Costa Rica is teeming with beauty; here’s our list of captivating places to see.
Costa Rica may be one of the most beautiful countries on earth; with so many enchanting places to explore, it’s difficult to pick just a few top favorites.
With rushing rivers and crashing waterfalls, sandy beaches, and tree-lined estuaries, majestic volcanos, rich, green rainforests, and sweeping plains, Costa Rica has something special on offer for the eco-adventurer who is after a little bit of eye candy too.
Here are a few of our very favorite places to visit in Costa Rica.
The convergence of two crystal clear rivers in Tenorio Volcano National Park creates the spectacularly and uniquely turquoise blue that gives the river its name, the result of a mix of volcanic minerals. Rio Celeste and its 295-foot waterfall, together with lush primary cloud and rainforest, are breathtakingly beautiful. The trail up to the waterfall is moderately easy but the trail beyond to the Tenideros is a strenuous one. Trails’ end makes the trip its own reward.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio is a delightful mix of rainforest, beaches, and coral reefs, flaunts its biodiversity: giant bamboo, flame of the forest, plumeria, orchids, as well as capuchin, howler, and spider monkeys, sloths, and birds of all sorts. Manuel Antonio boasts three beaches, two easily accessed from a flat, paved trail. Cathedral Point’s beach is harder to reach but has awe-inspiring views. The Pacific’s blue waters, sweeping beaches, and lush foliage make this small park a true gem.
Largely untouched, the Osa Peninsula is wild and remote, even by eco-tourism standards. The waters of Golfo Dulce are home to humpbacks, dolphins, sea turtles, and a host of marine life. The peninsula’s many preserves protect one of the last primary rainforests stands anywhere, preserving habitats for many endangered plants and animals. Home to colorful tropical birds, such as resplendent quetzals, macaws, and fiery-billed araçaris, as well as tapirs, endangered jaguars, and hundreds of other species.
Punta Uva, Limon
Remote Punta Uva boasts two stunning sandy, palm-lined beaches bordered by the Caribbean’s turquoise waters. It’s an easy 5-10 min walk from the most popular entrance, Sloth Point, named for the local population. A small river flows to the sea down a sloping shoreline’s gentle waves. Arrecife is the smaller beach and its protected surf is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, stand up paddling, and kayaking.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Privately owned, these gardens feature 35 km of trails along the course of 5 waterfalls tumbling the Poas Volcano, and through specialized habitat gardens for butterflies and hummingbirds, as well as a wildlife preserve for rescued animals. A popular destination just north of San José, the scenic paths and gardens are perfect for families with young children.
Rio Pacuare, Turrialba
The Pacuare, a truly wild river, runs from the Talamanca range crest through the virgin rainforest of dense jungle and deep canyons to the Caribbean. Its Class II-V rapids make it popular for whitewater rafters, kayakers, and riverboarding. The jaguars, ocelots, river otter, and colorful birds that live here in the remote forest, are sometimes seen at the river’s edge.
The drive along the Pacific coastline to quaint Dominical is a scenic one where rugged, cascading cliffs meet the deep-blue ocean, full of small coves and breathtaking views. Playa Dominical is famed among the pros for its surf. Beginners should head for Playa Dominicalito, just south of Dominical, also good for swimming. Abundant wildlife, lazy days, and near-perfect sunsets make sleepy Dominical a chill-out tropical retreat.
Explore our hotels to find out more about what to do and where to stay while visiting Costa Rica’s heavenly beauty.