Over nineteen thousand square miles of tropical splendor defines the jewel of Central America that is Costa Rica. Sandwiched between Nicuragua and Panama, the terrain offers a mix of jungle adventures and world-class views along shores that face Caribbean and Pacific waters. Of the countless places to see and things to do in Costa Rica, we’ll highlight five of the best not-to-be-missed attractions.
Use the lively old city of San Jose as a springboard to the many activities in Costa Rica. The culturally rich capital city is located on a plateau surrounded by valleys and mountainous terrain. Take an hour or two to walk the halls of The Gold Museum and The Jade Museum to see extraordinary examples of Pre-Columbian artifacts, fascinating works of art made from jade, and an unrivaled collection of gold relics.
Down to the south, to warm breezes fresh off of the Pacific Ocean, Playa Montezuma Beach is outlined by tall, rugged cliffs and rocky headlands. Enjoy the waterfalls here, relaxing on the soft white sand. The waters can get rough though, so pick up your towel and shuffle on down to Playa Cocalito for some secluded swimming. This crescent-shaped beach is ideal for sun bathing and viewing “El Chorro,” a twenty meter high waterfall.
Adventures on the Reventazón River
Switch up to some action after yesterdays lazing on the beach. A day of rafting awaits. The Revaentazon River offers challenges for experienced rafters, but knowledgeable bilingual guides are on hand to take first-timers through the whitewater adventure. Arrive at the operations center at Rios Tropicales, tempering the adrenaline rush, preparing for the ride of your life with a full Costa Rican breakfast, before starting on a breathtaking 60 miles of potential whitewater rafting past jungles full of vibrant life.
A Visit to Arenal Volcano
On a clear day visitors can see the lava flowing from fiery Arenal. When the light is falling there’s the opportunity to see amazing light shows and thrill to rumbles passing underfoot as the volcano makes its presence known. Located 56 miles north-west of the capital city, San Jose, this active volcano offers hot springs to soak in while watching the geological fireworks and a swim-up bar courtesy of Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort.
A coastal town located close to Limon, Puerto Viejo is heavily influenced by Caribbean flavor, by a cultural attitude that emphasizes fun and relaxation. Walk the golden beaches after dark, listening to distant music filtering out of Johnny’s Place, a popular after-hours destination for dancing, or take the family for a tour of the scrumptious chocolate factory, sampling cacao creations. End the day with a chile covered meal at El Refugio or Chile Roja.