Ranked Destinations of Costa Rica
Let’s start by saying that this is our ranking and can vary from article to article. In Costa Rica there’s a lot to see and experience: From hikes in volcanoes and beautiful and relaxing beaches to museums and amazing theaters.
This list is going to be focused on outdoor activities but we highly recommend you to explore the central towns and to go places not listed in this article.
Here are our top 5 destinations in Costa Rica:
1. Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna, San Carlos. La Fortuna is a small town near Arenal Volcano base, where you can find thermal waters, horse rides in nature, hanging bridges, La Fortuna waterfall, vegetation and a variety of wildlife. The hiking part is comfortable and the top view is marvelous. It is better to go in the dry season (december-april). The Arenal Volcano has the biggest artificial lagoon of Costa Rica and is located in the center of a beautiful forest and some mountains.
2. Manuel Antonio National Park and Beach, Quepos. The protected National Park and the beach share the Manuel Antonio name. It is the most popular preserved area in Costa Rica because it is a huge hike through the jungle that also has great wildlife sightseeing and stops with hidden paths to Manuel Antonio beach. Best time of the year to go is from January to february. You can look for the so-called Monkey Tours with tourism guides that will take you in a boat to tour in the mangroves and experience being close to friendly whitedface monkeys and other species.
3. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Puntarenas. 1 out of 12 cloud forests in the world is in Costa Rica and its ecosystems are protected. It has 4 zones that have different vegetation and animals, there are several routes you can take so the hike can be either very easy or very advanced, depending on your choice. It is located in a town called Santa Elena and you can do a lot of recreational activities there like butterfly gardens, rappel, canopy, canyoning and hikes in private reserves in the area. You can go there any time of the year but be aware that it can be full of people on weekends or holidays.
4. Puerto Viejo and Cahuita, Limon. The Caribbean side of Costa Rica will not stop surprising you. The recommendation right here is 2 of the most cultural, colorful, fun and exciting towns. Puerto Viejo offers everything ranging from surf classes to handmade souvenirs and wild nightlife. While Cahuita has its own National Park that protects into its forests the biggest and most unique coral reef of Costa Rica and clear, peaceful beaches. With indigenous and african roots, Limon offers autochthonous food, music and customs that guarantees an unique experience.
5. Tortuguero Channels, North Caribbean. Second biggest wetland of the country. You can only access it by plane or boat because there are no access roads. Between March and October there’s a chance you can witness a green turtle spawning and hatching. There are some hotels in the middle of the open sea and these maritime channels. Besides the 400 bird species you can see in this magical place, it is an immersive experience surrounded by nature. Tortuguero also is popular for its particular orange and red sunrises.
So, there you have it, 5 different adventures you can enjoy while being in Costa Rica. You can plan your routes in a way that you can do them all in a couple of days since Costa Rica is not a big country but it has a lot to offer!