Pura Vida with Mariela

– I don’t have a specific favourite place in Costa Rica, because every single piece of my country has a particular beauty, says Mariela.

I met Mariela Brenes Madrigal when I visited Costa Rica earlier this year, attending a press trip focusing on Eco tourism. She picked us up in the fashionable Hotel Grano de Oro a rainy Monday morning, and she was touring the country with us for the next six days.


As we travelled around, I noticed that Mariela loved to take photos and had a true passion for travel and her country. She has been working in tourism since 2009, and you can see from her passion that she loves what she is doing for a living. She told me that she started to study tourism because the liked the idea of traveling – and after she started working she realized that working with humans and being able to travel was truly the right choice for her.

– Guiding is an amazing job, and I get to know people from all over the world, Mariela told me.

As a guide she have to handle people from different cultures, with different expectations to the trip they attend, and also to handle people´s feelings and moods, and in addition she has to keep track of time tables and bookings along the itinerary.

– The most wonderful thing about my job is to see people´s faces when they see something new, the smiles and the excitement. I feel gratitude when I see how amazing they find my country, Mariela said.

She told me that it was not possible for her to choose a favourite place in her country – but she admitted that she has a special love for the beaches and the National Parks. She adds that the diversity of the country is it´s real secret, and that the cities also have their charm.

– The green everywhere is what makes you feel happy and Pura Vida here, Mariela said.

Mariela´s favorite photos

I asked Mariela to share  her favorite photos taken on her trips in Costa Rica, so here is a taste of Mariela´s Costa Rica.

Volcano Poas is the second most visited National Park in Costa Rica. It is a must to visit for travellers, and also a popular spot to visit for locals. The volcano has one of the largest craters of the world.
Volcano Poas


The Blue Morpho is the icon of the rain forest, and it is very easy to spot when flying. This photo was taken in Tortuguero National Park.
Blue Morpho


Arenal Volcano and Arenal lake is located in the northern part of the country. This is the only volcano in Costa Rica with a conical shape. For the past 50 years it has been the most active volcano in Costa Rica with amazing lava flows. However, since 2009 it has taken a nap, but you can still see the steam coming out from the top.
Arenal volcano and Arenal lake - photo Mariela Brenes Madrigal


The three-toed sloth is one of the two species of sloths that live in the forests in Costa Rica. This photo taken in Tortuguero National Park.
Three toed slot


On the road in Vara Blanca, which is a part of the cloud forest. This is one of the greenest parts of the country.
Vara Blanca


A white faced capuchin monkey and his mommy. You have to be careful when you meet these monkeys because they’re very naughty and will try to take your things looking for food.  This photo is taken in Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific Coast.
White faced capuchin monkey with his mom


The Eyelashed Pit Viper is scary, but still so cute that you fall in love!  It is one of the 22 venomous species of snakes which are found in Costa Rica. In total there are more than 140 species of snakes. The photo is taken in Arenal National Park in the Central part of Costa Rica.
The Eyelashed Pit Viper


To the left: The beach in the Manuel Antonio National Park is surrounded by nature and is a true paradise! This is the smallest of the National Parks in Costa Rica, but still the most visited park. To the right: The waterfall in Rio Celeste. The colour of the water is caused by an optical phenomenon that makes you see the water in this clear, light blue colour. The photo taken in the Tenorio National Park in the northern part of Costa Rica.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Rio Celeste

A beautiful sunset from the beach in the Manuel Antonio National Park.
Sunset Manuel Antonio NP

Pura Vida from Mariela


I visited Costa Rica in collaboration with Futuropa. As usual, Taste of Slow maintains the full editorial control of the content published on this site, and all opinions are my own.

About the Author Elin

I´m an Oslo based web publisher with passion for communication, travel and a green lifestyle. When I travel, I prefer to go slow, sustainable, and “live like a local”. Why slow? It is about challenging the cult of speed, and to enjoy the small things in life and to live in the present.

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