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Things to do in Costa Rica

Things to do in  Costa Rica

Welcome to Costa Rica

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica spans just 170 miles (274 kilometers) coast-to-coast, yet contains six percent of the world's biodiversity. Postcard-perfect beaches; lush, protected rainforests; and a proud history of promoting conservation and eco-tourism have helped make the country a veritable paradise for active travelers and nature lovers—as well as Central America's top travel destination. Many tours begin in Costa Rica's ""Golden Triangle"" and string together the most popular destinations: Arenal Volcano National Park and nearby La Fortuna, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and Manuel Antonio National Park. In this region alone, there are enough outdoor activities to fill several vacations, ranging from ziplining through the rainforest canopy, to whitewater rafting, to rainforest safaris, and perhaps even a glimpse of the Arenal volcano in action. Many tours offer family-friendly options, and proximity to the Pacific coast makes it easy to include plenty of beach time. Off the beaten path, consider a private tour of Tortuguero National Park, a protected wilderness reserve and seasonal sea-turtle nesting ground that's home to monkeys, crocodiles, and more than 300 species of birds. If you have some time in San Jose, the capital offers a wealth of museums, including the National Museum, the Gold Museum, the Jade Museum, and the Children's Museum. Or tour the lively Central Market to shop for handicrafts. Everywhere you go, Costa Rica casts its spell—don't be surprised if you fall in love with the ""pura vida"" lifestyle and never want to leave.

Top 10 attractions in Costa Rica

#1
Selvatura Park

Selvatura Park

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Selvatura Park is a popular nature-adventure park in the cloud forests of Costa Rica. Located just outside Monteverde, the park contains over 850 acres (344 hectares) of ecologically diverse forest. Attractions include zipline and suspension bridge tours, hummingbird and butterfly gardens, natural history walks, and reptile exhibitions.More
#2
Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo Beach

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Once the site of a quiet fishing village, Tamarindo Beach has become one of Costa Rica's most popular stretches of golden sand. Surfers travel from across the globe to ride Tamarindo's waves, but you don’t need to be a pro to hang 10 here. There are spots nearby that are calm enough for first-time wave riders to learn.More
#3
Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Rincon de la Vieja National Park

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Rincon de la Vieja National Park is the ultimate “one-stop shop” for Costa Rica’s natural attractions. Expect fuming volcanoes, gushing waterfalls, sky-high ziplines, natural hot springs, and more—all within just a couple of hours of the popular Guanacaste coast.More
#4
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

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The 16 hanging bridges that line the paths of Costa Rica’s Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park stretch a total of 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) across the steep landscape. See the birds, monkeys, sloths, snakes, and frogs that call the forest canopy home by ascending these spans, suspended above gorges and stretched across jungle floors.More
#5
Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve

Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve

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Perched on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve is considered one of Costa Rica’s first natural reserves, and thus spurred a trend that resulted in more than 30 national parks and reserves. Inside the park, you can explore lush forests and white-sand beaches, and go on the lookout for exoitc wildlife on a hike.More
#6
Tortuguero National Park (Parque Nacional Tortuguero)

Tortuguero National Park (Parque Nacional Tortuguero)

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With its incredible biodiversity, Tortuguero National Park (Parque Nacional Tortuguero) is among Costa Rica’s most visited attractions. Home to monkeys and caimans as well, the park is best known for its sea turtles. Clusters of green, hawksbill, leatherback, and loggerhead turtles lay their eggs in the sand of remote Caribbean beaches.More
#7
Rainmaker Park

Rainmaker Park

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Brimming with lush forest, wildlife, and waterfalls, Rainmaker Park provides a quieter alternative to the often-crowded Manuel Antonio National Park. As well as being home to animals such as dart frogs, snakes, and butterflies, the off-the-beaten-path attraction offers great forest views from a set of swinging bridges.More
#8
La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

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From jaguars to capuchin monkeys, more than 100 animal species reside at this scenic nature park. Stop by to take in the animal exhibits, dine at the restaurant, and walk the 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers) of well-maintained trails, which take you past five waterfalls scattered throughout the rain forest and cloud forest.More
#9
Tortuga Island (Isla Tortuga)

Tortuga Island (Isla Tortuga)

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A postcard-perfect paradise of white-sand beaches, swaying coconut palms, and sapphire-blue water rife with marine life, Tortuga Island (Isla Tortuga) is an ideal spot to swim, snorkel, or bask in the sunshine. The island is only accessible from Costa Rica’s main cities via a scenic boat ride across the Gulf of Nicoya—an extra perk for your vacation.More
#10
La Fortuna Waterfall

La Fortuna Waterfall

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La Fortuna Waterfall cascades 200 feet (61 meters) down the sheer cliff face of Cerro Chato, the Arenal Volcano’s dormant and thickly forested twin. One of the most impressive and accessible waterfalls in Costa Rica, La Fortuna is a great place to picnic, swim, and photograph the waterfall’s perpetual mists and nearby exotic vegetation.More

Trip ideas

Top Hiking Trails in Arenal Volcano National Park

Top Hiking Trails in Arenal Volcano National Park

Where to Go Bird-Watching in Costa Rica

Where to Go Bird-Watching in Costa Rica

How to Spend 2 Days in San Jose

How to Spend 2 Days in San Jose

Top activities in Costa Rica

Sunset Catamaran Tour

Sunset Catamaran Tour

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57
From
US$ 129.00
Full Day Jaco Jungle Adventure Pass

Full Day Jaco Jungle Adventure Pass

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From
US$ 195.00
Dream Chaser The Fun Catamaran in Tamarindo (All inclusive)

Special Offer

Dream Chaser The Fun Catamaran in Tamarindo (All inclusive)

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From
US$ 55.25
US$ 65.00  US$ 9.75 savings
Blue Dolphin Sailing Adventure

Blue Dolphin Sailing Adventure

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US$ 75.00
One Day Adventure Tour from San Jose

One Day Adventure Tour from San Jose

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US$ 161.20
Tortuga Island Tour with Costa Cat
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Tortuga Island Tour with Costa Cat

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From
US$ 146.75

Recent reviews from experiences in Costa Rica

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Best tour ever!
Heather_G, Feb 2021
Buena vista Mega Combo Tour at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano from Tamarindo Beach
We got to experience a variety of activities in one day!
star-5
education
JP_D, Jan 2021
San Jose Night City Tour
It was a pleasant experience to see the see city.
star-5
A fun filled day
natalienwanna, Feb 2021
Costa Rica Full Day Combo Tour - Zip lining, Waterfalls, Volcano & Hot Springs
My favorite activities of this excursion included the zip lining and the hot springs right after.
star-5
Great tour
Ayesha_A, Feb 2021
Tenorio Rain Forest Hanging Bridges & Sloth Encounter
The waterfalls were beautiful but be prepared to hike up a lot of steps.
star-5
Adrenaline and Safety
Joe_K, Feb 2021
Ziplining and Waterfall Rappelling Combo
My favorite has to be flying planes in Las Vegas but a close second was the waterfall rappelling.
star-5
The best trip ever!
Ivana_L, Feb 2021
Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner
We were able to see and experience so many different things during one day.
star-5
Breathtaking
Sarah_C, Feb 2021
Full day Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall and Hotsprings
My partner and I took a couple of breaks as we hiked up the mountains and then down to see the waterfall.
star-5
Everything “Pura Vida” on this tour!
Susan_G, Jan 2021
Hiking to the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park Private Tour
The trip location was great - got to see rainforest, dry forest, volcanic mud pits, geysers, and got to swim at the Oropendola waterfall!
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Highly recommended tour! You won't regret it.
jasmine_w, Dec 2020
Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner
Great price for the amount of activities offered.
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Great Family Experience
Chris_K23, Dec 2020
ATV Mountain Tour From Riu Guanacaste or Nuevo Colon
We had stops along the way to see the different beaches grab some waters and saw many monkeys along the way.
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WOW!
Aston_L, Dec 2020
Costa Rica Full Day Combo Tour - Zip lining, Waterfalls, Volcano & Hot Springs
Waterfalls were beautiful.
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Loved his tour!!
O_R, Dec 2020
4 Hours of ATV Riding Lunch & Waterfall
After that, we went to a natural pool with a beautiful waterfall.
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Full Day of Fun and Memories
davidflack, Dec 2020
Arenal Volcano and Tabacón Hot Springs Day Trip from San Jose
Ideal tour for those who are in San Jose but want to see some of the highlights of the north of the country.
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LA FORTUNA ARENAL
Sonya_W, Mar 2020
Two Volcanoes Extreme Hike in Arenal
Beautiful settings, VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES on day long trip.
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Master of transportation
Fordsgirl60, Mar 2020
Liberia Airport Private Transfer To Or From Tamarindo
We arrived into Costa Rica with a long line for immigrations, we got outside to see Brian our driver holding a sign with my name on it.
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A Fun Day in San Jose
Mary_F, Mar 2020
Lonely Planet Experiences: San Jose Tapas, Traditional Masks and Escazu Visit
We might have liked to see more of Central Market.
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Fantastic
Anne_C, Mar 2020
Monteverde Sky Walk From Guanacaste
The bus ride through Costa Rica was a great way to see your beautiful countryside.
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Must Go Tour
Dixie_C, Feb 2020
Rio Celeste Hiking, Sloth Sanctuary & Llanos de Cortes Waterfall Tour
Beautiful beautiful waterfalls.
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Would definitely recommend
saraaahdee24, Feb 2020
Horseback River Tour in Jaco
The stop at the waterfall was lovely.
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Excellent Value
jensingh100, Jan 2020
Zipline and Rappel Tour + Malekus culture + Thermal mineral pools
The tour ended with a day pass to Montana del fuego-a very nice hot springs resort.

All about Costa Rica

When to visit

Costa Rica’s climate splits the year cleanly. The dry season—December through April—is the ideal time for beach hopping, surfing, and partying at winter fiestas. If you don’t mind taking a siesta during afternoon rainstorms, visit May through November for lower room rates and an explosion of green foliage in the rain forests.

Frequently Asked Questions