Costa Rica is a long known tourist destination in Central America. It’s a paradise of natural beauty with endless beaches, evergreen forests with unique wildlife, volcanoes, waterfalls, and a great deal more to watch and be appreciated by tourists, hikers, bird watchers, surfers, and backpackers. You won’t be able to watch everything on a single trip to Costa Rica, but to make your first one memorable, we gathered a few of the top tourist attractions there.
Although Costa Rica is not the perfect destination for budget travelers, we think the alluring nature of the places we have on the list is actually worth the extra price.
Monteverde is famous for its cloud forests with unique plants and wildlife. The place has been most popular among bird watchers because it’s the best place to catch a glimpse of the rare elusive quetzal birds. The entire area is all green, cold and wets so be sure to bring warm clothes. The best way to explore the forest is to have an organized hike, bridges, cable cars, or taking a zipline adventure.
02. Arenal Volcano.
Arenal Volcano is situated in the district of La Fortuna. This 1633m high volcano is estimated to be less than 7500 years, hence geographically considered a young volcano. It was only active until 2010. Since then it remains dormant. The La Fortuna waterfall, a national park which is great for hiking, hot springs, and rafting are some of the reasons why it’s one of the most visited places in Costa Rica. If you are lucky, you might even get the chance to see blazing hot lava descending from the mountain.
Tortuguero national park in Limon province is only reachable by boat or airplane. The park has vast biodiversity due to the existence of rainforests, mangrove forests, lagoons, beaches, and swamps. Although it’s the habitat for a variety of flora and fauna, the main tourist attraction there are the leatherback and green sea turtles which come to the shoreline for nesting and laying eggs.
04. Osa Peninsula and Corcovado national park.
Corcovado national park is located at the Osa peninsula in Osa Canton of Southwest Costa Rica. The ecological diversity in the area is quite stunning and provides exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities. It’s actually the home to 116 types of reptiles and amphibians, 139 mammals, over 350 species of birds that are surrounded by rainforest, rivers, waterfalls beaches, and naturally formed rocks. It’s no wonder the National Geographic named the Corcovado National Park the “biologically most intense place on Earth” making it a must-visit site for both locals and tourists.
05. San Jose National Theatre.
This is a cultural asset to the country and considered the finest historical building with lavish furnishing and an elegant interior. It only presents high-quality performances since its first performance to the public in 1897. The statues of Ludwig van Beethoven and Calderon de la Barca feature at the front of the theatre. Even if you are not interested in architectural stuff, you will definitely be amazed by Costa Rica’s fine art and neo-classical architecture which is extremely sophisticated and created with so much detail and delicacy.
06. La Paz waterfall gardens.
This privately owned garden is the country’s most visited animal sanctuary and nature park. It spreads out for over 70 acres. From San Jose, it’s just a 1-hour ride and once you arrive, you’ll realize that you are about to enter a completely different environment. It has a series of gorgeous waterfalls and it separately exhibits frogs, birds, jungle cats, snakes, butterflies, and monkeys. Since most of them are enclosures, you can take a closer look at the animals. It’s not only a great place for exploring La Paz, but also the Poas volcano and another nearby waterfall, Catarata del Toro.