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March 17th, 2014

Costa Rica: a beginner's guide

Sophie Barber

By Sophie Barber
Travel Consultants


Peaceful and army-less, Costa Rica has a reputation as Latin America's Switzerland.

Top five attractions 
  • White-water rafting at Turrialba.
  • The surfing scene on the Nicoya peninsula.
  • Rincón de la Vieja national park for riding and volcanoes.
  • Monteverde cloud forest.
  • If you can visit around the time of a full moon, watching the arrival of the Olive Ridley sea turtles on the beaches of the Pacific Coast.

Best city 
Not San José, one of Latin America’s least inspiring capitals. Try the cowboy town of Liberia, in Guanacaste province.

Souvenir to buy 
Costa Rican coffee is among the best in the world.

Quirky Costa Rica 
By way of greeting, Costa Ricans say “Pura vida” (pure life) or “Que tuanes”, which is of obscure provenance, but may be a corruption of the English “Get-to-our-knees” – in other words, I like you so much I am genuflecting.

Read 
‘Monkeys are Made of Chocolate’ by Jack Ewing (Pixyjack Press), a celebration of jungle life and man-and-nature symbioses by a resident with 30 years’ observations

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