeping sloths, and perching birds.

Feel free to drop an email to any of our affiliates to arrange SUP tours while in Costa Rica, a water sport ideal for people of all ages that include specialized SUP boards, equipment, instruction, guides, and transportation.


If you have ever dreamed of exploring a tropical canyon and rappel down a waterfall, hike through a rain forest, trek through a river, and end up swimming in the clear blue natural pool…then the canyoning tour is waiting for you. The best area in Costa Rica to enjoy this activity and experience a tropical rainforest, like a true adventurer, is the Arenal Volcano area, where excellent accommodation can be found at the Los Héroes hotelManuel Antonio, Monteverde, and the South Pacific areas are also great locations to make this dream come true while zip-lining through the jungle canopy.

Waterfall rappelling is just the beginning of a canyoning tour; however, the tour starts with a short hike, followed by some easy rappelling to get you started. So, canyoning is something you do not want to miss on your next trip to Costa Rica!

If your adventure takes you near the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, you can choose to stay at among the Buena Vista del Rincón or Hacienda Guachipelín hotel.

On the other hand, if you want to stay away from aquatic activities at the end of your trip, give it a try to immerse yourself into nature all around, booking a tour with Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica.

So start putting your gear together, and contact any of our most reliable tour operators for further details: Ara ToursTAM TravelBella AventuraCast Costa RicaCosta Rica for All, and Swiss Travel. Once in Costa Rica, the best way to save time and explore different places at your own pace is to rent a car with Europcar or Solid Car Rental.







Costa Rica on two wheels

Biking in Costa Rica

Por Juancho Otalvaro (

Visiting a small country allows you to go practically all around in a short time.  However, in Costa Rica, with its rugged and mountainous lands, roads are built to meander along every hill, mountain, and river, making short distances last longer than usual.   Road-tripping along Costa Rican roads is a beautiful experience, absorbing all of its constant changing landscapes, getting lost in towns and villages trying out their local food, greeting its friendly folks.

Driving through some of Costa Rican dirt roads, open windows, warm or cool breeze whirling inside the cabin gives you a better feeling of what the environment along the way is like; all the same, you must wonder what’s beyond the side of the road. Sometimes the abundance of trees and plants cover the views, leaving you with a desire to stop and roam through the undergrowth and thick vegetation.

Taking the off-beaten path can bring you spectacular inspiration, and the best way to experience this is through mountain biking.

Costa Rica has an extensive terrain with all kinds of mountain bike routes for the recreational and the most hardcore bikers.   After all, Costa Rica has the “Ruta de los Conquistadores” – “Costa Rica’s premier mountain bike race and one of the most difficult athletic events on the planet.” I recently did a quest, a trip down memory lane, back on my old mountain bike through some ancient routes in which I used to get lost.  Muscles never forget!  Once again, I felt the lactic acid streaming through my leg muscles, making me pedal on an inertia cycle, moving my body without even thinking about it.

Costa Rican weather is constantly changing, no matter where you are.  It is surely a thrill to notice the different kinds of vegetation as you bike up a hill or a mountain.   In just a short distance, you will feel a change in temperature. Thus plants, trees, terrain, and wildlife will metamorphose up and down during the ride, so embrace the weather and enjoy the exercise. Always try to be prepared for anything; ride with a patch repair kit, an extra tube, a first-aid kit, and a cell phone for emergencies.

If you’re not new to Costa Rica, you might know that San José is a hub.  From there, you may get almost anywhere in the country within a few hours.  After all, it’s the Capital City, with plenty to do if you’re planning to stay for vacations. Start by looking at hotels that offer nice amenities, like Apartotel Villas del Río, or the relaxing atmosphere found in any of the Barceló Hotels around the country.  There are always other options like Palma Real that go the extra mile on service.  Outside of San José, Casa Turire, Hotel Cristal Ballena, and the Tapirus Lodge at Rainforest Adventures are excellent choices too.

You can get reasonably easy anywhere in Costa Rica with a car. Still, if you’re on a tight schedule, you can find bike trails, routes, and tours on different parts of the country where you can fly with Aerobell and get in 30minutes or less practically anywhere. I recommend Guanacaste, especially for biking.  Guanacaste is dry most of the year, it is the hottest and usually the driest part of Costa Rica.  If you plan to bike out there, preferably do so early in the morning:  it’s sunny and cooler, and you will be close to the Pacific coast, where beautiful beaches and cold waters await for you to enjoy after a long bike ride! If you’re around, stay at Capitán Suizo or the Planet Hollywood Beach Resort.

You can try out some of the following Tour Agencies to help you find what better suits you on your trip: ARA Tours, Swiss Travel, Cast Costa Rica, Costa Rica for All, and TAM Travel.

Jungles, mountains, green valleys, low and high forests, rivers. All of them are colorful landscapes with challenging terrains and demanding climbs that will reward you with scenic views. Most of these available routes are old roads that connect villages.   They still are kept as circuit routes for delivering, selling or collecting goods; so you’ll probably get acquainted with the traditional “Tico”: the “campesinos” (farmers), milkmen, ranchers and a few other characters, that give Costa Rica that unique, friendly and welcoming spirit as they wave hello when you pass them by. You might encounter some traffic along the way; colorful oxcarts and happy horse riders usually transit the dusty, rugged trails.  Time stops along these tracks.  You might recognize the smell of burning wood, meaning there is a “Soda” (small typical restaurant)  nearby.   Here you can stop to get a snack or a big meal cooked on old iron stoves to re-fuel, re-charge, and continue on the quiet dirt roads.

As you go downhill through ridges and rocky turns, enjoy where the “vistas” open up to staggering geomorphic features, large open spaces, and thick forests.  Pedaling through nature awakens something in you; it connects your mind and body with life and makes you focus through stamina, a vigor that drives you out of your comfort zone, making you gain confidence in yourself. There is a moment while biking when you start to feel superhuman; beating a challenge, any obstacle in the way becomes a goal to conquer. You will begin to look at your surroundings differently, and that’s when you’ve started to elevate your connection with nature, a high on inspiration through the quiet scenery.

Live in the moment. Your higher heart rate will only make you feel alive, breath in deeply the environment you’re in, sharpen your senses, and when you reach that point where you have spent all of your strength…stop…feast your eyes live the present in relief and gratitude. Mountain Biking reminds you that going through any forceful effort and discomfort has its rewards. Usually, the best moments in life are after you’ve gone through some difficult ones, and that’s just part of the human experience. The important part is that any experience in life is a hill, a lake, a valley, or a mountain to conquer; a hard one or a joyful one, enjoy the ride.

Adventures in the Trees

Why Ziplining in Costa Rica is a Must! (even If you are afraid of heights)

So how was the world’s first canopy tour?

“I watched the platform recede and felt a sense of ecstatic joy as I glided past branch tips, where only the lightest of jungle animals could venture, and into the airways of butterflies and birds.”  Donald Perry

When you think about Costa Rica, what is the first picture that comes up to your mind? I believe you will easily imagine an adventurous traveler flying through the lush rain forest canopy who sees it all from a bird´s eye view. An adventure once reserved for a select group of researchers and photographers, ziplines above the canopy are indeed, in many ways synonymous with Costa Rica. If you have not done it yet, this is your chance to go for it. Gliding from tree to tree in a tropical rain forest, cloud forest, or even, dry forest, allows you to fly over a waterfall, towards a volcano or facing the ocean.  So start packing and send your request to any of our affiliated Travel Agencies such as Bella Aventura, Costa Rica for All, ARA Tours, TAM Travel, Cast Costa Rica, and Swiss Travel.

Originally introduced during the 1970s, ziplines are made of steel cables and platforms adapted at various heights between trees, that offer travelers unique access to beautiful and remote natural areas.  If there is any must-do activity in Costa Rica, it is ziplining.   You can enjoy different zip line tours all over the territory, easily accessible by driving a comfortable 4×4 vehicle.  Get your car rental with Europcar or Solid Rent a Car and start your engines!

But hey! Have you heard about the history of ziplining? Are you a little bit curious about how ziplines have developed into one of the country’s most popular and widespread activities?  Allow us to go back in time to where it all began, and you may be surprised to discover that this fantastic adventure was, indeed, born in Costa Rica.

Donald Perry, a student from California, fascinated by the mysteries of the rain forest canopy, was dedicated to studying new methods for climbing and moving around it.  In his book “Life Above the Jungle Floor”, published in 1986, the now biologist Dr. Donald Perry, narrated his adventures, back in the 70s, as the first man to study the rich biodiversity of the rain forests of Costa Rica, from the trees very own canopy.   He discovered that an essential percentage of the species that inhabit the forest, lived right there, in the canopy.  Through the book pages, he described how the idea of ziplining and building observation platforms in the trees came around. The book soon caught Hollywood`s attention, as he ended up as a primary consultant for the movie Medicine Man (1992) starring Sean Connery, who appears collecting plant specimens to cure cancer, roping through the canopy on ziplines.  This media platform put a flag on the history of ziplining and started the ball rolling for the creation of this unusual activity as we know it today.

On the other side, while the movie was on the billboard at theaters that same year, Darren Hreniuk, an environmentalist Canadian, was moving to Costa Rica. He came with a concrete project of creating a unique adventure tour, an exciting tropical experience in Costa Rica’s rainforest. To make the story short, in 1995, Mr. Hreniuk, came up with a fun, exciting, and undoubtedly innovative tour. It would allow tourists to access the canopy of the rainforest and go back to the forest floor safely. Once this was nailed, he patented the idea in Costa Rica as a system of human transport. Hreniuk’s Original Canopy Tour, as he named it, was born as the first zipline canopy tour open to the public.

Even though, as we know, he did not invent ziplines, he certainly developed the activity and adapted it to tourism. As the years went by, and trees grew taller, more and more places around the country saw this new activity as a leading-edge way of attracting tourists to remote areas. Nowadays, there are many canopy tours in Costa Rica, but not all of them are the same. There are ziplines for every level of adventure!  Some that are not very high or long become perfect for first-timers. On some ziplines, you can go in pairs, feel like superman, go upside down and do other fun tricks for your enjoyment.  Some people even zipline in the dark of the night!

One fantastic source of adventure, where you can feel your adrenaline on as you rise high in the air through the treetops on zip lines, is the Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica. They offer two different parks:  one the very heart of a rainforest, embedded in the magnificent Braulio Carrillo Park in the Atlantic side, and the other one nestled in a transitional forest, home to beautiful scarlet macaws, in the Central Pacific side, just minutes away from the beach.

If you want to try as many zip lines as possible in a few days, and want to shorten distances from one spot to the other, fly Aerobell with no further ado. They operate 11 daily domestic destinations.

As stated before, every canopy tour is, indeed, different. Once you have conquered that primal fear, you may want to do it again and again without hesitating.  Ziplines not only boost the adrenaline of the riders, but allow them to take a peek at some of the jewels hidden in the canopy of the trees.

Some of the best spots to soar over the forests are in Guanacaste, Arenal, and Monteverde. For your first and last nights in our country, and start getting into the Pura Vida mood, we recommend to recover from your jet lag staying at any of these beautiful properties Barceló San José PalacioApartotel and Suites Villas del Río, and Palma Real Hotel & Casino.

 Guanacaste is home to one of the most exhilarating experiences for travelers; the longest double-wire zipline in Central America and the world’s fifth-longest ziplining tour: the “Superman.”  The dual lines let participants share their ride with their families and friends, zipping side by side. This adventure offers highly trained guides and top-notch equipment. All this for a super fun and memorable journey.

First of all, secure yourself a great hotel in the area, if you prefer to be very close to the beach and capture breathtaking sunsets in Tamarindo beach, book your room at Capitán Suizo, or  if you opt to explore the Papagayo Gulf instead, Planet Hollywood Beach Resort is the place where you want to be. On the other hand, if you are more into staying at uniquely situated hotels with the essence of Costa Rica, very close to the foothills of Rincón de la Vieja volcano, make your reservation at Hacienda Guachipelín, or at Buena Vista del Rincón.

Monteverde, a highly recommended stop while in our country, is one of the seven wonders of the province of Puntarenas, a star in Costa Rica ecotourism. Here you can not only experience an exciting zipline tour, but also enjoy the surrounding environment which happens to be the main attraction. Nevertheless, your zipline will literally take you on a ride in the clouds, and if you are lucky, you might spot a quetzal.

So, once you have listened to the call of birds, and smelled the scent of tropical flowers, we encourage to drive all the way down to one of the nearby beaches, stay at the Fiesta Resort, and bask in the sun at the dark volcanic sand beach overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean. If you desire to keep on moving down South to scout more beaches, this is your chance to spend some nights at beautiful Cristal Ballena hotel, around the corner from Marino Ballena National Park.

 Northern Plains of Arenal Volcano is among the most popular tourist hot spots in Costa Rica, with over 100 different options of adventure activities, and with the highest number of adventure parks. There are many ecosystems and species found in this area, such as tropical forests, waterfalls, hidden trails framed with colorful flowers, rejuvenating thermal waters, and the country’s largest lake, just to name a few. This marvelous area is abundant in flora and fauna, and it is beautifully crowned with a perfect cone-shaped volcano.  If you want to step into an unexplored world, come to Arenal, where zip line options are fantastic. Here where you will feel observed most of the time by a colossus in currently-resting phase, while you do the same at unique Hotel Los Héroes, that features an on-property train and a revolving restaurant.

Close to Arenal,  about a one-hour drive, is Sarapiquí, where you will be thrilled to walk over one of the longest suspended bridges in Costa Rica -262m length and up to 22 meters high overlooking the magnificent Sarapiqui River until you reach the majestic rainforest at  Tirimbina,

Tips for Ziplining in Costa Rica

  • Dress comfortably. Make sure you have the right attire. You can wear shorts, but long enough to avoid chafing your legs with the safety equipment.  Closed-toed shoes that tie to the ankle (sneakers, or similar). No flip flops, nor hats, please.
  • For long hair, pull it back in a ponytail.
  • If you wear glasses, use eyeglass strap.
  • Do not put anything in your pockets.
  • Follow your guide, listen to all the instructions, and always follow directions.
  • If you have a GoPro, bring it, and the helmet mount.
  • Bring your sense of adventure and don’t forget to smile!

Even though the most crucial chapter in the history of the ziplining was written by biologists and scientists, today, ziplines are a must-do adventure for those wanting to get their adrenaline pumping.  Plus, Costa Rica’s natural settings  provide us with breathtaking backdrops from way above the ground.

As an epilogue, we can conclude that Mr. Perry invented the jungle canopy zipline; Mr. Hreniuk designed the jungle canopy zipline tour. And, definitely, Costa Rica did not develop the technology for this but certainly figured out how to make it fun.  So, while in Costa Rica, indulge yourself in something unique, soaring through the trees! Ziplining is more than being fastened to a cable and sliding down to the other side. It is about letting loose; about allowing yourself to feel the adrenaline running through your veins. About choosing to scream, laugh, or be speechless while creating a memory that will last forever.

Once that adrenaline goes down after reaching the very last platform of your trip, and before heading back home, you may like to recover your zen status at lovely, quaint,  Casa Turire where you can try some locally produced coffee, macadamia, and sugar cane; or explore the famous Archeological Monument in Guayabo.

As you see, everyone should go ziplining in Costa Rica!  Dare to boost your endorphins, your world will never be the same again.

Marcella Román López


Hiking into the Spiritual Realm

Just like our first prehistoric ancestors, our body was designed to be on our feet for most of the day.   Nowadays, most of us are sitting down in our offices for hours on end, with minimum movement; we barely walk just to get to our form of transportation where, once again, we sit-down. We have become sedentary and numbed to what is out there, in front of our eyes.                                                                                                                                                              We need to seek a physical distance from our everyday actions; something that breaks our routine and restore balance in our life. Let our brain relax, go out wondering, daydream and have fun! That is the best way to really restore the connection between our body and mind.

The desire to hike has always been part of human evolution. Even after the first settlers started to understand about farming and animal breeding, which allowed them to produce an abundance of food; hiking still was part of their everyday activities, as they still needed to hunt and gather. Now, with all the different means we have at our disposal, hiking is seen as a form of leisure. We hike for well-being, sport, or just for fun, which is very good, but we sometimes forget what being out in nature really is. Our ancestors were nomads, they knew the importance of nature, they had to walk great distances on a regular basis to find food and specific nutrients to support their needs; they talked to nature, they communicated with plants and animals, there was more of a spiritual exchange between living things. In the modern world, everything is different and we take nature for granted. Every time we go out and see a mountain, hills, a park, or just any scenic place, we should wonder: How will it be like to be on top of that mountain? What is up there? What feelings may I experience being surrounded by so much nature? How would it feel to walk in there? What sights, sounds and aromas will I discover?

Our body was designed to walk and we can go out and enjoy it; let’s take a hike!

I woke up at 4 am and drove a bit over 2 hours to San Carlos, one of the biggest cantons in Costa Rica and home of the Arenal Volcano. This time I wasn’t looking for the colossal Arenal; instead I wanted to explore some of the neighbor inactive volcanoes. Lucky for me I have a friend who lives in Ciudad Quesada, San Carlos most populated city, and he was going to guide me on a hike up the mountain and towards the skirts of the “Platanar” Volcano.

Without much planning or special gear, I put on my cheap rubber boots over my sand socks, a weird combination that has been proven to be the perfect fit for me during long hikes. It is important to wear the right shoes and socks, so do some research beforehand and find what suits you better. On some of my hikes I’ve dealt with terrible blisters on my feet, so pack some blister dressings just in case!

We packed 2 litters of water each, though we knew we had to cross a couple of rivers, so water was covered. We had some snacks and peanuts to boost our energy on quick pauses; it is a good idea during hikes to pace yourself and do regular quick breaks, instead of few long stops.

Shortly after a nice walk along dairy farms, we were deep inside a rainforest; the quick change of temperature was welcomed, as it dropped down some degrees and a nice breeze cooled the surroundings. The weather in Costa Rica can change in just a few minutes, so always be prepared for anything (sun block and a raincoat at least). This time we had a perfect climate, even though it seemed to be a bit cloudy in between the treetop gaps.

We expected to see some monkeys, maybe some small reptiles; but we only managed to see rests of a weak hallucinogenic plant craved by sloths. As we went deeper, the size of the trees became impressively tall and I couldn’t stop thinking of how small it made me feel vs. the vast perspective of where I was hiking. It got me wondering; what is the purpose of the small insects around me? Why do plants and flowers live here? What do animals eat around here…What is our purpose here on Earth? We might not have the answers to that last question, but neither do the other the living things that surround us.  We just know we are organisms living together, and no one is more important than the other, everyone needs everyone else to survive. Maybe the key for us humans is to work as one with nature, so that we can have a better understanding of why we are here.

Nature’s message is loud and clear, but one must listen. That is why I enjoy hiking so much; it keeps our body fit and our mind free, but there is another level on which we can operate while hiking, besides the physical plane. As we all know, exercise helps to develop a fit body, lowers the risk of heart disease, builds strength in our bones and muscles, improves our balance, and also combats symptoms of stress and anxiety. But then there is also the spiritual realm, that can teach us how to be present in the moment; by paying attention to our breath, center in our bodily consciousness, be completely mindful and become aware of our inner intentions to connect with something greater than ourselves.

We could hear we were almost at our destination; soft sounds of small river rapids warned of our arrival, and even though we didn’t get to see any animals, we took our time to enjoy the experience. At that point I was almost in a trance within that green landscape; it was as if I could feel Mother Nature’s knowledge. She was there before us, and she had the healing powers to clear our mind of stress and make us focus on what it is really important. By hiking we sharpen our senses making us one with the environment while our brain produces high levels of serotonin, creating a feeling of  happiness and awareness of the beauty of the landscape we are submerged in.

So, where should you begin in hiking? Start small; you don’t need to be utterly athletic to hike, although it is good to start slow if you don’t feel fit enough. You just need to be open to the experience and be eager to be embraced by nature.

Costa Rica is a really good spot to begin; it has lots of destinations for different levels, with variety in nature, weather and animal sightings.

Some recommendations to start you off with your trip:

First of all, if you don’t know how to get to Costa Rica, here is my list of the most reliable tour agencies in the country: Ara Tours, TAM Travel, Bella Aventura, Cast Costa Rica, Costa Rica For All and Swiss Travel. I’m sure they will help you coordinate your trip so that you get the most of it!

Once in Costa Rica, the best way to save time and visit different places, is to rent a car with Europcar or Solid Car Rental, among some other excellent car rental companies, or if you want to visit farther destinations, you can always fly domestic with Aerobell Airlines.

For accommodation, you might want to start by booking somewhere in San José at Villas del Río Apartotel, Barceló San José or Palma Real Hotel & Casino and then head off to a hiking adventure in the Central/North Pacific (beaches, national parks, volcanoes and dry weather) where you can stay at Capitan Suizo, Planet Hollywood Beach Resort, Fiesta Resort or Hacienda Guachipelín.  You can also try the area of the South Pacific Coast (rain forests and beaches) where you will enjoy staying at Cristal Ballena or also try the Northern Region and stay at Hotel Los Héroes.

Coming back again to the Central Region (cooler weather nature, rain and cloud forests) you would enjoy staying at beautiful Casa Turire Hotel where you´ll experience a quiet and relaxing time.

And finally, if you want to start off with a hiking tour and experience adventure and nature all around, you can book a tour with Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica.

Hiking is not a race, what matters is to enjoy the experience, not hurry to the final destination. Take your time, appreciate the landscape, and try to have some perspective of where you are in the Globe. Free your creative mind by looking into the tiny details of nature. Stop. Breathe.  What scents do you smell around you? Close your eyes. What do you hear and feel? Keep all your senses alert, and you will be surprised by what you find in the way.

Always remember:

“Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but photos. Kill nothing but time. Keep nothing but memories”.

By Juancho Otalvaro (

10 Days In Costa Rica!!

It’s wintertime in many cities in Europe and the East Coast of the U.S. and as you walk from your office to your house, you must be thinking, I need some Sun. So you look up flights to Costa Rica. You’ve heard it is tropical paradise. The Sun does shine very bright and very constantly. The people are friendly and the best part, the options are very varied and relatively easy to access. Up for some surfing and ocean time? Maybe just jungle walks and birdwatching? Yoga near a waterfall? We’ve got it!

Costa Rica has:

-780 miles of coast in the Pacific Coast and 132 miles in the Caribbean: the beach options are endless, all with warm blue water, white and yellow sand, and plenty of palm trees!

-28 national parks, out of which 3 are UNESCO World Heritage Sites

-158 miles from port to port: From Puerto Limón to Puerto Puntarenas can be a 5 hour drive, depending on traffic. Still, think about this: you are going from one ocean to another ocean in a matter of hours. Costa Rica is one of the narrowest countries in the Americas!

If you rent a car, you can cover a lot of territory in 10 days. Of course, we recommend that you stop and enjoy each place you stay. There is a lot of magic in our forests, mountains and beaches. The more time you spend in each, the more special you will find it.

Guanacaste: at the North has a dryer climate, bigger beaches, and is popular for its golf courses and diving. Towards the mountains, there are beautiful volcanoes and lush rain forests.

Here you´ll find a suggested route that will make you want to come back for more of Costa Rica:

  • Day 1 and 2: Monteverde is the paradise for birdwatching and a cool place to bungee jump. It is a 2 hour and 30 minute drive from San José airport and has all types of lodging available. The hanging bridges are full of life, green and will give you a feeling of being wrapped up in nature.

  • Day 3 and 4: Coming down from Monteverde, go towards Tamarindo. It should be a 3 hour drive. Although it is considered to be ‘touristy’, it is a good homebase if you are trying to do daytrips or get to know the area. Tamarindo has good surf, good parties, good food and in general friendly locals.
    Hang around this surf town and enjoy the beach, the wide diversity of local restaurants and cafés. You have everything from American and Tico food to more vegan options. Tamarindo is also a good place to go out dancing or just for a beer or two at popular sports bars with reggae and other genres of music.

  • Day 5 and 6: Take day trips to other beaches like Playa Langosta, Playa Brasilito, Playa Grande (turtle nesting tours are available from April to October in this beautiful beach!), Playa Avellanas. Pack a picnic and drive 30 minutes to experience these other places and their smaller village feel. Sportfishing is another interesting daytrip that can easily be arranged in the area.

  • Day 7, 8 and 9: Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica’s highlights. It is a 4 hour and 30 minute drive from Tamarindo and has hot springs, rafting, hikes, hanging bridges and waterfalls. The Lake is popular for water sports. This volcano is active and is beautiful to look at night. Take one day for exercise, another to relax and the last one to repeat or combine both. The area has so much to offer in terms of nature, relaxation and wellness.

  • Day 10: Drive back to San José. Enjoy the drive down surrounded by the beautiful mountains.

In our next edition, I´ll show your way around our beautiful Caribbean coast.  Wait for it!!


Gabriela Mateo

Start practicing Mindfoodness in Costa Rica’s diverse gastronomy

Today, the word wellness is heard more and more often. It is associated with being well, present and healthy. It involves different aspects of our lifestyle. The wheel of wellness includes social, spiritual, financial, environmental, emotional, intellectual, physical and occupational categories. Today we touch on the subject of eating, nutrition and mindfulness. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive by what’s going on around us.

A play on the word mindful, the new term mindfoodness has started circulating in the health and wellness world. The rushed rhythm that many people live today tends to give us no choice but to multitask. It is common to eat while you check emails or engage in another activity. This has created a disconnection between what we consume, which in essence is what we are, and ourselves. Thankfully, mindful eating, now dubbed mindfoodness, is gaining popularity.

It is defined as the applied mindfulness at the moment of consuming food or beverages with the idea of paying full attention to it. It seeks establishing a healthier and better relationship with our food. By working our emotions and psychologies associated to eating habits, we can develop self-control and self-knowledge. Mindfoodness seeks to teach the respect and the hearing of the body’s internal signals of being satiated and full.

Costa Rica is a place that is perfect for slowing down. If you come from a big city or live a rushed pace, your visit to our country is the perfect opportunity to start practicing mindfoodness. In many places, food is prepared and served with patience. The typical plate casado tends to be colorful: white rice dotted with black beans, tiny pieces of red pepper and green cilantro, a side of green salad, possible yellow French fries, and a meat which can be fish or a brown meat. Before you eat, count the amount of items and colors on your plate. Savor each different element of such a diverse meal.

In San José, some recommendations of places to stay with healthy restaurants are: Apartotel Villas del Río, Barceló San José and Palma Real Hotel & Casino. In the hustle and bustle of a city, it is very important to be present. Use the calm atmosphere of these hotels to indulge your senses in a casado or another meal of your choice. The Wyndham Garden Escazú has an extensive wine selection at Restaurante El Cortijo and a fully international menu. Some of these hotels offer room service, an option that can still allow you to be mindful when eating. In the quiet of your room, enjoy the mountainous view of the Central Valley and connect with your plate.

How can mindfoodness be practiced? It is as simple as being mindful, present, slow and grateful at the time of eating your meal. A food journal is another way you can practice mindfoodness. By keeping track of your foods, you will start being more mindful about them. Not having your phone, or thinking about messages and emails to be answered is a huge step. Avoiding television, music, newspapers, books, computers, screens or other distracting stimuli is another must.

Savor each bite slowly and carefully. Focus on the textures, colors and feelings it gives you. Always be sitting down, calm and not in a rush. Prepare the table and the plate as if guests were coming. Use nice cutlery or flowers to set the mood to enjoy your meal more. Set the fork, knife or spoon down between each bite. Don’t rush! Savor each and every bite. Practice as often as you can!

If you are stepping outside the city, you will find yourself in peaceful environments to enjoy your food. Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection in Pérez Zeledón has a restaurant called Ambar that has a romantic and dim lighted restaurant where a variety of local and international dishes are served. Up in the volcano skirts of Rincón de la Vieja at Buena Vista Lodge’s La Montaña Restaurant you will be served organic and sustainable food that is a delightful way of practicing mindfoodness. Casa Turire in Turrialba offers beautifully decorated plates offering authentic Costa Rican food in a friendly environment. Swiss inspired and themed Hotel Los Héroes in Arenal Lake is another recommendation of places to relax and fully enjoy a great tico meal. Lastly, make sure you check out Río Celeste Hideaway Hotel’s restaurant Kantala, also in Arenal Lake. The space is surrounded by gardens and the open air dining experience is unique.

You might be visiting the beach during your stay in Costa Rica, were often restaurants offer a beautiful view, offering a chance to relax even more when eating. Don’t get completely distracted! Continue focusing on connecting with your plate and all the elements in it, but also enjoy the amazing view. It is possible you are served a mix of tropical fruits, another colorful dish: vivid amber orange papaya, bright yellow mango, fresh red watermelon and white yellow banana. It is also likely that you are surrounded by the trees that gave life to these same fruits you are eating. Be present.

In Uvita Beach, Hotel Cristal Ballena’s bar and restaurant Pura Vida serves international dishes and fresh cocktails right in front of the ocean. It provides a sunset view that is unique. Karahé Beach Resort in Manuel Antonio has a restaurant called Canto del Mar which serves beautiful arrangements of seafood and other typical dishes which will delight and enhance your mindfoodness experience.

Capitán Suizo is one of the first boutique hotels in Tamarindo located in front of the bay. It restaurant El Barco is surrounded by tropical gardens with exotic trees and the sound of ocean waves. Mondays and Wednesdays they have marimba music to create a unique ambience. The Asturian chef is always updating recipes with his European influence.

At Místico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park or Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica you can enjoy a nice lunch in the middle of a huge biological corridor that has hundreds of birds, insects, trees, flowers and plants. Visiting any of thiese two regions, you can easily start to practice mindfulness. The lush nature is everywhere. You are surrounded by green in all its shades and forms and your mind will start to wind down little by little. Take a long hike in the rainforest! By the time you sit down to eat, you will naturally find yourself grateful for the food in your plate. Make sure to enjoy every bite.

Last but not least, to make the most out of your wellness trip, make sure you rent a car. If you are looking to explore the different corners of Costa Rica, we recommend Europcar and Solid Car Rental for your adventure to be more comfortable and entertaining.

Additionally, we also recommend several travelling agencies: Amadeus Travel Agency, Cast Costa Rica, Costa Rica For All, Discovery Travel, Just Travel  Costa Rica and Vacation City. Ara Tours, Tam Travel and Swiss Travel offer tailored packages which can be wellness and gastronomy oriented, including a combination of nature, yoga, healthy home made meals, thermal waters, spa treatments, and meditation areas.

Costa Rica is a great destination to start mindfully eating. Not only does the view slow you down, but also the majority of cooks and chefs put a lot of passion and healthy ingredients into the plates being served to visitors. Costa Ricans are proud about serving and giving the best to the people who visit the country and food is a big element. So go ahead, take your time to enjoy every bite of your casado!

Gabriela Mateo

Living on the edge of balance: Eco-Adventure meets wellness

Living on the edge of balance:

Eco-Adventure meets wellness

By Juancho Otalvaro (

Disclaimer: In an effort to be completely transparent, I want to let you know that I have a partnership relationship with Travel Costa Rica-Futuropa. You can assume that any link that you click on this post is an affiliate partner to Travel Costa Rica-Futuropa.

Today I’m taking you 3 hours outside of San José, through a road of microclimate vegetation, rainforests, and pasturelands. This trip proved to myself that I can I still feel alive!


You can start your trip in San José to settle in and become acclimatized with the weather after you land at the airport.

Some hotel options I would recommend are: Barceló San José, which is has an easy access and is mid-point between San José and the Airport. Palma Real & Casino is another great option if you want to be closer to the San José area. If you want to be in a district with some nightlife and restaurants, then you can stay around Escazú, at the Wyndham Garden Escazú. If you’re traveling with kids and family or just passing by for business, Apartotel Villas del Río is a great option that complements your stay with a business center, kids playground, and pet friendly facilities!

Now that you’re settled in, let’s get deeper inside the Costa Rican province of Alajuela, more specifically to the area close to Arenal Volcano. It’s time to learn the ancient secrets hidden inside the dark magical “Cavernas del Venado” (Deer’s Caverns or Venado Caves). Centuries ago, these caves served as home to the indigenous god “Toku”, worshiped by the “Maleku” tribe. The caves were believed to be a sacred place; but most importantly, they were kept untouched because of its beauty and natural mysterious formations, that even today, scientists and geologists can’t agree to about how old they are.

There is something about darkness that intrigues us humans and pushes us to explore incredible corners of the World.  The Venado Caves is one of such corners, offering plenty of adventures and emotions through its natural sculpted treasures, that display the history of how Costa Rica was formed and created from the deepest places under the ocean.

Getting here is easy, and yet another route that I love to drive in Costa Rica, so if you want to follow my steps and enjoy some amazing views with the freedom to stop anywhere along the ride, your best bet is to rent a car. Among the most trustworthy are Europcar and Solid Car Rental, but if you are under a tight schedule and want to visit some other places during your trip in Costa Rica, I would recommend several of the following travel agencies and tour operators that will make your life easier with the same adventurous experience.

Amadeus Travel Agency, Ara Tours, Cast Costa Rica, Costa Rica for All, Discovery Travel, Swiss Travel, TAM Travel and Vacation City. There is also Just Costa Rica Travel who offers beauty, medical and mental-health services combined with adventure, marine and cultural tourism.

The Venado Caves were discovered by accident, when a hunter got lost in the forest near the village of “Venado”, where deer hunting was permitted decades ago. Amazed by his discovery, he mapped a way out. On his following visits he went deeper and deeper inside the caves, until he managed to explore almost all of the vaults and corridors. Nowadays this passageway to the bowels of Costa Rica, is open to everyone: even kids are encouraged to take a leap into this ultimate adventure!

“Venado” inhabitants don’t mind our intrusion inside the caves; and I’m not talking about its people. I’m talking about the cave’s wildlife ecosystem, where you can see different bat species, even the bloodsucking ones! But don’t be afraid, they are all busy minding they’re own business, nesting on the darkest spots, pollinating and mating. There are also spiders that feed from other insects, and some of the most interesting frogs I’ve ever seen, with completely transparent skin, a rare find as they have great camouflage.

Entering through the cave’s “main entrance” is just a couple of steps from the place where you can park your car securely and get your gear (boots, helmet and flashlights). A guide will briefly introduce you to what you might expect inside the cave. Once at the cave’s mouth, you’ll see the brook that flows almost through the whole trail. As soon as you step inside, you can smell the freshness of the damp rock walls, while feeling the slight breeze which keeps the air flowing inside. The adventure begins, as soon as you turn on your flashlight: the darkness inside is pitch black, at points you can’t even see your own hand in front of your face. Walking inside, through the brook, the architecture of the rocky formations amazes with its grandeur, shaped by the water that has been running through them for centuries.

Soon you find yourself further from the entrance, and the sound of silence drums in your ears with nothing else but your breathing and the water splashing with your every step. You are now deep inside the Earth, underneath the soil and possibly rivers and lakes, what a magnificent feeling to be here! Anxiety turns into a rush of emotions when your guide tells you that you have to crawl inside a small hole to get into a rock vault, you can barely fit inside, but the flow of adrenaline in your body, pushes you to advance using your forearms against the clay tunnel, to move forward into an empty semi-dome. “Turn off your flashlight” your guide requests. As you do so, true blackness engulfs you, and it’s even darker than closing your eyes! A whole world of dreamlike silhouettes crosses your mind, almost like hallucinating, you get lost on your thoughts, until your guide breaks the silence; “Ok let’s move on, shall we?”

Your senses are fully awake, you feel that you can almost see in the dark, the sounds are now familiar, your primitive brain is in control and your instincts are put to the test. All of a sudden you’re face to face with a small waterfall inside the cave. Its sound is almost deafening as your senses are acute now, and the feeling of the mist against your skin gives you goose bumps, refreshing you after the struggle inside the clay tunnel. You can jump from rock to rock until you reach behind the waterfall, or you can choose to slowly walk in-between the rocks and step right underneath. Either way, you will feel how the falling water refreshes and invigorates you, as you become fully aware that you’re underground and alive, a key word that resonates with an echo on every stonewall of the cave. As you come back to your senses, you will take in your surroundings: smooth formations with dripping water sculpting a “papaya”-shaped rock, figures covered in glowing white minerals, that shine with the reflection of the flashlight. We take nature for granted, but here you’re able to see the magnificence of how life is shaped out of darkness, no words can describe being present in this slow but perfect event.


The amazement doesn’t end here; there is yet another cave, and if you’re “brave” enough you can swim through a dark tunnel to reach it (or you can get there through another path).  As soon as you enter it you’ll be received by what looks like a dormant “waterfall” made of solid rock and minerals from top to bottom. White smooth formations caressed by water and carved by time surround this cavern. Its silky white floor, filled with puddles, offers a ladder to the top that I like to think that these puddles are the footprints of “Toku”, the Maleku God who inhabited the caves, and whose throne must have been this grotto.

A couple of hours later, you’re blinded by the light; recovering from this dreamlike state. The breeze gets stronger and you realize you’re out of the caves; a breathtaking tour through the underground world that will leave you wanting for more.

Adrenaline can be addictive once you try it. But luckily the area around “Venado” village is filled with adventure if you drive a bit further. The small village of Venado is a small place that bases its economy on tour guides, milk and cheese. People grow their own products and exchange meat and milk, which are also exported, to other Costa Rican towns and cities. This is a fascinating system, as are the friendly, hard-working people, who has the privilege to inhabit this area. The cozy small houses await their owners walking back with bags filled with fresh products, to arrive to a warm, wood-oven cooked meal, noticeable by the smoke emanating from the small chimneys over the rooftops. The hills guard the rest of their lands where they keep cattle and enjoy the striking colors of a sunset.

I encourage you to stay more than to do a one day-tour around the area, so you can continue the hunt for adrenaline. If you are able to visit “La Fortuna” you’ll be in for a treat! Driving there you must certainly find the “Great Colossus”, the massive Arenal Volcano. Its magnitude will make you feel so small, that you will want to scream at it just to fail at trying to be heard by its impressive vastness.

There is a huge contrast between the peaceful, easygoing life of La Fortuna and their active entrepreneurship to survive in a competitive tourism place. I think there’s no one in Costa Rica that knows adventure better than as the people in La Fortuna; after all they themselves are addicted to that rush of adventure, they live in the outskirts of a giant volcano!!

Once you get there, there will be tons of things to do that will satisfy even the most adventure-hungry. From walking on the suspended bridges of  Místico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park or resting in the soothing calm of hot-springs, to river rafting or mountain biking, to flying through the air by zip lines, and my personal favorite, canyoning waterfalls. If that’s not enough, try the ATV tours around the volcano and the “Tarzan jumps”. If you stay in the area, most of the hotels, such as Hotel Los Héroes, will provide tour information and reservations, for exciting stay in La Fortuna.

If you decide to stay a bit longer and want to have more than a spoonful of this recipe to eco adventure and wellness, I can give you a few more tips:

You can visit some other incredible areas Costa Rica has to offer, such as Rincón de la Vieja and stay at Vista Lodge; go to the Turrialba region and stay at Casa Turire, see the beautiful Rio Celeste and stay at the amazing Río Celeste Hideaway Hotel, travel South, to the area of Perez Zeledon and enjoy the unique Hacienda AltaGracia Auberge Resorts Collection, or immerse into more magical places inside rainforests with a tour by Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica.

Finally, if you would like to have the thrilling pleasures of adventure but want to be near the beach, you will be able to find similar activities and tours on the Pacific Coast. In the North Pacific I recommend you to stay at the beautiful Capitán Suizo Hotel in Playa Langosta, Guanacaste.  In the Central and South Pacific you can check out, Karahé Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio or  Hotel Cristal Ballena Resort & Spa in Bahia Ballena.

Be safe and grateful, but most important; prove to yourself, that you’re still alive!

Special Thanks to Hotel Arenal Manoa and their amazing staff

And Don Fausto Pérez for the great insight at Cavernas del Venado.