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With tropical beaches, lush rainforests and friendly locals, there are endless things to do in Costa Rica. Sun, surf, and adventure, Costa Rica has something to offer all types of travelers. From never-ending outdoor activities to a plethora of diverse wildlife and some of the most picturesque landscapes in the world, visitors are spoiled for choice in what many visitors describe as the ultimate paradise. Whether you want to adventure through one of the many National Park’s or just soak in the 800 miles of pristine shoreline, discover the top things to do in Costa Rica.
Visit An Animal Rescue Center at Proyecto Asis
A top animal rescue center in the country, Proyecto Asis is a community-based organization that does a lot of good, and lets visitors help with their mission. Founded in 1995 and located just outside of La Fortuna, Proyecto Asis serves as a rescue center for injured and orphaned wildlife in Costa Rica. Visitors are able to visit and take a one and a half hour informative tour of the rescue center or participate on a more detailed and hands-on three-hour volunteer experience. Here animal lovers can get up close and personal with the animals in their natural habitat and learn about wildlife protection and the center’s mission of preserving these populations.
Explore the Arenal Volcano
Home to several towering volcanoes, a handful of these impressive feats of nature are also active. Quiet since 2010, Arenal and the surrounding National Park are popular with visitors. Situated among a lush rainforest, Arenal boasts an abundance of natural beauty and trails for hiking, trekking, and mountain biking near the volcano’s base. Visitors are spoiled for choice in adventures, as nature lovers will find solace in a number of hot springs, and can observe a plethora of diverse wildlife such as toucans, parrots, and tanagers in the lush surroundings.
Cross A Hanging Bridge At Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
Boasting 6 ecological zones, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is a unique attraction that offers visitors a chance to explore an area with 90% virgin forest. Located in the Northern Plains and a three hour drive from San Jose, visitors will be wrapped in a sea of lush greenery as they are faced with 400 types of birds and 2,500 plant varieties in a 25,700 acre reserve. Considered a must-see attraction to fully appreciate Costa Rica’s rich wildlife diversity, highlights of the area include the adventurous Sky Walk hanging bridges and Sky Trek zip lining tours to catch a glimpse of the pristine treetops from a bird’s eye view.
Walk the Unspoiled Beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park
One of the most popular National Park’s in Costa Rica, the Manuel Antonio National Park has unspoiled white sandy beaches coupled with an evergreen tropical forest and mountain backdrop that will take your breath away. One of the most impressive landscapes in the world, the park is also known for its marine biodiversity and coral reefs perfect for diving, snorkeling, and kayaking excursions. Boasting 12 small isles just off the coast, the area is popular with dolphins and whales, and visitors can explore a variety of trails within its forests, mangroves, and lagoons filled with a variety of foliage and wildlife.
Catch a Wave in Jaco
Luckily for us all, Costa Rica’s beaches offer an array of surfing options for every skill level. Whether you’re a professional or a complete beginner, visitors will find sprawling beach retreats for all to enjoy. A former sleepy resort town, Jaco is now a popular area teeming with charming shops, restaurants, and beachfront hotels. Here visitors will find palm-lined shores and lots of places to learn the art of surfing. In addition to its world-renowned waves and sun-kissed beaches, surf lessons and rentals are widely available for those ready to catch a wave.
Find Solitude at La Paz Waterfall Gardens
A 70-acre private ecological park teeming with rich bio diversity, the La Paz Waterfall Gardens is where cloud forest and rain forest can co-exist. Visitors are met with a magical experience at this fairytale garden complex buzzing with scenic waterfalls, colorful orchids, and abundant wildlife. Visitors will be pleased to find paved trails amongst the lush rainforest that wrap around 5 picturesque waterfalls, with platforms available for a prime aerial view of the natural wonders. In addition to its natural beauty, there are over 100 species of animals, hiking trails, an aviary, and butterfly garden. From croaking frogs to howling spider monkey’s, the La Paz Waterfall Gardens are a nature lover’s paradise.
Step Back in History at the Costa Rica National Museum
Located in the capital city, the Costa Rica National Museum in San Jose is situated atop the Plaza de la Democracia on a Bellavista Fortress built in 1917. Originally used as military barracks in the Costa Rica civil war, visitors can still spot hundreds of bullet holes in its walls. Offering visitors a sample of Costa Rica’s archeological, historical, and natural wonders from the pre-Columbian period to present, visitors can explore a handful of notable exhibits and interesting artifacts. To top it off, visitors will find a large butterfly garden and a breathtaking view of the city from the museum’s courtyard.
Explore Underwater Marine Life at Caño Island
Located on Caño Island, the Caño Island Biological Reserve is a top attraction in Costa Rica. An archaeological reserve since 1978, it boasts clear warm waters where visitors can explore this marine reserve and discover five platforms of low coral reefs with an underwater landscape of caves, cliffs, and canyons. Home to a wide variety of marine mammals that include turtles, manta rays, and white-tipped sharks, the Caño Island Biological Reserve is consistently rated as being one of the best underwater snorkeling and diving spots in the world. Known for having the largest concentration of coral-building organisms along the Pacific Coast, the island is said to have been formed over 50 million years ago.