8 Sensational Things To Do When You’re Staying in Costa Rica

  • Jun 3, 2024
  • Reading time: 6 mins read
  • By Arunima
sensational things to do while vacationing in costa rica

Costa Rica is having a moment not only as a destination du jour for tourists but also as a new home for retirees. 

People throng to this coastal town from all over the world, for exploring natural parks, river rafting, hiking, museum tours, or even shopping at the local market. 

With tourism as its main income, you can expect to fill out your itinerary fast. But what should you include, and where do you stay in Costa Rica to get the full experience? 

Come with this on this journey to explore the 8 sensational things that you make your holiday memorable while staying in Costa Rica.

What Part of Costa Rica Is Best To Stay? 

Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

Costa Rica has so many places to explore and accommodations that deciding where to stay can be challenging. 

Your options include romantic, cozy cabins in the mountains or by the beach; all-inclusive resorts. 

Or you can opt to stay at a lavish hotel in business centers and premium vacation rentals with all the amenities you need.

Consider the following places for your itinerary:

  • La Fortuna: A small town in the northern jungles is known as a wellness destination with magnificent landscapes and unique flora and fauna. Some hotels and resorts to consider are the Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, Nayara Gardens, and Amor Arenal.
  • Tamarindo: The beach town in the Guanacaste Region is a surfer’s paradise, but the Papagayo Peninsula city offers more than the best beaches in Costa Rica. Tamarindo features cool art galleries, forested trails, mangroves and an animal sanctuary.
  • Monteverde: This Central Pacific Coast town is a model for ecotourism and a destination for nature lovers. Its most popular attraction is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.
  • Playa Herradura: A hot tourist destination for its accessibility, nearby national parks, shopping and swimming, the Northern Puntarenas town also has premium Costa Rica villa rental options for travelers who want home-like accommodations.
  • Puerto Viejo de Talamanca: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca combines beach vibes with wildlife excursions for honeymooners seeking relaxation with a dash of adventure

Other places to consider are Drake Bay in Osa Peninsula, Las Catalinas and Puerto Jiménez.

Things To Do in Costa Rica

Ready for your Costa Rica trip? Here are some items to tick off your activity list when you get here: 

Charter a Superyacht.

Superyacht in Costa Rica

A superyacht has multiple decks, pools and a helipad. It is the posh way to explore the mesmerizing landscapes and seascapes of Costa Rica. Although a superyacht features enough luxuries to inspire you to live in one, this way of traveling across the country compels a reverse effect: it’s all about getting off the yacht and exploring. 

You can take a helicopter ride to get a bird’s eye view of jungle waterfalls. You can drop the anchor and scuba dive in a UNESCO World Heritage site, Cocos Island National Park. You can find a spot to swim with dolphins. Or stay on the yacht to watch the majestic humpback whales.

Spend the Whole Day in Mercado Central.

The Bustling Mercado Central in San Jose

One of the best ways to learn about a place is to spend time in the public markets. In Costa Rica, that place is the Mercado Central (or central market) in San Jose. It’s a long-established landmark where locals love hanging out, dining, and shopping.

Take a day to check out the more than 200 shops, small restaurants and stalls. Chat up the locals. Try the gallo pinto, Costa Rica’s classic breakfast. And don’t forget to shop for coffee beans.

Get your Thrills in La Fortuna.

Arenal Volcano National Park

La Fortuna, a small picture-perfect town in San Carlos, is the adventure capital of Costa Rica. Start your adventure with a light activity: hiking through the rainforest in 15 kilometers of marked trails that follow the old lava flow. 

The town is a gateway to the Arenal Volcano National Park, which is in the foothills of the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range. Located 17 kilometers west of La Fortuna, the Park gets you up close and personal with “the most active volcano” in the world. 

Head to the National Park early to catch a glimpse of the volcano without any cloud cover from the hanging bridges. Alternatively, check out the new sector of the Park, which features 1.2 kilometers of new trails and an observation tower.

After exploring the Arenal Volcano, take a dip in the La Fortuna Waterfall. It’s one of the most visited spots in Costa Rica. 

Hike to Nauyaca Waterfalls.

Nauyaca Waterfall Nature Park

Another nature park not to be missed is the Nauyaca Waterfall Nature Park. To reach the breathtaking waterfalls, you’ll go on a six-kilometer hike, which you can do on foot or on horseback.

Once you get to the waterfall, pick from the three levels: upper, a 54-meter drop; second, a tiered waterfall that’s about 26 meters and has a two-meter deep natural pool; and the lower fall which also has a deep pool and rocks you can sit on. 

Enjoy the Nightlife in San Jose.

Nightlife in Costa Rica

Take time out of your vacation to enjoy Costa Rica’s nightlife. San Jose is the center of culture and nightlife, so expect some live music, nightclubs, and bars. You should also see a ballet show or play at the National Theater.

Explore the Jungle.

Manuel Antonio National Park

The Manuel Antonio National Park is a good spot for jungle exploration. It comprises 683 hectares of lush forest, pristine beaches, and vibrant wildlife.

Go hiking or snorkeling. Explore the jungle at night as you learn about tree frogs, kinkajous, sloths and the many wonderful wildlife in this protected area.

Go on a Coffee Tour.

Enjoy the Coffee Tours

Costa Rica accounts for 1% of the world’s coffee production. Therefore, don’t forget to visit the Tarrazu Valley, one of the country’s eight regions producing high-quality coffee. 

Take a trip to the towns of León Cortés, Dota and Tarrazu to see how the farms produce such robust, aromatic coffee.

 Embark On a Rafting Tour in the Pacuare River.

Rafting Tour in the Pacuare River

Finally, punctuate your Costa Rican adventure with an exhilarating whitewater rafting tour in the Pacuare River. The river is surrounded by rainforest, which is home to numerous bird species.

You can do single-day or overnight rafting and opt from Class II to Class V rapids. Multiple waterfalls are a bonus to your rafting experience. But if you find whitewater rafting overwhelming, you can always try fishing, bird watching, or kayaking

Final Thoughts

Costa Rica is one of the most visited countries in the world. It’s easy to see why, with its natural beauty and the diversity in experiences it offers. 

Start crafting your itinerary today, and get ready for fun, adventure, and other extraordinary experiences in this favorite global destination.


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