Costa Rica is one of the most exotic places on Earth, offering unparalleled natural beauty, active volcanoes, rainforests, and a wide range of national parks and eco-tourism!
A chain of volcanoes and mountains—part of the Andean-Sierra Madre chain—runs the length of the country and separates the Caribbean Sea on the east coast from the Pacific Ocean on the west coast. In addition, Costa Rica has over 1,000 miles of gorgeous white and black sand beaches, copious amounts of sunshine, world-class sport fishing, surfing and scuba!
Costa Rica is one of the most environmentally progressive countries on Earth, having been ranked as the “greenest” country in the world, and with plans to become the world’s first carbon-neutral country. It is home to the greatest density of species in the world, and 25% of its territory is in protected land, the greatest percentage of any country on Earth.
This country hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, forests, jungles and volcanoes, together with exotic and unique wildlife, and historical cities, and these are our top 10 destinations in this magical country:
1. Tortuguero National Park
In this National Park thick jungle meets the water and you can get up close with shy caimans, river turtles, crowned night herons, monkeys and sloths. In the right season, you can watch the awesome, millennia-old ritual of turtles building nests and laying their eggs on the black-sand beaches. Definitely one of the premier places in Costa Rica to watch wildlife.
2. Tortuga Island
Tortuga Island, one of several islands in the Nicoya Peninsula boasts white sand beaches, clear turquoise water and incredible views. A Tortuga Island day cruise is one of the best day trips from San Jose to experience a gorgeous beach with the Bandera Azul Ecologica award, given only to the cleanest beaches in the country.
3. Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s most popular beach towns and the place where everyone takes vacations and for good reasons! It´s the best place to experience adventures as diverse as snorkeling, jungle hikes, wildlife observation, birding and relaxing by the beach!
4. Manuel Antonio National Park
This gem is one of the country’s most popular (and smallest) national parks. Capuchin monkeys scurry across its idyllic beaches, brown pelicans dive-bomb its clear waters and sloths watch over its accessible trails. It’s a perfect place to introduce youngsters to the wonders of the rainforest.
5. Arenal Volcano
This mighty, perfectly conical volcano is still considered active and worthy of a visit. Shrouded in mist or bathed in sunshine, Arenal has trails to explore, waterfalls to swim in and hot springs to soak in.
6. Irazu Volcano
If you are looking for an exciting and fascinating sight to behold while visiting Costa Rica, look no further than Irazú Volcano, one of the most famous ones in the world! The volcano has also made the surrounding area in the park incredible to behold. It is flat and bare for the most part, although shrubs and bushes dot the landscape. A thick rainforest hugs the Caribbean side of the volcano.
7. Monteverde Cloud Forest
This protected 105 sq km cloud-forest paradise provides a misty escape into a mysterious Neverland shrouded in mist, draped with mossy vines, gushing with creeks, blooming with life and nurturing rivulets of evolution.
8. Rio Celeste
With spectacular turquoise blue waters and matching morpho butterflies fluttering around, natural hot springs and jungle trails that lead to one of Central America’s most stunning waterfalls, Rio Celeste is one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets.
9. San Jose
This city is the heart of the country and where its culture lives, as do university students, intellectuals, artists and politicians. It hosts some graceful neoclassical and Spanish-colonial architecture, leafy neighborhoods, museums housing pre-Columbian jade and gold, nightlife that goes on until dawn, and some of the country’s most sophisticated restaurants.
10. Caribbean Coast
Costa Rica‘s Caribbean coast stretches 125 km (78 miles) between Nicaragua and Panama, and makes for a fascinating trip for adventurous travelers in search of nature. This coast shelters coral reefs and tropical fish and its sands are where four different species of turtle – the endangered green turtle, the loggerhead, leatherback and hawksbill – lay their eggs each year!
Listing only 10 destinations to visit in Costa Rica is challenging as there is so much more to learn and discover about this beautiful and unique country. So, the best we can do now is to invite you to join our projects in this marvelous place that ranks among the most peaceful ones worldwide and discover its uniqueness for yourself!