Costa Rica is considered to be one of the 20 countries with greatest biodiversity in the world. The more than 500,000 species that are found in this small country represent nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide.
That is pretty amazing. And we got to see a lot of it during our trip to Costa Rica along with amazing nature. We visited the rainforest and jungle in Sarapiqui, the rainforest along Pacuare river (where we also met some indigenous people living there), the cloud forest in Monteverde, the areas around La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio National park.
It was my first time seeing real rainforest, the rainforest is like nature on steroids, everything is so big and there is so much to see all the time. Strange beautiful trees, insects, animals, butterflies and flowers. You really need someone to guide you because you will have so many questions and it's not that easy finding out on your own. And the guides also sees the insects etc. that you wouldn't find yourself. We had guided walks in many of the places both in daytime and nighttime.
I really recommend visiting Manuel Antonio and Manuel Antonio National park. Bring a packed lunch (no food sale) and spend time on the beautiful beach inside the park. Just watch out for the monkeys, they like to steel your stuff:) In Manuel Antonio we also did a sunset cruise with a Catamaran. We saw dolphins swimming along the boat and watched a beautiful sunset. I also did a kayak tour into the mangroves of Manuel Antonio. The scenery was great and we did see some cool stuff. But calling what we sat in a kayak is taking it a bit to far and it was a hassle kayaking in line with 40 other tourists. But I'm sure there are better options then the one we did. Manuel is definitely worth a stop on your Costa Rica tour.
Save the rainforest
Deforestation in Costa Rica has a serious impact on the environment and therefore may directly or indirectly contribute to flooding, desertification, sedimentation in rivers, loss of wildlife diversity, and the obvious sheer loss of timber. Since the end of World War II, approximately 80% of the forests of Costa Rica have disappeared. Over half of Costa Rica's existing forest cover today is under the protection of national parks, biological reserves, or wildlife refuges. However, the major problem in regards to deforestation is the privately owned plots which occupy the other half. (source Wikipedia).
I already support Regnskogfondet (Rainforest Foundation Norway) - a Norwegian organisation that works to save the rainforest. This trip just made me even more aware of what a big responsibility we have to save rainforests all over the world.