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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Diaz

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Costa Rica

Updated: May 6

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Costa Rica is a tropical paradise located in Central America, renowned for its stunning natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and adventurous activities. Whether you're seeking thrilling outdoor adventures, exploring diverse ecosystems, or simply relaxing on pristine beaches, Costa Rica offers something for everyone. In this ultimate guide, we will cover the best things to do, hot springs, museums, the best time to visit, where to eat, the best restaurants, and coffee shops in Costa Rica.



Things to do in Costa Rica:


Explore Manuel Antonio National Park

This national park is famous for its white-sand beaches, lush rainforests, and diverse wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and colorful birds.


Address: Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica




Embark on a Canopy Tour

Experience the thrill of zip-lining through the treetops of Costa Rica's rainforests. Monteverde and Arenal are popular destinations for canopy tours.


Visit Tortuguero National Park

Take a boat tour through the canals of Tortuguero to witness nesting sea turtles (seasonal), monkeys, caimans, and an array of bird species.


Address: CFXV+H64, Limón Province, Roxana, Costa Rica




Go Surfing in Tamarindo

Tamarindo is a renowned surf spot offering waves suitable for beginners and experienced surfers alike. Surf lessons and board rentals are readily available.


Relax on the Nicoya Peninsula

Head to popular beach towns like Santa Teresa or Montezuma to enjoy the laid-back vibe, beautiful beaches, and stunning sunsets.



Best Hot Springs in Costa Rica:


Tabacón Hot Springs

Located near Arenal Volcano, Tabacón offers a luxurious hot spring experience with natural thermal pools set amidst lush rainforests.


Address: 21007, Provincia de Alajuela, La Fortuna, 21007, Costa Rica


Baldi Hot Springs

Another popular choice near Arenal, Baldi offers a range of hot spring pools with different temperatures, waterfalls, and even water slides for added fun.


Address: 142, Provincia de Alajuela, San Carlos, Costa Rica


Ecotermales Fortuna

These hot springs provide a more intimate and tranquil setting, perfect for relaxation. The pools are surrounded by beautiful gardens and natural landscapes.


Address: 3.5 Km Este de la Iglesia Católica, La Fortuna, San Carlos, 21007, Costa Rica


Best Museums in Costa Rica:


National Museum of Costa Rica (San Jose)

This museum showcases Costa Rica's history and cultural heritage. It features exhibits on pre-Columbian artifacts, colonial art, and historical displays.


Address: Cuesta de Moras, Av. Central, Bella Vista, San José, Costa Rica




Jade Museum (San Jose)

The Jade Museum houses one of the world's most extensive collections of pre-Columbian jade artifacts. Explore the rich history and significance of jade in Costa Rica.


Address: y 13 bis, Av. Central, San José Province, San José, Costa Rica


Costa Rican Art Museum (San Jose)

Located in the former Bellavista Fortress, this museum displays a vast collection of contemporary and modern Costa Rican art.


Address: WWP2+594, C. 42, Sabana, San José, Costa Rica


Best Time to Visit Costa Rica

The best time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season, which typically runs from December to April. During this period, you can expect sunny weather, lower humidity, and minimal rainfall. However, it's important to note that Costa Rica has a diverse climate, and weather patterns can vary between regions. The rainy season from May to November offers lush green landscapes, fewer tourists, and more affordable prices.


Where to Eat - Best Restaurants


Grano de Oro (San Jose)

This upscale restaurant offers a fusion of Costa Rican and European cuisine in a charming colonial-era mansion. The menu features seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.


El Avión (Manuel Antonio)

Enjoy a unique dining experience at El Avión, housed in a vintage cargo plane. The restaurant serves delicious international cuisine with stunning sunset views.


Soda Viquez (Monteverde)

For a taste of authentic Costa Rican cuisine, visit Soda Viquez. This family-owned restaurant serves traditional dishes like casados (rice, beans, and meat) and gallo pinto (rice and beans).



Best Coffee Shops in Costa Rica


Café Britt (Heredia)

Known for its gourmet coffee, Café Britt offers tours where you can learn about coffee production, tasting sessions, and purchase their renowned coffee beans.


Té Con Te (San Jose)

This charming tea and coffee shop is perfect for a relaxing break. They offer a wide selection of teas, specialty coffees, and delicious pastries.


Federico's Coffee (La Fortuna)

Located near Arenal Volcano, Federico's Coffee offers organic, locally sourced coffee in a cozy atmosphere. Don't miss their famous coffee tours.



Best Beaches in Costa Rica:


Manuel Antonio Beach (Manuel Antonio National Park)

This picturesque beach offers pristine white sand, crystal-clear waters, and is surrounded by lush rainforest. It's also known for its abundant wildlife, including monkeys and sloths.


Playa Conchal (Guanacaste)

With its unique crushed seashell sand, Playa Conchal is a stunning beach known for its turquoise waters and excellent snorkeling opportunities. The beach is backed by a lush green forest.


Santa Teresa Beach (Nicoya Peninsula)

This laid-back beach town is popular among surfers for its consistent waves and offers a bohemian atmosphere. It boasts long stretches of sandy beaches, ideal for sunbathing and sunset walks.


Playa Flamingo (Guanacaste)

Playa Flamingo is a beautiful white-sand beach known for its calm waters and family-friendly atmosphere. It offers a range of water activities, including snorkeling, diving, and fishing.


Playa Tamarindo (Guanacaste)

Tamarindo is a vibrant beach town with a lively surf scene and a wide range of beachfront bars, restaurants, and shops. The beach itself is ideal for swimming and learning to surf.


Best Tours in Costa Rica:

Rainforest Canopy Tours: Costa Rica is famous for its canopy tours, where you can zip-line through the treetops of lush rainforests. Popular destinations for canopy tours include Monteverde and Arenal.

  1. Wildlife and Nature Tours: Take a guided tour to explore Costa Rica's incredible biodiversity. Visit Tortuguero National Park to see nesting sea turtles (seasonal), or embark on a wildlife boat tour in the Osa Peninsula to spot monkeys, toucans, and more.

  2. Rafting and Kayaking Adventures: Costa Rica's rivers offer thrilling white-water rafting and kayaking experiences. The Pacuare River is renowned for its challenging rapids, while the Sarapiqui River is great for beginners.

  3. Arenal Volcano Tours: Explore the majestic Arenal Volcano area, where you can hike through lava fields, visit hot springs, and enjoy breathtaking views of the volcano and its surrounding landscapes.

  4. Coffee Plantation Tours: Costa Rica is famous for its coffee production. Take a tour of a coffee plantation to learn about the process, from seed to cup, and enjoy coffee tastings along the way. The Central Valley region is particularly known for its coffee tours.

  5. Tortuga Island Tour: Embark on a boat tour to Tortuga Island, located in the Gulf of Nicoya. Enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing on the pristine white sand beaches of this tropical paradise.


Remember to research and book tours with reputable companies that prioritize sustainability and the protection of Costa Rica's natural resources.


Costa Rica is a remarkable destination with an abundance of natural wonders and cultural experiences. Whether you're an adventure enthusiast, nature lover, or foodie, this tropical paradise is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.

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I'm Samantha! A photographer and I believe that every picture has a story. As a blogger, I share my travel stories with everyone. I think it's important to document my travels and share my experiences with others. I've been to some amazing places and I've seen some incredible things. I want to share my stories and photos with the world.

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