Costa Rica literally means ‘Rich coast’ and it truly lives up to its literal meaning! It is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua, Panama, The Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Ecuador. It boasts a tropical climate and is home to a variety of flora and fauna. If you are looking for a place to spend a relaxing and adventurous holiday, then look no further. Costa Rica is the place to be! From relaxing at the beautiful, sandy beaches to exploring the wild-life in Costa Rica, there is a lot to do.
Let’s take a look at some of the best activities that Costa Rica has to offer and we can bet that you’ll be booking a ticket, as soon as you are done reading it all!
Places to Visit in Costa Rica
Nicoya peninsula is an 80-mile shoreline which is popular for its cream-colored shores and beautiful forests. The Nicoya Peninsula skirts the Pacific and can be reached by car from San Jose’, a drive that typically takes around 4-5 hours. But, rest assured, the drive is worth it!
Nosara beach is very popular amongst surfers and beach-lovers. The picturesque turquoise water with colorful fish and gorgeous sunset are enough to take your breath away. Sunset walks are very popular along Nosara beach.
Another favorite spot is the coastal town of Montezuma. It is a charming town with exquisite waterfalls. Hotels and restaurants have popped in recent years to accommodate the increasing influx of visitors!
Arenal Volcano National Park
The Arenal volcano National Park is a must-see! Arenal plays a major role in power production of Costa Rica. This national park has two volcanoes. The Chato volcano has been inactive for the past 3500 years and contains a lagoon, formed by a crater. The active volcano is The Arenal Volcano, with a consistent lava flow since 1968.
The quaint town of La Fortuna lies on the eastern border of Arenal volcano, whereas the active vent of the volcano is on the western side. The park contains short trails through the forest and lava fields, created by previous eruptions. Do not be afraid as the park rangers keep an eye on the volcanic activity and close the trails, if deemed necessary! The park is rich in a variety of fauna including tapir, snakes, parrots, howler monkeys and white-faced monkeys. It is rich in flora, too, including orchids, fungi and ferns.
Guanacaste is known as the ‘Gold coast’ of Costa Rica. Within Costa Rica, it is considered a unique destination as it boasts secluded beaches and dry, sunny savannas. The coastline goes all the way to Nicaragua and is composed of white, sandy pockets!
If you go deeper inland, you’ll find a rich cowboy culture that has flourished here since the Spanish colonial rule! Santa Rosa National Park is a must-visit. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are interested in visiting volcano sites, hot springs and beautiful waterfalls, then Rincón de la Vieja National Park is a must-see!
San Jose is Costa Rica’s capital and is more of a cosmopolitan city, however, don’t be fooled! It has a rich history and houses rare and exquisite pre-Columbian artifacts. Jade museum is very popular. If you are not a history buff, then you might want to visit the trendy and hip Escazu with an array of nightclubs, shopping malls and modern restaurants. Keep in mind that it is easy to explore the city on foot.
Corcavado National Park
Corcovado National Park is known as the ‘Crown Jewel’ of Costa Rica’s parks. It is mainly composed of tropical rainforests and is rich in a diverse population of flora and fauna. It has the largest population of Macaws and harbors the endangered squirrel monkey.
Hiking and camping are permitted within the park and it takes around 2-3 days for hikers to move from one end of the park to the other end. The Corcavado Lake is a popular place for Tapir-sighting, as they usually come here to quench their thirst. When camping, be aware of high tides and crocodiles. Crocodiles are known to inhabit the mangroves and estuaries. If camping, make sure you have enough food, sunblock and insect-repellants!
Manuel Antonio National Park
It is a 3 squares-mile park and one of the smallest protected green spaces in Costa Rica. The white, sandy beaches lined with palm trees give it a beautiful and scenic look. You can relax under the shade of palm trees and enjoy the beach.
The white sand of the beaches contrast with the vivid, purple and orange crabs, that are normally seen here. Or if you are looking for a bit of action, hop on to the nature trail and find yourself in the company of furry monkeys. You can also spot rare birds and iguanas on your way.
MonteVerde Cloud Forest Reserve
This forest is located in the Northern Plains. Misty oasis and striking, tall trees engulf you in a mysterious world. Monteverde is a lush reserve, with more than 400 types of birds and 2500 types of plants. Hiking trails are available, but if you want to avoid crowds, you can easily access the hanging bridges and ziplines.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
This is a village located on the Caribbean coast and no wonder, reggae music, funky bars and wild nightlife are a staple over here. Coconut tress line the Cocles beach, which is widely popular amongst surfers. Dusty-biking and walking paths run through tropical areas. If you are looking for a relaxing, secluded spot, then you should visit Playa Negra’s black-sand beach. It is less crowded and can give you the solitude that you want!
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
La Paz means peaceful, but don’t fall for its name! This place is buzzing with wild-life. From the tiniest croaking fogs to howling jaguars, it is a paradise for animal lovers. Add to it the beauty of blooming orchids and waterfalls, and voila’, your vacation is made! Though it is expensive, the natural beauty that you get to see is worth every penny you spend.
Tabacon Hot Springs
At the base of Arenal Volcano, you can access the Tabacon Hot Springs. The luxurious thermal springs are expensive to bathe in, but they are worth every penny you spend. The springs are 97% rainwater and 3% magma. The ambiance created by tropical foliage and waterfalls add another dimension to your experience. Since it is a very popular destination, reservations have to be made in advance!
Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge
Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is a haven for bird-watchers. It lies near La Fortuna and is a refuge for swampy wildlife. Cano Negro should be skipped if you are visiting Cano Negro during the dry spell, as the lagoon becomes dry and the local animals migrate to other areas. During high season, crocodiles can be easily seen crawling through the muddy areas. Jaguars, turtles, storks and water birds are usually seen.
Activities in Costa Rica
Now that we have a background knowledge of the most coveted places in Costa Rica, let us take a look at how we can make the most of it!
If you love horses and riding them even more, then you just got to the best holiday destination! Horseback riding is pretty common in the mountainous and beachy terrain of Costa Rica. Local farmers regularly rent out their horses to tourists and it is a great way to explore the scenic landscape of Costa Rica.
You just can’t visit Costa Rica and not go for zip lining! It is almost like a staple for visitors. Costa Rica is famous for its zip lines, but if you are scared of heights, don’t fret! Not all zip lines are high and long. Sky adventures in Monteverde and Arenal are very famous.
Cruising and Enjoying the Sunset
This is one of the most relaxing activity. Guanacaste is especially famous for cruising and enjoying the sunset, partly because of its beautiful beaches. Almost all cruises offer a chance to snorkel and get up, close and personal with the beautiful marine life!
Surfing The Waves
If you love surf-boarding, then Costa Rica is the perfect spot to hit! The surfing beaches offer the best waves in Latin America and if you are up for it, surf lessons are also available.
Enjoying the Waterfall?
If you love gazing at the waterfalls and are a thrill seeker at heart, then rappelling the waterfall is just what you need! It is an adventure of a lifetime and it completely satisfies your thrill-seeking soul!
Costa Rican coasts is literally a treasure of beautiful, sandy beaches. If you are a beach lover, then you have a lot to choose from. Why not beach hop and take in the as many beaches as you can? You can do it by boat or on foot!
Central Valley Drive
Costa Rica is famous for its naturally beautiful landscapes. You don’t need a guided tour to soak in the beauty of Costa Rica, rather you just need a car and GPS and you can explore the beauty of Costa Rica by driving through the Central Valley.
Trams Through the Forests
If you need a more relaxing way to explore the lush-green and bio-diverse forests, then you can do so on a tram. Sky trams at Arenal and Monteverde provide stunning views and a possibility of seeing the wild-life pretty closely.
The Stone Spheres
The mysterious stone spheres are a big attraction. They are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are found near Sierpe and are an amazing sight!
The Olive Ridely Sea Turtles
Costa Rica is well-known for its conservation work related to turtles. This refuge is famous for its conservation work related to Olive Ridley turtles. If you are interested in charity work, they even offer volunteer work. Costa Ricans take pride in their conservation efforts.
Costa Rica has a rich marine life and it is no surprise that fishing is considered a very good activity. The locals are knowledgeable and can help you in sport fishing. You can even take your catch to a restaurant and ask them to cook it for you!
Exploring the Arenal Volcano National Park
This park has a lot to offer and is one of the best parks. From hiking to zip lining to wild-life watching, it is full of activities for every one! And of course, the mystery and thrill of a volcano adds a certain charm to the park!
Jumping off Waterfalls?
Looking at a waterfall is nice, but jumping off one is even better! For the thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies, this is a must. Jaco and Uvita have the best waterfalls to jump off from!
Up, Close and Personal with Monkeys and Sloths
White-face monkeys and sloths sure know how to win your hearts. The monkeys are especially cheeky and playful! At the Manuel Antonio National Park, you can have a close encounter with the monkeys. Because of a high number of visitors, the monkeys are quiet used to people around them and are certainly not scared of them!
Explore the Caves
The limestone caves of Costa Rica at Barra Honda National Park are very interesting. They can go as deep as 250 meters. The rock formations are awe-inspiring as are the stalagmites.
A Cup of Coffee, Maybe?
Costa Rica grows the best coffee plants in the world. If you are one of those people who don’t start their day without a big mug of coffee, then a visit to a coffee plantation is a must! It is educational, enlightening and you get to drink world-class coffee, too!
Rio Tarcoles is famous for its crocodiles. If you are faint-hearted then a walk over the bridge is enough for you to observe the crocodiles. But if you are adventurous, then a boat tour down the river should not be missed. You can see the crocodiles closely!
If You Are Looking for a Perfect Spot to Have Fun, Relax and Seek Thrill, Then Costa Rica Is the Place to Be!