Last Updated: 10/4/20 | October 4th, 2020
Costa Rica is one of the most visited countries in central America. American tourists have been flocking to the country for years, as well as it’s ended up being a hot area for retirees as well as expats because of its affordable living, excellent weather, incredible beaches, as well as friendly locals.
I like Costa Rica. It was the very first location that influenced me to travel.
It holds a special location in my heart.
I’ve been back to see Costa Rica many times since then, falling in like with it over as well as over again.
But, since it’s not as affordable to see as its neighbors, many budget plan travelers avoid over Costa Rica.
And, while that’s true (but there are many methods to save money in Costa Rica), in my opinion, the beauty of the destinations below is worth the additional price.
Here are a few of my preferred destinations in Costa Rica:
1. Puerto Viejo
Located on the Caribbean coastline near Panama, Puerto Viejo is prominent with young people as well as backpackers since of its excellent beaches, surfing, as well as celebration atmosphere.
The town is extremely vibrant as well as you’ll discover something going on every night. It’s most likely the most prominent destination on the Caribbean coast. There are likewise many peaceful beach hotels around for those who are looking for some peace as well as quiet. There is likewise a jaguar rescue center close-by that rehabilitates all kind of regional wildlife as well as releases them back into the wild.
READ MORE: exactly how to check out Costa Rica’s lovely Caribbean coastline
Cahuita, a small town located right next to a stunning national park with the exact same name, is about an hour north of Puerto Viejo. Cahuita is a location to relax. There’s one bar in town that gets vibrant (sometimes it’s half full!), however for the most part, after a day of hiking, animal spotting, swimming, or surfing, most people just sit around as well as read.
The region is understood for its Afro-Caribbean influences, which you may notice in the food as well as regional culture as you chill out with some dessert crepes or grilled chicken.
Tortuguero (which means ‘Land of Turtles’) is the Costa Rican version of the Amazon rainforest. It dominates the northern coast, with Tortuguero national Park spanning over 77,000 acres. This large area is a series of rivers as well as canals that crisscross the jungle.
The biggest draws to this area are the big numbers of turtles (hence the name) that come to nest along the shoreline. the very best time to see them nesting is in April as well as May, however if you’re visiting during the off-season, you’ll still be able to go hiking as well as take part in canal cruises. However, there’s great deals of wildlife to see year-round.
Corcovado national Park is on the remote Osa Peninsula in southwestern Costa Rica. established in 1975, the park covers an area of 424 square kilometers, making it the largest park in the country.
Though more prominent than it utilized to be, it’s still a extremely rugged, quiet, as well as off-the-beaten-path destination in a country where almost whatever is on the beaten path. The peninsula is not simple to get to (which assists keep tourists away), however your efforts will be greatly rewarded with deserted beaches, tons of wildlife, excellent hiking, camping, as well as great deals of marine life. It’s one of the very best locations in the country.
To me, this is most likely one of the very best locations in the entire country. try not to miss it!
Sitting at an elevation of 1,670m, Arenal is one of Costa Rica’s many volcanoes. It still erupts from time to time, as well as if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see lava streaming down the volcano. (Though, it’s less likely to occur as the volcano has been dormant for the last seven years). fun fact: I got lost in the jungle around here.
The area has tons of wonderful activities: there’s an remarkable waterfall (La Fortuna), the national park with excellent hiking, sunset views over the lake, caving, rafting options, as well as famous hot springs. With so much to do, it’s no question it’s one of the most visited locations in the country.
READ MORE: exactly how to see as well as check out Arenal
HEADING TO central AMERICA?
Get all my finest central America travel tips in addition to these free guides sent right to your inbox:
61 smart travel Tips
My preferred business To Use
a 17 step planning checklist
A guide on getting free Flights
A suggested packing List
Name:GET THE STARTER KIT
6. Manuel Antonio
A prominent beach destination on the Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio’s wide, white-sand beaches as well as warm blue waters aren’t the only attractions people come for. The close-by national park, which opened in 1972, sees over 150,000 visitors annually as well as is houseto excellent hiking trails, a number of secluded beaches, as well as offers up the possibility to view three different type of native monkeys.
It’s ended up being a great deal more congested as well as established over the years. It’s definitely not the park I very first visited in 2006. That said, you’ll still see a great deal of wildlife as well as the beaches in the area have been kept surprisingly pristine! Admission to the park is $16 USD per person, though youngsters under 12 go into for free.
READ MORE: What to See as well as perform in Manuel Antonio
The nation’s premier cloud forest is the house to the elusive quetzal birds. most people come to Monteverde for a glimpse of this unusual bird. The area is one of the largest eco-tourism hubs in the country, as well as over 250,000 people see every year.
Monteverde, which rests right on the continental divide, experiences high winds as well as unusual weather condition patterns. The entire area is extremely eco-friendly as well as wet. witness everything on a zip-line experience with the tree canopy or check out a few of the sky bridges in the area. expect to pay around $50 USD per person for zip-lining.
READ MORE: What to See as well as perform in Monteverde
8. Poas Volcano
A excellent day trip from San José, Poas Volcano is an active stratovolcano with twin calderas full of sulfur lakes. The lakes are so still, you’ll look at your photo as well as believe you painted the color on.
The volcanos last erupted in 2019, as well as have really erupted 40 times since 1828! There are some little tracks around the area too. show up early in the morning to prevent the clouds closing in as well as ruining the view.
9. Santa Teresa
At the bottom of the Nicoya coastline is the hippie backpacker town of Santa Teresa. This “town” is truly nothing more than a beach with a road lined with eateries, yoga centers, surf shops, as well as hostels. everybody gets up early to hit the waves, so the general environment in town is quite relaxed. You won’t discover a great deal of crazy celebrations here.
Santa Teresa is a great location to lie on the beach, hang out with people, as well as relax. since of the “chill” vibe, many people end up staying in Santa Teresa for weeks, as well as even months, on end.
While whatever in Costa Rica is a bit touristy as well as a wee bit crowded, I believe the diversity of wildlife, natural beauty, white-sand beaches, incredible sunsets, as well as warm, remove water make it worth the price. There’s still so many unexplored as well as unvisited part of the country. Plus, the locals right here are super nice as well as welcoming.
Be sure to see Costa Rica — as well as utilize this listing to begin your planning!
Book Your trip to Costa Rica: Logistical tips as well as Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to discover a affordable flight. They are my two preferred browse engines since they browse websites as well as airlines around the globe so you always understand no stone is left unturned. begin with Skyscanner very first though since they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest stock as well as finest deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, utilize Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses as well as affordable hotels. My preferred locations to stay are:
Arenal Backpackers resort (Arenal)
Rocking J’s (Puerto Viejo)
Hostel Vista Serena (Manuel Antonio)
Don’t fail to remember travel Insurance
Travel insurance coverage will protect you against illness, injury, theft, as well as cancellations. It’s comprehensive security in situation anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to utilize it many times in the past. My preferred business that offer the very best service as well as value are:
Safety Wing (for everybody below 70)
Insure My trip (for those over 70)
Medjet (for extra repatriation coverage)
Looking for the very best business to save money With?
Check out my resource page for the very best business to utilize when you travel. I listing all the ones I utilize to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want more info on Costa Rica?
Be sure to see our robust destination guide on Costa Rica for even more planning tips!