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Travel Rankings & Advice

Best Things To Do in Costa Rica

Costa Rica's strikingly diverse terrain — 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 you seek sun, nature or adventure, there's much to discover in this 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
San José Free attraction
Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

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

#5
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 can be ... read more»

#6
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»

#7
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 more ... read more»

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#8
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»

#9
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»

#10
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»

#11
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»

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#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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