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Costa Rica: Our First National Geographic Expedition


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Joelynn Iverson



Welcome to Costa Rica: our first National Geographic Expedition! Get ready to embark on a thrilling journey through one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich wildlife, Costa Rica offers a truly unforgettable adventure for nature enthusiasts and explorers.


Located in Central America, Costa Rica is a tropical paradise that boasts an impressive array of ecosystems, from dense rainforests to dramatic volcanoes. This small but mighty country is home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal species, making it a hotspot for ecotourism and conservation efforts.


During our expedition, we will have the opportunity to explore the many wonders of Costa Rica. We will trek through lush rainforests, witness the power of active volcanoes, immerse ourselves in the local culture, and relax on pristine beaches. Along the way, we will learn about the country’s sustainable practices and its commitment to preserving its natural treasures.


Join us as we delve into the heart of Costa Rica, a land of adventure, beauty, and awe-inspiring biodiversity. Get ready to be captivated by the charm and allure of this incredible country as we embark on an extraordinary expedition that will leave us with memories to last a lifetime.


Exploring the Biodiversity of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is renowned for its extraordinary biodiversity, and our expedition will take us deep into the heart of this natural wonderland. As we venture into the country’s diverse ecosystems, we will have the chance to witness an astonishing array of plant and animal species.


Our journey will lead us through lush rainforests, where we will encounter towering trees, vibrant flowers, and exotic wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for the magnificent quetzal, a jewel-toned bird that symbolizes the beauty of Costa Rica’s forests, as well as howler monkeys swinging through the dense foliage.


We will also explore the fascinating cloud forests, where mist lingers among the canopy and orchids cling to ancient trees. This mystical environment is home to an abundance of unique species, including the elusive resplendent quetzal and the agile tree frogs known for their vibrant colors.


But Costa Rica’s biodiversity doesn’t stop at its forests. We will delve into the depths of its marine ecosystems, where vibrant coral reefs support a profusion of colorful fish, sea turtles, and even majestic humpback whales. Snorkeling or diving in these crystal-clear waters will offer a glimpse into a world teeming with life.


Throughout our expedition, we will have the opportunity to learn from local experts who are at the forefront of conserving Costa Rica’s unparalleled biodiversity. They will share their knowledge and insights, offering a deeper understanding of the delicate balance that exists within these ecosystems and the importance of preserving them for future generations.


Prepare to be amazed by the sheer abundance and variety of life that awaits us as we explore the biodiversity hotspots of Costa Rica. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness nature’s masterpiece in all its glory.


Discovering Costa Rica’s Volcanoes

Costa Rica is a land of fire and ice, boasting a remarkable number of active and dormant volcanoes. These geological wonders create breathtaking landscapes and offer a unique opportunity for us to witness the raw power and beauty of nature.


Our expedition will take us to some of the most iconic volcanoes in Costa Rica, such as Arenal and Poas. Arenal Volcano, located in Arenal Volcano National Park, is one of the most active volcanoes in the country. With its perfect cone shape and regular eruptions, it provides a dramatic backdrop for our adventure.


As we hike through lush trails and ascend to the summit, we will witness the awe-inspiring sight of billowing smoke, fiery lava flows, and rumbling volcanic activity. Our knowledgeable guides will share fascinating insights about the volcanic processes and the impact they have on the surrounding environment.


Another highlight of our volcanic exploration is Poas Volcano, situated in Poas Volcano National Park. This impressive stratovolcano is known for its vast summit crater, filled with a mesmerizing turquoise lake. The contrast between the acidic lake and the surrounding lush green landscape is truly a sight to behold.


While admiring the volcano’s beauty, we will learn about its volatile history and the ongoing research conducted by scientists to better understand its behavior. Our experience will be enriched by visits to educational centers and observatories, where we can delve deeper into the geological processes that shape these massive formations.


Whether we encounter an active volcano spewing molten lava or explore a dormant crater with a serene lake, one thing is certain – our journey through Costa Rica’s volcanic landscapes will leave us in awe of the Earth’s raw power and its ability to sculpt such remarkable natural wonders.


Immersing in Costa Rica’s Cultural Heritage

While Costa Rica is known for its natural beauty, it also boasts a rich cultural heritage shaped by a mix of indigenous, European, and Afro-Caribbean influences. As part of our expedition, we will have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the vibrant traditions, art, and cuisine that define Costa Rica’s cultural identity.


We will begin by exploring the historic city of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Our journey through the bustling streets will bring us face to face with colonial architecture, colorful markets, and lively plazas. We will have the chance to visit museums and galleries that showcase the country’s artistic legacy, from indigenous artifacts to contemporary works.


The locals, known as Ticos, are known for their warmth and hospitality. Through interactions with artisans, musicians, and community leaders, we will gain firsthand insights into their customs and way of life. We may even have the opportunity to participate in traditional dance and music performances, joining in the rhythm and celebration of Costa Rica’s cultural traditions.


Cuisine is another integral part of Costa Rican culture, and we will savor the flavors and aromas of the local gastronomy. From savory casados, a typical dish consisting of rice, beans, meat, and plantains, to delicious tropical fruits and fresh seafood, our taste buds will be treated to a culinary adventure.


During our expedition, we will also learn about the rich indigenous heritage that continues to shape Costa Rica’s identity. The country is home to various indigenous communities, such as the Bribri and the Boruca, who have preserved their traditions, artwork, and spiritual practices. We will have the privilege of engaging with these communities, gaining a deeper understanding of their cultural practices and sharing in their wisdom.


By immersing ourselves in Costa Rica’s cultural heritage, we will not only gain a deeper appreciation for the country’s diversity but also forge meaningful connections with its people. Our expedition will be a truly enriching experience that goes beyond the natural wonders and allows us to embrace the soul of Costa Rica.


Adventuring through Costa Rica’s Rainforests

Costa Rica’s rainforests are an adventurer’s playground, offering endless opportunities to explore and connect with nature. Our expedition will take us deep into these lush, biodiverse ecosystems, where we will embark on thrilling adventures and discover hidden treasures.


We will traverse dense jungle trails, guided by expert naturalists who will point out the extraordinary plant and animal species that call these rainforests home. As we hike through the towering trees and listen to the symphony of birdsong, we will feel a sense of awe and tranquility that can only be found in such pristine environments.


Costa Rica’s rainforests are also home to spectacular waterfalls, and we will have the chance to witness their powerful beauty firsthand. We can take refreshing dips in natural pools beneath cascading water, surrounded by the vibrant greenery of the forest. These moments of peaceful rejuvenation will be a highlight of our rainforest adventure.


For the adventurous souls among us, there are opportunities for zip-lining through the treetops, offering a bird’s-eye view of the forest canopy. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you glide through the air, taking in breathtaking vistas and getting up close and personal with the diverse flora and fauna.


Another incredible way to experience the rainforest is by embarking on a river rafting adventure. Costa Rica’s rivers offer thrilling rapids that will test our skills and provide an exhilarating journey through the heart of the rainforest. Along the way, we will witness the incredible biodiversity that thrives along the riverbanks.


Throughout our rainforest adventures, we will develop a deeper understanding of the delicate balance that exists within these ecosystems. Our experienced guides will share their knowledge about the intricate web of life and the importance of conservation efforts to preserve these precious habitats for future generations.


Get ready to unleash your inner adventurer as we immerse ourselves in the wonders of Costa Rica’s rainforests. This will be an unforgettable journey, filled with awe-inspiring encounters and thrilling experiences that will leave us with memories to last a lifetime.


Observing Costa Rica’s Unique Wildlife

Costa Rica is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering unparalleled opportunities to observe and interact with a wide array of unique animal species. From colorful birds to elusive jungle dwellers, our expedition will take us on a remarkable journey to witness Costa Rica’s incredible wildlife up close.


One of the highlights of our wildlife observation will be the chance to spot the magnificent resplendent quetzal. With its iridescent plumage and striking tail feathers, the quetzal is considered one of the most beautiful birds in the world. As we explore the cloud forests and rainforests, keep your eyes and ears open for the distinctive call of this elusive avian marvel.


We will also have the opportunity to encounter Costa Rica’s playful and intelligent primates. Monkeys, such as howler monkeys, spider monkeys, and capuchins, inhabit the country’s forests and treetops. Watching these agile creatures swing effortlessly among the branches is a sight that will leave us in awe of their acrobatic capabilities.


The rich coastal waters of Costa Rica are home to a diverse range of marine life, and we will have the chance to witness stunning creatures such as sea turtles, dolphins, and manta rays. Snorkeling or diving in these pristine waters will open a window into a world teeming with vibrant coral reefs and captivating marine ecosystems.


Costa Rica is also renowned for its prolific birdlife. From toucans and macaws with their vibrant plumage to hummingbirds with their delicate beauty, the country is a birdwatcher’s paradise. We will have the opportunity to witness these winged wonders up close, capturing extraordinary moments through our cameras and binoculars.


Our expert guides will provide us with insights into the behavior, habitats, and conservation efforts of these remarkable animals. They will share their knowledge and passion for wildlife, ensuring that our encounters are educational and ethically responsible.


As we explore Costa Rica’s diverse ecosystems, we will be amazed by the impressive variety of species that thrive in this biodiverse wonderland. This is a rare opportunity to witness Mother Nature’s creations in their natural habitats, an experience that will forever leave a lasting impression.


Experiencing Costa Rica’s Beautiful Beaches

Costa Rica is blessed with a stunning coastline that stretches for hundreds of miles, offering pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Our expedition will take us to some of the country’s most beautiful coastal destinations, where we will have the opportunity to relax, unwind, and immerse ourselves in the natural beauty of these idyllic beaches.


From the tranquil shores of Manuel Antonio to the remote and untouched beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica offers a beach experience for every preference. The sun-kissed sands and gentle waves provide the perfect setting for swimming, sunbathing, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the shoreline.


If you are an adventure enthusiast, you can try out a variety of water sports such as surfing, paddleboarding, or kayaking. Costa Rica’s Pacific and Caribbean coasts offer excellent conditions for these activities, catering to both beginners and experienced thrill-seekers.


For those seeking a more secluded beach experience, we will explore hidden gems tucked away in the coastal rainforests. These secluded stretches of sand offer a sense of tranquility and a chance to connect with nature in a peaceful and serene environment.


Costa Rica’s beaches are not just about sun and sand – they are also home to a rich marine ecosystem. Snorkeling or scuba diving in the warm waters will reveal colorful coral reefs teeming with a multitude of fish species. You may even have the chance to swim alongside sea turtles or encounter playful dolphins in their natural habitat.


As we bask in the beauty of Costa Rica’s beaches, we will also have the opportunity to engage with local communities that rely on coastal resources. We will learn about their sustainable practices and how they work to preserve the delicate balance between tourism and conservation.


Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or a chance to connect with nature, Costa Rica’s beaches offer an incredible coastal experience that will leave you refreshed, invigorated, and with a newfound appreciation for the beauty of the sea.


Learning about Costa Rica’s Sustainable Practices

Costa Rica is not only a paradise for nature lovers but also a global leader in sustainable practices. As we embark on our expedition, we will have the opportunity to learn about Costa Rica’s commitment to conservation, environmental stewardship, and sustainable tourism.


One of the shining examples of Costa Rica’s sustainability efforts is its dedication to renewable energy. The country has made significant strides in harnessing the power of renewable sources, with more than 98% of its electricity generated from renewable sources such as hydropower, wind, and geothermal energy. We will visit eco-friendly power plants and learn about the innovative solutions that have positioned Costa Rica as a model for renewable energy initiatives worldwide.


Costa Rica’s national parks and protected areas are the backbone of its conservation efforts. We will have the opportunity to explore these stunning natural reserves and witness firsthand the careful balance that the country maintains between tourism and preservation. Our expert guides will enlighten us about the various initiatives in place to ensure the sustainable use and protection of these invaluable ecosystems.


Another aspect of Costa Rica’s sustainable practices lies in its commitment to sustainable agriculture. We will visit organic farms and coffee plantations that employ eco-friendly techniques, promoting biodiversity conservation and minimizing the use of chemicals. Learning about these practices will give us insights into sustainable farming methods that prioritize environmental and social responsibility.


Costa Rica’s commitment to conservation extends to its marine ecosystems as well. We will discover marine protected areas, where fishing and coastal development are carefully regulated to safeguard the delicate balance of the underwater world. Through education and conservation programs, Costa Rica aims to preserve its vibrant coral reefs, protect endangered marine species, and sustain the livelihoods of coastal communities.


Throughout our expedition, we will engage with local communities and organizations that are actively practicing sustainable tourism. By supporting eco-lodges, participating in community-led initiatives, and consuming locally sourced products, we will contribute to the well-being of local communities while minimizing our environmental impact.


Costa Rica’s dedication to sustainability serves as an inspiration for visitors and countries around the world. By learning about and experiencing these sustainable practices, we will not only gain a deeper appreciation for Costa Rica’s natural beauty but also be empowered to make more sustainable choices in our own lives.



Our National Geographic Expedition to Costa Rica has been an incredible journey of discovery, adventure, and immersion into the wonders of this extraordinary country. From its diverse ecosystems to its rich cultural heritage, Costa Rica has captivated us at every turn.


Throughout our expedition, we have marveled at the astounding biodiversity of Costa Rica, exploring its rainforests, encountering unique wildlife, and witnessing the power and beauty of its volcanoes. We have ventured into its coastal realms, relaxing on pristine beaches and exploring vibrant underwater ecosystems.


But our experience in Costa Rica has been more than just an exhilarating adventure. It has been a lesson in sustainable practices and the importance of conservation. Costa Rica stands as a shining example, demonstrating that it is possible to protect and preserve our natural resources while still providing opportunities for community development and responsible tourism.


From its commitment to renewable energy to its protected national parks and sustainable agriculture practices, Costa Rica has shown us what it means to be stewards of the environment. Its dedication to sustainability is a testament to what can be achieved when there is a collective effort to protect and nurture the natural world.


Our expedition has also allowed us to immerse ourselves in the rich cultural heritage of Costa Rica. We have engaged with local communities, learned about their traditions, and appreciated the warmth and hospitality of the Ticos. Through these interactions, we have gained a deeper understanding and respect for the people who call this beautiful country home.


As we conclude our National Geographic Expedition to Costa Rica, we leave with a sense of gratitude, awe, and inspiration. Gratitude for the experiences and memories we have made, awe for the incredible natural wonders we have witnessed, and inspiration to carry forward the lessons learned about sustainability and conservation in our own lives.


Costa Rica has left an indelible mark on our hearts, reminding us of the importance of protecting and preserving our planet for future generations. Let us take the lessons learned from this remarkable expedition and apply them to our everyday actions, ensuring that we leave a positive impact on the world around us.


Thank you, Costa Rica, for an unforgettable journey through your breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and commitment to sustainability. You have touched our souls and reminded us of the immense beauty and value of our natural world. Pura vida!