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Costa Rica is such a diverse and adventurous country. They have everything from stunning beaches to epic volcano hikes. What’s not to love about Costa Rica?!
When we planned this trip we had the hardest time narrowing down what spots of Costa Rica to see! There were so many! And one thing you need to know about Costa Rica is if you are driving, anywhere you go will take 2-4 hours. The road conditions are not so good. It’s safe to say we saw half of Costa Rica via car while we were there.
So how do you narrow down what to see while you’re in Costa Rica?! Well, if you want to see it all:
- Break it down into categories (volcano, hiking, beaches, etc.)
- Do some research on the best sights to see (see below!)
- Narrow down your list! Note what region every spot is
- Create your daily itinerary
We absolutely LOVE guide books! They are great to keep in the car during a trip. I love learning all about the region too! I would read fun facts about Costa Rica to Andrew while he was driving to keep him entertained. Here is the best one for Costa Rica.
Now without further ado, our list of top spots to visit in Costa Rica! Make sure you add these to your list!
This was our favorite volcano that we visited in Costa Rica! We chose this one over Arenal, because we were told you get a beautiful view inside the crater of Poas! Which is so true..
It is a very short hike to the peak. But disclaimer, and remember this!!! It is COLD. We read nothing about this and showed up in shorts and t-shirts… like a group of idiots. Don’t be us.
Once you are at the peak you can enjoy the teal green of the acidic lake that formed in the middle of the crater. And yes, Poas is still an active volcano! Once you exit, to the left you’ll see a fork to another trail. I definitely recommend taking that once too. Here you’ll make your way through lush forest and come to this…
Another part of the volcano, that has been dormant and formed this gorgeous lake in the middle. But you don’t want to swim in here! It is highly acidic. So just enjoy the view! It is a perfect spot for lunch.
We were skeptical about Manuel Antonino when we heard how touristy it was. But we decided to give it a try when some locals recommended it too. When you get there, try and park a bit away from the entrance, it will be cheaper! And yes, you will be bombarded by tour guides and souvenirs and cold coconut water. We were told the trails were easy without a guide, the guides are just good for pointing out wildlife. So… we just hung close to a tour group to listen for when the guide pointed something out… oops…
The wildlife here is unlike anything I have ever seen! They are extremely used to humans so they are not afraid to come right up to you. And we had no problem with this sweet little deer.
But the monkeys are quite mean. And they will bite. A guide told us to point a stick at them or kick in the sand and they will go away. Remember, you are in their home! They are probably scared of you…. also they want your food.
Walk around and enjoy all of the different beach fronts, and look out views. There are some cool little islands you can see from a distance. And then after the Costa Rican sun has melted you, take a dip in the Caribbean Sea.
This beach is in the Dominical region and was recommended by our sweet host. It is definitely a locals beach and off the beaten path a bit. You have to drive through dirt roads and through some nice puddles to get there.
But once you do, you’ll find these gorgeous caves!
You can walk through them at low tide, most hotels have a tide schedule. You do not want to be stuck in them during high tide. We visited at both and high tide shoves the waves against the rocks hard!
We definitely had to see some epic waterfalls while we were in Costa Rica and Nauyaca did not disappoint! I have never seen such a beautiful sight. Seriously, this waterfall scene is like the ones from the story books.
I don’t know which was worse, the drive down there or the hike up there. You DEFINITELY need 4-wheel drive to get here. It is all downhill and not at all paved… not even attempted to be paved. And what goes down… must come back up. We weren’t so sure that our little car would make it. Once you drive down to the lot, you have to hike up, up, up! We got SO lucky. Some really nice locals offered us a ride half way.
Once you get there you can enjoy the two waterfall scenes and walk through the rocky borders.
If you want, you can be brave enough as Andrew and make the plunge off the side!
A nice and relaxing Costa Rica stop. If you like to walk a great shoreline then you’ll love Dominicalito!
It is full of unique tree lines, gorgeous rocks, and the best part, there is a part where the river meets the ocean! I’m not sure if this spot actually has a name, the locals just told us how far to walk to see it.
Costa Rica is a stunning country! Have you been? What was your favorite stop?