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Best Things To Do in Costa Rica

Costa Rica's strikingly diverse terrain—comprised of lush forests, wildlife reserves, and tropical beaches—offers a little something for every traveler. Beach-lovers staying along the Pacific Coast should head to Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula's palm-fringed coastline for sun and surf. Nature-seekers staying in the Northern Plains or along the Caribbean coast should pay a visit to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca before venturing inland to zip-line above Monteverde's Cloud Rainforest and hike Arenal Volcano. Whether it's sun, adventure, or nature you seek, there's much to discover in this forest-and-beach laden paradise.

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How We Rank Things to Do
#1
Nicoya Peninsula Free attraction
Beaches, Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 5.0

Why go: The Nicoya Peninsula's sparkling 80-mile shoreline boasts beach-centric towns with cream-colored shores and dense forests. Nosara Beach's powdery ... read more»

#2
Arenal Volcano
Natural Wonders, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Arenal, one of the world's most active volcanoes, stands more than 5,000 feet high. For the latter half ... read more»

#3
Guanacaste Free attraction
Beaches, Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Costa Rica's "Gold Coast" is one of the nation's most unique destinations, and that's not just because ... read more»

#4
Corcovado National Park
Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Travelers come to this nearly 11,000-acre misty rainforest for its diverse wildlife. Buzzing insects and chirping birds surround you ... read more»

#5
Manuel Antonio National Park
Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Manuel Antonio National Park is the smallest of Costa Rica's protected green spaces, but don't let its size ... read more»

#6
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
Hiking, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Imagine winding through a misty oasis; strikingly tall trees wrap you in a sea of green. Add to that over ... read more»

#7
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca Free attraction
Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: The village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, located on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, comes alive with reggae music, funky ... read more»

#8
Jacó Free attraction
Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Far away from northern Costa Rica's foggy rainforests lies Jacó, a beautiful town teeming with shops, restaurants, and beachfront ... read more»

#9
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Short for "Catarata La Paz" (or "peace waterfall"), La Paz may seem quiet and still at first glance. But, take ... read more»

#10
Tabacón Hot Springs
Spas | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: If you trek to Arenal Volcano to witness its looming presence for yourself, save time to bathe in the Tabacón ... read more»

#11
San José Free attraction
Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: San José, Costa Rica's vibrant capital, serves as a central base for exploration. You'll likely want to stop ... read more»

#12
Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Bird-watchers rejoice: This swampy wildlife refuge houses thousands of water birds, including Jabiru storks, cormorants, ducks, and roseate spoonbills. This ... read more»

#13
Tortuguero National Park
Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Tortuguero National Park sits tucked away in a northeastern pocket of the Caribbean coast. Tied to Costa Rica's mainland ... read more»

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