101 Things you must do while in Costa Rica


If you are planning to come to Costa Rica but are unsure about what to do, or which things are really the high lights of the country, then this is the list for you. We don´t mean to be exhaustive on the recommendations we are making, but we want to offer a great deal of options for all kind of interests. You will find the activities and places on the list to be very outdoorsy, natural and with a high level of adventure. the truth is that coming to Costa Rica is an amazing experience of having contact with nature and enjoy the beautiful gifts on this world.

After you see our 101 Things to Know About Costa Rica, you are ready to follow the next step, which is knowing what to do here and have options. Feel free to ask us more information about any of the following suggestions:


  1. Museums in San Jose. There are many museums in the city, but the most visited and interested are: Jade Museum, National Museum, Museums of Banco Central (Gold, Precolumbian and Numismatic), and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
  2. Visit Plaza de la Cultura, the center of San Jose. You can walk throught the boulevar and see the comercial heart of the country.
  3. Take a picture of the National Teather, Central Park, Morazan Park and Melico Salazar Teather.
  4. Make a travel itinerary where you will visit at least 6 of the 7 provinces of Costa Rica. It is completelly possible!!!
  5. Arenal Volcano and Arenal National Park. Located close to La Fortuna, this small town has everything you are looking for in terms of adventure and nature.
  6. While on La Fortuna, you should visit La Fortuna Waterfall. One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country is hidden 400 steps from the main entrance. It is a place to enjoy the cold water of La Fortuna river and the lush green forest of the area.
  7. Also, get some time to walk Cerro Chato Trail. It is a nice moderate walk to an extinct volcano and see the crater lagoon on top.
  8. Venado Caves.
  9. Thermal waters of Arenal La fortuna. There are many options for all budgets.
  10. Drive around the Arenal Lake to a small town named Viejo Arenal. It is a pintorest town located on the border of the Lake, with a great view and wonderful sites to stop and have a cup of coffee.
  11. Catarata de San Luis (waterfall), located on the hills of Tilaran, on the road to Monteverde. It is a hidden waterfall that very few people know and enjoy.
  12. Monteverde. For a long time, this destination was on the top list of places to know before dying. It is a magnificent place where the Cloud Forest can be found and enjoyed. It is actually one of the few places where the Cloud Forest still exists on the world, and because of the climate change it is desappearing very fast.
  13. Canopy Tour. Costa Rica is big on Canopy tours, tirolesas or ziplinings. The name changes according to the places and interest, but the main idea is the same: on a ziplining tour you will be glidding on a cable throught the top of the forest. Wherever you are in Costa Rica, you will find options to enjoy this tour. You can ask us for the best options.
  14. Tarzan Swing. Sometimes, the ziplining tour or canopy tour is combined with the Tarzan Swing experience, which basicly is a free fall and pendulo movement through the forest.
  15. Superman glidding expeience.
  16. Volcan Tenorio National Park and Rio Celeste. Located in Bijagua de Upala.
  17. San Juan River Tour. This river divides Nicaragua from Costa Rica, and it is a marvelous experience to cross the river and have the opportunity to see both different countries.
  18. Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge. An amazing place for birdwatching.
  19. Tamarindo Beach. One of the most visited beaches in Guanacaste area.
  20. Samara Beach.
  21. Mal Pais and Santa Elena. This is one of the most amazing places for surfers. It is actually a great place to surf when the sun is going down.
  22. Montezuma area.
  23. Curu Biological Private Nature and Wildlife Reserve. Family-owned Curú Wildlife Reserve is one of the ecologically richest preserves in the Nicoya Peninsula.
  24. Crossing by ferry the Nicoya Gulf.
  25. San Lucas Island National Wildlife Refuge.  For over 100 years it was home to a brutal prison, often compared to Alcatraz, and Devil’s Island. Since the prison closed in 1992, the Island has been off-limits to visitors.
  26. Tortuga Island. White sand beaches and emerald waters make this island a special destination, where you can snorkel, play volleyball, go for a hike or just relax on the beach.
  27. Coffee Tours.
  28. Kite Surfing. it can be done at Arenal Lake and Dominical beach.
  29. Poas Volcano National Park and Botos Lagoon.
  30. Horseback riding uphill on muddy trails through the rain forest. All an experience!!!
  31. See a sunset on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. They are amazing!!!
  32. Irazu Volcano National Park.
  33. Orosi Valley. Located at Cartago Province.
  34. Ujarras Church. Located on the Ujarras Valley.
  35. Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. Located on Cartago City.
  36. Mountain Bike tour from Irazu Volcano to Turrialba Volcano.
  37. White Water Rafting on Pacuare River. According to National Geographic, Pacuare River is considered one of the top 5 most escenic rivers for white water rafting in the whole world.
  38. Cross Braulio Carrillo National Park. 
  39. Take a picture on Rio Sucio Bridge. This river is located on the way to Guapiles on the Braulio Carrillo Road. It is interesting becuse on the bridge you can see the combination of two rivers of different colors, once clear and one dark bronw, showing a great landscape for nature lovers.
  40. Tortuguero National Park. Stay at least one night on Tortuguero to experience the canals, and superb wildlife.
  41. Hatch of Turtles in Tortuguero beach. 
  42. Travel on a domestic flight at least to one location in Costa Rica. Flight over the country is by itself a great and beautiful experience.
  43. Barra Honda National Park. Located on Guanacaste.
  44. Visit the souvenir open market close to Central Park, or Moravia comercial souvenir area.
  45. Sarchi area and the Oxcart Museum.
  46. Buy a souvenir made out of wood.
  47. Visit the Central Market on San Jose downtown.
  48. Experience a Night Walk on the forest.
  49. Boat or kayak tour on the mangroves of Costa Rica.
  50. Kayak tour on the emerald sea waters of the Pacific side of Costa Rica.
  51. Bahia Drake. Sleep in one of the hotels in this area, with rough bungalows and nature experience.
  52. Corcovado National Park.
  53. Cano Island.
  54. Bungee jumping at Naranjo Bridge. There are also bungee sites on Monteverde and Jaco.
  55. Dominical Beach.
  56. Cahuita National Park.
  57. Visit the Dry Forest at Guanacaste Province. there are other National Parks in the area, such as the Guanacaste National Park, and Santa Rosa National Park. On the last one you can see the Casona, where Juan Santamaria became the heroes of Costa Rica.
  58. Puerto Viejo and Cahuita beach.
  59. Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. A collection of rainforest and wetland habitat, with a beautiful white sand beach close by.
  60. Cocos Island. This one is very diffuclt to do, but it was necessary to put it in this list.
  61. Hike to the crater of Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.
  62. Stop at Tarcoles river bridge to see cocodriles.
  63. Hike Chirripo National Park. By far the most difficult touristic hike in the country.
  64. Visit Hornillas site, on Miravalles Volcano.
  65. Bird watching tour.
  66. See whales and dolphins on the Pacific side of Costa Rica during mating season.
  67. ATV Tour at Tapanti National Park.
  68. Palo Verde National Park.
  69. Banana Plantatio Tour.
  70. Pineapple Plantation Tour.
  71. Boat tour on the Terraba Sierpe River and mangroves.
  72. Guatabo National Monument and archeological site.
  73. Visit the archeological sites (petroglifos) at Guanacaste Province.
  74. Take the national touristic train from San Jose to Caldera, on Puntarenas.
  75. Sunset sailing on the Pacific Coast of Guanacaste. 
  76. San Gerardo de Dota. This place is a jewel on the forest, amazing for bird observers and people who want to relax in nature.
  77. Saavegre Waterfalls.
  78. Cerro de la Muerte experience and Quetzal spotting.
  79. Try the national bus sistem in Costa Rica.
  80. Take a picture with an painted oxcart and a “boyero”.
  81. See a Monkey, a sloth and a rakoon. This is most probably seen on Manuel Antonio National Park and Cahuita National Park, although this animals can be found everywhere in the country.
  82. Rappel down a waterfall. This can be done in Rincon de la Vieja, Monteverde and La Fortuna (Arenal).
  83. Help plant a tree. It can be done actually planting a tree or donating 1 dollar to save a tree.
  84. Drink an Imperial beer.
  85. Eat on a Typical Costa Rican Restaurant, and ask for the Casado dish.
  86. Have a volcanic mud bath and the wash down the thermal waters at Rincon de la Vieja.
  87. Try “arroz con leche” dessert.
  88. Taste a “gallito” of picadillo, potatoe with meat, or cheese.
  89. Marino Ballena National Park.
  90. Snorkel on Cahuita beach or Cano Island, and scuba dive in Cocos Beach.
  91. Hot Air ballon Tour on San Carlos area.
  92. Paragliding on Condor Nest (Nido del Condor) in Puntarenas. It also can be done on Turrialba area.
  93. Visit an indigenous region. Possible in Los Santos area, La Fortuna, and Guanacaste, among others.
  94. Eat “Rice and Bean” on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. 
  95. Say “Pura Vida” (Pure Life) to a Tico, at least one time.
  96. Walk in the forest on hanging bridges. Possible in La Fortuna and Monteverde.
  97. Visit a Botanical Garden. There are many in the country, but the biggest are the Lankaster Garden, Wilson Garden and Else Kientzler Garden.
  98. Visit Angel Waterfall at Sarapiqui. A complex of 4 waterfalls surrounded by the most beautiful forest. They can be seen from the road.
  99. Zarcero Plaza, where you can observe animal forms made out of trees.
  100. Butterfly farms. They are amazing places where you can observe first hand beautiful butterflies and learn about their way of living. Most touristic places have butterfly farms.
  101. Frog Farm (Ranario) and Snake Farm (Serpentario). This places show a little bit of the anphians that exist in Costa Rica. You can find frog farms in many places in the country.

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