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10 Places To Visit In Costa Rica To Experience The Best Of Nature

From Arenal Volcano to Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica is the best place for nature lovers.

Costa Rica is a Central American tourist hotspot, which offers an endless variety of exotic places from erupting volcanoes, and virgin rainforest to idyllic beaches. Although Costa Rica is a small country in a land mass, it offers numerous mesmerizing places to visit, especially for nature lovers.

If you are planning to visit Costa Rica, then we suggest you should take a week-long vacation to explore its culture and attractions.

So here are the top 10 places you must visit while traveling to Costa Rica.

Best Places To Visit In Costa Rica

1. Arenal Volcano

best places to visit in costa rica

Arenal Volcano is one of the most popular places in Costa Rica. Situated in Arenal Volcano National Park, this volcano has been dormant since 2010. The Arenal Volcano measures at least 1,633 meters high, present 90 kilometers north-west of San Jose.

With the presence of Costa Rican birds, reptiles, and mammals inside Arenal Volcano National Park, it comes as the number one must-visit place in entire Costa Rica.

2. Monteverde Cloud Reserve Forest

best places to visit in costa rica

Located in central Costa Rica, Monteverde Cloud Reserve Forest has some of the most beautiful landscapes you will ever see. It is Costa Rica’s most coveted tourist destination because of its extraordinary biodiversity and astonishing natural beauty.

Monteverde Cloud Reserve Forest is just 150 kilometers away from San José. You can visit this place via Route 27, with just 3 hour drive. Because of its covered cloud environment, you will find some unique habitats here.

3. San José

san jose, costa rica

Costa Rica – San Jose and National Museum: Photo By Andy Rusch

The country’s capital of San José is every city travels favorite place. It is Costa Rica’s largest and most modern city having complete accommodation, nightlife, dining and ars, and culture.

At San José, there are certain Art galleries and museums you should definitely visit during your trip.

  • Coronado (home to most beautiful Costa Rica landscapes)
  • Avenida Central (shopping street)
  • Museo Nacional de Costa Rica (national museum)
  • Jade Museum (displays more than 7,000 items including jade art and jewelry)

4. Manuel Antonio National Park

best places to visit in costa rica

Manuel Antonio national park, on Costa Rica’s central seashore, encompasses rugged rainforest, white-sand beaches, and coral reefs. It’s famed for its immense diversity of tropical plants and wildlife, from three-toed sloths and vulnerable white-faced capuchin monkeys to many bird species. The park’s roughly 680 hectares are crossed with hiking trails, that meander from the coast up into the mountains.

5. Montezuma

Montezuma, Costa Rica

Montezuma is a town in the southern part of Costa Rica’s the Nicoya Peninsula. It’s known for its long stretch of white-sand beach, Playa Montezuma. To the northeast, a trail leads through the jungle and around coves to Playa Grande, a popular surf beach.

Behind the beach is Romelia Wildlife Reserve, a turtle sanctuary and hatchery. Montezuma Waterfall comprises a series of cascades and natural pools.

From Montezuma, a direct bus connects to San Jose and the international airport two times per day. Travel time, with the ferry ride included, takes 5.5 hours. With little luggage, you can also take the 60-min taxi boat from Montezuma to Jaco or other beach destinations like Manuel Antonio, Dominical or Uvita.

6. Chirripó National Park

best places to visit in costa rica

Chirripó National Park is a national park of Costa Rica, established in 1975. It is named for its most prominent feature, Cerro Chirripó, which at 3,820 meters is the highest mountain in Costa Rica.

You will also need to make a reservation through the park system and an official guide. If you call the ranger station, you may be told that there is a long waiting list.  Permits are no longer available at the ranger station and must be reserved online.

To get to the entrance of Chirripó National Park, take the bus to San Gerardo de Rivas from the San Isidro terminal at 5:00 a.m., or 2:00 p.m.

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7. Tamarindo

best places to visit in costa rica

If you are looking for surfing, beaching, and fun then Tamarindo is the best place for you. Situated on the Nicoya Peninsula. The town is spread along with the beach which runs approximately 2 kilometers and offers good food, and accommodations.

Due to its bigger waves in November and December, many surfers visit this destination during that part of the year. This place also offers other activities like zip-lining, diving, and horseback riding.

8. Tortuguero National Park

best places to visit in costa rica

Tortuguero National Park is a National Park in the Limón Province of Costa Rica. It is situated within the Tortuguero Conservation Area in the northeastern part of the country.

Due to its presence in the remote location, it’s only reachable by airplane or boat, it is the third-most visited park in Costa Rica. The park has a large variety of biological diversity due to its existence within the reserve of eleven different habitats, including rainforests, beaches, swamps, mangrove forests, and lagoons. Located in a tropical climate, it is very humid and receives up to 250 inches (6,400 mm) of rain a year.

9. Guanacaste Beaches

Guanacaste, a province in northwestern Costa Rica bordering the Pacific, is known for its beaches and biodiverse parkland. Its Santa Rosa National Park is home to a rare dry tropical forest, surfing sites, and some 250 bird species.

best places to visit in costa rica

Guanacaste’s endless beaches include:

  • Playa Blanca
  • Playa Hermosa: popular for diving and water sports
  • Papagayo Peninsula: luxury resorts and golf courses

Some lesser-known beaches:

  • Playa Mina
  • Cabuyal
  • Playa Ostinal

10. Playa Jacó

best places to visit in costa rica

Jacó is a beautiful, energetic beach town that’s located within two hours of Costa Rica’s capital San José and is known for its party atmosphere and unique aquatic activities.

It’s a very beautiful and popular destination for its surfing, horseback riding, deep-sea fishing, ATV tours, kayaking, boat rides, and rafting offerings. Swimming should always be done by experienced, cautious swimmers in Jacó because of its strong riptide.

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