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  • Writer's pictureJuan Antonio Chavarria

Los 10 Imperdibles del Camino de Costa Rica

1. Laguna Madre Dios by Boat: Although the Costa Rica Trail is primarily a hiking route, entering Laguna Madre Dios provides the best welcome to Costa Rica and the adventure that awaits. The abundance of birds, basilisks, and monkeys in the area makes it worth spending a whole day exploring by boat or on foot.

2. Tsiobata Museum: Getting to know the culture of our Cabécar indigenous brothers and sisters is a unique experience that opens us up to new cosmologies and allows us to understand the country's first settlers. In addition to the challenge of crossing stages 3 and 4, which are among the most demanding of the entire route.

3. Pacuare River Canopy: Rarely do we have the opportunity to cross one of the country's largest rivers in a small basket hanging more than 15 meters high. This is the reality for the locals, and although it requires a great physical effort, it is definitely worth it.

4. Doña Vilma's Chocolate: Chocolate that doesn't melt in the sun, made with the love that this lady puts into it, by hand and with chemical-free cocoa, just a little bit of sugar and powdered milk. It's the perfect snack to leave Limón behind and venture into Cartagineses lands. Stage 4.

5. Rita's Homemade Lunches: There's nothing more delicious than enjoying homemade food wrapped in a leaf at Pacayitas. Whether you dine at the restaurant or take it to go, savoring that meal after climbing the Pacayitas hill with a view of the Turrialba valley is an indescribable delight. Stage 5 or 6.

6. Pejibaye River: This stage may be flat, but it can get quite hot. When we reach Pejibaye or Taus after enduring the scorching sun in the sugarcane fields, bathing in those emerald waters flowing down from the mountains is like coming back to life. Additionally, you can spot otters and sun herons in the area. We recommend Rio de Valle as the best spot to take a refreshing swim and enjoy a delicious meal. Stage 7.

7. Orosi Hot Springs: This requires almost a whole afternoon and some extra money. Whether you visit Hacienda Orosi or the Balneario in the town center after crossing the Tapanti and Taus peaks, the mineral water in the hot springs works wonders in relaxing your muscles. Besides, you can take a stroll through the charming town of Orosi and visit its centuries-old church. Stage 8.

8. Palo Verde Reserve and Pájaro Campana: The Cloud and Montane forests are the most beautiful in this country. Here, everything comes together—moss, fungi, bromeliads, and ferns dance with the clouds and the songs of the Pájaro Campana, quetzals, and goldfinches. It sounds like poetry, but it best describes this short stretch of the Costa Rica Trail. Stage 10.

9. Trying Tarrazu Coffee: Whether it's during any of the stages from 11 to 15, having a taste of excellent coffee from the best coffee-growing region in the country is an incredible experience. Whether at Café la Cumbre or at my favorite place, Esquipulas Rainforest, with its coffee tour, enjoying a cup of the world's best coffee is a must.

10. Views from Stage 14: Without a doubt, this stage offers the most spectacular views along the trail. It's the first time you see the clear and close sea, with the white waves crashing against the sandy beach. The beautiful rivers of the Pacific and sometimes even the Golfo Dulce on clear days. It makes you feel like the 14 stages have been worthwhile, and you're almost touching the ocean.

This is a summary of many experiences that can be enjoyed along the trail. We at Urritrek offer all of these and much more. I will share more details about it in future publications.

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