26 of the Best Places to Visit in Costa Rica in 2023
Although all of Central America is famous for its breathtaking travel destinations where you can spend the precious moments of your life, but some of the best places to visit are in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is the best option if you are more into wildlife, beaches, ancient traditions, and a peaceful ecosystem.
This is because this Costa Rica is all about beautiful beaches, unique wildlife, a soothing environment, and all the other good reasons that attract your attention. Whether it is the weather of this country or the nightlife, everything is wonderful about this place in Central America.
If you want to know more about it, sit back and grab your popcorn because, in this one, we will talk about all the best places to visit in Costa Rica in 2023. Picking 26 out of so many eye-catching ones was quite hard, though. We still managed to do our best research for you.
So, if you are ready to know these places before planning a tour, let’s dive into them. These places surely make your trip unforgettable, and you want to revisit these great places once you get back home.
#1: The Cloud Forest
If we are talking about the best places in Costa Rica, let’s start with the best of all: Cloud Forest. A place which we must say is heaven. Where it is all dreamy.
Where you can touch the clouds and whatnot. This place is meant for you if you want to reconnect with mother nature.
Cloud Forest is far away from the hustle and bustle of the countryside, where you can feel calm and fresh. You will enjoy breathing fresh, pure air and getting close to wildlife.
The clouds are set to drop the dew on the leaves of trees that offer an awesome and spectacular view. You can do multiple things in the Cloud Forest, like exploring the cloud reserves is a great option to consider.
Cloud Forest in Costa Rica is not only famous for its wildlife, but there are many other reasons for its popularity, and one of the reasons is the coffee of that place. You can also take a tour of the coffee plantations there.
The next adventurous thing that you can do is go ziplining. By doing this, you can have an overall tour of the entire cloud forest in one go.
Isn’t it great?
There is also a butterfly garden within the premises of Cloud Forest, which you can explore. A wide range of wildlife also exists in the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica, which can amaze you.
The cloud forest is a whole package for tourists who want to enjoy their tour far from the noise of cities.
#2: San Jose
Next, we will look at the largest city and the capital of Costa Rica. San Jose is a great place where you need to start your trip. The capital city is all about history, marvelous architecture, culture, and nightlife. San Jose International Airport welcomes thousands of tourists and visitors every day.
There are plenty of museums and galleries you are going to find in San José. These places are best for knowing the ancient history and culture of Costa Rica’s local people.
Moreover, you will also find hotels, bars, and restaurants near those tourist attractions where you can enjoy Costa Rican local food.
San Jose is very rich in culture and traditions. If you wish to observe Costa Rican culture and know about its history keenly, you should visit the best museums in the world in San Jose. Jade Museum is famous for its jade artifacts from the pre-Colombian era.
Also, the pre-Colombian Gold Museum and National Museum are best to learn about the history and ancient culture of Costa Rica. National Museum is famous for getting knowledge about the archaeological and geological history of Costa Rica.
The parks in this city are the biggest tourist attraction for tourists. You can visit parks for bird watching and enjoy the peaceful walks there. There are plenty of other great places in San Jose that you can add to your wishlist.
#3: Hot Springs
If you are thinking of skipping the Costa Rica hot springs during the vacation, you are about to make a mistake. This is because your trip is almost complete with visiting the hot springs.
After the Cloud Forest, it is now the turn of hot springs to consider. There are many hot springs that you are going to find in Costa Rica, and you know what is exciting about them?
They will offer you a whole new experience no matter what kind of traveler you are. If you want to melt your stress, then you should add hot springs, or you can say bathtubs of nature to your list.
Also, whether it is a romantic getaway or a friend’s trip, choosing hot springs is one of the good options. This is one of the best ways of treating yourself. The cherry on top is it is an eco-friendly option, and you do not need to pay to enjoy it.
You will find some of the hot springs in Costa Rica are Titoku Hot Spring, Baldi Hot Spring, Los Laurels, and many others.
Check out one of our favorite videos of visiting the Los Lagos Spa & Resort hot springs!
#4: Pacific Coast
Ready for the next best place in Costa Rica? Now we will look at the Pacific Coast, further divided into different sections. These famous locations include North Guanacaste, South Guanacaste, Nicoya Peninsula, Central Pacific, South Pacific, and Ossa Peninsula.
If you talk about Guanacaste, then it is the main area and a big tourist attraction on the Pacific coast. The Pacific coast is mostly all about high-end and eye-catching beaches. So if you are a beach person, pay a visit to this place.
The Pacific coast is also famous for fishing, surfing, scuba diving, and many fun activities. This part of Costa Rica has some incredible resort that offers so much enjoyment, and you can spend luxurious leisure time there. The hotel chains are also mind-blowing, where you can stay while visiting the Pacific Coast.
All in all, you should come here and make your vacations even more exciting and enjoyable.
#5: Santa Teresa
Far and far away from all the city lights, there is a peaceful and soothing small coastal town called Santa Teresa. This place is about fun, from nightlife to beaches and restaurants to parties. It is not wrong if we say that this place has stolen many travelers’ hearts and is all set to steal the hearts of many more.
Santa Teresa is a small town on the Nicoya Peninsula’s western side. Most people use ATVs because of the town’s dirt roads. This town is famous for fishing because the primary source of income here depends on it. Moreover, Santa Teresa is a great place to have some fresh and delicious Costa Rican seafood.
The best part about this place is the wonderful beaches, delicious Costa Rican seafood, and local cuisine restaurants. One of the most famous beaches is Playa Carmen. Moreover, you can enjoy underwater swimming in the tidal swimming pools of Santa Teresa.
Although Santa Teresa is best known for rip surfing and sunbathing, there are many other things you can choose to do here. The beaches of this small town serve as a sunset point where you can enjoy the mesmerizing sunset views with your loved ones. Locals of Santa Teresa gather to enjoy the sunset with their families.
Playa Santa Teresa is another cool area of this town, as it has many restaurants, hotels, local shops, and much more. You can take short walks through the markets to enjoy leisure time and go shopping.
Whether you are a part of a small group of tourists or a large one, Santa Teresa is the best place to visit in Costa Rica.
#6: Manuel Antonio Beach
Manuel Antonio Beach is counted as one of the best beaches in Costa Rica. It is the main attraction for tourists on the Pacific Coast in Manuel Antonio. Around 140,000 travelers pay a visit to this beach every year. It is famous because of the gentle white sand and blue water, making this place more like heaven.
There are three main trails that you will find between Manuel Antonio’s ways where nature lovers can watch different species of birds. Moreover, there is plenty of wildlife which you can watch, including howler monkeys and other exotic animals.
Check out these perfect binoculars and bird-watching book–perfect for bird-watching!
- Hontry Binoculars for Adults and Kids
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If you plan to visit Manuel Antonio Beach, you should have a lot of time. Because more than going for a day will be needed to explore its beauty in depth. It would not be wrong if we say that Manuel Antonio is a winner among all the beaches in this area. You can plan your trip to other beautiful places in Costa Rica after visiting Manuel Antonio Beach.
There are many hotels on the hillside and beach view, so it is on you where you are planning your stay.
#7: Manuel Antonio National Park
Regarding the national parks of Costa Rica, the Manuel Antonio National Park stands at the top. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica.
The reason is that the area has many wonderful white sand beaches with cool blue water. Not only beaches but also very popular for its thick rainforest where you can easily spot animals like sloths and monkeys.
Manuel Antonio National Park is located at the border area of Quepos. It covers around 7 square miles of area with thick rainforest, incredible beaches, exotic animals, and high mountains. You will find some best areas while hiking through the national park.
One thing you need to consider while taking a tour of this place is taking a tourist guide with you. You can only explore many things with the help of a guide. You will get to know new things about animals and forests things by a local guide.
Manuel Antonio National Park is full of exotic animals and wildlife. You will find rare white-faced capuchin monkeys, squirrel monkeys, sloths, and more.
If you plan to visit this amazing place, book a hotel or a rented home at economical rates in the surrounding area of Manuel Antonio.
#8: La Paz Waterfall Garden
If you like to hike and spot wildlife, consider visiting the La Paz Waterfall. This magnificent place is located in the middle of a lush rainforest offering its visitors a calming effect on their minds.
Whether you are considering hiking or your friends are planning to explore the wildlife, La Paz waterfall garden will not disappoint you in both cases. You should know more about this place: it is private property and was opened in 2000. The main purpose behind opening this place is to protect the natural environment and rare wildlife.
Costa Rica is known for its dry and rainy weather, so this is the best time to visit La Paz waterfall garden and get ready for the shower anywhere. Moreover, the friendly Costa Ricans of this area make the place even more attractive and worth visiting.
#9: Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park is a natural place far away from the rush of the city and is one of the major tourist attractions. You are going to find a lot of rare and exotic animals on the premises of this place. Tortuguero national park is due to the dense population of turtles that lives there throughout the year.
Green sea turtles make houses on the sand during the season of nesting and hatching. You can experience many gorgeous things, like watching the babies of turtles while taking their first baby steps. Also, you can watch the sunset with friends and family having your dinner at sea site.
You can do plenty of exciting things while visiting Tortuguero National Park. One of the best things that you can do is a night walk. A peaceful night walk is all you need to wipe away all the stress from your life.
#10: Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park is one of the best popular places in Costa Rica. You will be amazed to watch the diverse wildlife, including jaguars, macaws, and monkeys.
Also, you will find harpy eagles, pumas, and giant anteaters. Moreover, this park is a treasure for nature lovers because of its greenery and fresh air.
There are so many reasons to visit this place, but the most common reason is that it is completely unexplored. Another thing that is best about Corcovado Park is that you can go hiking, camping, and trekking.
You just need to look for the best weather to enjoy your visit. The driest weather starts in December and lasts till April, after which a long spell of heavy rainstorms.
#11: Arenal Volcano National Park
Next in the row is Arenal Volcano National Park, a popular tourist destination. You are going to find not only several hiking points but also so gorgeous views that are more than enough for you to feel relaxed. You can also enjoy breathtaking views of the Arenal volcano, one of the active volcanoes in Costa Rica.
The Arenal Volcano National Park has two sectors; one is the sector Peninsula, and the other one is the main sector. If you plan to visit any of these, it takes at least 4 hours of hike.
The park opens for tourists at morning 8 am and closes at 6 pm. There are several trails in this park, and you can enjoy different things on every trail.
Arenal Volcano National Park is under Costa Rican government, and you have to pay a fee of around $15 per person to enter the park premises. Moreover, you will find different basic facilities like washrooms at the park entrance.
#12: Caribbean Coast
The Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica is less popular than the Pacific Coast and less developed. The government is trying to develop this side of the country to make it the perfect place for tourists. However, there are many wonderful places where you can experience Costa Rican culture and beautiful landscapes.
The Caribbean Coast is not only quiet and calm but also very colorful. Puerto Viejo is a perfect destination if you visit the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.
As time passes, it is becoming one of the coolest surfing places in the region. Although this area is not for everyone, you should pay a visit here if you want a vibe that screams positivity and calmness.
Cahuita is an ideal spot for fishing on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. Locals also know it as a fishing village because most people earn a livelihood from selling fish and other sea animals. You will find the most delicious seafood in local restaurants in this area.
#13: Nicoya Peninsula
Starting with a fact about the Nicoya Peninsula, one of the five big blue zone areas of the globe, lies in two provinces. It is located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.
Nicoya is well known for its world-class surfing, and you can take surf lessons from experts to improve your skill. Also, people come here for fishing, scuba diving, and horseback riding on beaches.
According to research, the local people of the Nicoya Peninsula live much longer lives because of their healthy lifestyle. This place has no pollution, and you will breathe fresh and pure air.
This healthy and laid-back lifestyle is one of the reasons for the attraction of many visitors every year. Travelers come to stay here, eat healthy local food, and enjoy the peaceful environment.
Santa Teresa, Nosara, and Samara are other tourist attractions in the Nicoya Peninsula. All these towns have tourist places like restaurants, shops, beaches, and hotels.
If we talk about Nosara, it is one of the upmarket towns, and people usually come here for surfing and many other fun activities. Moreover, this town is one of the best places in the world where people practice yoga regularly.
#14: Drake Bay
Let’s talk about the name of this place first. The legend says that a pirate hid his treasure in this area, and his name was Francis Drake. So from that, the name of this place originated. Drake Bay is a small bay on the southwestern Coast of Costa Rica.
Well, if we have a look, this place is full of treasures, as you will find a lush jungle that can not be found in the rest of Costa Rica. If you want a detailed tour of Drake Bay, we advise you to explore the place by guided hiking. It would not be wrong to say that this place is a remote jungle.
If you want to get rid of the hassles of daily routine and get the proper village vibe, visit Drake Bay. Besides hiking, you can also do fishing, surfing, and scuba diving. Drake Bay is the best way to connect with nature and have a positive aura of the environment.
#15: Osa Peninsula
A place that is surrounded by nature from its four sides is the Osa Peninsula. Especially if you are someone who is so much into natural beauty and a slow traveler, then this place is meant for you.
Osa Peninsula is an eco-friendly destination with a lush green rainforest that will not disappoint you at any cost. If you want to dive deep into tropical nature, the Osa Peninsula is worth paying a visit to.
There is a unique diversity of eco in this area. You will find different types of insects, plants, and also wildlife. One thing we would like to change about this place is that it never dries.
It is steamy and buggy, which is only the choice of some. So if you love rain and staying wet, Osa will never disappoint you. Moreover, you will find wonderful places to stay and enjoy the rainy weather.
#16: Puerto Jimenez
If you want to make your tour more exciting in Costa Rica, choose Puerto Jimenez, which is one decent place to consider. It is one of the underrated places in Costa Rica and does not grab much attention from tourists. But there are plenty of things that you can do during the visit to this gorgeous place.
One of our favorites is a kayaking tour during the sunset, which is the best experience of our life. Another fun thing you can do is rent a bike and explore the beauty of this Puerto Jimenez.
#17: Coffee Plantations
Coffee Plantations are the best places to visit in Costa Rica. It will kick-start your tour in Costa Rica. Even though Costa Rica is a small country, it produces the world’s best coffee and exports to all Central American countries and the United States.
Coffee is more than just another plantation stuff for Costa Rican people, so they give much importance to it. And that is why they arrange proper tours of coffee plantation farms.
There are many places in Costa Rica where you can plan a coffee tour. Moreover, you can buy fresh coffee bags to take back home and enjoy Costa Rican coffee with your family.
#18: La Fortuna Waterfall
The next comes the La Fortuna Waterfall, located just near the natural reservoir of the Arenal Volcano. If you want to visit this place, there is a small hike and a splendid view of the waterfall.
You can enjoy the hike and freeze some memories by swimming in the cold water of La Fortuna waterfall. When you visit this place, you will surely find so many tourists as this place is so popular due to its lush green views and soothing vibes.
#19: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
If you are looking for drop-dead gorgeous sceneries, green jungles, and beaches, then let us introduce you to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. It is one of the most famous places to visit in Costa Rica.
You should plan a long tour of this place because there are many fun things to do and so much to explore. Make sure you have plenty of time to experience mother nature.
Puerto Viejo is also known as a party town because the nightlife of this place is so much fun. You can enjoy beach parties, dancing, and getting crazy with your friends.
#20: Bajos del Toro
Let’s discuss another favorite place to explore in Costa Rica: a hidden central valley. Bajos del Toro is famous for its lush green jungles and amazing waterfalls. It is located on the backside of Poas Volcano.
Bajos del Toro is also known as the land of waterfalls in Costa Rica. The Blue Falls, Rio Agrio Falls, and Bajos del Toro Waterfall are the most beautiful waterfalls.
Moreover, while visiting Bajos del Toro, you can go to Dino Lands, which is full of 25 real-size dinosaurs. This place is a great spot for kids and dinosaur lovers.
#21: Papagayo Peninsula
Although all of Costa Rica is about beaches, jungles, and waterfalls, this time, you will be amazed by the beauty of the Papagayo Peninsula.
This place is full of luxurious resorts, restaurants, surf shops, beautiful parks, and much more. The emerald-green water of the pacific ocean makes the view of this place even more beautiful.
#22: Playa Cocles
Next in the row is Playa Cocles which is more like a trail that is side by side with the beach, where you will find nothing but serenity. If you visit this place in the rainy season, you will see it is a paradise on earth.
This is one of the best places for surfing in Costa Rica. But sometimes the waves get so high that it is unsafe to surf or swim here.
#23: Playa Grande
By now, we have convinced most of you to plan vacations to Costa Rica. But if you are still thinking, let us introduce you to a beautiful site: Playa Grande. It is yet another perfect place for eco-tourism and will not disappoint you when exploring nature.
The lush and vibrant vibe of Playa Grande is just a little attractive to handle. You can do many fun activities in this wonderful place in Costa Rica.
#24: Playa Conchal
As we are almost at the end of our list of best places to visit, let us shed light on one of the unique beaches of Costa Rica. This beach has white shells instead of sand.
It is one of the top beaches in Costa Rica, and thousands of tourists visit there due to its beauty and uniqueness.
#25: Jaguar Rescue Center
If you are an animal lover, you should visit Jaguar Rescue Center. It is an animal rescue center where they keep orphaned animals and treat sick or injured animals.
Jaguar Rescue Center is a nonprofit organization home to thousands of animals like sloths, monkeys, mammals, and birds. It is a great thing to do in Costa Rica.
#26: Tenorio Volcano National Park
Lastly, Tenorio Volcano National Park is the best place to visit in Costa Rica. Don’t go for the name as it says volcano, but in reality, it is a beautiful rainforest.
The lush green area makes it superior to other places. It also holds a wide variety of wildlife animals that are a major tourist attraction.
If you are planning a tour to Costa Rica but need to know where to begin, then no need to worry. Above is the list of the 26 best places to visit in Costa Rica in 2023.
There are white-sand beaches, active volcanoes, beautiful waterfalls, surfing spots, inclusive resorts, hiking trails, and much more to explore. These places are suitable for almost everyone and are affordable as well.
We hope you find this guide useful. So, do visit these incredible places whenever you get a chance to come to Costa Rica.
The Cloud Forest sounds so inviting! I’d love all those national parks too! I don’t know that I’ll be visiting any time soon but this is a great post and I’m going to check out some others. I will keep this one in mind though for any friends that may go…