7 Reasons Costa Rica Is The Perfect Vacation Destination For A Student –
Costa Rica is a beautiful and safe country, so it’s no wonder it’s on the radar of many students and expats. Being a short flight from North America, Costa Rica receives approximately 1.7 million tourists each year, which makes it the most visited Central American country.
About 80% of these tourists are believed to be ecotourists, a testament to Costa Rica’s otherworldly environment and climate. Because this is already an established student vacation, end-of-semester breaks are often a good time to take a trip to Costa Rica, with plenty of sightseeing activities such as tours available.
It should also be noted that Costa Rica operates on Central Standard Time (GMT-6). This is great news if you are working remotely for a North American company, as you can adapt to the working hours of the United States and Canada. Even if you’re not, answering college emails and going home jet-free is a big plus!
So let’s take a look at 7 reasons why Costa Rica offers fantastic vacations for students.
A place to flex your Spanish
The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish. Be the 4th most spoken language in the world it is an amazing language to learn and most people already know it a little. If you are a Spanish speaker, life will be much easier for you coming to Costa Rica compared to much of Europe or Asia.
However, for those who don’t speak Spanish, Costa Rica offers a great opportunity to learn one of the most useful languages in the world. A lot of students, using student discounts, are studying Spanish alongside their diploma. However, there is no better practice than visiting a foreign country. The locals are friendly and will welcome foreigners trying to learn which makes the process much easier. Plus, it helps that Spanish is also considered an easy language to learn!
Costa Rica is surrounded by countless Spanish speaking countries. Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico… This allows you to tick off a few countries from the list of things to do during the same vacation, while using only Spanish to get around.
Fauna and biodiversity
Costa Rica has approximately 2,605,000 ha of forests and is home to exotic fauna. Along with toucans, jaguars, sea turtles, coati, sloths and crocodiles, Costa Rica’s wildlife is breathtaking. There are also 47 endemic bird species that bird watchers and twitchers fly across the world to see.
In 2012, Costa Rica was the first country in Latin America to ban hunting as a sport and instead uses ecotourism to help local farmers so they don’t have to depend on hunting. This government focus on ecotourism has made it perfect for students with a green conscience.
There are many wildlife viewing tours to choose from, and they will guide you in making your safety, habitat, and animal safety the top priority. If students have time during their vacation, volunteering for such wildlife organizations can be a great way to learn more about animals. Protecting their nesting sites, collecting research and data, and many other humble activities can be undertaken to further integrate you into the Costa Rican paradise.
Costa Rica has the richest and most amazing nature in the world. Since students are often interested in environmentalism, the Costa Rican mantra “Pura Vida”, meaning “pure life,” goes hand in hand with this mindset. The country is very hot on sustainability, especially with sustainable tourism.
Beyond biodiversity, there are also plenty of picturesque wonders of the world! La Fortuna Waterfall, Guanacaste Beaches and Endless National Parks… You couldn’t ask for more outdoor adventure opportunities.
Costa Rica also has a volcano over 3,400 meters called Irazú Volcano. Irazú is located in a national park which can be an incredible day trip. There are 6 mountains in total that rise over 1,600 meters, making Costa Rica a great choice for photographers and hikers.
One of the best hikes in Costa Rica is considered to be in Arenal Volcano National Park. With white-faced monkeys, jaguars and 850 species of birds, you can walk dozens of kilometers around the park from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Rio Celeste is also a must see, where the sulfur from the Tenorio volcano created an almost synthetic turquoise blue waterfall.
Safety is often a concern for students. There is a certain vulnerability in being alone in a foreign place, and often at a very young age. Central and South America often have a reputation for not being safe continents, but don’t let that deter you from vacationing in Costa Rica!
Costa Rica is consistently ranked as the safest country in Central America. Beyond certain flights, which are prevalent in most countries around the world, there is no reason to worry about safety in Costa Rica. the Official UK government travel advice is that “approximately 91,000 British nationals visited Costa Rica in 2019. Most visits are going smoothly” – more details on historic crimes against tourists are documented on the website.
There are very few major weather events either, so there is no need to worry about earthquakes, hurricanes, or volcanic eruptions – however, it is important to be aware of the earthquake drills. As of June 2021, the US government classifies it as “Do Not Travel” due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. However, this risk is expected to decrease as more vaccines are issued.
Costa Ricans are known to be extremely peaceful and hospitable people. Whether it’s the expressive Spanish language or the abundance of beautiful nature around them, you are guaranteed to meet friendly, happy and very well-educated people.
This is great news for students who may be looking for nightlife or social events, as the locals will be warm and welcoming. It allows visitors to grasp the local culture in a short period of time, as they are more open than many countries around the world.
In addition, Costa Rica is a multicultural society. It’s not like visiting Japan where 98% of the residents are Japanese; you will meet a lot of migrants and different demographics, which facilitates integration as a foreigner. It may not be relevant for a short stay, but for some people it can make them feel less of a stranger.
Students, like most hardworking people, use coffee to increase their productivity. However, unless you go to specialty stores or very authentic coffee shops, coffee in much of the US and UK is far from good coffee.
If you love your coffee, Costa Rica has just gotten a lot more exciting. Coffee is an integral part of Costa Rican culture which is just as good as they have an ideal climate to grow it. Santa María de Dota Coffee Plantation, Café Cedral, and Doka Estate are just a few of Costa Rica’s great coffee plantations that produce incredible harvests.
Tours are available to these plantations if you are really in the cafe, otherwise, just enjoy the incredibly fresh and local produce in the everyday experience of your vacation.
Beaches and marine life
Beyond the plethora of excursions, sites and wildlife, sometimes you want to have a few days to completely relax on vacation. Once again, Costa Rica does not fail to amaze with its tropical beaches and blue waters.
Unsurprisingly, their amazing wildlife also exists on the beaches with a chance to spot annual sea turtle nests and rich marine life. Manzanillo Beach, Samara Beach and many more are bathed in crystal clear waters ideal for snorkeling, as well as white sand for sunbathing and playing fútbol.
There are ripples in Costa Rica so be careful and try swimming in less remote areas. If you find great secluded beaches (there are plenty of them), always swim in the sea with a partner.
Yes it is perfect
Costa Rica does not exist in isolation, so it’s worth pointing out that its immigrant heritage lends itself to interesting cuisine, focused primarily on the authentic flavors of Latin America. You will find a lot of Tamales, Gallo Pinto, but you will also come across European and Chinese food.
It’s not just the restaurants that are great, but the resorts. With such a thriving tourism industry, there is no shortage of luxury hotels and accommodations. There are thousands of AirBnB listings to browse, but also plenty of backpacker hostels on a budget.
Overall, Costa Rica offers one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly vacations in the world. Its ideal location, common language, security and good cuisine are the icing on the cake that make it the ideal place for a student vacation.