Costa Rica is the definition of biodiversity, with its abundant wildlife and diverse landscapes offering thrilling natural adventures. Here’s how you can win a dream trip there for two, plus Family Membership to the Eden Project in Cornwall, England.
Head to Costa Rica with Journey Latin America, the UK’s No.1 one specialist in travel to Central and South America, which has over 40 years of experience in creating tailor-made holidays and group tours. Win this prize and the tour will start in the cultural capital San José. From here, you’ll head to Arenal passing coffee farms such as Heredia in the Central Valley, where traditional methods are used to ensure top-quality coffee.
Costa Rica is home to some 6.5% of the world’s biodiversity, and you’ll have a chance to see plenty of it at the Arenal Volcano National Park. Admire the perfect cone of its eponymous volcano and walk the hanging bridges above the forest canopy to learn about the native flora and fauna. Finish at Manuel Antonio National Park, a tropical fairy-land of palms, creepers and mangrove swamp. After relaxing on the palm-fringed beach, seek out monkeys, sloths and some 950 exotic bird species on a guided tour.
Even if you don't win the prize, there is every reason to visit Costa Rica. Whatever kind of adventure you are after, there is so much to choose from. Those after a thrill should zip line over the rainforest canopy at Monteverde Sky Adventures Park which features one of the longest zip wire in all of Latin America. Or why not head to the rivers in the rainy season to rush across the white water in a raft? Or feel your heart pounding as you scuba dive in the waters surrounding Bat Island with its schools of bull sharks or Cocos Islands with its masses of hammerhead sharks.
Those looking for a wildlife experience they will remember for a lifetime should head to Tortuguero National Park between July and mid-October, when green turtles hatch from their eggs and make a mad dash for the sea. Olive ridley turtles also call Tortuguero National Park home and lay their eggs in the Optional National Wildlife Refuge between July and December.
Want to simply sit back and relax? Costa Rica does that fantastically well, too. Turn your phone off and spend your time wholly immersed in nature, finding sanctuary with a sunset walk along the beach or through a thick rainforest. Those looking to really unwind won’t find it hard to seek out a yoga retreat, where you can practise your downward facing dog while looking out across the verdant landscape.
But before you set off, bear in mind the “Pura Vida Pledge”, a four-step plan for sustainable travel in Costa Rica. First, choose to book with a UK tour operator such as Journey Latin America who are working with sustainable hotels and excursions in Costa Rica. Next, offset your carbon. Lastly, support local communities and respect the land by leaving no trace. Learn more at: costarica-sanctuary.com
Across the Atlantic, another kind of sanctuary can be found in Cornwall, where a barren china clay quarry was transformed 21 years ago into a beautiful global garden called the Eden Project. Today, Eden is a popular visitor destination and cultural venue where you can enjoy trekking through a vast indoor rainforest and extensive outdoor gardens while picking up plenty of tips on caring for the planet.
The project has even extended to Costa Rica. The Eden Project team are working with the Matambú Forest Reserve, an area once left damaged by overfarming and logging. Today, it’s being transformed back into lush forest where birdsong fills the air and rejuvenated rivers flow freely. Eden is working to secure the forest’s future by creating a project which conserves biodiversity, supports livelihoods and educates future generations.
Back at Cornwall’s Eden, get a taste of Costa Rica this May in the new Eco Lodge exhibit in the Rainforest Biome, which puts the country’s commitment to eco-tourism on full show. The lodge will be built with natural materials and will tell the story of Costa Rica’s biodiversity and reforestation work. And that’s just the start, with more exciting Costa Rica projects coming to the Cornwall site later this year.
Whether exploring the Eden Project or Costa Rica, with this prize, you’re bound to find your sanctuary amid so much natural wonder.
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