What to See in Costa Rica: The Top 8 Attractions

Planning a trip to Costa Rica involves preparing yourself for the time of your life. But it also involves a lot of planning so that you can make the most out of your visit.


There will be a lot of things to do on your trip and you may be asking yourself about what to see in Costa Rica. Are you the adventurous type that will do anything thrown your way? Or, are you more reserved and looking for a relaxing time?


Whatever you're looking for, you'll find it in Costa Rica. Regardless of what you plan to do or what you want to do, you should always consult a guide so you don't get overwhelmed and lost in your travels. Besides, they'll help you find all the really cool stuff.


If you're wondering what to see in Costa Rica, you've come to the right place. Just be prepared for some of the most fun you'll ever have.


What to See in Costa Rica


What to See in Costa Rica

If you're planning a trip to Costa Rica you're probably so excited that you don't know where to start.


Costa Rica is a beautiful place and popular for tourists. So, don't fret, we've compiled a list of the top eight things to do and see in Costa Rica. Keep reading to learn more.


Sightseeing Tours

What better way to take in the sights than to take in a couple of tours?


The capital city of San Jose is a popular destination for art and culture. You can catch a sightseeing tour on one of the double-decker buses or find the National Theater that was constructed in 1897. It's considered the city's finest historical landmark.


You might also enjoy a Costa Rican coffee plantation tour. You can learn about the entire process of farming, harvesting, cultivating and roasting coffee.



Hiking in Costa Rica is breathtaking with clay-like trails that cross varied terrain.


Almost all regions of Costa Rica experience rainfall year round so you can expect moist and overgrown vegetation along the trails. Be aware of the wet weather and prepare accordingly with hiking shoes and gear that will accommodate.


You can find self-guided tours and guided tours for the more the more treacherous areas. Many trails will cross rivers and encounter waterfalls. You will also find a plethora of birds, wildlife, and tropical foliage.


Scuba Diving

There are a lot of great scuba diving spots scattered off the coast of Costa Rica. If you're wondering what to see in Costa Rica, this is it.


You'll find coral, tropical fish and pristine clear waters off the West coast. There are three main dive areas that include Guancaste, Northern Puntarenas, and Southern Puntarenas. Some popular dive spots in these areas are:

  • Cocos Island National Marine Park
  • Nicoya Peninsula
  • Cano Island


Cocos Island is uninhabited making it a prime location to view remote areas of nature but you'll have to dive from a liveaboard. Nicoya Peninsula is in the northern area of the Guancaste Province and offers shore diving. Cano Island shares many similarities with Cocos Island but it's closer to the coast.


Depending on the time of year you want to go snorkeling, you may experience more runoff from the rivers because of rain. Plan accordingly.



If you just don't think you have the stamina for Scuba Diving, give snorkeling a try. It's so fun that you can get lost in the activity all day long.


Manzanillo Beach is on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and is considered one of the best places to snorkel in the country. There is a reef in the region protected by the Cahuita National Park and it's an excellent snorkeling spot.


September and October are the best months for good conditions.


Boating & River Tours

You can find boat tours that cover just about any body of water that you want to see in Costa Rica. They operate on the open water and rivers for tours that take you to various locations for fishing, remote beaches, and birdwatching and crocodile tours.


Saltwater tours include both the Pacific and the Caribbean and river tours are also significant in size. The Pecuare and Tortuguero Rivers have year-round access but you'll want to double check seasonal operations depending on the time of year you plan to visit.


ATV Tours

If you'd rather stay on land and still get out into the wilderness, consider an ATV Tour. They operate at the high season from December through May and you may be better prepared if you make a reservation ahead of time. Inventories are kept to a minimum during off-season times.


You can experience sandy beach trails or high mountain trails with panoramic views of Costa Rica on your tour. Ask your guide to take you to some of the more remote areas to see what hidden gems you can find.


Horseback Riding

Costa Rican beaches and rainforests are better seen on horseback. Experience the lush jungle or dry tropical forests and ride a horse on the beach!


You can often ask your tour operator for a bundle package that includes riding your horse to another tour, like ATV tours or River Rafting.


What better way to fill a day than spending half of it relaxing on horseback and preparing yourself for adventure in the next half of the day? Horseback riding tours are definitely the way to see the countryside.



For the thrill seeker in you, there's always something awesome to do in Costa Rica.


This is a popular activity in Costa Rica and you can find a zip line operation at just about any tourist location throughout the country. And some places that aren't so touristy.


Almost anybody can ride a zip line if they're tall enough. Generally speaking, children around the age of 8 and up should fit the requirements. Ground crews will teach you the ropes and then you can glide through the tropical rain forests on your own.


If you can take in a view from this perspective, you should definitely do it.


Final Thoughts

Now that you know what to see in Costa Rica, so get out there!


There's more to do than what's mentioned in this list, especially if you're a real enthusiast. Costa Rica is a place to immerse yourself in culture, history, and most importantly, nature. Don't allow an opportunity to see this place pass you by.


You may also think about signing up for ATV tours or ECO tours on your trip. ATV tours take you through the countryside so you can get a different taste of the landscape. ECO tours are intended to be educational while you travel through relatively undisturbed, natural places.


If you still want to learn more about what to see in Costa Rica, or if you have questions, contact us! We're here to help.

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