8 Best Places to Visit in Costa Rica

Places to visit in Costa Rica vary greatly so you might wonder which of all these spots you can go to get the best out of your trip. Something that often happens when traveling is that you desire to be able to see as much as possible in the fastest amount of time and that it’s hard when you visit a country you know little of.

We’ve narrowed down some of the best places to go, here they are:

1) San Jose

San Jose or ‘Saint Joseph’ is the capital city of Costa Rica and is also the largest province, no less than a city lover’s heaven. 

It is located in the west of the Central Valley and is the seat of economic, political, and transportation activities. It radiates a lively and energetic vibe and is the hub of major attractions such as notable theatres, museums, zoos, and several National Parks. 

These are a few San Jose must-visits:

  • Museo Nacional de Costa Rica: The country’s national museum is one of the top Costa Rica attractions. It is noteworthy 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 also a military barrack.

  • La Sabana Metropolitan Park: La Sabana Metropolitan Park is a tranquil oasis that will have you believing that you are no longer in the city. It has a soothing, hushed, and relaxing environment and is 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.

  • Avenida Central: This buzzing shopping area is one of the best Costa Rica tourist attractions for spendthrifts and shopping geeks. Hundreds of shops surround the street, selling everything from brand-name goods to fresh flowers, jewelry, and souvenirs. Getting bored is something that will not happen.

  • Los Quetzales National Park: If you are a nature lover and feel peaceful around it, Los Quetzales National Park is the place for you. It is a popular tourist spot in Costa Rica. 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.

  • Coronado: This suburb of San Jose is a colossal destination especially if you yearn to get away from the crowds that throng the capital. It’s a great place for bird-watching and hiking as it’s close to Braulio Carrilo National Park. It takes about five hours to hike the summit but the view from the top is worth it!

 

 

3) Tamarindo

 

4) Monteverde and the Cloud Forests

 

5) Arenal Volcano

This is a National Park, found in the Cordillera de Tilarán, and is one of the top volcano viewing areas in the country. The main attraction here is the Arenal Volcano, a cone-shaped mountain with huge ash columns frequently streaming from the crater. Visitors see anything from a cloud of ash to glowing red lava flowing down the mountain. This area is also known for its wide range of biodiversity, with approximately half of all Costa Rican birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.  It is indeed one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica.

 

6) Tortuguero National Park

If you were wondering where to stay in Costa Rica with your family, this is one of the best, off-beat wetland areas in the country. Hundreds of sea turtles are bred making turtle watching a major activity here. There are many beaches with strong currents present here as it is located on the Caribbean coast. From the hiking trails or boat rides along the canals, it’s possible to spot monkeys, sloths, kinkajous, and many more.

 

7) La Paz Waterfall Gardens

According to the official website waterfallgardens.com (J, 2021), this privately owned nature park is a must attraction in Costa Rica. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife including monkeys, butterflies, hummingbirds, and others. The highlight of the park is the La Paz waterfall. Rainwater from the cloud forests tumbles off a high ledge, falling 37 meters into a pool below. In addition to the waterfall, your admission ticket includes access to the serpentarium and observatories.

 

8) Mal Pais and Santa Teresa

Mal Pais on the Nicoya Peninsula is an area along the coast known for high waves and beautiful beaches that attract surfers from around the world. The town of Santa Teresa is the main hotspot in this area; however, a chain of villages and beaches lie along with the Mal Pais, including Manzanillo. Today, the area consists of backpackers and tourists who wish they had planned a longer stay. The area is trendier and has more of a scenery-like place called Dominical. Development in the area has made it more extravagant.

There are many places to visit in Costa Rica and we’re sure that you will love more than one because who wouldn’t right?

 

 

 

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POC Camp

The POC camp is an extension of the POC lodge and while the POC Lodge is located with vast views of the Pacuare River Canyon the POC Camp is down on the river’s edge. While it might not have the view of the POC Lodge it sits on one of the calmest sections of the river making the POC Camp home to one of the river Pacuare’s best spots for taking a swim and relaxing on the river’s edge.

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POC Lodge

Started in 2011 is the POC lodge. If you haven’t figured it out by now POC lodge is our own lodge and what we like to call the “baby” of the P.O.C. Adventure Company. We wanted a lodge on our favorite part of Costa Rica which is the Pacuare River and with the help of locally harvested supplies and labor, the POC Lodge was born.

 

This is a 180-acre property that runs over 1 mile of the Pacuare River. Our goal has always been to offer as much comfort as possible without steering too far away from our roots of just roughing it on the river’s edge. Our lodge has hot water, a splash of luxury in the rooms, and 5-Star service and attention to our guests.

Our favorite part about the lodge is that we built a short hike up from the river’s edge. We know we have the best views of the Pacuare River canyon and unfortunately pictures don’t even do it justice.

Arenal Paraiso, Arenal

Have you ever wanted to stay the night at the base of an active volcano? Well here is your chance. The Arenal Paraiso is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano with breath-taking views of the perfectly cone-shaped volcano.

Here at Arenal Paraiso’s, you will enjoy the beautiful property which offers much more than just a view. The property has numerous bungalows that offer a splash of luxury while surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. After a day of adventure, you will love making your way back to relax or hang out in the pool at Arenal Paraiso.

Shawandha, Caribbean 

Located at the edge of the white sandy beaches of Costa Rica sits the Shawandha lodge.  A perfect blend of eco-style luxury along with the sounds of the ocean and vibrant ambiance of the rainforest.

Shawandha lodge is set up with individual bungalows made out of local wood. You will be sure to wake up to the sound of the local residents such as the howler monkeys and green macaws. After your day of adventure, you will have a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful swimming pool at the Shawandha Lodge.

Hotel Villa Florencia, Turrialba

Located in the valley of Turrialba surrounded by sugar-cane plantations and views of the smoking Turrialba Volcano sits an old plantation home that has been renovated into a beautiful small hotel named Villa Florencia.

This is a great hotel with a beautiful pool and plenty of space to take long morning or afternoon hikes. The Villa Florencia hotel is a chance to enjoy luxury while feeling like you stook back in time. While you are in the valley don’t forget to look up as the Turrialba Volcano can often be seen doing small eruptions from across the valley.

Casa Turire, Turrialba

Casa Turire has been one of our favorites since we started. The grounds are some of the lushest you will find anywhere in Costa Rica. Casa Turire sits in the valley of Turrialba surrounded by mountains and the beautiful Turrialba Volcano. The most amazing part about Casa Turire other than its great restaurant and home-made sugar cane ice cream is that it sits on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Angostura offering great morning hikes, birding, or SUPing around the lake.