There are plenty of beautiful holiday destinations scattered across the globe, yet Costa Rica manages to stand out as exceptionally stunning. Home to some of the earth’s most pristine natural landscapes, the Central American country is covered with beaches, volcanoes and rainforests unspoilt by human influence.
As a hotspot for ecotourism, Costa Rica holidays are perfect for those seeking an eco-friendly adventure. During your stay, don’t miss these top 5 attractions:
1. Arenal Volcano National Park
While the words Costa Rica may mean ‘rich coast’, heading away from the sea and inland to the Arenal Volcano National Park will not disappoint. Within the park you’ll encounter one of the world’s most active volcanoes, thought to be dormant until it famously and unexpectedly erupted in 1968. Hiking through the scenic national park is popular among both eco-tourists and adventure seekers.
2. Cocos Island
The only island in the tropical Pacific to contain a tropical rainforest, Cocos is one of the most ecologically unique places on the planet. The UNESCO World Heritage site is known worldwide as a top scuba diving spot, filled with plenty of tropical, aquatic wildlife. Cocos Island is also rich in folklore, filled with pirates and buried treasure.
Despite its growing popularity, Montezuma remains one of Costa Rica’s most charming beach towns. As Lonely Planet puts it, Montezuma is “immediately endearing” and offers an idyllic mix of tourist activities and local flare. The town has a distinct hippie subculture, making it the perfect place to enjoy a yoga practice on the beach or veggie-friendly meal at a local cafe.
4. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Situated within Costa Rica’s Cordillera de Tilarán mountain range, this enchanting collection of virgin forests is known for its high biodiversity. The reserve is home to more than 400 species of bird (including 30 species of hummingbird), over 100 species of mammals and more than 1,200 species of reptiles and amphibians. One of the best ways to experience the cloud forest is with a canopy tour where zip lines and hanging bridges give you a bird’s eye view of the natural wildlife below.
This Northern Pacific town and district of Costa Rica is most famous for its party and surf scene. The area is home to a number of beautiful beaches, most notably Langosta and Tamarindo. It’s also just a 30-minute drive from the indigenous community of Guaitil, known for its clay pottery (makes a great souvenir).
A nation gifted with raw beauty, it’s no wonder that the top 5 Costa Rica attractions are all situated outside its bustling cities. Though a visit to San Jose and Limón can make for a nice urban adventure, Costa Rica’s natural landscapes are what truly stand out. It’s also easier to get to than ever with a number of operators now offering cheap flights to Costa Rica.
Holly Davies is a freelance writer who specialises in the independent travel around the Americas.