Discovering the best places to visit in Costa Rica is always going to be a challenge. Given that Costa Rica is a relatively small place it has an amazing array and diversity of attractions to explore. Costa Rica has a wealth of amazing opportunities to offer visitors. From National Parks with lush rainforests teeming with biological and environmental attractions, volcanoes, crystal clear waterfalls, vibrant mix of cultures, small colorful villages to its stunning beaches and luxurious hotels it has become a destination that features heavily on many travellers bucket lists.
It really does provide travellers of all ages with a truly astounding Central American vacation experience that will imprint itself on your memory ever. Following are the eight best places to visit in Costa Rica.
1. Poas Volcano National Park
The Poas Volcano presents visitors with a spectacular, breathtaking view and the opportunity to get up close and personal to one of the largest active volcanoes in the world that still regularly explodes into the air up to 820ft. Experience the sight of craters almost a mile wide. Pools that bubble and smoke and smell of sulphur. Learn how the acid rain has impacted on the landscape and the vegetation throughout the National Park.
2. Arenal Volcano National Park
This is Costa Rica’s most active volcano and has a constant flow of lava. In 1968, three craters burst open along the volcano’s western flank killing 87 people and flooding the towns of Pueblo Nuevo and Tabacon with toxic gas and hot rocks. In September of the same year, “Crater A” began again to emit lava, and remained the most active crater until 1973. Its hot springs are also one of the Arenal Volcano National Park attractions you can enjoy a volcanic mud wrap are a hot stone massage here.
The more daring can go whitewater rafting, zip lining, hiking are even hanging bridge walks. Take the challenge to visit the 200 feet high La Fortuna Waterfall for a swim. Are Celeste River which is one Costa Rica’s most famous landmarks with is incredible light blue water.
3. Manuel Antonia National Park
A popular destination with travellers, the Manuel Antonia National Park has a series of small idyllic beaches and bays surrounded by lush rainforest. This incredible variety of wildlife and rich vegetation is internationally acknowledged to be the most biodiverse park on the planet. Along with 109 species of mammals including white-faced and howler monkeys sloths and iguanas it has 184 species of birds and it’s also home to the endangered squirrel monkeys.
4. Corcovado National Park
This is a very special destination in which visitors greatly treasure the experience. With no accessible road system, you travel by boat to a place. With no access to phones or WiFi you truly go back to nature. Corcovado National Park is recommended for its wildlife and was named by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity” and that means that you will be immersed in one of the most amazing forests of the world. It features some of Costa Rica’s most extreme weather conditions and during September to October it can be totally inaccessible. Corcovado National Park is the backpacking experience of a lifetime.Here you can totally disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself.
5. Toruguero National Park
A unique destination in the Limon Province of Costa Rica, it is commonly known as the Amazonas of Costa Rica.The marked trail along the beach is used mostly for observing turtle nesting and is home to the Green Turtle who comes to nest there and lay their eggs during August to October. The best way to see the park is from a boat that lets you explore the water canals and see water birds, monkeys, crocodiles and the lush flora. Be warned, though, the weather in Tortuguero is very humid and it is one of the rainiest areas of the countries. There is no dry season, but it is a fact that it rains less in February, March and October.
6. Guanacaste Beaches
With 200 km of sun-splashed beaches, the Guanacaste beaches are known around the world for its sugar white sand beaches. Guanacastle beaches are set in Costa Rica’s northwest province. With amazing weather visitors flock here to enjoy the opportunity to surf, enjoy the night life, and embark on the arduous volcano hike. From here you can also explore the refreshing waterfalls at Rincon de la Vieja National Park or simply enjoy a day of relaxation and reading on the glamorous Playa Conchal.
Tamarindo is a surfers’ paradise with an amazing surfing culture. It has evolved to be the area’s most developed and accessible tourist town with a vibrant night life. Enjoy sport fishing, diving and for the more relaxed- sunbathe, try out the restaurants, and shop for local crafts. Leatherback turtles nest here along the beach from October to May. A true must-see.
8. Papagayo Peninsula
The peninsula beach of Papagoya is a diver’s heaven that comes wrapped in its own special culture and experience. It has a breathtaking beauty with unspoilt beaches of black, coral and gray sand and is lapped by the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. Along with its hot temperatures, great golf courses and luxury hotels, it’s become a holiday paradise.
A visit to anyone of the hundreds of beaches along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica will leave a very big impact on your view of the perfect holiday destination and invite you to return again and again. With its majestic volcanoes, river valleys and stunning beaches, the charm of its quaint towns, and sporting activities- discovering the best places in Costa Rica could literally take you years.
Central and South America have so many gifts to offer. It doesn’t matter how you chose to explore the best places in Costa Rica. Regardless of what you choose, your Costa Rica vacation will be an experience of a lifetime.