Are you looking for the ultimate tropical paradise? Costa Rica is the place for you.

Costa Rica contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity, making it one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It has all kinds of landscapes ranging from beaches, wetlands and rivers to volcanoes, rainforests and mountains. 

You will fall in love with the laid back culture, the people and the foods. This beautiful gem in Central America has something to offer for everyone. 

Here are the places you must visit in Costa Rica depending on what you are interested in. 

City

If you’re in the city and don’t want to travel long distances, the closest beach escapades will be found in Jaco and Quepos. For a mountain adventure, you should go to La Paz Waterfall Gardens to enjoy a hike and the butterfly tour. You can also make your way up mountainous roads to the Poás volcano. If you’re interested in coffee, you should check out Hacienda Alsacia for a coffee tour in the Starbucks coffee plantations in Costa Rica. 

Photo: Alexander Aguero on Unsplash

Surfing

Calling all surfers! If you’re a beginner, you can take lessons and elevate your skills in Tamarindo and Sámara. Intermediate and advanced level surfers might favor the Atlantic side of Costa Rica. That Caribbean experience is best experienced in Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. 

Photo: Carlos Manich on Unsplash

Marine experiences

Just as the overall biodiversity of Costa Rica, marine life is astounding. You can find exotic animals in Costa Rican waters, like the Humpback whale, dolphins, manatees and sea turtles. For a marine experience, you should travel to Bahía Drake. 

A special experience found in Ostional Beach is turtle nesting. In a cycle from June to December, you can witness hundreds of Olive Ridleys arriving at the beach in one single night. 

Volcanos

Costa Rica is home to over 200 volcanic formations. However, only about a hundred show signs of activity. Due to volcanic activity, Costa Rica is a fertile land and full of minerals. This provides for a myriad of tourist experiences like hot springs, waterfalls, hikes, canopy and rafting activities. For a full Costa Rican experience, you should at least visit one of the following Volcanic areas: Rincón de la Vieja, Arenal, Poás or Irazu. 

Photos: Troy Silva, Trail and Ezgi Kimball on Unsplash

Beaches

If you wish to escape to a mountain and beach paradise, go to Santa Teresa. It is retired from the busy city life and offers a genuine sense of distance from the rest of the world. If you prefer a beach with easy access to facilities, go to Tamarindo or Coco. However, if you long for the perfect middle ground with a family atmosphere, check out Samara and Carrillo. 

Photo: Ralph Kayden on Unsplash

Forests

There are six different types of forests in Costa Rica. The Sarapiquí rainforest is a wonderful place of rest and peace. If you would like to visit a cloud forest, you should make your way to Monteverde. That is also the perfect destination for people who enjoy bird watching. 

Photos: Troy Silva

The best part is that Costa Rica is a small country. You can experience many of these in one day. Even if you’re looking for somewhere to go for the weekend, Costa Rica is the perfect place. It also promises to keep you busy for weeks of traveling if that is your agenda. No matter what your needs and desires are, Costa Rica is the place for you!

Written by Julia Silva Kurppa
Featured Photo: Maximilien T´Scharner on Unsplash
Read Next: Why Puerto Rico Should Be Your Next Tropical Vacation

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