Hike to the cave at Gandoca Manzanillo Caribbean Costa Rica

What is Costa Rica Known for?

Costa Rica is known for many things

When you say Costa Rica, the first thing you might think of is the phrase “Pura Vida.” This phrase is what first comes to mind when thinking about what Costa Rica is known for?

The phrase translated to English means “pure life.” It is a simple expression for a small country, but the phrase is famous for everything it stands for.

Here we will list some of the things Costa Rica is most known for and how they all sum up the phrase “pura vida”. 



Conservation & Sustainability

Fortunately, many ask what Costa Rica is known for, and the good majority of things are quite positive, starting with their history of conservation.

Costa Rica has pulled off in Central America conservation goals that you don’t see in the region. As a result, they are a leader on the global scale in conservation.

Somehow they were able to look into the future and realize that conserving their rainforest would benefit the future of ecotourism.

Over 30% of Costa Rica is protected in National Parks and private reserves.

Along with protecting nature, Costa Rica protects much of the natural world outside its borders. They do this by sometimes operating as high as 100% on renewable energy.

Costa Rica is a clean energy mecca. Costa Rica has been blessed with the natural resources to produce clean energy. Along with a stable government to take steps to make it happen.



Abolishing their Army

This is certainly the topic that, on a political level Costa Rica is most known for.

Costa Rica’s non-existing army is often presented to tourists on t-shirts as the wildlife that roam the rainforest. The reason for this is Costa Rica has not had a military for over 50 years.

They abolished their army with the idea of investing in social programs like health care and education. Both of these are at the top of the region.

As a result of half a century of no army, Costa Rica’s people are pretty peaceful.



Happy People

This is the topic that we as a travel company consider the most important for Costa Rica to be known for.

You will see articles in the New York Times and many other well-known publications talking about the happy Ticos.

The reason for their high levels of well-being is accredited to protecting their natural environment, diet, and access to all their basic needs being met.

If you are on a Costa Rica family vacation and hang out with some locals, you will see that this is one of the happiest countries on the planet.




Costa Rica is known for its coffee as much as anything else. You will even find bumper stickers that say the famous coffee farmer of Colombia, Juan Valdez, actually drinks Costa Rican coffee.

All joking aside, the coffee in Costa Rica is known for two reasons. The first is its fantastic taste. Anyone that drinks coffee will love almost every brand in Costa Rica. A second reason coffee is something Costa Rica is known for is its fair-trade and co-ops.

The coffee industry of Costa Rica was built on many small coffee farmers. This is something the entire country takes pride in. 

Many of your older generation locals will argue that coffee is what Costa Rica is most known for. They hold such pride in the crop’s industry and history.



Blue Zones

This made this list because it is something Costa Rica is known for on an international level. Locally the phrase Blue Zone isn’t common among the local Costa Ricans too much.

If you never heard of Blue Zones, you might be thinking I immediately switched subjects and started writing for a Sci-Fi blog.

These Blue Zones have nothing to do with Sci-Fi; they are somewhat of a different planet inside the planet.

Blue Zones are a select few areas on the planet where life expectancy for some reason is much higher than everywhere else.

If you think about it, Costa Rica is a Blue Zone in itself. In my small rural village, we have four members, over 100 still living at hope. We only have 300 people in the town to give you an idea.

Costa Rica’s official Blue Zone is located in the Nicoya Peninsula, where its highest average life expectancy is.




This small country the size of Vermont is home to over 100 volcanos and, by some volcanologists, 200 even. The Volcanos you will find in the guide books are usually six or seven active volcanos.

Two Volcanos that Costa Rica is most known for in the urban area are the two that sit on the edge of the capital city of San Jose. These are Poas Volcano and the Irazu Volcano. Poas is probably the most visited, and Irazu was the volcano that erupted when JFK visited Costa Rica, making it pretty well-known.

The tourism industry outside of San Jose has its favorites also. Costa Rica’s most popular for tourists to visit and stay a few days is Arenal Volcano. Up until ten years ago, you could see lava flowing down its side.

Our favorite volcano at the POC, which we take our guests to on our adventure trip, is the Turrialba Volcano. This has the most spectacular view of the active smoking crater and today is the most active in Costa Rica. It is also one of the least visited because access to the crater is still quite tricky, and you have to hike for almost two hours.



It’s Rich Coast

Any country that translates to “Rich Coast” probably has some lovely coastal areas, and Costa Rica is that and more. 

The beaches of Costa Rica have so much that makes it well-known and loved among its visitors. First is the surf, as the surfers were the ones that originally discovered Costa Rica. Long stretches of beaches with different breaks are home to some world-class surfing. You can find waves for those looking to learn and your more professional surfers.

Along with great surf, Costa Rica has picturesque beaches. These are the beaches find in travel guides that will have you wanting to sell everything you own and move down. Depending on where you are in the country, you will have beaches where the mountain meets the sea or beaches where the lowland tropical rainforest meets the surf. There are hundreds of different beaches for all types of beachgoers.



This topic should be biodiversity, but when you ask what Costa Rica is most known for, chances are sloths will come to most people’s minds before biodiversity. Sloths have become sort of the “pura vida” symbol of Costa Rica. The sloth boom probably started sometime around 2008 and grew at a speed that an actual sloth could never dream of keeping up with.

Much of this has to do with their cute face. Sloths look like they are smiling at you most of the time. It also helps that they are extremely slow and pretty much harmless. This makes it an excellent spirit animal for kids to become excited about.



If you learn Spanish in Costa Rica, every other Spanish-speaking country on the planet will immediately know where you learned your Spanish. Costa Rica is well-known for its slang and the different words they use, makeup, and continue to fine-tune as their slang-loving hearts desire.

We think these are some pretty cool things that Costa Rica is known for. By small country standards, Costa Rica has a nice resume for what people think about when they hear Costa Rica.

Share :


Join The Ride

Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter with stories from our latest adventures and the best travel tips

More Adventures

Costa Rican Cuisine

Amazing Costa Rican Cuisine

From fine dining to pulling up on the side of the river, you will be sure not to go hungry when adventure through Costa Rica on a POC Adventure.

Want to plan Your Custom Itinerary

Contact Us Today And Get The Perfect Itinerary For You, Your Friends Or Family!

Contact Us Today

POC Camp

The POC camp is an extension of the POC lodge and while the POC Lodge is located with vast views of the Pacuare River Canyon the POC Camp is down on the river’s edge. While it might not have the view of the POC Lodge it sits on one of the calmest sections of the river making the POC Camp home to one of the river Pacuare’s best spots for taking a swim and relaxing on the river’s edge.

POCsito is a favorite among so many of our guests. It is a glamping experience with some of the important comforts of home.

POC Lodge

Started in 2011 is the POC lodge. If you haven’t figured it out by now POC lodge is our own lodge and what we like to call the “baby” of the P.O.C. Adventure Company. We wanted a lodge on our favorite part of Costa Rica which is the Pacuare River and with the help of locally harvested supplies and labor, the POC Lodge was born.


This is a 180-acre property that runs over 1 mile of the Pacuare River. Our goal has always been to offer as much comfort as possible without steering too far away from our roots of just roughing it on the river’s edge. Our lodge has hot water, a splash of luxury in the rooms, and 5-Star service and attention to our guests.

Our favorite part about the lodge is that we built a short hike up from the river’s edge. We know we have the best views of the Pacuare River canyon and unfortunately pictures don’t even do it justice.

Arenal Paraiso, Arenal

Have you ever wanted to stay the night at the base of an active volcano? Well here is your chance. The Arenal Paraiso is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano with breath-taking views of the perfectly cone-shaped volcano.

Here at Arenal Paraiso’s, you will enjoy the beautiful property which offers much more than just a view. The property has numerous bungalows that offer a splash of luxury while surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. After a day of adventure, you will love making your way back to relax or hang out in the pool at Arenal Paraiso.

Shawandha, Caribbean 

Located at the edge of the white sandy beaches of Costa Rica sits the Shawandha lodge.  A perfect blend of eco-style luxury along with the sounds of the ocean and vibrant ambiance of the rainforest.

Shawandha lodge is set up with individual bungalows made out of local wood. You will be sure to wake up to the sound of the local residents such as the howler monkeys and green macaws. After your day of adventure, you will have a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful swimming pool at the Shawandha Lodge.

Hotel Villa Florencia, Turrialba

Located in the valley of Turrialba surrounded by sugar-cane plantations and views of the smoking Turrialba Volcano sits an old plantation home that has been renovated into a beautiful small hotel named Villa Florencia.

This is a great hotel with a beautiful pool and plenty of space to take long morning or afternoon hikes. The Villa Florencia hotel is a chance to enjoy luxury while feeling like you stook back in time. While you are in the valley don’t forget to look up as the Turrialba Volcano can often be seen doing small eruptions from across the valley.

Casa Turire, Turrialba

Casa Turire has been one of our favorites since we started. The grounds are some of the lushest you will find anywhere in Costa Rica. Casa Turire sits in the valley of Turrialba surrounded by mountains and the beautiful Turrialba Volcano. The most amazing part about Casa Turire other than its great restaurant and home-made sugar cane ice cream is that it sits on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Angostura offering great morning hikes, birding, or SUPing around the lake.