Costa Rica has an abundance of wildlife, picturesque beaches, national parks and a rich history and culture to learn about. This makes Costa Rica the perfect destination for every kind of traveller. Here are just a few of our top places we recommend you visit in Costa Rica.
Despite being one of the smallest national parks in Costa Rica, it certainly is the most popular. The main attraction of Manuel Antonio is the diverse wildlife hidden in the park, as it is home to 109 different mammals and 184 types of bird. Some of the animals you may spot are the three-toed sloths, squirrel monkeys, raccoons and the red-eyed frog. Spotting these animals are easy with the numerous hiking trails across the forest. The most common hiking routes are the El Manglar Trail, the Perezoso Trail and the Main Trail, each of which offer different things to see.
Manuel Antonio National Park is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. The most visited beaches are Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Anonio. They are the perfect spots for swimming, snorkeling and walking along the stunning white, sandy beaches. The beaches can get busy so if you prefer a more secluded beach experience you may want to visit Playa La Mancha, which is known for being one of the quietest beaches in Manuel Antonio – making it the ideal place to sunbathe and relax in peace.
You can visit Manuel Antonio National Park on our 11-Night Costa Rica to Panama Cruise tour.
Arenal is situated in north-western Costa Rica and has increasingly become a popular site for tourists looking for excitement, with its array of adventurous activities. The volcano is famous for being one of the most active volcanoes in the country, but this doesn’t stop tourists visiting each year to hike the base of the volcano. The hike offers spectacular views of the old lava fields and through the rain forest.
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, then climb to the highest points in the Arenal rain forest and zipline across the national park for a bird’s eye view of the volcano. After this, why not join a white-water rafting tour, which offers scenic views of the Arenal region and is both fun and adventurous. The Balsa River is one of the most popular rivers for rafting, perfect for beginners and those of all ages. For those that are up for the challenge, then try tackling the big waves on the Sarapiqui River, which is certain to get your heart racing!
After a day of adventure, take a dip in the natural hot springs surrounding the volcano. These hot springs formed after the Arenal Volcano erupted in 1968 and since then have become one of the highlights of every visitor’s trip.
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A cloud forest is a tropical forest with a thin layer of cloud which hangs just below the canopy. Monteverde is Costa Rica’s most famous cloud forest and one of the top recommended sites to visit. Take your pick from one of the nine hiking trails, which run for more than eight miles in the forest. Some of the most interesting trails to take are the Cloud Forest Trail (Sendero Bosque Nuboso), the Walking Trail (Sendero Camino) and the Swamp Trail (Sendero Pantanoso). This is the perfect way to explore the forest and wildlife, you may even catch a glimpse of the sloths hidden in the trees.
If you are not keen on hiking, there are plenty of other ways to explore Monteverde forest. You can walk along the suspended canopy walkways and bridges that lead you through the treetops. The walkways offer a unique perspective, as you will see the cloud forests at the canopy level. The suspended walkways are also a great way to spot the 400 bird species flying just above your head, so make sure you bring your camera! If you’re feeling adventurous, many tour companies offer ziplining, tarzan swings or bungee jumping experiences in the forest.
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Corcovado National Park has been described as “the most biologically intense place on Earth” by National Geographic. It is home to over 40 types of frogs, 28 species of lizards, over 100 different butterflies and more than 400 species of birds. A few of the animals you may get to see when you visit are jaguars, red-backed squirrel monkeys, scarlet macaws, sea turtles, crocodiles, hummingbirds, capuchin monkeys and more!
Aside from wildlife exploring, there are plenty of great activities to join in on when visiting Corcovado. There are four main ranger stations in the park, each with its own trail to follow. The San Pedrillo or La Leona trails are the most popular day hikes to take. If you are tired of walking, they offer plenty of other activities such as cycling or horse riding through the park, a Canopy Tour and kayaking.
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Coffee production in Costa Rica began in 1779 and since then they have seen a significant growth in the industry and production. Owners of coffee plantations are now expanding their business and are offering travelers a unique experience to stay on a plantation and learn about the coffee-making process. These experiences include an interesting tour of the plantation, a talk on the history of coffee in Costa Rica, as well the plantation. Travelers will gain an insight into the harvesting process and may even take a tour of the factory where they can see how beans are roasted before trying some freshly made coffee at the end. You can even stay overnight, as some plantations have been turned into a boutique hotel.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, check out our 11-night Costa Rica to Panama Cruise-Tour with Coffee Retreat.
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