WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN COSTA RICA?
Why visit Costa Rica? Renowned for its magnificent tropical forests and beaches lined with coconut trees, this small country where life is rather quiet is also rich in wildlife of great richness and lush vegetation. National parks and nature reserves represent a quarter of the territory, where you can observe wildlife: monkeys, many birds and reptiles.
Costa Rica is also crossed by volcanoes over 3000 meters high that offer superb panoramas (the highest point is Cerro Chirripó with an altitude of 3 820 m). In short, whether you are a nature lover or a sportsman, Costa Rica is suitable for all types of travellers. The infrastructure is quite good, which makes the country ideal for a family trip.
Where is Costa Rica located? Bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, Costa Rica is located in the heart of Central America with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the southeast.
When to go to Costa Rica? The best season to visit Costa Rica is the dry season from December to April. During this period the days are sunny and the temperatures pleasant. It is also the most popular period for tourists.
Here are 16 things to do and see in Costa Rica:
1. SAN JOSÉ
Most visitors tend to avoid San Jose to spend more time on the country’s beaches or national parks, but San Jose has several interesting attractions: the Jade Marco Fidel Tristán Museum, the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, the Museo del oro Precolombino, the Mercado Central and the Teatro Nacional deserve to be visited if you stay several days in the capital.
- Book your hotel in San Jose now on Booking.com
2. RINCÓN DE LA VIEJA NATIONAL PARK
This national park located around the Rincón de la Vieja volcano allows you to see the active crater as well as several geothermal activity zones where you can see fumaroles, geysers, hot water springs and hot mud ponds… There are several hiking trails and if the weather is clear you will enjoy a magnificent view of the Guanacaste plain and the Pacific Ocean.
3. THE MONTEVERDE BIOLOGICAL RESERVE
Located in the centre of Costa Rica, Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is one of the country’s most developed and visited tourist destinations thanks to its natural beauty, extraordinary biodiversity and many activities that can be done. The trails are well marked and accessible.
- From San José: Monteverde Hanging Bridges Day Trip: Book now!
4. RELAX IN MONTEZUMA
Located at the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, the charming village of Montezuma is popular with backpackers, artists and yoga enthusiasts as well as ecotourism enthusiasts, who want to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the village and its beautiful surroundings.
- Book your hotel in Montezuma now on Booking.com
5. TREKKING IN CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK
A national park accessible a few hours by 4×4 from the small town of Puerto Jiménez. It has no road and once you arrives at the entrance you’ll have to walk with your backpack. Corcovado National Park is rich in biodiversity, particularly many species of monkeys. Given its size and distance, it’s better to visit it over several days via tours organized from Puerto Jiménez.
6. LEARN TO SURF
With hundreds of beaches and waves all year round, many surfers have been attracted to Costa Rica for decades. The Pacific coast is the most accessible and for beginners surfing lessons are offered at almost all spots.
7. DIVING AND SNORKELLING IN ISLA DEL CANO
Divers and snorkellers should go to Isla del Cano (Drake Bay) where you can see white-tip sharks, barracudas and if you’re there at the right period humpback whales and whale sharks. For diving enthusiasts who have the budget and time, one-week live-aboard trips are organized to Isla del Coco, a protected volcanic island located 550 km from Costa Rica where the surrounding seabed is of exceptional diversity: manta rays, hammerhead sharks, dolphins…
8. EXPLORE THE AREA AROUND THE FORTUNA
A small town located in a spectacular landscape near the Arenal volcano, La Fortuna is a good base to explore the surrounding area where many activities are possible such as rafting, horse riding, waterfalls, swimming in hot springs or hiking.
- La Fortuna Waterfall, Volcano and Hanging Bridges Combo Book now!
9. TRY ZIP LINE
Flying over the canopy suspended on a cable is a popular tourist activity in Costa Rica. There are many zip lines that are accessible for both children and parents.
10. TRY RAFTING
The rivers that run from the central mountains to the coast are perfect for rafting all year round, whether you are a beginner or an experienced rafter. The Pacuare River offers the best descents in the country.
- Pacuare River White Water Rafting Tour from San Jose: Book now!
11. GO TO THE TOP OF MOUNT CHIRRIPÓ
Located in the Talamanca mountain range, Cerro Chirripó (3820 m) is the highest peak in Costa Rica and the highest in Central America. The ascent to the summit allows you to see different types of vegetation and landscapes. Be careful, it’s not easy!
12. TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK
Many organized tours leave Tortuguero very early in the morning to explore by boat the canals of the superb Tortuguero National Park, which contains exceptional fauna and flora. The laying of turtles on the beach is also another reason to come to Tortuguero.
- 3-Day Tortuguero National Park Tour from San Jose Book now!
13. SEE THE CRATER OF THE VOLCANO POÁS
The Poás volcano (2704 m) located in the National Park of the same name is one of the most visited places in Costa Rica. It’s one of the most active volcanoes in the country and there is an acid lake that releases toxic vapours into the huge main crater.
14. ANTONIO MANUAL NATIONAL PARK
Located along the Pacific coast towards the city of Quepos, Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the smallest in Costa Rica but also one of the best. It contains an abundant fauna (lazy, armadillos, iguanas…. beware of monkeys too used to human presence!) and magnificent beaches. It’s better to visit it early in the morning because it is very popular.
- Manuel Antonio National Park from San Jose: Book now!
15. CAHUITA NATIONAL PARK
A superb national park by the sea whose main attraction is the many animals that can be observed and its beaches, among the most beautiful in the country, where you can snorkel among the coral reefs.
16. VISIT A COFFEE PLANTATION
Thanks to its volcanic soil, Costa Rica has an ideal land for coffee production. Coffee lovers can discover how coffee is produced through organized tours of the country’s plantations. Locally produced coffee is also a good souvenir to bring back from Costa Rica.
- Coffee Plantation Tour at Café Britt from San Jose: Book now!