Five Must See Destinations to Visit in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is many things; a vibrant tropical oasis, a sun-soaked beach-lover’s paradise, a rainforest filled with adventure, and the perfect spot to relax, unwind, and get in some downtime. With so many things to see and do in this tiny country, there is no way to get to them all in one visit. We’ve compiled a list of Costa Rica’s top five, not-to-be-missed attractions to guide you on your next trip.
The Arenal Volcano rises steeply and gracefully over the northern lowlands of Costa Rica, forming a beautiful silhouette against the tropical sky. This was once Costa Rica’s active volcano, delighting visitors with plumes of smoke, explosions and copious lava flows. However, in 2010 the volcano went into a dormant phase, which could last for months, years, or decades.
Even without the lava show, the Arenal Volcano is one of the best spots to visit in Costa Rica. It offers a lush tropical setting; various hot springs, rivers and pools; serene lakes to fish; and gorgeous mountains to hike.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
This stunning park is a nature lover’s dream. Serene woodlands give way to dense, lush tropical forests, and misty swamps give way to steep gorges, rushing rivers and tranquil lakes. From orchid-draped trees, to tumbling, rushing waterfalls, to dramatic mountain views, there is something amazing to see at every turn. It’s also a fantastic place to spot wildlife – ocelots, jaguars and quetzals call this spot home, and if you are very lucky, you might catch sight of some amazing animals.
Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park is a wildlife lover’s paradise. Set over 200,000 acres, this park encompasses a vast and diverse terrain that includes wet forests, lagoons, swamps, canals, marshes and beaches. These wetlands are not just stunningly beautiful – they’re inhabited by a whole host of fascinating creatures. Tortuguero’s beaches are a prime nesting spot for green turtles, and its lagoons and swamps are home to crocodiles. Tapirs, jaguars and manatees live here, along with more than 375 species of birds. One of the biggest delights for visitors is catching a glimpse of Tortuguero’s cheerful capuchin and spider monkeys.
This laid-back beach town was named Travel Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Winner in 2014, and for good reason. Jaco’s vibrant green mountains, golden volcanic ash beaches and lush tropical forests are a draw for nature lovers. Meanwhile, the quaint restaurants, fun shops and upbeat, yet mellow nightlife offer travelers a one-of-a-kind experience.
Manuel Antonio National Park
This may be the country’s smallest national park, but its biodiversity and beauty rivals some of its largest. The park boasts coral reefs, lush green forests and beautiful white sand beaches, and is home to colorful crabs, charming spider monkeys and smiling sloths. While tranquil and secluded, the park is close to restaurants, hotels and shops, making it a great place to spend an entire day, or a few nights.