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What Cruise Lines Go To Costa Rica


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Arden Knoll



Welcome to the beautiful country of Costa Rica! This enchanting destination in Central America is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, biodiversity, and vibrant culture. Costa Rica offers a plethora of opportunities for adventure seekers, nature lovers, and those seeking a relaxing getaway. While there are various ways to explore Costa Rica, one particularly popular option is by embarking on a cruise.


Cruising to Costa Rica allows travelers to experience the best of both worlds – the luxury and comfort of a floating resort combined with the chance to discover the diverse ecosystems and breathtaking beauty of the country. With its numerous ports of call, Costa Rica has become a sought-after destination for many cruise lines, catering to both first-time visitors and seasoned travelers.


In this article, we will delve into the different cruise lines that go to Costa Rica, explore the itinerary options available, highlight the activities and attractions you can expect to enjoy, and provide helpful tips for planning a memorable cruise vacation in this tropical paradise.


Whether you are seeking thrilling adventures in lush rainforests, relaxing beachside retreats, or cultural immersions, Costa Rica delivers it all. Hop aboard and let the cruise take you on a journey through this captivating country, where you can embrace the spirit of Pura Vida and create lasting memories.


Overview of Costa Rica

Costa Rica, located in Central America, is a small but incredibly diverse country. It is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, with the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea on its east coast and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean on its west coast.


Despite its small size, Costa Rica boasts an astonishing variety of landscapes, ranging from pristine beaches and lush rainforests to towering volcanoes and mist-covered cloud forests. This natural beauty is complemented by an impressive array of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, toucans, and jaguars, making it a dream destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.


Costa Rica is not just a haven for outdoor adventurers – it also has a rich cultural heritage. The country takes pride in its vibrant folklore, indigenous traditions, and warm-hearted people. Visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture, sample delicious cuisine, and explore charming colonial towns.


Costa Rica is often considered a leader in sustainable tourism, with a commitment to protecting its natural resources and promoting eco-friendly practices. This dedication is evident in its well-preserved national parks and protected areas, showcasing the country’s dedication to preserving its unique ecosystems for future generations.


The tropical climate of Costa Rica welcomes visitors throughout the year, offering warm temperatures and inviting waters for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. The country experiences two main seasons – the dry season (December to April) and the green season (May to November), each providing a distinct experience for travelers.


Overall, Costa Rica provides a perfect blend of natural beauty, adventure, and cultural experiences. It is no wonder that this captivating destination has become a sought-after port of call for many cruise lines, allowing visitors to explore the wonders of this remarkable country while enjoying the comforts of a floating paradise.


Costa Rica as a Cruise Destination

Costa Rica is an ideal destination for cruise travelers due to its remarkable natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, and wealth of attractions. As a cruise destination, Costa Rica offers a unique opportunity to explore multiple ports of call and experience the best of what the country has to offer.


One of the main advantages of visiting Costa Rica by cruise is the convenience and ease of travel. Cruise ships dock at various ports along the country’s coastline, allowing passengers to have easy access to both coastal areas and inland destinations. Whether you’re interested in exploring the stunning beaches of Guanacaste or venturing into the heart of the rainforest in Limon, a cruise provides a convenient way to visit multiple locations without the hassle of arranging transportation or accommodations.


Furthermore, cruising to Costa Rica offers a balanced blend of relaxation and adventure. While onboard, passengers can indulge in luxurious amenities, exquisite dining, and world-class entertainment. Meanwhile, the exciting shore excursions offer opportunities for adrenaline-pumping activities such as zip-lining through the rainforest, white-water rafting in thrilling rapids, or snorkeling alongside colorful marine life.


Costa Rica’s natural wonders are truly unparalleled. From the towering Arenal Volcano to the lush jungles of Tortuguero National Park, there are endless sights to explore. Wildlife enthusiasts will have the chance to spot rare species such as colorful macaws, playful monkeys, and elusive sloths. National parks such as Manuel Antonio and Corcovado offer breathtaking hiking trails that lead to hidden waterfalls and stunning viewpoints.


In addition to its natural beauty, Costa Rica embraces its rich cultural heritage. In ports like Puntarenas and Puerto Limon, visitors can delve into the local culture through visits to traditional markets, museums, and historical sites. They can immerse themselves in traditional dance and music, sample delicious Costa Rican cuisine, and interact with friendly locals who are proud to share their traditions and stories.


Overall, cruising to Costa Rica provides a remarkable opportunity to experience the best of this incredible destination. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Costa Rica offers something for everyone, making it an unforgettable cruise destination in Central America.


Popular Cruise Lines that Visit Costa Rica

Costa Rica has become a popular destination for many cruise lines, offering a variety of options for exploring this beautiful country. Here are some of the popular cruise lines that visit Costa Rica:

  1. Royal Caribbean International: Royal Caribbean offers several itineraries that include stops in Costa Rica. Their ships often dock in ports such as Puntarenas and Puerto Limon, allowing passengers to embark on thrilling excursions to explore the country’s natural wonders.
  2. Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line also offers cruises that stop in Costa Rica. With their Free at Sea program, passengers can customize their cruise experience and choose shore excursions in Costa Rica to suit their interests, whether it’s hiking through the rainforest or relaxing on pristine beaches.
  3. Carnival Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line includes Costa Rica as part of its itineraries, giving passengers the chance to visit ports like Puntarenas and Puerto Limon. Carnival offers a range of activities and excursions in Costa Rica, from zip-lining adventures to wildlife spotting in national parks.
  4. Princess Cruises: Princess Cruises offers several itineraries that feature Costa Rica. Passengers can immerse themselves in the country’s natural beauty, explore its rainforests and volcanoes, and enjoy activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and wildlife encounters.
  5. Holland America Line: Holland America Line offers cruises that visit Costa Rica, allowing passengers to explore the country’s biodiversity and stunning landscapes. With stops in ports like Puerto Limon and Puntarenas, guests can experience the vibrant culture, relax on beautiful beaches, or embark on thrilling excursions.

These are just a few of the cruise lines that offer itineraries to Costa Rica. Each cruise line has its own unique offerings, ranging from luxury amenities to family-friendly activities. It’s important to research the different cruise lines and their itineraries to find the one that best suits your preferences and travel style.


Whether you choose to sail with one of these popular cruise lines or opt for a different company, a cruise to Costa Rica ensures a memorable and immersive experience exploring the wonders of this captivating country.


Itinerary Options in Costa Rica

When it comes to cruise itineraries in Costa Rica, there are several options available that allow you to explore different regions and experience the country’s diverse landscapes and attractions. Here are some popular itinerary options in Costa Rica:

  1. Pacific Coast: Many cruise itineraries focus on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. These itineraries often include stops at ports like Puntarenas and Caldera. From here, passengers have the opportunity to explore nearby attractions such as Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its pristine beaches and abundant wildlife, or embark on a thrilling zip-lining adventure through the rainforest canopy.
  2. Caribbean Coast: Another popular itinerary option is cruising along the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. The main port of call in this region is Puerto Limon, where visitors can discover the natural wonders of Tortuguero National Park, known for its sea turtle nesting grounds, or take a scenic boat tour through the wildlife-rich canals and mangroves.
  3. Panama Canal Transit: Some cruise lines offer itineraries that include a transit through the iconic Panama Canal, with stops in Costa Rica along the way. This allows passengers to experience the engineering marvel of the canal and also explore the beautiful Costa Rican destinations of Puntarenas or Puerto Limon.
  4. Combination Itineraries: For those who want to explore both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica, there are combination itineraries available. These itineraries often include ports like Puntarenas and Puerto Limon, allowing passengers to experience the best of both worlds with diverse excursions and activities.
  5. Specialty Itineraries: Some cruise lines also offer specialty itineraries that focus on specific themes, such as adventure, wellness, or photography. These itineraries may incorporate unique destinations in Costa Rica, such as the Osa Peninsula, renowned for its pristine rainforests and abundant wildlife.

It’s important to review the details of each itinerary offered by different cruise lines to find the one that aligns with your interests and preferences. Consider the duration of the cruise, the number of ports visited, and the specific activities and attractions included in the itinerary. Whether you choose to explore one coast or sail through the Panama Canal, each itinerary promises a memorable and diverse experience in Costa Rica.


Activities and Attractions in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers, offering a wide range of activities and attractions to suit every interest. Here are some of the top activities and attractions to explore in this captivating country:

  1. Exploring National Parks: Costa Rica is home to an impressive number of national parks, each showcasing its own unique ecosystems and wildlife. From the iconic Manuel Antonio National Park with its white-sand beaches and lush rainforest, to the remote Corcovado National Park, known as one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, visitors can hike through verdant trails, spot exotic wildlife, and immerse themselves in the stunning landscapes.
  2. Zip-lining: For an exhilarating adventure, zip-lining through the lush rainforests of Costa Rica is a must. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you soar through the treetops, taking in breathtaking views of the canopy and surrounding scenery. Popular zip-lining destinations include Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio.
  3. Volcano Exploration: Costa Rica is renowned for its impressive volcanoes, with Arenal being one of the most popular. Visitors can hike to the rim, witness lava flows, and soak in natural hot springs. For a unique experience, try a night tour to see the glowing lava and immerse yourself in the volcanic wonders.
  4. Wildlife Spotting: Costa Rica is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Take a boat tour through the magical Tortuguero canals, where you can spot monkeys, sloths, caimans, and an abundance of bird species. In Manuel Antonio National Park, keep an eye out for the playful capuchin monkeys, colorful macaws, and curious iguanas.
  5. Surfing and Water Sports: With its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters, Costa Rica is a mecca for surfers and water sports enthusiasts. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, destinations like Tamarindo, Jaco, and Santa Teresa offer great waves and a vibrant surf culture. Other popular water activities include snorkeling, diving, paddleboarding, and kayaking.
  6. Coffee Plantation Tours: Costa Rica is famous for its rich and flavorful coffee. Take a tour of a coffee plantation and learn about the cultivation and production process. Enjoy a tasting session where you can savor the distinct flavors of Costa Rican coffee and gain insight into the country’s coffee culture.
  7. Beach Relaxation: Costa Rica boasts numerous picturesque beaches, both on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil spot to unwind or a vibrant beach town with lively nightlife, you’ll find a beach to suit your preferences. Popular beach destinations include Santa Teresa, Manuel Antonio, Tamarindo, and Puerto Viejo.

These are just a few examples of the countless activities and attractions that await you in Costa Rica. Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures, wildlife encounters, or simply moments of relaxation surrounded by stunning natural beauty, Costa Rica offers a diverse range of experiences that will leave you with unforgettable memories.


Best Time to Visit Costa Rica

The best time to visit Costa Rica largely depends on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in during your trip. Costa Rica experiences two main seasons – the dry season (December to April) and the green season (May to November), each offering a unique experience.


The dry season, also known as the high season, is characterized by sunny days, clear skies, and a lower chance of rainfall. This is a popular time for tourists to visit, especially from December to February when many people escape the winter months in their home countries. During this season, you can expect dry and warm weather, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities such as hiking, zip-lining, and exploring national parks. It is also a great time for beachgoers and surfers, as the ocean conditions are favorable along the Pacific coast.


The green season, on the other hand, is referred to as the rainy season. While rainfall is more prevalent during this time, it usually occurs in the form of short, intense showers followed by periods of sunshine. The green season brings lush vegetation, vibrant landscapes, and fewer crowds. It’s the perfect time to explore Costa Rica’s rainforests and witness the incredible biodiversity the country has to offer. Additionally, the green season is a great time for nature photographers, as the rain showers can create stunning reflections and dramatic landscapes.


It’s important to note that even during the rainy season, mornings are often sunny and activities can still be enjoyed. The advantage of traveling in the green season is that you may have more flexibility with accommodation availability and lower prices compared to the high season.


Regardless of the season, it’s crucial to research the specific regions you plan to visit in Costa Rica, as microclimates can vary. For example, the Caribbean coast tends to have a drier period in September and October, while the central Pacific coast experiences more rainfall during those months.


Ultimately, the best time to visit Costa Rica depends on your preferences and the experiences you seek. Whether you choose the dry season for optimal weather or the green season for lush landscapes and fewer crowds, Costa Rica’s natural beauty and captivating attractions await you year-round.


Tips for Planning a Cruise to Costa Rica

Planning a cruise to Costa Rica requires careful consideration and preparation to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here are some useful tips to help you plan your Costa Rica cruise:

  1. Research Cruise Lines and Itineraries: Take the time to research different cruise lines that visit Costa Rica and their itineraries. Consider factors such as the duration of the cruise, the ports of call, and the activities and attractions included in the itinerary. This will help you choose the cruise that aligns with your interests and preferences.
  2. Decide on the Best Season: Consider whether you prefer the dry season or the green season for your visit. Each season offers a unique experience, so choose the time that suits your desired activities and weather preferences.
  3. Plan Shore Excursions in Advance: Research and book shore excursions in advance to secure your spot and ensure availability. Popular activities such as zip-lining, wildlife tours, and volcano hikes can fill up quickly, especially during the high season.
  4. Pack Accordingly: Pack comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for exploring diverse environments, including rainforests and beaches. Don’t forget essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, and a reusable water bottle. It’s also a good idea to bring a lightweight rain jacket or poncho for any unexpected showers.
  5. Learn Some Basic Spanish: While many people in tourist areas speak English, learning a few basic Spanish phrases can go a long way in interacting with locals and immersing yourself in the culture. Phrases like “gracias” (thank you) and “por favor” (please) can make a big difference in expressing your appreciation.
  6. Stay Hydrated and Take Precautions: Costa Rica can be hot and humid, so it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Be cautious with street food and tap water, and opt for bottled water and hygienic dining establishments to avoid any potential stomach discomfort.
  7. Respect the Environment and Wildlife: Costa Rica is known for its commitment to sustainable tourism and protecting its natural resources. Respect the environment by following designated trails, not disturbing wildlife, and avoiding the purchase of products made from endangered species.
  8. Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture: Take the time to interact with the locals, try traditional cuisine, and learn about Costa Rican culture. Don’t be afraid to explore beyond the tourist areas and engage in conversations with the friendly and welcoming locals.
  9. Arrive a Day Early: To avoid any last-minute travel delays, consider arriving at your embarkation port a day early. This will give you some buffer time and ensure you don’t miss the departure of your cruise.
  10. Purchase Travel Insurance: Protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances by purchasing travel insurance. This will provide peace of mind in case of medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or any unexpected situations that may arise during your cruise.

By following these tips, you can have a well-planned and enjoyable cruise experience in Costa Rica. From exploring the lush rainforests to soaking up the sun on pristine beaches, Costa Rica offers an abundance of natural beauty and unforgettable experiences that will make your cruise truly memorable.



Costa Rica is a captivating destination that offers a wealth of natural wonders, adventure, and cultural experiences. Embarking on a cruise to Costa Rica allows you to immerse yourself in the country’s stunning landscapes, explore diverse ecosystems, and indulge in thrilling activities. Whether you choose to cruise along the stunning Pacific coast, venture into the enchanting Caribbean region, or sail through the legendary Panama Canal, Costa Rica promises a voyage like no other.


From the popular cruise lines that visit Costa Rica to the array of itinerary options available, there is something for everyone. The activities and attractions in Costa Rica cater to every interest, whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures like zip-lining or surfing, wildlife sightings in lush rainforests, or relaxation on pristine beaches. Costa Rica’s commitment to sustainable tourism ensures that you can explore its treasures while being mindful of its priceless ecosystems.


When planning your cruise to Costa Rica, consider the best time to visit based on your preferences and the experiences you seek. The dry season offers sunny days and ideal conditions for outdoor activities, while the green season showcases the country’s lush landscapes and vibrant biodiversity. Take the time to research cruise lines, itineraries, and shore excursions in advance to make the most of your time in this tropical paradise.


As you embark on your Costa Rica cruise, remember to pack essentials, respect the environment and local culture, and stay hydrated in the tropical climate. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Costa Rica, connect with the warm-hearted locals, and savor the flavors of the country’s cuisine.


Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or embarking on your first voyage, a cruise to Costa Rica is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. So, set sail for this enchanting destination and discover the wonders of Costa Rica, where every moment brings new adventures and breathtaking beauty.