Costa Rica is one of the few truly great birding destinations in the world. This is due to the nation's diverse and abundant amount of birds (over 850 species have been spotted here). Over 11 days you'll travel from the mountains to the coastal rainforests on an immersive birding safari to view some of the most exotic specimens, such as motmots, tanagers, and the reclusive resplendent quetzal.
Costa Rica Travel Insights
Costa Rica has a couple of things in abundance: exotic locales and exotic birds. On this 12-day ornithological trip, you'll witness various avian species amongst misty cloud forests, lowland rainforest canopies, and even soaring overhead on the Pacific coast. Throw in a bit of hiking, wildlife spotting, and sightseeing in the nation's capital, and you have the ideal active vacation.
Costa Rica is a paradise for bird lovers. Over 850 different species exist in this small Central American nation, which accounts for 10% of the birds in the world. The birding opportunities here are limitless, and on this 13-day adventure you'll go on ornithological excursions in some of the most exotic locales in Costa Rica.
Grab your binoculars and sketchbook, because you're off to Costa Rica for a grand birding adventure. This small tropical country is a haven for exotic avian varieties, and there are many regions ripe for ornithological exploration. Aided by an English-speaking guide, you'll travel the length and breadth of Costa Rica, from the mountains to the coast, viewing the most colorful bird species over two incredible weeks.
There are few nations on earth home to a greater variety of birds than Costa Rica. On this expedition, you'll visit the major ornithological regions of the country, from the coast to the rainforests to the high mountains and even volcanoes. Accompanied by an English-speaking guide, you'll go off the beaten path to the furthest reaches of national parks where you can enjoy optimum birding from the best vantage points.
This mountain town needs no introduction to those familiar with the cone-shaped Arenal Volcano and its surrounding rainforests, hot springs, and waterfalls. Indeed this is one of Costa Rica's top destinations with dozens of accommodations. So, how to skip hordes of tourists? We sought advice from our local specialists to offer the most luxurious hotels in La Fortuna.
Boasting 10% of the world's avian species, Costa Rica is a paradise for bird lovers. On this ornithological trip, you'll visit the top birding destinations in the country. Accompanied by an expert multi-lingual guide, you'll go off the tourist trail, venture down remote jungle paths, and into national parks to ensure you have the best vantage points in which to view these birds in all their glory.
Costa Rica has a way of igniting the adventurous spirit within. This is, after all, one of the world's most biodiverse countries loaded with rainforests, wildlife species, beaches, outdoor activities, and 28 national parks—3 of which are UNESCO-listed. If you're planning on exploring some (or all) of what Costa Rica has to offer, you'll likely want to consider renting a car. Read this driving guide for the inside scoop.
Costa Rica's rainforest, volcanoes, and beaches are yours to explore on this two-week self-drive tour. First, you'll take in sweeping views of Arenal Volcano as you zip-line over the treetops and even take a hands-on chocolate making class. Then, it's on to the Pacific Coast to explore three of Costa Rica's most beloved surf towns: Tamarindo, Nosara, and Santa Teresa. These coastal towns offer a lot more than just surfing though. With world-class yoga studios, pristine nature reserves, and breathtaking sunsets, the Nicoya Peninsula offers something for everyone.
Experience the best of Costa Rica's rainforest, volcanoes, and Pacific beaches during this 16-day self-drive adventure. You'll explore the jungle via suspension bridges and zip-lines, and even have a free day to go whitewater rafting or relax in the charming town of La Fortuna. Then, it's time to head westward to the Nicoya Peninsula where you'll adjust to the laid-back vibes of three quintessential surf towns: Tamarindo, Nosara, and Santa Teresa.
Over an immersive 16 days, you’ll alternate between adventure and leisure in Costa Rica. Some days will be filled with culture in the capital of San José, others you'll spend white-water rafting, and others will involve zip-line excursions over the jungle canopy. If that's not enough, you'll also visit Costa Rica's largest active volcano and even make time for surf lessons.
Explore many of Costa Rica's off-the-beaten-path destinations on this 16-day self-drive tour. You'll travel to all corners of the country, from the surf town of Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast, to Arenal Volcano in the north, and to Pacific beaches and protected areas home to exotic wildlife like scarlet macaws. The final leg of this adventure will be a trip to the far south and the remote and beautiful Osa Peninsula.
This 13-day itinerary allows you to experience the full scope of Costa Rica's wonders. In almost two weeks you'll visit the capital of San José, the tropical jungles at Pacuare, the iconic Arenal volcano, the cloud forests of Monteverde, and many wide and inviting beaches, from the north of the country to the south. There are plenty of activities along the way, from white water rafting to soaring over the cloud forest canopy on a zip-line tour.
Epitomizing laid-back travel, Costa Rica has hundreds of hotels but only a few make the list for luxury. With the help our local specialists we've narrowed the best down to these eight unique options that choose quality over quantity, simplicity over opulence. Pick one or more and make your next trip to the land of 'pura vida' extra special.
With diverse jungle scenery, long stretches of coast, and traveler-friendly culture, Costa Rica is one of the best cycling destinations in the world. Kimkim offers a number of unique cross-country cycling trips that can accommodate active travelers of all ages and abilities. Interested? Get your questions answered below.
This 13-day adventure allows you to experience the country from both coasts. It includes a visit to the bustling capital of San José, the lush rainforest of Tortuguero National Park, the towering Arenal Volcano, the cloud forest of Monteverde and the spectacular, remote beaches of Guanacaste. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, from watching sea turtles hatch on a Caribbean beach to sampling locally produced chocolate to surf lessons in the Pacific.
Get ready for a laid-back beach vacation to the stunning beaches of Guanacaste and the Nicoya Península. This slow-paced trip allows you to slow down and adjust to the Costa Rican lifestyle of pura vida in four quintessential surf towns: Tamarindo, Nosara, Playa Sámara and Santa Teresa.
Get ready for a laid-back beach vacation to the stunning beaches of Guanacaste and the Nicoya Península. This slow-paced trip allows you to slow down and adjust to the Costa Rican lifestyle of pura vida in three quintessential surf towns: Tamarindo, Nosara, and Santa Teresa.
This self-guided road trip is ideal for those who love nature. You will visit the highlights of the country, from the infamous Arenal volcano to the misty cloud forest, to the beautiful beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula. Along the way, you will zip through trees on zip lines, swim in waterfalls, and also have a chance to spot the wildlife (from monkeys to the resplendent quetzel) on naturalist lead walks.
This 13-day itinerary is perfect for travelers who like to combine their mountain adventures with a bit of a beach holiday. After arriving at the airport in Liberia, you'll head to Rincón de la Vieja to explore the nature surrounding one of the country's most active volcanoes. Then travel deeper inland to spend a few days crossing suspension bridges, zip-lining over trees, and hiking through the jungles of La Fortuna and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. You'll end your trip by returning to Guanacaste for some relaxation on the beaches of Papagayo.
This itinerary is designed for families who want a nature excursion with plenty of adventure mixed in. Your first adventurous destination is the remote Osa Peninsula, where you'll indulge in beaches and rainforest hikes. From here, you'll head inland to pay a visit to Arenal Volcano and the Monteverde Cloud Forest, where you'll hike among the treetops via suspension bridges and enjoy even more natural wonders. Finally, make your way to The Gulf of Papagayo to spend three days relaxing on pristine beaches.
This 15-day adventure allows you to experience the country from both coasts and is designed from start to finish with kids in mind. You'll visit the bustling capital of San José, the rainforest of Tortuguero National Park, the towering Arenal Volcano, the cloud forest of Monteverde and the spectacular beaches of Guanacaste. There are plenty of family-friendly activities along the way, from watching sea turtles hatch on a Caribbean beach to sampling locally produced chocolate to snorkeling in the Pacific.
Experience Costa Rica's most spectacular national parks on this 15-day tour. You'll catch glimpses of sea turtles and monkeys in Tortuguero National Park and spot hundreds of bird species in the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Then it's time to head to the countries largest and most famous volcano, Arenal, for a mix of wildlife and heart pumping excursions. Finally, you'll end the trip in Manuel Antonio, where you'll snorkel among colorful fish and traverse jungle trails.
On this 15-day trip, you will experience the best of the country's tropical flora and fauna. From rainforest hikes to snorkeling in coral reefs. You'll visit the famous Arenal volcano, see tons of exotic wildlife in Tortuguero National Park, and surf world-class waves in the laid-back beach town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.
Costa Rica is a favorite destination for all ages. This 16-day adventure allows your family to experience the country from both coasts and includes a visit to the bustling capital of San José, the lush rainforest of Tortuguero National Park, the towering Arenal Volcano, the cloud forest of Monteverde and the spectacular, white sand beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, from watching sea turtles hatch on a Caribbean beach to sampling locally produced chocolate to whitewater rafting.
On the north end of Costa Rica's Pacific coast lies the Gulf of Papagayo, a tropical beach-laden region that's still relatively undiscovered. As remote as Papagayo is, you'll find many options for grabbing a bite. Most are centered in Playas del Coco, where you'll find (very) fresh seafood, vegetarian Lebanese cuisine, and authentic Italian fare. The list below also includes a beachfront option in Playa Ocotal and innovative Asian-fusion in Playa Hermosa.
This 11-day itinerary is perfect for travelers who like to combine their mountain adventures with a bit of a beach holiday. You'll arrive in Liberia, the hub of Costa Rica's Guanacaste Province. From the airport, you'll head to Rincón de la Vieja and spend two days exploring the nature surrounding one of the country's most active volcanoes. Then travel deeper inland to spend a few days crossing suspension bridges, zip-lining over trees, and hiking through the jungles of La Fortuna and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. You'll end your trip in Manuel Antonio National Park. More than just stunning white-sand beaches, Manuel Antonio is rich in biodiversity and wildlife viewing opportunities.
With the awe-inspiring Arenal volcano, a wildlife tour of the Damas Island estuary, and just some time to relax on the beach in Manuel Antonio, this trip captures the essence of the Costa Rican motto - Pura Vida!
This itinerary is specifically tuned for wildlife lovers. Expect to get up early and stay out late to see monkeys, lizards, birds, insects and other spectacular fauna that inhabit the virgin rainforest, cloud forest and swampy estuaries covered here. The trip begins with a southwest journey from San José to Parque Nacional Corcovado (Corcovado National Park) before continuing northwest along the Pacific coast. Next head inland to Monteverde for birdwatching and spotting wildlife in the unique eco-system of the cloud forest.
Despite being a small surf town, Tamarindo is officially on the radar of intrepid travelers seeking a slice of tropical paradise. Restaurants continue to pop up to meet the growing demand, and now visitors can find everything from shrimp burgers at a chilled-out seafood shack to beachside fine-dining, flame-grilled barbecue buffets, and even gluten-free Sicilian pizza. Here are eight best bets for getting your grub on in Tamarindo.
Manuel Antonio National Park is Costa Rica's smallest protected area, yet its ecological diversity is surprisingly plentiful. The same goes for restaurants—the tiny town of Quepa, gateway to the national park, has more quality eateries than you might expect. Learn where to eat in the Manuel Antonio area in our list below, where beachfront seafood spots, Mediterranean falafel shops, and more await.
Experience both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Costa Rica — and all that's in between — on this 9-day adventure. Starting in the bustling capital of San Jose, you'll make your way to Tortuguero National Park, where you'll watch sea turtles hatch on the beach. Then head inland to the Monteverde Cloud Forest for incredible wildlife and rainforest trails. After two nights in the heart of the jungle, you'll travel to the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Papagayo. Here you'll go snorkeling and surfing, and end your journey with a spectacular sunset cruise around the bay.
This active 9-day itinerary is designed to appeal to nature lovers and adventure fiends of every stripe. It starts on the southern Pacific coast, in the remote, wild Corcovado National Park. Here you'll enjoy rugged hikes abounding with wildlife-spotting opportunities. Then it's off to the north where you'll explore the misty cloud forests of Monteverde and fly over the forest canopy on a zip-line tour. After a visit to the famed Arenal Volcano, it's time for another hike, this time to the Hule Lagoon, an ancient crater lake like something out of Conan Doyle's "Lost World."
Monteverde's rare cloud forest ecosystem sits high above sea level in the mountains of Costa Rica. Your base for excursions will be Santa Elena, a relatively quiet mountain village that welcomes travelers to the area's multiple nature reserves. Here you'll find a good array of restaurants, from mom-and-pop shops serving reliable local fare to Italian spots known for wood-fired pizza and fresh pasta.
San José is the capital of Costa Rica and its metropolitan hub, and there's no shortage of dining options to choose from. Skip the guesswork with this list of the best places to eat, running the gamut from fine dining in luxury hotels and farm-to-table eateries like Al Mercat in the city center to family-owned spots where you can chow down on 'gallo pinto'—Costa Rica's national dish.
With a mix of rugged jungles and active volcanoes, Costa Rica offers some of the best natural sights and experiences in the world. We have packed some of our all-time favorites into this 6-day itinerary. With almost a quarter of the land preserved within national parks, the country is rich in wildlife and unique flora and fauna, making Costa Rica an ideal destination for eco-tourism. Sloths, birds, macaws, and monkeys are awaiting your visit!
When travelers want to experience an even wilder side of Costa Rica, they come to Tortuguero National Park. This protected area, famous as a nesting ground for sea turtles, is remote, little developed, accessible only by boat and plane—and totally worth the journey. Read on for all the info needed to make the most of your Tortuguero adventure.
After a day of trekking around the enormous Volcan Arenal, there are likely only two things you want: a soak in a nearby hot spring and a good meal. Luckily, La Fortuna is a tourist haven, and there's no shortage of restaurants. Find Mediterranean fare, Peruvian dishes, great sushi, elevated Costa Rican cuisine, and more—most within short walking distance from the main square—with this list.
Go from coast to coast as you encounter wildlife, swim under jungle waterfalls, and unwind on magnificent beaches on this well-rounded Costa Rican adventure. You'll start in the rugged Osa Peninsula, where you'll find untouched shores and a plethora of tropical animals. Then explore the rainforests of Monteverde and Arenal before embarking on a two-day whitewater rafting trip down the famous Pacuare River. End your unforgettable stay in the Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo, where you'll snorkel, surf, and enjoy "pura vida".
Any way you cut it, traveling to Costa Rica during the holidays will coincide with the tourist high season. This has its advantages, as there are more parties and celebrations than at any other time of year. Here's some advice to ensure you get the most out of your festive tropical vacation.
Costa Rica is a favorite destination for all ages. This 10-day adventure allows your family to experience the highlights of the country from the towering Arenal Volcano, to the spectacular, remote beaches of Guanacaste. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, from sampling locally produced chocolate, to zip lining through the trees, to surf lessons in the Pacific.
Combine a beach holiday and jungle adventure in one self-drive vacation. Arrive in Liberia and head to Tenorio National Park, where you'll hike along the electric blue waters of the Río Celeste. Next up is Arenal Volcano National Park, a hotbed of adventure activities. After a waterfall trek and whitewater rafting excursion, drive to Monteverde for a zip-line tour of the cloud forest canopy and a guided wildlife night hike. Finally, it's off to the beaches of Sámara and Tamarindo on the Nicoya Peninsula for surfing and relaxation.
This itinerary is perfect for those who want a vacation filled with tropical beauty and adventure. Take a self-drive tour of Costa Rica that begins in the cloud forests of Monteverde, where you can hike over suspension bridges and zip-line over the forest canopy. Then it's off to Arenal Volcano National Park—your days here will be spent trekking around the base of the volcano, soaking in natural hot springs, and embarking on waterfall hikes.
Costa Rica is a natural marvel—a relatively small country boasting four UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and 28 national parks. Travelers heading to this biodiverse wonderland can read on to have all your questions answered—including how to get around, what to eat, how much to tip, and more.
This self-guided road trip is ideal for those who love nature, beaches, and adventure activities. It covers all of Costa Rica's highlights, starting at the famous Arenal Volcano. From there, on to the Gulf of Papagayo on the northern Pacific coast. It's the perfect spot to snorkel and take a sunset sailing cruise. Then, you'll venture into the misty cloud forests of Monteverde—spot rare birds, partake in a zip-line canopy tour, and embark on a nocturnal wildlife excursion. End your trip with hiking and beach time in Manuel Antonio National Park.
Checking off three key regions in Costa Rica, this 10-day itinerary is perfect for adventurous travelers. The trip starts with a visit to Costa Rica's famous Arenal Volcano for hiking and natural hot springs before continuing to the Pacific Ocean for some beach time at Manuel Antonio National Park. Finish off in one of the country's most remote areas—Osa Peninsula—for undeveloped rainforests, rare wildlife, and near-empty coastline.
The jewel of Central America, Costa Rica offers an array of adventures, from city to cloud forest to sea. This weeklong itinerary includes trekking near an active volcano, some of the world’s best bird-watching, and snorkeling with sea turtles. It's a trip that encompasses the country’s most spectacular and varied landscapes, plus an opportunity to savor the culture of local villages as well as that of San José, Costa Rica’s dynamic capital city.
The jewel of Central America, Costa Rica offers everything—cities, beaches, and many unique ecosystems to explore. This itinerary encompasses the country’s most spectacular landscapes, plus an opportunity to savor the culture of local villages and capital city. Hike near a volcano, experience world-class bird-watching, snorkel with sea turtles, and more.
January kicks off a new year in Costa Rica with wild parties and an epic celebration. It's also a couple months into the high season, when the skies are clear and the glory of nature is on full display. This monthly guide illustrates how best to ring in the new year in Costa Rica.
Dry, warm weather makes February the perfect time to visit Costa Rica. You'll experience the country's famous beaches and virgin rainforests, not to mention one of the largest carnival celebrations in the region. Even better, the January crowds are starting to thin out as locals head back to work. Read on for more about visiting in February.