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Trip Report

Pura Vida: Backpacking in Costa Rica

3 weeks full of nature experience with myself and a backpack

by anika_around_the_worldAtlasGuru Contributor

North AmericaCosta Rica5 days / November 2019

Highs & Lows

A spontaneous cacao farm tour with a tasting with a view - didn't know chocolate could have such a variety of flavors!

On my daytrip to the national park Corcovado I drank to little water and to much coffee so I got dehydrated in the end.

Itinerary Overview

Costa Rica with its stunning nature and endless biodiversity has always appealed to me. In November 2018, I realized my dream and traveled for three weeks through this impressive country with its friendly people.

I flew to San José and stayed there for a few days to listen to the sound of the language, taste the food and soak up the atmosphere of the city. There are few real sights in the capital - except for the national theater and a few museums. So quickly off to the countryside!

During my trips to Volcano Arenal, the secondary forest of Monteverde and the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, I saw such diverse landscapes and learned about new species of animals that I was always amazed and wondering about our planet. "Pura Vida" is what the locals say as a greeting, what means full life. That is exactly what describes this country best.

  • 3 Nights: Drake Bay
    To visit the stunning Nationalpark with its various wildlife
  • 2 Nights: Montezuma Beach
    To see the Pacific Ocean, practice yoga and take a walk at the beach

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    Spend more time at certain places, for example in Montezuma - to really come down.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Take a guide in Cahuita national park - first I thought it's not necessary, but then he spotted a lot of hidden sloths in the trees for me.

  • Packing tips?

    Take a headlamp with you - you can use it during night tours through the dark jungle as well as in some hostels which have outdoor bathrooms.

  • Transportation Tips?

    To go to Drake Bay and the Corcovado National Park, you can also take a bus. But that takes a lot of time - so if if you are short on time, treat yourself to the flight on the cessna from San José to the mini airport of Drake. That was fun!

  • Any surprises?

    When I hiked to Vulcano Arenal, I did'nt get to the main entrance of the national park - but in the end I had a great jungle experience with a dutch girl which was lost, too ;)


  • I stayed at Las Contingas Lodge for 3 nights in a bungalow. The accommodation is simple, but has its own small terrace with hammock and rocking chair and a common area with incredible views over the bay. The lodge is run by a lovely family with children, for breakfast we had pancakes with fruit, super delicious!

  • My accommodation Hotel Luna Llena was totally cozy - I had my own cabin from which I could listen to the sounds of the jungle, especially the howler monkeys in the early morning ;) There is a well-equipped communal kitchen and dining areas with a view, overall a great outdoor atmosphere!