Pristine beaches, colonial towns, smoking mountains and jungle canopies teeming with wildlife... Costa Rica's variety explains its popularity. But to uncover the real Costa Rica you have to know where to go - here are our top 7 must-sees for any visit to Costa Rica.
Sloths and other animals
Costa Rica is home to an abundance of wildlife, including the strange yet beautiful sloth. But it’s not only these slow movers, that Costa Rica is famed for; there are also monkeys, iguanas, raccoons, stunning marine life and more than 800 species of bird to look out for. It’s a true paradise.
Translated as ‘land of the turtles’, it’s another rainforest that reaches the sea, and with many rivers running through, it’s best explored by water. As the name suggests, it’s also a great chance to get up close and personal with the sea turtle species that live here and discover more about the conservation efforts in place to protect them.
At the top of Costa Rica’s continental divide, amid the clouds, lies Monteverde’s cloudforest and coffee plantation. Filled with incredible bio-diversity, it's home to many monkey and bird species, including howler monkeys and the resplendent Quetzal.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Based on the Pacific Coast, this park is famed for its rainforest bordered by white sand beaches. With a vast array of plant and animal species, plus a world-renowned offshore coral reef, this is one of the most vibrant places in the world. With incredible wildlife and landscapes both inland and at sea, this is a must-see for any nature lover.
Arenal volcano is in the north of Costa Rica. Perfectly conical, Arenal is one of the country's most iconic volcanoes, and is a must-see for any visitor. There are some great hiking trails to take the volcano in from as many vantage points as possible, and Arenal is also the home of rafting, zip-wiring, biking and more - perfect for the adventurous-at-heart.
The capital and nation’s largest city, San Jose is in the central valley. It’s one of the safest cities in Central America and filled with beautiful colonial buildings to explore and bustling markets filled with delicious local favourites (papaya, anyone?). San Jose is filled with Costa Rican character.
The world’s most sustainable country
Costa Rica is among the greenest and most carbon neutral countries on the planet. With 27 national parks, around 25% of its land is protected - the highest proportion of any country in the world. As sustainable tourism becomes more important, there couldn’t be a better place for those looking for an ethical and sustainable adventure.
If Costa Rica just rose to the top of your bucket list, then check out our Costa Rica trips.
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