Dreaming of a Costa Rica adventure vacation and don’t even know where to start planning?
How about here!
Aimed at the first-time visitor who wants his or her first tentative taste of this diverse and unspoilt country, our list of Costa Rica’s top 10 attractions brings you face to face with the most beloved, visited and celebrated sights. And considering the fact you will undoubtedly be back for more (trust us, you will), there will always be next year to check out the hidden treasures off the well-beaten path. But for now, go ahead and drool as we introduce you to the best the country has to offer. Here is just an entrée of all that makes Costa Rica one of the world’s premier adventure vacation destinations.
1. Arenal Volcano
Costa Rica’s poster child and most iconic highlight, Arenal is an absolute breath taker. With its perfectly conical peak kissing the sky and luscious forests framing it on every side, Arenal is that one sight you won’t want to miss. Plenty of accommodation choices make this a fantastic first-stop in a countrywide tour, and a wealth of hiking trails, activities and blissful hot thermal pools will keep you enthralled for days on end.
2. Manuel Antonio National Park
It’s fair to say that Costa Rica is simply one colossal national park yet there are a few pockets of the country that sparkle a little brighter. Manuel Antonio is one. Why? Because as far as national parks go, Manuel Antonio has it all and offers arguably the most comprehensive adventure experiences in the whole country.
It stretches over an extensive strip of Pacific coastline so here you’ll find sparkling beaches and plenty of water sports on offer. Take just one step away from the sand, however, and you’ll be really in the thick of things, literally speaking. Rainforests brimming with capuchin monkeys and sloths, refreshing waterfalls, historic ranches and raging rivers ideal for whitewater rafting and kayaking. In Manuel Antonio, that’s just the start.
3. Monteverde Cloud Forest
Monteverde is where Costa Rica’s eco-tourism life began and is one of the most ethereal destination in the country. Drenched in life-sustaining clouds, the forests of Monteverde are a unique ecosystem where endemic flora and fauna happily thrive. A cooler place to visit at any time of year, Monteverde offers a gorgeous reprieve during the hot summer months, and makes for a wonderful stop-over on the way to the coast, with plenty of hiking trails and hanging bridges set deep within the forest.
4. Corcovado National Park
In this supremely biodiverse country, here you have the most biodiverse park of them all. Corcovado is indeed regarded the world’s most flora and fauna-enriched park and its remoteness, set deep in the Osa Peninsula, adds to its colossal appeal. If you wish to be at one with pristine nature then this is definitely the destination for you. Even though it is a remote location, getting to Corcovado is neither difficult nor expensive, although once there your best bet for getting around will be on foot, on bicycle, by kayak or even on horseback. Doesn’t that sounds magical? Corcovado is also home to some of the most outstanding eco-lodges in the entire country.
5. Tortuguero National Park
There are times when even a first-time visitor will crave a little ‘out there’ travel experience. In Costa Rica’s case, it’s Tortuguero they should be heading to. A splendidly remote coastal national park on the Caribbean coast, only accessible by boat or plane, Tortuguero, as the name suggests, is a haven for turtle lovers. Travel here during nesting season you can see hundreds and even thousands of nesting leatherback and green turtles. Worth every effort under the blazing sun, Tortuguero is that off-the-beaten attraction you ought to keep in mind, a place where exploring by boat and on foot will see you discover a wealth of superb wildlife, including birds, monkeys, tapirs, sloths, snakes and frogs galore.
If you’re planning a Costa Rica vacation lured by the seemingly endless stretches of glorious beach, then Tamarindo is where you’ll want to end your adventure. The ideal surfing paradise and a mecca for beach lovers, Tamarindo is on the northern end of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, home to an array of accommodation options and offering a mind-boggling choice of active pursuits, including surfing, zip lining, hiking, sailing, diving, snorkeling and so much more. This is one of the country’s most developed nooks so first-timers will love the comforts and ease of travel too.
7. Irazu Volcano
Costa Rica’s highest peak sits at a breathtaking height of 11,260’ and the spellbinding craters atop the peak can be reached on foot, making this a hiker’s ideal playground. Over 2,000 hectares of protected reserve cradles the base of the volcano and hiking trails offer incredible rewards. On a crystal clear day, you could stand atop Irazu and peek at both the Pacific and Caribbean seas.
As testament to the fact that this is one of the most diverse countries you could ever visit, the next three of Costa Rica’s top 10 attractions will concentrate on experiences rather than specific places. Experiences you can and will have just about EVERYWHERE you travel. First up is the exhilarating option of eco-adventure sports. Costa Rica is not just a natural haven but is a nature-filled paradise where you are allowed to climb, swim, swing and zip line your way right through the heart of it. You can learn to surf, go on canyoning adventures, propel yourself off waterfalls and down the sides of steep mountains on thrilling bike rides. The marvelous thing about Costa Rica’s eco-adventures is that they gift adrenaline seeking visitors a wide array of experiences as they discover, scour and experience the country’s most celebrated highlights along the way.
There are a few rare countries the world over whose wildlife inhabitants alone make a trip worthwhile. Costa Rica is right up the top of that list. From colorful toucans to fierce-looking iguanas, enchanting sloths, rowdy monkeys, lazy turtles, cunning jaguars and scary crocs, alongside birds and insects galore: Costa Rica is a wildlife lover’s utopia and hides some of the world’s rarest and cutest creatures. And we haven’t even mentioned the wonders of the country’s underwater world! A marine life treasure trove that needs to be discovered by all who visit.
Yet when all is said and done, with all the amazing unforgettable wildlife, adventures and sites, there’s one special highlight that deserves a mention in Costa Rica: the locals. Ticos are some of the most hospitable and friendly people you’ll ever come across, and no matter where you go, you will undoubtedly make connections with locals you simply won’t experience anywhere else. Proud of their cultural and natural heritage, head over heels in love with their country and lifestyle (and who would blame them?) Ticos share their infectious love of their own backyard with all who visit and will, rest assured, become one of the most memorable aspects of your trip.
We certainly hope to have given you plenty of juicy info on Costa Rica’s top 10 adventure vacation attractions. If you’d love some help in organizing a whirlwind adventure trip through this phenomenal country, simply contact us. We’ll show you this and more of all this incredible nation has to offer.