Best things to do in Costa Rica
Find out more about those top places in Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s smallest national park and, given its proximity to San José, is also its most popular. Covering less than 7 square kilometers, Manuel Antonio receives upwards of 300000 visitors per year, which can make for overcrowded trails and a lack of facilities. Despite this, on quiet days Manuel Antonio remains one of Costa Rica’s most enchanting landscapes with limestone-white beaches, spectacular coastal rock formations and an astounding array of wildlife – 109 species of mammal and 184 species of bird. The most famous location in the park is Cathedral Point, a tombolo linking a jungle-clad rocky outcrop to the mainland.
Manuel Antonio Beach is located at Manuel Antonio Park, and it is one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Watching the sunset on this beach always guarantees an incredible feeling of fulfillment while the beautiful vegetation surrounding the beach makes for a fascinating sight. Also, the consistent waves that hit this beach make it a great location for surfing and snorkeling. All these put together, make the beach one of the most beautiful in the entire country.
When Forbes lists a park among the top 10 most beautiful parks in the world, you should know that it is one that you should definitely visit. The park's unique flora and fauna species are one of many factors that contribute to Forbes' recognition of the park. During the tour of this beautiful park, you would also get to see the four different monkey species that Costa Rica has.
White water rafting at the Savagre River makes for an experience of a lifetime you try to maneuver around magnetic rocks and dredges in the wild river. This thrilling and adrenaline-filled experience is always a favorite among tourists who visit the site. Apart from the thrill from the rafting experience, there are beautiful sights to see as the river cuts across a number of forests and canyons.
Perched atop some of the Central America’s highest mountains is the otherworldly landscape of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. If the name makes the reserve sound dreamlike that is because it is – with near one hundred percent humidity year round and a constant cloak of mist the forest is one of the world’s most magical landscapes. The park is well-known for its treetop walking routes that allow for aerial views over the astoundingly verdant landscape, where plants grow in layers atop one another, green moss blankets everything in sight and the sounds of hundreds of species of bird echo from the enveloping fog. What is more, the park’s relative isolation makes it a true hidden gem with a fraction of the visitors received by Costa Rica’s coastal national parks.
Curi Cancha Wildlife Refuge is a haven of different bird and mammal species. These animals are placed here to protect them from poaching and other factors that could endanger them. This refuge essentially is dedicated to protection of the planet's natural resources and maintenance of the amazing diversity of this cloud forest. Tour guides are on ground to ensure that you do not lose your way.
Soaring high in the Monteverde Cloud Forest are Quetzels who are an epitome of beauty and grace. This Cloud Forest receives a huge number of visitors every year who simply come to see the Resplendent Quetzals. The Quetzal is generally loved all through Central America and is considered the national bird of Guatemala. This bird-watching experience is one that you shouldn't pass up.
See the world below pass by you quickly while soaring through the Monteverde cloud forest canopy at Selvatura Park. This exciting 3-hour zip line tour packs a load of incredible sights and amazing scenes all laying below you. A tour such as this is bound to leave you totally thrilled.
Sky Walk of the Monteverde Cloud forest is a great way to take a deep, educated look at the ecosystem of this location and the components of the ecosystem as well. This 2.5 km circuit trail extends all the way around the forest through very distinct levels of the uniquely structured and diverse ecosystem. The sheer height of the bridges gives you a thrill as well.
Founded in 1995, Arenal Volcano National Park is one of Costa Rica’s newest and most spectacular destinations. Unsurprisingly, the park is most famous for the conical Arenal Volcano, which rises above the surrounding tropical jungle. What is more, the volcano is one of the world’s most active and while climbing to the summit is strictly forbidden webcams in various visitor centers let you see lava flows up close. Given the area’s volcanic activity, minor earth tremors are commonplace and add a healthy dose of excitement to what is already a thrilling experience. Arenal National Park also has a number of well maintained hiking trails, the best of which is Lookout Point Trail that offers expansive views of lava slowing cascading down the nearby hillside.
This is the site of the most thrilling, exciting and awesome activities in all of Costa Rica. At Arenal Volcano National Park, there are a number of beautiful sights including waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and volcanic mountains. You could also engage in activities such as rafting, windsurfing, bird watching, hiking, canyoning among others.
A tour of the many beautiful tourist attraction sites in Costa Rica without seeing the La Fortuna Waterfall makes for an incomplete tour. The waterfall has its source in the Fortuna River and flows through the thick rainforest of the Arenal Volcano National Park before dropping off a 200 feet (60.96 m) high cliff. The sight of the falls is a beauty to behold while swimming in the pool at the base of the waterfall is an experience of a lifetime.
This is clearly one of the most beautiful tourist attraction sites in Costa Rica. The most beautiful sights can be viewed right from the shores of the lake, with the Arenal Volcano to the east of the lake and a number of forested hills surrounding the lake. Exciting activities that tourists can participate in include bird watching, windsurfing and kayaking among others.
The Chato volcano was said to have its last eruption about 3,500 years ago and until 2017, this volcano was regarded as an inactive volcano. However, since it was declared active, the number of tourists that visit this site have skyrocketed. Two different peaks adorn the hill with the higher one being called "The Thorn" while the smaller one is called "Little Chato".
Not far away from the Arenal Volcano is a mountainous terrain that is suitable for canyoneering. Standing atop this terrain and looking down, the view of the waterfall near and the rich vegetation down below are breathtaking. Upon getting to the base, it takes about 10 minutes to hike back up to the canyoneering spot but the beautiful sights make the hike worth it.
A lot of chocolate is produced from the cocoa plantation here in the Arenal Volcano. A tour through this site will expose you to just how the indigenes of the Arenal Volcano value their chocolate. As soon as the chocolate tour is done, you could go experience a thrilling time at the white waters of tropical Balsa River which you can sail using a raft.
Gravity Falls is a really hyped activity in Costa Rica, and rightly so. This goes beyond the normal canyoneering that you know, it is a lot more thrilling. Go straight to the top of high terrains that have canyon pools beneath them for what is going to be the most terrific jump of your life. You can go as high as 40 feet (12.19 m) before taking the jump into the beautiful canyon pool below.
White water rafting at the tropical Balsa River gives you an experience of a lifetime as you try to maneuver around magnetic rocks and dredges in the wild river. The thrilling and adrenaline-filled experience is always a favorite among tourists who visit the site. Apart from the thrill from the rafting experience, there are beautiful sights to see as the river cuts across nice forests and canyons.
Far removed from San José, the sprawling capital of Costa Rica, Tortuguero National Park is one of the country’s most visited attractions. Tortuguero translates as ‘turtle catcher’, which gives a hint to why the park is famed across the world. Between July and August each year the stunning green sea turtle and the less common hawksbill turtle lay their eggs on the park’s pristine beaches. Beyond the turtles, the park’s interior of dense rainforests and thick mangrove swamps is home to a dazzling array of tropical species, including howler monkeys. Due to the park’s exceedingly rainy climate, exploration is largely limited to enchanting jungle cruises through swamps and brackish lagoons.
The Sea Turtle Conservancy Visitor's Center is located at the Tortuguero National Park and has been existing for more than 4 decades, making it the oldest green turtle conservation center in the world. At this site, you would get to see green turtles and learn about how they live and interact. When visiting the Tortuguero National Park, this is one site you shouldn't pass up on.
This National Park is unique for quite a number of reasons, one of which is that the park is one of the few sites in the Western Hemisphere, if not the only one, where Green Turtles can be found. Another massive boost to the uniqueness of this park is the presence of a number of solitary beaches where you can relax and soak in the sunlight.
The vast Rincón de la Vieja National Park is one of the most biologically diverse regions in Central America. Despite the park’s proximity to the city of Liberia, it remains a hidden gem that seems a world away from urban sprawl and mass tourism. The park’s name comes from one of the two active volcanoes that loom over it while numerous other thermal springs and volcanito (small volcanoes) punctuate the jungle-clad landscape. The park’s multitude of natural wonders can be explored via a well-maintained network of hiking trails where you can also spot a variety of monkeys, big cats and the iconic animal of Costa Rica, the sloth.
Located in Rincón de la Vieja Park is a volcano that is still quite active. This is pretty easy to tell from the bubbling water lagoons around it. Around the volcano, you would also find smaller volcanoes that look like mud and sulfur water ponds that are pretty hot and give off steam. This volcano is a site for only the brave and courageous.
Vandara Hot Springs offers tourists the opportunity to take in the magnificent view of the beautiful nature spread out while zip lining across the sky. The thrill you would feel from this experience would leave you craving another experience. Similarly, there are a number of other interesting sights that are worth checking out.
One thing that remains on the minds of tourists on their way to Vida Aventura Nature Park is an adventure. There are two options for touring the beautiful park, you can choose to tour while floating across the sky on a zip line or you can go horse riding to get an up-close look at the beautiful sights in this park.
White water rafting is a sport that is very popular in Costa Rica because the country has lots of rivers that are suitable for rafting. The thrilling and adrenaline-filled experience is always a favorite among tourists who visit the site. Apart from the thrill of the rafting experience, there are beautiful sights to see as the river cuts across luscious forests and canyons.