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At some point during your travels (in costa rica, or elsewhere in the world) you have likely experienced a moment that undoubtedly affected you. Whether the moment was forever life-changing or simply triggered an emotional response at the time, you probably still remember it. You may even regularly rehash stories of your once-in-a-lifetime trip experiences with friends, or perhaps seek out new travel experiences in an attempt to rediscover an old sensation once felt. For me, my most vivid and awe-inspiring travel memories are those in which I felt closest to nature and truly at peace. For those of you who also define yourselves as both travellers and soul-searchers, the following are our best recommendations for finding peace in costa rica.
CERRO CHATO LAGOON (La Fortuna / Arenal)
Where you are: At the top of a dormant volcano, swimming in an emerald-green lagoon where lava once bubbled. Literally, on top of the world (well, at one of the highest parts of the mountain range) and looking down on the town of la fortuna below).
What you see: Still waters, lush forest, and the clouds rolling in overtop of the trees to fill the crater only to perfectly clear the area the next minute.
What you hear: Almost nothing, apart from the rustling of the trees and the occasional rumble from the arenal volcano that rests on the other side of them.
What you feel: Tired from making the multi-hour hike up the mountain to the top, and completely impressed that you did so.
PACUARE RIVER CANYON (Siquirres)
Where you are: Floating between two tall rock walls, surrounded by a scene that can only be described as the heart of the costa rican jungle.
What you see: Flat water (perfectly situated between the sections of rapids before and after the canyon), a partly destroyed antique bridge hanging overhead (once used by an electrical company to assist with the building of a dam), tiny trickles of waterfalls streaming down two cliffs – one on either side of you – and the occasional heron accompanying you alongside each of them.
What you hear: The echo of any little sound as it travels up the rock faces, such as splashes made by rafters and/or kayakers as they jump into the water to float out the canyon.
What you feel: That your entire being pales in comparison to the giant world you live in. That there could not be a more beautiful place in the world than where you are at that moment.
MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST BIOLOGICAL RESERVE (Monteverde)
Where you are: In the center of a photograph taken by national geographic, or so it seems. Walking through primal forest, exploring a biological reserve, and meeting the continental divide.
What you see: A flattened trail, a cloudy mist, and more species of “green” things (plants, leaves, and mosses), than one could possibly count. If you’re lucky, you might also spot a quetzal, making you the envy of any true bird lover.
What you hear: Almost nothing, except bird songs. Most notably, bellbirds and blackbirds.
What you feel: That you have officially come to know the rainforest – not from the eyes of a camera or the voice of a documentary, but from firsthand, ground-level experience.
BUENA VISTA LODGE (Rincon De La Vieja)
Where you are: Atop a hill at buena vista lodge (nearby the rincon de la vieja volcano) overlooking the guanacaste plains and watching the sunset.
What you see: Mostly flat land (with a few peaks in the distance and the nicaraguan border beyond them) and a clear blue sky changing into the most brilliant colours as the sun approaches the horizon.
What you hear: Absolute silence. No rumbles from the volcano behind you, no disruptions from the lodge below you, and not a sound from the land before you.
What you feel: That a sunset, depsite being well-known and regularly observed in countries all over the world, is extra beautiful in costa rica.
RIO CELESTE (Tenorio Volcano National Park)
Where you are: Inside the tenorio national park, standing at a spot deep inside the park (after a relatively intermediate-level hike to get there) where the water runs the most brilliant shade of celeste blue. At other locations inside the park you may also be enjoying the view in front of the rio celeste waterfall or else taking a dip in the river’s hot springs.
What you see: The incredible chemical reaction of sulphurous gases and carbonated calcium turning ordinary, clear river water into something out of a skittles commercial.
What you hear: The calm rush of river water, interrupted on occasion by trail passerbys and their leaf-crunching footsteps.
What you feel: That you know the secret of one of costa rica’s most unique jems.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Been to costa rica? Where did you find peace?