Costa Rica is one of the most popular destinations for those setting foot in Central America for the first time, considering it is a safe country, it has incredibly diverse landscapes, and it is small enough to enjoy an action-packed adventure in a relatively short time, not to mention that it has coastlines on both the Caribbean and Pacific sides.
It can be overwhelming to arrive somewhere new and not know what the best things are to see, especially if time is of the essence, so that we will make that easy for you with the 10 attractions on the Costa Rica bucket list.
Those who have traveled to Costa Rica before always speak so highly of it and tend to be repeat visitors to the country, and once you see what this wonderful country has to offer, you will certainly see why it appeals to so many. If you are looking for unspoiled nature, tropical beaches, and a relaxed way of life, this is one to add to the list, but first, let us delve a little deeper into why it is such a hot spot for adventurers. One of the absolute best ways to explore any country is with a Destination Expert who has first-hand experience and a lot of insight knowledge.
These are just 10 of the main attractions in Costa Rica which will inspire your next trip.
The main beach of Playa Samara is a must-visit when in Costa Rica, primarily for its coral reef just offshore, which attracts so many excellent tropical fish and stingrays and is the reason for the area’s calm waters, which make it ideal for snorkeling.
Although many tourists, ex-pats, and locals who work in the tourism industry populate the area, it does not mean it is has lost its character, quite the opposite. You might be surprised to know that you will not find any chain hotels, fast food joints, or even high-rise buildings here, which is an excellent way of keeping its coastal charm.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
This beach town is located on the Caribbean coast and is famed for its surfing, particularly the ‘Salsa Brava’ surf break and its black sand beaches. It may be a small town, but don’t underestimate the surrounding areas, which offer wildlife rehabilitation areas to discover mangroves, coral reefs, and shipwreck diving sites. You may stay several nights in this vibrant area.
What started as a typical Costa Rican surfing village has become one of the main hotspots for travelers to the region. With it being just 150km away from the country’s capital of San Jose, it is within easy reach when you begin your trip.
The area is well known for its surfing, but not for its swimming; however, relaxing sunbathing opportunities, and fabulous sunsets keep the crowds coming back.
Parque Nacional Cahuita
Famed for its amazing diving and snorkeling opportunities and white sand beach of Playa Blanca, this spot is the place to be when on the southern Caribbean coast, and there are over 500 species of fish around this reef, which will keep you active.
If you are interested in animal rehabilitation, don’t miss the sloth sanctuary, which is just north of this area and cares for orphaned and injured wild sloths from the region.
This Exotic Paradise Itinerary captures it all, and the journey is sure to inspire you.
Located in the southern part of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, you will find the epitome of nature and relaxation at Montezuma. Not only will you have an idyllic beach to laze on, but you will have a backdrop of typical Costa Rican jungle to explore, complete with a jungle trail leading past coves and Playa Grande surf beach.
Further along, you can find waterfalls, cascades, wildlife reserves, turtle sanctuaries, and so much more, so on the days, you feel like exploring, you will not be short of things to discover.
Manuel Antonio Beach & National Park
There is an entrance fee (around $16) to this stunning and famous National Park, and rightly so, because when you see what this region has to offer, you will realize it is money well spent. There are many trails in this National Park, some of which can be busier than others, and some which can lead you further along to remote beaches.
This may be one of the most visited places in the country, but for a good reason, because here you will find a mix of everything suitable for families, honeymooners, solo travelers, and backpackers. There are good facilities here, maintained walking trails, wildlife spotting opportunities, and access to some of the country’s most fabulous beaches.
You will never want to leave!
Costa Rica is known for its active volcanoes, and this 2,697m active volcano, which is located in the center of the country, is no exception. It has erupted 40 times since 1828 and is said to have one of the largest craters in the world, which you will surely want to feast your eyes on.
The volcano is set within the lush central forests, which offer stunning backdrops, but as well as this, the surrounding areas have a lot to offer too, so give this spot some extra time and attention.
Parque Nacional Tortuguero
Judging by its name, you might have already assumed that it has something to do with turtles, and you would be right. Its beaches are world-famous for being nesting grounds for sea turtles, including the endangered green turtle, which has to be one of the most incredible sights to see in your travel life. This is why Parque Nacional Tortuguero has to be one of the top 10 attractions in Costa Rica.
This volcano is one of Costa Rica’s most iconic images, with its typical cone shape silhouette, making it a must-visit attraction when traveling the country. Unfortunately, it is renowned for having a thick layer of fog, preventing clear views, so it is best to see this incredible formation between February and April to get the best views possible.
With its many hiking trails, lava fields, and hot springs, Arenal is an area to spend a few days exploring to make the most of it.
Monteverde Cloud Forest
With 10,500 hectares of cloud forest to explore, there is no doubt that this will be top of your list when visiting the best attractions in Costa Rica. The entrance fee is roughly around $25 per person. It is well worth it, considering this area is rich in biodiversity, home to many exotic animals, and has an array of trekking options available. Do not miss out on this spot on your Costa Rican adventure, but we don’t think that would ever happen!
Let this trip inspire you Jungles, Beaches, and Volcanoes in Costa Rica
There is no doubt that Costa Rica, for such a small country, is a fantastic option for every kind of traveler, but we have to admit that when you are planning a trip here, you may need more time than you first thought. Many people who live in Costa Rica now, either permanently or temporarily, started with one trip for part of the year. Then, of course, they were captivated by the stunning beauty, vibes, and diversity it oozes, and who knows, maybe you will not want to leave either.
Whatever you decide to do on your Costa Rican adventure, be it hiking, volcano spotting, visiting wildlife sanctuaries, lazing on white sandy beaches, or even catching some surf, you will have the most incredible experience of a lifetime.
So let the planning begin!