1. The happiest country on earth
Costa Rica's tourism board claims this coastal destination is where travellers come to experience an undeniable warmth and gladness of its people. But how do they know their country is more content than the rest? According to the Happy Planet Index, which rates which nations produce sustainable, happy, long living populations, Costa Rica is one of the few countries ranked "green" which signals good, versus amber (middling) and red (bad). Other "happy" countries include nearby nations of Mexico and Argentina.
2. 75 days on 100% renewable
Although Costa Rica is relatively small in size and population, the country has taken steps to truly "go green". How? Slowly but surely releasing themselves from fossil fuels. Back in 2009, the government announced its plan to become completely carbon neutral by 2021. By accessing forms of energy such as hydro, geothermal, wind, biomass and solar, Costa Rica went 75 days without fossil fuels this year, adding another reason why the country's ecotourism is so strong.
3. Real life Kermit
Muppets fans rejoice: according to the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center, a new glass frog was discovered. A Hyalinobatrachium dianae to be exact. Why is this an exciting breakthrough? Because this species looks like a real life Kermit the Frog. From the shape of the eyes to the shade of its skin, this frog is another member of the exotic wildlife that populates the jungles of Costa Rica.
The Glass Frog in Costa Rica is strikingly similar to Kermit the Frog. Photo courtesy of Brian Kubick of Cramphibian
Costa Rica may be geographically small in size, but in terms of the world's biodiversity, the country is vital. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature: "Costa Rica represents less than one percent of the world’s land mass, yet it contains five percent of the Earth’s biodiversity. Protected forests and reserves make up more than 25 percent of the country, too." Animals like pumas, sea turtles, and exotic birds are why Congress unanimously banned hunting in 2012.
5. Magical National Parks
Remember the scene from Peter Pan with mermaids lounging in a magical lagoon? Among all the wildlife reserves in Costa Rica, Barbilla National Park is not far from Disney's portrayal of paradise. Home to many of the aforementioned wild animals, lagoons (most famously the Ayil Lagoon) and waterfalls can be found around every bend, providing endless options for hiking adventures and some seriously fresh air.
Unparalleled beauty in Costa Rica's national forests
6. Treehouse Dreams
Some dreams do come true: a tree house village in the middle of a lush forest exists, and only in Costa Rica can guests experience the adventure of a jungle while contributing to the community. They say Pura Vida (Pure Life) is Costa Rica's mantra, and that's because of the relationship the people have with the environment. This tree house community is in a nearly untouched part of a nationally protected forest. Looking to truly getaway? Finca Bellavista might be your ideal destination.
7. Topiary Gardens in Zarcero
Natural gardens are aplenty in Central America, but the excellently trimmed topiaries in Zarcero are a whimsical must-see. Located in the San Jose highlands, the town of Zarcero is also where the pink and blue San Jose Church, built in 1895. Delve into the history of the country and get lost in the manicured gardens of Parque Francisco Alvarado while you're at it.
Topiary Gardens in Zarcero
8. Luxury Living
Flamingo Beach in the city of Playa Flamingo is a hotspot for spas, resorts, and luxury accommodation, but the beauty of Costa Rica is the array of decadent beach front villas available to families looking for seclusion and total relaxation. Look to Guancaste Real Estate for private luxury villas if you're looking to spend around for $2.7 million USD. What does this property include? Besides the desirable destination of escaping to Costa Rica, the spanning infinity pool faces the beachfront, and the 7026 sq. ft property includes the works: natural rock showers, marble bathrooms, onyx kitchen counter tops, built-in wine coolers, flat screen TVs throughout the four bedrooms, and a waterfall entrance in the courtyard because of course, you're in Costa Rica.
Luxury villas in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica make it an ideal tropical getaway destination