Top 10 Locations in Costa Rica for First-Timers
Planning to visit Costa Rica for the first time, but not sure where to begin? With endless wildlife spotting, miles of beaches, legendary surf, and volcanoes to hike, the country rewards repeat visits. However, if you are a first-timer trying to explore the beauty of Costa Rica, then the following are the 10 locations that will steer you in the right direction:
1. Santa Elena and Monteverde
The neighboring towns of Santa Elena and Monteverde are the birthplace of the ecotourism movement of Costa Rica. Apart from the iconic cloud forests, there are many places in these areas where you can search for rare splendid quetzals, go trekking at amazing heights, and more.
2. Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio is one of the most popular national parks of Costa Rica. This is the place that represents the Costa Rica of your dreams. Here, you can take leisurely hikes along shores that are palm-fringed and surrounded by tropical waves. You can also watch all kinds of monkeys bounding through the forest canopy.
3. Arenal Volcano
By day, you might hear it quaking and rumbling, and if the smoke clouds clear, you will be able to marvel at the volcano’s almost-perfect conical shape. At nighttime, you can witness the volcano’s beauty and true power with avalanches of flaming rocks.
4. Reggae in Puerto Viejo
If you want to feast on spice-rubbed jerk chicken and coconut-scented rice and burn the calories on reggae beats afterwards, then Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is the place for you. This is the place that is often called the ‘other Costa Rica’. Here, Afro-Caribbean culture thrives and English trumps Spanish.
5. Mal País & Santa Teresa
Situated at the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Mal País and Santa Teresa offer some of Costa Rica’s best surf. These destinations were once considered out-of-reach locales; however, with better tourist infrastructure and improved road access have brought about an increasingly urbane scene.
6. Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park is one of the unrivaled eco-destinations of Costa Rica. It is an amazing network of canals that navigate through coastal wetlands and pristine jungle.
7. Central Valley
Central Valley is home to some of the best whitewater rafting in the entire Central America. This is the place for you if you are looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure. A day full of intense paddling should certainly be on your agenda when you visit this place.
Montezuma is a hippie, relaxed beach town located at the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. It is the kind of place you work hard to get to and once you are there, you dismiss the idea of ever leaving. Days in Montezuma revolve around a heavenly cycle of sand, sun, sea, and sleep.
9. Samara Beach
Samara Beach is one of Costa Rica’s most scenic beaches. It is an angelic strip of white sand that lies between a string of trendy cafes and restaurants and gently rolling turquoise seas. It is a perfect destination for vacationing families that are looking for a quiet retreat.
10. Mount Chirripó
Mount Chirripó is one of the lofty heights of Costa Rica. If you endure the difficult trek to the top, you will come to see how rewarding the experience is as you will surely enjoy the visual feast that the Mount Chirripó has to offer.