THERE is a saying in Costa Rica: “Pura vida”, which translates as “pure life” – and when you are there it’s hard not to feel the vibe.
This sun-drenched stretch of Central America has some of the world’s most biodiverse rainforests and 99 PER CENT of its energy is drawn from renewable sources.
This month it won the Protect and Restore Nature category at the Earthshot Prize awards, in recognition of its work reversing damage caused by deforestation.
Over the last few decades, the nation has poured its heart into restoring its forests, which now cover more than half the country. There are more than 500,000 species of animals and plants, many of which can be spotted at 58 wildlife sanctuaries.
Now, Costa Rica has vowed to invest its £1million Earth-shot prize money to help safe-guard nature — and visitors can get into the spirit too.
Whether it is trekking in wild jungle, soaking in hot springs or lazing on remote beaches that ticks your boxes, a holiday here need not leave a huge carbon footprint, especially if you carbon-offset your flight — atmosfair.de/en has a good scheme.
Plus, you will enjoy unspoilt natural wonders, from the cloud forests of Monteverde to the palms and surfing on Playa Tamarindo’s beaches.
Capital city San Jose, with its vibrant art scene and great restaurants and street food, is a good starting point for your holiday. The main airport is just north of the city.
TruTravels has a ten-day holiday that starts with cocktails in San Jose before you then set off on excursions to the waterfalls of La Fortuna, and Cabuya island. After ziplining through forest, you will sleep in village homestays and sample food home-cooked by locals.
The trip also includes a night safari into the mountains of Monteverde to see sloths, armadillos and colourful tree frogs, as well as a sunset yoga class on sandy Santa Teresa beach.
All meals are included and anyone booking for 2021 can currently get 30 per cent off, bringing the price down to £735pp (but not including flights from the UK).
For Atol-protected package holidays that include direct flights, Tui has a range of options, from fly-and-flop stays and group and self-drive tours to multi-centre breaks.
These are some of the most affordable ways to see the country, safe in the knowledge the travel giant is supporting you all the way.
Join The Sun’s Green Team
THE Sun today encourages its army of readers to make at least one lifestyle change to slow the advance of climate change.
Everyone can get involved.
We’ve teamed up with the global campaign Count Us In to calculate how much carbon you will be saving by ditching old habits.
Remember even small changes help.
Find a step that’s right for you and your family. Keep it up for at least two months and see how you do. It might become a habit.
When you’re ready, try another step. All these will add to change. We’ll get there together.
Visit thesun.co.uk/pledge and pledge to one or more lifestyle changes.
It could save you money and all of your actions will go toward a global goal of getting a billion people to make changes.
1. Eat more plants – Going meat-free for a day brings the same carbon saving as not driving for a month.
2. Cut food waste – The average UK family throws away £700 of food a year.
3. Turn down heating – With energy prices rocketing this will save you money.
4. Insulate your home – Stop heating the sky with heat escaping through your roof.
5. Repair and re-use – We ditch the equivalent of 250 t-shirts a year.
6. Walk or cycle one extra journey a day – petrol cars emit twice as much pollution in their first five minutes of use, so even short journeys add to climate change.
Its seven-night Grand Tour includes soaks in hot springs, wildlife-spotting on a canal cruise and river-tubing.
Or enjoy an all-inclusive stay at one of the beachfront properties in Playa Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo and Playa Langosta. Seven nights starts at around £1,000pp including flights and transfers.
If you are willing to fork out a little more, Unforgettable Travel has a 14-day wildlife and coastal trip, with guided tours of Costa Rica’s national parks, from £2,690pp including flights from the UK.
You visit the Tortuguero National Park, spending the night in a luxury rainforest lodge with its own private nature reserve.
The trip also includes lake boat rides, coffee plantation tours and a visit to a wildlife rescue centre where you can feed rare animals that are being rehabilitated. There’s downtime, too, with relaxing visits to the hot springs of Arenal Volcano and a day on Manuel Antonio beach.
Or if you are after rest and relaxation, book a wellness trip with Health and Fitness Travel and take part in a project supporting local coffee farmers, enjoy a dip in a volcanic mud bath and learn to surf on the white sands of Playa Carrillo.
There is also lots of yoga during the seven-day adventure, as well as a paddle-boarding class.
The trip costs from £1,625pp, including breakfasts.
GO: COSTA RICA
COVID: Fully vaccinated British tourists need not take a Covid test to enter Costa Rica. But you complete an “epidemiological information form” before travel. Those who have had both jabs only need to take a lateral flow test on day two back in the UK.
STAYING/GETTING THERE: Seven nights’ B&B at the 4H Wyndham Esplendor Tamarindo in Playa Tamarindo is from £933pp, including flights from Gatwick on January 19 2022. Further details at tui.co.uk.
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