Is Costa Rica on your list of next holiday destinations? If it isn’t already, make a trip to this fabulous country a priority. Costa Rica is well-known for its pura vida lifestyle, embracing relaxed, laid-back vibes that promote happiness and well-being. It is the perfect place to have a chilled out holiday or a wild adventure in some of the world’s most pristine and lush natural settings.
In a country that sports two stunning coastlines, many incredible national parks, a variety of rainforests and several enchanting towns, it can be hard to narrow down the final list of places to see. Here to help, Bookmundi, a global travel booking portal has listed the five best places in Costa Rica that you simply cannot miss while on holiday in this amazing country.
We recommend visiting all five to experience the best of what Costa Rica has to offer its visitors.
- Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio alone is one of the best places to experience a variety of landscapes and activities in Costa Rica. Not only can you enjoy Costa Rica’s famed tropical beaches and the wild side of the jungles here, but it’s likely you’ll have some of the best opportunities to spot Costa Rica’s most interesting wild habitants too. Keep your eyes peeled for four species of monkey: the white-headed capuchin, mantled howler, squirrel monkey and spider monkey; and two species of sloth: the Hoffman two-toed sloth and the brown-throated sloth.
While in Manuel Antonio, be sure to spend at least one full day at Manuel Antonio National Park exploring the extensive network of walking trails that navigate through coast and land. Playa Manuel Antonio provides the perfect setting for a relaxing swim in calm, clear water, in addition to areas for snorkeling and surfing. Other activities just outside of the national park include kayaking the mangroves, zip-lining, ATV rides, white-water rafting, and canyoning. No matter where you chose to explore, consider taking a guided tour with a local expert to capitalize on spotting some of the more elusive animals.
Tamarindo is one of Costa Rica’s most playful towns and is an obvious pick for beach-goers. As one of the more developed beaches in Costa Rica, you’ll find plenty of excellent hotels, restaurants, bars, and tour outfitters for travel on any budget. But what tends to draw people here the most is an undeniable love for water activities. This is hands-down Costa Rica’s water-sports capital, and maintains a solid reputation globally for its surfing, diving, and sport-fishing opportunities.
Tamarindo is home to several surf schools for beginners, but if you’re ready to hit the big breaks, be sure to ride out to Little Hawaii, La Casita, and Witch’s Rock. Fishing and sailing charters leave daily from Tamarindo Beach, while diving tours depart for Bahia Tamarindo and Las Catalinas Islands. If you’re into beach vibes, but craving more relaxation, the beaches of Playa Tamarindo and Playa Langosta are scenic with tropical surroundings.
Just north of Tamarindo, a day tour to Las Baulas National Park takes you to the secluded coast and one of the most important nesting grounds for Costa Rica’s sea turtle population.
While people come to Costa Rica for its many delights, a trip to the cloud forests is by far one of the most magical and memorable experiences to have in this country. Because of its careful balance of protected, lush surroundings and purposeful ecotourism developments, Monteverde is our top choice.
Within Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, hike several trails that wander deep into the green scenery, along ridges, and to unforgettable vistas. You will likely be impressed with the flora and fauna of the reserve as you walk. Still, the views get even better when you take a trip to any of the nearby hanging bridges for treetop walks, where the majority of the forest wildlife lives.
Monteverde is also an area with some of the most thrilling zip-lines in all of the country. Some offer Tarzan swings that may literally take your breath away…for just a few seconds.
- La Fortuna
La Fortuna is another one of Costa Rica’s most enchanting places. The dramatic landscape of Volcano Arenal coupled with nearby Lake Arenal and rich forests creates an inspiring atmosphere for adventurous exploring and healing rejuvenation alike.
An ideal itinerary in La Fortuna will include a trip to Arenal Volcano National Park to stand at the foot of the volcano before trekking to the old lava fields. Later, soaking at one of the nearby hot springs is a must-do activity that will balance your sense of adventure and allow you to fully soothe your senses on your holiday. For a bit more adventure, try boating or fishing on Lake Arenal or head to La Fortuna waterfall for a refreshing dip in this hidden jungle oasis.
A trip to Tortuguero is like no other experience you’ll have in Costa Rica and because travel there can be fairly demanding, it maintains a markedly quiet, secluded feel. Tortuguero is a fantastic place to visit to interact more with a small, local village and travelers typically arrive here to enjoy the unique opportunities for wildlife encounters.
Most popular are visits to witness sea turtles nesting on Playa Tortuguero each season. Be sure to arrange a night tour to experience this unforgettable experience. Tortuguero has other spectacular offerings including short treks through Tortuguero National Park, day and night boat tours through the canals, and opportunities to kayak or canoe independently. Most incredible is that you will be hard pressed to do anything in Tortuguero without making friends with the local critters, which could include monkeys, sloths, armadillos, crocodiles, rare birds, and, of course, the endangered leatherback sea turtle.
It’s no wonder Costa Rica maintains popularity as a top holiday destination. Using this list of 5 best places to visit in Costa Rica, it is easy to plan for a perfect well-rounded itinerary in this natural paradise.
This article is presented by Bookmundi, a Denmark based but global travel booking portal offering day tours, fixed group departures, and holiday packages in +120 countries around the world, including Costa Rica.