As one of the hottest eco-tourism destinations in the world, Costa Rica has the right to boast. This small bi-coastal country in southern Central America has over 15 different environments to explore, ranging from mountainous cloud forests to pristine coastlines. With 75 national parks and a number of bio zones, there is certainly no shortage of activities to engage visitors in the great outdoors.

Costa Rica isn’t holding back. From whitewater rafting to zip lining and hiking, here are just a few reasons why Costa Rica is a hit with ecotourists:

Photo Credit: Terry Feuerborn

Watch sea turtles nest

From mid-July until early fall, Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world where sea turtles come to nest. On the eastern coast, Tortuguero National Park becomes a temporary habitat to not only the endangered green sea turtles, but the leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles, as well. That’s four different species you can see all in one location!

Tour a volcano

Of the 20 national parks in Costa Rica, at least a handful of them have active volcanoes. A real adrenaline rush, if you’re not afraid of taking the heat (and fancy yourself a little like the hobbits from The Lord of the Rings), make time to tour Turrialba Volcano National Park and hike to the center of the pit as the lava spits and bubbles under you.

Photo Credit: Bruce Thomson

Go chasing waterfalls

They say, “Pura Vida” a lot in Costa Rica. It means “pure life” and it’s easy to see why as it epitomizes the pure, unadulterated nature you'll find there. The country is positively teeming with waterfalls (pun intended). Some of the most popular waterfall hikes include Baios del Toro, Santa Juana Mountain, and Rio Celeste.

Photo Credit: Alex

Hike through the rainforest

Not to be outdone by the waterways, rainforests are also aplenty in Costa Rica. For romance, hot springs, and amazing rainforest hikes, head to the area known as the Garden of Eden in Arenal, but both the western and eastern coasts offer monkeys and cloud cover to get lost and found.

Photo Credit: Barbora Nemcova

Soar through the canopies

The best way to embrace the beauty of Costa Rica is from above with a canopy hike. Once again, Arenal makes the top stop with its Hanging Bridges Hike and numerous ziplines in the vicinity. We also recommend the Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve, one of Costa Rica's best kept secrets. If your schedule allows, try to visit these spots in the early morning hours or late afternoon when the locals (aka wildlife) are most active.