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The 12 Most Lovely Locations in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most naturally beautiful countires I’ve ever been to. Even though I spent a month there, I feel like there’s so much more to explore. All these most beautiful places that I found are just the beginning of what the country has to offer. From the mystical cloud forests of […]



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Costa Rica is likely one of the most naturally stunning countires I’ve ever been to. Regardless that I spent a month there, I really feel like there’s a lot extra to discover. All these most stunning locations that I discovered are just the start of what the nation has to supply.

From the magical cloud forests of Monteverde to the black-sand seashores of Cahuita and quaint surf cities alongside the Pacific, these are the spots in Costa Rica whose magnificence has no bounds:

1. Monteverde

Think about someplace brilliant inexperienced moss filters daylight in misty forests and ficus tree roots type hidden caverns. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Protect is such a spot, a type of locations that leaves a huge effect attributable to its immense magnificence. From the quintessential hanging bridges over thick forest canopies to the close by waterfalls and miles of mountain climbing trails, it has every little thing to make a nature lover’s coronary heart sing.

Monteverde, at an elevation of 4,500 toes, has probably the most distinctive climates in Costa Rica. Actually, you may hike to the continental divide within the Cloud Forest and really feel the distinction between the Pacific and Caribbean air. Monteverde can also be humid and wet, which truly makes it much more magical, because the low-hanging clouds and mystical fog are what give it such a particular feeling.

  • The place to remain: I beloved my time at Hotel El Bosque, which is reasonably priced (solely $36/evening!) and in an ideal location, very near the Cloud Forest.
  • What to do: Go to a sloth sanctuary, hike by way of the Cloud Forest, Santa Elena Reserve, or El Bosque Eterno de Los Niños. You may as well go zip-lining, go to waterfalls, or try an orchid backyard. Find out more about Monteverde here.
  • Greatest time to go to: For much less rain, go to between December and April (excessive season, with many extra vacationers). Shoulder season (Might and November) can also be a good time to go to for gentle climate and fewer crowds.

2. Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park

Though Manuel Antonio is likely one of the most touristy locations in Costa Rica, it’s removed from overrated. In truth, I feel this nationwide park deserves each ounce of hype it will get. Not solely is there an abundance of wildlife, however the seashores within the park and round city are implausible. There are a number of to select from, all with gentle golden sand and clear water. I fell in love with the semi-secret Biesanz Seashore, the place there are small coves and shallow water excellent for floating the day away.

  • The place to remain: I stayed in this Airbnb, which I 100% suggest for any feminine vacationers, though it could even be nice for {couples}. It’s one of many most cost-effective lodging ($25/evening!) in Manuel Antonio, however you wouldn’t guess it due to the ample facilities, spectacular hospitality, and supreme location.
  • What to do: A night tour by way of the jungle is a should. Plan to spend no less than one full day within the national park, and see if you are able to do a mangrove tour. Examine what else to do in Manuel Antonio here.
  • Greatest time to go to: This vacation spot will get extraordinarily crowded throughout excessive season (December to April), so I like to recommend visiting in Might, June, or November for nice climate and fewer individuals.

3. Uvita

Dwelling to Marino Ballena Nationwide Park (which may have its personal spot on this record), Uvita is likely one of the most stunning treasures on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, what with its baby-blue river, quaint waterfall, and thick jungle landscapes. It’s positively excessive on my record of locations I hope to return to, as I really feel like I solely simply skimmed the floor of every little thing there's to like about Uvita. The seashores listed here are implausible, the jungle is dense and teeming with wildlife, and there are many alternatives to get off the crushed path and discover your individual particular slice of nature.

  • The place to remain: My stay at Cascada Verde Hostel exceeded my expectations. Outdoors of city, perched on the aspect of a mountain, the hostel has a treehouse really feel. I had an ideal ocean view from my room, which had one aspect uncovered to the jungle and I may take heed to the rain and animal noises at evening. Staying there felt like an expertise all by itself.
  • What to do: Take a look at the whale-tail sandbar formation at Marino Ballena Nationwide Park, or enterprise to a hidden a part of the park at Playa Arcos. Spend time on the Uvita Waterfall, and enterprise down the river to a secret swimming gap. Discover out what else there's to do in Uvita here.
  • Greatest time to go to: I visited in July, one of many rainiest months of the 12 months and thought it was nonetheless a good time to go to, as a result of there weren’t many vacationers. Much like Manuel Antonio, Might, June, and November appear to be wonderful instances to go to Uvita if you're hoping for higher climate and few vacationers.

4. Tortuguero Nationwide Park

Tortuguero stole my coronary heart from the second I stepped onto the boat to succeed in this tiny island on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. With a community of Amazon-like canals on one aspect of the island and the roaring sea on the opposite, you really get the perfect of each worlds right here. Moreover the rugged landscapes, mysterious coves, and considerable wildlife, what makes Tortuguero probably the most stunning locations in Costa Rica is its individuals, who weren't solely heat and pleasant however extraordinarily hospitable and genuinely cared about preserving nature and supporting wildlife.

Tortuguero is called after the varied sea turtle species that lay their eggs on the seashores right here. Inexperienced sea turtles, big leatherbacks, hawksbills, and loggerheads all come to its shores at completely different instances of 12 months to put their eggs, and the nationwide park permits them a protected place to take action. I received to see this in motion since I visited in July throughout inexperienced sea turtle season, and it was essentially the most impactful expertise I had in Costa Rica by far.

  • The place to remain: I stayed at Aracari Garden Hostel, which is a good alternative for funds vacationers. If I had been to return although, I’d keep at Miss Junie’s Lodge, only for the possibility to spend extra time with the proprietor’s superb household.
  • What to do: Take a tour by way of the canals through canoe (not motorboat, as they will scare away the wildlife), spend a while on the seashore (however don’t swim, it’s too uneven), and take a look at all of the scrumptious Caribbean meals. See what else there's to do in Tortuguero here.
  • Greatest time to go to: The local weather is completely different on the Caribbean aspect of Costa Rica than it's in the remainder of the nation, so whereas September and October see essentially the most rain elsewhere, it’s the driest time of 12 months in Tortuguero. One other good thing about visiting throughout these months is you’ll catch the tip of inexperienced sea turtle egg-laying season, because it overlaps with hatching season. Which means you may see turtles laying eggs at evening, after which watch infants crawl to the ocean within the morning.

5. Río Celeste

Río Celeste is a part of Tenorio Volcano Nationwide Park, which is near La Fortuna and makes for the right day trip from there, which is how I visited it. The river will get its identify from its celestial blue colour, which is so saturated that it feels unreal. Right here you may also see the huge Río Celeste Waterfall, after which hike alongside the river to the purpose the place the water appears to vary colour, known as “God’s Paintbrush.” The optical phantasm that creates the sudden change within the water’s colour is actually exceptional. One other function of the river is you could go to part of it the place sulfuric bubbles rise to the floor attributable to underground volcanic exercise.

  • The place to remain: Celeste Mountain Lodge is a favourite amongst vacationers to this space, and provides visitors the complete expertise of being within the volcanic mountains.
  • What to do: Hike by way of Tenorio Volcano Nationwide Park, cease on the a scorching river proper outdoors the park, go to the Río Celeste Waterfall, and make a day journey to La Fortuna.
  • Greatest time to go to: Because the brilliant blue water of Río Celeste adjustments colour rapidly to a darkish brown when it rains closely, I don’t suggest visiting throughout the wet season (June by way of October). Nonetheless, I visited in July early sufficient within the day to keep away from the rain and nonetheless received to see the river and waterfall in all their colourful glory.

6. Dominical

As one in all Costa Rica’s chillest hippie surf cities, I want I'd have stayed longer than only a day in Dominical. Its vibe enchanted me, however the views much more so. It has miles of pristine seashores, with loads of sandy actual property to seek out your individual quiet nook to hang around in. My favourite half about Dominical was that there have been no large motels proper on the shore, however as a substitute what appears like rugged and nearly untouched shoreline. The sunsets had been completely gorgeous as effectively, because the moist sand mirrored the orange hues superbly.

  • The place to remain: You will get an ideal bang in your buck in Dominical, as motels and hostels have decrease charges right here than in different, extra touristy areas of the nation. Bamboo River House and Hostel is a good instance, with a pool, backyard, and terrace. Rooms begin round $75/evening.
  • What to do: Take a surf lesson, discover a secret swimming gap at Poza Azul, or just calm down on the seashore.
  • Greatest time to go to: Since I visited throughout wet season and nonetheless had a wonderful keep, I feel anytime is nice for visiting Dominical. Nonetheless, if you'd like a greater likelihood of catching an epic sundown, go to between December and April when there’s much less rain.

7. Nauyaca Waterfalls

The Nauyaca Waterfalls are only a 20-minute drive from Dominical — however require a 1.5-hour hike every option to attain them. The hike is completely price it, although, as these are a few of the greatest falls in Costa Rica, and maybe the perfect you could swim near. The 2-tier waterfall stretches a mixed whole of 200 toes. Swim within the swimming pools by visiting the decrease falls space, the place there’s additionally a small cave you may discover. There’s additionally a well-liked jumping-off level the place daring guests can leap into the swimming pools.

  • The place to remain: There aren’t many lodging near the doorway to the Nauyaca Waterfalls, so I like to recommend staying in Dominical (see above). From there you may both drive your self to the waterfalls or take a bus to San Isidro after which a taxi.
  • What to do: Moreover doing the 1.5-hour hike to the falls, there’s additionally the choice to journey on horseback or take a 4×4 jeep there. Each price $30-40 per individual and restrict the time you’ll get to spend on the waterfalls as a result of they run on a schedule.
  • Greatest time to go to: You possibly can go to Nauyaca any time of 12 months and have a blast, even within the wet season. It doesn't matter what month you select, purpose to reach on the entrance to the falls as early as potential (it opens at 7am), as this place will get fairly crowded. Visiting within the morning can also be one of the best ways to keep away from the rain when you go to between June and October.

8. Playa Cocles

On the Caribbean coast close to Puerto Viejo lies Playa Cocles, probably the most magical seashores within the nation, with the best white sand possible and idyllic blue waters often stuffed with surfers. Playa Cocles is sort of a bit extra developed than different seashores on this record, but it surely retains its laid-back environment. It’s widespread amongst surfers due to the killer waves, so it’s not all the time the perfect place for a swim. It makes up for it by having a few mile of soppy, sandy seashore, the right spot to relax out for the day.

  • The place to remain: One of the crucial stunning lodging close by is Finca Chica Lodge & Villas. It has a country cabin really feel, however with luxurious touches all through. I like that it’s shut sufficient to the seashore to stroll, however far sufficient to keep away from the noise of city.
  • What to do: Take a surf lesson, do a day journey to Cahuita Nationwide Park, catch a quintessential Caribbean dawn, play volleyball or strive slacklining on the seashore.
  • Greatest time to go to: The driest instances to go to Playa Cocles are from February to April and from August to October. The latter sounds extra interesting to me, as a result of it doesn’t overlap with the vacationer excessive season.

9. Playa Samara

This pristine seashore is positioned on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast, which is usually far more developed and crowded. Nonetheless, Playa Samara stays a little bit of a secret and nonetheless has a wild attraction, sans luxurious villas dotting the entire seashore. Because it’s not as developed, there’s extra wildlife right here, plus a down-to-earth really feel. The sand is golden and gentle, and the water is ideal for a swim attributable to a coral reef offshore that breaks the depth of the waves. In case you’re on the lookout for a serene seashore vacation spot, Playa Samara is the place for you.

  • The place to remain: Playa Samara is a good funds vacation spot, as a result of lodging costs are a few of the most cost-effective within the space. You possibly can snag a dorm mattress for simply $15/evening at Woodstock Hostel, or a whole eco-cabin with pool access for around $70/night.
  • What to do: Hang around on the seashore, go mountain climbing at Werner-Sauter Organic Reserve, go sea kayaking or snorkeling.
  • Greatest time to go to: Much like Manuel Antonio and Uvita, the perfect time to go to Playa Samara is throughout the shoulder seasons: Might, June, and November.

10. Santa Teresa

On the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, you’ll discover a hippie haven: Santa Teresa. Together with Manuel Antonio, it’s probably the most stunning locations in Costa Rica and subsequently probably the most booming cities within the nation. However for good motive: the seashores listed here are astonishingly stunning, with towering palm bushes, calm waters, and pillow-soft sand. The plush inexperienced hills inland create a stunning backdrop to the beautiful seashore — and there’s an opportunity you’ll see all types of wildlife, from howler monkeys to scarlet macaws and even whales within the distance.

  • The place to remain: Regardless of being a vastly widespread vacation spot and a bit on the ritzy aspect total, there are nice funds spots in Santa Teresa, like Selina Hostel, which has dorm beds for round $12/evening. You may as well get a whole apartment for lower than $100/evening at Cuatro Vientos.
  • What to do: Go for a journey on horseback alongside the seashore, lease a motorcycle and discover downtown, take a yoga class, or go online on the legendary waves.
  • Greatest time to go to: Santa Teresa will get fairly crowded between December and April, so purpose to go to between Might and November. There are heavy rains from the tip of July by way of September, which may put a damper in your seashore plans, though it often solely rains within the afternoons.

11. Cahuita Nationwide Park

If there’s one place I really feel like I really missed out on in Costa Rica during the month I was there, it’s Cahuita Nationwide Park. I stored listening to from locals that I needed to go as a result of it’s probably the greatest spots within the nation to see wildlife. Contemplating I’d simply been fully flabbergasted by the variety of animals I noticed in Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, and Tortuguero, I couldn’t think about it may get higher than any of these.

Cahuita is a well-liked nationwide park for these visiting Puerto Viejo (close to Cocles), but it surely doesn’t obtain as many guests as different parks. Right here you may spot numerous species of monkeys, sloths, lizards, snakes, birds, and plenty of different animals. Inside the nationwide park, you may also discover a few of the most spectacular seashores on the Caribbean coast, a lot of them boasting distinctive black sand.

  • The place to remain: Cahuita has a small-town really feel, which is clear within the lodging there. For instance, visitors from Bidgitte’s Ranch say their sojourn felt like a homestay in one of the best ways. There are tons of budget-friendly choices in Cahuita as effectively, like Secret Garden Hostel, the place you may seize a dorm mattress for as little as $10/evening.
  • What to do: Go snorkeling within the nationwide park or take a guided tour with a information who focuses on recognizing wildlife. Go to Playa Negra to surf, or visit a jaguar sanctuary.
  • Greatest time to go to: Any time is a good time to go to Cahuita, so long as you’re ready for rain within the wet season. Nonetheless, a basic rule of thumb for the Caribbean coast is to go to throughout the driest months, September and October.

12. Poás Volcano

For a lot of vacationers flying into San José, Poás Volcano is likely one of the first stops on their Costa Rica itinerary. This iconic volcano has a brilliant blue lagoon in its crater, which is actually a magnificence to behold. It’s additionally one of many nation’s most energetic volcanoes, additional including to its majestic nature; it final erupted in 2017.

Poás is likely one of the most stunning locations in Costa Rica partly due to its fascinating geology, but additionally due to its elusiveness. Because of the altitude of the crater, there’s an opportunity the clouds might be too thick to see it. In case you do get fortunate, the sight is actually particular.

  • The place to remain: Since Poás is straightforward to get to from San José, contemplate spending a pair days within the metropolis. I stayed in this Airbnb, which was within the hippest and most secure neighborhood, Barrio Amón.
  • What to do: The easiest way to go to Poás is on a tour like this one from San José, as a result of your information will be capable to fill you in on all of the specs of the volcano. Additionally, many excursions let you reschedule if the climate circumstances aren’t proper so you may see the crater in all its glory.
  • Greatest time to go to: Visiting throughout wet season means there’s a great likelihood you gained’t be capable to see the crater, so decide to go to between December and April when there’s much less rain.

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To be trustworthy, I doubt there’s anyplace in Costa Rica that isn’t beautiful in its personal proper. My favourite factor about essentially the most stunning spots in Costa Rica is how numerous they're. There are such a lot of completely different landscapes to take pleasure in right here, from the cloud forests to tropical seashores and steamy volcanoes.

Which place do you assume is essentially the most stunning on this record?

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This post is originally published at Be My Travel Muse blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!