Costa Rica is the land of “pura vida,” or “pure life.” A vacation in Costa Rica is a dream and a bucket-list item for many people.
It’s a country with beautiful jungles, unusual animals, and amazing adventures. There is a seemingly endless amount of things to do in Costa Rica.
However, planning your trip can be both confusing and time-consuming.
Our vacation packages are ideal for planning your trip with ease, knowing you will get the most value for your money and avoid any hassles.
With so many places to discover in Costa Rica, it can be hard to narrow down your list and decide which places are most important to visit during your trip.
If you are planning an upcoming vacation in Costa Rica, make sure you include these 9 places on your itinerary.
Must See Spots On Your Vacation in Costa Rica
1. San José
No vacation in Costa Rica is complete without visiting the nation’s capital, San José.
Surrounded by lush mountains and valleys, San José is great for shopping, culture, art, and all the comforts of a modern society.
San José is a relatively large city that serves as a great base before heading out to Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches and rainforests.
If you’re wondering how to fit this city into your itinerary, know that you will likely fly in and out of San José during your vacation in Costa Rica.
Tamarindo is located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, on the Nicoya Peninsula (more on that below!).
It is close to several national parks and also has amazing attractions of its own, including beaches and many eco-adventure opportunities.
Adventures offered in Tamarindo include horseback riding, all sorts of water sports, sailing, surfing, ziplining and canopy tours, ATV riding, and much more.
Tamarindo is an ideal spot for family vacations in Costa Rica. It is considered by many to be one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica.
Surfers and beach-goers, Jacó is your paradise.
With gorgeous beaches and some of the best surf in Costa Rica, it’s no wonder why Jacó is a favorite among laid-back travelers simply looking to enjoy life.
Jacó has a vibrant nightlife scene, so make sure to keep your energy up for the party every night during your vacation in Costa Rica.
Popular among tourists for its beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife (including many species of birds and monkeys!), and plentiful outdoor activities, Jacó provides a true “Costa Rica” experience.
Guanacaste’s dry, sunny climate stands in stark contrast to much of the country’s lush tropical greenery.
However, visitors love Costa Rica’s “Gold Coast” for its secluded, pristine beaches and thriving cowboy culture.
Guanacaste is also known for its proximity to Rincón de la Vieja National Park, home to hot springs, waterfalls, and volcanic activity.
Guanacaste is located on Costa Rica’s northern Zone and is one of the most unique destinations for a vacation in Costa Rica.
5. Tortuguero National Park
Don’t miss Tortuguero National Park on your vacation in Costa Rica! National parks abound in this tiny country, but Tortuguero National Park is one of the best ones.
In Tortuguero National Park, thousands of sea turtles nest and hatch along the large stretch of beach. Though the park is remote, seeing this natural wonder makes it worth the effort!
The park is also home to unusual creatures like toucans, jaguars, white-faced monkeys, blue morpho butterflies, and red-eyed frogs.
The unique chance to experience such amazing animals in their natural habitat is what makes Tortuguero National Park one of the most popular destinations during a vacation in Costa Rica.
6. Arenal Volcano
The Arenal Volcano is one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
In fact, visitors on vacation in Costa Rica came from far and wide to witness its frequent eruptions, getting the chance to see glowing lava bubbling from its mouth. Seeing this amazing phenomenon is certainly one of the best things to do in Costa Rica.
Though Arenal Volcano has been dormant since 2010, it is still popular among visitors who want the chance to see an active volcano in a stunningly beautiful natural setting.
Don’t worry if you’re scared to get too close: at more than 5,000 feet high, the Arenal Volcano can be spotted from miles around.
The best place to base yourself for a visit to Arenal Volcano is in the nearby village of Fortuna.
7. Nicoya Peninsula
The Nicoya Peninsula is made up of over 80 miles of shoreline and comprises the perfect vision of true Costa Rican beauty.
The natural wonder of this area of Costa Rica attracts visitors from all over–expect to find picturesque beaches, laid-back beach towns, breathtaking sunsets, and diverse underwater life.
The Nicoya Peninsula is especially popular among surfers, beach-lovers, and those simply looking for a relaxing and refreshing tropical getaway.
With picture-perfect waves, roaring waterfalls, and dense jungle beauty, the Nicoya Peninsula is an ideal place to visit during a vacation in Costa Rica.
8. Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
The Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge sits on the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, a day trip away from La Fortuna.
The major draw of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge is its amazingly diverse wildlife. It is home to thousands of species of birds, plus more dangerous predators like crocodiles and jaguars.
If you are looking to explore the jungle and experience Costa Rica’s amazing wildlife up close on your vacation in Costa Rica, then the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge is a can’t-miss spot.
And don’t forget to bring your binoculars: you may even spot a sloth hanging out in the trees of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge!
9. Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
If canopy tours, ziplining, and thrilling adventures are right up your alley, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is the spot for you.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is one of the most mystical places in all of Costa Rica–think foggy rainforest, hundreds of different species of birds and mammals, and thousands of species of plants.
There are also hanging bridges throughout the reserve, providing a unique way to explore.
The Monteverde area is known for its conservation efforts and focus on protecting nature.
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