Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Its lush jungles, world class beaches, and abundance of wildlife make it a very popular travel destination for people from around the world. A visit to this Central American country is an unforgettable experience. Here are the top 5 places to visit in Costa Rica.
1. Corcovado National Park
Touted by NetGeo as the most biodiverse place on the planet, I decided to take a 3 Day Jungle Trek into Corcovado National Park. After hiking over 40 miles in three days, I can honestly say it was the most wildlife I’ve ever seen in my life. The jungle is lush and runs right along the beach on the pacific coast. On our trek we stopped about every 5 minutes with our guide to identify another bird or mammal that I had never seen before. Some highlights included monkeys, scarlet macaws, toucans, tapirs, crocodiles, and the elusive puma. Hiking through Corcovado National Park is a wildlife buff’s dream. It’s a little off the beaten path, and not for everyone, but if you want to get your hands a bit dirty and see lots of wildlife, a trip to Corcovado is a must.
2. Manuel Antonio National Park
A stunning area of Costa Rica where the jungle meets the beach, Manuel Antonio boasts one of the country’s best national parks. Filled with sloths, capuchin monkeys, and toucans, Manuel Antonio National Park also has some of the Best Beaches in the Country. The small beach town has a very laid back vibe and is a popular tourist destination. The national park has the best bang for its buck in terms of how much wildlife you will see in such a small area. Check out this article for more information on Visiting Manuel Antonio National Park.
3. Tortuguero National Park
Regarded as the “Amazon of Central America”, Tortuguero National Park is a special place on the Caribbean coast with some excellent wildlife spotting opportunities. The unique geographic layout of the park contains mangrove swamps, lagoons, beaches, and rainforests. It’s a bit difficult to get to as you need to take an hour long boat ride into the park, but getting there is half of the fun. The best way to see the park is on the water, where kayaking, canoe tours, and boat tours allow you to cruise through the canals and see the wildlife up close. It’s a bird watchers heaven with monkeys, sloths, caimans and crocodiles being some of the other common animals to see. Check out my Guide to Visiting Tortuguero National Park, or see the Top 5 Things to Do in Tortuguero National Park.
4. Arenal Volcano National Park / La Fortuna
The La Fortuna area is a very popular destination in Costa Rica that offers a ton of adventure activities. The massive Arenal Volcano looms over the town and the national park has several great hikes around the base of the volcano. The La Fortuna Waterfall is another highlight, as are the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges. The Tabacon Hot Springs are the cream of the crop in an area filled with hot spring options. Other adventure activities in the area include river rafting, ATV tours, zip lining, and boating on lake Arenal. For more information about the La Fortuna area, check out the Top 5 Things to Do in La Fortuna.
5. Monteverde Cloud Forests
Monteverde is one of the most visited areas in all of Costa Rica, and for good reason. NatGeo describes Monteverde as “the jewel in the crown of cloud forests”. The lush, cloud forest scenery presents a different jungle vibe from the other top spots on this list, and the bird watching is a big draw with a chance to see the famed quetzal. Experience Monteverde best by hiking, walking the hanging bridges, and zip lining through the cloud forests.