Kirsten Maxwell of Kids Are A Trip shares some of her favorite things not to miss in this Central American country to make your trip memorable. Check out her picks for must-have experiences in Costa Rica.
The Rio Celeste waterfall in Costa Rica
Watching turtles nest in Tortuguero
In the northern part of Costa Rica, along the Caribbean, lies Tortuguero National Park. Not only is the area filled with an abundance of wildlife and is home to a massive amount of nesting turtles each year. Green, Leatherback, Loggerhead, and Hawksbill sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand and a limited number of visitors can see this in action. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Soaring through the rainforest on a zip line
One of the most remarkable and memorable experiences to have in Costa Rica is soaring on a zip line over the rainforest. Many companies provide an opportunity to see the jungle from this perspective, but some of the best views are in Arenal and Manuel Antonio. For daredevils, consider the Superman zip line at Diamante Eco Park in Guanacaste.
Costa Rica has some amazing rivers for exploring. There are rapids all the way to Class IV+ and you can raft or kayak, whatever is the most comfortable. Some of the more popular spots include the Pacuare and Sarapiquí Rivers, as both are good for beginners. White water rafting is a healthy combination of hard work and fun, so bring a good attitude and prepare to get wet!
Hunting for shells on Playa Conchal
Playa Conchal is often referred to as one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches. The beach takes its name from the Spanish word for shell (concha), and there are literally millions of them littering the beach. Take time to walk around and find some unique souvenirs and then take a swim in the stunning aquamarine waters. The beach is difficult to reach, but worth the effort.
Getting up close and personal with sloths
The sloth is an elusive creature and not as abundant in Costa Rica as one might think. For almost guaranteed sloth sightings, head to Manuel Antonio National Park or the Osa Peninsula. There are sloths throughout the country, but one of the best ways to see them is by hiring a tour guide.
Hot springs are plentiful in Costa Rica, thanks to over 200 volcanic formations in the country (100 of which are showing volcanic activity) and 5 active volcanoes. The area surrounding Arenal Volcano has a large selection of natural hot springs to visit. Some hot springs are within a resort (such as Tabacon Hot Springs), while others have open (and free) access such as Arenal Observatory. Plan on relaxing like never before at one of these invigorating pools.
Eating local ceviche while enjoying the sunset
Costa Rican food typically features a lot of rice, beans, plantains, and seafood. Do yourself a favor and try them all. Find a beach-front spot with a sunset view (we liked El Mangroove hotel on Papagayo Beach) and enjoy fresh ceviche and a cocktail. The ultimate way to experience la pura vida!