3 of the Best Places to Visit in Costa Rica

By: Flashpacking Duo
High angle view of Catarata del Toro waterfall at sunset, Costa Rica Getty Images / Matteo Colombo

The next time you’re planning one of your Grand American Adventures, why not consider heading south of the border? While few countries might be able to offer the sheer geographic diversity of a country the size of the USA, you may be surprised what’s out there. Take Costa Rica, for instance, which has some of the best sights on offer in Central America.


Arenal Volcano

Palm trees stand over the hot springs which originate from Volcan Arenal, beyond Tabacon Hot Springs.
Kevin Schafer / Getty Images

Arenal is just one of the many active volcanoes in Costa Rica. While it has been dormant since 2010, scientific consensus maintains that Arenal is simply sleeping. Despite this, the region is completely safe to visit and remains one of the most popular destinations in the country. Hiking, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding through the surrounding National Park are all favored activities among visitors, as is visiting the numerous hot springs in the area. Many of these are heated thanks to the geothermal activity of the volcano with temperatures ranging from 77 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Tropical rainforest, Monteverde cloud forest, Costa Rica
Getty Images / Matteo Colombo

Despite occupying around 0.1% of the earth’s landmass, Costa Rica contains around 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Around a quarter of the country’s land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of any other country. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is the best place to see this yourself, with over 2,500 plant species, 100 mammals, 400 birds, 120 reptiles and amphibians, and thousands of insects to discover. Tours are available both during the day and at night, by professional, bilingual guides, so you can experience everything that this location has to offer.

San Jose

The sun sets behind the mountains of San Jose, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. The Cordillera Central mountain range, a volcanic range, surrounds the city in the country's Central Valley.
Getty Images / (c) John Coletti

In the midst of all this natural wonder is the country’s capital city, San Jose. A contemporary, urban city, San Jose features all of the modern amenities tourists expect without sacrificing the history that makes it unique. The Chinese and Italian cuisine is popular with the locals, but those searching for something traditional won’t have to look far to find a place serving the national dish, Gallo pinto. Similarly, there are a number of great museums in the city, including the country’s National Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. Finally, when the sun goes down, you’ll be able to experience the city’s famous nightlife.