Travel and tourism play a big role in Costa Rica’s economy. In 2016, more than 2 billion dollars of Costa Rica’s economy came from travel and tourism spending.

Because tourism is such a vital industry, those who do go to Costa Rica can expect the experience of a lifetime. From hotels to historical sights to incredible beaches, there is no shortage of Costa Rica vacation spots.

Whether you’re planning a honeymoon, a trip for the whole family, or a time to get away with friends, a little planning can help ensure that you have the best Costa Rica vacation possible.

Below we’re detailing our top 10 Costa Rica vacation spots that you should consider visiting during your time here. You may not be able to hit them all, but this list should be your go-to guide as you start planning.

Read on to learn more and start planning your trip!

1. San Jose

San Jose is home to Costa Rica’s largest airport, and if you’re landing there, you should take some time to explore the city. Even if you don’t plan on staying in San Jose, try to schedule a few hours of exploration before continuing on to your hotel.

Take some time to explore the cities restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions like museums and parks. It may seem a little overwhelming as your first stop in Costa Rica, but it will give you an important glimpse of the country’s urban culture.

2. Monteverde and Santa Elena

If you have an interest in ecotourism, these neighboring towns are two Costa Rica vacation spots you don’t want to miss.

In Monteverde, take time to explore the beautiful Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which is open for hikes and trekking excursions. The natural beauty of this city will encourage anyone to explore, so it’s a great stop for families with kids who want to be active during their vacation.

Santa Elena offers more opportunities for exploration on trails or during a guided tour, so you can get the most out of your visit to the area.

3. Arenal Volcano

Once the most active volcano in Costa Rica, Arenal is currently quiet. Since it’s been in its resting phase, it has become one of the most popular Costa Rica vacation spots.

Your first views of this volcano–rising above the forest that surrounds it–are guaranteed to take your breath away. As you explore further, you’ll discover natural hot springs where you’ll definitely want to spend some time.

4. National Parks

Costa Rica is home to a variety of national parks, any of which would be worth a visit.

Tortuguero National Park is only accessible by boat or plane, but it’s worth it for the various sea turtles that nest on the park’s beaches every year.

Manuel Antonio National Park, meanwhile, is one of the country’s smallest but most beautiful. With white sand beaches and tropical forest scenery, there are a variety of views to behold.

It’s also a great place for spotting local flora and fauna, including monkeys.

5. Tamarindo

If you want your trip to Costa Rica to center around the beach, then Tamarindo should definitely be on your itinerary. It’s one of the most accessible beach towns in the country.

Beyond access, Tamarindo is a draw because of its clear turquoise water and beautiful beach weather.

It’s also easy to design your Tamarindo vacation with your specific needs and desires in mind. If you’re traveling with kids, there are adventures and activities to keep everyone happy. If you’re there for a more relaxing vacation, you can spend all day on the beach and never get tired of the view.

6. Jaco

Though Jaco is also a beach town–there are many of them in Costa Rica–it is a particularly appealing location for travelers looking to surf. Hermosa and Esterillos Este in Jaco are known for the waves.

The town does have something for everyone, though, especially those interested in tasting local cuisine and experiencing the area’s culture. The city has become more popular in recent years, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a more secluded vibe.

7. La Paz Waterfall Gardens

It’s hard to find an ugly waterfall, but in Costa Rica you’ll find some the most beautiful. La Paz Waterfall Garden is home to the best of the best.

Nature lovers will delight in the garden’s five different flowing waterfalls, as well as color orchids and the leafy green canopies rainforests are known form.

Keep your eyes and ears open for the animal life as well. This park is home to everything from frogs to monkeys to jaguars.

8. Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

If you’re visiting Costa Rica in the late spring or summer, this wildlife refuge should make your list.

Bird-watchers especially will appreciate the thousands of water birds that inhabit this space, and it’s not unusually to see crocodiles and jaguars as well.

You’re sure to see plenty just by looking around, but having a good pair of binoculars on hand is never a bad idea.

9. Yoga Retreats

Most of us go on vacation to relax, but it doesn’t always happen the way we plan.

To guarantee that you’ll leave Costa Rica a little calmer than you were when you landed, book a yoga retreat as part of your vacation.

A spot in the mountains, like Anamaya Yoga Retreat, will refresh your body and mind, with its various yoga offerings, incredible view, and organic meals.

10. Zip Line Tours

To get a view of Costa Rica that goes beyond what you can see from the ground, consider booking a zip line tour.

Perfect for those who aren’t afraid of a little adventure–or a lot of height–zip line tours let you experience the canopies of the Costa Rica rainforest in a new way.

Just make sure that you keep your eyes open, no matter how scared you are. This is one view you don’t want to miss.

Want to Learn More About Costa Rica Vacation Spots?

Because there is so much to see and do in Costa Rica, planning a trip there can get a little overwhelming.

Booking a professional tour is a great way to avoid the stress, and to ensure that you and your fellow travelers get the exact vacation you wanted.

Start planning your custom trip with us today.

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