It’s claimed Costa Ricans are the happiest people in the world. Take one look at their country, and you’ll see just how much they’ve got to smile about. A blend of rainforests, wildlife and sun-baked sands, it showcases the best of Latin America’s natural beauty. It’s also one of the few places in the world where you can be flying through the jungle on a zip-liner one minute, and riding horseback in the mountains the next.
• The only way to get around Puerto Limon’s Tortuguero National Park is by boat. It’s made up of miles of rainforest, which stretch right up to the Atlantic shores.
• Costa Rica’s sloth sanctuary is spread out over 200 acres, and it gives a great insight into the habits of the creatures. It’s not just sloths, either – monkeys, iguanas and more than 250 species of bird live in the area.
• The Veragua Rainforest is home to the National Institute of Biodiversity, a research and conservation organisation that discovers new wildlife each year. Hike through the vegetation and pay a visit to the centre to learn about what lies in the forest.
SHORE EXCURSIONS► View all EXCURSIONS
Veragua Rainforest Experience►
On this tour, you’ll go one step further than simply walking through the rainforest, getting a real insight into the research that goes on behind the scenes. The National Institute of Biodiversity is a world-renowned research and conservation organisation that discovers never-seen-before wildlife each year. Today, you’ll pay the centre a visit to find out what happens on a daily basis. It all kicks off with a hike through the Veragua Rainforest. You’ll discover some of the newest protected areas, passing through snake, butterfly and frog exhibitions. Next up, you’ll climb onboard an aerial tram, gliding through the rainforest canopy and enjoying panoramic views of the jungle below. Check out the 300-year-old trees and exotic wildlife as a guide fills you in on their stories. You’ll disembark at the river to head off on the ‘trail of the giants’ – so-called because of the sky-high trees that line the paths. You can also look forward to a photo stop at the 65-foot Puma Waterfall.
Adventure Canal & Veragua Rainforest Experience►
If you want a closer look at the exotic Costa Rican wildlife, this is the perfect way to spend a day. To begin with you’ll visit the Tortuguero Canals, a labyrinth of lakes and channels that wind their way through the Tortuguero National Park. The scenery here is nothing short of spectacular. Cue twisting branches overhanging with vines, and bamboo stalks lined up like soldiers along the water’s edge. As you move through the canals, look out for monkeys, toucans and herons. You may even spot a croc or two lurking in the undergrowth. After your water-based tour, you’ll head to the Veragua Rainforest. Here, state-of-the-art aerial trams await you, ready to whisk you high into the air for unspoiled views over the virgin rainforest below. You’ll also get to see it all on foot, with a guided trek through the snake, frog and butterfly exhibitions. These sections are run and protected by the National Institute of Biodiversity, a conservation organisation that discovers new wildlife every year. The tour ends with a behind-the-scenes look at the works of the INBio, and you’ll visit the organisation’s centre to check out some of the latest finds.
Costa Rican Amazons' River Tour►
This tour gives you a good look at Costa Rica’s rich wildlife. You’ll visit the Tortuguero Canals – dubbed ‘the Costa Rican Amazon’. This network of lakes and channels runs all the way from the south to the north of the Tortuguero National Park, and the whole area is brimming with wildlife. As you glide through the waters on a two-hour boat ride, your expert guide will point out capuchin monkeys, giant spiders, sloths and iguanas. You might even spot a few crocs lurking in the water. Keep an eye out for birdlife, too – there are over 300 species in these parts, and you can see everything from toucans and jacanas to oropendulas and herons hiding among the greenery. The exotic flora and fauna of the region is another highlight, and you’ll get the inside scoop on the different species and their history. When your boat ride comes to an end, fruits and water are laid on to help you refuel.