Costa Rica is not a country that’s short on spectacularly photogenic spots yet a few have become almost ‘legendary’ in social media circles. Adventure vacations chasing Costa Rica’s most Instagrammable hot-spots tug at the heart of those who not only cherish delivering a heavy dose of Insta-envy (because isn’t that just a little bit fun?) but also those who simply want to discover the most outrageously beautiful spots in the country.
Our list of favorite Insta-worthy spots in Costa Rica don’t just look good on camera but also require an adventurous spirit to capture. Because, after all, what’s the point of planning an adventure vacation in Costa Rica if the best Instagrammable hot-spots are just outside your hotel door?!
So get over here, strap on your boots, slap on the sunscreen and come see what photogenic gems Costa Rica has in store.
The Hanging Bridges of Monteverde
There’s something utterly surreal about the rustic bridges seemingly suspended in the clouds of Monteverde. The vibrant green of the forest mixed in with the mist of the low clouds lends this landscape a fairy-tale vibe like few others.
What, Where & How: Halfway between San Jose and the Liberia International Airport, the Monteverde Cloud Forest is one of Costa Rica’s most distinctive wilderness highlights. Explore the biological reserve on foot it by following a complex maze of walking trails which include several hanging bridges, and immerse yourself in this unique ecosystem right at the top of the continental divide. Costa Rica feels like another world at this altitude (pack some warm clothing!) the distinct climate nurturing an array of unique flora and fauna you simply won’t find anywhere else.
Rio Celeste Waterfall in Tenorio Volcano National Park
Costa Rica’s many waterfalls are among the most Instagrammable hot-spots of all and among them we’d rate the Rio Celeste Waterfall as perhaps the most photogenic of all. The iridescent color of the water is said to have inspired Photoshop (probably) creating a surreal Insta-worthy snap that’ll blow you away. The best part of capturing this startling sight? The heart-pumping hike to get there!
What, Where & How: Nestled in the heart of the Tenorio Volcano National Park in Guanacaste, the Rio Celeste Waterfall sits at the end of a short and sweet one-mile hiking trail through wilderness and, at the end, a very picturesque staircase that descends almost 500 feet. The stairs are unarguably the toughest challenge on the legs but if you’re after a little adventure in Costa Rica, consider this a stellar warm up. You can continue through the western section of the walking trail after ascending the stairs, which will guide you to a beautiful viewpoint over the rain-forest (just watch your feet on the uneven platform) and then onward to a turquoise lagoon and bubbling sulfur hot springs. The end of the trail is the confluence of the two rivers and one of the most unmissable parts of the park – where the celeste waters begin their journey!
Volcanoes are about the only Instagrammable competition to waterfalls in Costa Rica, with the country’s #1 attraction, Arenal, taking out the first photo-price across the board. Yet whilst Arenal is indeed a spectacular sight, we do cherish the otherworldly view of Irazu, the highest volcano in Costa Rica and one basting three mineral-enriched caldera lakes of astonishing colors.
Santa Teresa Beach, Nicoya Peninsula
Waxing lyrical about waterfalls and volcanoes doesn’t hide the fact that the most photographed of all Costa Rica’s highlights would surely be its beaches. This country is defined by its exceptional stretches of postcard-perfect beaches and if anything could induce a case of Insta-envy then a glorious sunrise or sunset photo of a Costa Rica beach would have to do the trick. To this end, head to the western shores of the wild Nicoya Peninsula and cast your eyes on Santa Teresa, one of the most magnificent stretches of coast in the entire country.
What, Where & How: The Nicoya is often dubbed the ‘wild west’ of Costa Rica and it is here that you’ll find the most remote and unspoiled beaches on the Pacific coast. The town of the same name is just a cool surfer’s hangout, attracting discerning travelers who wish to get away from it all and have a few more days up their sleeve. Santa Teresa is a white sandy beach framed by palm trees, one that seems to stretch out forever. You won’t find any mega mall or huge resort hotels here but you will find is one of the best surfing spots in the world, a laid-back vibe that just screams Pura Vida and endless chances for that perfect Instagram pic.
Nesting turtles at Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge
Let’s be honest: snapping a close-up shot of an iconic turtle is pretty much equivalent to winning the Instagrammable lottery in Costa Rica and knowing where to go and when will help you achieve that goal. Whilst the Pacific is the more famous (and visited side to visit for nesting turtles) we absolutely love the remote and pristine Gandoca Reserve on the Caribbean side, one of the least-known corners of the country.
What, Where & How: Gandoca is one of our favorite Instagrammable hot-spots because this wild reserve doesn’t just serve up sloths, turtles and other wildlife on a silver platter: you still need to hike, you still need to look and you still need to pray it happens but, if you go with a specialized local guide, your chances of spotting and photographing a turtle in the wild are absolutely brilliant. Plus, chasing turtles in Gandoca means you’ll head to the lesser visited Caribbean Coast, where fewer tourists and more wildlife combine to create a magnificently remote adventure. Just south of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Gandoca is one of Costa Rica’s hidden treasures, where idyllic beaches, dense tropical forests and a multitude of wildlife await. The plus side? You’ll literally be among very few lucky folks that’ll hashtag Gandoca on Instagram.
Ruinas de Ujarra
In Costa Rica, it’s not just Mother Nature that creates the most the most Instagrammable hot-spots although, in the case of the Ujarra church ruins, she certainly plays a big hand in framing the picture.
What, Where & How: The remnants of the very first church ever built in the country date back to the 1500’s and are set amidst a verdant garden right in the heart of the Orosi Valley, a short distance southeast of San Jose. Built by missionaries and boasting a troubling history, the church ruins are both fascinating to discover and amazing to photograph.
Well, it’s not like we could really leave the star Costa Rica Instagrammable attraction off our list but, in this case, we’ll hone in on the most photographic side of Arenal Volcano and that’s from its namesake lake. Taken at the right time of day, with the right condition, the reflection of the peak on the lake is simply spellbinding.
What, Where and When: Arenal is Costa Rica’s premier attraction, one that’s easy to get to and super easy to enjoy. A multitude of resorts, some with their own private hot-springs (imagine THOSE Insta pics) as well as plenty of adrenaline-pumping activities like zip-lining, mountain biking and horseback-riding, make this a very comprehensive destination for singles, families and honeymooning couples alike. The extensive lake sits on the western side of the volcano so best plan for an early-morning visit to the lake to snap the sensational scene with a rising sun.
La Bruja Waterfall, Turrialba
Turrialba is one of the lesser-visited corners of Costa Rica. This adventurous playground hides many hidden treasures and, among them all, is where you’ll find the Witch’s Waterfall, one of the country’s most Instagrammable hot-spots.
What, Where & How: If you’re after an off-the-beaten-path adventure to one of the least photographed and known waterfalls in Costa Rica, then set your sights firmly on La Bruja. You’ll need to be in good physical shape and be ready to hike a few miles in untouched wilderness to reach it but, when you do, you’ll no-doubt consider it well worth the effort. This is one of the most off-beat destinations in the entire country and the waterfall one of the rarest sights of all.
Turrialba is Costa Rica adventure capital and it’s no coincidence that this is our backyard. At Costa Rica Rios, we can help you find an infinite array of Instagrammable hit-spots way off the beaten path, whilst dishing up a sensational week of unforgettable adventures in one of the world’s wildest countries. Check out our Adventure Vacations Packages and contact us when you’re ready to take your Instagram account to a whole other level.