When planning a trip hiking in Costa Rica, smouldering volcanoes and wild rainforests are often some of the first images that spring to mind. The whole country is a natural paradise, with many fantastic sights to behold. Here a just a few of the highlights:
Cahuita is one of the few places in the world where you can combine a trek through a verdant jungle with an afternoon sunbathing on a perfect white sand beach. The region also contains a national park, which is among one of the most visited in the whole country. This park was formed in 1970 to protect Costa Rica’s largest coral reef and is a popular place to try your hand at scuba, snorkelling and deep-sea diving. The park even contains an 18th century shipwreck, which is fascinating to explore.
The crystal clear waters make the area ideal for swimming and spotting different species of marine life from sea urchins to angel and parrot fish. You may also be lucky enough to spot a Carey Turtle or lucky (or unlucky) enough to spot one of the three species of sharks that frequent the area. The animal species found in the jungle include sloth, possums and monkeys, with birdlife including kingfishers, heron and ibises amongst others.
If you plan on hiking in Costa Rica, a visit to Arenal National Park is an absolute must to experience the breathtaking beauty of Central America’s natural landscape. The park is home to the spectacular Arenal Volcano, one of the top ten most active in the world. This colossal landmark, set in the depth of a lush tropical rainforest, will leave you in a sense of awe as you bear witness to its perpetual stream of rising smoke and the flow of the crimson lava creeping from the precipice. Listen carefully and you will even hear the deep earth-shaking rumblings of this prehistoric titan. Many hotels tout their views of the volcano, and if you can spare the time while hiking in Costa Rica then an overnight stay is highly recommended. As night falls, the scene becomes ever more dramatic, with the luminescent lava flow creating a spectacular image against the dark skies.
While you cannot scale the volcano itself, there are many tours offering you the chance to hike around the base and view this spectacular landmark from every perspective. After a day of hiking in Costa Rica there is nothing better than unwinding at the famous Tabacon thermal resort. Set in acres of primary rainforest, the resort offers weary hikers the chance to revitalise in a series of lagoons, each enjoying a constant supply of natural and steamy-hot volcanic water. While there, don’t miss out on the waterfall back massage, the Ayurvedic spa treatments or the 5-star restaurant. If action is more your kind of thing, why not try your hand at white-water rafting, horseback riding, caving or even the exhilarating canopy zip-lines. With so many activities in an around the Arenal area, you should be sure to make this a priority stop while hiking in Costa Rica.