Knowing where to go in Costa Rica is tricky. There are so many tropical destinations to choose from! Costa Rica destinations are full of beautiful scenery and stunning backdrops–from the warmth of a sandy beach to the mystery of the cloud forest. The presidential constitutional republic of Costa Rica is home to some of friendliest people on the planet. They are proud to share their country with its lucky visitors. A constant problem for vacationers who wish to experience Costa Rica is the incredibly vast number of unique points of interest.
The Full Variety of Costa Rica Destinations
From the Costa Rica Caribbean coast to the Pacific coast there are a variety of rainforests, cloud forests, volcanos and beaches to visit. For example, Arenal Volcano National Park offers visitors countless opportunities to enjoy hot springs, hiking, fishing or white water rafting. The fabulous beaches of Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, Puerto Viejo (just to name a few) attract beach lovers, surfers and outdoor enthusiasts for their natural beauty and tropical atmosphere. The Monteverde Cloud Forest is the perfect place to spend a birding vacation and hike above the canopy on hanging bridges. Between all these gorgeous attractions, 5-star resorts and world-class tours, you have no choice but to just come and enjoy yourself. And My Costa Rica can help! Let us plan a custom Costa Rica vacation for you and your family.
The central valley is characterized by coffee plantations surrounded by lush mountains and volcanoes. Many people spend their first and last nights in the city or use San José as a jumping off point for day trips to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Poas Volcano or rafting on the Pacuare river.
The airport is just under twenty minutes from the capital city of San José. The Central Valley is steeped in history and culture. Here you will find the biggest population being mainly in the bustling town of San José. Visit the museums, eat out in the stylish Barrio Escalante or take a city tour. Did you know San Jose is not the country’s first capital?
Poas is the most visited volcano in the Central Valley. The amazingly dense forest park that surrounds the two craters makes it an oasis close to the city! Volcan Poas has one of the largest active craters in the world. The crater lake measures over a mile wide and over 900 feet deep. There are two crater lakes near the summit of Poas. The National Park consists of nearly 15,000 acres that encompass at least four different habitats. This is another testament to Costa Rica’s amazing biodiversity.
Irazu Volcano and Cartago
Head to Cartago to see fantastic Ruins. Visit the beautiful and peaceful Orosi Valley and lastly the famous Irazu volcano. Irazu is also considered to be the most active volcano in Costa Rica but is still perfectly safe to visit since every precaution is taken. When traveling through Costa Rica, don’t forget to try the national dishes! San Jose has many local restaurants where you can try Gallo Pinto and Casado, the traditional dishes consisting of rice and beans. When visiting Irazu, stop by the most haunted place in Costa Rica – the Duran Sanatorium.
In Guanacaste, the flora and fauna and authentic culture are not only magical but also add a lot historical and scientific interest. Guanacaste is sun, sea, and sand, surfing, and swimming; there is no better way to sum things up. Be prepared for the best beaches Costa Rica has the offer when you come here.
The Gulf of Papagayo is ideal for those looking for an all-inclusive holiday as well as enjoy calm, serene waters and relatively quiet beaches like Panama and Hermosa as well as the more bustling Playas del Coco. This area also holds the coveted Blue Flag for its environmental efforts.
Affectionately called TamaGringo by locals, Tamarindo is the most popular beach destination in Costa Rica. this is the perfect town to go out, get a great dinner, shop for souvenirs and get your first surfing lesson!
Often called the most stunning beach in Guanacaste, Conchal is a public beach as well as a reserve. The white, crushed shell beach is considered a heritage site and you are forbidden to take them with you. Just sit back, relax, go for a swim and enjoy!
Experience this region with the famous ne day adventure pass or have a relaxing time soaking in the natural hot springs and mud baths. Also, learn all about the cattle farming in this region. Guanacaste is known for its Cowboy Culture and Liberia as well Rincon de la Vieja still reflect this culture to a large degree.
Separated from the mainland by the Tempisque estuary and the Gulf of Nicoya. This region is called home to many of the immaculate and spectacular Beaches of Costa Rica. The Nicoya Peninsula has also been named one of the Blue Zones of the world. Its desire for a long and happy life has marked the destinations by a lifestyle much closer to Pura Vida than anywhere else.
Santa Teresa, Malpais, and Montezuma
At these beaches, essential beauty and tranquil bliss will always remain together with so much beach fun, and especially surfing! This region seems to have its own culture and ways; there is a distinctive feel to it as one travel through the exotic little rural towns, their cowboys with their herds.
Spot the legendary Olive Ridley sea turtles nesting and the eggs hatching by visiting Ostional Wildlife Refuge. In the afternoons you can take a tour to see the turtles nesting and, in the mornings, you can see the eggs hatching! Watching a baby turtle make its way to the ocean is one of the most beautiful things you will ever see!
This lovely little beach is the best example of this zest for life. The community is a rich mix of locals and expats that are united by a certain kind of hippie spirit. The horses used in the horseback riding tours roam the further ends of the beaches freely in-between tours and the small but charming town is alive with color.
A further extension of this Pure Life can be found in Nosara. Nosara is the yoga epicenter of Nicoya as well as the whole country. it is also a great destination for the keen (intermediate) surfer.
Whether it is raining or the sun is shining, the hypnotic beauty of the Osa will enchant you and give you the most memorable vacation you ever dreamed. So much natural beauty and peace never seemed possible! The Osa is another world. It alone makes up 2.5 percent of the world’s biodiversity.
This small bay is located at the northern part of Osa Peninsula. It is a stunning destination where you can try your hand at snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, sports fishing, swimming, horseback riding, bird watching and hiking. While Drake Bay is the northern entrance, Cabo Matapalo is the southern point. This is a truly remote piece of nature with stunning jungle and ocean.
Uvita may be small, but it is famous for two big things. The Whale Tail Beach, and the Envision Festival. The beautiful golden sands and swaying palm trees feature tropical rain forest right up to the sand. From here you can take the famous whale watching tours in the hope to spot the Humpback whales, whale sharks, dolphins and Bryde´s whales at Marino Ballena National Park.
Calling all snorkelers and scuba divers! Cano Island is one of the best destinations for the underwater explorers. Cano Island is surrounded by coral reefs and rock formations which makes it a hotspot to see marine life. Spot manta rays, mobula rays, whale sharks, reef sharks like the white-tipped reef sharks, moorish idols, dolphins, moray eels, sea turtles, and so on. This will be a snorkel adventure you won’t soon forget!
Within Corcovado you can find 13 major ecosystems, all four monkey species, all four sea turtle species and over 40 frog species. In addition there are 100 butterfly species, 10,000 insect species, several types of snakes, over 25 lizard species all six feline species, tapirs, crocodiles, peccaries and over 400 bird species!
The cultural mix created by the clash of Caribbean culture and Costa Rican Latin flavor produces a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the country.
Food and drink are a favorite past time of many here. Sit at any local hub and sip your favorite mix. Watch the sunset glide through the sky as you relax at the end of another beautiful day. Time is slow, and the scenery is perfect. Tico time takes on a new meaning here.
Visit the Cahuita National Park to see cute monkeys, sloths and birds. Cahuita is also the best destination for snorkeling because of its stunning, colorful reefs.
Puerto Viejo truly embraces the easy-going Caribbean way of life and the unique mix of Afro-Caribbean, Costa Rican, BriBri Native American and ex-pats makes it a cultural destination that you don’t want to miss. During the day the atmosphere is easy going and peaceful. Visitors who are not visiting sloths at the Jaguar Rescue Center or hiking through Cahuita National Park are usually relaxing on beaches like Playa Cocles.
Tortuguero National Park is an ecotourist’s dream located on the northeast Caribbean coast. The stunning National Park protects one of the largest remaining areas of tropical rainforest in Central America. The park offers vast, protected beaches from which you can enjoy endless ocean vistas. Tortuguero is derived from the Spanish word Tortuga (turtle) and it is one of the best places in the world to see Giant Green Sea Turtles lay their eggs and then watch as the baby turtles hatch and make their way to the sea. From June to October every year, hordes of Giant Green Sea Turtles come to the beaches to nest.
The Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is located near the Panama border on the Southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. It is classified as a humid tropical rainforest, but it’s also home to many different ecological habitats including mangrove swamps, wetland and lowland rainforest, protecting some of Costa Rica’s most endangered plants and animal species. Endangered species that Gandoca Manzanillo protects include the Manatee, the Ocelot and the Jaguar and an exotic variety of birds.
Costa Rica’s Southern Zone is one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica! You will find so much diversity in nature climate and personalities of people here. The only way to find out about it is to visit. Why not come and take part in great adventure tours discovery the beauty of this region every step that you take.
Are you a passionate bird watcher? Then this is the perfect destination or you. Los Quetzales National Park is 12,355 acres and home to three different kinds of rainforests and 14 ecosystems! It is the ideal place for a birding vacation in Costa Rica. You’ll see the Resplendent Quetzal in addition to woodpeckers, trogons and hummingbirds.
Mount Chirripo is the highest point of Costa Rica at 3820 meters! Hiking up this mountain is a must do activity as you will pass through different climates from the lush jungle to the Tundra close to the top.
The Northern Zone is a haven for the nature enthusiasts looking for some unique ecosystems to explore. The Northern Zone is also a great location for an adventure vacation. You can take legendary rafting tours and ride the longest zip line in Latin America in Monteverde.
Monteverde attracts nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive quetzal. Explore the fascinating cloud forest as well as the coffee plantations this area is so famous for. You can take several self-guided hikes and spot birds, sloths, monkeys and insects as well as stunning flora.
Welcome to Costa Rica’s most popular destination! Arenal is a haven for the adventure tourist as well as those looking for romance, relaxation or nature. Explore the hanging bridges, relax in the hot springs, hike to the La Fortuna Waterfall, go white-water rafting, canyoning, all in one trip!
Locals say Rio Celeste owes its heavenly, blue color to God dipping his brush in the water while he was painting the sky. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations and an easy hike for those wanting to immerse themselves into Costa Rica’s stunning natural surroundings.
The clear waters and sculpted coastline offer the perfect setting for surfing or just a relaxing vacation. Ideal for Surfing that big wave or relaxing on a sandy beach. The Central Pacific is home to an uncountable amount of animals; such variety extends from the dry rainforests of the region. When you visit, make sure to bring your flip flop beach towel and a surfboard.
Manual Antonio may be Costa Rica’s smallest national park, but it more than makes up for that in biodiversity. During your hike through the park, you will spot sloths, birds, monkeys, and more! Manuel Antonio is also a great destination for surfing, parasailing, horseback riding, zip lining, and just relaxing on the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica!
Jaco and Playa Hermosa
Jaco is known as the party beach at the Central Pacific as well as a fine surfing destination while Hermosa is a little bit calmer but still a great surf spot. From Jaco, it would also be rewarding to visit the Tarcoles Bridge as well as Carara National Park.