If Costa Rica isn’t on your travel bucket list, it definitely should be. It’s incredibly diverse terrain offers a little something for every traveler to enjoy. It boasts tropical beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific, protected jungle abundant with wildlife, and volcanoes. It is also home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, galleries featuring artwork by renowned native painters and sculptors, and architecture shaped by the blend of native culture and European influence.
Really, there really are so many things to do in Costa Rica that one list can’t even begin to cover it all. Once you get to Costa Rica, you’ll find so many amazing things to keep you coming back. But here’s a list of amazing attractions to get you started on planning your trip!
Arenal is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and stands more than 5,000 feet high. You can hike the park’s trails on your own with a map, but it is recommended that you hire a guide to learn more about the history of the volcano, and also about the surrounding plant and animal life in the area.
Costa Rica is world famous for their long ziplines with spectacular views. There are beginner and intermediate canopy tours, that aren’t as high or as long, and also more extreme ziplines for thrill seekers. Imagine soaring through the canopy of a jungle like a bird, weaving in and out of giant green leaves, flying from tree to tree! Soar down the coast line with spectacular views of the ocean! Zip over a 230 foot waterfall!
If you like to surf, it’s important to note that people from all over the world visit Costa Rica just to surf because the waves are some of the best in all of Latin America. There are a huge number of great surfing beaches there.
Catarata del Toro
The tallest waterfall in Costa Rica is Catarata del Toro. This stunning 270 foot waterfall is in an extinct volcano crater in the rainforest. There is a restaurant, nature trails, and hummingbird gardens.
There is plenty of wildlife to experience on any number of zipline tours or hiking trails, but there’s also a few other notable places to check out wildlife.
- Costa Rica is famous for their huge masses of sea turtles. You can hire a local guide to enter the Ostional Wildlife Refuge, where hundreds of thousands of Olive Ridley sea turtles arrive every year.
- Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most popular places to see wildlife such as monkeys and sloths. It features simple trails, easy accessibility, and beaches. Wildlife is easy to spot!
- There is also the Jaguar Rescue Center that rehabilitates animals and releases them back into the wild. It is in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, and they offer guided tours.
One of the most relaxing things to do in Costa Rica is to go on a sunset cruise. There are so many beautiful beaches up and down the Pacific Coast, and nearly every beach town offers sunset cruises as a way to experience the ocean. There is a good chance that you’ll catch a glimpse of marine wildlife as you snorkel, or relax on the boat with drinks and snacks. Talk about a romantic experience!
Exploring Caves on the Nicoya Peninsula
This is probably one of the coolest things you can do in Costa Rica! There are limestone caves at Barra Honda National Park, and some are over 800 feet deep. Amazing rock formations and stalagmites can be seen in this unusual and fascinating experience, but you can also take a tour to see bats that you can’t see anywhere else. It is an all-day tour with a national park guide, and it will not disappoint!