Where the Wild Things Are! Monkeys, Macaws, and Nature’s Beauty—in Peaceful Costa Rica

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Dazzling Pacific Ocean and Caribbean coastlines, dense rain forests, rugged mountains, and countless oh-so-cute monkeys make this a remarkable vacation getaway. (Laura Manske)

Pura vida! Meaning: Pure life! This popular expression in Costa Rica is used to greet, embrace, and say goodbye to others. It exemplifies the positive outlook of Costa Ricans, who live in a country where more than a quarter of all land has been set aside for national parks, wildlife refuges, forest and biological reserves. While this Central American nation takes up only 1 percent of the Earth’s landmass, it is home to 5 percent of our biodiversity: 130 species of freshwater fish, 220 varieties of reptiles, 630 distinct resident birds, 1,000 different butterflies, 1,200 types of orchids, 9,000 unique plants, and 34,000 kinds of insects. And that’s just for starters.

Dazzling Pacific Ocean and Caribbean coastlines, dense rain forests, rugged mountains, and countless oh-so-cute monkeys make this a remarkable vacation getaway. Toss into that pura vida equation the fact that Costa Ricans have one of the longest life spans in the world (average 77 years for men; 82 years for women), a high literacy rate (97 percent), and no standing army (it was abolished in 1949), and you’ll understand why this tropical wonder is a beloved place to wander.

Recently, I flew to Costa Rica’s West Coast, where the ocean serves up splashy surf and sublime sunsets. To see my photos of Costa Rican animals, flowers, beaches, mountains, rain forests, sunsets, and more, please click the pink gallery launch button (at top right or below).

 

 

Getting here can be easy, with direct flights from several U.S. cities. To learn more, contact Visit Costa Rica and Parador Resort & Spa.

Where have you most enjoyed traveling? Where do you want to go? Please tell us in the comments below—we’d love to know!

Frequent globetrotter Laura Manske has visited most U.S. states, explored 70+ countries, and cruised 60+ ships. She loves to wander the world, unearthing travel joy, beauty, adventure, and humor through her camera lens and articles. Now, she’s sharing pictures and memories of her favorite spots on Parade.com.

 

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