Costa Rica I found to be one of the most rejuvenating and peaceful places I have ever been. It’s incredibly green and rich in nature, with lots to experience for those who like outdoor adventures. The food is full of fresh ingredients, the people are incredibly welcoming and with two coastlines you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. I spent a week there but it just wasn’t enough and I only really got a taster of this beautiful country. If you’re planning a visit and you’re not sure where to begin, here are some of the best things to do in Costa Rica:
- 1. White Water Rafting at Sarapiqui
- 2. Do a Coffee Tour
- 3. Walk the Sky Bridges
- 4. Ride Horses to La Fortuna Waterfall
- 5. Visit a Hot Spring
- 6. Sleep Under Arenal Volcano
- 7. See How Chocolate Is Made
- 8. Watch Sea Turtles Nesting in Tortuguero National Park
- 9. Chill on the Beach in Puerto Viejo
- 10. Eat a Costa Rican Breakfast
- 11. Take a one day tour
- Best time to visit Costa Rica
- Getting around Costa Rica
1. White Water Rafting at Sarapiqui
Costa Rica is blessed with two coastlines, plus multiple rivers and lakes, which means there are plenty of water sports you can do here. The country is one of the best places for white water rafting and has hosted the World Rafting Championships, so it’s the ideal place to get your adrenaline fix. After spending the night in Arenal we stopped by Sarapiqui which has a river that is quickly becoming a top destination for adventure lovers. The river is good for beginners, with a wild beginning and a smooth ride at the end.
2. Do a Coffee Tour
Costa Rica is famous for its coffee production and you can see exactly how it’s made by doing a coffee tour at places such as the Don Juan coffee plantation. You can learn about the entire process from growing to roasting and taste a fresh cup of coffee at the end with a gorgeous view of the forest. In addition to the coffee, you can try your hand at pressing sugar cane juice and blend your own artisanal chocolate.
3. Walk the Sky Bridges
Costa Rica has incredibly green, dense forest which is best explored via the hanging bridges. At the Sky Walk in Monteverde we walked along trails and various suspension bridges to further examine the canopy of the rainforest. We saw all kinds of flora and fauna, but the best bit was seeing howler monkeys chilling out on the treetops in the wild. We then took a cable car to the top for incredible views over the cloud forest and passed by people who were zip lining through the trees.
4. Ride Horses to La Fortuna Waterfall
One of my best memories of Costa Rica was riding horses beneath the Arenal volcano. I hadn’t ridden horses since I was a child and it reminded me just how much I loved it. You don’t need to be experienced as my group was full of people with a range of abilities, from complete beginner to advanced. We set off in a group on horseback, riding through lush green fields and scrambling through streams till we reached our destination: the La Fortuna waterfall. The thundering waterfall is incredibly impressive and when you’ve climbed down the steps to get to it, you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the water below.
5. Visit a Hot Spring
Costa Rica is all about relaxation and there’s nowhere better to relax than a hot spring. The Tabacon Grand Spa is popular with honeymooners who come to bathe in the natural waters, order a drink or two from the swim-up bar and enjoy a buffet dinner afterwards. The hot spring has waterfalls, cascades and pools of varying temperatures split across different levels. Best of all, it’s set in lush, tropical surroundings with exotic flowers- the perfect setting to relax those tense muscles and reap the health benefits. We arrived after the sun went down for a night time swim under the stars, then sat down for dinner in the restaurant.
6. Sleep Under Arenal Volcano
When I woke up at the Hotel Arenal Springs Resort I was absolutely stunned by the view! We arrived at night so we couldn’t see a thing, but when I opened my eyes in the morning I realised I had been sleeping right at the foot of the Arenal Volcano. It was beautiful to see the volcano under a blue sky, then watch as the clouds gradually gathered around its peak. The resort is enormous with beautiful little bungalows surrounded by exotic gardens, flowers and animals.
7. See How Chocolate Is Made
Whether you have a sweet tooth or you’re just curious about how chocolate it’s made, a Chocolate Tour is a fascinating way to learn about Costa Rica’s chocolate. At Tirimbina Biological Reserve you can see what the cacao fruit looks like and watch a demonstration showing how the cacao beans are turned into chocolate. At the end you can taste the different kinds of chocolate and blend your own in the traditional way.
8. Watch Sea Turtles Nesting in Tortuguero National Park
Without a doubt one of the most memorable experiences of my life to date was seeing turtles nesting on the beach in Costa Rica. In Tortuguero National Park a ranger takes you down to the beach late at night to witness turtles coming in from the ocean and making it onto the shore. They then move to the back of the beach, dig a hole and lay their eggs, before returning to the ocean. We saw three different turtles at various stages of this process, beneath an incredible night sky full of shooting stars. We weren’t allowed to take cameras with us as this might disturb the turtles but it meant I could be totally present to enjoy such a beautiful moment in nature.
9. Chill on the Beach in Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo is a relaxed beach town with some beautiful secluded beaches backed by palm trees and a famous surf spot called the Salsa Brava. Come here to do nothing, kick it at the beach and then party by night in one of the many bars pumping out reggae beats. This is the place to put on your yoga pants and channel your inner hippie child.
10. Eat a Costa Rican Breakfast
A typical Costa Rican breakfast includes ‘gallo pinto’ which is basically rice and beans, with plantains, a tomato based sauce and maybe some scrambled eggs. There’s also a sauce that everyone uses over there called Salsa Lizano- try it and take some home as a souvenir!
11. Take a one day tour
a tour of Costa Rica might be the exact thing you need while visiting this beautiful country in South America!