Costa Rica really is a nature lover's dream come true! There are lush forests, powerful and colourful waterfalls, curious monkeys, long beaches, active volcanoes and beautiful sunsets. What's not to love? If you are ready to explore this tropical paradise, keep reading to discover 5 of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica that you really need to put on your bucketlist.
1. La Fortuna Waterfall
La Fortuna Waterfall is located about 5 kilometers away from the town center of La Fortuna. It is easy to reach, altough if you want to walk there I recommend good walking shoes, a water bottle and plenty of sunscreen! The road is paved, but steep and it's a good workout.
The entrance fee to the park is 15 USD, but definitely worth it. Once in the park, just follow the path to the stairs and head down to the bottom of the fall. Don't think about how you're going to have to climb them all up to go back to town and think about the colouful and refreshing river waiting for you at the bottom. There are a few viewpoints on the way down where you can stop and stare at the jungle going for miles in every direction and at that beautiful waterfall cuting the jungle in two. I have to say, I've seen beautiful waterfalls in my life, but this one is special. It is high, surrounded by greenery and the pool at the bottom is a deep turquoise colour. You cannot swim in the main pool as the current is too strong, but on the left, if you follow the river, there is a little beach and the current is not as strong in that part so you can take a refreshing dip before climbing back up the stairs.
2. Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio is not a huge park and you can easily visit in one day, but it is worth a detour. The jungle is thick and the deepest shade of green. The beaches are wide and the water is warm. And most importantly, you are guaranteed to spot some monkey friends along the trail. Watch out though, they are pretty good thieves!
It costs 16 USD to enter the park and it is easy to reach by bus from the town of Manuel Antonio or Quepos. Once inside, you can grab a map and head for the trails or you can go down to the beach. Both are guaranteed to impress you with their beauty and wildlife.
3. Rio Celeste
Cosa Rica is known for its abundance of national parks and Rio Celeste is one you won't want to miss. The park is home to a turquoise river that snakes through the rainforest to a waterfall. Although the trail is very muddy, it is worth it to walk all the way to the end as you might get the chance to spot monkeys, exotic birds or sloths.
The park is located about an hour out of La Fortuna, but there are many tour companies that can take you for an affordable price that includes the entrance fee. Bring sturdy shoes and a full bottle of water as it is not the easiest hike (think lots of stairs, sticky and muddy trails and humid air).
4. Hot Springs
Hidden in the jungle surrounding the Arenal Volcano, there are rivers whose water mixes with water from the volcano to create hot springs. Some rivers have been converted into lavish spas while others have been kept natural and opened to the public for free. Visitors and locals alike can take a dip in the warm waters or just sit down and relax after a hard day of hiking or working. Locals bring candles to make the atmosphere even more magical and you can stay long into the night admiring the stars and listening to the wind in the trees and the roar of the river. I suggest bringing water shoes as the rocks are brand new (the volcano's last eruption ended in 2010) and pretty sharp. Plus it is hard to walk with the current or to see what you are walking on.
5. The beaches on the Pacific side
Although the water on the pacific side may not be as blue as the Carribean sea and the sand is darker due to the volcanic ash, the sunsets are totally worth it. When we visited in February, the water was just the right temperature to be a little refreshing, but still comfortable enough to spend hours just floating and playing in the waves.The waves are big enough to surf and there are plenty of activities on offer like parasailing, bodysurfing, paddle boarding, etc.
No matter where your travels to Costa Rica take you, you are bound to find adventure, nice locals, great food and beautiful scenery. Open your eyes wide and enjoy every minute. For more information about Costa Rica, check back every week, I've got new articles coming up that you are going to love!
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