Destinations in Costa Rica
Even though Costa Rica is a relatively small country, it should be thought of as a multi-destination, destination. In order to really feel like you've gotten a good taste of Costa Rica, you should plan on visiting at least two or three different places.
Getting from location to another and knowing in which order to visit them can be challenging... That's why we are here to help you plan and navigate your way around this amazingly beautiful country.
Check out our list of the top destinations in Costa Rica
A Snapshot of Costa Rica's Destinations:
Each area of Costa Rica offers a unique variety of sights and activities.
Central Pacific (Jaco & Manuel Antonio)
Think of wildlife, surfing, beach front condos (Jaco), miles of deserted beaches, sport fishing, crocodiles, scarlet macaws, Titi monkey, canopy tours and luxury hotels
Hot Spots include: Puntarenas, Jaco, Quepos, Manuel Antonio
Gotta See: crocodiles at the Tarcoles River bridge, scarlet macaws in Carara National Park, wildlife and beaches in Manuel Antonio National Park, Vanilla Spice Plantation
Gotta Do: canopy tour, catamaran cruise to Tortuga Island, crocodile tour, volunteer at our Playa El Rey reforestation project
Read More about the Central Pacific Area
Arenal & Monteverde
Think of red lava flowing down one of the most active and most perfectly formed volcanoes in the world (Arenal Volcano) and steamy hot springs, cool cloud forests, coffee, quetzals and bird watching (Monteverde)
Hot Spots include: La Fortuna (Arenal), Santa Elena (Monteverde)
Gotta See: Monteverde Reserve, Santa Elena Reserve, Arenal National Park, Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge
Gotta Do: canopy tour, hanging bridges, coffee tour and a night walk
Read More about Arenal & Monteverde
South Pacific & the Osa Peninsula
Think of dense green primary rain forests, wildlife in Corcovado National Park (monkeys, sloths, tapirs, wild cats and hundreds of bird species), remote jungle lodges, scuba diving, snorkeling (Cano Island), scarlet macaws, dolphin & whale watching and surfing
Hot Spots include: Dominical, Drake Bay, Puerto Jimenez, Golfito & Pavones
Gotta See: Corcovado National park, Cano Island, giant stone spheres in Sierpe, Sirepe Terraba Mangroves
Gotta Do: kayak in the mangroves, hike in Corcovado, bird and wildlife watching, dolphin and whale watching, diving at Cano Island, surf the point break in Pavones and sport fishing
Read More about the South Pacific & Osa Peninsula
North Pacific (Guanacaste & the Nicoya Peninsula)
Think of beautiful beaches (the Gold Coast), surfing, five-star all inclusive resorts, golf, natural hot springs and mud pits, leatherback and Olive Ridley sea turtles, lots of wildlife and adventure tours.
Hot Spots include: Tamarindo, Flamingo, Conchal, Samara, Liberia & Santa Teresa
Gotta See: Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Ostional Wildlife Refuge, Wild Cat Preserve and Santa Rosa National Park
Gotta Do: turtle tour, horseback ride and take a mud bath at Rincon de la Vieja, surf lessons and play a round of golf
Read More about the North Pacific Region
North & South Caribbean
North Caribbean (Tortuguero): Think of a laid back atmosphere, green sea turtles and emerald green rain forests filled with wildlife (sloths, monkeys, herons, tree frogs, butterflies and much more)
South Caribbean (Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Manzanillo): Think of Afro-Caribbean culture, coral reefs, white sanded beaches, BriBri Indians, wildlife and tranquil beach towns with lots of local artisans selling handmade crafts and jewerly.
Gotta See: green sea turtle come ashore and lay her eggs, manatee in Manzanillo,
Gotta Do: wildlife watching in Tortuguero National Park, hike and snorkel in Cahuita, kayak in Manzanillo Gandoca Refuge, diving
Read More about the Caribbean Region
Central Valley & San Jose
There is much more to the central valley than just the city of San Jose!
Think of the cities with churches, museums, monuments and lots of shopping and restaurants, and the surrounding mountains with active volcanoes (Poas & Irazu), botanical and butterfly gardens, canopy tours and coffee plantations. Plus many parks and reserves filled with hiking trails, waterfalls and a rich variety of flora and fauna.
Hot Spots include: San Jose, Heredia, Alajuela, Escazu, Cartago, Sarchi & Grecia
Gotta See: Poas Volcano, Irazu Volcano, La Paz Waterfall & Gardens, Lankester Botanical Gardens
Gotta Do: white water rafting, canopy tour, tour a coffee plantation
Read More about the Central Valley Area
Places to See
When you think of a tropical paradise, what comes to mind?
Emerald rainforests where hummingbirds and butterflies flutter about? How about coconut palm lined beaches, active volcanoes and dreamy waterfalls?
Well, Costa Rica has it all!
It might look awfully small on the map, but the variety of places to go and see is astounding.
Costa Rica is home to idyllic beaches (more than 800 miles of coastline), active volcanoes, wildlife rich parks, crystalline waterfalls and large tracts of rainforest where the variety of plant and animal life will amaze any nature lover.
This all might sound too good to be true... Guess you will have to come see for yourself.
What would you like to See?
With more than 800 miles of coastline divided between the Atlantic (Caribbean) and Pacific coasts, there's bound to be a beach somewhere to suit your fancy. The year round warm waters literally swimming with aquatic life and shores lined with palm trees that gently blow with the breeze will soothe your soul.
Read More about Costa Rica's Beaches
National Parks, Reserves & Refuges
There are more than 160 national parks, wildlife refuges, biological reserves and other types of conservation areas in Costa Rica just waiting to be explored. Endangered animals like the tapir, jaguar, green macaw and titi monkey call these protected areas their home.
Read More about Costa Rica's Parks & Protected Areas
Arenal Volcano is one of the most active and most perfectly formed volcanic formations in the world! There are four other active volcanoes (Poas, Irazu, Rincon de La Vieja & Turrialba) in Costa Rica, plus many other volcanic mountains where natural hot springs and wildlife rich forests offer a variety of activities.
Read More about Costa Rica'sVolcanoes
No tropical destination would be complete without waterfalls. Nestled deep in the forests, these sights are the perfect backdrop for a photo or a great reason to hike and enjoy nature. These truly are some of Costa Rica's hidden gems.
Read More about Costa Rica's Waterfalls
Costa Rica is green, no doubt. Hidden beneath this diverse canopy of trees and vines is more than 4% of the world's biodiversity. Come explore the tree tops via hanging bridges and zip lines, or maintain a more grounded perspective and let the gentleness of the forest's enormity envelop you.
Read More about Costa Rica's Rainforests
Museums & Gardens
Costa Rica re-defines the word 'museum'. We not only have traditional art and historical museums, but also living museums where frogs, insects, bats and snakes live, offering the visitor an up-close opportunity to learn about the natural world. There are also numerous botanical and butterfly gardens scattered throughout the country.
Read More about Costa Rica's Museums & Gardens