What are the top things to do in Costa Rica?
It is an extremely diverse and vibrant country with scenery unlike anywhere else in the world. Yet, with so much to see and do, it can be difficult to know where to start. For this reason, we have prepared a short guide of what we believe to be the top five things to do in Costa Rica, in order to truly experience the best of the country.
Things to do in Costa Rica
1. Arenal Volcano and hot springs
Arenal Volcano is one of the most famous landmarks in the country. When you approach it, the volcano seems to breaks out from from an expansive rainforest which seems to pool around it – it is truly something to behold.
Hiking in the area is possible but can be challenging, though if you are interested in hiking, there are a range of guided tours available. If you’re looking for something more laid back, there are many other ways to explore the area around the Volcano. One of the enjoyable ways is on horseback, where you can take a guided tour to the stunning La Fortuna Waterfall.
No visit to the Arenal is complete without a soak in one of the nearby hot springs. These natural pools provide the perfect way to luxuriate in the stunning lush scenery around Arenal. Many of them are associated with nearby hotels and resorts which makes access to the hot springs simple.
2. Turtle watching in Tortuguero
Tortuguero is famous for its turtles. In fact, the name Tortuguero literally means “land of turtles”. So it is little wonder then that Tortuguero is great place for turtle watching. If you choose to visit, we recommend the month of August, as it is the the main nesting season for turtles. This will enable you to see the many species of turtle who call Tortuguero home. In addition, countless other animals live in and around the area, including several species of monkey, jaguars and 111 species of reptile.
To make the most of your trip to Tortuguero, take a guided turtle watching tour to one of the beaches where you’ll see hundreds of turtles nesting on the shore It’s possible you will even get to see a turtle egg hatch!
Although the area is only accessible by boat or by plane, it is well worth the extra effort.
3. Monteverde Cloud Forest
Fascinatingly, Monteverde has its own unique climate, distinct from anywhere else in Costa Rica. Where most of the country is known for tropical weather and pristine blue skies, in Monteverde, just above the tree canopy is an ever-present, almost mysterious mist, which keeps the jungle below cool and moist. Because of this, it is home to a truly spectacular range of flora and Fauna.
Aside from the 400 species of birds, including the rare and endangered Three-Wattled Bellbird, well over 1000 species of reptiles and amphibia, many species of cat, and perhaps many more animals, are waiting to be discovered. Monteverde is also known as the area with the most diverse range of orchids in the world. For the lover of nature and wildlife, it’ll be an experience of a lifetime.
4. Beaches and Wildlife in Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio is arguably the most beautiful of all of Costa Rica’s national parks, and considering the competition, that makes Manuel Antonio a special place indeed. Here, the land spills out into the warm waters of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. It’s best known for Cathedral Point, a curiously mushroom-shaped stretch of land flanked by bright sandy beaches leading to a lush rainforest. Many of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica are only a short stroll from the park’s entrance.
Manuel Antonio National Park is home to abundant wildlife, with over one hundred species of bird, and multiple of monkey species, such as the white faced monkey, and the howler monkey, all living within its borders.
5. Coffee Tour
A good cup of coffee is a hallmark of Costa Rican hospitality. The coffee grown in Costa Rica is known for its quality, with the country’s climate being ideal for coffee bean cultivation. So, if you really want to immerse yourself in the rich culture of Costa Rica, set out on a coffee tour!
Many coffee plantations offer tours where you can learn all about the surprisingly fascinating cultivation process or enjoy a tasting of their finest blends. Some plantations even offer their own boutique hotels for a serious bout of caffeine-induced pampering while you explore the plantation. There are also plantations in Monteverde, so if you choose to visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest you should be sure to visit.
Discover the top things to do in Costa Rica during your tour
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Overland Costa Rica: Off the Beaten Path
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Cushioned in the valley between the Central American mountain ranges and volcanic peaks, the Costa Rican capital is surrounded by lush green landscapes.
San José and Central Valley
The beautiful region of Arenal serves as the perfect base for exploring Costa Rica’s highland country of volcanic peaks, ancient caves, hot water springs and national parks.
The little seaside village of Manuel Antonio serves as the entry to the lush tropical rainforests of the Manuel Antonio National Park.
Monteverde sits between two cloud forests, skirted by the picturesque village of Santa Elena.
Perez Zeledon is a pretty little bucolic town in the canton of the same name, set in a beautiful green valley surrounded by the highlands.
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One of the very best travel experiences I have ever had. We even got updates once at 3 am! He also made one change in one day’s itinerary to accommodate our wishes which was very wonderful. For business, I have traveled to Europe, Russia, all over Asia and South Africa but was blown away by all the beautiful sites in Argentina and Chile.
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