Costa Rica is a volcanic country in Central America with beautiful Pacific and Caribbean coastlines. Many different mountain ranges are also there in Costa Rica. The country boasts lush biodiversity, incredible scenic views, and no standing military. Lined with picturesque beaches and clear, turquoise water, Costa Rica is a piece of paradise on earth. Here is a list of some of the best places to visit in Costa Rica.
1. Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio is on the Pacific coast of Coast Rica. It offers one of the best national parks with abundant wildlife. A lush crescent bay frames the white sandy beaches of the park. Here, you can get hotels and resorts almost within the park. The rocky headland of Cathedral Point shields powerful waves making the water calm. Thus, it makes a perfect choice for families with kids. You will also find incredible wildlife in the national park. It includes lizards, monkeys, deer, sloths, and hundreds of bird species.Manuel Antonio also offers many other things to do there. You can take a night walk to see wildlife or do chocolate tours and rafting. Or you can do zip-lining if you love an adrenaline rush. The park is open from Tuesday to Sunday and remains closed on Monday. Better avoid December to April, for showers can interfere with outdoor activities.
2. Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa is another popular vacation destination on the Costa Rican Pacific Coast. It is in the southern part of the northern peninsula, in Nicoya. It is the right destination if want to stay away from city lights. This rugged area is ideal for backpackers and adventurous travelers. Surfers and beach lovers prefer Santa Teresa for its wide beaches, surf spots, and relaxed atmosphere. You can attend yoga classes besides surfing, visit nearby waterfalls, do snorkeling or take a horse ride. Hostels, lodges, and resorts are available.
Tamarindo boasts a scenic beach packed with action. Beginners can surf here and it is also famous for its boisterous nightlife. Located in the northern Pacific, its dry season is from November to May. Visitors can do many activities like diving, golf, sportfishing, sunset cruises, ziplining, etc. The place is always full of non-stop action and excitement. It is best to visit Tamarindo in the dry season. Big hotels and hostel options are available there.
Nosara offers a wonderful beach in the Nicoya Peninsula. It is famous for surfing and doing yoga. Nosara is ideal when looking for a rustic beach town with all comforts and whole foods. Although one has to negotiate tough road conditions to go there, this gem of a beach is worth visiting. People go to Nosara to attend surf camps or to practice surfing and stand-up paddle boarding. It is ideal for family vacations. It happens to be a resort-intensive beach town that offers detoxification, spas, and yoga.
5. Playa Conchal
Playa Conchal has a gorgeous bay with a sparkling white sand beach. The beach is full of sea shells all over. The gentle ocean current is depositing them for millions of years. It is a favorite spot of marine biologists who visit the place to conduct various studies. Playa Conchal is ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving in crystal-clear water. Visitors can do deep-sea fishing and stand-up paddle boarding there. December to March is the best time to visit Playa Conchal. You can enjoy around 11 to 12 hours of sunlight then. Several luxury hotels are there. Camping facilities on the beach are also available.
Jaco is heaven for those who like adrenaline-rushing adventure sports and pumping nightlife. One can do anything from canoeing, parasailing, skydiving, and surfing. People favoring a tamer version can hike through the rainforest and view wildlife at Carara National Park. Jaco has a long black sand beach that is 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) long. Tourists swarm the place from December to April to enjoy warm weather and lively nightlife. The busy surf town boasts all-inclusive resorts and a couple of hostels to stay in.
7. The Osa Peninsula
The Osa Peninsula can deliver you the experience that you will not get anywhere in Costa Rica. It is ideal for adventure vacationers. You can hike through demanding multiple-days trails to immerse in the virgin rainforest and have a glimpse of the exotic wildlife. Visitors can explore the Corcovado National Park which shelters jaguars, harpy eagles, and tapirs. The marine reserve is full of dolphins, turtles, and whales and delivers an exotic diving or snorkeling experience. January to April is best for jungle exploration, and July to October is ideal for watching whales. Hotels and lodges are also available.
The Ballena Marine National Park, Uvita offers the best chance to spot whales. Humpback whales from the north and south migrate to this place for breeding. The best time to watch whales is from January to March and July to October. The place has a fun beach. Its large sandbank takes the shape of a whale tail, and you can walk explore it by walking during low tide. It is one of the best places for scuba diving or visiting the Nauyaca Waterfall. One can take hostels and hotels.
9. Las Baulas National Marine Park
Las Baulas National Marine Park is situated on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica near Tamarindo. The park has an area of approx 1,100 acres or 445 hectares. Every year, leatherback sea turtles come to the shores of the national park to lay eggs and bury them in the white sands. It makes the park a great ecotourism destination. The Park includes four beaches Playa Grande, Playa Langosta, Playa Ventanas, and Playa Carbon. You should visit from October to February for nighttime visits to watch turtle nesting.
Montezuma is a picturesque beach town in Costa Rica. It boasts a bohemian vibe and is ideal for backpackers and surfers. You can find a few hostels, cottages, and budget hotels there. It also boasts a pristine beach. There is a style center decorated by local artisans. Staying there, you can explore Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve and Montezuma waterfalls.
If you love a beautiful landscape, good surfs, and a chill lifestyle, Dominical is the right vacation destination in Costa Rica. The town exudes no commercial vibe, and the beaches have great surfing waves. Tons of surf schools are there for beginners. One can also do rafting adventures where Savegre Rivers meets the ocean next to Dominical. Several hostels, vacation rentals, lodges, and hotels are there in Dominical. You can also carry your tent to camp on the beach.
12. Papagayo Gulf
If you are seeking to spend a luxury vacation in Costa Rica, Papagayo Gulf is the ideal destination for that. Located on the Pacific coast, it boasts exclusive luxury resorts with all-inclusive amenities. This peninsula is home to several spectacular beaches. The beaches border an iconic tropical dry forest with a wide variety of wildlife. These make Papagayo Gulf the most attractive vacation destination in Costa Rica. The exclusive country clubs there have golf villas. Visit it with your family from November to mid-December. You will beat the crowds and enjoy the warm weather and lush scenery.
13. Punta Uva
Punta Uva sits on the Caribbean coastline of Costa Rica. It boasts an idyllic pristine white sand beach with a background of palm trees. It gives the place incredible scenic beauty, and visitors consider it one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. You will find calm and crystal-clear water there. The place is ideal to spend a vacation with your family. Several hotels and lodges are there in the jungle for tourists. The jungle is full of varieties of wildlife. The offshore coral reef makes it an ideal spot for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Located on the Caribbean coast, Cahuita is known for its large offshore coral reefs. It is home to a variety of tropical fishes. More than 30 coral species are also there. Coupled with turquoise water, the coral reef makes it an ideal snorkeling spot for visitors. The palm-lined beaches soothe the eyes with their picturesque views. One should not miss the Cahuita National Park. The way to the park is full of thick vegetation and abundant wildlife. Visitors can stay at hotels and hostels.
If you want to enjoy an Afro-Caribbean ambiance, beautiful hikes, and stunning beaches, Manzanillo is the right vacation destination for you. It lets one stay away from the crowd. It is why the place is popular with older couples and families. Visitors can do swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling there. The place sits in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife and Marine Refuge. It offers amazing hiking trails. Visitors can spot different varieties of monkeys, iguanas, sloths, and many other creatures by taking a guided tour. Visitors can stay in nearby hotels.
16. Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo lies on the Caribbean coastline between Cahuita and Manzanillo. It is a perfect vacation spot for experienced surfers. This rocking seaside town exudes a strong Caribbean vibe. Gorgeous beaches and lush jungles with abundant wildlife make it ideal for spending the vacation. One can relax and soak up on the beach or visit the Jaguar rescue center. You will find monkeys, sloths, and varieties of birds are also there. You can also explore the place by bicycle. Visitors can stay in the hostels and hotels spread out nearby.
Tortuguero is the perfect place for those who love nature and remote places. Located on the Caribbean coast, it boasts a rainforest with a series of rivers and canals crisscrossing through the jungle. Its name originates from turtles. Because of sharks roaming in the water and strong currents, the place is not ideal for swimming. Visitors can take canal cruises. The Tortuguero National Park is teeming with a wide variety of wildlife. You can explore it by boat, kayak, or canoe. Motorboats are also there. Visitors can stay in hotels near the national park.
Arenal Volcano happens to be one of the most popular Costa Rica vacation spots. It has an elevation of above 5000 feet, and the conical mountain is a wonderful sight to behold. The volcano is dormant for the last few years. Still, it is not possible to scale the peak due to geothermal activities. It boasts hot springs and offers many adventurous activities. Nature lovers can do a jungle safari at the base of the volcano to explore the Arenal Volcano National Park. It has a large variety of wildlife and fungi, ferns & orchids. You can visit La Fortuna Waterfall.
19. Cerro Chirripo
Standing at over 12,000 feet, it is the highest point in the mountainous and volcanic country of Costa Rica. It offers a strenuous hike of about 25 miles and usually takes two to three days to complete the hike. Passing through primeval rainforests the trek emerges into a climactic zone that seems to be from some other planet. Those who reach the top can have an incredible panoramic view of both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts from there. It lies within the Chirripo National Park, which is famous for its biodiversity and high-altitude habitats. You can book accommodation at the nearby hotels.
The mountainous town of Turrialba is home to Turrialba Volcano National Park. The Park offers awesome hikes. Visitors can hike to waterfalls or can scale the volcano summit, which is over 10,000 feet tall. The national park boasts a diverse ecosystem, plants, and wildlife. It delivers an unforgettable trekking experience. Visiting Turrialba, one can do whitewater rafting in the rivers. They provide Class 2 to Class 5 rapids with spectacular scenery. The Park allows visitors from 6 AM to 10 AM from May to November and from 5 AM to 10 AM from December to April.
Costa Rica has everything for a wonderful vacation experience for everyone. Whether you are a backpacker or a luxury traveler, Costa Rica embraces everyone with its spectacular environment and warm-hearted locals. Now that you know 20 of them, just plan and make a trip! Happy Journey!