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Costa Rica 451 by Kevin Tostado, Flickr, 2005Photo by Kevin Tostado licensed under CC

Swim with dolphins, walk in the mountains or explore the jungle at this beach and rainforest destination. Costa Rica means ‘rich coast’ and the Central American country is a popular tourist destination during their summer months from December to April. We’ve highlighted 5 of the best attractions.

Learn the art of coffee tasting

Visit a coffee farm and processing plant to take in the history and culture of the region, as well as enjoy a very fresh cup of coffee. In the highland areas surrounding San Jose and the Tilaran mountains, tour plantation fields, roasters and cafés to learn how coffee was the driving force of Costa Rica’s economy. Since the middle of the 19th century, the coffee bean has played an important social, economic, and political role for the country. You’ll learn how the crop is grown, harvested and processed, as well as the art of professional coffee tasting.

See active volcanoes

As part of the Pacific Ring Fire Circle, Costa Rica has over 200 volcanic formations dating back over 65 million years, but today just 5 are classified as active. If lucky, you’ll see lava flows and red hot boulders from observatory lodges and hiking trails around the national parks. Go to viewpoints on a clear night to see fire belching and glowing boulders. In the day, visit the crater of Volcan Irazu to see a green blue lake and Poas Volcano for a lake of boiling acid.

Take a nature tour

Walk across the rainforest canopy on hanging bridges to see sloths, jaguars, snakes and other creatures in their natural habitat. You’ll see many species of brightly-coloured birds from North and South America as they follow their migratory paths through the region. Watch sea turtles nesting on the beaches, or even see dolphins and whales just off the coast. To make sure you don’t miss your favourite animal, check in advance what time of year they’re expected to be in large numbers.

Relax in a hot spring

Hot springs with different temperatures, flow volumes and mineral content appear all over the volcanic regions of Costa Rica. For a luxurious break, visit a hot spring spa to be well and truly pampered. Dip into a jacuzzi of mineral-rich water, take a mud bath or have a full body massage all outdoors in view of the mountains. Surrounded by the sound of rainforest wildlife, experience the flora and fauna on a rainforest trek or mediation trail.

Swim at the bottom of a waterfall

Take a day hike or a refreshing afternoon swim below one of the area’s many waterfalls. Why not practice your nature photography from a viewing platform or have a picnic along the shoreline? With so many mountain springs, streams and rivers, there are lots of sites to choose from. Some have restaurants just metres away from the water and others have rope swings and cliff jumps. Climb a steep track to see the 3 falls of Montezuma or travel a short distance from the town of La Fortuna, to see a large 65-metre high waterfall.

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174

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