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Costa Rica is interesting for scientists, geographers and archaeologists. But travelers love it the most. This is a small country in Latin America with a diverse natural landscape and a favorable climate. Tourists are interested in all the sights of Costa Rica, among which there are national parks and reserves, thundering waterfalls and awesome volcanoes. The journey takes place along fascinating routes full of secrets and local color. Here, by the way, there is never winter, so the rest is year-round. All guides are highly qualified, because traveling in this country requires specific knowledge.
What to see in Costa Rica in the first place
Before you enlist the help of guides and start exploring this colorful country, take a couple of minutes to browse through our list. Even experienced guides in Costa Rica may not be able to guess which objects will be of interest to you, so it is better to decide on your preferences before the trip.
1. Manuel Antonio National Park (Manuel Antonio)
Bay of Manuel Antonio Park with a beach
One of the must-see attractions in Costa Rica is the Manuel Antonio Park. This is the oldest resort in the country, and it is rightfully considered the most visited. Tourists are attracted here, first of all, by unusually beautiful beaches. They are well maintained, clean and completely safe. A feature of local beaches is snow-white sand, warmed by the sun. In addition, the water in Costa Rica is very clean and transparent.
Since the coast is immersed in greenery, the beaches of Costa Rica are very convenient for families with small children. Families come here, and the tourist infrastructure allows this. Good access roads ensure an even distribution of passenger traffic. Manuel Antonio has many restaurants of different levels. In addition, here, as in any southern resort, nightlife is active.
Bars and cafes are always ready to receive guests, music is booming from everywhere. Souvenir shops are found at every step, so tourists leave here with gifts and souvenirs. There are always a lot of people here, which led to the friendly disposition of local monkeys, which are many in the area. Funny white-faced animals literally stick to tourists, but it is strictly forbidden to feed them.
Official website: http://www.sinac.go.cr
2 Santa Teresa Beach (Nicoya Peninsula)
Tropical Paradise of Santa Teresa Beach
The beach is located in the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula. This is one of the natural attractions of Costa Rica. The atmosphere of the tropical paradise from the advertising posters seems to have come down from the pictures to the ground in this place. White sandy beaches are called the pearl of Costa Rica, and this is true.
The sand here is pleasantly white. It has exceptionally small fractions, so it is not for nothing that it is called silk. The water on the coast is very clean, this is carefully monitored by local services. Many tourists with children aspire to this beach, since the coast is sloping, and the shallow water here extends far inland.
In addition to natural beauties, the beach is interesting because it has a well-established tourist service. Experienced tourists call it civilized. There is a place to rest and eat here. Access roads are in excellent condition. You can always hide from the scorching sun in the shade of spreading trees.
For thrill-seekers looking for something to see in Costa Rica, Santa Teresa Beach is attractive with year-round high wave-swell. The surf conditions here are excellent. Nearby is the small settlement of Malpais, where you can relax, tired of the excess of impressions on the beach.
3. Venado Caves (Venado village)
Bizarre outlines of the cave Venado
Thinking what to see in Costa Rica? The caves of Venado deserve your attention. Tourists are amazed by the guides' message that the age of the caves reaches 20 million years, and that they have been under water for a long time. On the surface of the cave were due to tectonic activity. After the surface of the earth began to move under water, the caves gradually moved up.
For many centuries they were inhabited by aborigines, settling in as much as possible. This is a natural landmark of Costa Rica, formed from the most beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Here you can see plenty of amazing corals. By their structure, the caves are limestone, their vaults are compressed to the state of dense stone. An underwater river flows in the cave, which gives its vaults the most bizarre outlines.
By booking an excursion to the caves of Venado, you can admire the fossilized remains of marine animals and meet hordes of bats. They inhabit these gloomy underground labyrinths, and their whole life passes in pitch darkness. Staying in a cave, as they say, tickles your nerves, but professional guides do not let travelers get scared, drawing their attention to new details. The tour ends with a group selfie.
4. Arenal Volcano (Alajuela Province)
Arenal Volcano and its environs
Arenal Volcano is active. It is interesting because it is located in a mountain with ideally correct conical outlines. Nature decreed that at night the volcano is illuminated by “neon” longitudinal stripes. When an eruption occurs, the lava completely illuminates the surroundings. The height of the volcano above sea level is 1670 m.
Scientists suggest that the first volcanic eruption occurred 7,000 years ago and lasted more than 30 years. Since then, explosive eruptions, extremely spectacular, occur here every few hundred years. Its last powerful eruption occurred in 1968 after an earthquake. Powerful lava flows erupted continuously for several days. They covered 15 square kilometers of the area. Then 80 local residents and 10 rescuers died.
Interestingly, after the 1968 eruption, several other craters formed near the volcano. The village, located on the side of the mountain, completely perished. Currently, scientists periodically note the activity of the volcano. For example, in 2011, a smoke screen was recorded on the top of the Arenal.
5. Corcovado National Park (province of Puntarenas)
The pristine beauty of Corcovado Park
The province of Puntarenas comes close to the Pacific Ocean. It is here that one of the main attractions of Costa Rica is located – Corcovado Park. It is spread out on the Osa Peninsula. The territory of the park is almost completely covered with wild forest. There has never been a felling of trees, so the territory is rightly considered a protected area. Flora and fauna in Corcovado are extremely diverse.
The first settlers began to appear here only in the mid-seventies of the last century. The park has been preserved in its original beauty. There are more than 500 species of different trees here. The famous 70-meter cotton tree, located in the park, has a diameter of 3 meters.
The park will be interesting for those who are fond of ornithology. In particular, 400 species of birds can be found here, including several especially rare ones. For example, the population of red macaws feels at ease here. In addition, the rarest glass frog is also an inhabitant of local forests. Of the mammals in the park, you can meet ocelots and jaguars. Everyone's favorite sloths also live in Corcovado. In the park, to the delight of tourists, there are many monkeys.
If you are thinking about what to see in Costa Rica, then Salsipuedes Cave, located in the park, will leave you with a lasting impression. There is a legend that the innumerable treasures of the famous navigator Francis Drake are hidden on this island. In 1579, F. Drake stopped in one of the bays of the peninsula. It happened during his trip around the world.
Official site: http://www.sinac.go.cr
Feel the atmosphere of Costa Rica in this beautiful video!
6. La Fortuna Waterfall (Alajuela Province)
La Fortuna Falls against the background of wild nature
Costa Rica's natural attractions include the La Fortuna Falls, located in the Arenal National Park. The waterfall has a height of 75 m, but the water flow is not wide, so there are always a lot of swimmers at the foot. In addition, the place has become a favorite for those who prefer picnics in the wild. The fall of the waterfall is surrounded by large stones. A cool and very clean lake formed at its very foot.
Interestingly, the waterfall can be admired both from below and from above. A narrow path leads upstairs, and you can not only walk along it, but also ride a horse. Local residents are happy to provide this opportunity to tourists.
The waterfall is used as an object of tourist infrastructure. At its base, there is an observation deck on top, enabling travelers to enjoy a fabulously beautiful view of the surroundings. The site is safe, it is fenced with a strong net and stable railings.
Official website: http://www.cataratalafortuna
7. Gold Museum (San Jose)
Gold figurines of Indians from the Museum of Gold
What to see in Costa Rica? Of course, the Museum of Gold. It is located next to the San Jose Cathedral. The exhibition includes jewelry and religious items made by Indian craftsmen. Among the exhibits there are rarities made 500 years before the birth of Christ. In addition, exhibits dating back to the 16th century, when the Spaniards first appeared in the city, are of particular value. In total, the museum has approximately 2,000 exhibits.
There are household items, ritual figurines, jewelry. Tourists are delighted with shields made of pure gold, having the size of a human being. Fabulous figures of birds captivate with a particularly delicate ornament.
At the same time, the museum is one of the saddest pages in the history of Costa Rica. The fact is that many jewelry and unique household items belonging to the indigenous population were simply transported by the conquistadors into ingots, since it was more convenient to transport them to Spain. Something, however, has been preserved, so the museum is under special state protection. This is one of the most famous cultural attractions in Costa Rica.
Official website: https://museosdelbancocentral
8. Tortuga Island
View of Tortuga Island
When thinking about what to visit in Costa Rica, you should not ignore the idyllic island of Tortuga, which is a place of pilgrimage for tourists from all over the world. Of all the peninsulas and islands in Costa Rica, this one is the most desirable. At the same time, there are no hotels on it, and tents cannot be pitched here.
What attracts tourists there? The azure ocean and the silky sand of the beach are the main advantages of the island. In fact, Tortuga consists of two islands: Alcatraz and Tolinga, but the name Turtle Island has taken root among the local population. The water here is not just clear, it has the color of sapphire.
On the island, you can endlessly enjoy the sun and sand, or book a variety of excursions. One of the most favorite pastimes for tourists is a trip on a glass bottom boat, which gives a happy opportunity to admire the beauties of the underwater world.
There are plenty of places to eat here. Inexpensive and not crowded cafes are part of the tourist infrastructure. Tired of the sun, you can relax in the coconut grove in the fertile shade. The island is rocky, so in the 17th century it served as a shelter for buccaneer hunters.
9. Hot springs (Tabacon)
< /p> Hot springs in Tabacon resort
Those natural attractions that you must visit in Costa Rica include hot springs in the resort of Tabacon. They are pools of various shapes with thermal water. The hotel itself promises a luxurious service that is enhanced by the extraordinary beauty of nature.
The water in the hottest pools has a temperature of 42 degrees Celsius. They are closest to the Arenal volcano. In those pools that are located on the territory of the resort, the water has a temperature of no more than 27 degrees Celsius. As a rule, tourists move from one pool to another, which enhances the healing effect of exposure to contrasting temperatures.
The history of the origin of these pools is interesting. Water originates in clouds. This is nothing more than rainwater falling into the crevices of the earth's crust. In the immediate vicinity of the Arenal volcano, water is pushed to the surface.
What do tourists see in the resort? There is a lot of lush tropical vegetation here, which does not at all give the impression of some kind of wild thickets. The hotel has a staff of 50 people whose responsibility is to care for the local green spaces. Well-groomed paths lined with beautiful plants lead from one pool to another. Everywhere tourists are surrounded by natural beauty ennobled by man.
10. Chirripo National Park (Cerro Chirripo)
Mountain lakes Chirripo Park
The park is located at an altitude of 3820 meters above sea level. Staying in the park is very comfortable. It is always pleasantly cool here. The nature in the park is diverse, but tourists are most attracted to dwarf trees.
In translation, the name of the park means “eternal waters”. It comes from several mountain lakes scattered throughout the park.
The only way to get to Chirripo Park is on foot. The path is safe, but the journey is long and tiring. However, having overcome it, it will be possible to admire the sunrise over the Caribbean.
Official website: http://www.sinac.go.cr/
Attractions of the Costa -Rica: what else to visit while in Costa Rica
To say that excursions in Costa Rica are interesting is to say nothing, because here tourists will get acquainted with truly exotic animals, monuments of ancient times and incredibly beautiful views. Our list will provide an opportunity to get at least a general idea of the best attractions, so that later it will be easy to decide where to go first and what to leave “for later.”
11. Zoo im. Simona Bolivar (San Jose)
Crocodiles of the Zoo
The San Jose Zoo is one of the most iconic attractions in Costa Rica. It was founded in 1919. For all the time the zoo has been operating, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has paid special attention to ensuring that animals are kept in it in conditions as close to natural as possible.
Here you could see jaguars and lions, not in cages, but in cozy open enclosures. In total, the zoo is home to 400 species of different animals, fish and birds, as well as an impressive collection of snakes. Moreover, in the serpentarium there are especially rare snakes – multi-colored. The pride of the zoo is a large collection of parrots, which are also provided with comfortable living conditions.
In 2013, the government intended to close the zoo. Environment Minister René Castro intended, in his words, “to awaken an environmental conscience in Costa Ricans.” He, in particular, stated that keeping animals in enclosures and cages is inhumane. The government's initiative was to ensure that all 400 species of fish, birds and animals were distributed to shelters or released into the wild.
However, his opponent was the director of the zoo, Yolanda Matamoros. The woman lashed out at the minister, saying that the country does not have the means to distribute such a large number of animals to different points. She was especially indignant at the idea of releasing already domesticated animals into the wild.
Later, the idea of turning the zoo into a botanical garden appeared. However, it continues to function to this day. For tourists, this is one of the most interesting sites in the country.
12. Lake Arenal (90 km from San Jose)
Lake Arenal – a place of various entertainments
The lake is located at an altitude of 600 meters above sea level. It is located next to the Arenal volcano, which is located on the southeast coast. In 1979, construction work was carried out on the dam of the local hydroelectric power station. This provoked an increase in water in the lake by almost three times. At the same time, several local settlements were subject to flooding.
The area of u200bu200bthe lake is 80 square kilometers. This is the largest fresh water reservoir in the region. The lake provides water not only to San José, but also to Gaunacast. Year-round for tourists in the lake area offers a wide variety of entertainment. Here you can do organized fishing or windsurfing.
In addition, kayaking and boat trips are regularly held on the lake. For surfers, the lake is interesting because there is a constant wind load here. In addition, in the vicinity of the lake you can ride a mountain bike.
13. Butterfly Farm (Puntarenas)
The Butterfly Farm is home to beautiful creatures
At the Butterfly Farm in the province of Puntarenas, you can see butterflies of all kinds. This is one of those sights that almost all tourists strive to see in Costa Rica. The trip to the farm is accompanied by a professional guide. You can listen to a whole story about each butterfly.
The attendants talk about how butterflies hatch from a cocoon and what living conditions they need. The farm is located in the Monteverde Park. Tourists will meet not only with colorful beautiful butterflies, but also with many exotic plants.
The farm is one of the undoubted attractions of Costa Rica. Butterflies are grown here not only for scientific purposes. This is a real business, because such an original gift as a butterfly in a box is gaining more and more popularity around the world.
14. Monteverde National Park (Monteverde)
Suspension bridge in Monteverde Park
The province is located at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level in the Cordillera. For tourists, this area is attractive for forests, which are always shrouded in fog. In them you can admire the flora and fauna, untouched by man.
Monteverde National Park has become a natural attraction in Costa Rica and one of the most popular destinations for popular eco-tourism. There are over 400 species of birds and 100 species of mammals in this biological reserve.
As for plants, there are more than two and a half thousand species of them. Hiking trails run along the entire park, which are invisible at first glance. They are laid through the thickets of the forest, so it is especially interesting to wade through them.
In addition, the park has several suspension bridges from which you can admire the tops of trees, which are always covered with gray clouds.
15. Cocos Island (Puntarenas)
The lush jungle of Cocos Island
Of all the uninhabited islands in the Pacific Ocean, Cocos is the largest. It is separated from the coast of the country by 360 miles. The fauna of the island is under protection, since 1997 Cocos Island has been included in the list of UNESCO sites.
Why is this natural landmark of Costa Rica interesting for tourists? Of course, the lush jungle, wading through which is a real adventure. In addition, the seabed near the island is dotted with volcanic rocks, on which algae writhe intricately.
It is noteworthy that gold played a big role in the history of the island. In the 16th century, the warriors of the Tahuantinsuyu empire were armed with swords made of real gold, and the central square of the main city on the island was surrounded by a huge chain also made of precious metal.
There is a legend according to which the disappeared Inca gold is hidden on this island. For example, August Gissler, a German explorer and founder of a colony on Cocos Island, has been searching for this gold for 20 years. However, the search for it was unsuccessful.
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