Traveling has always been a way to escape the mundane. It lets us discover not only a new place, but also a part of us we’ve never seen before.
Written by: Erika Grace R. Lapitan
Journeying to Costa Rica gave me a beautiful experience. The country has a vibrant history and culture, bringing in a new perspective on a lot of things.
Situated in Central America, Costa Rica is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Christopher Columbus discovered the land in 1502 and noticed its rich gold reserves. A conquistador named Gil González Dávila later arrived and met the natives in 1522. Costa Rica had since then become a part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The country declared its independence in September 1821. Over the years, it has grown economically due to its coffee and banana exports.
Costa Rica had its share of revolutionary events. In 1948, the 44-day uprising happened. José Figueres Ferrer led the revolution. It showed the unity of Costa Ricans to create a government that is for the people. Their shift to a democratic government appointed Figueres as the country’s first provisional president.
A good company can add more joy to your trip. Interact with people and listen to their stories at public places like the National Theater and the country’s major parks.
When you arrive at the capital city of San Jose, make sure to visit the National Theater of Costa Rica. Considered as a historical landmark, it also gleams as an art gem, adorned with a monument of virtuoso pianist Frédéric Chopin, a magnificent mural made by Aleardo Villa, and statues of Ludwig van Beethoven and Calderón de la Barca. Today, the theater still holds exceptional performances by the National Symphony Orchestra.
Meet locals and fellow travelers as you take a walk at San Jose’s parks and plazas. Some of the most visited parks are the Morazán Park where the Temple of Music pavilion is found; the Okayama Park that boasts Japanese gardens, ponds, and sculptures; and the La Sabana Metropolitan Park considered as the largest of its kind and affectionately called the “lungs of San Jose”. There’s also the National Park, Peace Park, and Culture Square for you to explore. If you’re a kid at heart, go to the Simón Bolívar Zoo and learn about exotic plants and animals in Costa Rica.
Of Letters and Ports
Don’t forget to mail loved ones with a letter or even a quirky Costa Rica postcard. The city of San Jose has a majestic Post Office Building with Corinthian-style columns, and Costa Rican coat of arms at the center. The place is also home to the tourist office and the Philatelic Museum. The museum holds the country’s rare stamp collections, antiquated telegraphic equipment, and an exhibit of Costa Rica’s rich postal history.
Aside from historical San Jose, you can also get a good dose of Costa Rican culture and scenery at Limón. Considered as the sixth largest city in Costa Rica, this province is known for its two ports—Limón and Moín. They are mostly used for major exports, but you can also find cruise ships in the area that take you to see other main attractions.
Historical records say that Christopher Columbus discovered Costa Rica when he landed in Limón’s Isla Uvita back in 1502. The town itself, however, was founded by Philipp J.J. Valentini in the year 1854.
A Look into the Future
Leave the past behind as you trek the verdant trails to Rio Celeste Waterfall. You’ll see a lot of enchanting things during the hour-long hike. At the end, the waterfall beckons you with its famous rich blue color. Many researchers still debate about how the water gets its unusual hue, but you’ll forget about the science once you take a dip. Allow your worries to disappear as you hear the water rushing and the feel cool breeze on your skin. Travelers can also visit the thermal hot spring and blue lagoon near the area or embark on a guided tour to Tenorio Volcano.
Lying at the tip of Nicoya Peninsula, Tortuga Island also stands as another popular attraction. Take a 90-minute boat ride from the Puntarenas province. The island invites you to try different water activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and cruising in a glass-bottomed boat. Land activities such as the zip line, canopy tour, forest hike, or sunbathing are also encouraged so tourists can make the most out of their vacation.
There are a lot of beaches in the area such as Manuel Antonio beach, Playa Uvita beach, Montezuma beach, Playa Tamarindo beach, Jaco beach, Mal Pais beach, Cahuita beach, and Playa Gandoca beach. The beachfronts all have a unique view that will sweep you of your feet.
A Rare Find
Discover unique flora and fauna in Costa Rica. The Tortuguero National Park is well known as a nesting place for the endangered green turtle. There’s also the Corcovado National Park which has the four monkey species that can only be found in the country. Mountaineers will have a field day in Mount Cerro Chirripó, Costa Rica’s highest point and the best place to see the country in its grandeur.
Once in a while, we need to try different things so we can have a better grasp of who we really are. Traveling can somehow bring the answers to some of our existential questions. With a country like Costa Rica, you’ll find a new way to appreciate the world and to appreciate yourself for who you are.