The Rich Coast, as named by the Spanish, reflects the beauty of this country with its crystal-clear rivers, lakes, magnificent volcanoes, and lush green forests. But, the Spanish named it based on the assumption of having gold in Costa Rica, not for the immense beauty it offers.
Despite its rich history, the country’s biodiversity and natural beauty are world-renowned, which is the main attraction for globe trotters.
Costa Rica has breathtaking natural wonders and delicious cuisine of Costa Rica that attracts tourists from around the globe to this region of Central America.
Want to know where to go in Costa Rica? Have a look:
1. Geography and the Climate of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a country in Central America bordered by two enormous water bodies, The Caribbean Sea and The Pacific Ocean. Costa Rica shares its borders with two countries.
In the north, this country shares a border with Nicaragua; in the south, it shares a border with Panama.
The capital city is San José located in one of the seven provinces, San Jose. Costa Rica is one of the richest biodiversity on planet earth, surrounded by tens of islands, 14 major river systems, 200 volcanoes, mountains, mangroves, and beaches. Among the 200 volcanoes, five are active.
In the middle of two giant oceans and huge forests covering more than half of the country, it is bound to have dry and wet seasons throughout the year. The dry season is from December to April.
On the other hand, rainfall is abundant from May till November. However, it rains throughout the year on the South Pacific Coast.
2. History of the Republic of Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s history predates back approximately 10,000 to 7,000 B.C. as the first indigenous people were hunters and gatherers. Colonial imperialism began in 1502 when Christopher Columbus first anchored his ship on Isla Uvita, a small island near Limon’s coast.
With no valuable metals, mainly gold, found in this region as expected, there was a gradual shift into the stream of agriculture, where coffee was the principal crop production.
The agriculture shifted to Central Costa Rica as the weather in this region was more favourable for the crops and the colonizers, who cultivated large portions of land.
Following freedom from the Spanish colonizers, Costa Rica became part of the independent Mexican kingdom. As a result of its resistance to the United States and civil wars, the country has become a sovereign democratic nation that uses technology and eco-tourism to boost its economy.
3. Places to Visit for Nature Lovers
With amazing beaches, luxury resorts, dense rainforests, spectacular volcanoes, and incredible wildlife Costa Rica is a place for rejuvenation and exhilaration at the same time.
3.1. Arenal Volcano National Park in La Fortuna
This national park consists of an active volcano that erupted in 1968. The volcano appears to be temporarily dormant, unaware of the upcoming eruption.
Arenal volcano national park is in a small town near La Fortuna in the Alajuela province. A 30-minute ride from La Fortuna, this incredible national park provides fun activities like soaking in the thermal hot springs and witnessing the scenic volcano beauty with several adventure activities, one of which includes hiking trails.
3.1.1. Fun Activities and Adventures
This area is home to numerous hot water springs heated by volcanic activity. One of the finest and most highly rated is the Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa for a day of relaxation.
There are free hot springs in this Arenal area, including Rio Chollin, located near Tabacom Resort.
Hike around and explore the areas near Arenal Volcano, one of Costa Rica’s five active volcanoes. Witness the lush and exotic plant and animal biodiversity while strolling around these areas.
Dive into the pristine waters of the waterfalls near the area. One of the prominent waterfalls is La Fortuna Waterfall.
3.2. Tortuguero National Park
The Tortuguero national park is on the Caribbean coast of the Limón Province in a small coastal town. You can go there by water or air.
Adventures and Sightseeings
This national park is the most prominent place for nesting sea turtles. Several types of sea turtles nest on these beaches. Among them are green sea turtles, leatherback turtles, and hawksbill sea turtles that nest on these beaches.
As a result of protecting these endangered species, this has become a hotspot for sea turtles to reproduce and flourish. Nesting leatherback sea turtles or any other sea turtles are most visible during the early mornings or post-sunsets.
Freshwater creeks and lagoons surround the national park, making it a perfect destination for boating excursions, kayaking, and canoeing that take advantage of its natural beauty.
3.3 Several Other Significant Costa Rica National Parks
There are various other beautiful national parks to explore:
3.3.1 Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio national park is near Quepos town in the Puntarenas province on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. This national park features a hike into the lush rainforest of the region and its picturesque beaches.
188.8.131.52 Activities in Manuel Antonio National Park
Of several activities worth doing in this area, the most significant ones are
- Swimming on the beaches,
- Guided hikes through the forests and observed wildlife.
- An abundance of sloths, iguanas, squirrel monkeys, and other animals reside in this area. Wildlife lovers will find this a paradise without a doubt.
3.3.2 Corcovado National Park
Explore Corcovado national park comprises most of the Osa Peninsula in southwestern Costa Rica.
It is located on the remote coast of the Osa peninsula and is home to lush rainforest, highland cloud forests, mangrove swamps, and gorgeous beaches.
184.108.40.206 Activities in Corcovado National Park
Do not miss the opportunity to witness the rich biodiversity that this area has to offer. Take a boat tour from Drake Bay or Puerto Jimenez into the national park.
Several hiking trails have been drawn for visitors to be in touch with its rich flora and fauna. Howler monkeys, Baird’s tapirs, and many such exotic species can be spotted along the route of these trails.
With countless birds flocking to this region, bird watching can be a fun activity with the help of a guide. This guide will impart vast knowledge of diverse wildlife in this habitat.
- Avoid swimming in a lagoon, creek, or beach, since these waters may contain crocodiles and violent sharks.
- Enjoy horseback riding on a few beach coasts or in Corcovada’s lush rainforests.
3.3.3 Rincon De La Vieja National Park and Santa Rosa National Park
These resourceful national parks are in the Guanacaste province, home to 2 volcanoes, several rivers, and a spectacular view of plants and animals.
Several fun activities like camping, picnicking, and hiking for a couple of hours can be included in a visit to this national park.
Nothing is better than spending time doing water activities in Santa Rosa National Park, such as surfing, or diving.
3.4 Beautiful Beaches to Visit in Costa Rica
There are quite a few beaches that are worth visiting in Costa Rica as it is a country that has a multitude of beaches.
3.4.1 Santa Teresa Beach
Located in Northern Costa Rica, the Nicoya peninsula is far from bustling and crowded cities. Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula hosts this beach town, a popular tourist destination.
It sprawls with chic restaurants and beach parties. This beach is a destination for surfers to glide on the majestic waters of Santa Teresa. Make sure to visit the Taboo Beach Club, a short walk from the beach.
3.4.2 Conchal Beach
It is in the province of Guanacaste on the North Pacific coast, approximately an hour’s drive from Liberia International Airport.
From basking in the sun to a luxury retreat, this beach is a whole package for different kinds of visitors.
Besides the crystal clear water and white sand beaches, there are several fun activities to enjoy. The most significant water activities are scuba diving and snorkelling, which connect to mysterious ocean life.
After an adventure-filled day, lying on the beach’s white sands and watching the sunset brings tranquillity to your mind and soul.
This beach is surrounded by several luxurious beach resorts suitable for a relaxing getaway. One such resort in this area would be The Westin Reserva Conchal, which comprises several on-site amenities, such as spas, pools, and workout areas.
3.4.3 Beaches in Puerto Viejo De Talamanca
Puerto Viejo De Talamanca is a small booming town on the Limon Province coast, also known as Puerto Viejo.
This small coastal town consists of both white and black sand beaches. The most convenient and pocket-friendly way to spend time in this small town is to beach-hop by renting a bicycle.
Renting a bicycle to visit most of the beaches in the area is the most budget-friendly and enjoyable option since all the beaches in this area are public properties.
Experience Puerto Viejo town culture by living, shopping, and eating like a local, often considered the best experience for most tourists.
3.4.4 Other Beaches
There are dozens of beaches to explore in Costa Rica. Other significant beaches include Playa Hermosa and Playa Tamarindo.
These two have similar activities like snorkelling, fishing, and other water-related sports. Nonetheless, they give you an edge when it comes to adapting to the locals and their delicious local cuisine.
3.5 Waterfall Gardens or Forest Reserves to Visit When in Costa Rica
Monteverde cloud forest reserve offers you to spend the night among wildlife surrounded by a jungle. With the help of a guide, you get to know a wide range of species that inhabit the region, which will be a night to remember.
La Paz waterfall gardens are considered one of the most spectacular wildlife sanctuaries in Costa Rica. Tourists to this area enjoy waterfalls and volcanoes with scenic views throughout their stay. In San Jose, there is a 5-star boutique hotel named Peace Lodge.
Spending a few nights in this hotel amidst nature and waking up to the silent sounds of waterfalls and animals is the most worthwhile and blissful experience in Costa Rica.
4.Costa Rica History Buffs:
From the early indigenous people to the colonial settlers to the present day, Costa Rica has a lot to offer those who dig into a country’s roots.
4.1 Mysterious Stone Spheres
These stones are from the Palmar Sur archaeological site in Southern Costa Rica, also known as the Diquís Delta, Puntarenas Province.
The Diquis civilization is responsible for making these stone spheres and gold pendants. In addition, they are one of Costa Rica’s oldest civilizations with impeccable craftsmanship on display.
With several shapes and sizes, these stones can be the size of a football or as humongous as an elephant. The reason behind these monolithic spheres and their purpose is still unknown.
Visiting sites like these can give us an insight into ancient civilizations and provide an entirely different perspective.
4.2 Guayabo Archeological Site
The site was discovered in Cartago province, near Turrialba, Santa Teresita district. This site consists of archaeological evidence that dates back approximately 3000 years ago.
The rock foundations and the pebble-filled roads indicate that approximately ten thousand people lived in this area. The stones were used as a foundation for mud-thatched houses, and paved roads acted as an exit and entry into this area for safety purposes.
By visiting such historically rooted sites, you will understand what it was like for our ancestors in the past with their way of life.
4.3 San José, Capital of Costa Rica
As the capital of Costa Rica, San José boasts art galleries, historical buildings, and restaurants worth visiting.
As coffee production picked up and money started to flow into San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital was booming with several architectural marvels located slap bang in the middle of the country.
4.3.1 The National Theater of Costa Rica
One such architectural wonder is the National Theater of Costa Rica, built-in 1897 with European-style architecture. Performances such as operas, orchestras, ballets, etc., occur regularly in this theatre.
Take a deep dive into the Costa Rica symbol of pride with the assistance of a knowledgeable guide. Make sure to get a souvenir while leaving this incredible national heritage.
4.3.2 Metropolitan Church (Catedral Metropolitana)
This monumental cathedral is in the middle of the capital, with intricate designs and outstanding structural construction.
Regardless of religious affiliation, witness this architectural wonder for its richness and elegant complexities that are being flaunted.
4.3.3 San Jose Museums
To learn more about a country’s history visiting a museum can open up various intellectual possibilities. San Jose provides its tourists with several museums to get to know the country better.
Many museums are dedicated to pre-Columbian artifacts, mainly gold. There are many jade museums and even a museum for children. Make sure to visit the national museum as it marks the place where Jose Figueres disbanded the army in 1948.
Apart from museum visits, San Jose has several other options to explore. Most tourists consider visiting the Central Market, mingling with the locals, and sampling regional cuisine a must-do activity.
5. Best Places to Eat in Costa Rica
As Costa Rica is swarmed with tourists all year round, various cuisines and delicacies are available here. Though rice and beans are the staple food for Costa Ricans, there are many innovative places with well-cooked dishes.
When in Guanacaste, try booking a reservation in this Hir Fine dining. This is because it is a place where each dish has its own story from the very talented chef and creator, Noam. This restaurant offers an opportunity for people to get together and make connections from different parts of the world while gobbling up the exquisite food served.
Costa Rican sodas are the perfect way to enjoy native food. Sodas are famous local restaurant chains that only serve native Costa Rican food. Sodas can be found anywhere in the country.
For luxurious and scrumptious international or European cuisine try Le Chandelier in San Jose. Meanwhile, don’t forget to indulge in street food hopping to discover various tastes.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
1) Are there any Other Fun Adventure Activities Unique to Costa Rica?
Whitewater rafting and zip lining are other fun activities that can be explored in several places in Costa Rica.
2) When to Visit Costa Rica?
Travelling in the dry season, December to April, is ideal, as the sun is brighter and clearer during this period.
3) How to Make the Trip Budget Friendly for Accommodation?
It is in the peak period, in the dry season when most tourist spots are crowded and hotel reservations are crowded and expensive. Ensure reservations and preparations are made three months before travelling to Costa Rica to avoid last-minute high prices.
4) What’s the Currency in Costa Rica?
Costa Rican Colon, where 1 USD is equivalent to 535.41 CRC in March 2023.
A country rich in history, impeccable European-inspired buildings, the richness of nature, and wildlife there are innumerable places to visit. From history buffs to nature lovers to foodies, this guide will provide detailed coverage of where to visit in Costa Rica.