In 2024, Nora Walsh of The New York Times recommends embarking on a transformative journey across Costa Rica. Immerse yourself in the biodiversity of lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and active volcanoes. Trek from Pacific beaches to Caribbean shores on the El Camino trail, now easier to navigate for eco-tourism and outdoor exploration.

Organized into 16 sections, the trail knits together 25 rural communities and terrain that ranges from beaches to cloud forests. The full hike can take from 11 to 16 days, and along the way, travelers passing through Indigenous areas can hire members of the Cabécar community as guides. The trail also traverses national parks and sanctuaries that host dazzling birds like the resplendent quetzal. Trekkers can camp, book hotels, or stay overnight with families, sampling homegrown coffee and chocolate as well as dishes like gallo pinto.

Enjoy rafting, horseback riding, and canoeing while supporting lesser-known areas.

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