Costa Rica is an amazing destination for adventure & nature. With so much to explore, it is hard to experience all of this fantastic country in just ONE trip. In this article, I will be sharing some amazing day trips from many major Costa Rican cities. And note, these are just some tours, as there are MANY as I mentioned previously.
Parque Nacional Isla Del Coco
The most popular Costa Rican national park is filled with some of the most beautiful nature in the Western Hemisphere. Whether you’re into scuba diving, trekking, climbing, or just walking, this national park has everything a nature lover will enjoy. It is also perfect for those who enjoy being on an island, as it is on an island located on the southeast of the country. A truly phenomenal marine landscape. The island was first discovered in 1531. The island has had a long history from being a conquest for treasure to being experimented by scientists. It is now a protected area, with lots of marine conservation areas (as Costa Rica is one of the most eco-friendly countries). The island is home to over 2, 500 species of plants and makes up over 550,000 km2 of Costa Rica’s total area. It is also the largest uninhabited island in the world. Even if you do not love water, you can explore the many volcanoes or rainforests in the park. The perfect treat for a nature-lover! And did I mention this is a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Located near the city of La Fortuna, these 10 massive caverns – only recently discovered in the 20th century by locals (even though the actual caverns can be dated back to over 6 million years ago), – are a popular tourist attraction for those seeking a mix of mystery & adventure. When you arrive at the caves, be prepared to bring a few items with you:
Sturdy shoes, suitable for walking (DO NOT WEAR SANDALS)
A change of clothes (in the case you get soaked!)
Towel (To dry off)
Insect Repellent (To shoo away those feisty mosquitos).
Knee Pads (In the situation where you trip, as there are many uneven paths in the caverns)
Other items like headlights, special boots, and flashlights may be available for purchase or complimentary on most tours. On the tour, you can experience the beauty of the unique species like bats or fish while walking through a strange, but curious landscape. Though there are some cautions involved in this quest, it is worth it when you see the view!
Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal
Another beautiful park with a former active volcano. It is located in the north-central part of Costa Rica, as part of the Arenal Huetar Norte Conservation Area. While there is not currently an active volcano since 1968 (maybe soon).. there are plenty of other things to do in this beautiful park. There is another volcano called Chato, which directly corresponds with a cool lagoon! However, the Chato volcano has been inactive for 3000+ years. While you’re there, visit the Volcanic Museum. If you are into wildlife, see some unique species like over 800 bird species, the resplendent quetzal, the white-faced capuchin monkey, parrot snake, and the bromeliads. It was created in September of 1991 and the Lake Arenal was connected to a reservoir for the local residents. Visit the impressive rainforest, where you can see the one and only ceiba tree and walk on the beautiful trails. A park with a beautiful history and a promising future for eco-friendliness!
The Southern Caribbean Coast
If you are in the mood for just relaxing.. Step on the mild side with a dose of Caribbean culture in the Southern Region of Costa Rica. Taste delicious Carribean cuisine, drink some rum, put your feet up at some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and dance to reggae all night long! If you are still in the mood for adventure.. you can still have some fun because there are some hotspots for adventure along the Caribbean coast. Start at the Tortuguero Rainforest, sometimes known as the Costa Rican Amazon, because of the amazing biodiversity here (well Costa Rica is a hub for biodiversity!) and the series of large rivers & canals. If you love to visit trails, continue on to the Tortuguero National Park, where you can not only hike, but also ride in a boat, for one of the many boat tours! I must warn you though, bring a rain jacket as it pours a lot here. Next, visit the Cahuita National park, home to lots of bridges, paths, and tons of natural beauty! (This a trend you will start to see!) Next, travel to a more popular place – Puerto Viejo! This is a town that blends Caribbean culture with local experiences. Make sure to visit the Jaguar Rescue Center while you’re here – a charity dedicated to rescuing not just jaguars but other endangered species. And I have no words to describe the local culture. There is amazing cuisine, a blend of many cultures, bars with live music, and of course- beaches! So, if you want to relax and soak up some phenomenal culture while also accessing some of the most beautiful nature – here is your spot!
I know I previously mentioned that this was an article about day trips.. But San Jose itself is a day trip! It is not only the capital & largest city (and no, I am not referencing San Jose, California), but a historical, yet very fun city! Located near Central Costa Rica, this city is different from many of the destinations on this list, in the way that this is a less natural more urban feel (which is quite unusual for Costa Rica), but don’t worry! San Jose has PLENTY to do for fun and lots to learn! Start at the Teatro Nacional, where you can catch almost any type of performing art, from, opera to latin pop! Next, move to the Feria Verde de Aranjuez, San Jose’s foodie fave! Try local cuisine like handmade chocolate or cassava! Or buy some artisanal products, like jewellery or art. This is setup in market format at Barrio Aranjuez. Head on over to the Barrio Amon, where you can find Costa Rican architecture with a twist, many mansions and old-er buildings have been transformed into hotels & bars! End your visit in San Jose with a trip to one of their many astounding museums like the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, the Museo de Jade, or the Museo de Oro Precolombino y Numismática, where you can learn a little bit about Costa Rican architecture, art, history, and more! San Jose is a city full of fun things to do, from museums to markets, and it may not be the outdoor lovers dream, it is truly a paradise of enjoyment!
These are just some of the many excursions from Costa Rica that you can experience that will offer fun, knowledge, adventure and everything you need to have an awesome vacation!
Enjoy your journey!