Brightly-coloured birds, lush rainforest and richly roasted coffee. Each of these images of Costa Rica was realised within my first few days in the country but what I hadn’t expected was to find a whole lot more.
It’s fair to say that Costa Rica is the most developed for tourism of the Central American countries and on the whole it’s, therefore, a delight to travel around. The local Ticos tend to speak very good English, there are plenty of beautiful hotels and in all honesty, I was fearing that this, along with very few surviving indigenous communities, colonial towns or pre-Colombian ruins, would leave me feeling a little indifferent.
As we approached Rio Perdido, a new hotel in the further-flung Guanacaste province, my picture of Costa Rica was shattered. Suddenly we were driving through an incredibly dry landscape scorched by the sun. The only sign of life was the occasional iguana skittering from the dirt road. “These are some brave investors” we joked wondering what exactly had been the point of making the arduous journey to such a barren place and why on earth anyone would build a hotel in such a remote spot.
The penny dropped that afternoon as we began our tour, equipment donned and ready for a zip lining adventure we were assured that this would be quite something. Not just any zip line, as we teetered on the first platform and caught the first glimpse of the glistening blue river below cutting through the bottom of an enormous canyon, it all made perfect sense. This was jaw-dropping scenery and adrenaline-producing stuff. Whizzing through the air on each zip line provided a much better sense of the geography and beauty of the area and why we had been told that our visit was a must.