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Where To Go Sightseeing In Costa Rica


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Marga Miracle



Costa Rica is a tropical paradise located in Central America. It is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and endless opportunities for adventure. From pristine beaches and lush rainforests to active volcanoes and charming colonial towns, Costa Rica offers something for every traveler. Whether you are seeking relaxation, thrilling outdoor activities, or a chance to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the country, Costa Rica has it all.


One of the highlights of visiting Costa Rica is the opportunity to explore its many national parks and protected areas. With over 25% of its land designated as nature reserves, the country is a playground for nature enthusiasts. From the towering Arenal Volcano to the abundant wildlife in Tortuguero National Park, there is no shortage of natural wonders to discover.


Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, serves as the gateway to the country. It is a vibrant and bustling urban center where you can explore museums, art galleries, and delve into the country’s history and culture. From there, you can venture further into the country to explore the various regions and attractions that Costa Rica has to offer.


In this article, we will take you on a journey through some of the most iconic and stunning sightseeing destinations in Costa Rica. From the beautiful beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park to the misty cloud forests of Monteverde, you will discover the best places to visit and experience the magic of this incredible country.


San Jose

Begin your Costa Rican adventure in the capital city of San Jose. Though often overlooked in favor of the country’s natural wonders, San Jose is a vibrant and culturally rich city that offers a blend of old-world charm and modern amenities.


One of the must-visit attractions in San Jose is the National Theater of Costa Rica. Built in the late 19th century, this stunning masterpiece showcases lush interiors adorned with elegant chandeliers and intricate woodwork. Catch a live performance or take a guided tour to learn about the theater’s fascinating history.


For art enthusiasts, the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum is a fascinating stop. This museum houses an extensive collection of gold artifacts from the country’s indigenous cultures. Marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship and learn about the significance of gold in pre-Columbian cultures.


To delve into Costa Rica’s history, visit the National Museum. Housed in a striking neoclassical building, the museum displays archaeological artifacts, art, and historical exhibits that provide insight into the country’s past.


For a taste of local culture, explore the Central Market, a bustling hub where you can find fresh produce, local handicrafts, and delicious traditional cuisine. Sample authentic Costa Rican dishes such as gallo pinto (rice and beans), ceviche, and casado. Don’t forget to try the rich Costa Rican coffee that the country is renowned for.


If you’re seeking panoramic views of the city, head to the Escazu Hills. This upscale neighborhood offers stunning vistas of San Jose and the surrounding mountains. Visit the Multiplaza Escazu, a modern shopping center with high-end boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment options.


For a relaxing escape from the city, visit the Ojo de Agua Spa Park. Located just outside of San Jose, this natural oasis features thermal spring pools, lush gardens, and serene picnic areas.


With its blend of history, culture, and modernity, San Jose is a captivating city that showcases the diverse facets of Costa Rica. Spend a few days exploring its attractions before embarking on further adventures in this stunning country.


Manuel Antonio National Park

Nestled on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica lies the breathtaking Manuel Antonio National Park. This gem of a destination is renowned for its stunning beaches, abundant wildlife, and lush rainforests.


The park offers a variety of activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Take a leisurely hike through the park’s well-maintained trails and immerse yourself in the beauty of the tropical rainforest. Along the way, keep an eye out for monkeys, sloths, colorful birds, and other exotic wildlife that call this park home.


One of the highlights of Manuel Antonio National Park is its pristine beaches. Relax on the white sandy shores, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or snorkel among vibrant coral reefs. Playa Espadilla and Playa Manuel Antonio are two popular beaches within the park that offer stunning views and ample opportunities for sunbathing and beachcombing.


If you’re an adventure enthusiast, consider taking a canopy tour to experience the thrill of ziplining through the treetops. As you soar above the canopy, you’ll get a unique perspective of the park and its surrounding landscape.


Don’t miss the opportunity to hike to the park’s iconic landmark, Punta Catedral. This rocky outcrop provides panoramic views of the coastline and the lush greenery of the park. It’s a perfect spot for capturing memorable photographs.


For those interested in learning more about the park’s flora and fauna, join a guided nature walk led by knowledgeable local guides. They will provide insights into the park’s ecosystem, pointing out interesting plants and animals along the way.


Manuel Antonio National Park is also home to several natural swimming holes and waterfalls. Take a refreshing dip in the pristine waters and bask in the beauty of the surrounding jungle.


With its stunning beaches, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking scenery, Manuel Antonio National Park offers a pristine and immersive nature experience that should not be missed during your visit to Costa Rica.


Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Perched high in the mountains of Costa Rica, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a natural wonder that attracts nature enthusiasts from around the world. This misty cloud forest is renowned for its extraordinary biodiversity and unique ecosystem.


The reserve spans over 26,000 acres and consists of lush, verdant forests draped in a perpetually misty atmosphere. This unique environment allows for the growth of an incredible variety of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic to the area.


Embark on a guided hike through the trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, where you’ll have the opportunity to spot elusive wildlife such as the resplendent quetzal, sloths, and various species of monkeys. The reserve is also home to over 400 species of birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.


Experience the thrill of walking through the remarkable canopy of the cloud forest by taking a guided canopy tour. Zip line from platform to platform, gaining a unique perspective of this enchanting ecosystem and marveling at the breathtaking views.


For a closer look at the incredible diversity of plant life, visit the Monteverde Orchid Garden and the Butterfly Garden. These locations showcase the vibrant colors and intricate designs of the cloud forest’s plant and insect life.


Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Monteverde town, located adjacent to the cloud forest reserve. The town is known for its charming atmosphere, local artisans, and delicious cuisine. Indulge in traditional Costa Rican dishes and take home handcrafted souvenirs that showcase the local talent.


Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat in the midst of stunning natural beauty, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve offers an experience that is truly unparalleled.


Arenal Volcano National Park

Located in the northern region of Costa Rica, Arenal Volcano National Park is a captivating destination that offers a blend of adventure and natural beauty. At the heart of the park stands the majestic Arenal Volcano, one of the country’s most iconic landmarks.


The Arenal Volcano is considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world, although its volcanic activity has significantly decreased in recent years. The towering volcano provides a striking backdrop for the surrounding lush rainforests and serene Lake Arenal.


One of the highlights of visiting Arenal Volcano National Park is the opportunity to hike through its well-maintained trails. As you traverse the forest, you’ll encounter an abundance of wildlife, including monkeys, toucans, and colorful butterflies. Keep an eye out for the fascinating fauna and flora that emerges following volcanic activity.


For a unique experience, consider taking a guided nature walk across the suspension bridges that traverse the treetops. From this vantage point, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the volcano, canopy, and surrounding landscapes.


If you’re seeking adventure, embark on a thrilling zip line tour that will take you soaring through the rainforest. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you glide above the treetops and take in the stunning panoramic views of the volcano and the surrounding landscape.


After a day of exploration, soak away your cares in the natural hot springs that are fed by the volcanic activity. Relax and rejuvenate in the warm waters, allowing the natural minerals to soothe your muscles.


In addition to its natural wonders, the Arenal Volcano National Park region offers an array of other attractions. Visit the charming town of La Fortuna, located at the base of the volcano, where you can find a variety of accommodations, restaurants, and souvenir shops.


Whether you’re a nature lover or an adventure seeker, Arenal Volcano National Park is a must-visit destination that will leave you in awe of its majestic beauty and volcanic wonders.


Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero National Park, located on the northeastern coast of Costa Rica, is a remote and pristine destination that is famous for its incredible biodiversity and as a nesting site for sea turtles. This unique national park is accessible only by boat or plane, adding to its allure.


The park is renowned for its extensive network of canals, which have earned it the nickname “Costa Rica’s Amazon.” Take a boat tour through the canals and marvel at the lush rainforest, abundant wildlife, and stunning waterways that make up this extraordinary ecosystem.


One of the main attractions of Tortuguero National Park is the opportunity to witness the nesting of sea turtles. From March to October, several species of turtles including green, hawksbill, and loggerheads come ashore to lay their eggs. Join a guided nighttime tour to observe this awe-inspiring spectacle, but make sure to follow the guidelines to ensure the safety of the turtles and their habitats.


Aside from sea turtles, the park is home to over 400 different species of birds, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. Keep your binoculars handy and keep an eye out for toucans, herons, trogons, and many other colorful and exotic bird species.


Explore the park’s well-maintained trails on foot or by canoe to observe monkeys, sloths, caimans, and a plethora of other wildlife that call this area home. The dense rainforest provides a rich habitat for a wide range of species, making every encounter a thrilling and memorable experience.


For a unique cultural experience, visit one of the local villages near the park. Learn about the traditional lifestyles and customs of the residents, who primarily rely on ecotourism and sustainable practices. Engage in activities such as canoeing through mangroves or visiting a chocolate farm to get a taste of the local way of life.


Tortuguero National Park offers a truly immersive and unforgettable experience for nature lovers and adventurers alike. From the rich biodiversity to the stunning sea turtle nesting, this remote and pristine national park is a hidden gem of Costa Rica.


Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park, located on the Osa Peninsula in southwestern Costa Rica, is a true wilderness paradise that showcases the country’s most pristine and untouched natural beauty. It is often hailed as one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet and offers a captivating blend of wildlife, rainforests, and secluded beaches.


Spanning over 160 square miles, Corcovado National Park is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including jaguars, tapirs, monkeys, sloths, and hundreds of bird species. The park’s dense rainforests are a natural haven for these creatures and provide a unique opportunity for visitors to observe them in their natural habitat.


Hiking through the park’s network of trails, you’ll be surrounded by towering trees, cascading waterfalls, and a symphony of sounds from the jungle. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature as you explore the park’s diverse ecosystems, from mangrove swamps to cloud forests.


One of the highlights of Corcovado National Park is its stunning beaches. Miles of untouched coastline offer a secluded and pristine haven for beach lovers. Surrounded by lush rainforest, these beaches provide a picturesque setting for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling. Drake Bay and San Pedrillo are two popular beach areas within the park.


To truly experience the untamed beauty of Corcovado National Park, consider a multi-day trek that takes you deep into the heart of the rainforest. Camping in designated areas allows you to fully immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the wilderness.


For a more educational experience, join a guided tour led by knowledgeable local guides who can provide insights into the park’s ecosystems, wildlife, and conservation efforts. They will help you spot elusive animals and highlight the unique plants and trees that make this national park so exceptional.


Corcovado National Park is a true haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Its untouched beauty and remarkable biodiversity make it a must-visit destination for those seeking an immersive and unforgettable experience in Costa Rica.


La Fortuna

Tucked away in the northern lowlands of Costa Rica, the charming town of La Fortuna is a popular destination for its stunning natural landscapes and thrilling outdoor activities. Situated at the base of the majestic Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna offers a unique blend of adventure, relaxation, and culture.


One of the main attractions of La Fortuna is the Arenal Volcano itself. Standing tall and majestic, the volcano provides a dramatic backdrop for the town’s picturesque setting. Take a hike on the lava trails that wind through Arenal Volcano National Park to witness firsthand the power and beauty of this natural wonder.


For those seeking an adrenaline rush, La Fortuna offers a wide range of adventure activities. From zip-lining through the lush canopy of the rainforest to white-water rafting down the roaring rivers, there is no shortage of thrilling experiences to be had. Canyoning, hiking, horseback riding, and ATV tours are also popular options for adventure enthusiasts.


In addition to its outdoor adventures, La Fortuna is home to several hot springs. These natural hot springs are heated by the geothermal activity of the Arenal Volcano, offering visitors a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Soak in the warm mineral-rich waters while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding rainforest.


Explore the nearby La Fortuna Waterfall, a towering cascade that plunges into a natural pool. Take a refreshing swim in the cool waters or simply enjoy the breathtaking views of the falls and the lush greenery that surrounds it.


Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the La Fortuna town center. Explore the small shops and markets, sample traditional Costa Rican cuisine, and perhaps even witness a lively cultural event or festival.


For nature lovers, a visit to the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge is a must. Located about an hour from La Fortuna, this protected area is home to an abundance of wildlife, including birds, caimans, monkeys, and sloths. Take a boat tour along the river to observe the diverse range of species that call this refuge home.


With its stunning landscapes, thrilling adventures, and warm hospitality, La Fortuna is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking to experience the best of Costa Rica’s natural wonders.


Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Nestled on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a vibrant and laid-back beach town known for its stunning coastline, unique Afro-Caribbean culture, and world-class surfing spots. With its relaxed atmosphere, colorful streets, and beautiful beaches, Puerto Viejo offers a perfect blend of tranquility and adventure.


The beaches of Puerto Viejo are some of the most beautiful in Costa Rica. Playa Cocles is a popular spot for surfers, with its consistent waves and picturesque surroundings. For a more serene experience, head to Punta Uva, a tranquil beach known for its crystal-clear waters and soft golden sand.


Embrace the vibrant culture of the Afro-Caribbean community by exploring the charming streets of Puerto Viejo. Sample delicious Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken and coconut rice at local eateries and browse the unique shops that showcase local artisan crafts.


Wildlife lovers will be thrilled by the diverse range of animals that call Puerto Viejo home. Take a guided tour through the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, where you can spot sloths, howler monkeys, toucans, and even dolphins and sea turtles in the marine areas.


If you’re a surfing enthusiast, Puerto Viejo offers world-class surf breaks for all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking to catch your first wave or an experienced surfer seeking a challenge, the town’s surf spots like Salsa Brava and Playa Bonita are sure to impress.


For a unique experience, visit the Jaguar Rescue Center, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility. Here, you can learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect Costa Rica’s diverse wildlife and get up close to animals such as sloths, monkeys, and jaguars that have been rescued and are being prepared for release back into the wild.


After a day of exploration, unwind in the evening at one of Puerto Viejo’s beachfront bars or restaurants, known for their reggae-infused vibes and refreshing tropical cocktails.


Puerto Viejo de Talamanca offers a magical blend of stunning beaches, rich culture, and exciting outdoor activities. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, this coastal gem is a must-visit destination that will leave you with cherished memories of your time in Costa Rica.



Tucked away on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Montezuma is a bohemian beach town that exudes a laid-back and artistic charm. This idyllic destination offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, relaxation, and vibrant cultural experiences.


Montezuma boasts stunning beaches with crystal-clear waters and powdery white sand. Playa Montezuma is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing, while neighboring beaches like Playa Grande and Playa Las Manchas offer excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving.


For nature lovers, a visit to Montezuma Waterfall is a must. A short hike through the lush jungle leads to a breathtaking waterfall cascading into a natural pool. Cool off with a refreshing swim in the pristine waters or simply bask in the beauty of the surrounding scenery.


The town itself has a vibrant and artistic atmosphere. Explore the colorful streets lined with local boutiques, galleries, and artisan shops. Discover unique handcrafted jewelry, artwork, and souvenirs that reflect the creative spirit of Montezuma.


Indulge in the culinary delights of Montezuma by sampling the diverse range of eateries and restaurants. From fresh seafood and traditional Costa Rican dishes to international cuisine and vegetarian options, there’s something to satisfy every palate.


Montezuma is also known for its vibrant nightlife. Relax at a beachside bar, groove to live music, or join a lively bonfire gathering on the beach. Experience the reggae rhythms and embrace the true essence of Costa Rica’s Pura Vida lifestyle.


Adventure seekers can embark on a canopy tour, soaring through the treetops and taking in the breathtaking views of the coastline. Kayaking, paddleboarding, and horseback riding are also popular activities for exploring the natural beauty of the surrounding area.


For a unique cultural experience, visit Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, Costa Rica’s first national park. Explore the pristine forests and hike along the trails to encounter various species of wildlife, such as monkeys, birds, and reptiles.


With its laid-back atmosphere, stunning beaches, and artistic vibe, Montezuma offers a blissful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a taste of bohemian culture, this charming beach town has it all.



Costa Rica is a country that is truly blessed with natural wonders and captivating landscapes. From the vibrant capital city of San Jose to the remote wilderness of Corcovado National Park, this country offers a wide range of unforgettable experiences for travelers.


Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, cultural immersion, or a combination of all three, Costa Rica has something to offer. From the misty cloud forests of Monteverde to the stunning beaches of Manuel Antonio and Puerto Viejo, the country is a playground for nature enthusiasts and beach lovers.


The national parks of Costa Rica offer an abundance of wildlife, from the elusive quetzal to the adorable sloths and playful monkeys. Embarking on a guided hike or a boat tour in Tortuguero or Arenal Volcano National Park allows you to witness the rich diversity of flora and fauna that make this country so special.


Immerse yourself in the local culture by exploring the charming towns of La Fortuna and Montezuma, taste delicious traditional cuisine, and embrace the laid-back lifestyle of the Afro-Caribbean community in Puerto Viejo.


As you explore Costa Rica, remember to embrace the Pura Vida philosophy, the nation’s mantra that embodies living life to the fullest, appreciating the beauty of nature, and embracing a positive and relaxed mindset.


Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, a nature lover, or a cultural explorer, Costa Rica offers a little something for everyone. So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the natural beauty, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in this remarkable Central American paradise.