Costa Rica can’t stop making international news. With surf competition wins, World Cup qualifying soccer teams, and the ultimate off-road marathons, Costa Rican athletes are at their peak. And this athleticism isn’t just for the professionals either. Local Costa Ricans tend to live extremely active lives and tourists come to scale volcanoes and explore the rainforest. There truly is a lot in this small, tropical country for the active explorer.
But the active, athletic vacation isn’t for everyone. You work hard year-round, vacations are meant to be spent with your feet up, enjoying the view and a frosty beer. Any tourism information you find on Costa Rica will boast the active, adventure tours, but fear not, there’s so much you can do without forming any painful calluses. Enjoy everything Costa Rica has to offer, but do it in style. Find your own way to explore the tropics and enjoy your time-off in relaxation mode.
Find the Beach
First off, you’re in Costa Rica, so you’ll need to find the nearest beach. You have both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Coast to choose from, and any choice you make will lead you to pristine views, swaying palm trees, and white-sand shore lines.
If you pick one of the more populated beaches, you’ll actually be better off. You’ll have your choice of beach-front bars to choose from, most of which will provide reclining beach chairs facing the ocean, and of course, tropical cocktails delivered to your party. You’ll also have access to hammocks, public beach umbrellas, and the countless vendors selling fresh products to vacationers.
When you get to the beach, find your perfect spot. This might be a towel under an umbrella, watching local surfers, or even a hammock in a secluded shady area. Then keep your eye out for what the vendors are offering. You’ll want to take advantage of any fresh coconut water, fruit smoothies, or local snacks that can be delivered to you. Take some pictures, read a book, and engage in some peaceful meditation. You’ll leave the beach as relaxed and full of energy as you could possibly be, the ideal way to start a vacation.
Sample the Beverages
Nothing goes with relaxing like a quality beverage. Fortunately, you’re in the exact right place. You can spend your morning at your eco-lodge, enjoying a local coffee from your rainforest deck. This coffee will all be grown, roasted, and sold by local companies, and the freshness will be more than apparent. Sample coffees from a couple different plantations and find your perfect brew. You may just look into visiting the coffee farm or purchasing a couple bags to bring back home with you.
By afternoon, you’ll want to transport yourself back to your favorite beach. Here you can try any fresh fruit smoothie or favorite traditional drink. It will be the perfect time to try some new, tropical fruits, mosey around your beach town, and find some great local restaurants to try out.
By the time afternoon is coming to an end, however, you’ll need to make your way down to a beach-side bar. The only thing more amazing that a Costa Rican white-sand beach is a Costa Rican white-sand beach during sunset. Find yourself a great place to watch the sun fall and order yourself a local beverage from the bar. Costa Rican locals will more likely than not be drinking rum, but you’re welcome to try any local drink. They’ll have tropical cocktails, a small list of microbrew beers, and locally produced hard liquor. You can welcome the sunset in style, enjoying your cocktail and the friendly chatter of fellow vacationers.
Explore the Wilderness, Your Way
Costa Rica may be a small country, but it has 12 distinct microclimates and 26 incredible National Parks, so you have some exploring to do. The beach is divine, but there’s much more to this Central American country, and fortunately, you can explore a great deal of it without breaking a sweat.
Try taking the top-rated horseback tour through the Monteverde Cloud Forest. This might be your first time in a tropical rainforest, so keep your eyes peeled for wild animals, tropical birds, and exotic flowers. Your guide will point out everything along the way. You’ll explore the mountainous high lands of Costa Rica and cover much more ground than if you had decided to take on the trail by foot. Remember to stop to take pictures and enjoy the scenery. Relaxing should be a major part of your hike.
After that, you may be anxious for some more low-energy adventure. Sign up for a fishing charter tour along Jaco beach. This might be the most incredible fishing trip you ever take. You’ll see large, tropical fish, possibly even getting a glimpse of dolphins or other large sea life. You’ll have the best views of one of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches, and may even head back to your hotel with a catch.
Fishing isn’t all you can do from a boat in Costa Rica. Sign up for a boat tour of the crocodile-infested Tarcoles river. You’ll have a safe yet nerve-rackingly close view of Costa Rica’s largest and most intimidating crocodiles, and the pictures will last a lifetime. This is not a tour that most people get to experience in their lifetimes, so take it slow and savor the moment.
You’re not done exploring quite yet. While your afternoons are dedicated to pure relaxation and meditation, you’ll want to see the sites every morning. You’ve been horseback riding, fishing, and boating, all that’s left is a wild ATV ride. Head to the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park. With a short ATV ride, you’ll cover a great distance, see unlimited animal and plant life, and have the adventure of a lifetime. You can still get the relaxation you need on this vacation, but go home feeling confident that you explored the country and took advantage of Costa Rica’s natural beauty.
“Scale” a Volcano
Costa Rica is filled with beautiful, breathtaking volcanoes, and adventure lovers flock to Costa Rica just to scale them. You can scale them too, but if you just plan on going half way, you can trade in your hiking boots and sweat-resistant gear for a good pair of flip-flops and a bathing suit. Many active volcanoes in Costa Rica form naturally occurring hot springs around their mid-sections. These springs are heated by thermal energy and provide the most luxurious, natural, relaxing spot imaginable. Better yet, many of these springs have been converted into luxurious yet affordable spas.
Find a hot spring spa bordering a volcano near you and prepare for the most relaxing afternoon of your life. You’ll have delicious meals, relaxing springs, and fun-loving cold-water pools at your disposal. You’ll also have well-kept viewpoints, meditation decks, and comfortable pool chairs waiting for you. Hands down, this is the best way to enjoy a volcano.
Take time for Luxury
There’s nothing better to do on a relaxing vacation than spoil yourself. Costa Rica is the home to numerous top-rated spas, beauty salons, and resorts. Regardless of your normal beauty and relaxation routine, you’ll want to try out a tropical massage, get your nails done, and possibly try a volcanic mud facial. Costa Rica is highly developed, and while its products are top-of-the-line, it still offers professional services for a fraction of what you might pay in the United States. Taking advantage of being in an inexpensive country includes participating in some well-deserved pampering as well.
A hotel resort or tourism-driven spa may be pricier, but you’ll be able to find a typical spa/salon in any city. This spa will offer a wide range of services for an extremely affordable cost. After you’ve caught up on your sleep and have explored the country in style, nothing will feel better than getting a massage before your flight back home. You’ll arrive home tanned, manicured, and totally relaxed, just as you had hoped.