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Things to do in Costa Rica

Things to do in  Costa Rica

Welcome to Costa Rica

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica spans just 170 miles (274 kilometers) coast-to-coast, yet contains six percent of the world's biodiversity. Postcard-perfect beaches; lush, protected rainforests; and a proud history of promoting conservation and eco-tourism have helped make the country a veritable paradise for active travelers and nature lovers—as well as Central America's top travel destination. Many tours begin in Costa Rica's ""Golden Triangle"" and string together the most popular destinations: Arenal Volcano National Park and nearby La Fortuna, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and Manuel Antonio National Park. In this region alone, there are enough outdoor activities to fill several vacations, ranging from ziplining through the rainforest canopy, to whitewater rafting, to rainforest safaris, and perhaps even a glimpse of the Arenal volcano in action. Many tours offer family-friendly options, and proximity to the Pacific coast makes it easy to include plenty of beach time. Off the beaten path, consider a private tour of Tortuguero National Park, a protected wilderness reserve and seasonal sea-turtle nesting ground that's home to monkeys, crocodiles, and more than 300 species of birds. If you have some time in San Jose, the capital offers a wealth of museums, including the National Museum, the Gold Museum, the Jade Museum, and the Children's Museum. Or tour the lively Central Market to shop for handicrafts. Everywhere you go, Costa Rica casts its spell—don't be surprised if you fall in love with the ""pura vida"" lifestyle and never want to leave.

Top 10 attractions in Costa Rica

#1
Arenal Volcano National Park

Arenal Volcano National Park

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Although visitors once flocked to Arenal Volcano for its impressive lava shows, the 5,437-foot (1,657-meter) volcano has stayed quiet since its last eruption in 2010. However, Arenal and the surrounding Arenal Volcano National Park remain a hot spot for visitors to Costa Rica, and is especially popular among those seeking hiking trails, swimming holes, hot springs, bird- and wildlife-watching, and sweeping views of the tropical rain forest.More
#2
Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Rincon de la Vieja National Park

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Rincon de la Vieja National Park is the ultimate “one-stop shop” for Costa Rica’s natural attractions. Expect fuming volcanoes, gushing waterfalls, sky-high ziplines, natural hot springs, and more—all within just a couple of hours of the popular Guanacaste coast.More
#3
Tortuga Island (Isla Tortuga)

Tortuga Island (Isla Tortuga)

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A postcard-perfect paradise of white-sand beaches, swaying coconut palms, and sapphire-blue water rife with marine life, Tortuga Island (Isla Tortuga) is an ideal spot to swim, snorkel, or bask in the sunshine. The island is only accessible from Costa Rica’s main cities via a scenic boat ride across the Gulf of Nicoya—an extra perk for your vacation.More
#4
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

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The 16 hanging bridges that line the paths of Costa Rica’s Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park stretch a total of 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) across the steep landscape. See the birds, monkeys, sloths, snakes, and frogs that call the forest canopy home by ascending these spans, suspended above gorges and stretched across jungle floors.More
#5
Celeste River (Río Celeste)

Celeste River (Río Celeste)

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The dazzling centerpiece of Costa Rica’s Tenorio Volcano National Park, theCeleste River (Río Celeste) is most famous for its shockingly bright blue color. The river’s hue results from a natural reaction of volcanic sulfur and calcium carbonate, which tints the clear waters.More
#6
Poas Volcano National Park

Poas Volcano National Park

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Poas Volcano National Park houses one of the more popular volcanoes in Costa Rica—a telling superlative for a country with world-famous geothermal activity. But with its spectacular wildlife, informative museum, and variety of hiking trails, the accolade comes as no surprise.More
#7
Tortuguero National Park (Parque Nacional Tortuguero)

Tortuguero National Park (Parque Nacional Tortuguero)

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With its incredible biodiversity, Tortuguero National Park (Parque Nacional Tortuguero) is among Costa Rica’s most visited attractions. Home to monkeys and caimans as well, the park is best known for its sea turtles. Clusters of green, hawksbill, leatherback, and loggerhead turtles lay their eggs in the sand of remote Caribbean beaches.More
#8
Lake Arenal

Lake Arenal

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A shimmering expanse of blue water stretching west of the active Arenal Volcano, Lake Arenal is Costa Rica’s biggest lake and one of its most picturesque. Beyond its striking beauty, the human-made reservoir serves an important function as a hydroelectric dam, providing sustainable power for Costa Rican residents.More
#9
La Fortuna Waterfall

La Fortuna Waterfall

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La Fortuna Waterfall cascades 200 feet (61 meters) down the sheer cliff face of Cerro Chato, the Arenal Volcano’s dormant and thickly forested twin. One of the most impressive and accessible waterfalls in Costa Rica, La Fortuna is a great place to picnic, swim, and photograph the waterfall’s perpetual mists and nearby exotic vegetation.More
#10
Tabacon Hot Springs

Tabacon Hot Springs

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Tumbling waterfalls, luxury spa and dining options, and the dramatic backdrop of Arenal Volcano set Tabacon Hot Springs apart from Costa Rica’s many thermal springs. Numerous pools dotting the Tabacon River create a completely natural hot spring experience on a private rain forest reserve, perfect for a day of pure relaxation.More

Trip ideas

Top Hiking Trails in Arenal Volcano National Park

Top Hiking Trails in Arenal Volcano National Park

Where to Go Bird-Watching in Costa Rica

Where to Go Bird-Watching in Costa Rica

How to Spend 2 Days in San Jose

How to Spend 2 Days in San Jose

Top activities in Costa Rica

Rio Celeste Hiking, Sloth Sanctuary & Llanos de Cortes Waterfall Tour
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Blue Dolphin Sailing Adventure

Blue Dolphin Sailing Adventure

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100% Adventure Park Combo: Zipline, Superman, and Mega Tarzan Tour in Monteverde
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Full day Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall and Hotsprings

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Full day Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall and Hotsprings

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$89.00  $8.90 savings

Recent reviews from experiences in Costa Rica

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Perfect Day Trip from San Jose!
susanfriedlander, Jan 2022
Day trip from San Jose to Wildlife Refuge La Paz Waterfall Gardens
La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a lovely introduction to the natural wonders of Costa Rica.
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Highly recommend this tour.
William_K, Jan 2022
Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Typical lunch and Arenal Volcano Hike
Swimming at the base of the waterfall was amazing.
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Great way to learn the city
Jeffrey_S, Dec 2021
San Jose City Tour Half Day
This was a great way to see the city and learn the history of Costa Rica.
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Good trip
Howard_N, Dec 2021
Bites and Sights - Walking Food Tour in San Jose Small Group or Private
English is good .
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Immersive
Jimmy_D, Dec 2021
Monteverde Hanging Bridges Day Trip from San Jose
Food was great and each stop has activities.
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Cista Rica fun!
Karen_C, Dec 2021
Coffee Experience, Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens
We did not get to see the volcano crater due to the clouds, but it was still an amazing experience!
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Ziplining with a side of nature.
Preston_G, Oct 2021
Zipline and Hanging Bridges Combo Tour in Monteverde Cloud Forest
We can't wait to visit again.
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Great day, amazing views!
CARY, Oct 2021
Coffee Experience, Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens
The waterfalls is a must, we loved it!
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History and Culture Lover!
Zuzana_B, Oct 2021
San Jose Walking and Bus City Tour
I got to visit two museums, the central market (my fav) a couple other landmarks and end the day with an authentic lunch.
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Fantastic Night in the Woods
Joel_J, Oct 2021
Private Monteverde Night Tour
We saw absolutely every little critter I had wanted to see in Costa Rica.
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Amazing Experience!
Chelsea_B, Sep 2021
Costa Rica Full Day Combo Tour - Zip lining, Waterfalls, Volcano & Hot Springs
He also made stops not listed on the excursion to show us waterfalls, enjoy some local snacks, and more.
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Thank you to Juan for a wonderful day trip to Arenal!
Tamara_T, Sep 2021
Arenal Volcano Experience Full-Day Tour from San Jose
The waterfall, volcano and hot springs were very beautiful and we got great pictures.
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Best atv tour in Costa Rica
Gianna_C, Aug 2021
Jaco Beach & Los Suenos 2 Hour ATV Adventure
The water fall was beautiful and the sun was shining bright!
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Highlight of our vacation!
Craig_C, Aug 2021
Whitewater Rafting Class III and IV
Breath taking scenery and a great way to see wildlife.
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Amazing Experience!
Hector_G, Aug 2021
Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner
The ziplines were awesome, and the hot springs were really nice, but we were improve by the food provided in the tour.
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Pura Vida I fully recommande
Milana_V, Jul 2021
Arenal Volcano Experience Full-Day Tour from San Jose
This 1 day tour guide trip was pure joy with amazing surprises: food, landscapes, animals, hot springs and more important amazing people.
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5 stars
Tasha_A, Jul 2021
3 Hour ATV Tour Through Costa Rican Rainforest
Alex our tour guide was excellent very good communication speak very well English help you with everything the view was to die for he took us around definitely something you need to try if you go to Costa Rica
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Totally worth it!!
Luke_P, Jul 2021
3 Hour ATV Tour Through Costa Rican Rainforest
The waterfall jumping was great and driving in the river was one of the funnest activities I did in Costa Rica!
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Best excursion in Costa Rica thus far
Tina_M, Jul 2021
Arenal Horseback Riding to La Fortuna Waterfall
The horses were fun our guide was super friendly and the water fall and the surroundings were beautiful.
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Great tour, it was the highlight of our trip!
Holly_D, Jan 2022
Rio Celeste Hiking, Sloth Sanctuary & Llanos de Cortes Waterfall Tour
During the drive to the waterfalls, the tour guide would occasionally provide information about Costa Rica which was also really nice to hear and learn about.

All about Costa Rica

When to visit

Costa Rica’s climate splits the year cleanly. The dry season—December through April—is the ideal time for beach hopping, surfing, and partying at winter fiestas. If you don’t mind taking a siesta during afternoon rainstorms, visit May through November for lower room rates and an explosion of green foliage in the rain forests.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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