Costa Rica is a traveller’s favourite and an adventurer’s haven. It is a place where you can take you own time to do things and live how you wish. If you want to help sloths in a national park, great! If you want to spend your days learning how to white water raft, there’s no problem either. If getting up close and personal with volcanoes is your sort of thing, nothing can stop you. These top 10 picks are a little sampler of Costa Rica’s exciting natural offerings.
1. Sloth Sanctuary
You’ve likely seen the Sloth Sanctuary show up on countless NowThis and Buzzfeed shorts on Facebook. If you’re visiting Costa Rica, here’s your chance to see these long limbed, sleepy eyed cuties in in person. This sloth sanctuary rehabilitates sloths and aims to educate visitors about their habitat and lifestyle. For their safety, you aren’t allowed to touch or hold the sloths.
Address: 36, Limón Province, Costa Rica
Price: from 30 USD adults
Opening Hours: 8 am to 2 pm
Access: Route is Limon/Cahuita/Hone Creek/Puerto Viejo. Advise the driver that you are going to the Sloth Sanctuary (Sanctuario del Perezoso), and they will drop you at the gate
Contact: +506 2750 0775
Website: Sloth Sanctuary
2. Barrio Amon, San Jose
Much of the architecture in San Jose, and Costa Rica in general, focuses on function over form due to its history of earthquakes. This makes the old, grand mansions of the rich coffee plantation owners of the past stand out amongst plain, functional buildings. Come to Barrio Amon to see how modern life has integrated into these old, out of place buildings. Some of the notable sites include the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, a converted liquor distillery, and the Metallic Building, which was made in Belgium and then assembled in San Jose in 1896.
Address: Amón, San José, Costa Rica
Website: Barrio Amon
3. Diquis Delta: find the mysterious stone spheres of Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s stone spheres were a mystery for many years, appearing in countless ‘weird wonders of nature’ articles, after all, it was quite amazing that many were almost 100% spherical. However, it is now widely agreed that the stones were not a natural phenomenon, but a result of human genius. Archaeologists date these stones all the way back to 1300 BC, and believe the sculptors probably had some mathematical knowledge on how to determine a perfect sphere.
Finca 6 Archaeological Site
Address: De Osa Puntarenas Palmar Sur | Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, Palmar Norte 20701, Costa Rica
Contact: ++506 2100 6000
Website: Museo Nacional De Cost Rica
4. Tortuguero National Park
If you’re new to trekking and nature or if you’re here with a young family, Tortuguero National Park is a wonderful place to start off your lifelong journey into the world. Tortuguero means ‘land of the turtles’, and indeed, you will find many species here, including leatherbacks, green sea turtle, and Hawksbill, hence the name! While most national parks are better explored through trekking, the Tortuguero National Park is great to view from a canoe you can rent at the park.
Parque Nacional Tortuguero
Address: Limón Province, Pococí, Costa Rica
Price: from 15 USD
Website: Tortuguero National Park
5. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a magical escape to another time, with canopy trees and suspended bridges that will take your breath away. What is even more interesting is that this forest is also a literal escape; it was established by for Quakers who fled the United States out of fear of being drafted into the Korean War. Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve for the sweeping sights and historical tidbits. The park offers several guided tours, including a canopy tour and a horseback riding tour.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm. Closed on public holidays.
Address: Carretera a Reserva de Monteverde, Provincia de Puntarenas, Monte Verde, Costa Rica
Price: from 20 USD for foreigners
Contact: +506 2645 5122
Website: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
6. Central Costa Rica: Poas Volcano National Park
Because of its funding from scientific and governmental organizations, the Poas Volcano National Park is one of the most developed parks in Costa Rica — it’s even wheelchair accessible. If anyone in your group is a geography geek, this is a great place to go to. Guided tours include learning material on the history of the volcano and current information about its geomorphic processes.
Poas Volcano National Park
Opening Hours: 8 am to 3:30 pm
Address: Parque Nacional Volcán Poas, Costa Rica
Price: from 10 USD
Contact: +506 2482 2165
Website: Poas Volcano National Park
7. Montezuma Beach, Puntarenas
Fiery, sulphur-y holes in the Earth are not your thing? Well, this beach just might be. What sets Montezuma Beach apart from most is the presence of wildlife. The forest meets the beach and from there, you can observe coatimundi, or peer into a tide pool to spot hermit crabs. Remember to keep a respectful distance and not pick up any of the animals!
Address: Montezuma Beach, Puntarenas Province, Santa Fe, Costa Rica
Website: Montezuma Beach
8. Playa Zancudo, Puntarenas
Playa Zancudo is one of Costa Rica’s unspoiled, undisturbed beaches. Here, you can enjoy solitude along with miles and miles of space to experience great horseback riding tours, boat rides, and fishing. One fascinating aspect Zancudo Beach is that the sand is a darker, greyish hue. This is known as black sand, which is created when lava touches water, cools rapidly and shatters into particles small enough to mix with sand.
Address: Zancudo, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
Access: Staff can arrange a licensed, private vehicle to pick you up at Juan Santamaria International Airport.
Website: Playa Zancudo
9. Turrialba, Cartago
Once you’ve had enough of sightseeing, long walks on the beach, and explorations from suspended bridges, it’s time for an adrenaline rush! Come down to Turrialba, Costa Rica’s best white water rafting destination. Professional guides make sure that your experience is fun and safe for you and your family.
Address: Cartago Province, Turrialba, Costa Rica
Website: Visit Costa Rica
Tico's River Adventures
Price: from 75 USD
Contact: (506) 2556-1231
Website: Tico’s River Adventures
10. Los Perdidos Hot Springs, Alajuela
After a few days of stalking parrots, hiking up to volcanoes, and riding through rapids, come down to the Los Perdidos Hot Springs to relax your muscles and soothe your bruises. As you soak in these warm waters, you’ll be treated to calming nature and mountain views. Isn’t that a blissful way to end your adventure?
Los Perdidos Springs
Price: from 80 USD
Address: Near Montana de Fuego | The Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 99-4419, Costa Rica
Website: Los Perdidos Springs
An adventurous, unforgettable experience
Where else in the world can you indulge in untouched natural beauty and daring activities? Costa Rica is perfect for everyone from the adrenaline chasing risk taker to the knowledge hungry geography geek. We hope that this guide will help you choose where to visit during your tropical adventure.
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.