When searching online for the best or top things to see during your visit to the spectacular country that is Costa Rica, you will never get a list that says the same thing. There are always crossovers on each list, and newcomers, and never does each list have the same top site. How are you ever supposed to know where to go? Well, I took it straight to the source for you. I asked a local, who just happens to be one of our expert Exito staff members, Steven Soto. He gave me the top 5 must see places of where he calls home that he knows youâ€™ll enjoy. Also if you have any questions, heâ€™ll be more than happy to answer them, so feel free to shoot him any email about your travels to Costa Rica.
1. Arenal Volcano
Number one atop Stevenâ€™s list is the Arenal Volcano. With over 200 volcanic formations, you might be wondering how just one could make the top of the list. Well this volcano, which sits in the middle of the country, still erupts! There are 6 active volcanoes in Costa Rica, but the Arenal is definitely the most well-known and most visited, despite the slowing down of eruptions since 2010. If youâ€™re lucky and the fog and clouds arenâ€™t surrounding the top (the best months to visit are February to April) youâ€™ll still be able to see small eruptions or even lava flowing down. If you happen to be there when itâ€™s not erupting, fear not. Itâ€™s still amazingly beautiful, and very impressive in all its symmetry and splendor. Plus, there are a plethora of things to do in the area. The area has a great waterfall called La Fortuna. The Arenal Volcano is also located in a National Park, which has excellent hiking and sunset views over the lake. There are tons of outdoor activities, and famous hot springs. With this much to do, and more, itâ€™s a definite number one must see!
The second spot on our expertâ€™s list is the beautiful Monteverde with its bountiful offerings. What isnâ€™t there to do in Monteverde? Monteverdeâ€™s Cloud Forest Reserves provide visitors with the opportunity to see exotic wildlife, while experiencing the wonder of this special ecosystem.Â As they sit atop the continental divide causing you to get crazy winds and weather, the clouds just sit still, but inside itâ€™s a different world. Inside these forests are green and alive with plants and wildlife. You can go on hikes lead by a guide who can point out exotic birds, or you can take a trip to a butterfly farm. The hanging bridge and aerial tram are popular attractions too, as the allow visitors to travel into the upper canopy. Zip-lining tours are also available. Outside the jungle there is plenty to do as well, like the Cheese Factory tour, a hummingbird garden, or even a coffee tour. There are things for everyone!
3. Miss Sky Canopy, Nasora
If you are able to resist zip-lining through the cloud forests, which somehow we suggest you resist, save it for this stop. The Miss Sky Canopy Tour is the longest canopy tour in the world, and the next longest is less than 50% of the length! The longest line is over 750m (nearly half a mile), and its total length is 11km (nearly 7 miles). It is located in a 2,500 acre forest reserve, located in a coastal mountain range with great views of Costa Ricaâ€™s beautiful Pacific Coast beaches. One of the stops is even at the largest waterfall in the region. You canâ€™t beat thatâ€¦except they try, because after you sail above the pristine Nosara River, you zip right into a disco-bar on the top floor of a five story architectural masterpiece. Their safety is top notch too. All lines are double wired, which is double what is required by the Costa Rica tourist board specifications. This allows your ride to be completely smooth, with no spinning, and hands free (if you wish).Â This is just the beginning of their steps to assure your safety. This stop is a must for any trip to Costa Rica.
4. Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio may be Costa Ricaâ€™s smallest national park, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in the stunning beauty it contains in it 683 hectares. It is the picture-perfect combination of rainforest, beaches and coral reefs. There is great biodiversity in the park, including 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds. There are four beautiful beaches within its limits that all boast white sand and warm blue water. Snorkeling is excellent in this area for the swimmer, and for the land dweller, the park also has great hiking. If you fancy relaxing on the beach, keep your eyes pealed towards the 12 isles included in the park that are frequented by dolphins and sometimes migrating whales. This park has something for everyone.
5. Tortuguero National Park
If youâ€™re a wildlife lover, this is the place for you. Tortuguero National Park, like many places in Costa Rica, has a large variety of biodiversity. The park itself has 11 different habitats. Its ecosystem is home to more than 400 species of trees alone, and about 2,200 species of other plants. If you take a trip here youâ€™ll see some of the extensive amounts of wildlife including around 170 species of reptiles and amphibians, 60 species of mammals, and 300 different species of birds. The real highlight of the park, though, are the large numbers of turtles (hence the name) that come to nest on the 22 mile long shoreline. The best time to see them nesting is in April and May. Because of the overlap of some of the nesting and hatching seasons of different turtle species, you might get extra lucky and get to see some of the newly hatched turtles race to sea. Besides the wildlife, Tortuguero offers places to go hiking, canoeing, kayaking, as well as canal cruises. And Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll see some wildlife somewhere along one of those as well.
6. Osa Peninsula
Yes, we said just 5, but weâ€™re throwing in an extra. Lucky you! The Osa Peninsula is one of the little-known wonders of Costa Rica. The peninsula is home to at least half of all species living in Costa Rica. It is known for its natural wonders and some pretty breathtaking views. One-third of the peninsula is made up of protected rainforest in the Corcovado National Park, which offers some excellent opportunities to spot endangered species like the jaguar. It has great hiking where youâ€™ll see more wildlife, but besides hiking there is also bird watching, fishing, horseback riding and kayaking. The beaches also offer great swimming, and surfing. If you find yourself wandering through one of the villages on this great peninsula, there will be many other great opportunities to try in the wondrous, untouched place.
Costa Rica is full of many more exciting places. As Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll see if you do any â€œTop 10â€ search, no one can decide whatâ€™s best, and thatâ€™s great! Everything is great! You really canâ€™t go wrong. We, with the help of our expert Steven, recommend these, but most especially, we recommend Costa Rica. And weâ€™d love to help get you there. Call one of our expert flight specialists today so you can see these places for yourself!