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Things to do in Costa Rica

Things to do in  Costa Rica

Welcome to Costa Rica

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica spans just 170 miles (274 kilometers) coast-to-coast, yet contains six percent of the world's biodiversity. Postcard-perfect beaches; lush, protected rainforests; and a proud history of promoting conservation and eco-tourism have helped make the country a veritable paradise for active travelers and nature lovers—as well as Central America's top travel destination. Many tours begin in Costa Rica's ""Golden Triangle"" and string together the most popular destinations: Arenal Volcano National Park and nearby La Fortuna, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and Manuel Antonio National Park. In this region alone, there are enough outdoor activities to fill several vacations, ranging from ziplining through the rainforest canopy, to whitewater rafting, to rainforest safaris, and perhaps even a glimpse of the Arenal volcano in action. Many tours offer family-friendly options, and proximity to the Pacific coast makes it easy to include plenty of beach time. Off the beaten path, consider a private tour of Tortuguero National Park, a protected wilderness reserve and seasonal sea-turtle nesting ground that's home to monkeys, crocodiles, and more than 300 species of birds. If you have some time in San Jose, the capital offers a wealth of museums, including the National Museum, the Gold Museum, the Jade Museum, and the Children's Museum. Or tour the lively Central Market to shop for handicrafts. Everywhere you go, Costa Rica casts its spell—don't be surprised if you fall in love with the ""pura vida"" lifestyle and never want to leave.

Top 10 attractions in Costa Rica

#1
Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo Beach

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Once the site of a quiet fishing village, Tamarindo Beach has become one of Costa Rica's most popular stretches of golden sand. Surfers travel from across the globe to ride Tamarindo's waves, but you don’t need to be a pro to hang 10 here. There are spots nearby that are calm enough for first-time wave riders to learn.More
#2
Selvatura Park

Selvatura Park

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Selvatura Park is a popular nature-adventure park in the cloud forests of Costa Rica. Located just outside Monteverde, the park contains over 850 acres (344 hectares) of ecologically diverse forest. Attractions include zipline and suspension bridge tours, hummingbird and butterfly gardens, natural history walks, and reptile exhibitions.More
#3
Tortuga Island (Isla Tortuga)

Tortuga Island (Isla Tortuga)

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A postcard-perfect paradise of white-sand beaches, swaying coconut palms, and sapphire-blue water rife with marine life, Tortuga Island (Isla Tortuga) is an ideal spot to swim, snorkel, or bask in the sunshine. The island is only accessible from Costa Rica’s main cities via a scenic boat ride across the Gulf of Nicoya—an extra perk for your vacation.More
#4
Arenal Volcano National Park

Arenal Volcano National Park

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Although visitors once flocked to Arenal Volcano for its impressive lava shows, the 5,437-foot (1,657-meter) volcano has stayed quiet since its last eruption in 2010. However, Arenal and the surrounding Arenal Volcano National Park remain a hot spot for visitors to Costa Rica, and is especially popular among those seeking hiking trails, swimming holes, hot springs, bird- and wildlife-watching, and sweeping views of the tropical rain forest.More
#5
Jaco Beach

Jaco Beach

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Jaco is a lively beach town known for its water sports and party atmosphere. Located on some of Costa Rica’s most developed coastline, within two hours of the capital, it’s a favorite escape for San José residents, as well as backpackers, snowbirds, and North American retirees.More
#6
Rainmaker Park

Rainmaker Park

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Brimming with lush forest, wildlife, and waterfalls, Rainmaker Park provides a quieter alternative to the often-crowded Manuel Antonio National Park. As well as being home to animals such as dart frogs, snakes, and butterflies, the off-the-beaten-path attraction offers great forest views from a set of swinging bridges.More
#7
Gold Museum

Gold Museum

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Housed in a historic building and managed by the Central Bank of Costa Rica, the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum holds one of the largest collections of gold artifacts in Latin America. In total, the museum holds more than 1,600 pre-Columbian items, including Costa Rica’s very first coin, handmade ceramics, jewelry, and religious icons dating from 500 AD to 1500 AD.More
#8
Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Rincon de la Vieja National Park

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Rincon de la Vieja National Park is the ultimate “one-stop shop” for Costa Rica’s natural attractions. Expect fuming volcanoes, gushing waterfalls, sky-high ziplines, natural hot springs, and more—all within just a couple of hours of the popular Guanacaste coast.More
#9
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

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The 16 hanging bridges that line the paths of Costa Rica’s Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park stretch a total of 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) across the steep landscape. See the birds, monkeys, sloths, snakes, and frogs that call the forest canopy home by ascending these spans, suspended above gorges and stretched across jungle floors.More
#10
National Theater (Teatro Nacional)

National Theater (Teatro Nacional)

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Modelled after the Paris Opera House, the National Theater in San José’s Catedral district is a neo-classical masterpiece representing Costa Rica’s greatest era of extravagance and sophistication. The historic building has been the epicenter of the city’s fine arts scene including opera, symphony, and other performing arts since its inaugural performance by Fausto de Gounod in 1897.More

Trip ideas

Top Hiking Trails in Arenal Volcano National Park

Top Hiking Trails in Arenal Volcano National Park

Where to Go Bird-Watching in Costa Rica

Where to Go Bird-Watching in Costa Rica

How to Spend 2 Days in San Jose

How to Spend 2 Days in San Jose

Top activities in Costa Rica

Sunset Tour to Playa Fantasia on Sealounge Catamaran

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Sunset Tour to Playa Fantasia on Sealounge Catamaran

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Rio Celeste Hiking, Sloth Sanctuary & Llanos de Cortes Waterfall Tour

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Rio Celeste Hiking, Sloth Sanctuary & Llanos de Cortes Waterfall Tour

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Day Tour to Playa Fantasia on Sealounge Catamaran
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Recent reviews from experiences in Costa Rica

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5 stars
Tasha_A, Jul 2021
3 Hour ATV Tour Through Costa Rican Rainforest
Alex our tour guide was excellent very good communication speak very well English help you with everything the view was to die for he took us around definitely something you need to try if you go to Costa Rica
star-5
Pura Vida I fully recommande
Milana_V, Jul 2021
Arenal Volcano Experience Full-Day Tour from San Jose
This 1 day tour guide trip was pure joy with amazing surprises: food, landscapes, animals, hot springs and more important amazing people.
star-5
Totally worth it!!
Luke_P, Jul 2021
3 Hour ATV Tour Through Costa Rican Rainforest
The waterfall jumping was great and driving in the river was one of the funnest activities I did in Costa Rica!
star-5
Best excursion in Costa Rica thus far
tinamartinez123, Jul 2021
Arenal Horseback Riding to La Fortuna Waterfall
The horses were fun our guide was super friendly and the water fall and the surroundings were beautiful.
star-5
Highlight of Costa Rica
Matthew_W, Jul 2021
All-Inclusive Jungle Night Tour
Our guide was so knowledgeable and we were so fortunate to see many animals!
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Don’t miss this tour!
Jamie_B, Jun 2021
Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Typical lunch and Arenal Volcano Hike
She was an expert navigating us through the volcano hike, waterfall and hanging bridges.
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Excellent
Lisa_P, Jun 2021
Rio Celeste Waterfall & Sloth Sanctuary Private Day Trip from Guanacaste
It was great to see the rainforest.
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Must do!
NC1, Jun 2021
From San Jose Combo tour Canyoning with Canopy, Rappel, Trails, 4x4 ride
By far one of the coolest things to do.
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Amazing Tour
Mina, Jun 2021
Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner
In one day, we did and got to see so much!!
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Do this tour!
Kristine_G, Jun 2021
Private ATV Adventure, river crossing view points & secret spots
An excellent way to see most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica and the guides were great.
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Juan is the man
Alex_K, Jun 2021
Costa Rica Full Day Combo Tour - Zip lining, Waterfalls, Volcano & Hot Springs
The coffee plantation, zip line, hot springs, and local lunch and dinner were the highlights of this trip.
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See the Rainforest up close!
Sarah_S, Jun 2021
Mistico Park Hanging Bridges Guided Tour
Our guide, Julio, was extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and spoke perfect English.
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Hanging Bridges Tour
Sarah_S, Jun 2021
Mistico Park Hanging Bridges Guided Tour
Our guide, Julio, was very knowledgeable, friendly, and spoke perfect English.
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So much fun and a must-do!
Jumana_M, May 2021
Cocktail Class: Make cocktails the Costa Rican way!
This was definitely one of the most fun things that we did during our trip.
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Rainforest adventure
Ernesto_R, May 2021
ATV Guided Experience in La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano.
Riding in the rain through the rainforest,a village , Riverside , and up to high grounds to see the tallest volcano in Costa Rica!
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10/10
Amanda_Little, May 2021
BEST ATV Tour Mountain & Beach From Tamarindo -Flamingo Beach
All roads were “off road,” we got to see the mountains/villages plus two secluded beaches.
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Amazing - 3 girls from NY
Panda, Apr 2021
10 Hidden Waterfalls With Local Cuisine
Waterfalls were beautiful, better yet the sink holes were amazing.
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Highly recommend!
Alyssa_M, Apr 2021
Zip line, Hot Springs, horses and More
He took care of us and made sure we saw all we wanted to see and was very knowledgeable about Costa Rica.
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Best tour ever!
Heather_G, Feb 2021
Buena vista Mega Combo Tour at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano from Tamarindo Beach
We got to experience a variety of activities in one day!
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Amazing Tour!
Brityn_A, Jul 2021
Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Typical lunch and Arenal Volcano Hike
and even gave us recommendations of other things to do or tours they offered at the end.

All about Costa Rica

When to visit

Costa Rica’s climate splits the year cleanly. The dry season—December through April—is the ideal time for beach hopping, surfing, and partying at winter fiestas. If you don’t mind taking a siesta during afternoon rainstorms, visit May through November for lower room rates and an explosion of green foliage in the rain forests.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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