Things to do in Costa Rica

From exploring jungles to climbing volcanoes, diving reefs to zip-lining through clouded forests, get lost in adventure in the wilds of ecotourism playground Costa Rica. There are volcanoes, rainforests, waterfalls, and rivers waiting to be explored in some 20 natural parks, 8 biological reserves and other protected areas across Costa Rica. Activities range from horseback riding to hiking mountainous paths, partaking in guided bird-watching tours to high-altitude ecosystem-exploring canopy adventures.

For the adrenalin seekers among us, there’s a range of exciting ways to see the country like zip-lining through clouded forests, riding the sky trams above jungle canopies and crossing hanging bridges on hiking treks. Explore the trails of Braulio Carrillo National Park or the famous cloud forests of Monteverde. Search for monkeys, frogs, sloths and all sorts of birds in rainforests including Manuel Antonio and Corcovado national parks. Admire the turtles at sanctuaries Tortugeuero National Park in the Caribbean and Las Baulas National Park on Pacific coast.

Costa Rica features beautiful beaches surrounded by forests touching both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, which, in areas, you can travel between within 3 hours by car. There are spectacular coral reefs waiting for you to snorkel and dive in areas such as the South Pacific region and the world-renowned natural wonderland, Coco’s Island. Montezuma is an easy-going boho town loved by surfers, as is Puerto Viejo. The Guanacaste Region is great for swimming, diving, surfing, windsurfing and fishing all year round, as are the beaches in the Central and Mid Pacific region. Rivers worthy of kayaking and whitewater rafting include Pacuare, Reventazon, Corobici, Sarapiqui, Naranjo and Savegre.

Many towns in Costa Rica have their own unique museums, known community museums, reflecting the area’s rich cultural past. Of notable mention is the Abangares Mines museum, Indigenous Boruca Museum, and the Chortega Ceramics museum in San Vicente in Nicoya. For more Costa Rican highlights, here’s our faves.

Arenal Volcano

The perfectly symmetrical and imposing Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica’s northern lowlands was the country’s most active volcano until it went into a resting phase in 2010.

Montezuma

This one-time fishing village has been popular with bohemian travellers from surfers to eco-warriors since the ‘60s, thanks to pristine beaches and waterfalls, friendly people and an oh-so very relaxed lifestyle.

Corcovado National Park

Likened to the Amazon in terms of the diversity of its vast flora and endangered fauna, Corcovado National Park in the southwestern Osa Peninsula is a must-see paradise for true lovers of nature.

Celeste River

Take a dip in the unique turquoise waters of the River Celeste in Tenorio Volcano National Park in Costa Rica. Stroll along its beautiful banks to a spectacular waterfall or bordering hot spring.

Museum of Contemporary Art & Design

San José’s Museum of Contemporary Art & Design, complete with a Central American flair, comes to life in an old liquor factory founded in 1856 in Costa Rica’s vibrant capital.

National Theatre of Costa Rica

The National Theatre of Costa Rica is, as the name suggests, the national theatre of the country. Set in an exquisitely designed late-1800s Neo-Classical building, it’s the pride of cultural Costa Rica.