Costa Rica is one of the most visited countries in Central America. The name Costa Rica is Spanish for ‘rich coast’, and there could not be a more apt name for this tropical paradise. Costa Rica has been a popular destination for Americans for many years, and this destination is ready to welcome tourists back. If this is your first trip to this stunning country, don’t miss the best places to visit in Costa Rica.
The Best Places To Visit In Costa Rica
Spend Some Time in Charming San Jose
San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and the largest city in the country. The city is also notable for having the best quality of life among Latin American cities. The city manages to be historical and modern at the same time, with structures that range from historic Spanish architecture to contemporary buildings.
If you have a cultural fix, Sam Jose has many museums and entertainment centers. Museums that are worth a visit are The National Museum of Costa Rica, The Museum of Jade, and the Museum of Costa Rican Art. If you are in the mood for a live performance, check the schedule at The National Theater of Costa Rica.
The dining possibilities in San Jose are endless. The establishments in the city offer the best in European, Cuban, and South American cuisine. You can eat at an elegant garden at Park Café or enjoy Central American and French fusion fare at Restaurante Grano de Oro.
There are many places for outdoor recreation in San Jose, including San Jose Central Park, the National Park,and the Simon Bolivar Zoo, plus many more. Shoppers will enjoy browsing at the city’s many markets, and the largest mall in Central America, San Pedro Mall.
Love Nature at Chirripo National Park
Chirripo National Park is a treasure trove for nature lovers. The park has many hiking trails throughout, where you will see all the diverse habitats and wildlife species. The natural features of the park include fern groves, marshlands, rainforest, and glacial lakes. A highlight is Cerro Chirripo Grande, which is the highest peak in Central America at 12,533 feet. Be sure on your visit to check out the stunning views from Cerro Terbi, Rabbit Valley and Monte Sin Fe. While exploring the park, you may have some wildlife encounters with rare bird species, jaguars, iguanas, and monkeys.
Surf, Sunbathe and Party at Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a lively spot that has loads of beach fun and nightlife. This seaside town is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Costa Rica for the young, hip crowd. The atmosphere of this former fishing village is an eclectic mix of Afro-Caribbean, Latino and Bribri cultures. Salsa Brava beach is the surfer’s paradise in the area, while the other beaches are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. For those interested in nature and wildlife, plan a visit to the tropical rainforests at Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge.
Wander and Explore Monteverde Cloud Forest
Monteverde Cloud Forest is a favorite tourist destination due to its natural beauty, biodiversity, and outdoor activities. At the forests guests can zipline through the glorious trees, ride horseback, hike through the many trails, and Skywalk over suspension bridges.
Not only does this cloud forest have an abundance of activities, it is also one of the best examples of sustainable tourism in the world. The forest has an astounding 2,500 plant species, 100 mammal species, 400 bird species and 120 reptile species. On any visit, guests can encounter frogs, wild pigs, monkeys, plus much more while exploring the reserve.
See an Active Volcano
Located 90 minutes from San Jose, Poas Volcano National Park is a popular destination with an active volcano. As you explore the park, watch the mist evaporate and see the sulfuric lake at the bottom, with steam and smoke rising from the fumaroles. All around the landscape, you will have various bird sightings including hummingbirds, flycatchers, toucanets, and the famous resplendent quetzal. The park has several hiking trails with scenic viewpoints of the wildlife and landscape.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com