This adventurous itinerary checks off four of Costa Rica’s key regions. Raft down some of the world’s best rapids, head to Arenal for hikes and hot springs, and lounge on the Pacific beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. End your journey on the remote Osa Peninsula, where rainforests, wildlife, and a near-empty coastline await.
Costa Rica Travel Insights
This romantic itinerary is ideal for adventurous couples with more than a week to spend. Together, you'll bask in Costa Rica's biodiversity, take a whitewater rafting trip down the Río Pacuare, and go on multiple day hikes. Relax on Pacific beaches, soak in natural hot springs, and check into some of the country's best luxury resorts throughout your memorable stay.
Costa Rica offers an array of adventures, from city to cloud forest to sea. This ten-day itinerary includes hiking near an active volcano, some of the world’s best bird-watching, and snorkeling with sea turtles. Travelers will get to know the culture of local villages as well as that of San José, Costa Rica’s dynamic capital.
The perfect honeymoon mixes romance with fun, adventure with relaxation, and promises stellar scenery, food, and lodging throughout. Look no further than Costa Rica: from cushy Pacific resorts to rainforest hikes and chilled-out surf spots, this little slice of Central America has something for every couple. Read on for itinerary ideas, planning tips, and lodging suggestions.
The Osa Peninsula is one of the most remote areas in Costa Rica. In recent years its untouched rainforests and beaches have given rise to a fitting style of jungle accommodation: the eco-lodge. Here are your best options for lodging that operates in harmony with the area's delicate ecosystem.
With epic surf, rainforest eco-adventures, romantic getaways, and more, only one question remains: when should you go to Costa Rica? The dry months are certainly popular with tourists, but the rainy season can be a great time to go—think beaches all to yourself, cooler temps, brilliant vegetation, and lower prices. Maximize your travels with these tips on where and when to go during Costa Rica's "green season."
Costa Rica's Guanacaste Province is an eco-playground with plentiful beaches and large expanses of protected rainforest. This guide covers everything you need to know to discover this Pacific gem—you'll be learning to surf in Tamarindo or visiting the cascading falls of Viento Fresco in no time.
Scarlet macaws fly over secluded lagoons, wild ocelots roam the jungle, and the call of howler monkeys carry in the wind. This is the Osa Peninsula, an area famous for its remote rainforests and abundant marine life. Whether you're on a solo spiritual journey or a family adventure, this guide shows you how to enjoy it to its full potential.
In the northern Costa Rican lowlands sits Volcan Arenal, a monolith that draws visitors from across the globe. The surrounding area is a perfect base for nature excursions, but there's no need to rough it—these boutique lodging options feature all the tropical paradise and creature comforts you desire.
Culture, nightlife, haute cuisine—travelers are discovering the virtues of San José. And with more lodging options than ever before, you can take your pick of style, neighborhood, and amenities on offer. Make your decision an easy one with this list of premier boutique hotels in Costa Rica's capital.
For sheer diversity, Manuel Antonio National Park has it all: rainforests, coral beaches, and wild rivers abound. Stay the night nearby in one of these recommended boutique hotels or ecolodges, all offering noteworthy views, architecture, and proximity to the park.
With two coasts, Costa Rica is a dream for travelers looking to catch a wave. Both the Pacific and Caribbean sides offer some of the best breaks in the world, with enough variety to accommodate beginners and experts alike. If you’re keen to surf the “Rich Coast,” you don’t have to be a professional—you just need to know where to go.
Costa Rica's mountainous Monteverde region is a traveler favorite, topping lists for its distinct cloud forest ecosystem, abundant wildlife, and options for hiking and zip-lining. Head northwest for a long weekend from San José or visit after a few days at Arenal—whatever you choose, this guide has everything you need to plan your time.
More than a quarter of Costa Rica is protected jungle, home to a wide variety of native wildlife—including 850 colorful species of birds. Learn about the country's best areas to spot them, from the Osa Peninsula to the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Costa Rica abounds with wildlife and outdoor activities, setting the scene for an ideal family vacation. But you don't need to head straight to the beach—travelers flying into urban San José will find plenty to do with kids upon arrival. Interactive museums, local markets, and more are a great way to spend a day in the city.
Manuel Antonio is a slice of paradise on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. A short flight (or four-hour drive) south of San José, the national park and surrounding area have rainforest hiking trails and lots of beaches to explore, each with its own character. Learn where to eat, stay, and play with this comprehensive guide.
While the majority of visitors to Costa Rica will head west to the Pacific, the laidback lifestyle and Afro-Caribbean culture and cuisine of Puerto Viejo beckon you to come experience life on the country's eastern coast. This guide will introduce you to the playas, towns, and wilderness areas that make up Puerto Viejo — let's get started.
Costa Rica has a culinary tradition all its own, and travelers in search of local experiences need look no further than the food. Read on for an overview of must-try delicacies, including the country's national dish, snow cones with a Costa Rican twist, and other fun specialties best tried in-country.
Costa Rica is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, and over a quarter of its territory is protected. Use this list of recommended viewing locales for your best shot at seeing howler monkeys, humpback whales, jaguars and more.
Every year travelers from around the world travel to the tiny Costa Rican town of La Fortuna. They come for one reason and one reason alone—to experience the majesty of Costa Rica's most famous active volcano and its surrounding natural wonders. Here is our expert guide to discovering Arenal.
Costa Rica's rainforest and windswept beaches lure travelers from all over the world to practice yoga and enjoy other soul-nourishing activities while communing with nature. Some retreat centers are in the country's remote corners, while others are just outside of major cities—this list covers six of the best.
If you have just three days to spend in Costa Rica, it’s wise to prioritize one activity or region. From whitewater rafting to wildlife viewing and catching a world-class wave, here are some suggestions for how to spend a long weekend in this beautiful country.
San José offers much more than the international airport most visitors fly into. Costa Rica's capital is a cultural hub worth getting to know, and provides a great intro to the country's food and history. Take a day or two to explore the city—this guide will help you make the most of your time.
Costa Rica is proof that big things can come in small packages. Although this Central American gem is barely the size of West Virginia, it’s the most biodiverse country on the planet—and given its extensive coastlines and varied landscapes, it is arguably one of the most beautiful. This list will help you experience the best of it.
This two-week itinerary includes many of Costa Rica's greatest hits. You'll venture into the country's most beautiful national parks and enjoy zip-lining adventures, nature hikes, beach excursions, and more. All the while you'll spot exotic animals as you traverse some of the most virgin rainforest landscapes in Central America.
With your kids in tow, get out and explore Costa Rica's capital city before making your way through the lush lowlands towards the Caribbean Coast in this adventure tour. From nature treks, to river rafting, to pristine beaches, this weeklong itinerary is created for families who want to experience Costa Rica's splendid scenery, wildlife, and distinctly laid-back culture.
Hilly nature walks are practically guaranteed while visiting the rugged terrain of Costa Rica. While some travelers prioritize beaches and water sports on either coast, many will want to save space on the itinerary to explore the vast interior and myriad of wildlife. Good news for hiking enthusiasts: The majority of Costa Rica's 27 national parks offer well-maintained trails. From volcanoes, to tropical dry forests, to remote rainforests, here’s a list of the country’s 10 best national parks for hiking.
You can have a great adventure in Costa Rica in as short as a long weekend. With only a few days to spare you will have enough time to hike through a rainforest, see an active volcano, and take a surfing lesson. Of course, a week or more is recommended so that you can take advantage of the wide range of activities and biodiversity, giving you more opportunities to explore the culture and vast natural surroundings like a local. This is a breakdown of optimal itineraries to explore Costa Rica, listed from shortest (4 days) to longer (up to 2 weeks).
On the northwestern edge of Costa Rica, Nicoya Peninsula features a spectacular beach scene attracting young expats who are spoiled for choice with year-round swells and seaside open-air yoga studios. With 10 days to explore the region by four-wheel drive, you’ll base yourself in three quintessential surf towns: Tamarindo, Nosara, and Santa Teresa.
For parents toying with the idea of an international vacation, this Latin American nation is chock-full of family experiences that will leave a lasting impression for years to come. Below, we’ve compiled five reasons why you should put Costa Rica at the top of your family's travel list.
This extensive itinerary will introduce you to all of Costa Rica's iconic experiences. Activities range from thrilling jungle adventures to relaxing trips to the beach, making this tour a great option for any traveler.
As a result of Costa Rica’s volcanoes and their geothermal activity, the country has a plethora of natural hot springs. These healing pools are a relaxing place to soak after a day’s worth of adventure activities, but not all of Costa Rica’s volcanoes hold the same praise. We’ve put together a list of the best hot springs near Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, and lesser-known Miravalles.
Make your trip to Costa Rica one to remember! From a whitewater rafting adventure along miles of tropical scenery on the Pacuare River to an excursion to one of the country's top surf spots, this short and sweet itinerary is jam-packed with thrilling aquatic experiences.
Costa Rica has nearly 300 beaches on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. This ruggedly beautiful nation tempts travelers who want to explore white, black, and pink sands, along with water activities and spectacular natural scenery. Here is a breakdown of the best beaches in Costa Rica divided by region.
With ample mountains and rainforests, Costa Rica’s fortunate topography is a breeding ground for rivers and streams that turn into rushing waterfalls. Climbing these picturesque cascades will reward you with stunning views from the top and refreshing pools below. (In other words, pack a swimsuit and towel.) Here’s a list of the country’s best waterfall hikes ranging in difficulty for young and old alike.
Fun for the whole family, this itinerary covers two of Costa Rica's most famous areas. Arenal and Manuel Antonio are some of the best representations of Costa Rica; Arenal area features one of the most famous volcanos in the country, surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, while Manuel Antonio National Park is renown for its white sandy beaches and vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife.
More than a quarter of Costa Rica’s total area is made up of national parks and protected rainforests making it a popular travel destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Below, we’ve put together a list of adventure activities to consider when visiting the nation of “pura vida” (pure life).
A whopping 25% of Costa Rica's total area is protected. This is a conscious effort to preserve the nation's abundant natural treasures in the form of various national parks. To this end, we've created a dream itinerary for intrepid nature lovers that includes the four best parks in the country. So clear two weeks off your calendar—it's time to experience Costa Rica to the fullest extent.
Perfect for travelers looking to hike and observe wildlife, this itinerary starts and ends in San José and includes many of the Caribbean coast's best destinations—including a famous sea turtle nesting site in Tortuguero and Cahuita National Park. Compared to the Pacific Coast, the Caribbean side tends to be less crowded, with more cultural diversity. From nature treks to pristine beaches, this itinerary offers something for everyone who wants to experience splendid scenery with a laid-back feel.
The Osa Peninsula is located in one of the most remote areas of Costa Rica and is home to windswept beaches, virgin rainforest, and exotic wildlife. Over five days you'll alternate between a pampered holiday lifestyle, rugged jungle treks, and scuba-diving/beach adventures. It's the best way to enjoy this gem of biodiversity tucked away in the great tropical paradise that is Costa Rica.
This itinerary is one of the shortest, yet most action-packed options for travelers looking for a compact Costa Rica experience. Zip-line, rappel, and horseback ride your way throughout the Arenal region and enjoy some of the best volcano views the country has to offer.
Explore Costa Rica's culture from city to Caribbean Sea, starting with its contemporary art scene and ending with soul food and sea turtles. Leaving San José behind, the rain-nourished, undulating landscape of the country's center gives way to Costa Rica's distinct Caribbean coast.
Costa Rica certainly lives up to its name (literally 'Rich Coast'), blessed as it is with miles of beaches on both its Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The country has long recognized the value of preserving its stunning environmental assets, making this relatively diminutive nation a leader in conservation. As one of the happy consequences, Costa Rica's rivers, lakes, and seas provide abundant opportunity for endless outdoor adventures.
This 12-day Costa Rica adventure takes you to the nation’s top biodiversity hotspots. Along the way, you’ll dip your feet in cold rivers, track resplendent quetzals at dawn, and listen for the calls of howler monkeys set to a backdrop of smoking volcanoes, thick jungle and sandy beaches.
If you can't get enough mountain biking, hiking, and rafting in exotic locales, then come to Costa Rica, where you can do all three. This physically demanding 12-day itinerary involves traveling from the Pacific to the Caribbean coast by foot, bicycle, and raft/kayak. It will test the limits of your endurance, but by the end, you'll have seen and experienced some of the most beautiful locales in the Americas.
Volcanos define the landscape of Costa Rica, these volcanos created the fertile valleys and diverse ecosystems of the country. If you want to truly experience Costa Rica's nature at its core, visiting these stunning volcanoes is a great way to start.
Explore Costa Rica's amazing natural scenery through a thrilling series of activities including whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, and more. This tour will take you to a wide range of coasts, jungles, and rivers, all while keeping your adrenaline pumping.
In this two-week tour, you can experience Costa Rica's main attractions as well as its lesser-known marvels. Drive along coasts, rainforest roads, and hills to discover the natural sights that make Costa Rica the most visited country in Central America.
With a mix of rugged jungles, active volcanoes and world-class beaches, Costa Rica offers some of the best natural sights and experiences in the world, all conveniently packed into one territory. Almost a quarter of the land is preserved within national parks, allowing a wide range of animals and plants to flourish, making Costa Rica an ideal destination for ecotourism. With this itinerary, you'll discover the best attractions Costa Rica has to offer in just a week.
Taking a road trip through Costa Rica gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore where you want. You'll pass through stunning natural scenery — from lush cloud forests to picturesque beaches — in seven days of scenic driving. This tour can be extended or shortened depending on how much time you have.