10 Best places to visit in Costa Rica
Costa Rica, a country that’s just brimming with biodiversity and versatility, with almost every part of the country having something different to offer, be it National parks, pristine white beaches, or the wild jungle forests. It’s also a very tourist friendly country, with many Costa Rica house rentals easily available to tourists, so they don’t need to struggle searching for accomodation. With so many different options available to tourists, it can be difficult to pick out which places to visit on your vacation, but to make it easier for you, we’ve picked out the top 10 must visit places in Costa Rica, that you cannot afford to miss out on your next visit. Also check our guide on the Bahamas – an exotic island.
On the top of any Costa Rica places to visit list, you will find the Arenal Volcano, which till date, remains one of the top attractions in Costa Rica. Any nature lover’s paradise, the mountainous area is surrounded by many waterfalls and forests, with quite a few hiking trails, varying in difficulty and distance, depending on your experience. Adventure enthusiasts can also take part in some exciting activities such as ziplining, water rafting, and bridge swinging.
2) Cocos Island
If you liked Jurassic Park, then you’d be delighted to know that the island which supposedly inspired the movie franchise, and where quite a few scenes from the movie were filmed, is located not far off the coast of Costa Rica. This is also the only known East pacific island that has a tropical rainforest, making it a unique place to visit. This is also one of the only few places in the world where divers can come face to face with ocean dwelling sea creatures such as sharks, eels, stingrays and dolphins.
3) Monteverde Cloud Forest
This biological reserve forest takes pride in the fact that it is one of the best examples for sustainable tourism in the entire world, hosting over 2.5% of the world’s diversity in the 10,500 hectare area of the park. This sustainable environment houses over 100 species of mammals, 120 reptile species, 400 bird species, as well as over 2,500 species of flora. There are quite a few guided tours which cover the major points of the park, and the park has an average of 70,000 visitors each year, making it one of the major points of attraction in Costa Rica.
4) Santa Teresa
For those tourists who are looking to explore some beautiful destinations that have not yet been touched by commercialisation, then this beautiful fishing village is just the place to visit. This tranquil town is perfect for surfers, and is also popular among hikers and horseback riders. Not only that, but the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, an important biological landmark in the country, is located very close to this village.
5) Playa Jaco
What makes Playa Jaco, situated only two hours away from the popular city of San Jose, so popular is that it offers a wide range of activities in one vicinity, be it the gorgeous white sand beaches, wildlife forests, or some exciting nightlife clubbing activities. Also quite famous for its surfing waves, this is an ideal destination to unwind, relax, eat some good food, and do nothing for a day, surrounded by an exciting party and holiday atmosphere around you.
6) Tortuguero National Park
The fact that this park is located in a remote region in the northeastern part of Costa Rica that is not easily accessible other than by boat or airplane, this park is still one of the most frequently visited parks in Costa Rica, and that in itself speaks about how popular the park is. Apart from that, the park is also one of the biggest turtle conservatories in the western Caribbean region, and if you visit during the right season, you might be lucky enough to witness the turtles nesting and hatching right on the beach.
7) Museo del Oro Precolombino
Located in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, this museum, containing over 1,500 artifacts from 500 AD, is one of the top places to visit in San Jose. This building is also home to two other museums, ‘Casa de Moneda’ which shows the history of money minting in Costa Rica, as well as the National Coin Museum, the coin collection in which goes back to 1236. For those of you who are interested in learning about history, definitely make some space in your itinerary for this iconic museum.
8) Chirripo National Park
Spanning over a wide area that covers San Jose, Limon and Cartago in the southern parts of Costa Rica, this park is known for protecting a wide array of wildlife animals. Taking its name from from Cerro Chirripo, the country’s highest mountain, this park is filled with beautiful treeless mountains, glacial lakes, marshlands, and lush green forests, among other landscapes. You will also find a wide range of animal and plant species located in this park.
Strangely still largely untouched by tourists, and located amidst the peaks of the impossibly beautiful Central Valley, Alajuela is an intriguing colonial city, and the second largest city in all of Costa Rica. This city is rooted with history, and that can be seen in almost every corner of this beautiful city, which still holds a large patriotic sentiment. This city also has the best view of the Poas Volcano, the top spot for crater viewing in the entire world.
This city was once the first capital of Costa Rica, for almost three centuries, until San Jose claimed the title in the year 1854. The city was once affected by by a major earthquake in the early 1900’s, and though it was later rebuilt, the old charm of the city is still visible in few areas of the city. Some of the major points of attraction in the city are the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels, and the Santiago Apostol in the Plaza Mayor.
Costa Rica has a lot to offer to its visitors, and is the perfect place to visit for your next big vacation. So don’t waste any more time, and book your holiday to Costa Rica today!