Best Places to Visit in Costa Rica

As far as truly natural wonders go, Costa Rica sets the stake high with its incredibly photogenic landscape.

Nature on a Symphonic Scale in the Jungle

With an evergreen blanket as far as the eye can see, adventurous bridges and a riot of nature sounds, the rainforest of Costa Rica will take your breath away. It covers almost the entire country centered around San Jose, offering a different taste in every region. If you head to Tortuguero, where the sun-struck ocean merges with the forest majestically, you will get to experience local life at its most happening. The land here is splintered into water canals and tiny islands, lending a unique atmosphere. Cross the land to Arenal and Monteverde, and you will feel the jungle closing in on you on all sides. It is the heart of darkness in every sense, crisscrossed by the iconic hanging bridges. Arenal is one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica to witness nature’s agenda. A smoldering volcano, tantalizing hot springs, and picturesque lakes dot the land.

Manuel Antonio’s Coastal Scene Is a Wonder

Looking for the quintessential exotic tunes of Central America? The dazzling Manuel Antonio is among the best places to visit in Costa Rica. A feeling of weightlessness will sink in once you set foot on its luminous beach. But beyond the sand stretches, Manuel Antonio is an unrelenting natural reserve home to a myriad species that will liven up your trip. Get your camera ready for memorable shots of playful monkeys, caimans, and crocodiles. Boat tripping amidst the mangroves is one of the best things to try in the region. Head to Isla Damas or Tres Beach for winding down before diving into the jungle again.

visit Sarapiqui

San Jose: Costa Rica’s Traditional Center

On the diverse Costa Rican land, the roaring jungle comes to a halt and makes way for one of the most high-spirited cities in Central America. The country’s hip capital has everything to keep culturally-curious travelers satisfied. Art galleries, nightlife hubs, colonial buildings, and many more await tucked away in its sensuous streets. The touristic scene takes a sharp turn from nature, offering leisurely time in a cityscape still bound by jungle vibes. Barrio Amon is the focal point of it all, being one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica. There is not much that keeps it from being an open-air museum of architecture brimming with opulent colonial buildings. The alluring curves and edges of San Jose offer time travel through unbridled sightseeing.

Must-See Sights in Costa Rica

Here is everything you need to know about the best places to visit in Costa Rica.

the best places to visit in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio

A small Oceanside village with plenty of great places to stay tucked into nature. Famous for its national park, this tiny yet bustling town is located off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast

Why You Should Visit:

Discover the breathtaking beauty of Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio, home to world-renowned beaches, vibrant wildlife, and stunning national parks – the perfect destination for your next tropical getaway.

Don’t Miss:

-Visit Manuel Antonio National Park and take a guided tour to see the diverse wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and exotic birds.

-Relax on the beautiful beaches and take in the breathtaking scenery of the Pacific Ocean.

-Go on a sunset sailboat tour and enjoy the stunning sunset views while sipping cocktails.

Keep in Mind:

-Be prepared for crowds as it is a popular tourist destination.

-Follow park rules and regulations to preserve the natural beauty of the area.

-Watch out for wildlife, especially monkeys who are known to steal food and belongings from visitors.

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visit Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano

An active andesitic stratovolcano in north-western Costa Rica around 90 km northwest of San José, in the province of Alajuela, canton of San Carlos, and district of La Fortuna.

Why You Should Visit:

Experience the awe-inspiring majesty of Arenal Volcano, one of Costa Rica’s most iconic natural wonders, and immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty of its lush rainforest, pristine hot springs, and endless adventure opportunities.

Don’t Miss:

-Hike to the top of Arenal Volcano and take in the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding rainforest and lake.

-Take a dip in the natural hot springs and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the mineral-rich water.

-Go on a zip-line tour through the rainforest canopy and experience the exhilarating thrill of flying over the trees.

Keep in Mind:

-Take appropriate precautions while hiking and exploring the volcano as it can be dangerous.

-Bring appropriate clothing and gear as the weather can be unpredictable.

-Be aware of the potential for volcanic activity and follow instructions from local authorities in case of an emergency.

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visit Tortuguero


The high rainfall, and rich environment where the freshwater meets the sea makes the beaches, canals, lagoons and wetlands of Tortuguero areas for nature lovers.

Why You Should Visit:

Escape to the secluded paradise of Tortuguero, where you can witness the magic of sea turtles nesting on its pristine beaches, explore the winding canals of its lush rainforest, and discover the rich biodiversity of one of Costa Rica’s most unique destinations.

Don’t Miss:

-Witness the nesting of sea turtles on the beaches during the months of July through October.

-Take a guided boat tour through the canals of Tortuguero National Park and spot a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and colorful birds.

-Explore the town of Tortuguero and learn about the culture and traditions of the local community.

Keep in Mind:

-Be respectful of the local community and the conservation efforts in place to protect sea turtles and other wildlife.

-Bring appropriate clothing for the tropical climate and be prepared for rain.

-Take advantage of guided tours to learn about the area’s wildlife and ecosystem.

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visit Monteverde


A magical place in the province of Puntarenas is located 1,600 meters above sea level. The elevation adds a mystical feel to this place.

Why You Should Visit:

Embark on a journey to Monteverde, the ultimate destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers, where you can explore the wonders of its cloud forest, zip-line through the treetops, and discover a world of breathtaking beauty and unparalleled excitement.

Don’t Miss:

-Take a guided hike through the cloud forest and spot a variety of exotic wildlife, including the elusive quetzal bird.

-Go on a canopy tour and experience the thrill of zip-lining through the treetops.

-Visit the Monteverde Butterfly Garden and learn about the fascinating life cycle of butterflies and other insects.

Keep in Mind:

-Bring warm clothing as the temperature can be cooler due to the high elevation.

-Take advantage of the unique cloud forest ecosystem by going on a guided tour or exploring the trails.

-Respect the natural environment and follow park rules to preserve the area’s biodiversity.

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visit San Jose

San Jose

San José is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and the capital of the province of the same name. It is in the center of the country, in the mid-west of the Central Valley.

Why You Should Visit:

Experience the vibrant heart of Costa Rica in San Jose, where culture, history, and art come alive amidst a bustling urban landscape, offering a unique and unforgettable travel experience.

Don’t Miss:

-Visit the National Museum of Costa Rica and learn about the country’s rich history and culture.

-Explore the Central Market and sample a variety of local food and drink, including the famous Costa Rican coffee.

-Take a walking tour of the historic downtown area and see the beautiful architecture and landmarks, including the Teatro Nacional and the Cathedral.

Keep in Mind:

-Be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to ensure personal safety.

-Explore the city’s rich history and culture by visiting museums and landmarks.

-Try the local cuisine and experience the vibrant nightlife.

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visit Rincon de la Vieja

Rincon de la Vieja

RincĂłn de la Vieja is an active andesitic complex volcano in north-western Costa Rica, about 23 km from Liberia, in the province of Guanacaste.

Why You Should Visit:

Discover the hidden gem of Rincon de la Vieja, where adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty converge in a breathtaking setting of majestic waterfalls, thermal pools, and endless opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and exploring the untamed wilderness of Costa Rica.

Don’t Miss:

-Take a guided hike to the top of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding rainforest and countryside..

-Relax in the natural hot springs and mud baths, known for their therapeutic properties.

-Go on a horseback riding tour and explore the beautiful countryside, waterfalls, and wildlife.

Keep in Mind:

-Bring appropriate clothing and gear for hiking and exploring the park’s rugged terrain.

-Be aware of the potential for volcanic activity and follow instructions from local authorities in case of an emergency.

-Take advantage of the park’s hot springs and other natural features for a relaxing experience.

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Costa Rica FAQ

What are the best waterfalls to visit in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is home to a wide variety of stunning waterfalls, ranging from small hidden gems to large cascades surrounded by lush rainforest. Some of the most popular waterfalls to visit include La Fortuna Waterfall, Nauyaca Waterfalls, and Rio Celeste Waterfall. Visitors can enjoy swimming, hiking, and even cliff jumping in some of these breathtaking natural wonders. Other notable waterfalls include Llanos de Cortes Waterfall, Montezuma Waterfall, and Catarata Del Toro. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful and secluded setting or a more adventurous experience, there’s a waterfall in Costa Rica for every traveler to explore.

What are the best places to enjoy the nightlife in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica offers a lively and diverse nightlife scene, with options for every type of traveler. San Jose is the hub of nightlife, with a range of bars and clubs that cater to locals and tourists. Beach towns like Jaco, Tamarindo, and Manuel Antonio offer beachfront bars and restaurants, as well as live music venues that keep the party going all night long. On the Caribbean Coast, Puerto Viejo has a more relaxed and laid-back vibe, with bars and restaurants that offer a mix of local and international cuisine. No matter where you go in Costa Rica, you’re sure to find a vibrant and exciting nightlife scene to enjoy

What are the best places to go surfing in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a surfer’s paradise, offering some of the best breaks in the world. Tamarindo is a popular surf spot, with consistent waves and breaks suitable for all levels of surfers. Other popular surf destinations on the Pacific Coast include Jaco, Playa Hermosa, and Nosara, all of which offer a variety of breaks and surf schools. On the Caribbean Coast, Puerto Viejo is a popular surf spot, with waves that are best for more experienced surfers. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, Costa Rica offers a variety of surf breaks and destinations to choose from.

What are the top activities to do in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve?

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a nature lover’s dream destination, with a variety of activities to choose from. Canopy tours offer a thrilling way to experience the forest from a unique perspective, while hiking trails provide the opportunity to explore the diverse ecosystem of the reserve. Birdwatching is a popular activity in Monteverde, with the opportunity to spot hundreds of bird species, including the elusive resplendent quetzal. The reserve also offers night hikes, butterfly gardens, and educational tours, making it a great destination for families and travelers of all ages. No matter what you choose to do, a visit to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is sure to be a memorable and unforgettable experience.

What are the best beaches to visit in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica boasts some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world, each offering their own unique atmosphere and activities. Playa Manuel Antonio is a popular beach located within Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its crystal clear waters and lush green surroundings. For those looking to surf, Playa Tamarindo offers a lively atmosphere with plenty of waves to catch. Playa Conchal is a picturesque beach with white sand and turquoise waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Playa Guiones, located on the Nicoya Peninsula, is a great spot for surfing and relaxation. With so many stunning beaches to choose from, it’s no wonder why Costa Rica is a top destination for beach lovers.

What are the must-see national parks in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has a wealth of stunning national parks, each offering unique natural wonders and outdoor activities. Manuel Antonio National Park, located on the Pacific Coast, is known for its beautiful beach and abundant wildlife. Arenal Volcano National Park is home to the active Arenal Volcano, making it a popular destination for hiking, hot springs, and outdoor adventure activities. Tortuguero National Park is known for its sea turtle nesting season, and boasts an extensive network of canals and diverse wildlife. Corcovado National Park, located on the Osa Peninsula, offers some of the country’s most pristine rainforest, and is home to a vast array of flora and fauna, including jaguars, tapirs, and macaws. Whether you’re looking for a scenic hike, wildlife spotting, or just a chance to relax in nature, Costa Rica’s national parks offer something for everyone.

What are the top tourist attractions in San Jose?

Japan offers numerous hiking trails with stunning scenery and a range of difficulty levels. One popular trail is the Kumano Kodo, a network of pilgrimage routes in the Kii Peninsula that includes ancient shrines and temples, as well as hot springs and waterfalls. The Nakasendo Trail, an old highway connecting Kyoto and Tokyo, offers a glimpse into traditional Japanese villages and landscapes. For more challenging hikes, the Northern Japan Alps, including the peaks of Mount Fuji, Mount Tateyama, and Mount Yari, offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The Yakushima Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another great destination for hiking, with trails through ancient forests and along rugged coastlines.

Where can I go zip-lining in the Arenal area?

To attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, you typically need to be invited by a host who is well-versed in the practice. It’s important to dress appropriately and arrive on time. During the ceremony, you’ll be served a bowl of matcha tea and a small snack while you observe the intricate and deliberate movements of the host. It’s important to be respectful and follow the customs and etiquette, such as bowing and using both hands to receive the tea. It’s also customary to express gratitude to the host after the ceremony.

What are the best hot springs to visit near the Arenal Volcano?

Traveling on a budget in Japan can be a challenge, as Japan is known to be an expensive country. However, there are several ways to save money while exploring this beautiful country. One of the most effective ways is to use public transportation, such as trains and buses, instead of renting a car or taking a taxi. It’s also important to eat like a local, which means looking for affordable local eateries and convenience store food. Staying in budget accommodations, such as hostels and capsule hotels, can also help keep costs down.

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