Costa Rica is a Central American tourist hotspot, filled with idyllic beaches, rainforests and volcanoes. It’s an adventurer’s paradise as there’s so much to indulge in outdoors. Costa Rica vacation spots are numerous and you only need to decide what you want to do in order to find them. If you love a laidback, bohemian vibe, there’s no better place than Montezuma.
If you love nature walks through dense rainforests, Monteverde Cloud Reserve Forest is the ultimate destination. If culture, history and diversity are what get your pulse going, vibrant San Jose will more than satiate you. Take a look at these 5 best places to visit in Costa Rica for a fulfilling holiday. And yes, you’ll be spoiled for choice no matter what you’re idea of a great vacation is!
Where to go and what to see in Costa Rica
1. San Jose
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The country’s capital of San Jose is every city lover’s heaven and one of the top places to visit in Costa Rica. It’s bustling, a little chaotic and full of energy! The diverse city is rich in culture and history and there are numerous attractions that let you explore these in-depth. Art galleries and museums galore while a few World War II-era buildings still stand. Check out these San Jose must-visits –
Jade Museum: Founded in 1977, the Jade Museum is one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica to trace the country’s history, and more specifically, its jade trade between 500 and 300 BC. It displays more than 7,000 items including jade art and jewelry.
Museo Nacional de Costa Rica: The country’s national museum is one of the top Costa Rica attractions. It’s famous not only because it houses a wealth of pre-Columbian artifacts, a butterfly conservatory and furnishings from the early 20th century but because it was built as a fortress and was once a military barracks.
Coronado: This suburb of San Jose is a terrific Costa Rica destination especially if you want to stay close to the city but also yearn to get away from the crowds that throng the capital. It’s set close to Braulio Carrilo National Park, which is a great place for bird-watching and hiking. Barva Volcano is also nearby. It takes about five hours to hike the summit but the view from the top is worth it!
Avenida Central: The bustling shopping area is one of the best Costa Rica tourist attractions especially if you’re an avid shopper. Hundreds of shops line the street, selling everything from brand name goods to fresh flowers, jewelry and souvenirs. You can spend hours here and never get bored!
Los Quetzales National Park: Los Quetzales National Park is a popular Costa Rica point of interest especially for nature lovers. As you may have guessed, quetzals make their home here. You can see the bright-colored birds vying for the attention of the females between February and July, which is the mating season. The park is also home to ocelots and otters.
La Sabana Metropolitan Park: It may be right in San Jose but La Sabana Metropolitan Park is a tranquil oasis that will have you believing you’re far from the city. Make it part of your Costa Rica holiday even if you only have an hour to spare in San Jose. It’s the country’s biggest urban park, spanning a little over 150 acres. It features an artificial lake and sports fields and is home to the Costa Rica art museum.
2. Monteverde Cloud Reserve Forest
About three hours away from San Jose by road is an idyllic town located in the mountainous region of the country. Monteverde consistently ranks among the best places to go in Costa Rica because it has some of the most beautiful landscapes you’ll ever see. The Monteverde Cloud Reserve Forest is an important biodiversity hotspot with endemic flora and fauna you won’t find anywhere else. La Casona offers convenient lodgings to travelers who want to stay close to the reserve. It’s the only accommodation here so you won’t have to contend with crowds and can immerse yourself deeply in the forest’s essence.
3. Pacuare River
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There’s something about trying to tame the rapids that’s so exhilarating! If you love a good challenge and are dying to experience the country’s waters, the Pacuare River is among the best Costa Rica tourist spots. White water rafting and riverboarding are huge here and it’s no surprise why. The river offers adventurers various grades of rapids that range from II to IV spread across three sections called Upper Upper, Upper, and Lower.
It’s not just the rapids that lure adventure enthusiasts here, however; what makes this one of the best Costa Rica tourist places is its natural beauty. Primitive rainforests teeming with life, powerful waterfalls and tranquil pools that invite you to swim are what you can expect to see near Pacuare River.
As you head towards Nicoya Peninsula, you’ll arrive at a gorgeous slice of heaven in the form of Montezuma. A nature reserve, stunning beaches and an island you can even walk to are just some of the attractions.
Montezuma is considered the best place to vacation in Costa Rica by many travelers. Despite a steady flow of visitors, it still retains an off-the-beaten-path feel. The laidback vibe draws every type of traveler from backpackers to couples and families.
Small it may be but Montezuma has no shortage of restaurants serving great food and accommodations spanning a wide price range. Such options contribute to making for a very memorable Costa Rica vacation!
5. Arenal Volcano
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One of the most popular places to see in Costa Rica is Arenal Volcano, a magnificent mountain with a beautiful symmetry. The conical volcano has been dormant since 2010. Rising up from pastured hills, it’s easy to underestimate its power but Arenal is only asleep and could wake up at any time!
As tempting as it is, you can’t hike up the volcano but don’t be disheartened; as it’s located in Arenal Volcano National Park, you can explore the region by going on rainforest hikes and relaxing in hot springs.
Looking at all these gorgeous places to visit in Costa Rica, one thing is sure, it is a heaven on Earth. What do you think? Do let us know in the comments section below.