Located in Central America — with coasts on both the Pacific and the Caribbean — Costa Rica just might be the quintessential tropical country.
This small country packs a lot of awesome inside its borders with white-sand beaches, verdant rain forests, active volcanoes, and all the cutest (and most colorful and rarest) animals. Plus, the friendly locals — known as Ticos and Ticas — are more than willing to introduce you to the pura vida.
Although it was a Spanish colony for about 200 years, Costa Rica seems to have escaped the worst of colonialism and kept the best. The capital city of San Jose blends European-style architecture (don’t miss the National Theater) with more traditional landmarks like the vibrant Mercado Central, THE place to enjoy fried plantains, the ubiquitous hot sauce Salsa Lizano, or a cup of rich Costa Rican coffee.
About 25% of the country is protected in National Parks, and that’s made Costa Rica the most popular destination for ecotourism. You’ve got your choice of hiking in the cloud forest, watching sea turtles hatch on the beach, visiting monkeys and sloths in nature reserves, ziplining in the jungle canopy, and so many more outdoor adventures.
In this episode, we discuss Costa Rican history, its unique wildlife — including a very unusual crocodile — and delicious cuisine. Then we recommend five books we love that took us there, including a must-have coffee table book, a surprising family memoir, two action-adventure novels with wildly different approaches to nature, and a magical short story collection.
For a complete roundup of all the books we recommend, plus a full transcript and the other cool stuff we talked about, visit the Episode 26 show notes.
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Top image courtesy of Gerardo Huitron/Shutterstock.
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