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5 Must See Places in Costa Rica

costa rica travel tips

If you didn’t already know, Costa Rica is one of the top vacation destinations for Americans, and for good reason! Eco-tourism flourishes in this lush country as do vibrant island culture and beaches for extra relaxation. Whether to check out the beautiful natural environment or to enjoy the bright and lively culture, travel to Costa Rica for a trip you will never forget.

San Jose

The city’s capital is the perfect starting point to begin exploring the country. There may not be enough to do for a whole week, but a couple of days in town will allow you to become accustomed to Costa Rican culture and prepare for your future destinations.

While in the city you can sample some of the country’s best food or go on a coffee tour to energize for the rest of your trip. San Jose is also home to museums such as the Museo de Arte Costarricense that will introduce you to some of the country’s great art, while a gold museum will show you ancient glittering artifacts that spell out some of the country’s history.

It’s also a great base point from which to visit Poas Volcano National Park.


This beautiful cloud forest will capture your heart, especially if you have been soaking in the heat of one of the lower jungles. It is a popular destination, with over 250,000 eco-tourists visiting every year. Try to spot the beautiful but shy quetzal birds, or explore the treetops by zipline or sky bridge.

Puerto Viejo

In Puerto Viejo de Talamanca you will be dancing your heart out to reggae beats and living it up among the Rastafarians and Afro-Caribbeans that are settled here. One of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations, this is a great place to go to immerse yourself in the island’s culture and enjoy delicious foods like jerk chicken and coconut rice.

Especially for young travellers and backpackers, Puerto Viejo is a great place to meet others on similar journeys, with lots of beaches to try, surfing opportunities, and great party atmosphere. In town, there is always an event or show to enjoy at night.

If you are into a more relaxing trip, hotels along the beach provide more of a peaceful atmosphere.

Parque Nacional Tortuguero

Tortuguero means ‘Land of the Turtles.’ The park is named after the masses of turtles that come to nest along the shore surrounding the jungle. It is a hotspot among eco-tourists in April and May when the turtles are in action.

However, by exploring the park’s 77,000 acres of jungle, taking up most of the country’s northern coast, you are sure to find more than just turtles. A winding network of canals weaves all through the jungle and wetlands and is best explored by canoe.


If you are a fan of spelunking, rafting, waterfalls and volcanic eruptions, head to Arenal, one of the best volcanoes to explore in Costa Rica. At an elevation of 1,670m, it provides a lot of great hiking options, as well as lakes and hot springs for a relaxing soak.