19 best places to visit in Costa Rica… be careful of the volcanoes though

costa rica

It’s been quite a while since offbeat has been the buzzword. But sometimes, it is at least worthy to stick to the basics. Like if you are an avid traveler who wants to explore the world in its full glory and bounty, you can go mainstream and still end up awestruck. With its massive assets, Costa Rica is a nation that is spectacularly beautiful. Gorgeous landscapes done up by the sustainability consciouness and supplemented by a pleasant tropical climate sure makes this Central American country the Rich Coast that it is. Here are the best places to visit in Costa Rica if you are ever in the country for a charismatic holidaying experience-

Arenal Volcano

For the adventure enthusiasts, Costa Rica provides avenues to experience thrill with some really offbeat dimensions. Teeming with numerous volcanoes, the country relies on quite some of these gigantic ruptures to intrigue many curious folks into their ‘flamboyant’ expanse.

One of such places to visit in Costa Rica is the Arenal Volcano National Park. With the eponymous volcano as the main attraction, the probability of offed ash or furious lava flowing down the mountain cannot be nullified which makes the thrill factor all the more discernible.

Also as unexpected as the volcanic eruption is the weather prevailing in the place which make it all the more off- bound, at least seemingly to travelers. But apart from its awe, the region also houses some really swingy wire bridges and a rich repertoire of biodiversity.

Lush jungles make way to reveal the soaring, magnificent crater while elsewhere, numerous hikes and trails, river rapids and roaring waterfalls run all through the natural landscape. The Arenal Lake also flows through the park, and provides excellent scope to go paddleboarding, windsurfing and kayaking, making the spot the real Mecca of adventure in the country.

Tabacón Hot Springs

If you are resolute enough to make the trek up to the Arenal volcano, you sure would not want to miss out on the experience of going for a dip in Tabacon’s hot springs. Afterall, a strenuous walk up the trek surely owes you some moments bathed in relaxation and the mineral rich springs are your invitation to do just that!

The thermal springs are fed by magma apart from rainwater which makes it one of the most unique experiences you can ever partake of. If you are ever in Costa Rica and miss out on the magnificence of its volcanoes even when they can be scary at times, you have sure missed out on ‘the feels’.

Celeste River

The Celeste River is one of the most beautiful rivers that you would have ever witnessed in its full eloquence and splendor. The incredibly clear water that takes on a rich tinge of turquoise makes it breathtaking enough to entice a flow of tourists who are left spellbound by the beauty the Celeste encompasses.

The hike to the river is a tough trail that includes navigating through boulders and rainforests. But with such enchanting pristinity that lures you nonetheless, the effort is worth every spectrum of blue you get soaked in.

Mal Pais & Santa Teresa

Twin beach towns, resplendent in picturesque views and feel good vibes, seething with fishing and surfing excitement make Costa Rica sound even more interesting to tourists.

Charming beyond measure, Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are ideal locales to explore, just idle away and just enjoy the tropical breeze swaying over the expanse of white sand. What’s more, the gorgeous beaches are just the perfect setting for the most romantic sunset views ever. For all the raves and the waves, a visit to this twin delight is a must if you ever are in Costa Rica.

Stone Spheres of the Diquís

For history revelers or archaeology enthusiasts alike, one of the places to visit in Costa Rica without fail sits in the southern part of the country. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Stone Spheres of the Diquis are an assortment of over three hundred petrospheres that still somewhat remain shrouded in mystery.

The spheres have been prominent in their presence throughout history, with their existence traced back to even when Columbus first brought his ships to the Costa Rica bay. Distinctively standing out and mysteriously baffling, the spheres are giant perfect moulds that have to date defied reason as to if they are man- made, natural, or rather some extra terrestrial work in progress!

Tamarindo Beach

The view of the Tamarindo Beach is such that brings to life those really gorgeous beach vacation snaps you have forever seen on travel websites. Its picture perfect setting makes the beach a popular tourist hot spot, with all the sunny splashes lending the place the exotic holiday vibes.

Whether you want to just lay back and relax, soak in the sun- washed goodness or even go surf- boarding and fishing, Tamarindo beach won’t disappoint you. Bars and nightclubs also dot the region in abundance, making it quite the party place in town. Along the Tamarindo town, which was once a sleepy village, the beach makes for an exciting line up with a mix of adventure and fun, keeping things cool and happening!


A colonial city, vibrant in its many shades of life, Alajuela is one kinda offbeat, yet one of the places to visit in Alajuela. With an extensive historical legacy, the town is also steeped in a kind of importance that makes it all the more exclusive in its touristry vibe.

Laidback and therefore relatively calm, Alajuela is a wonderful detour from the bustling city life. If you feel overwhelmed by soaring spirits while in Costa Rica, you can turn to this place for some verdant peace.

A host of tourist attractions and some colorful carnivals as also an annual Mango Festival makes Alajuela all the more fascinating for your Costa Rica archives.

Manuel Antonio

Among the many national parks that are in abundance through the expanse of Costa Rica, Maruel Antonio might be the smallest, yet the most popular. This must include in the list of places to visit in Costa Rica is an eco paradise- lush greenery and exquisite wildlife offset by sandy beaches and coral reefs make the region all the more exciting for nature enthusiasts.

The town of Maruel Antonio itself is somehow tranquil, yet dwelling in a vibrancy that stems from the buzz of city life. Restaurants and party spots revved up in spirit and bustle makes the place a delightful world of contrasts.

La Fortuna Waterfall

The La Fortuna waterfall might be located within the Arenal Park premises but that does not deter us from according it a special mention. One look at the crystalline view this fall beholds and you will know our special status isn’t any mere gimmick.

La Fortuna is worthy enough to catch your gaze instantly, but the fall also doubles up as a great spot to sit around and enjoy a picnic. Emerging from the lush jungles of La Fortuna, the waterfall also lets you swim about in its glorious waters that cascades into a pool below. Even otherwise, La Fortuna sure does endow all the refreshing vibes unto you with its grand sight.

Pacuare River

Surrounded by undulating slopes of lush rainforests, the Pacuare River in Costa Rica is breathtakingly beautiful. However, more than the view it is the huge potential of Pacuare that makes it such a favorite spot for tourists.

The river is one of the most exciting spots to go rafting and riverboarding, while taming rapids and making your way through waterfalls, with stopovers to gorge on a really offbeat picnic party. That’s even not all the adventure you can encounter at this place.

Zip lining and horse riding, fishing and bird watching are also other activities that you can partake of at this place. Pacuare encompasses the spirit of Costa Rica and is the place for you if you want to experience both the country’s beauty and adventure.

Papagayo Peninsula

If you are not content with just riverfaring and want to feel the waters deep and cold then Papagayo Peninsula should be the top Costa Rican pick for you. The beauty of nature and the glamour of luxury comes together in this peninsula,widely touted as the nation’s eco- adventure playground.

Off the Costa Rican mainlands, Papagayo might even be a very well guarded secret of the country. A private peninsula that is expansively luxurious and breathtaking, Papagayo is famous for its breathtaking diving spots, nestled in extensive greenery and a verdant ambience. You cannot be in Costa Rica and not partake of the all the gorgeousness this secluded haven has to offer.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Bequeathing the lush greenery of Costa Rica is yet another forest reserve and ecological hotspot. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a breathtaking expanse of misty landscaped, versed in beauty and a staggering bounty of treasure. From the very name of it, the aura of the reserve is palpable- clouds hanging low on hills that slowly trickles down tress and plants as fog .

Among the places to visit in Costa Rica, Monteverde is quite prominent. The montane biodiversity is indeed all the allure but there is more to this Cloud Reserve than just exotic beauty. Canopy walks, zip lines and cable cars crisscross the park, with hanging bridges and night safaaris further accentuating the breathtaking tone of the place.

You can go about spotting exotic wildlife or get enthralled by pretty flora, all while being steeped in the high of adventure. There really isn’t scope for you to do anything other than wanderlusting along the verdant presence in Monteverde.

Cerro Chirripó

Cerro Chirripo is the highest mountain in Costa Rica and one that is as grand and dramatic as it can be. Towering at an incredible 12,533 feet above sea level, the hike upto the top is understandably strenuous. Once there you will be left gasping for breath, not just by the arduousness of the trek but also by the panoramic view that will leave you awestruck.

The way up the ascent is also steeped in a whole lot of beauty. The white waters of the Chirripo river and the beauty of the fauna dotted lush greenery more than offsets the tediousness of what follows. Overnight, as you trace your steps to the peak, you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the first rays of the sun.

Tortuguero National Park

If you want to see baby turtles come to life and then make their way to the sea, then the Tortuguero National Park is the best of places to visit in Costa Rica. The sight is not just too cute for words, it is also exclusive as Tortuguero is home to an endangered species of sea turtles.

Encompassing volcanic islands and wet marshes, the park is a storehouse of biodiversity. You can go hiking or boat riding or canoe paddling to have an all encompassing view of the expansive wildlife dotting the place. But the park is most famous for the phenomenon of turtle hatchlings in this really beautiful place, quite unique to the whole Costa Rican experience.


Bohemian vibes inhibit this pretty beach town of Costa Rica, that goes by the name Montezuma. Laid back in its aura yet luxurious in its essence, the idyllic retreat is a delightful mix of rustic feels residing in modern upscale ambience. Dotted by bars and clubs, eateries and restaurants, with even those taking on an offbeat appearance, the town is quite the place that lets you chill without much move- about ado. Refined yet artsy, Montezuma gives you the classic holiday feels, devoid of the fuss of having ‘things to must do’. There are a few waterfalls though that keep the Costa Rican vibes intact on the west coast of the country.

San Jose

You can’t go visit a country and not explore its capital. San Jose therefore occupies a place of special importance when it comes to list of places to visit in Costa Rica. A hotspot of cultural and historical legacy, the city leads you on a fascinating tour of the country, and helps all the more in your pursuit of discovering Costa Rica.

Modernity infuses its abundant tone in the city, even as museums stand testimony to the ancestry and significance of the place. Art and craft is also worth exploring at San Jose, while eateries and restaurants are in enough abundance to satiate the foodie in you.

Colonial churches and artifacts still reign strong over the city that remains nestled deep within the picturesque hills of the Central Valley. Lively in spirit and rested in its soul, San Jose is a place not be missed out on your Costa Rica envoyage.

Playa Sámara

Whether it be witnessing a gorgeous sunset or being wanderstruck at an unparalleled beauty, Playa Samara is just the ideal setting to set your picture perfect vacay goals on. Turquoise seas nestling silver beaches and upscale cafes make this place such a delight to feast your eyes on. Even with its aesthetic, Playa Samara remains as exciting a place to do stuff- horseback riding, snorkelling, fishing, boat riding- you will be surprised at the avenue of enjoyment this gorgeous beach offers.


An air of casual nonchalance wafts through the tropical town of Dominical, with its many surf- worthy beaches and dirt streets making visitors take an instant liking to this backpacker’s haven. Open beaches that turn into a buzz- hub with its many trees shading vendors to put up their fare impart a whiff of old world charm.

Outside of town, nature remains closer as ever with lush beauty forever harbouring the essence of the place. The quiet sanctity of the hills nestles a place that remains very much enticing to tourists even in all its explored wonder.

Irazú Volcano

On the surface, it looks like a moonscape with grey peaks housing a mysterious green lake. But the Irazu volcano- the highest active one in Costa Rica- is indeed a very fascinating tourist spot that should be on your must visit Costa Rican list.

You can hike up to the volcano’s main crater and also the Diego de la Haya Crater nearby that contains the lime green lake. Impressive even in its dormancy, the volcano exhibits grandeur with its towering size and might.