Costa Rica Travel Guide

Browse 599 travel reviews, 722 travel blogs and 25,853 travel photos from real travelers to Costa Rica.

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Costa Rica Overview

As far as Central American countries go, there are few that can boast the beauty and majesty of Costa Rica. The word itself is Spanish for “rich coast”, and the lush vegetation and tropical paradise that surround you at every step while in this beautiful country is testament to the definition. Boasting a dizzying array of landscapes from volcanoes, tropical and temperate forests, rain forests, beaches along both the Caribbean and Pacific, marshes, mountains, and more, Costa Rica is an action-packed destination for any level of traveler. With so much to do in every corner of this country boredom will never come!

Probably the most popular destination on the planet for eco-tourists specifically due to the diversity of plant and animal life, it has been estimated by experts that the country contains as much a 6% of the entire world’s plant and animal life. In addition, the Costa Rican way of life has been described as one of the most relaxed on the planet, rivaling that of the Mediterranean coastal regions of Italy and Greece. For the ultimate Central American experience, Costa Rica is hands-down the grand finale.

For the ultimate outdoor experience, veteran backpackers or even enthusiasts can explore close to a dozen national parks within the country, ranging from the Cahuita National Park to the Arenal Volcano or the Monteverde and Santa Elenea Cloud Forest Reserves. Coffee lovers can enjoy the plantations of Heredia, while beach lovers can head over to Cahuita or Pueorto Viejo de Talamanca. For the classic experience visitors can head straight to San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, where the variety of shopping centers, cafés, restaurants, coffee houses, and more, can provide you with an exhilarating and breath-taking Costa Rican holiday.

Costa Rica is a country that is impossible to enjoy with just one trip. It would take dozens, if not more, visits to this Central American paradise to take it all in, and it is recommended you take at least 2 to 3 weeks for your first time, simply to get a glimpse into Costa Rican life.

San Jose #1 most popular location
Costa Rica’s clunky capital is often dismissed as a dirty necessity on route to the country’s more notable beaches and jungles. If you’re on a flying visit to Costa Rica on the whole, y…
235travelers 104reviews 85blogs
La Fortuna #2 most popular location
One of the most intimate mountain destinations for travelers seeking that extra-special something that sets the destination apart from the major tourist hubs is La Fortuna de San Carlos, othe…
9travelers 63reviews 55blogs
Manuel Antonio #3 most popular location
A beautiful village nestled in the rainforest on the pacific coast of Costa Rica. Relatively small, this village is accessed only through Quepos where you can either catch a bus in or drive. …
15travelers 45reviews 31blogs
Jaco #4 most popular location
Jaco is a rapidly expanding town on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. Home to a large ex-pat community and a surfing culture. If you are looking for a quiet off-the-beaten-track time then Jaco …
16travelers 26reviews 21blogs
Monteverde #5 most popular location
The Monte Verde cloud forest reserve is a green island in the top of the mountain. Most of the mountain's Pacific side is deforested and used for cattle feed, but east side is generally prote…
12travelers 23reviews 45blogs
Tamarindo #6 most popular location
Tamarindo is a beaultiful location in the Guancaste region of Costa Rica. It has everything for the adventure traveler. Whether you are looking for a relaxing vacation on the beach, want to …
23travelers 22reviews 20blogs
Puerto Viejo #7 most popular location
Puerto Viejo is a small town stretched on the Caribbean coastline of Costa Rica, close to the Panama boarder. The town is very popular by surfers and backpackers, and affordable hostels, rest…
17travelers 55reviews 33blogs
Alajuela #8 most popular location
Alajuela is just west of San Jose and is the gateway to western sites like the Vulcan Poas, Grecia, and to the port of Puntarenas for charter a boat ride through the Gulf of Nicoya to islands…
17travelers 16reviews 12blogs
Quepos #9 most popular location
Quepos is a small town that serves as the entrance to Manuel Antonio. While it may not be the most picturesque town encountered in Costa Rica it certainly has character and is home to a large…
11travelers 18reviews 22blogs
Cahuita #10 most popular location
Cahuita is a small town on Costa Rica's southern Carribean coast, best known for its national park and its beaches. Cahuita is also a destination for surfers, backpackers and anyone looking f…
6travelers 15reviews 16blogs
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca #11 most popular location
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a very small village at the Caribbean coast in Costa Rica. It is a very laid back place with nice beach bars to go out in the evening. Also it is a place for goin…
9travelers 12reviews 1blogs
Dominical #12 most popular location
Dominical is a cool little surfing town in the Puntarenas province of Costa Rica. There are lots of hostels and cabinas and places to rent and buy surfing equipment. I personally thought the …
9travelers 12reviews 13blogs
Tortuguero #13 most popular location
A very remote town at the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. The only way to get here is by airplane or by boat. There are no cars in this town and the streets are all sand streets. It depend com…
4travelers 6reviews 19blogs
Arenal #14 most popular location
The main reason to visit Arenal is to bask in the shadow of Volcan Arenal. The only volcano in Costa Rica to be constantly active since it woke up after 400 years after the big eruption back …
7travelers 9reviews 10blogs
Santa Teresa #15 most popular location
Santa Teresa has a beautiful beach, perfect for surfing or just playing in the waves. Restaurants are plentiful. The trip to get to Santa Teresa can be a bit of a challenge (rough roads) bu…
3travelers 5reviews 3blogs
Samara #16 most popular location
7travelers 11reviews 9blogs
Guanacaste #17 most popular location
13travelers 9reviews 5blogs
Montezuma #18 most popular location
Bohemian town that caters to tourism. Open cafes make the town appealing to backpackers from around the world which is very noticeable when the sun goes down and people return from the surf, …
8travelers 14reviews 14blogs
Heredia #19 most popular location
Larger town that keeps its small town feel due to being the home of the largest University in Costa Rica, National University of Costa Rica, which accepts many international students. Heredia…
26travelers 3reviews 16blogs
Escazu #20 most popular location
History of Escazú This old colonial town derives its name, Escazú, from the indigenous word Izt-kat-zu, meaning "resting stone," because it is believed that this was the area where the n…
5travelers 1reviews
Liberia #21 most popular location
10travelers 3reviews 22blogs
Puntarenas #22 most popular location
A large bustling port town that serves as the main port on the pacific side of costa rica. Having improved vastly over the past couple of years it now has an attractive boardwalk area and sho…
8travelers 5reviews 5blogs
Nosara #23 most popular location
Nosara is crowds, no kitschy touristy stuff, just surf and sand and some amazing yoga in the treetops with the howler monkeys. And coconut ice cream. Very safe. Everyone is frie…
3travelers 2reviews 1blogs
Cabuya #24 most popular location
1travelers 5reviews 1blogs
Santa Ana #25 most popular location
6travelers 3reviews 3blogs
Santa Elena #26 most popular location
2travelers 5reviews 7blogs
Turrialba #27 most popular location
3travelers 9blogs
Jaco Beach #28 most popular location
4travelers 4reviews
Puerto Limon #29 most popular location
2travelers 2reviews 4blogs
Cartago #30 most popular location
Cartago is east of San Jose and has many services. Also there is the very impressive Jubileo de la Misericordia, Diocesis De Cartago, catholic church. In regular hours the church s wide open…
8travelers 1reviews 8blogs
Drake Bay #31 most popular location
Drake Bay is an off the beaten track village that serves as a good starting point for Corcovado park. It overlooks the pacific and the nearby reserve of Cano island. It is slightly harder to…
1travelers 3reviews 1blogs
Playas Del Coco #32 most popular location
1travelers 1reviews
Puerto Jimenez #33 most popular location
6travelers 1reviews 3blogs
Uvita #34 most popular location
Uvita is just south of Dominical, Costa Rica. It is a small town situated in the Marino Ballena National Park - where you can see whales at certain times of the year. It provides a unique co…
1travelers 3reviews 2blogs
Parrita #35 most popular location
Poas #36 most popular location
Poas is actually the name of an active volcano located at Poas Volcano National Park in Alajuela province. There is a viewing platform at the edge of the crater where on a clear day, one can …
2travelers 3reviews 2blogs
Mal Pais #37 most popular location
Mal Pais lies at the southeastern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in Puntarenas province. Although it is a small village and there are very little tourist attractions or services, hotels and dini…
2travelers 4reviews 5blogs
Culebra #38 most popular location
San Ramon #39 most popular location
San Ramon is a small city about 45 minutes from San Jose, . In the center of the city is a small park in front of Catholic church where the locals teens gather to meet after school. Small b…
1reviews 6blogs
Punta Banco #40 most popular location
Punta Banco is a 200 person strong village, south of Pavones. It is accessible by either walking from Pavones (90 minutes) or by driving (30 minutes) along a pothole-ridden and often wet dirt…
6travelers 6reviews 15blogs
Golfito #41 most popular location
A busy town on the way to the border with Panama and Costa Rica. A popular stop for people seeking tax free shopping but requires that you either stay in town overnight or purchase price card…
Drake #42 most popular location
1travelers 2reviews 3blogs
Rincon de la Vieja #43 most popular location
1travelers 1reviews 1blogs
Sarapiqui #44 most popular location
1reviews 7blogs
Carate #45 most popular location
1travelers 3blogs
Tambor #46 most popular location
2travelers 1blogs
Nuevo Arenal #47 most popular location
Playa Panama #48 most popular location
Manzanillo Puerto Viejo #49 most popular location
2reviews 2blogs
Volcan Arenal #50 most popular location
Volcan Arenal is a perfect stratovolcano and is actively erupting. During the day you will see plumes of smoke pouring out but the real fireworks start at night. This is when you can see lava…
2reviews 1blogs