Where to visit in Costa Rica
We haven’t found an area we didn’t like. If you enjoy the natural beauty of the area and its simplicity you too will love exploring this country. Here are some of the areas that we think you will enjoy visiting:
1. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve: The reserve consists of 6 ecological zones, 90% of which are virgin forest, an extremely high biodiversity, consisting of over 2,500 plant species, 100 species of mammals, 400 bird species, 120 reptilian and amphibian species, and thousands of insects. More than 1,200 of the world’s species of butterflies live in the Costa Rican rainforests. Hiking and zip lining can also be part of your experience at Monteverde.
2. Guanacaste. Located in the Guanacaste province which in turn is named after the national tree the Guanacaste. Whether you’re looking to catch a wave, scuba dive, go fishing, snorkeling, play some golf, water sports or just relax by one the many beautiful beaches there is something for everyone here.
West of Liberia which is the second largest city in Costa Rica, lies the Peninsula Papagayo. This region features two of the most luxurious resorts in the country: the Andaz Papagayo and the Four Seasons. The 18 hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course is also situated on the peninsula capturing breath-taking views of the PacificHermosa Beach. Translates into “beautiful beach” it truly is a gorgeous beach which waters are generally calm making it a great family vacation spot.
The beaches of Tamarindo are some of the most popular in Costa Rica for its surfing, while the neighboring white sands of Langosta Beach are quieter and better suited for swimming. Further south are the unique Flamingo Beach and Conchal Beach. The pinkish white sand of Flamingo Beach makes up a large section of the Potrero Bay. Conchal Beach, as the name suggests, wan once composed primarily of crushed seashells.
Mansita Beach or Playa Mansita, is located still further south hosts an exclusive resort and residential community featuring golf, tennis, stables, a beach club, and various dining options.
3. Central Valley
It’s no wonder that Costa Rica’s Central Valley is where over two-thirds or 70% of the population resides. Strikingly beautiful with a mild and dry climate all year round, lush and green with many plantations, the soil in the area is very fertile and rich in minerals from the presence of the two active volcanoes namely; Volcan Irazu and Volcan Poas.
San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is a great place to learn about the country’s history and culture. Centrally located to most attractions, it offers convenience for coming and going to your various expeditions and activities.Take a walking tour to visit San Jose’s Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, its beautiful parks, the Cathedral, and other historical sites. Go shopping at more than 2,000 unique shops and sample the great Costa Rican cuisine.
4. Arenal Volcano
The Arenal Volcano is an approximately 2.5 hour drive from the San Jose airport and 3 hours from the Liberia Airport. This area is a paradise for naturalists and adventurers alike. Some of the animals inhabiting the area include monkeys, sloths, deer, tapir, jaguars, coatis and snakes.
Activities & Things to do in Arenal. The Arenal Volcano is a great place to explore the beauty of Costa Rica’s forests on foot, bike, horse, and ATV. For those who enjoy water sports, there are plenty of activities to choose from and for more leisurely pace, a river float or aerial tram can be arranged.
More activities: Zip Lining (Canopy Tours), white water rafting, hot springs, Paddleboarding, Fishing, Kayaking, Horse back riding, Hanging bridges, Waterfall rappelling, coffee tours, safari float.
5. Tamarindo Beach Costa Rica is well known for its miles and miles of beaches with amazing surf. Tamarindo is without question one of Costa Rica’s 3 great surfing meccas.It offers many breaks, good swells and offshore winds.
Other activities you can enjoy include kayaking, fishing, and horseback riding. Besides an active sea life, the nightlife in Tamarindo offers lots of shops, restaurants and lounges where you can enjoy music, dancing, food and fun.
6. Manuel Antonio National Park Known as “A bridge between the sea and the land” due to its proximity to rain forest and sea, visitors have the opportunity to get the best of both worlds without venturing too far. Located 120 miles(192 km) from San Jose on the Pacific Coast, Manuel Antonio National Park is internationally recognized as being one of the most bio-diverse parks on the planet. It’s also the most popular park, rightfully so. Spanning several natural habitats, this gem boasts more than 109 different species of mammals and 184 species of birds. You can spot the white-faced and howler monkeys, two-toed sloths and the endangered squirrel monkey.
As one of Costa Rica’s most frequented beaches, Manuel Antonio’s crescent shaped beach offers international visitors the choice to take advantage of the crashing waves or to simply sit back and soak up the sun in the paradise-like beaches and the tropical forests create an almost magical experience. There is also a world of unknown beaches just a short drive away from it.
For hikers, there are plenty of well marked trails to explore. Snorkeling, horseback riding, kayaking and white water rafting are just a few of the awesome activities you can experience at Manuel Antonio National Park.
7. Tortuguero National Park, Limon Frequented by tourists from all over the world, Parque Nacional Tortuguero is another significant turtle nesting site in Costa Rica, among the most important nesting areas in the Western Hemisphere of the endangered green turtle. Tortuguero which means “Region of Turtles” in Spanish, is nesting ground for sea turtles every year from March to mid-October. If you wish to see these turtle nest, it will be after 6pm with a guide, as no one is allowed to explore the beach during “arribadas” (nesting period) unaccompanied after this time. A great way to see the turtles nest is from a boat, canoe, or kayak off shore, so as not to disturb the turtles during their nesting or mating period.
8. Jacó If you want to go off the beaten path, and find a great surfing location you must visit Jaco. Jacó is a town on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, southwest of the capital city, San José.
With a mix of gentle waves and more challenging surf breaks, Jaco Beach(Playa Jaco) offers a fun experience for both advance surfers and first-timers. Whether traveling solo or with family, or a large group of adrenalin-seeking adventurers Jaco truly has something for everyone. Thing to do in Jaco: Surfing of course, as well as deep-sea fishing, canopy zip line, rafting, kayaking and much more. Also, plenty of hotels, hostels, shopping, dining and vibrant nightlife. Adjacent beaches to Jaco like Playa Hermosa and Playa Herradura are very popular amongst wave worshipers.
The 7 Provinces of Costa Rica
June 15, 2015 by KC San Jose
Costa Rica is divided into seven “provinces.” All but one (Guanacaste, whose capital is Liberia) have a capital city of the same name. Four of the capital cities are located in the Meseta Central, the central plateau that is home to most of the country’s 3.5 million people.
- San Jose — features the culturally rich and diverse national capital.
- Heredia — Due north of San Jose, up to the Nicaraguan border.
- Alajuela — West of Heredia, to the Nicaraguan border. Features Volcan Poás National Park.
- Guanacaste — The northwest part of the country. One of the most diverse regions of the country, and the world, with cloud forests, active volcanoes, national parks and five-star beach resorts.
- Puntarenas — Covers most of the Pacific coast and its lowlands, from near the most western parts of Costa Rica (due west of San Jose,) down to the Panamanian border (actually southeast of San Jose) including the Manuel Antonio national park.
- Limon — The Caribbean east coast of the country. Features banana plantations, several biological reserves and national parks, and a largely Jamaican-rooted bilingual population.
- Cartago — Northeast of San Jose. Home of many of the volcanoes that enrich the soil of the meseta