BITS and Pieces

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Costa Rica, Central America

Most of us are often tempted by the prospect of getting away from the stress of the fast and busy mainland. Crackling away at your keyboard on a hectic day at work, have you ever asked yourself, “What if I wasn’t here but lying under an azure, summer sky sipping a chilled colada?”

Well, summer’s almost here and if there’s one place you want to be where living in tune with your natural surroundings is adhered to as a way of life, it is Costa Rica. Here’s how you can enjoy misty crater lakes or pristine tropical rainforests or jungle-fringed beaches watching the sunset over the pacific or basically, the pura vida!

What’s the brouhaha all about?

Costa Rica is home to an incredible assortment of biodiversity and environmental attractions. It tells a fascinating story that’s punctuated by majestic volcanoes, foggy cloud forests, river valleys and splendid beaches along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Costa Ricans take great pride in following a family-oriented culture and building a symbiotic relationship with their ecology.

What to look out for?

Sun-splashed beaches of Guancaste if snorkelling, windsurfing and kayaking are your thing. If you are a nature and adventure enthusiast, then the Tenorio and Miravalles volcanoes need to be on top of your must-see lists. And if you love to marvel at the buzz of elusive birds in the forest air or explore rare species of plants and insects, then the Los Quetzales National Park or the Santa Rosa National Park is where you need to be headed.

What about food cravings?

The typical platter includes coconut-flavoured delicacies with a generous dash of herbs. If they don’t serve you rice and beans at a local restaurant, then you’re not in Costa Rica. It’s hard to miss the bocasor boquitas, a complimentary snack that’s served with your drink. If you are a budget traveller, look out for a Musmanni, a petite bakery offering quality breads, pastries, cakes and cookies and filled with the chatter of local ticos and ticas (guys and gals!)

How do I get there?

Fly to either Alajuela, which is located in the Central Valley region or to Liberia, which would make travelling to the Guancaste region easier.

And what about the budget?

Colón is Costa Rica’s unit of currency. One rupee is equal to about 9 colones. Budget travellers can survive on about 15,000-20,000 colones a day. You can have your meals at local restaurants (a.k.a. sodas) which would cost you about 180 to 200 colones. There are some impressive eco-lodges nestled in remote destinations for the high-end travellers.

Any travel tips?

The diversity of Costa Rica’s ecosystem merits meticulous planning. It rains round the year so make sure you are well-packed! The essentials would range from hats and summer clothes for the simmering coastal heat to hiking shoes for adventure treks and water shoes for river rafting and kayaking. Brush up on your ornithology – if that’s your thing – and you will be in for a real treat!

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Anoop Deshpande - Senior French & Italian-English translator, BITS Private Limited With a terrible weakness for interesting conversations, Anoop, a political science graduate, entered the world of languages unintentionally but now cannot get it out of his life. Always willing to connect with people, he is a fanatical travel aficionado and irritatingly systematic. He is a sports enthusiast, a chef at heart and will work to watch films. He also wishes he could charge people for his patience.