There’s a lot that Costa Rica is famous for. Above all, it impresses with its spectacular nature. There’s no surprise why Costa Rica is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The busy city of San Jose, beautiful beaches, outdoor adventure opportunities, and a lot more await them every step of the way in their journey of discovery. And if these aren’t the fun things you’d like to test out in Costa Rica, you’ll find many alternatives.
Costa Rica’s cuisine, lifestyle, nightlife, and culture are diversified and worth immersing yourself in, especially in San Jose and on the country’s coasts. So, if you’re wondering about the most exciting and fun things to test out during your stay (no matter how short or long), here are the essentials.
Have a Museum Day in San Jose
If you’re staying in San Jose or planning a day trip to Costa Rica’s bustling capital city, dedicate some time to visiting the local museums. Costa Rica’s Museo de Jade is a definite must-see. As the name suggests, it houses a huge jade collection – from carved stones to the tools that have been used for this purpose through the millennia.
Museo Nacional in San Jose was set up in the 19th century to preserve Costa Rica’s art and cultural heritage. There you’ll find permanent as well as rotating exhibits ready to impress, fascinate, and surprise.
A few other San Jose/local museums worth checking out include the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum, Museo de los Ninos (perfect for families with youngsters), Museo de Cultura Popular, and Museo de Ciencias Naturales.
Be in Awe with Guanacaste’s White Sand Beaches
Guanacaste is one of the most popular tourist regions in Costa Rica for a reason…or more. The clear blue waters, secluded beaches, and private beach clubs attract many sun worshippers. There are also surfing and watersport opportunities that appeal to anyone in search of an adventure.
Playa Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Playa Hermosa, Playa Lagarto, Playa Avellanas, Playas del Coco, and Playa Panama are all very popular for different reasons but they all find their rightful places among the most beautiful beaches in the world. While Playa Tamarindo is a surfing hotspot and one of the up-and-coming places to own a beachfront villa, Playas del Coco is the perfect destination for some family-friendly fun and relaxing by your own infinity pool.
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Embark on an Adventure – A Perfect Choice for Nature Lovers
Costa Rica’s diversity and natural richness are a magnet for lovers of the outdoors. Whether we’re talking about a trip to the famous Irazu, the highest active volcano in Costa Rica, exploring the Monteverde cloud forest, or discovering the hypnotic turquoise water of Rio Celeste, adrenaline junkies will have plenty of opportunities to keep busy and happy.
Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world for zip lining, which feels like a national sport in the country. Zipping over the luscious greenery will unveil Costa Rica’s nature and richness from a different perspective. Some of the best places for trying zip lining include Guanacaste, Monteverde, and La Fortuna.
Craving for more fun adventures? Have your pick from:
Sunset sailing boat cruise
White water rafting
Snorkeling and scuba diving to check out the coral reefs
Horseback riding on the white sand beaches
Hiking along the numerous nature trails
Choose your activity depending on your preferences but also take a moment to check out the weather. Most activities are ideal for the dry season, but the rainy days might try to keep you still. Nevertheless, you’ll still find plenty of fun things to do that don’t require getting soaking wet. Just plan your outdoor activities for the first part of the day. It’s common knowledge that the rainy season in Costa Rica means one hour of rain in the afternoon.
Explore the Paths of the Many National Parks
Costa Rica loves the environment, and no one can ever tell otherwise. The many natural parks and preserves are a testament to the government’s determination to protect the country’s fragile ecosystems and most valuable treasures. The must-sees include:
Tortuguero National Park
One of Costa Rica’s leading eco-tourism destinations, Tortuguero National Park, encompasses Playa Tortuguero where sea turtles come to nest. If you’re visiting Tortuguero National Park from May to October, you can witness this magical moment under the guidance of a local tour. Tortuguero National Park research center will also acquaint you with these magnificent creatures and all of the conservation efforts.
Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park is one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park is located on the Osa Peninsula – a place that’s the home of six percent of the world’s biodiversity. That’s why a Corcovado hike is certain to leave you breathless. Numerous nature trails cross the park and provide opportunities to witness its magnificence.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park ranks among Costa Rica’s smaller preserves. Still, the park’s many nature trails cater to all experience levels. If you decide to put your hiking boots to the test here, you can book a guided tour that will take you to the beautiful waterfalls, white sand beaches, and the lush rainforest. And if you’re lucky, you’ll even get to observe some howler monkeys, the pride and joy of Manuel Antonio National Park.
Arenal Volcano National Park
Anyone who is mesmerized by volcanoes should visit Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park. The volcano’s last eruption took place in 1968 but the distinctive cone shape is readily visible today. Surprisingly enough, hikes on the local lava beds are a popular activity for tourists. Take your time, stop for a while, and enjoy the beautiful Lake Arenal view.
Carara National Park
Carara National Park consists of the northernmost Pacific Coast rainforest. Located close to San Jose, the Pacific Coast preserve is readily accessible. It’s best known for the Tarcoles River Bridge and its spectacular crocodiles, bird watching, and numerous hiking nature trails.
Cahuita National Park
Nature lovers should never say no to a trip to Cahuita National Park. Its magnificent coral reefs are among the most attractive along the Caribbean Coast. This fragile Caribbean Coast ecosystem has been in danger for a long time, which is why the park was set up in 1970. Apart from the coral reefs, this Caribbean Coast treasure cove is also the home of more than 500 fish species. Those who are into scuba diving can explore the various shipwrecks that line the bottom of the Caribbean Coast and discover the fascinating underwater world.
Taste the Food, Dance the Night Away
Costa Rica’s culture and historical heritage are intriguing and worth exploring. No matter where you’re staying, trying delicious local food is a must. Costa Rica brings lots of unique flavors and cultural fusion to the table.
San Jose is an excellent place to test out a medley of restaurants – from fine dining to more casual and even street food spots. If you’re into authenticity, you should definitely head to the Central Market. If you prefer to surprise your taste buds with eclectic flavors, book a table at one of the many international restaurants. From Lebanese to Italian, the world is fully represented on Costa Rica’s culinary map.
The night never ends after dinner. There is so much more to do in Costa Rica after the sun sets. Listen to a live band play some music, dance to rhythms of calypso music or salsa, or enjoy a relaxing spa experience. Nightlife options abound in Costa Rica. San Jose’s downtown has numerous bars and places that organize dance parties, while tourist spots like Playa Tamarindo and Playa del Coco attract locals and expats of all ages to have fun at one of the many beach parties.
Take It Easy. Enjoy La Pura Vida.
Even the outdoorsy ones need to slow down and recharge their batteries every once in a while. Why not do it in one of the many local hot springs? Hot springs are the result of volcanic activity in central Costa Rica. Thus, when visiting the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal region, you should always book a spa procedure and enjoy the healing power of thermal springs.
Tabacon Hot Springs is one of the most prominent balneological destinations in Costa Rica. Eco Termales, Rio Agua Caliente, and Titoku Hot Springs are also located nearby but tend to be less crowded.
You’ll also find prominent hot springs destinations in the fabulous Guanacaste region. Vandara Hot Springs is located in Rincon de La Vieja National Park. Its hot springs are known for the medicinal and skin-beneficial clay which can be easily applied all over the body. The benefits of this 100 percent natural treatment become obvious almost immediately.
Costa Rica’s treasures await you. Just put your exploration hat on and consider the locations and activities that appeal to you the most. Chances are you’ll quickly fall in love with Costa Rica and want to move here for good. We’ve seen it happen more times than you can imagine!