6 Must See Locations in Costa Rica
#1 Rio Celeste National Park
Located inside Tenorio Volcano National Park this gem is off the typical tourist route, and it takes a bit of effort to walk the full trail system, but every part of the trail is worth exploring. The trail is essentially an out and back with a short spur trail to the falls. You will want to allow for 3-4 hours to fully walk and enjoy all of what the park offers.
We highly recommend visiting as soon as the park opens at 8am, and take the spur trail down to the falls, then completing the rest of the trails to the amazing lagoons and hot springs. This will allow you some solitude before the park gets busy in the later morning.
#2 Manuel Antonio
This is the best place in Costa Rica to view wildlife. The park can be accessed via a short flight from San Jose or about 3 hours by road. Manuel Antonio features a stunning environment where the lush rainforest meets the Pacific Ocean. The Park is also known for its world class beaches.
Hire a local naturalist guide or hike the trails independently for a chance to see the most iconic animals Costa Rica has to offer…. Slots, Toucans, Monkeys and much more!
Located in the mountains this region offers up some cooler temperatures, and has great access to the nearby cloud forest reserves. This is both an adventure focused location with some of the best ziplining and suspension bridge networks in the world, not to mention it offers up some great wildlife viewing opportunities as well. The region is home to over 500 species of birds including the famous quetzal. And you can be on the lookout for pumas, monkeys and endangered jaguars, as well as the red-eyed tree frog that is iconic to Costa Rica.
#4 Arenal - La Fortuna
Everyone comes to view the iconic Arenal Volcano, but the town of La Fortuna at the base of this active giant is an adventure mecca. Whether you are seeking horseback riding, whitewater rafting, canopy tours, hiking or soaking in the geothermals you can do it here! For a softer adventure you can enjoy a coffee or chocolate tour or incredibly fresh meal on a farm to table tour.
#5 Guanacaste Coast
Think Surfing, and miles of pristine coastline. This is the “Gold Coast” located in the Northwest corner of Costa Rica, this up and coming location is not to be missed.
While the hopping town of Tamarindo gets all the press, it's for good reason. Sunny throughout nearly the entire year, and the weather remains pleasant without much humidity. Travelers can do everything from surfing, ATV Tours, snorkeling, zip line, horseback riding, hiking and more.
If you want to get away from the crowds there are plenty of lesser known beach locations that stretch along the coastline such as Playa Hermosa or Playa Flamingo, both great locations for travelers who wish to have a laid back experience away from crowds. From these beaches you can also reach Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Palo Verde National Park and Santa Rosa National Parks, so there are plenty of opportunities to experience wildlife in this area.
#6 Osa Peninsula
Want to explore Costa Ricas most remote swath of land? The Osa Peninsula in the southwest corner of the country houses the largest remaining population of jaguars and tapirs. Within the peninsula lies Corcovado National Park, a reserve that protects varied tropical ecosystems, and is considered to be one of the world's most biodiverse regions. Many different animals can be seen in this region including 5 different wild cats, scarlet macaws, tapirs, various species of monkeys, ocelots, giant anteaters, harpy eagles to name a few. There are many other amphibian and reptile species such as the poison dart frog, glass frog, bushmaster snake, and leatherback, olive ridley, and green turtles. Also the coastline is teaming with its own life, humpback, and sperm whales can be seen between December and January, and pilot whales are present throughout the year.
Hiking trails connect coastal and inland routes through various ecosystems and offer some of the best remote jungle trekking on earth.