Welcome to Costa Rica, the land of “Pura Vida,” stunning scenery, adrenaline-pumping adventure and incredible natural diversity. There is something for everyone no matter what your age or ability – whether it be hiking in a rain forest, observing volcanoes, soaking in hot thermal springs or embarking on a river boat tour. Did I mention the weather is great most of the time and the people are friendly? You will find when it comes to activities and tourist attractions in Costa Rica, the possibilities are endless.
All travelers find an abundance of activities in Costa Rica’s tropical paradise. If the body is up to it, try zip-lining through a rain forest canopy, hiking up a volcano or relaxing on a white sandy beach listening to the sound of the waves or snorkel in the blue waters admiring the underwater world of colorful fishes. The only way you’ll have time to explore all that Costa Rica offers (and there’s much to discover) is by taking an extended stay vacation of more than a week in Costa Rica.
In addition to these activities, there are many nature preserves and national parks with an abundance of the natural world. Rain forests, howler monkeys and other mammals, reptiles, exotic birds are there to experience on excursions from Liberia, a city in northern Costa Rica, near the Nicoya Peninsula. So many places to see and on a short vacation of just a week, there’s just not enough time to visit all the attractions of this Central American country. To really experience “la pura vida,” you need to take the time to book a long stay vacation.
For the best that Costa Rica has to offer, a good place to start is in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. You will want to venture out after exploring the historical aspects of the city. While in San Jose, you might stay a few days at our favorite hotel in San Jose, the stylish Gran Hotel in Costa Rica. After visiting the city and enjoying its restaurants and bars, museums and other attractions, take some time to explore the rest of Costa Rica.
Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs
Some people choose to admire the Arenal Volcano from a distance but why do that when you can hike around it and learn more about this natural wonder that once erupted and devastated the small town of nearby La Fortuna. Arenal Volcano is still active but don’t worry, a seismometer at the nearby Arenal Observatory is constantly keeping an eye on seismic activity from the volcano.
Guided hiking tours are offered so visitors can get a better view of the volcano and get a taste of the flora and fauna of the surrounding area. A rejuvenating soak in a hot spring is the best thing to do following this hike and, lucky for you, there is a spa in La Fortuna. In addition to a wide variety of luxury spa treatments, a number of hot spring pools are scattered about a lovely green area. Nearby are the Arenal Blancas Hanging Bridges. A series of hiking trails are dotted with these bridges which are the best way to experience the rainforest canopy.
Where to stay? May we suggest the luxury Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort. Breakfast and transfers are included, as well as the Arenal hanging bridges tour and access to the Unique Thermal Mineral Springs Resort,
Float down the Penas Blancas River
The Penas Blancas River is perfect for a relaxing boating trip. While many rivers in the country feature raging white waters, Penas Blancas offers a calmer experience. The slower pace offers plenty of opportunity to observe water, plant and land life. The local people who offer these tours are experienced and knowledgeable nature guides.
Explore the Beauty and Diversity of Manual Antonio
If you would like to see rain forest, sandy beaches and coral reefs all in one area, Manuel Antonio National Park is world-renowned for its natural beauty and diversity. The park is one of the best areas for bird-watching and nature viewing in the country and there are plenty of hiking trails and viewpoints along the way. Nearby you can see and learn about the many butterfly species of Costa Rica at The Wildlife Refuge Butterfly Gardens.
Where to stay near the Manuel Antonio National Park? We recommend the Si Como No Resort and Spa which offers breakfast and transfers from Tamarindo, shuttle to the beach, and the Damas Island Mangrove boat tour.
Discover Damas Island
When it comes to tourist attractions in Costa Rica, boat tours are popular and are also the best way to explore The Damas Island Estuary and mangroves. Monkeys, sloths and crocodiles are some of the locals you will meet while you peacefully float along this area of natural wonders.
If you are in the area of either Tamarindo, Flamingo or Playa Grande, Guanacaste’s Gold Coast is within ten minutes. This seaside beach paradise is a favorite with surfers, sunbathers, divers and visitors simply looking for a place to relax away from the heat of the interior. There are more than 50 beaches to choose from along this stretch and the waters are warm and clear. The two national parks of Palo Verde and Rincon de la Vieja are in this region and offer up more opportunities to view wildlife, do some nature hiking and soak in the hot springs.
In Tamarindo, stay at the 31 acre community at The Oaks Resort, situated by a lake with wild beautiful orchid gardens and fantastic views, perfect for enjoying a long stay vacation.
Best Times of Year to Visit?
When is the best time to visit Costa Rica? The best times to visit Costa Rica would be in the dry season from mid-December to April. That being said, it’s also the peak tourist season and the prices are generally higher and it can get crowded. Specifically speaking, the crowds have packed up and gone home by the end of February. Early September is also a good time to visit. October has the heaviest rainfall. There is a little rain but it won’t spoil your long stay vacation in Costa Rica because you have given yourself the gift of time to enjoy la pura vida.