A beautiful Central American country, Costa Rica is visited by plenty of tourists every year. It has an abundance of idyllic beaches and rainforests, which would be a great visual treat for you. This country is also an ideal place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure lovers. You’ll enjoy your nature walks in this part of the world, as they take you through the dense rainforests.
If you’re interested in the nation’s history and culture, you can visit its vibrant cities and towns. During your time spent in this gorgeous destination, you’ll get the opportunity to visit its popular attractions. Here are some of them:
1. Arenal Volcano National Park
While exploring the Arenal Volcano National Park, you’ll come across the Arenal Volcano. It was a dormant volcano since 1500 AD until it had a massive eruption in 1968. This disastrous volcanic eruption destroyed two villages and killed 82 individuals. Today, Arenal Volcano is the main attraction of this national park.
It appears like a cone-shaped mountain with frequently streaming columns of ash. You’ll be treated to some marvelous sights of ash clouds or red lava flowing down the mountain. This national park is also renowned for its rich biodiversity. It is home to almost half of the country’s amphibians, mammals, and reptiles.
While getting around in the park, you can also visit the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Established in 1987, this was originally a private observatory. You’ll get the chance to savor some pleasant views from this lodge.
This action-packed beach town was once a quiet fishing village. Over the years, Tamarindo has grown into a fabulous tourist hotspot. It is located in Guanacaste on the Nicoya Peninsula. Today, you’ll come across several restaurants and hotels in this town. Owing to the presence of Tamarindo Beach, this town is also a sought-after place for relaxation.
However, this doesn’t mean that there’s a lack of thrilling outdoor activities. You can indulge in surfing while in this town. If you’ve never tried this activity, this place would give you the opportunity to take surfing lessons. The big waves that are ideal for surfing can be witnessed during November and December. Besides this, you can try eco-friendly adventures and activities during your visit to this town.
These activities include diving, snorkeling, ziplining, and horseback riding. If you wish to enjoy turtle-watching, visit during October or March. This is the time when over 100 turtles nest and lay their eggs overnight. One of the most important nesting grounds is Playa Grande.
3. Manuel Antonio National Park
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, this national park is the right place to be in. Manuel Antonio National Park is located on the edge of the Manuel Antonio town. It is among the country’s top destinations for wildlife viewing and also has gorgeous sandy beaches.
The animals you’ll come across in this park are the squirrel monkeys, capuchins, and howler monkeys. The sights of butterflies and colorful birds will surely delight you. There are trails in this national park that you can walk on your own. If you want a more exciting experience, take the park’s guided tour.
When you arrive in Manuel Antonio town, you’ll find many hotels and restaurants. They’re within an easy walking distance from the park. Much of the action in this town happens around the lovely oceanfront beach. Besides, you’ll find some umbrellas and beach chairs lined up on the sand.
4. Cloud Forests near Monteverde and Santa Elena
They’ll surely impress those who’ve been longing to immerse themselves in natural surroundings. The Cloud Forests near Santa Elena and Monteverde are among the best places for ecotourism in the country. Here, you can enjoy the sights of some unique plants and wildlife. The best part is that you don’t need to venture off the beaten path for this.
The clouds that cover these forests are necessary to sustain the unique habitats in the area. They provide the essential moisture for this purpose. Many visitors arrive in this part of Costa Rica for bird-watching. Don’t forget to explore the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
Among the animals found here are pumas and jaguars. Hikes that you can organize with the local tour operators can be the best way to explore these forests. Cable cars, bridge walks, and canopy tours are the other options.
Dominical has a fantastic bohemian vibe to it and is a haven for tropical backpackers. Here, you’ll find cheap accommodations, majestic beaches, and open-air restaurants. For the more high-end crowds, there are a few elegant resorts and luxury rentals. Under the shady trees on a long stretch of beach, vendors sell their attractive handicrafts.
There was a time when the streets of this town were quite dusty. In recent times, they’ve been paved and the sidewalks have been properly bricked. Upon venturing out of this town, you’ll find quieter beaches. These spaces are good for spending some pleasant moments away from the crowds. Dominical is popular for its Envision Festival, which is an annual event focusing on arts, music, and wellness.
6. The National Theater
Constructed in 1897, the National Theater is the pride of the people of Costa Rica. It is the most impressive building in the Costa Rican capital, San Jose. The building has been built in the classical Renaissance style and features a columned facade. It has statues on the top that symbolize music, dance and fame.
To fund its construction, the ruling coffee barons had voted for a tax on the exports of coffee. Artisans from Europe were employed for designing the building. While exploring the interior of the National Theater, you’ll come across pink marble foyer. It features the allegorical figures of Tragedy and Comedy.
You’ll also get to see some painted murals depicting themes from the life in this country. Among the famous paintings displayed in the National Theater is the one by Arturo Fontana. It shows coffee harvesting and export and was painted by the artist in Milan during the late 19th century.
7. Mal Pais and Santa Teresa
When you’re exploring the Nicoya Peninsula, there are two places you’d not like to miss. One is Mal Pais, which is an area along the coast famous for its surfer-friendly waves. Mal Pais is also home to the Santa Teresa town. Backpackers and surfers often visit these places. Most of them enjoy longer stays here. Despite all the developments that have taken place over the years, it still has a laid-back feel.