Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

The 12 Most Beautiful Places In Costa Rica – Be My Travel Muse


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Agnesse Alexis



Welcome to the enchanting tropical paradise of Costa Rica! With its stunning natural landscapes, breathtaking biodiversity, and warm hospitality, Costa Rica is a dream destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and beach enthusiasts. From misty cloud forests to fiery volcanoes, lush national parks to pristine beaches, this vibrant country offers a wide array of incredible sights and experiences.


Costa Rica is located in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. It is known for its commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism, making it a popular choice for eco-conscious travelers. Combining extraordinary natural beauty, thrilling outdoor activities, and a laid-back pura vida lifestyle, Costa Rica promises an unforgettable journey.


In this article, we will take you on a virtual tour of the 12 most beautiful places in Costa Rica, showcasing the country’s diverse landscapes and highlighting the must-visit destinations. From national parks teeming with wildlife to pristine coastal towns, each place offers a unique experience and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature.


So get ready to explore the awe-inspiring beauty of Costa Rica and add these incredible destinations to your travel bucket list. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a combination of both, Costa Rica has something for everyone. Let’s dive in and discover the hidden gems that make this country truly extraordinary.


Manuel Antonio National Park

Located on the stunning Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio National Park is an ecological gem that combines pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and an abundance of wildlife. Despite being the smallest national park in the country, it packs a big punch when it comes to natural beauty and biodiversity.


The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including monkeys, sloths, toucans, and countless species of reptiles and amphibians. As you explore the park’s well-maintained trails, you’ll have the opportunity to spot these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.


Manuel Antonio National Park is also renowned for its picture-perfect beaches. With their soft golden sands and crystal-clear waters, they offer the perfect setting for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.


One of the park’s main attractions is the Cathedral Point, a majestic cliff that offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding coastline. Hiking up to this viewpoint is a must-do activity for breathtaking sunset vistas.


Adventure-seekers will find plenty of thrills in Manuel Antonio as well. From canopy tours and zip-lining to sea kayaking and white-water rafting, there are endless opportunities for adrenaline-pumping activities.


With its incredible natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and adventurous pursuits, Manuel Antonio National Park is a must-visit destination in Costa Rica. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure enthusiast, or simply looking for a stunning beach getaway, this park is sure to captivate your heart and leave you with lifelong memories.


Arenal Volcano

Rising majestically in the northern region of Costa Rica, the Arenal Volcano is one of the country’s most iconic landmarks and a sight that should not be missed. With its perfect cone shape and the occasional rumble and smoke emanating from its crater, Arenal is both awe-inspiring and a reminder of the country’s volcanic origins.


Arenal Volcano National Park offers visitors the opportunity to hike through lush rainforests, traverse hanging bridges, and soak in natural hot springs. The hike to the volcano’s base is an unforgettable experience, providing stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and the massive lava rock formations.


One of the highlights of visiting Arenal Volcano is the chance to relax and rejuvenate in the thermal springs that are fed by the volcano’s geothermal activity. These hot springs not only offer a soothing escape but also provide mineral-rich waters that are said to have healing properties.


For adrenaline junkies, the Arenal region offers a multitude of adventure activities. From zip-lining through the rainforest canopy to rappelling down waterfalls and white-water rafting in the nearby rivers, there’s no shortage of thrilling experiences to be had.


In addition to its natural wonders, the Arenal area is home to charming towns and villages where you can immerse yourself in the local culture. La Fortuna, the town nearest to the volcano, offers a range of accommodation options, restaurants, and shops where you can sample delicious Costa Rican cuisine and purchase unique souvenirs.


With its fiery presence and surrounding natural beauty, Arenal Volcano is a must-visit destination in Costa Rica. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a combination of both, this geological wonder delivers an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of the earth’s power and beauty.


Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Hidden amidst the misty mountains of Costa Rica’s Central Highlands, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a true paradise for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers. As one of the country’s most famous and biodiverse eco-tourism destinations, it offers a unique opportunity to explore a remarkable cloud forest ecosystem.


The reserve is renowned for its mystical cloud-covered forests, towering trees, and an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. As you walk along the well-maintained trails, you’ll be surrounded by a symphony of bird songs and the vibrant colors of orchids, bromeliads, and ferns. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive Resplendent Quetzal, which calls this cloud forest its home.


Aside from its rich biodiversity, Monteverde also offers thrilling experiences for adventure seekers. The forest canopy tour, also known as zip-lining, is a popular highlight, allowing visitors to glide through the treetops and experience the forest from a unique perspective. Additionally, visitors can go on guided night walks to discover the secrets of the nocturnal creatures that come alive after dark.


The community of Monteverde is a testament to the blending of nature conservation and sustainable ecotourism. The town is filled with charming accommodations, eco-friendly restaurants, and organic coffee plantations where visitors can learn about the process of coffee production and savor some of the best coffee the region has to offer.


A visit to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is an immersive experience, allowing you to connect with nature and witness the beauty and fragility of the cloud forest ecosystem. Whether you’re a bird lover, an adventure enthusiast, or simply seeking tranquility amidst nature, Monteverde is sure to leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.


Tortuguero National Park

Nestled along the northeastern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Tortuguero National Park is a pristine paradise known for its impressive wildlife and its crucial role in the preservation of sea turtles. Covering an area of over 77,000 acres, this remote and biodiverse park is only accessible by boat or small plane, adding to its allure and sense of adventure.


Tortuguero National Park is famous for its nesting sea turtles. From March to October, several species of sea turtles, including the endangered green turtle and hawksbill turtle, come ashore to lay their eggs on the park’s protected beaches. Witnessing this incredible spectacle of nature is a truly unforgettable experience.


Aside from the sea turtles, the park is home to a vast array of wildlife. As you navigate through the park’s interconnected network of canals and lagoons, you’ll have the opportunity to spot caimans, monkeys, sloths, and a plethora of bird species, including toucans, herons, and kingfishers.


Exploring Tortuguero National Park is best done by boat or canoe, as the canals and waterways serve as the main transportation routes. Local guides are available to lead you through the winding waterways, providing invaluable insights into the park’s flora and fauna.


For those seeking a deeper understanding of the park’s ecosystems, several research and educational centers in the area offer informative exhibits and guided tours. These centers work tirelessly to protect and conserve the park’s fragile environment.


Tortuguero National Park offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with nature and witness the wonders of wildlife in their natural habitats. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a wildlife lover, or simply seeking a unique and remote adventure, a visit to Tortuguero is sure to leave you in awe of the natural beauty and conservation efforts of Costa Rica. 

Nicoya Peninsula

Located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the Nicoya Peninsula is a sun-soaked paradise known for its pristine beaches, charming beach towns, and healthy lifestyle. This peninsula offers a laid-back ambiance and breathtaking natural beauty that beckons visitors to unwind and embrace the pura vida lifestyle.


The Nicoya Peninsula is home to some of Costa Rica’s most stunning beaches, with golden sands and turquoise waters that span for miles. From popular tourist destinations like Tamarindo and Santa Teresa to hidden gems like Montezuma and Mal País, beach lovers will not be disappointed by the variety and beauty of the coastline.


Surfers from around the world flock to the Nicoya Peninsula in search of the perfect wave. With its consistent swells and breaks suitable for all skill levels, this region is a surfer’s paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, you’ll find the perfect surfing spot along the peninsula’s coastline.


The Nicoya Peninsula is not just about the beach – it also offers opportunities for adventure and exploration. Hiking in the peninsula’s lush jungles and visiting the nearby Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve allow you to discover the region’s diverse wildlife, including howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, and a variety of tropical birds.


In addition to its natural wonders, the Nicoya Peninsula is known for its wellness retreats and holistic healing centers. From yoga and meditation to organic farm-to-table cuisine, the peninsula offers a chance to rejuvenate and nurture both your body and mind in a serene and tranquil environment.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation on pristine beaches, thrilling adventures in the water, or a holistic wellness experience, the Nicoya Peninsula has it all. Immerse yourself in the laid-back vibe, embrace the healthy lifestyle, and let the beauty of this coastal paradise captivate your senses.


Corcovado National Park

Situated on the remote Osa Peninsula in southwestern Costa Rica, Corcovado National Park is a true gem of biodiversity and untouched wilderness. Considered one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet, this national park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, wildlife lovers, and adventure seekers.


Corcovado National Park boasts an incredible array of habitats, including pristine rainforests, mangrove swamps, coastal landscapes, and freshwater lagoons. This diverse ecosystem supports an immense variety of plant and animal species, many of which are endangered or rare. From iconic creatures like jaguars and scarlet macaws to tapirs, monkeys, and sloths, the park is a paradise for wildlife sightings.


Exploring the park’s extensive network of trails, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the wonders of nature up close. Hiking through dense rainforest, crossing creeks, and navigating muddy paths, you’ll be immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of this rich and untouched ecosystem.


For those seeking a more adventurous experience, Corcovado National Park offers opportunities for backcountry camping. Spending a night under the stars in the heart of the rainforest is an unparalleled experience that will leave you with a deep appreciation for the natural world.


In addition to its diverse flora and fauna, Corcovado is also home to stunning beaches. The coastline within the park is known for its untouched beauty and offers a chance to relax, swim, and soak up the sun.


Visiting Corcovado National Park requires planning and preparation due to its remote location. Guided tours and knowledgeable local guides are highly recommended to ensure a safe and rewarding experience. It’s also important to respect the park’s rules and regulations, including leaving no trace and avoiding interactions with wildlife to maintain the integrity of this fragile ecosystem.


If you’re a nature lover and wish to immerse yourself in the untouched wilderness of Costa Rica, a visit to Corcovado National Park is a must. Discover the raw beauty, breathtaking landscapes, and incredible wildlife that make this park a true natural wonder.


La Fortuna Waterfall

Located near the bustling town of La Fortuna, in northern Costa Rica, the La Fortuna Waterfall is a majestic natural wonder that leaves visitors in awe of its sheer beauty and power. Surrounded by lush rainforests and nestled in a picturesque valley, this cascading waterfall is a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.


Standing at an impressive height of 75 meters (246 feet), the La Fortuna Waterfall is a sight to behold. As you descend down a series of steps and trails, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the waterfall and its crystal-clear pool at the base.


If you’re up for a refreshing dip, taking a swim in the cool waters of the pool is an invigorating experience. The pristine blue-green waters invite you to dive in and immerse yourself in this natural oasis. However, be prepared for the chilly temperature of the water, as it comes directly from the rainforest.


Aside from the waterfall itself, the surrounding area is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts. There are well-maintained trails that meander through the lush rainforests, offering glimpses of exotic wildlife and stunning vistas of the Arenal Volcano and the rolling landscapes. Guided tours are available for those who want to learn more about the flora, fauna, and natural history of the area.


For the more adventurous souls, canyoning and rappelling tours are available to provide an adrenaline-pumping experience. You can rappel down the cliffs beside the waterfall, enjoying a unique perspective of this natural wonder as you descend.


Visiting the La Fortuna Waterfall is a popular day trip from the town of La Fortuna. It’s important to come prepared with comfortable walking shoes, swimwear, sunscreen, and plenty of water for the hike. The entrance fee helps to maintain the facilities and preserve the natural environment.


Whether you’re seeking to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, cool off in a refreshing pool, or embark on an adventure-filled excursion, the La Fortuna Waterfall is a captivating destination that showcases the power and wonder of Costa Rica’s natural landscapes.


Rio Celeste

Hidden within the lush rainforests of Tenorio Volcano National Park, Rio Celeste is a natural marvel that will leave you in awe of its ethereal beauty. This celestial blue river flows through the dense jungle, creating a magical spectacle that seems almost too good to be true.


The striking turquoise color of Rio Celeste is caused by a natural phenomenon. The convergence of two mineral-rich rivers leads to a chemical reaction, resulting in the stunning blue hue that sets this river apart from others. As you walk along the well-marked trails, you’ll come across impressive sights like the Teñideros, where the two rivers meet, and the breathtaking cascades of the Rio Celeste Waterfall.


Exploring Rio Celeste is a visual and sensory delight. The lush greenery, the sound of the rushing water, and the vibrant blue of the river all combine to create an enchanting atmosphere. Along the way, you may encounter wildlife such as monkeys, sloths, and various bird species, adding to the overall experience.


A visit to Rio Celeste is best done as a day trip from La Fortuna or the nearby town of Guatuso. Guided tours are available, providing insightful information about the flora, fauna, and geology of the area. Remember to bring comfortable hiking shoes, insect repellent, and a camera to capture the jaw-dropping beauty of this natural wonder.


Swimming is not allowed in the Rio Celeste due to conservation efforts, but the park offers other activities to enhance your experience. There are hot springs nearby where you can relax and soak in thermal waters, allowing you to unwind and rejuvenate amidst the captivating surroundings.


Visiting Rio Celeste is like stepping into a fairytale. The vivid blue hues, the mystical atmosphere, and the untouched beauty of the surrounding rainforest combine to create a truly mesmerizing experience. Prepare to be enchanted as you witness the sheer wonder of Rio Celeste.


Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo Beach, located along the stunning Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is a tropical paradise that attracts sun-seekers, surfers, and beach lovers from around the world. With its golden sands, sparkling turquoise waters, and vibrant beach town atmosphere, Tamarindo offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.


Known as one of the top surfing destinations in Costa Rica, Tamarindo draws surf enthusiasts of all levels. The consistent waves, warm water, and surf schools catering to beginners make it an ideal spot to catch your first wave or test your skills on more challenging breaks. Surfboard rentals and lessons are readily available, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the thrill of riding the waves.


Aside from surfing, Tamarindo offers a wide range of water activities. You can explore the underwater world through snorkeling or scuba diving, cruise along the coastline on a catamaran tour, or take up stand-up paddleboarding to glide across the tranquil waters.


The beach town itself has a vibrant and lively atmosphere, with a plethora of restaurants, bars, and shops lining the streets. Whether you’re craving fresh seafood, international cuisine, or traditional Costa Rican dishes, Tamarindo has a wide variety of culinary options to satisfy your taste buds.


Tamarindo is not just about the beach – it also serves as a gateway to nearby natural wonders. Set out on a day trip to explore the nearby national parks, such as Las Baulas National Marine Park, where you can witness nesting sea turtles, or venture inland to discover the incredible wildlife in Rincon de la Vieja National Park.


When the sun sets, Tamarindo comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. From beachfront bars offering live music and fire shows to nightclubs where you can dance until the early hours, there’s always something happening after dark in this lively beach town.


Whether you’re seeking to catch the perfect wave, soak up the sun on pristine beaches, or immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture, Tamarindo Beach offers a slice of paradise that promises an unforgettable tropical experience.


Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Nestled in the northwestern region of Costa Rica, Rincon de la Vieja National Park is a diverse and captivating destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. This volcanic wonderland showcases a unique combination of lush rainforests, geothermal activity, and a plethora of outdoor activities that will leave you in awe.


The park is named after the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, an active volcano that towers over the landscape. Hiking to the crater of the volcano allows you to witness the incredible power and beauty of the earth’s geothermal activity. Along the way, you may encounter bubbling mud pots, volcanic fumaroles, and even steamy geysers.


Aside from volcanic features, Rincon de la Vieja National Park is blessed with breathtaking waterfalls, pristine rivers, and lush vegetation. Hike through the forest and discover the secluded beauty of Las Pailas, a trail that takes you through mineral-rich hot springs, boiling mud pots, and captivating wildlife like howler monkeys and toucans.


For adrenaline junkies, the park offers a range of adventure activities. Zip-lining through the treetops, horseback riding to hidden waterfalls, and white-water rafting down rushing rivers are just a few of the thrilling experiences available. The park also boasts natural slide formations that allow you to slide down smooth rocks and plunge into refreshing pools.


Rincon de la Vieja National Park is also renowned for its stunning biodiversity. With over 300 bird species, including the iconic resplendent quetzal, as well as numerous mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, the park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers.


Visiting Rincon de la Vieja National Park requires a moderate level of physical fitness due to the rugged terrain and the variety of trails available. Guided tours are recommended to fully appreciate the park’s natural wonders and to ensure safety. Additionally, be prepared with comfortable hiking shoes, insect repellent, and plenty of water for the adventure.


Whether you’re seeking thrilling outdoor experiences or a serene immersion in nature, Rincon de la Vieja National Park offers an unforgettable escape into Costa Rica’s natural wonders. From volcanic landscapes to pristine waterfalls, this park leaves visitors awestruck by its raw beauty and abundant biodiversity.



Tucked away on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Montezuma is a bohemian beach town that exudes a laid-back and artistic vibe. This charming destination appeals to travelers seeking a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience in Costa Rica.


Montezuma is known for its pristine beaches framed by lush jungle landscapes. Playa Montezuma offers a picturesque setting with its soft white sands, turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees. It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, or simply lounging in a hammock and soaking up the peaceful ambiance.


One of the town’s highlights is the Montezuma Waterfall, a stunning cascade surrounded by tropical greenery. A short hike through the jungle leads you to this natural beauty, where you can cool off with a refreshing dip in the freshwater pools below. The more adventurous can even climb higher up the waterfall to find additional hidden pools and enjoy a natural water slide.


Montezuma has a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries and artisan shops showcasing the creativity of local artists. The town’s bohemian spirit is also reflected in its lively nightlife, with beachfront bars offering live music, fire dancing, and open-mic nights.


For nature lovers, the surrounding area of Montezuma is filled with opportunities for exploration. Take a hike through Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve, Costa Rica’s first protected area, and witness the incredible biodiversity and untouched beauty of the rainforest. You can also go snorkeling or scuba diving to discover the vibrant underwater world of the Pacific Ocean.


The town is also a great base for day trips to nearby attractions, such as the Santa Teresa beach, known for its excellent surf conditions, or the Tortuga Island, where you can enjoy pristine beaches and indulge in water activities like snorkeling and kayaking.


Montezuma’s bohemian atmosphere, stunning natural surroundings, and vibrant arts scene create a unique and captivating destination in Costa Rica. Whether you’re a free-spirited traveler, an art enthusiast, or simply seeking a tranquil beach getaway, Montezuma offers a refreshing escape from the ordinary.


Drake Bay

Tucked away on the Osa Peninsula on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, Drake Bay is a remote and unspoiled paradise that offers a true escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Surrounded by lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife, this tropical haven is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.


Named after the famous English explorer Sir Francis Drake, who is rumored to have visited these waters, Drake Bay offers a serene and tranquil atmosphere that feels worlds away from civilization. The lack of large resorts and commercial development allows visitors to truly connect with nature and immerse themselves in the beauty of their surroundings.


Drake Bay is a gateway to Corcovado National Park, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. Guided hikes through the park offer unparalleled opportunities to see wildlife like tapirs, jaguars, monkeys, and a plethora of bird species. The rainforest’s dense foliage creates a magical ambiance as you navigate through its winding trails and listen to the sounds of nature.


One of the main attractions of Drake Bay is its incredible marine life. Snorkeling and diving trips reveal vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins and whales in the surrounding waters. Take a boat tour to Caño Island Biological Reserve to explore these underwater wonders and witness the beauty of the marine ecosystem.


Drake Bay is also a prime location for sportfishing. Charter a boat and venture out into the Pacific Ocean to try your luck at catching marlin, sailfish, or tuna. It’s an exhilarating experience for both seasoned anglers and beginners.


If you prefer a more relaxed pace, simply unwind on the pristine beaches that dot the coastline. Playa San Josecito and Playa Rincon are secluded and picturesque, offering a chance to soak up the sun, take long walks along the shore, and enjoy the tranquility of the ocean waves.


Visiting Drake Bay requires some planning and patience, as it is a remote destination accessible primarily by boat or small plane. The journey itself adds to the sense of adventure, and the reward of discovering this untouched corner of Costa Rica is well worth it.


Whether you’re seeking adventure, wildlife encounters, or a secluded beach paradise, Drake Bay is a slice of paradise that promises a truly unforgettable experience. Embrace the tranquility and natural wonders of this remote destination, and let its untouched beauty captivate your soul.



Costa Rica is a country that never fails to amaze with its abundant natural beauty and diverse landscapes. From the misty cloud forests of Monteverde to the fiery volcanoes of Arenal and the remote beaches of Drake Bay, this Central American paradise offers a myriad of breathtaking destinations to explore.


Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures, serene beach getaways, or encounters with unique wildlife, Costa Rica has it all. The Manuel Antonio National Park captivates with its stunning beaches and abundant wildlife, while the Arenal Volcano showcases the raw power of nature. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve provides a mystical experience, and Tortuguero National Park is a nesting ground for endangered sea turtles.


The Nicoya Peninsula offers pristine beaches, epic waves for surfers, and a holistic atmosphere for wellness seekers. Corcovado National Park is a biodiverse wonderland, and the La Fortuna Waterfall mesmerizes with its cascading beauty. Rio Celeste enchants with its celestial blue waters, and Tamarindo Beach beckons with its vibrant surf culture and lively nightlife.


Rincon de la Vieja National Park reveals the volcanic wonders of the region, while Montezuma offers a bohemian coastal getaway. Lastly, Drake Bay invites travelers to embrace tranquility and immerse themselves in nature’s untouched splendor.


Costa Rica’s commitment to conservation and eco-tourism makes it even more special. Throughout these destinations, you’ll find a strong focus on sustainability and efforts to preserve the delicate ecosystems that make Costa Rica such a natural treasure.


So, whether you’re an avid nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply yearning for a relaxing beach vacation, Costa Rica has something to offer. Immerse yourself in the country’s vibrant culture, connect with its incredible biodiversity, and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Costa Rica awaits, ready to exceed your wildest expectations and leave you longing to return again and again.