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Costa Rica Bucket List

Updated on May 10, 2014

Bucket List

A bucket list is defined in the dictionary as a number of experiences a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.

Since moving to Costa Rica a little more then three years ago and booking a variety of travel trips for my clients - I find that even though I've been actively crossing things off my personal Costa Rica bucket list - it just keeps growing!

The more time I spend here the more amazing things I discover about this beautiful country.

These are a few suggestions for adding to your own Costa Rica bucket list.

Spot a Resplendent Quetzal

I never knew I was in to watching birds until visiting Costa Rica. This country is like a giant zoo without cages and wildlife is everywhere!

The Resplendent Quetzal is one of the most beautiful and unique birds in Central America. During mating season, the males grow twin tail feathers that form an amazing train up to three feet (one meter) long. Females do not have long trains, but they do share the brilliant coloring of their mates.

These beautiful birds can be found in the cloud forests throughout Costa Rica and have a rich history of admiration in the country. The Quetzal was considered to be a sacred bird by ancient Maya and Aztec people, where their feathers were worn by royalty during important ceremonies.

It is also said that seeing one will bring you lifelong good luck.

Ziplining | Canopy Tour

Historically, zip lines were solely functional and used to deliver goods across great distances in mountainous countries.

In the 1970s, researchers in Costa Rica began to realize the potential of these cables and began stringing them up through the rainforests as a way to get around more quickly and easily. It wasn’t long after that they became a popular activity for tourists, allowing for both an adrenaline rush and a great learning experience.

No trip to Costa Rica is complete without the experience of rushing through the jungle canopy on a zip line!

There are various zip line opportunities throughout the country. It would be possible to zip line in almost every town you visit in Costa Rica - because the country is covered in jungle, canopy tours are just about everywhere!

Witness Sea Turtle Nesting and Hatching

I was lucky enough to get to witness my first (and the first of many) giant sea turtles nesting and hatching right here in Playa Lagartillo close to where I live. Although now I've seen quite a few, each time I am just as amazed as if it was the first time.

If you really want to witness this biological wonder in all of its glory, a visit to the beach of Ostional, Costa Rica is the place to do it. The week before the new moon hundreds, and sometimes hundreds of thousand sea turtles come to one specific mile of beach to dig their eggs into the black, volcanic sand. The most amazing part is that the turtles who nest here are the same turtles who were born on this exact stretch of sand years before!

Turtles nest on Ostional year round, but peak time is during rainy season, from August through December. The number of nesting females are in the range of hundreds of thousands as opposed to tens of thousands for the dry season months.

An unforgettable and spectacular sight!

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio is located in the central Pacific region of Costa Rica and is one of the most popular tourist destinations due to its beautiful beaches and rich wildlife. Luxurious stretches of white sand along five beaches surrounded by a tropical rainforest - what's not to love?

Treehouse Finca Bellavista

Living in a tree house one day is an item that is also on my bucket list but before committing to a treehouse of my own, I would like to spend a few nights sleeping high above in the trees in Costa Rica's sustainable and earth friendly and awesome tree house community, Finca Bellavista, where residents zip line from their house to their neighbor's homes!

Stand Up Paddle Board Lake Arenal

One of the things I regret not doing when I lived near the Arenal volcano and Lake Arenal was stand up paddle boarding on the lake. I'm planning on scheduling this trip next time I visit the region for sure!

A day out on a beautiful lake, fresh air and having some fun on a paddle board under a majestic volcano - yes, please!

Poas Volcano

Costa Rica is home a great number of volcanoes – there are six active volcanoes and another 61 dormant or extinct ones. Out of the six active volcanoes, I still have not had the chance to visit Poas Volcano.

Poas is located in Central Costa Rica and is a popular day trip activity for tourists staying in the capital city of San Jose. Although the last major eruption was in 1910, the volcano remains steadily active to this day, and visitors can still see geysers exploding into the air. At almost a mile in diameter (1.6 km), the crater's rain-fed, sulfuric pool bubbles and emits smoke.

Sony recently filmed this commercial there using over a ton of real and biodegradable flower petals and it's just beautiful!

Isla Tortuga Boat Trip

This dreamy island paradise complete with swaying coconut palms, sugary white sand beaches and emerald waters is located at the bottom tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. There are numerous tour operators that will whisk you by boat to Tortuga Island most commonly departing from Jaco or Puntarenas and is about a 90 minute ride with plenty of amazing scenic views.

The island is known for its excellent scuba diving and snorkeling where you can view marine life such as sting rays, angel fish, sharks, Spinner dolphins and octopus.

Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees

These beautiful trees are a must see while spending time in Costa Rica. Each tree is colorful and unique and they are a sight to see! I've shared these pictures with people who are about to visit the country and they can't believe they aren't some kind of Photoshop altered pictures.

Where to see them: When driving through the mountains from La Fortuna around Lake Arenal and heading towards Tilaran keep your eyes on the side of the road, they are everywhere!


Bucket List For Couples

What's On Your Bucket List?

Costa Rica is full of amazing bucket list experiences and opportunities! This country continues to give me butterflies and I've made memories of a lifetime here.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to plan your trip to Costa Rica, we would love to help you!

Visit our website where you can find more information about Costa Rica and book your trip.

What's on your Costa Rica bucket list? Share with us in the comments below! We'd love to hear about them.



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    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 3 years ago

      I would love to visit Costa Rico some day. My husband and I are thinking of moving to another country when he retires. This just might be the place for us.

    • puravidatravel profile image
      Author

      Tiffany Redman 3 years ago from Playa Potrero, Costa Rica

      Hi Gypsy48 - You and your husband should definitely come for a visit. It's a beautiful country and full of warm and wonderful people.

    • Valene profile image

      Valene 12 months ago from Missouri

      I did a few of these when I spent part of a summer in CR about 10 years ago, but I've never heard of those rainbow trees! I must find them next time I go there.

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