Things To Do In Costa Rica - Must-Do Activities in Costa Rica
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Things To Do In Costa Rica – Must-Do Activities in Costa Rica

Pura Vida encapsulates the spirit of Costa Rica. With colorful wildlife, exotic fauna, volcanos, hot springs, and beaches, Costa Rica is a perfect getaway for nature enthusiasts. From indigenous cultures and Spanish colonization to commitment towards environment conservation this country’s past is just as intriguing as its vibrant eco-system. This guide will help you plan the perfect trip for Things To Do In Costa Rica.

History of Costa Rica

Before the Spanish explorers arrived at the ports of Costa Rica, the land was home to various indigenous tribes like Chorotega, Huetar, Boruca, and Bribri. These tribes developed sophisticated agricultural techniques like Agroforestry and Terrace Farming. The arrival of Spanish Colonizers led to the establishment of settlements and subjugation of the indigenous population.

Costa Rica gained independence from the Spanish Colonizers in 1821 and joined the short-lived Mexican Empire before being a part of the United Provinces of Central America. Later in 1838, it declared itself a sovereign nation.

10 Things to Do in Costa Rica

Here are the top 10 Things To Do In Costa Rica.

San José

San José

Welcome to the capital of Costa Rica! San José seamlessly merges historical charm, cultural richness, and natural splendor. Visitors can spend a relaxing time at the La Sabana Metropolitan Park enjoying the beauty of nature and botanical gardens, admiring the exhibits at the Costa Rican Art Museum, or just spending some time on sports fields or running and skating tracks. 

Want to get familiar with Costa Rica’s history and culture? Then don’t miss out on visiting the National Museum of Costa Rica to display exhibits of history, culture, and nature history. Take a look at the displays of pre-Columbian gold and treasures housed in the Gold Museum. San Jose is one of the best Things To Do In Costa Rica.

Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano

Visit the majestic natural beauty located in northern Costa Rica, the Arenal Volcano. A towering sentinel of nature’s power, the 5000ft volcano commands the landscape with its majestic presence. It’s known for ash columns and, sometimes, flowing lava. 

Apart from admiring the elemental beauty you can explore the foothills of the volcano through hiking trails. The biodiversity in the area will surely impress you. Soothe your senses in the therapeutic embrace of the geothermally heated natural hot springs, perfect for unwinding and rejuvenation. Feeling adventurous? Enjoy kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and other activities in Lake Arenal.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

The ethereal charm of Monteverde Cloud Forest feels otherworldly. Lose yourself in the emerald embrace of nature hidden in the blanket of clouds and explore the diverse flora and fauna. Along with over 2,500 plant species like Epiphytes and Orchids, this forest also houses rare creatures like quetzal, howler monkeys, sloths, and colorful toucans.

Thrill-seekers can take Canopy tours ziplining through the treetops having a bird’s-eye view of the forest. Ecology enthusiasts can take guided tours to understand the wildlife. Book your unique experience here

Tortuguero National Park

Parque Nacional Tortuguero (1)

Tortuguero National Park is a perfect blend of nature and thrill. Being connected to Costa Rica through canals and rivers, the guided boat tours are one of the things to do in the park to view wildlife like caimans, river otters, sloths, monkeys, and a vast array of bird species. Bring out your inner adventurer by Kayaking and Canoeing activities while viewing the natural inhabitants. Recline by the waves at the pristine beaches. 

Turtles are calling! Tortuguero National Park is the birthplace of Sea Turtle Conservation. The best time to view these turtles is during the nesting period around July to October. Take nature walks with guides to spot and identify various flora and fauna. Experience the culture at the Tortuguero Village through cuisines, customs, and traditions. You can book your tours on the Tortuguero National Park official website.  


Tamarindo Moonlight Night Market (1)

Welcome to the vibrant beach town of Tamarindo. Outdoor activities, nightlife, and beach activities make this town a must-visit in Costa Rica. Tamarindo is known for its beautiful beaches like Playa Tamarindo and Playa Langosta that are perfect for swimming, surfing, and other beach activities. With the day spent on the beach. the town provides a buzzing nightlife with its bars, restaurants, and pubs. 

Bold explorers can visit Marino las Baulas National Park. You can take a guided turtle tour to witness the nesting sea turtles. With diverse wildlife, you can take guided tours to understand the ecosystem and see howler monkeys, white-faced capuchins, iguanas, colorful toucans, parrots, herons, and shorebirds. There are hiking trails to explore the tropical forest and immerse yourself in nature. 

Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park is the epitome of ecological richness with an array of creatures like tapirs, anteaters, coatis, scarlet macaws, pumas, toucans, venomous snakes, and squirrel monkeys. The dense rainforest, exotic animals, hiking trails, hidden waterfalls, and scenic beauty of this park make it one of the places that must be visited in Costa Rica. Bird-watching enthusiasts can watch over 400 species of birds. 

Escape your city life with quiet and serene beaches. There are plenty of things to do while you are on this Costa Rican beach. You can go snorkeling, diving, and whale-watching at Carate Beach. Exploring coral reefs and swimming among turtles will definitely make your Costa Rica visit memorable. 

Rio Celeste

Rio Celeste

Translated as Celestial River, Rio Celeste enchants every visitor with its beauty. The ethereal blue water of the river is a result of a unique chemical reaction that occurs when two mineral-rich streams, the Buenavista and Sour Creek, converge. Be it a guided tour or hiking, explore the Tenorio Volcano National Park and view howler monkeys, sloths, toucans, and colorful butterflies. Rejuvenate in the hot springs heated by volcanic activity. 

No matter how you choose to explore Rio Celeste, this picture-perfect place will bring out the photographer in you. 

Santa Teresa

Ride the historic Santa Teresa Tram (1)

With white-sand beaches and a relaxed atmosphere, this laid-back coastal town will de-stress you. From seasoned surfers to beginners, the beach’s gentle waves welcome all. Santa Teresa also rejuvenates its visitors with wellness centers, classes, workshops, and treatments. Ziplining and eco-tourism are something to look forward to for nature enthusiasts. Santa Teresa’s proximity to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve and Curú Wildlife Refuge provides opportunities for immersive nature experiences.

Feeling artistic? Then visit the galleries, boutiques, and artisan markets, showcasing local artwork, handmade crafts, and unique souvenirs. Embrace the Pura Vida lifestyle at Santa Teresa in Costa Rica.

Diamante Eco Adventure Park

Diamante Eco Adventure Park

Want to explore culture and nature together? Visit Diamante Eco Adventure Park. With adventurous activities, nature exploration, and wildlife encounters, this park offers interactive workshops, traditional dance performances, and artisan demonstrations, gaining insights into the country’s rich heritage and traditions. Diamante Eco Adventure Park is one of the best things to do in Costa Rica for Kids.

Ziplining through the treetops and admiring the coastline is a thrilling experience at the park. Learn more about the animals and their conservation with animal sanctuary. Enjoy ocean activities like snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking, and explore the vibrant underwater world and pristine coastline of Guanacaste in Costa Rica. Plan your adventure and things to do with various passes and tickets from the official website of the park.

Irazu Volcano National Park

Irazu Volcano National Park

Irazu Volcano National Park has one of the grandiose natural spectacles, Irazú Volcano. The awe-inspiring landscape and scenic views make this volcano a must-visit. It has volcanic craters, fumaroles, and lava fields that look otherworldly. Learn the history, significance, and cultural heritage of the Irazú Volcano at the park’s interpretive centers and visitor facilities.

The park is also a site of ancient indigenous settlements, archaeological sites, and colonial-era landmarks which would intrigue the history buff in you. Along with the history, geology, and culture, this park has various activities to interact with nature through hiking and natural trails. 

Food Tourism in Costa Rica

Famous Food in Costa Rica [Must Try]

Famous Food in Costa Rica Gallo pinto

Along with nature, adventure, and culture Costa Rica is a flavorful retreat. Start your day with the national dish of Costa Rica – Gallo pinto. The dish consists of rice and beans seasoned with onions, bell peppers, and spices.

Enjoy a hearty meal with some Casado (combo plate), Sopa Negra, Tamales, Ceviche, Chorreadas (corn pancakes), Picadillo (vegetable hash), Olla de Carne (stew), and Rondón (seafood and coconut stew). 

For deserts try some Copo (shaved ice), Tres leches, Miel de chiverre (sweetened squash paste), Sopa de pejibaye (peach palm soup), Granizados, Atol de Naranja (orange pudding), Trits, and Arroz con Leche.

Famous Drinks in Costa Rica [Try Once]

costa rica famous drink

Feeling thirsty? Do try the various beverages of Costa Rica. Café Chorreado is a traditionally brewed coffee. Costa Rica is renowned for its Arabica coffee beans and exploring the coffee farms is one of the things you can do. The coffee tours and experiences provide experiences like cupping to explore the various coffee varieties and brewing methods. 

Agua de Sapo is a refreshing drink made from sugarcane juice mixed with lime juice and water perfect for a hot day. Fresco de Frutas is nothing but fresh juices and smoothies made from a combination of fresh fruits. Refrescos Naturales is made by blending fresh fruit (popularly strawberry, mango, and blackberry) with water and a touch of sugar or honey. 

The food and beverages of Costa Rica are a symphony of flavors making your trip to this exotic country more unique.

Best time to visit Costa Rica

December to April is the dry season, making it the best time to enjoy your trip to Costa Rica without rain. Just ensure to do all your bookings 3 months in advance to get your favorable activities and spots. If you want to enjoy the turtles and do not mind a little rain shower then anytime between May and November would be perfect for your visit. 

How To Reach Costa Rica

You can get to Costa Rica by air, road, and water. If you choose flight as your mode of transport, then you have two airports to choose from Juan Santa María Airport (SJO) in San José or the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia. 

If you are traveling by road, then you can reach there through the shared borders with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. There are bus services and shared shuttles that operate between major cities in these countries and Costa Rica. 

You can also reach the country by sea. Some cruise ships do include ports such as Puerto Limón on the Caribbean coast or Puntarenas on the Pacific coast in their itineraries.

FAQ: Things to Do in Costa Rica

Here is the list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Things to Do in Costa Rica.

What are the entry requirements for visiting Costa Rica?

Visitors to Costa Rica typically need a valid passport with at least six months of validity from the date of entry. Depending on your nationality, you may also require a visa. Additionally, travelers must fill out an electronic Health Pass form before arrival.

What should I pack for my trip to Costa Rica?

Pack lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for warm weather. Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, insect repellent, hiking shoes, and a waterproof jacket or poncho for unexpected rain showers. If you plan on visiting higher altitudes, such as Monteverde or Arenal, bring layers as temperatures can be cooler.

Is it safe to travel around Costa Rica?

Overall, Costa Rica is a safe destination for travelers. However, like any other country, it’s essential to take common-sense precautions such as avoiding isolated areas at night, securing your belongings, and staying informed about local conditions.

What are some must-visit destinations in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica offers a diverse range of attractions. Some must-visit destinations include Manuel Antonio National Park for stunning beaches and wildlife, Arenal Volcano for adventure activities and hot springs, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve for unique biodiversity, and Tortuguero National Park for turtle nesting tours.

What outdoor activities are popular in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Popular activities include zip-lining through the rainforest canopy, whitewater rafting on rivers like the Pacuare, surfing on world-renowned breaks in places like Tamarindo and Jacó, hiking in national parks, and snorkeling or diving in coral reefs.

Is it necessary to speak Spanish to travel in Costa Rica?

While many Costa Ricans speak English, especially in tourist areas, knowing some basic Spanish can enhance your experience and interactions with locals. Learning a few phrases can go a long way in navigating the country and experiencing its culture.

What are some traditional dishes to try in Costa Rica?

Costa Rican cuisine is flavorful and diverse. Don’t miss trying dishes like Gallo Pinto (rice and beans), Casado (a traditional meal with rice, beans, plantains, salad, and a choice of protein), ceviche (marinated seafood), and tropical fruits like mangoes, pineapples, and papayas.

Are there any eco-friendly initiatives in Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica is known for its commitment to sustainability and eco-tourism. Many accommodations, tours, and attractions follow eco-friendly practices, such as using renewable energy, minimizing waste, and supporting conservation efforts.

What are some cultural experiences to enjoy in Costa Rica?

Immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture by attending traditional festivals, learning about indigenous communities, exploring local markets, and participating in activities like chocolate-making tours or traditional dance performances.


Embrace Pura Vida and visit the vibrant, exotic, and adventurous Costa Rica. Discover the true essence of Costa Rica with its lush rainforest, amazing beaches, diverse ecosystem, and mouth-watering cuisine.

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