What to see in Costa Rica: from beaches to volcanoes

Costa Rica and Panama have more than their fair share of paradise. From the beaches of Guanacaste to the rainforests and jungles inland, there is so much to see and do in Costa Rica. Here we have selected some of the best sights for your trip.

Downtown San José

You do not need to spend a lot of time in the capital city, considering what else there is to see in Costa Rica. One or two days usually suffice but you can, of course, stay longer. San José has become quite cool in recent years and is very welcoming of tourists. There is plenty of culture and history, so you will never be short of something to visit. It is highly recommended to spend some time walking through the streets of San José. You can see some very colourful neighbourhoods, including the main shopping street of Avenida Central. As the name suggests, this is where the majority of shops, museums and restaurants are located. If you are looking for museums to visit, then the National Museum is a sure bet. This details much of Costa Rica’s history, from its origins to the present day. It is one of the more interesting places to see in Costa Rica, due to the artefacts on display. The National Theater is also worth seeing in San José, due to its opulent facade. Taking several European styles and combining them to make something quite spectacular, the theatre should definitely make your travel list.

Arenal volcano, what you really want to see in Costa Rica

The majority of tourists who visit Costa Rica do so to see the Arenal volcano. It is still extremely active and extremely high. It is currently non-active and has been for the last eight years. However, before that, it routinely destroyed villages nearby. It still remains a real highlight of what to visit in Costa Rica. To make your trip a little safer, the best place to view the volcano is from the observatory lodge. This will allow you to see the volcano up close, without the danger. Depending on the weather, you should be able to see better during early spring. You can access the volcano from Fortuna village, the closest town. Buses or private guides can take you to the observatory. Of course, Exoticca can help you to book this in advance.

Corcovado National Park

Again, this is another must see in Costa Rica. This is the typical image of Costa Rica that remains in people’s minds when they think of the country. The stretch of land that is the Corcovado National Park contains a spectacular amount of wildlife. This can include but is not limited to tapirs, jaguars, spiders, howler monkeys and all types of birds and insects. The earlier you visit, the more likely it is that you will see something but really, you can expect to stay up to three days here. There are also plenty of beaches nearby as the park is located close to the South Pacific coast. So, it might be worthwhile combining two trips in one and making time for some R&R too. Arranging a guide in the park is possible, but it is also completely safe to walk at will. Obviously, it is wise to remain cautious around the wildlife as these are animals in their natural habitat. However, you can be sure that this is an opportunity not to be missed in Costa Rica.

Guanacaste

This might be just what you imagined when you began thinking about what to see in Costa Rica. Miles and miles of uninterrupted shorelines and crystal clear waters for as far as the eye can see. However, it is not just the beaches that make this a must-visit. There are volcanoes which flank the beaches on one side and the Santa Rosa National Park to the other. This is a historical and cultural must in Costa Rica, as it preserves the site of the 1856 Battle of Santa Rosa. If you want to explore Costa Rican local culture a little further, then you can visit towns that have cowboys. This is unique to the area and still exists today. The Rincon de la Vieja National Park is also a real draw, as it has volcanic hot springs and some stunning waterfalls. Of course, it is more than acceptable to kick back and relax on the flawless beaches. The most famous of these is Playa Carrillo, which is completely unspoiled. Surrounded by palm trees, you can feel as if you have stepped straight from your normal life into paradise.

For more information on trips to Costa Rica, please visit Exoticca.

What to see in Costa Rica: from beaches to volcanoes
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