Have you always wanted to visit Central America’s most beautiful country? If so, there’s no time like the present to start planning your dream trip! With endless stretches of rainforest, tropical beaches and biodiversity, millions of tourists visit this exotic destination each year. And you can find everything from costa rica beach house rentals to budget-friendly guesthouses. Here are eight things to do and see in this beautiful country in Central America.
1. Spend a Few Nights in San Jose
Costa Rica’s capital city shares a name with the province it’s located inside. Acting as a major hub for flights into and out of the country, the historical capital rarely gets the attention it deserves. Stroll along the modern and metropolitan city in the morning. Hit the National Museum and catch a show in the evening at the National Theater. Now combine the abundance of culture with parks and green spaces dotted around the capital. San Jose is also one of the best places in Costa Rica to enjoy the nightlife featuring dozens of bars and nightclubs.
2. Witness the Spectacular Cloud Forest at La Paz Waterfall
Located approximately 45 minutes by car from San Jose, La Paz is one of the most popular day trips from the capital. The ecological site is privately owned and offers a slice of the rainforest. Apart from the five-tiered waterfall, you can expect to see (and hear) and an explosion of life. Stroll around the grounds and you might catch a glimpse of some of Costa Rica’s wildlife including the rare jaguars. Expect to spend at least three hours at the waterfall. If you have your own transport, why not pack a picnic and soak up the environment to the fullest rather than rushing to get back to the city.
3. Explore Costa Rica’s Rainforests at Santa Rosa National Park
While Costa Rica has a vast network of rainforest and jungles, it’s not possible to access and experience every part. The best place to appreciate their biodiversity and ecological wonders is in Santa Rosa National Park. Apart from boasting hundreds of square kilometres of thick forest filled with wildlife, you can also visit secluded beaches and coves. But for the best experience, consider spending the night using their camping facilities. Nothing quite beats the sound of the jungle after the sun has set. And there’s no better way to experience this than sitting in the heart of the rainforest. Santa Rosa lies in the northwest approximately 40 kilometres (25 miles) from popular town Liberia.
4. Visit the Historical Cartago
Cartago sits at the base of Irazu Volcano near the capital San Jose. Apart from attracting day trippers for the views, the town has ancient city walls and relics from past eruptions. Head to the town centre and stroll along the attractive and photogenic streets. But the biggest highlight is the central basilica built by the Spanish colonists. You can also find a variety of accommodation choices to suit all types of travellers. Spend the night and visit the nearby coffee plantations and mountains.
5. Learn About Costa Rica’s Cowboys
The small town of Liberia in northwest Costa Rica sits near the border with Nicaragua. With a historical old town and Spanish colonial buildings, it’s a popular stop for tourists passing between the two countries. But the biggest highlight is the town’s more recent history and affiliation with cowboys. Stroll around and you’ll find relics and memorabilia of its recent past. Why not hit one of the museums and learn about this unique culture found nowhere else in Costa Rica? If you spend a few days, you can also visit Rincon de la Vieja Volcano or Santa Rosa National Park.
6. Hit the Waves at Nosara
Costa Rica has two coastlines offering beaches, sunshine and incredible surfing conditions. If you want to spend some time riding the waves, Nosara is the best place to go. Because of its reputation for good waves, the small town attracts surfers from around the world. Apart from relaxing and meeting other like-minded travellers, you can visit turtle nesting sites and go horseback riding. Nosara is also known as a yoga and wellness centre. This is an ideal spot to visit if you want to spend every waking moment following your life passions.
7. Sunbath at Dominical
The small coastal town on the western coast of Costa Rica attracts a wide range of tourists. With long stretches of idyllic sand and decent waves, you can expect a blend of sun lovers and surfers. Combining a laid-back atmosphere with a decent nightlife, it makes the perfect place to unwind for a few days. The nearby Haciendo Baru Wildlife Refuge offers a selection of jungle treks along marked trails too.
8. Go Snorkelling at Samara
Samara is a small village with a vast coral reef spanning across its coastline. Located just 30 minutes or so from Dominical, it allows you to get a glimpse of the underwater world away from the crashing waves. Several hotels line the coastline which gets relatively few tourists offering a more authentic experience. This is one of the best spots in Costa Rica for snorkelling and having a quieter vacation.
Costa Rica’s Coolest Destinations
From colonial towns and volcanoes to national parks, snorkelling and surfing, Costa Rica has it all. Read up on the country and plan the best places to visit and you’re sure to have a dream trip. Just remember to explore as much of the country as possible to get the most out of your time in this fantastic Central American destination.