What makes Costa Rica Different?

This is What Makes Costa Rica So Special

Diversity. Costa Rica stands out not only in the region of Central America but on a global scale. People always want to know what makes Costa Rica different. Without going into the political topics, this post is for visitors that plan on taking a vacation to Costa Rica.

When you look at Costa Rica on the map, it is about the size of West Virginia. This might sound like not much, but when you take a closer look at Costa Rica, you will notice that this small area on the planet is filled with a thousand different worlds. You will find different cultures, ecosystems, people, beaches, and elevations that me you feel like you traveled to a completely different part of the globe.


This is the word that makes Costa Rica different. The diversity in almost everything is what makes every four-hour drive in Costa Rica feel like 10 minutes. Hollywood keeps our attention by changing scenes, and Costa Rica is your vacation version of an action-packed movie. 

Why is Costa Rica so Diverse

The diversity in Costa Rica comes down to one main reason, location. Costa Rica is the bridge between the Americas with access from both the Pacific and Caribbean.

Costa Rica is also close to the equator, only 8 degrees above the equator, making it a hotspot for biodiversity.

Costa Rica also has active tectonic activity giving it mountain regions that are ideal for coffee which attracted many Europeans to Costa Rica.

The railroad system in Costa Rica was built by mostly Afro-Caribbeans creating a culture of its own.

Costa Rica’s location kept it out of reach of the Mayans to the north and out of the Incas’ reach to the south. This led to much more diverse indigenous societies of many smaller tribes.

Diversity in People

We always tell our guests that Costa Rica is filled with beautiful volcanos, beaches, and rivers, but the best part of Costa Rica is its people. The Costa Rican’s are happy to have conservation and laugh with anyone.

Look how happy my daughter is in the picture with Koa Bryant Costa Rica’s junior surf National Champ.

The Tico is a mix of European descent, mestizo, and afro-Caribbean. All consider themselves Ticos, but each carries its different customs and traditions.

Diversity in Biodiversity

When it comes to diversity, there is almost no other place on Earth where you can talk about more diversity in biodiversity than Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s rainforest is diverse not only because of its location and the different types of rainforest but also because of the government’s history of protection.

I use to show our guests a chart that showed Costa Rica had more birds than all of North America and Canada combined and more butterflies than the entire continent of Africa. If you look at the comparison of the size of each landmass on a map it is quite amazing.

Diversity in Beaches

If you visit FL, you can visit a couple of hundred miles of Coastlines, and each time you walk out to the beach, it might be different, but you will still be able to tell you are in FL. Costa Rica has so many different beaches along its coast that you will think you are visiting a totally different country.

Beaches from white, shell, pink, black, rock sand all up and down the coastline. There is a beach for everyone in Costa Rica, and while FL beaches are beautiful, Costa Rica definitely offers a larger variety for its size.

Diversity in Culture

Some countries have diversity in people but not in culture. Costa Rica does, and it is mostly based on its topography and how steep the mountains are, and the separation of the different valleys. While cultures certainly are not what they were in any part of the world, there is still a very distinct difference between your Spanish decent Costa Rican’s, Indigenous, and Afro-Caribbean.

Diversity in Ecosystems 

This is one most people are usually surprised about. Many people don’t know a dry tropical rainforest and a moist tropical rainforest or a highland called the paramo and everything in between like the famous cloud-forest.

The amazing part, as mentioned in the beginning you can go from one ecosystem to the other in five minutes due to the elevation change.

If you are looking for an adventure that won’t have you doing the same thing and seeing the same stuff over and over then, Costa Rica is the perfect spot.

I fell in love with Costa Rica for the same reason. For those of us that like being in a conversation and then yelling “squirrel”! You will love it here!

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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.