Wondering what are the must sees in Costa Rica, is asking for an impossible answer: everything is beautiful! Costa Rica is bursting with very diverse nature: from cloud forests to tropical beaches, from rain forests till high mountain peaks or volcanoes.
Costa Rica is a real volcano country. Throughout the country there is a series of mountain ridges, and some of them contain volcanoes. In the Central Valley, close to the capital city of San José, you can visit Irazú volcano. The volcano is situated in a National Park. Irazú, close to the city of Cartago, is a kind of ‘moonscape’, very special to see. Poás, near Alajuela, has a crater lake, where you can sometimes smell the sulfur. At this moment you cannot visit Poás, due to volcanic activity. Steam and dust are being thrown into the air. East of Irazú you will find Turrialba Volcano, active since 2008 after a long sleeping period. Steam, dust, rocks and ashes come out of the crater regularly. The crater can not be visited right now, because of the volcanic activity. The best known Costa Rican volcano is Arenal. At this moment this volcano is (temporarily?) inactive. A good place to see the volcano is La Fortuna, or El Castillo. If you want to observe the volcano closer then you go to Arenal Observatory Lodge. Further north are the less known Tenorio and Miravalles volcanoes, and Rincón de la Vieja. In the National Park at the foot of this volcano you can make wonderful hikes. Here you can see boiling bubbling mud, and steam will come just out of the ground.
About 20% of Costa Rica’s surface consists of National Parks. On this site you will find a map of Costa Rica with all the parks. The best known are:
– Corcovado on Osa Peninsula
– Manuel Antonio in the Central Pacific area
– Monteverde in Guanacaste
– Rincón de la Vieja in Guanacaste
– Tortuguero in the northern Caribbean area
And many more!
Costa Rica has a lot of waterfalls. Especially in rainy season they are really spectacular. At some waterfalls you can swim, or climb on the rocks alongside (rappeling). Some of the best known waterfalls are: La Paz, Nauyaca, and Río Celeste waterfall.
Hot springs you will find in the surroundings of Rincón de la Vieja and close to La Fortuna, at Arenal Volcano. But also in the very south, close to San Vito. Or AGUAS TERMALES QUEPOS, just north of Dominical, near Hatillo. Very natural. Entrance $ 5 p.p.
The cloud forests of Costa Rica have a very special flora and fauna. In these forests you can find the quetzal, a wonderful bird. The most famous cloud forests are to be found in Monteverde in Guanacaste and around San Gerardo de Dota, on the road from San José to San Isidro.
In Costa Rica you can find one of the largest mangrove areas of Central America. It is situated in the estuary of the Térraba and Sierpe rivers. In Sierpe you can book a boat tour to spot animals in this special place: four kinds of monkeys, sloths, boa constrictors, scarlet macaws, caymans and crocodiles and lots of birds.