Top 10 Costa Rica stops for first-timers
Must-Visit Costa Rica Destinations
Volcano and Manuel
Antonio National Park...For
the mountain/volcano the Arenal area
And for beaches - Manuel
Viejo, Tamarindo, Samara, Montezuma, Mal Pais......
The list goes on
a few days at Samara
Beach -www.samarabeach.net -
Samara, is a laid-back, small beach town for relaxing and enjoying
and then a few days at Heliconias Lodge and Rainforest -
Heliconias Lodge is near the Tenorio
National Park and has tours to the Rio
Celeste . . -- the three most popular places in Costa
Rica are Manuel
Antonio, Arenal (La
Fortuna) and Monteverde.
CARAVAN TOURS of Costa Rica a
Very reasonably priced as well. You spend 2 nights in 4 places and see and
experience different things. You see 2 volcanos, a beautiful beach, do a 2 miles
hike in the rain forest that has 6 hanging suspension bridges, go to the hot
springs in Arenal,
the gold museum, and spend 2 nights in
Tortugueuro National Park which is accessible by boat only. There you stay
in eco lodging so no AC but we did a night tour and
laying their eggs on the beach.
Costa Rica does a good job of conservation and show great care and concern for
the turtles. You have to go with a guide at night on the beach and we saw 4
turtles up close in the egg laying process and the turtles are very large.
Caravan made it easy and we met some friends as well. There were about 8 younger
people on our trip - ages 14 to 25. Some of the roads in Costa Rica are not
great and addresses and mapquest directions do not exist in Costa Rica so if you
are staying on the main roads, you would be fine, but some of the places we went
were miles on some back roads - through banana plantations, etc. One of the best
things on the trip was the guide who was a Costa Rican local but spoke very good
english. He told you what you were seeing and it was educational to learn about
the places, the people and the culture/history.
is in the jungle, high-end and overall very nice place to stay.
springs hotel has amazing suites and lots of fun activities to do and the
is a relaxed hotel on the beach with beautiful sunsets and all inclusive
I've heard good things about Peace Lodge and Arenal Springs.
I can heartily recommend
Lapa Rios Eco Lodge
(fairly luxurious eco lodge near a beach, with whale watching!) and
La Quinta de Sarapiqui
(in Sarapiqui) for a more down-home experience - fabulous nature!).
is a beautiful town adjacent to rain forests.
Slow Family Travel Blog:
. West coast all the way. East coast is murky full of sharks.
Maybe from Jaco down, rent a car.
is dodgey but I love it.
Just rent the best 4 wheel you can justify and drive down the west coast
Allocate time for
Manual San Antonio.
There is a
resort run by Belgiumís in Arenal.
(West Coast side, not far from
& owned by a Marin native & his wife. Off the beaten path next to an undeveloped
beach. Beautiful! https://ripjackinn.com
Leatherback Turtle tour, zip canopy tour, estuary tour and sunset snorkel and
sailing trip. There are also several different ways to explore Rincon de la
Vieja, the closest volcano to the hotel.
Bosque Del Cabo
Is a truly Amazing place.
Villas Playa Samara is a beautiful
resort on the west coast of Guancaste peninsula.
Amor de Mar in Montezuma
https://www.amordemar.com/ Make sure you do the hammock tour daily!!
If you love to dance to reggae music right on the beach go to Puerto Viejo on
the Caribbean coast at the tip of Costa Rica. Great live music every night. Also
this town is a center for traditional indigenous herbal healing and has a
world-renowned school of shamanic studies and herbal healing.
Tabacon hot springs.
I stayed at the
Chachagua rainforest hotel, glorious. 30 minutes to Arenal and the falls and
hit springs and an easy drive from San Jose.
recommend staying on the Pacific side. Better food, scenery, views and sights.
Osa Peninsula (where Bosque del Cabo and other 5/5-rated rainforest resorts are
located) is the most magical place in Costa Rica according to many reviewers.
The huge exotic vibrantly colored birds soaring in pairs, monkey troups, big
bullfrogs, sloths, capybaras, etc. For us, it was a small surreal private plane
through the clouds and a long bumpy Indiana Jones jeep ride to get there, but we
cherish our unforgettable memories of the tropical rainforest. (Yes, Harrison
Ford actually took that jeep ride, too.) Bring bug repellant!!! Also, make sure
there are no hammerhead sharks or jellyfish if you jump in deep water.
There are many varied places to visit with very different microclimates. A boat
ride through National Verde
Park was pretty amazing (but a local 12yo boy had been eaten by a crocodile
as we got there; our guide spoke great English and told us that the riverside
residents understand the dangers and that the country really belongs to the
animals). By chance, we
On the all-day WAY-HIGH (far above the rainforest canopy) tours, you are REALLY
signing off on liability . . . not for the faint-hearted, especially in windy
Roads are ROUGH, so it takes a while getting from one place to another.
Beware that Spanish-speaking third-world airport security may not negotiate the
rules the way English-speaking developed countries might: they threw away a lot
of our toiletries that they didn't feel passed the test (but they passed by
American standards), and they said our family of five couldn't take five carry-ons
(contrary to Delta regulations), so we missed our connecting flight waiting for
our checked-in carry-ons to deplane . . . very messy. Nevertheless, Costa Rica
ranks high on the "HAPPY" country scale.
Manual Antonio natl
park is one of the most beautiful places on earth !
white water rafting on the river they filmed part of Congo. Also, the
hummingbird sanctuary on
I would stay away from the Caribbean coast. Otherwise, start at San Jose or fly
as mentioned above is beautiful. Also,
is great, There is a really good all inclusive resort outside of Tamarindo
. .. ok, think its a Barcelo. Lovely location and really good food. nice little
peaceful beach. Also, another great place up the coast . . . I would have to
look it up. We spent a month in Costa Rica many years ago and had a great time.
Antonio natl park
is indeed beautiful and there is a resort on the way called
No that is absolutely fabulous if it is still there.
Tres leches pie
Also they have excellent dental specialist and some good plastic surgeons in
Escazu. I stayed in an adorable house owned by a woman who lived in Marin.
Escazu has an amazing shopping mall. This is the best city in Costa Rica.
I would not recommend anyone driving in this city. One example, they have
horses on the freeways, etc. The Pacific side has less crime.
If you are on FB there is a group called Ladies who love to travel where they
give lots of recommendations