Best Things To Do in Costa Rica

1. Pura Aventura

Great Zipline. Guides provide tremendous support with a smile.

The best zip lining tours over Costa Rican jungle terrain! Excellet service and safety, a fabulous experience! "Las Chikitas Fantasrikas" strike it rich again with adventure and enthusiasm!

Hands down Best Zip Line in the country. Awesome Canopy, Awesome Staff, and a Great Cafe. Can't wait to come back....

Thrill of a lifetime. Get the offer, Go you won't be sorry.!!?

Visited Pura Aventura for their zip line experience with my husband and 7 year old (his first time trying it). They were EXCELLENT with my son, making him feel confident and comfortable on the lines (a guide goes tandem with him). The staff were funny, informative, and safety was a definite priority. It was a fun afternoon!

2. Parque Nacional Tortuguero

My trip to Tortuguero was surprisingly nice. First day got blessed with sunny warm weather, where I took advantage of the beach. Second day, despite the rain, we went on the kayak tour in the park. It's an amazingly dense jungle, with many animals around. We saw a cayman and many birds. The island is very small, not much to do here for more than 2 days, especially when it's not the turtle season. Prices are decent compared to many touristic spots I've been in Costa Rica. Interesting, one of the evenings I fell asleep for a few minutes on the beach, to wake and find my phone missing. Gave a tip to a local to "find" it for me :)

Food was great, as were the employees and most of the facilities, but the rooms were too rustic and very hot. Only 1 ceiling fan in a room with screened windows and no glass. We spent most of our time by the pool and lounging in the public area which was much nicer than the rooms. Much too humid on the east coast to not have A/C for sleeping. The trip to get there was pretty bad too. The place where you catch a boat to go there was terrible. And Costa Rica was much more expensive than when we went last time. I paid more for street vendor items than I would at the store back home. And they weren't willing to haggle like last time. It's beautiful, but just not the same as we remembered. Much better than Mexico, though.

Great park, only accessible by boat. No cars in the village. The canoe tours are great. You see a lot of animals. However 2 nights are enough, to see the most part of the park

Tortuguero is one of the top places in Costa Rica and I couldn't agree more. I highly recommend the canoa tour in the channels as you can enjoy the view of nature and animals while respecting them and the night walk. I wouldn't though recommend the guided tour in the park during daytime as the route is quite short.

You have two options. One is motorboat the other is kayak. I strongly recommend to take a kayak because wildlife doesn't like the sound of the engine. I went with kayak tour and we saw sloths, caymans, lots of birds, monkeys and an ocelot!! Even our guide was super excited. He said because we were quiet and the ocelot didn't run until we were very close.

3. Corcovado National Park

I was only able to access this national park by tour (on a boat). It’s definitely worth going with a guide as they use a telescope and you’re able to take pics of what you’re seeing through the scope lens. It’s long tour, and if you’re in the heat, it’s definitely not suitable for young children. I still enjoyed learning about all the different species of plants and animals and getting excellent pictures. I would highly recommend this tour in Drake Bay, over other land tours.

Pretty cool visit. It's a long way out to the park. That means it's relatively untouched, very wild feeling. We saw some crocodiles and macaws etc. I wish we could have seen more wildlife, but that's the way it goes with nature, never certainty.

Highlight of our trip to Costa Rica. There was so much wild life. We saw tapirs, bull sharks, ant eaters, etc. Many people saw pumas but we weren't that lucky. Absolutely gorgeous beaches, our guide was amazing. She knew so much about the park and all of the animals in it. We did the 2 day tour which was a little expensive compared to other excursions but welllll worth it. We're so happy we splurged for it as it exceeded our expectations.

We went on the half day tour. If you love a close up look at animals and birds, in a fairly small area of the park, this is an ideal to go on. If you wanted a long hike through the forest, look at different options. Take a cushion for the boat journey, as it can be hard on the rear, bouncing over the waves in unpadded seats. It says a three hour walk, but it was actually five hours. As such it's better value for money, but felt a bit too long for me.

This is Paradise. Located on the Osa Peninsula, this lush, pristine wonderland is home to an outstanding array of flora and fauna of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Walking through the forests will feel as if one is walking through the Garden of Eden, with its limitless beauty illuminating on the face of the Earth. It is also the representative of the beauty of Costa Rica, an amazing country rich in culture, and scenery.

5. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

The park is stunning. There is a small free parking right by the park don't get fooled by the 'official parking' some way before the entrance - keep going. The staff were super nice. There's a cafe just outside and a restaurant inside the park (food okay not amazing). At the entrance they asked how much time we had and suggested an optimal walking path for our time. The paths are clearly marked and we got a map. The park is stunning and we recommend going early - it was almost empty and very serene. We loved it and would have liked to spend more time there!

Beautiful nature reserve with very well maintained walking trails. Around half of the routes were closed when went despite them being on the map and we were told we couldn't start on the route we wanted to. The entrance fee is steep ($22pp) but compared to other places in CR it's fairly cheap. The reserve itself is stunning and well worth a long hike around. One thing to note is the numerous large guided groups that are very loud and drive away the wildlife - once we managed to ditch them on some of the more challenging trails we saw a ton of wildlife, including coatis and numerous birds. My recommendation would be to try and avoid the guided groups if you go unguided, you can get to the park early to avoid them or just walk ahead of them in the trails.

Outstanding nature preserve. We went with a guide. He asked us how much time we wanted to spend, and he took us on a route that was appropriate to our time frame. There weren't any explanatory signs so the information we gathered was from the guide. He had a green laser pointer to that he used to show us interesting stuff we would otherwise have missed. He, like all the other guides, had a telescope on a tripod that he would set up to show us things that we could see no other way such as the hummingbird nest with the nestlings sticking up their wide open beaks.

We love Monteverde! Our favorite destination in Costa Rica so far. Our guide Mauricio was worth every penny, was very knowledgeable and snapped some marvelous wildlife photos for us all. A bit pricey, but we enjoyed it. It's a truly magical area.

This Cloud Forest is amazing! It is so peaceful and apparently it's a lot less crowded than the Monteverde cloud forest because it is a little less known. It is also less expensive to come here. Would highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

6. Monteverde Orchid Garden

I loved this garden! What an amazing learning experience. I had no idea that orchids could be so tiny. If it weren’t for this tour I would have missed so many. After this tour I was able to spot orchids in the preserves. Teeny tiny little flowers that I otherwise would have missed. If you’re a plant lover like I am, then this is a must do!

Great experience! Our guide knew her stuff and walked people through many of the quirks of orchids. Their company collection of miniature orchids was impressive. This place is worth a visit.

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Did not enjoy coming here due to the fact that I did not see any orchids that were alive for the most part. I think it is mostly due to the fact that we came to the garden in December however it is not a big place and regardless of it being the off season for orchids (perhaps) the grounds were not kept up nicely and the green house was falling apart on the inside. We also were put into a tour group which I was not expecting and it was a small and crowded area to even walk around and enjoy the minimal orchids that were alive. Save your money and your time and see the orchids in Monteverde in the cloud forest.

Maybe we went at the wrong season but the orchids weren’t impressive. Not worth the $12/person. Go spend more time in the cloud forest reserve and find your own orchids. We also had an awful group of people with us. Didn’t change the fact that many of the plants seemed dead and the greenhouse was in tatters. Would skip it.

7. Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates

I meant to write this review when we returned home from Costa Rica back to Cleveland about a year ago. Black Stallion and Alex left us with such a great memory of a wonderful evening in Costa Rica. My husband and I had read great reviews and love barbecue so figured we would try it out. Every person working and every customer here was extremely friendly. It is a very inviting atmosphere! At the end of the evening, Alex offered to drive some of the guests that were still left hanging at the restaurant up to the mountain where we had an amazing experience to say the least. My husband and myself, as well as some visitors from out west who we enjoyed the time with had a great time together. We can not thank Alex, and his staff enough for sharing his place and the experience with us. We will be next time in Costa Rica! It is especially a must with a small or large group.

We went to Tamarindo for our honeymoon and our hotel paired us with Black Stallion for zip lining. The owner, Alex, picked us up from our hotel and brought us to his estate. The instructors were very nice and helpful. There were about 3 instructors who went through the course with you, which was nice. Our group was small and that made our experience very personable. We had a great time and would go to see Alex and his crew again!

Alex is a great host. My husband and I went because our grown children had been there and raved about the BBQ (and my husband is vegetarian and also enjoyed it). So we didn't go zip lining or horseback riding, but we had an amazing time hanging out at the pool and meeting some very interesting people. The food, the company .......well worth going.

Alex is the man. He has a great group of employees that make this experience worth your time.

Fantastic BBQ and Alex is the best host!! Cannot fault our trip to black stallion. It was my first time horse riding and the guides made it so easy and fun for me. When we arrived back for the BBQ I had one of the BEST meals. The mango sauce is my favourite. I can't wait to go back...Loved it thanks guys!! 😊

9. Museum of Costa Rican Art

This is a great place to visit. It is a beautiful building with lots of beautiful statues and displays. We really enjoyed spending time here. The best part of all is there is no entrance fee to enjoy a wonderful place.

Offering a series of expositions to enjoy different examples of national plastic arts. Impressive and large room upstairs with the history of the country engraved throughout the walls. All of the exhibits are carefully planned, laid out and properly illustrated. Provides a learning opportunity for visitors of all ages.

This was one stop on a city bus tour. The museum is worth visiting. The admission is free.

There was a great exhibition when I went. Nice place and the staff is very nice too.

Beautiful building. Interesting perspective on Erotic Art. A must visit

11. Butterfly Conservatory

We went immediately following the eco zoo as they are almost next door. The butterfly enclosures are really beautiful; the depict fields, mountains and valley habitat. The trails are nice as well. You cant see the facility from the front as its down from the main building.

One of the most amazing places I've ever seen, so many butterflies! thousands and thousands of butterflies flying around you making it so magical, they have so many its so beautiful! The staff is super nice and the have a lot of knowledge about all the butterflies and all the other animals and plants that they have there. Very beautiful!

Not just a butterfly garden. Very educational from egg to larva to cocoon. See birth of a butterfly. Help repopulate CR.Expert staff. It is a must do!

The butterflies we're incredible. Have never experienced anything like it. Highly recommend!!

Quite a bumpy road to get here but worth a visit if you're in the area. Lots to see and friendly informative staff. They don't accept credit card, only cash.

13. Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

This is a small rehab and release sanctuary. Please consider donating and taking a tour despite it's size. They cannot walk you around the rehab section but they can walk you through the small outdoor cage areas that house some of the animals that cannot be released back. The stories are a great addition to the tour. I recommend close toed shoes as there are biting ants around some of the cages. Bug spray is also recommended for later afternoon tours. There is an attached hotel/villa option and an upper scale restaurant on the property as well. The pool looked very inviting and the hotel offers a great overlook to the ocean.

A really great experience! Got to hear lots of good details about the rehabilitation process and how the sanctuary is run. I would recommend for any animal lovers, and yo can even get a tasty bite and drink afterward at the attached hotel. Get there while you can still see Pandora, she was worth the trip on her own.

Very worthy organization.The tour is very informative. explaining not only WHY the animals are there (automobile related injuries, illegal pets, electrocution, etc) but how hard Alturas works to rehab and release as many animals as is possible. Stunning location as well.

The Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary he's ho hum at best. Their mission is admirable, rehabilitating and releasing Into the Wild injured and domesticated animals. However, the tour itself is ho-hum at best.

This is a good opportunity for everyone who wants to learn about the animals in the region and who does not want to support zoos. They help injured and sick animals with the goal to release them back into nature. The money you spend there helps them help the animals.

14. Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park

One of the best tours ever for me, and I've traveled some. Standing in a peaceful veranda as the birds feed only several yards away. Never any problem spotting the various species and younger Dave gave terrific information about bird behavior. Also met father Dave, a very charming person. They have a real mission to preserve habitat.

We loved Dave and Dave (father and son). Beautiful 15 acre sanctuary that has been planted and cultivated over the years with trees that birds love. We saw about 25 species, not including the numerous hummingbirds. Highly recommended.

Interesting place, dave and dave are great people and where great guides.

Really good tour if you want to see many different birds. Dave the owner is really friendly and share all his knowledge.

we saw. everything here that we had struggled to see elsewhere! made my holiday, and talking with Dave was enlightening, a truly lovely place and people. very good value as well, thank you Dave.

15. Proyecto Asis

We spent 5 days here volunteering and taking Spanish classes. The staff is composed of a group of truly committed individuals and they are concerned for the animals and work hard to educate the public. The guided tour is excellent and everyone seems to enjoy it. Highly recommended

Loved it. I joined a group of 20 people and we helped prepare and feed animals rescued from poachers or other situations where the animals need rehabilitation to be released safely back into their environment.

My daughter and I had a fun, memorable, and highly informative visit. May seem expensive but it's a uniquely exceptional experience and I am glad to be supporting their work.

Carlos was a great tour guide. Awesome experience, educational and saw lots of amazing animals. I held hands with Jessica the monkey and pet Perla the pig. A+

I have been here many times. I love the work they do.

16. Кауита улуттук паркы

Man I gave so much money to this place, it is a very linear trail, beautiful but still.. I like how the ants walk freely through the trail so be careful you don't stand on the innocent creatures! I go barefoot to truly feel the surrounding, and of course be careful you don't stand on a leaf cutter ant.

Great trails. It has a white sand beach and a black sand beach, the black coming from the active volcano ash in the area. Really cool! A must see! Great wildlife to with park rangers that will point you out the sloths and howler monkeys!

Great place to visit and enjoy nature. Nice walk through the jungle, lots of monkeys and sloth. Saw a racoon also. It's a very easy walk so can be enjoyed by families, young and old.

Pleasant staff, admission by donation, 8 km of natural beauty to observe. Lovely jungle path with beach access points marked for safety. We hiked one way and caught a bus back to town. Happy to have my water shoes and sun protection. Wish I had been able to stay overnight!

Highly recommendable doing a hike through the park! Don't forget your rain jacket and better take a guide... they know a lot and you would not see half of the animals without the guide, as they know where they hide anf they can tell you something about the animals in general!

17. Parque Diversiones

Very good place to share in family. Great for kids to enjoy! They have special treatment for special kids! 👍👍

Great place to enjoy with the family. Check the website for any deals, many Fridays they have buy one get one free. They have multiple restaurants, food stands, roller-coasters, water rides and much more. Arrive early to avoid lines at the rides or buy the fast/rapid pass.

The best place ever been.... highly recommended.... perfect place to go with the family

Great place for kid and grown-ups. The park is really well care, and there are multiple games, rollercoasters, water swings and more for every one in the family. Lunch at the "old town" is great as well.

It's an small amusement park compared with other countries, but it has been improving a lot and attractions are fun

18. Arenal Volcano National Park

Stunning place. Visited in early March 2018 and had an amazing time. Some very simple trails to navigate, but take you through many different park landscapes. Be sure to also visit the peninsula area of the park that will get you closer to Lake Arenal and you will have some amazing views of the park from here.

I loved my trip to Volcan Arenal, which was part of an all day tour. The three hour ride from San Jose was quite relaxing. Although the day was overcast and we didn't see the peek of the volcano, our view was still spectacular! The surrounding view of the Pacific side was equally beautiful.

This area of Costa Rica is a great place to stop if you're looking for an outdoor adventure. It is close to hot springs, zip lining, hiking, and other activities. However, come prepared for some rain. It was overcast or raining during our whole stay, but that didn't ruin anything. It is also near the town of La Fortuna, which had some great souvenir shops if you want to buy any.

It’s a great park or trekking, we did the “colada de lava” trail and you get a nice spot or a great Panoramic picture. Last entry is at 4:00 pm and you can stay until 6:00 pm. With the same ticket ($15us pp) you can dive to sector peninsula for another shot trekking that ends in the lake, really nice and enjoyable.

Very beautiful but not worth it in every trail! The 1992 lava flow trail was not well maintained and there is nothing really impressive to see on the volcano side (except for the huge tree). But, on the Laguna side, there is a very nice and clean trail with animals and beautiful views. After all it's not expensive so that's why I give it 4 stars. That being said, I didn't try the 1968 lava flow trail...

19. Nauyaca Waterfalls

Best day trip. Super easy to find, just follow the GPS directions and it will end at the little house by the side of the road where you buy tickets to get in. Super easy. We hiked the whole way to the falls, was super hot and beautiful. Took us about an hour and even faster on the way back. The waterfall was super gorgeous. Water was cooler but refreshing, you could see a lot of fish so snorkeling mask may be a good idea. Super happy we went there. Go for it!

This is a must if you are in the area. It's still not too crowded with tourists. The private ownership seems to keep the traffic down quite a bit. You will sweat if you do the hike. The waterfalls will be a rewarding treat when you reach them. Jump in! You can also jump off of the waterfall in two spots. Highly recommend the horseback riding tour but you will need to book early since they sell out fast.

The waterfalls were AMAZING. Not giving this five stars for a couple of reasons. The office didn't clarify that we were to park at the bottom of a long dirt road, so we parked at the top and ended up walking over a mile further than we needed to. Also, if you're looking for more of a hiking experience, the trail to the falls is mostly a dirt road and a lot of open area rather than the dense rain forest hiking we were seeking. Seems to be meant more for horseback tours which we did see along the way.

A great place to visit. Pay entrance fee / parking at the little hut. Entry to parking lot is 50m up north on the right. The hike to the waterfall takes about 30 minutes. It is hot, so bring liquid. Only the last part is a bit steep. Bring swimming trunks. Especially the bottom part works as a big, natural swimming pool.

If you're with your SO or a few kids that are well behaved do the horseback riding. The tour was well priced and provides breakfast and lunch. Typically I'd do the hike but the guides were knowledgeable the horses were hoot. The guides set up a rope to jump off a part of the falls. Don't hesitate it wasn't scary and a ton of fun.

20. Ecotermales Fortuna

Man this was the right place for the thermal experience. The pools range from hot to cold as you go down the mountain. The hottest I would guess was about 105. All these places seem to exaggerate how hot the water is. 105 is based on how I felt after sitting in it for about ten minutes. Lunch was great but we prepaid for the meal and had to select a dining time and entree as we entered the park. It you have any allergies or sensitivities I guess you are supposed to let the front desk person know. Once you sit down, that food is coming based on the info they already have. Super relaxing time. Jungle all around. Just very cool and pretty. Only negative is I could not get hot water of any consequence out of the shower tap. Bonus cool thing was the little spotter scope aimed way up in the tree at an iguana. Also saw a snake and turkey around the pools.

Great place to go to, and definitely glad we chose this over the other hot springs available. A reservation is required as people showing up for turned away at the front desk. This is nice as a keeps the place for being crowded. You can go from noon to 5 p.m., or 5 p.m. till 10 p.m. we chose the later one and glad that we were able to enjoy it without cooking In the Heat of the day. They offer an option where you can have a buffet supper included in the price. We chose that option and the supper was amazing. It was also a lot cheaper then had we gone out to eat. Quite convenient that you could use your bracelet to order drinks at the bar without having to carry your wallet around with you. Would definitely recommend this place

Higher end hot springs. This place was gracious enough to allow me passage even though it was a high season and I did not book ahead. Yay for solo traveling! The day that I went was rather rainy but the hot springs made a perfect combo between hot springs and cool rain. Hoped to get in the very top part of the springs for some extra warmth but it seems they have shut off the path. Make sure you get a picture in the mini waterfall! Very scenic and chill place. I will definitely stop by again when I'm in the country!

A very nicely built establishment. Great sets of pools with plenty of elbow room. We never felt like we were crowded and it was easy to enjoy the different pools that ranged from nice and toasty to cool and refreshing. My family and I had a great time here.

Went after a day of hiking. The buffet is good, not great, but definitely hits the spot if you've worked up an appetite. Plenty of free parking, unlike some of the hot springs in the area. Decent variety of hot springs, from nearly unbearable to lukewarm. Drinks are reasonably priced, $4 for domestic beers and $7 for cocktails. The cold pool is nice to reset the internal thermometer. Free lockers and decent shower facilities.