COSTA RICA: Best Things to See and Do
The 3rd destination on the #wanderlustseries is:
Although I’ve always wanted to go Costa Rica, the first write up I did for “C” was actually for Chile.  And yes, somehow the gods weren’t with me last night and my entire post got deleted.  Just minutes after I finished.  Talk about frustrating!  So instead of stressing myself out even more (I did that last night, googling “recover lost post” about a dozen different ways), I decided to change it up.  And that’s how Costa Rica came into play.

best things to see and do in costa ricaimage via lesandsunnie // Flickr CC

Costa Rica is a country filled with beautiful beaches, delicious local fruits, and so much nature it’s kinda crazy.


So where exactly is Costa Rica?

map of costa rica

Costa Rica is located in Central America, between Nicaragua and Panama. It borders the Caribbean Sea (to the east) and the Pacific Ocean (to the west).

Top Things to See and Do:

Tortuguero National Park

Despite it’s remote location, Tortuguero National Park is the third-most visited park in Costa Rica, which can only be reached by airplane or boat. It encompasses 11 different habitats, including lagoons, beaches, swamps, rainforest, and mangrove forests. The park has over 20 miles of coastline, providing sea turtles a protected place to safely lay their eggs. Be prepared for lots of rain and harsh humidity, as the park receives about 250 inches of rain a year.

butterfly garden costa rica

Arenal Volcano

You can easily take a tour of the volcano, going to the active northwest side.  After a mild hike, you can then see the lava flowing on either Los Tucanes or Mirardor El Silencio, depending on which side its flowing!  Observe a great variety of plants, wildlife, and lava rock formations.  Stay for sunset for a gorgeous view of the Arenal Lake!  Head on over to the mineral hot springs for a quick tip!
arenal volcano costa rica

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio is the best of both world’s: beach and rainforest.  Over 270 species of birds can be found here, all with colors bursting on each feather.  Monkeys are also hanging around the forest as well, including White-Faced Capuchin Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys, and Mantled Howler Monkeys!  Watch out for large poisonous snakes that are camouflaged with the branches, and look out for big iguanas!  The beach is gorgeous, with warm blue water, white mineral free sand.

manuel antonio costa rica

squirrel monkey costa rica


Monteverde is considered a major ecotourism destination in Costa Rica, with it’s main attraction being the Cloud Forest Reserve. The area rests about 4,600 feet above sea making, making Monteverde misty, humid, and windy. It’s annual temperature is 64°F, with annual rainfall around 118 inches. Talk about a lot of rain! The humidity oscillates between 74% and 97% >> definitely not great for the hair! Ready for some adventure?! Go zip-lining on the cloud forest and/or walk on the hanging bridge!

monte verde hanging bridge costa rica

Take Surfing Lessons

The surf is great all around Costa Rica, and being less crowded than the beaches of Sydney, Hawaii, or Southern California, one shouldn’t miss this area!

surfing in costa rica

San Jose

Costa Rica’s capital and the nation’s largest city, San Jose is almost entirely European influenced. Being the most important working area of the country, more than one million people flock to San Jose on a daily basis. Although problems exist, it is still one of the safest and least violent cities in the region. There are numerous theatres, museums, and park plazas to check out.

san jose costa rica fruit seller

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

A large waterfall awaits, with a short path leading behind. A hotel and park can be found upstream from the waterfalls, where visitors can observe many different species of local wildlife.

la paz costa rica

Puerto Viejo

puerto viejo costa rica

This town is located in Costa Rica’s warmest region, in the province of Limon.  Puerto Viejo is known for its beaches and great surfing conditions.  Surfers show up every year to try and master Salsa Brava, the country’s most powerful wave.

Have you ever been to Costa Rica?
What would you add to this list?!

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