Top 8 Mesmerizing Places to Visit in Costa Rica
Planning a Costa Rica family vacation? Costa Rica is a spectacular, breathtaking, and awe-inspiring tourist hotspot in Central America bordered by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The name is Spanish for ‘Rich Coast’ and certain romance languages derived from Latin such as French, Spanish and Portuguese are predominantly spoken. The place has rugged terrain and is suffused with idyllic beaches, rainforests, and volcanoes.
When to visit Costa Rica? Well, the best time to visit Costa Rica is between December and April on its Pacific Coast, when the weather is most pleasing. There are several enthralling places to visit in Costa Rica to satisfy your venturesome spirit from being absorbed in the view to fulfilling certain diverse, cultural, and historical impulses.
8 Foremost places to visit in Costa Rica
Take a glance at these 8 marvels of Costa Rica for an enriching journey and a time-of-your-life experience! After all, what is America without Costa Rica?
1) San Jose
Province of San José
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. This is the best place for a vacation in Costa Rica. 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. You may get tired but boredom will never be an issue here.
- 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. 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.
- Coronado: This suburb of San Jose is a colossal Costa Rica destination especially if you 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. It takes about five hours to hike the summit but the view from the top is worth it! The Barva Volcano is also close by. Suggested read (Law, 2020).
2) Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio:
Famous for its marvelous beaches, tropical rainforest, and diverse wildlife, Manuel Antonio National Park is often considered by many the best place to visit in Costa Rica. According to Nomadic Matt (Law, 2020), it is located on the Pacific side, roughly in the middle of Costa Rica, near the small coastal town of Quepos. Its golden sand beaches attract tourists from all over the world, as the glory of this national park exceeded Costa Rican borders a long time ago. It is a soul-satisfying place to visit.
Tamarindo, located on the Nicoya Peninsula is a top destination for surfing, beach, and great moments. Once a quiet fishing village, Tamarindo is now a tourist abode where you can find delicious food and a variety of accommodations. The town is spread along Tamarindo Beach, running for approximately 1.5 kilometers. The area is known for surfing and the biggest tides found here are in November and December.
The area around Tamarindo is also known for eco-friendly activities that include snorkeling, horseback riding, ziplining, and turtle watching in season stated to Costa Rica Experts (Lonely Planet Editors, 2021). Playa Grande is close by and is one of Costa Rica’s most important nesting grounds for leatherback turtles. More than 100 turtles can be seen nesting and laying their eggs overnight.
4) Monteverde and the Cloud Forests:
If you are craving to immerse yourself in nature and see unique plants and wildlife without venturing too far off the beaten path, this is definitely the place to come. The clouds covering these forests sustain the area’s unique habitats. While many people come simply for bird watching, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve sustain various mammals, amphibians, and reptiles.
If you were thinking about where to watch monkeys in Costa Rica, keep an eye out for howling monkeys in this cloud forest. Jaguars and pumas are more elusive. Organized hikes are one of the best ways to see the forest. Monteverde and Santa Elena are the two main tourist centers in the region (Lonely Planet Editors, 2021), with accommodations, restaurants, shops, and art galleries. It can be cold up here, so bring warm clothes.
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 represented somewhere within its boundaries as suggested by (J, 2021).
6) Tortuguero National Park:
If you were wondering where to stay in Costa Rica with your family, this is one of the country’s best, off-beat wetland areas. 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, and kinkajous. Freshwater turtles, lizards, snakes, frogs, toads, and other amphibians are also common.
7) La Paz Waterfall Gardens:
According to the official website waterfallgardens.com (J, 2021), this privately owned nature park is a must-visit 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 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 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 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.