Costa Rica is a spectacular country in every way. Because of its nature, its wildlife, its beaches, its people… You will not be short of things to do in Costa Rica, one of the happiest countries in the world. You will be able to discover its volcanoes, bathe in wild beaches and run into all kinds of bugs after each step. If you like animals and adventure, you will not be disappointed. In this post we present you 50 things to do in Costa Rica. We also propose an itinerary through Costa Rica in 15 days to get to know the best of the country on your own.
What do we tell you in this post?
- Things To Do In Costa Rica
- Discover the charms of its capital, San Jose
- Discover Cartago, the first capital of the country
- Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels, in Cartago
- Browse the Lankester Botanical Garden
- Climb the Irazú Volcano, one of the essential activities to do in Costa Rica
- Know the history of the Durán Sanatorium, a mysterious visit to do in Costa Rica
- Approach the Turrialba Volcano
- Visit the Guayabo National Monument
- Enjoy the views from the Mirador del Valle de Orosi
- Discover the colonial church of Orosi
- Get used to the Costa Rican schedule
- Get to know the Poás Volcano
- Enjoy like a child in the La Paz Natural Park
- Relax in the Manuel Antonio National Park, among the essential things to do in Costa Rica
- Partying in Jacó
- Try a churchill in Puntarenas, something very typical to do in Costa Rica
- Hallucinate with the crocodiles of the Tárcoles River, a chilling visit to do in Costa Rica
- Get to know the paradise of Isla Tortuga
- Enjoy Guanacaste and its beaches
- Count the shells at Playa Conchal
- Fall in love with a good sunset at Playa Flamingo while drinking a cold pipe
- Visit Marino Ballena National Park
- Feel like an explorer in Corcovado, an adventurous plan to do in Costa Rica
- Discover La Fortuna, one of our favorite things to do in Costa Rica
- Be fascinated by the incredible La Fortuna waterfall
- Taste an authentic casado, an essential thing to do in Costa Rica
- Go on an excursion to the Celeste River, one of the best attractions to see in Costa Rica
- Visit the hanging bridges of Arenal
- Go to the Arenal observatory
- Enjoy free hot springs in the Chollín River, a great thing to do in Costa Rica
- Kayaking on Lake Arenal
- Photograph the famous red-eyed tree frog
- Rafting on the Pacuare River, an adventure excursion to do in Costa Rica
- Discover the Venado Caves
- Meet the liar, something curious to do in Costa Rica
- Visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest
- Let your adrenaline rise to the maximum doing canopy
- Stroll through the canals of the Tortuguero National Park
- Delight yourself with the Dos Pinos Chocobon ice cream, a delicious plan to do in Costa Rica
- Enjoy the atmosphere and history of Puerto Viejo
- Look for snakes in Cahuita National Park
- Eat an authentic Caribbean Rice and Beans
- Relax in the Gandoca Manzanillo reserve
- Do not miss Punta Uva either
- Cross the border and discover the paradise of Bocas del Toro
- Visit an animal rescue center
- Spot a sloth moving slowly in the trees
- Sleeping and eating inside a plane, something different to do in Costa Rica
- Climb Cerro Chirripó and see the two oceans, a great plan to do in Costa Rica for mountain lovers
- Do not stress, pure life!
Things To Do In Costa Rica
Discover the charms of its capital, San Jose
The capital of Costa Rica is the most populous city in the country and the economic, social and cultural center of the Republic. Although it is not its main attraction, being close to the airport and being such a centralized country, you will surely spend a few hours in the capital. So you won’t be short of time to get to know some of its charms, such as the National Theater or the Post Office Building.
Of course, try to avoid walking around the city at night. When the sun goes down there is no one on the street and things get dangerous. Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Central America, even so, its capital is still a major focus of crime. Even so, we believe that knowing it is something essential to do in Costa Rica.
Discover Cartago, the first capital of the country
Cartago is one of the most interesting cities in Costa Rica. Located on the slopes of the Irazú Volcano, it is only 25 kilometers from San José. Of course, to get there it will surely take a little longer because of the famous dams. Especially at rush hour.
The city was founded in 1563 by the Spanish conquistador Juan Vázquez de Coronado. From then until the independence of Costa Rica from Spain in 1821 it was the residence of the governors and the main families. That contributed to its being the first capital of the country, although later it rotated and ended up in San José, where it remains.
Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels , in Cartago
The main attraction of the city is its Basilica, the second largest religious temple in the country. This Byzantine-style basilica with Romanesque influences hides a very interesting story. On August 2, thousands of people walk from their homes to the Basilica to celebrate the pilgrimage. Without a doubt, it is the most important pilgrimage center in Costa Rica. The Basilica dates from 1912, although the first temple was built in 1635 on the site where an image of Our Lady of the Angels was found, to which several miracles were later attributed.
Admission is free and we believe that if you have time it is a highly recommended thing to do in Costa Rica.
Browse the Lankester Botanical Garden
On the outskirts of the interesting city of Cartago are these botanical gardens. They are maintained by the University of Costa Rica, which turned a private garden into a magnificent research center. And now, also in a tourist attraction. There you can enjoy more than 3000 species of plants, especially orchids and epiphytes. Without a doubt, a different and curious activity to do in Costa Rica.
Entrance for foreigners costs $10.
Climb the Irazú Volcano , one of the essential activities to do in Costa Rica
If there is something that you cannot miss on your visit to the country, that is the Irazú Volcano. We had to go up several times to see it clear. So before paying the ticket, ask how the forecast is (although it can change at any time). We actually went up in incredible fog and it was super clear up top.
With 3432 meters of altitude, Irazú is the highest volcano in Costa Rica. And one of the most popular among those who visit the country. It is still active, although since 1994 no significant eruption has been observed. Visit it, enjoy its five craters and relax. The most impressive is the lagoon of turquoise volcanic water that has formed in the main crater, which is one kilometer in diameter. Without a doubt, an essential visit to do in Costa Rica. Admission is $15.
How to go from San José to the Irazú Volcano by public transport?
Getting to Irazú by bus is relatively easy. It is taken at 8:00 a.m. behind the National Theater, on Avenida 2 between Calle 1 and 3. For its part , it returns at 12:30 p.m. The journey takes about 2 hours and costs about $10. If you want to catch it in Cartago, the stop is on Calle 2, Ave 2-4 and it leaves at 9:00 and returns at 1:30 p.m.
You can also hire a tour from San José that includes a visit to the Orosi Valley and the Lankester Garden.
Know the history of the Durán Sanatorium, a mysterious visit to do in Costa Rica
If you go by car to Irazú you can stop to visit the Durán Sanatorium. It is a historic building that served as a hospital where tuberculosis patients were isolated since 1915. It had more than 300 beds and was a pioneer center of its kind in the world. In fact, many of the patients were European. It owes its name to its founder, Dr. Carlos Durán.
Being a hospital in ruins abandoned since 1963 there are many legends that make your hair stand on end with fear. It is also in an area where there is usually a lot of fog, which adds mystery to the matter. But not everyone believes them and its gardens have become a popular place for picnics and meeting friends.
Approach the Turrialba Volcano
At the touch of Irazú is the second highest volcano in Costa Rica. The Turrialba has the summit at 3340 meters and is famous for frequently expelling smoke and ash. That’s where its name comes from. The settlers baptized it as Torre Alba , or what is the same, “white smoke”. In the Turrialba Volcano National Park you can walk through its three craters and enjoy the panoramic views from its top. On a completely clear day, you can see the other volcanoes in the central area, as well as the Caribbean coast. Admission is $12.
The last major eruption was in 1866, but activity has been recorded since 2014. Clouds of smoke and ash can pose a danger to visitors , so the park is temporarily closed.
Visit the Guayabo National Monument
Very close to the two highest volcanoes in the country you can visit an important archaeological area. Due to its location, Costa Rica was a meeting point for the pre-Columbian cultures of North and South America. This city, dominated by a cacique, was inhabited from 1000BC to 1400. Currently only a small part of the town is excavated, but mounds, aqueducts, tombs, monoliths and petroglyphs can be seen. It is a very interesting visit to do in Costa Rica for history lovers.
Admission is $5.
Enjoy the views from the Mirador del Valle de Orosi
The Orosi Valley, through which the Grande River passes, is spectacularly beautiful. Surrounded by green mountains, there are numerous coffee plantations, as well as areas of virgin forest. You can contemplate it from the public viewpoint of Orosi, equipped to spend a family day with a beautiful perspective. It has children’s play areas, picnic tables and several paths to walk.
Discover the colonial church of Orosi
A historical visit to do in Costa Rica is to visit its oldest church. It is in the town of Orosi and was built in 1767 by Spanish missionaries. Its design is a perfect example of colonial architecture: austere and connected to a convent where there is now a small museum of religious art.
Get used to the Costa Rican schedule
Our trip to Costa Rica taught us to get up at 7 am at the latest without an alarm clock. It dawns and sets very early, so it is best to get up early to make the most of the hours of sunlight. Once it gets dark there are not too many things to do in Costa Rica, since its main attraction is its natural wonders. Therefore, it is worth adapting quickly to the schedule. There were days that we went to bed at 8:00 p.m., incredible but true!
Get to know the Poás Volcano
Another of the most famous and visited Costa Rican volcanoes is the Poás. It has three craters. The main one is 1,300 meters in diameter, 300 meters deep and has a large lagoon that is greenish in color due to the amount of sulfuric acid it contains. Also do not miss the Botos crater , at the highest point of the volcano. There is another lagoon (this one of pluvial origin) surrounded by a spectacular cloud forest.
The most important eruptions occurred in the 1950s. But since April 2017, some phreatic eruptions have occurred again, causing it to expel toxic gases. Therefore, the park remains closed to visitors until it is safe to visit again.
Enjoy like a child in the La Paz Natural Park
A very complete visit if you have little time in Costa Rica is the La Paz Waterfalls park. There is the La Paz waterfall , one of the most famous. There are also four more waterfalls to be amazed by. In addition to being a privileged place due to the nature that surrounds the paths, it is an enclosure with animals that unfortunately cannot live in freedom for various reasons. You will be able to see monkeys, toucans, hummingbirds, pumas, snakes and even a jaguar.
Admission costs $44 for foreigners. It is quite expensive but the park has good facilities and is enough to spend a full day. If you want to treat yourself, there is a lovely hotel in the park called the Peace Lodge.
Relax in the Manuel Antonio National Park , among the essential things to do in Costa Rica
The most visited national park is an essential stop to do in Costa Rica. There you can see some of the most beautiful beaches in the country to touch a forest with a lot of fauna. In fact, you won’t have to leave the beach to see raccoons and monkeys. With the arrival of so many visitors, they have become accustomed to our presence and are not afraid to rummage through the beach bags for food.
Although it may seem like a somewhat stressful experience with so many animals, the beaches are absolutely worth it. The ticket costs $16 for foreigners and must be purchased about 100 meters before the park entrance, in a place called Coopealianza.
You have to be careful not to leave your belongings unattended because there have been cases in which a monkey takes clothes, sunglasses or even cameras.
They are quite aggressive, we saw how a raccoon bit a girl who was trying to defend her beach bag. A good trick to scare them away is to have a stick nearby to hit the sand and scare them away.
If you want to be calmer go to the beach that is on the right side. There are not so many people there and, therefore, the animals do not bother so much.
We take advantage of this warning to recommend that you take out travel insurance before traveling to Costa Rica. It is a country where you will be in constant contact with nature and that has some risks. We travel with Iati Estrella insurance , which you can get with a 5% discount.
Partying in Jacó
The coastal city of Jacó is known for its nightlife. There you will find plenty of bars and clubs to have a good time. Some of the busiest places are the Los Amigos bar and the Monkey Bar. Although you have to be careful, since unfortunately there is also a lot of street prostitution and drug sales.
Try a churchill in Puntarenas, something very typical to do in Costa Rica
One of the most famous desserts in Costa Rica is the churchill, a granita well loaded with ingredients. More specifically, it is typical of the Puntarenas region. It has ice, syrup, condensed milk and powdered milk. But you can also add more ingredients such as fruit. Quite a bomb!
Hallucinate with the crocodiles of the Tárcoles River, a chilling visit to do in Costa Rica
One of the most impressive things to do in Costa Rica is to see the multitude of crocodiles that live in the Tárcoles River. An ideal point to do so is the Route 34 bridge that crosses the river. It is known as the crocodile bridge, looking down you will understand why. Although they can be seen from a considerable height, we are impressed with the amount of animals that there are and, above all, with their size.
To get there from the Jacó area you can take any bus that goes from Jacó to San José and ask the driver to stop at the Tárcoles bridge.
Get to know the paradise of Isla Tortuga
An hour from the Jacó area there is a place accessible only by boat and without any hotel or restaurant. Therefore, you must hire a tour to spend the day there. Its white sand and crystal clear water make Isla Tortuga a true paradise.
Its crystal clear waters attract rays, a wide variety of fish, octopus, dolphins and even sharks. Therefore, it is an ideal place to snorkel, dive or contemplate the seabed taking a kayak ride. It is a somewhat expensive day trip but well worth it.
Enjoy Guanacaste and its beaches
The province of Guanacaste is ideal for lovers of the beach and good weather. Despite the fact that the climate in the country is very unstable, the sun usually shines there all year round and it has many of the best beaches in Costa Rica. Playa Dantita, Playa Flamingo, Playas del Coco or Playa Hermosa are just some examples of highly recommended places.
The only drawback that we see is that transport there by road takes forever. From San José to Playa Flamingo it takes about 6 hours, and it’s only 200 kilometers! To save time and not waste patience, you can make the journey by plane , tickets are around €50.
Count the shells at Playa Conchal
Without a doubt, the beach in Guanacaste that we liked the most was Conchal. Its sand is full of small shells , ideal for those of us who hate sand sticking to us But not only is it beautiful because of this curiosity, but the part closest to Playa Brasilito has a coral reef that turns water into a pool for how transparent and calm it is. If you go a few meters with goggles and tube you can see beautiful fish. In addition, it is a very long beach, so it is always quiet even if there are quite a few people.
Fall in love with a good sunset at Playa Flamingo while drinking a cold pipe
The fresh coconut water served in the same coconut is known as cold pipa in Costa Rica. A great way to cool off after a day at the beach is to ask for one and drink it with views of the beautiful sunsets in the Playa Flamingo area. We stayed at Flamingo Beach Resort and Spa and it was a success, right on the beach and with good facilities.
Visit Marino Ballena National Park
This national park in the Central Pacific is one of the most peaceful. It has four beaches where you can relax and enjoy nature by diving to discover the coral reefs. The park is called Ballena because it is a transit area for humpback whales when they migrate from August to November and from December to April. Therefore, it is a great area for whale watching during those months. But that is not the only explanation of the name… If you have a drone, you will be amazed discovering the shape of a whale’s tail that creates the union of the two beaches when the tide is low.
The entrance to the park costs $12 for foreigners.
Feel like an explorer in Corcovado , an adventurous plan to do in Costa Rica
South of Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Corcovado National Park is nature in its purest form. In fact, it cannot be accessed without a guide due to the dangers involved. You have to know the trails very well and when the tides rise. There have already been several cases of tourists who ended up lost or trapped by a rising sea.
But more than dangers, nature offers true gifts. Walking through Corcovado you can see 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity : jaguars, crocodiles, owls, parrots, tapirs, snakes or iguanas are just a small sample of what you can find.
Admission is $15 per day which is usually included in guided tours. The most common is to stay overnight in the park. There is only one place to do it in the Sirena Sector at a price of $30, plus $20 for breakfast and $25 for lunch or dinner. In total it is a fairly expensive excursion, but if you are a lover of nature walks it can be one of the best things to do in Costa Rica.
Discover La Fortuna, one of our favorite things to do in Costa Rica
One of our highly recommended visits to do in Costa Rica is the area of La Fortuna de San Carlos. We found it to be a magical place due to its views of the spectacular Arenal volcano, its hot springs and the thousand activities related to nature that can be done nearby.
Be fascinated by the incredible La Fortuna waterfall
Five minutes by car or taxi from the center of La Fortuna there is an impressive waterfall with more than 70 meters of fall. The power of water leaves you speechless. In addition, unlike other waterfalls, it has a small natural pool where bathing is not dangerous. That is why we encourage you to bring a swimsuit and a towel, it is a pleasure to cool off in that blue water after descending more than 500 steps to reach the waterfall.
Admission is $15. The taxi to get there from La Fortuna costs about 5,000 colones ($9), although it can also be reached on foot with a somewhat long walk. You can also book an excursion to Arenal and La Fortuna Waterfall from San José. For us it is an essential visit to do in Costa Rica.
Taste an authentic casado, an essential thing to do in Costa Rica
The most served dish on Costa Rican tables is casado. In any soda or restaurant they will have it, since it is made with basic ingredients that are widely consumed. It is a kind of combined dish with rice, beans, fried plantain, salad and meat or fish of your choice. In addition to being delicious, it will give you a lot of energy.
There are many sodas and stores that do not accept credit cards. Therefore, it is essential to have Costa Rican colones to pay in cash. We always change comfortably with Ria Foreign Exchange. They have a great exchange rate and send your money home in a totally secure way.
Go on an excursion to the Celeste River, one of the best attractions to see in Costa Rica
Another waterfall that is worth seeing is the Rio Celeste. This does not impress by its height, but by the turquoise color of the water. Although that beautiful blue is not from the water, but rather an optical effect caused by the reflection of sunlight on the rocks at the bottom of the river. They are covered with a mineral compound of aluminium, oxygen and silicon; creating that magical color. To get to the waterfall you have to walk for half an hour along a path that is not too difficult if it is not wet. When it rains it forms a lot of mud that slips.
Unfortunately, the forest around the waterfall is quite destroyed due to a big storm. You should also bear in mind that it is a very humid area where there is usually a lot of mud. Therefore, wear shoes that you do not mind getting dirty. If not, you can rent wellies at the beginning of the trail.
Getting there by public transport is impossible , so if you don’t rent a car you’ll have to book a tour. If you arrive on your own, the entrance fee is $12.
Visit the hanging bridges of Arenal
A fun thing to do in Costa Rica is to cross hanging bridges. You can find one in any corner of the country, but just outside the Arenal there is a park with 14 bridges of this type. In addition to being a different activity, we liked knowing the history behind the creation of the park. The owners wanted to create a tourist complex, but given the impossibility of cutting down the trees and displacing the animals from their habitat, they decided to build these bridges that integrate perfectly with the environment.
You can see many animals. We saw a toucan, a snake, a tarantula and many different types of birds. We recommend hiring a guide to have more opportunities to see these animals. They know nature very well and if we had gone alone the experience would not have been so good.
Admission is $26. If you have a car, it is easily accessible and there is a parking lot with many spaces. If you do not have a vehicle, you can hire a tour with a guide who will pick you up at your accommodation.
Go to the Arenal observatory
At the foot of Arenal is the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Yes, it is a hotel, but access is free and it has a terrace with incredible views of the Arenal volcano and Lake. There is also a small museum on the history of the volcano and its activity. You can see photos of the eruptions, the animals that live there and even a seismograph that records all the movements that occur.
Several paths leave from the same enclosure. One of them ends in a small waterfall where you can cool off. We recommend you go in the afternoon and watch the sunset having a drink after the walk.
Enjoy free hot springs in the Chollín River, a great thing to do in Costa Rica
After passing through the Arenal Observatory, there is no better way to end the day than with a bath in the hot springs of the Chollín River. It is a public space, so it is usually very crowded, especially by groups of tourists. But that does not stop it from being a very relaxing experience to do in Costa Rica. To get there you will need a flashlight, since the path is completely dark and somewhat slippery. We recommend that you take only a towel and flip-flops and leave your other belongings in the vehicle because there is no safe space to leave them.
Kayaking on Lake Arenal
The Arenal area is also wonderful for sports. A very popular activity to do in Costa Rica is to rent a kayak and paddle down the Arenal River. Be careful not to get distracted by the views and go into the water, because the panorama with the volcano in the background is spectacular.
Photograph the famous red-eyed tree frog
There are many animals in the country, but few are as characteristic as the famous red-eyed tree frog. It even made the cover of the Lonely Planet guide! You can find it in almost any part of the country, it usually comes out at night and is attached to the leaves to camouflage itself well. If you manage to see it, don’t be dazzled by its red eyes and take a good look at its blue back. It’s a beauty!
Rafting on the Pacuare River, an adventure excursion to do in Costa Rica
Between Cartago and Limón there is one of the best rivers in the world for rafting. The Pacuare River is considered the best place to practice this activity in Costa Rica due to the force with which the water flows, as well as being surrounded by waterfalls and a beautiful green landscape.
Discover the Venado Caves
Just an hour from La Fortuna there is a jewel of nature. The Venado Caverns are a geological formation that emerged approximately 6 million years ago. With its stalactites and stalagmites, waterfalls and an interior full of animals, it is a very surprising visit to do in Costa Rica. They are also famous because four different species of bats live there. They were discovered by chance during a hunting expedition in 1945, and since then, cavers have continued to investigate the more than 450 caves. Only a small part is accessible to visitors, but going into these caverns is a very curious thing to do in Costa Rica.
Meet the liar , something curious to do in Costa Rica
Let’s not fool ourselves, the weather conditions a trip a lot. For this reason, we arrive in the country consulting the weather forecasts every day. But we soon realized that it was useless. The location of Costa Rica between the influence of two oceans, with a central mountain range and so much seismic activity means that meteorologists are not used to giving one. That is why they have earned the nickname of “mentiriologists” , something that made us very funny.
Visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest
Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. One of the regions with the most plant species is Monteverde, where there are more than 3,000 different plants. The most striking and characteristic are the different types of orchids, the national flower of Costa Rica. The biological reserve is also home to hundreds of species of birds. There you can find a park with hanging bridges like the ones in Arenal.
Let your adrenaline rise to the maximum doing canopy
Adventure sports are a very famous thing to do in Costa Rica. You can find zip lines in many parts of the country, but the Selvatura de Monteverde park has one of the best adventure tours with 15 zip lines. Another very popular option if you do not plan to visit Monteverde is to do a canopy tour in Arenal. Flying over the jungle will get your adrenaline pumping!
Stroll through the canals of the Tortuguero National Park
One of the most emblematic things to do in Costa Rica is to visit the town of Tortuguero. It owes its name to the hundreds of green turtles that each year, between July and October, stay on the nearby beaches to lay their eggs. In addition to this wonderful natural phenomenon, Tortuguero is surrounded by canals where you can navigate in search of alligators, iguanas, monkeys and birds. The entrance to the park costs $15 , plus about $20 that will be charged for the boat ride and the guide.
Getting there on your own is a bit tricky , as it will take you a whole day on public transport. If you have a rental car , you will have to leave it in the La Pavona parking lot and follow the boat tour, since cars are not allowed in Tortuguero. That is why we recommend booking a tour. Despite the difficulty of getting there, visiting Tortuguero is something unique to do in Costa Rica.
If you decide to arrive on your own , you will have to sleep in one of the hotels in Tortuguero and get up early the next day to visit the national park.
Delight yourself with the Dos Pinos Chocobon ice cream, a delicious plan to do in Costa Rica
A different thing to do in Costa Rica is to enjoy one of the best ice creams in the world. We have a very sweet tooth and we love trying ice cream. By chance, we bought this ice cream in a supermarket and we loved it. It is chocolate with small pieces of chocolate chip cookie. Another day we wanted to try the vanilla with macadamia nuts and we were disappointed. Hit the Chocobon!
Enjoy the atmosphere and history of Puerto Viejo
The most characteristic and touristic city of the South Caribbean is Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. It has always been a fishing village, but what makes it special is that a lot of Jamaicans landed in the 19th century to work on the construction of the railway. That involved a surprising cultural mixture. It has just over 5,000 inhabitants, but it is very eclectic. Tico and Jamaican cultures coexist with a European touch , since many Europeans have settled in the area in love with that special atmosphere.
On its main street there are many craft stalls and also some places where you get braids or dreadlocks in the purest Jamaican style.
Look for snakes in Cahuita National Park
A very striking animal that can be found in the South Caribbean area is the yellow tinsel. It is a poisonous snake with a beautiful color. They are not usually very large, at most they measure about 80 centimeters long. They usually live curled up in trees. It is relatively easy to see them in the Cahuita National Park , which can be accessed with a voluntary donation. In addition to finding fauna, Cahuita is a spectacular place to snorkel if the sea is calm.
When we went, in December 2017, we were quite disappointed with the state of the park. We understand that a few days before there was a strong storm that knocked down many trees and other things, but we find it unacceptable that a national park is full of waste from its visitors.
Eat an authentic Caribbean Rice and Beans
Another essential thing to do in Costa Rica is to try the typical Caribbean dish: rice and beans. As its name says, the meal consists of white rice with sautéed beans and coconut milk. It is usually served as an accompaniment to most dishes.
Relax in the Gandoca Manzanillo reserve
We dare to say that our favorite beaches in the entire country were those of the Gandoca Manzanillo reserve. Surrounded by palm trees and dense tropical vegetation, with sand of an ideal tan color and crystal clear water. They are small beaches but there are not many people either , so you can be quiet. The entrance to the reserve is free and, although it is a huge space, it is not advisable to leave the main path that leads to a viewpoint. The main risk is to end up lost on secondary roads.
Do not miss Punta Uva either
Another splendid beach in the South Caribbean area is Punta Uva. Like all the beaches in the area, it is surrounded by palm trees and has very clear water. In addition, it is easily accessible through a path that leaves the main road, which is appreciated because other beaches are more hidden.
Cross the border and discover the paradise of Bocas del Toro
If you spend several days in the Costa Rican Caribbean , you cannot miss visiting the famous archipelago of Bocas del Toro. Although you are in Panama, you will see that it is super easy to get there from Costa Rica both on your own and with various organized excursions. And you will notice that Panama is much cheaper than Costa Rica. There you can enjoy its islands, bathed in crystal clear waters and indulge yourself. There are several interesting islands, connected to each other by the famous water-taxi.
Visit an animal rescue center
One of the most beautiful things to do in Costa Rica is to see the great work that many centers do rescuing animals and returning them to their habitat as much as possible.
Some of the best known are Jaguar Rescue Center , Sloth Sanctuary or Tree of Life in the South Caribbean area. All of them organize tours to show the work they do and raise money with the entrance to continue helping animals in need.
Spot a sloth moving slowly in the trees
We could not forget one of the animals that generates the most curiosity. Sloths are a national symbol. They conquer everyone with their slow movements and their sleeping postures in the trees. This slowness is due to its diet based on leaves of trees of the Cecropia genus. They give them very little energy, they have components that make them difficult to digest and they even say that they act similar to a psychotropic in humans. Sloths can take over a month to digest!
Sleeping and eating inside a plane, something different to do in Costa Rica
For the most aviation geeks, there are a couple of exciting places in the Manuel Antonio area. This is the Hotel Costa Verde , which has an old Boeing 727 that belonged to South Africa Air and Avianca remodeled that serves as a luxury room. Of course, each night costs about $400 depending on the season.
If your budget skyrockets, you can settle for dinner at the El Avión restaurant. As its name suggests, the restaurant is organized around the C-123 Fairchild cargo plane. In addition, from the terrace you have incredible views of the sunset over the Pacific.
Climb Cerro Chirripó and see the two oceans, a great plan to do in Costa Rica for mountain lovers
If you are in shape and you like challenges, an essential activity to do in Costa Rica is to climb Cerro Chirripó. With 3820 meters of altitude the highest peak in Costa Rica. From its top, on clear days, you can see the two oceans. Of course, to get there you will have to sweat the fat drop! We want to emphasize that it is not an activity suitable for everyone: you have to be physically prepared and have tried to reach peaks of a similar altitude because altitude sickness can play tricks on you.
The climate in the high mountains is always changing and temperatures can touch 0ºC in part of the ascent. So you also have to be prepared at the material level and wear good shoes.
The most advisable thing is to dedicate 2-3 days to it. The most common is to do it in two stages. The first, about 6 or 7 hours, which consists of climbing up to 3,400 meters to the Refugio el Páramo, where we recommend spending the night. And the next day, finishing the summit in about 2 or 3 hours and seeing the sunrise from the highest point in the country. Without a doubt, something unforgettable to do in Costa Rica.
To do so, it is mandatory to reserve it 10 days in advance on the official website of the National System of Conservation Areas of Costa Rica.
Do not stress, pure life!
The Ticos go at their own pace. As we have said, it is considered one of the happiest countries in the world, so people try to smile despite the problems. Costa Rica is a great country, but what let us down was its infrastructure. Surely at some point you get stuck for more than an hour in one of the typical dams (traffic jams). And it is that when there is an accident, everything collapses. But don’t stress, join the Pura Vida and enjoy all the beautiful things to do in Costa Rica.