Skip to main content

The best things to do in Costa Rica: How to plan a memorable trip

view of beach in costa rica from above
Atanas Malamov / Unsplash

Costa Rica is an absolutely beautiful country with stunning natural scenery, incredible biodiversity, and friendly people. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, cultural immersion, or just a chance to relax on the beach, “the rich coast” has something for everyone. Here’s a guide to the best things you can do in Costa Rica.

Explore the rainforests and wildlife

a curved road surrounded by trees
Elianna Gill / Unsplash

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a must-visit for nature lovers. This forest is home to over 2,500 plant species, 400 bird species, and a wide array of mammals. The reserve offers various trails where you can hike and experience the greenery, exotic birds, and even spot animals like the jaguar. Guided night tours give you a unique opportunity to see nocturnal creatures in their natural habitat.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park combines rainforest with beaches. It’s one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, offering a glimpse into the incredible wildlife of Costa Rica. The park is famous for its population of monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and a variety of bird species. Walking trails within the park lead to viewpoints and beaches, perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

Adventure activities

volcano in costa rica
Rikin Katyal / Unsplash

Zip-lining in Arenal

Adrenaline junkie? Zip-lining near the Arenal Volcano is an unforgettable experience. Arenal is one of Costa Rica’s most famous volcanoes, and its surrounding rainforest provides the perfect setting for zip-lining. As you soar above the treetops, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the volcano and Lake Arenal.

White water rafting on the Pacuare River

Costa Rica’s rivers offer some of the best white-water rafting experiences in the world. The Pacuare River, in particular, is known for its challenging rapids and scenic beauty. Rafting down the Pacuare will take you through rainforests, past waterfalls, and alongside steep canyons. It’s an exhilarating way to experience the wild side of Costa Rica.

Beach escapes

top view of ocean
Zachary Shea / Unsplash


Tamarindo, located on the Pacific coast, is a vibrant beach town perfect for surfing and relaxation. With consistent waves, it’s a favorite spot for both novice and experienced surfers. Beyond surfing, Tamarindo offers a lively nightlife, excellent restaurants, and opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and deep-sea fishing.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

On the Caribbean side, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is known for its laid-back vibe, reggae music, and stunning beaches. Playa Cocles and Punta Uva are among the most beautiful beaches in the area, offering clear waters and golden sands. The town is also a great place to experience Afro-Caribbean culture and cuisine.

Cultural experiences

wide view of a city under a cloudy sky
Alexander Aguero / Unsplash

San José’s museums and markets

Costa Rica’s capital, San José, is a hub of culture and history. The National Museum, housed in a former military barracks, offers fascinating exhibits on Costa Rican history, archaeology, and culture. The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum showcases an impressive collection of gold artifacts. To experience local life, visit the bustling Mercado Central, where you can sample traditional foods, buy handmade crafts, and mingle with locals.

Coffee plantation tours

Costa Rica is famous for its coffee, and a tour of a coffee plantation is a great way to learn about the country’s coffee-making traditions. The Central Valley, particularly around the town of Alajuela, is home to many coffee farms. These tours typically include a walk through the coffee fields, a demonstration of the roasting process, and, of course, a tasting session. You’ll gain a deep appreciation for the art of coffee production and the hard work that goes into every cup.

Wellness and relaxation

a sunset over the ocean
César Badilla Miranda / Unsplash

Hot springs in La Fortuna

After a day of adventure, unwind in the natural hot springs of La Fortuna, near the Arenal Volcano. The geothermal activity in the area heats the waters, creating a range of hot springs where you can soak and relax. Many resorts in the area offer access to these hot springs, some featuring beautifully landscaped pools, waterfalls, and swim-up bars.

Yoga retreats in Nosara

Nosara, on the Nicoya Peninsula, is a wellness spot known for its yoga retreats. The town’s serene beaches and tranquil environment make it an ideal place for relaxation and meditation. Yoga studios and wellness centers offer a variety of retreats, combining yoga practice with healthy eating and holistic treatments. Nosara is also a great spot for surfing and stand-up paddleboarding, adding a touch of adventure to your wellness retreat.

Unique experiences

a pathway between trees
Lisa Kessler / Unsplash

Turtle nesting tours in Tortuguero

Tortuguero National Park, on the Caribbean coast, is a critical nesting site for several species of sea turtles. From July to October, you can join guided tours to witness the magical sight of turtles laying their eggs on the beach. The park’s network of canals and rivers also makes it a great place for boat tours, where you can spot manatees, caimans, and a variety of bird species.

Explore caves in Barra Honda National Park

Barra Honda National Park, in the Nicoya Peninsula, is famous for its limestone caves. A guided tour of the caves takes you deep underground to explore stunning stalactites and stalagmites formations. The park also offers hiking trails with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, making it a great destination for both adventure and natural beauty.

Kelly Baker
Kelly is a writer who loves good books, baking homemade bread, playing the piano, and spending time with her family.
Need travel inspiration? These are the absolute best places to visit in July
Add these destinations to your summer bucket list

Summer is in full swing, and the month of July offers a perfect window for your next great travel adventure. From vibrant cities to warm beaches, July offers something for every travel preference. Whether you are on the hunt for a domestic getaway or an international adventure, our carefully curated list of the best places to visit in July is sure to inspire your next summer escape. These are the destinations that will ensure your July vacation is nothing short of extraordinary. 
Provence, France

Average July temperature: 82ºF to 86ºF

Read more
What to do in Nashville: Don’t miss out on these incredible activities
Need help planning your trip to Music City?

Looking pretty, Music City. Are you thinking about taking a trip to Nashville this year? Nashville offers a rich blend of culture, history, and entertainment that promises a memorable experience for every visitor. Whether you’re a music enthusiast looking to explore iconic venues or a foodie ready to dive into delicious Southern cuisine, Nashville has something for you. If you aren’t sure what to do in Nashville, TN, we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few of the best things to do in Nashville, Tennessee.
Take a stroll down Lower Broadway

Lower Broadway consistently makes the list of the top things to do in Nashville. This vibrant stretch, often referred to simply as “Broadway,” is lined with honky-tonk bars, live music venues, and busy eateries that showcase the best of Nashville’s legendary music scene. Lower Broadway is not only the heart of Nashville’s nightlife but also a hub where famous musicians bring their flair to the local scene. Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar offers a mix of Southern cuisine and stunning rooftop views, while Blake Shelton’s Ole Red combines great food with live music. 
Indulge in some hot chicken

Read more
This is the best time to visit Portugal
When should you book your vacation?

Are you thinking about planning a trip to Portugal? Known for its stunning coastline, charming cities, and delectable foods, Portugal is a popular year-round vacation destination. However, the best time to visit Portugal depends on what you are looking for. Whether you’re a budget traveler seeking the best deals, a beach lover chasing the sun, or an adventurer eager to immerse yourself in local festivals and events, timing your trip right can make all of the difference. From the hot temperatures of summer to the festive charm of winter, let’s discover the best time for you to head out on the perfect Portuguese adventure.
The best time to visit for good weather

For travelers seeking the best weather, summer (June to August) is the ideal time to visit Portugal. This season boasts the warmest and sunniest days, with daytime temperatures often reaching the high 80sºF and minimal rainfall. This time is perfect for beach vacations, particularly in the Algarve region, where you’ll find crystal clear waters and golden sands. 

Read more