top of page

21 Most Beautiful Places in Costa Rica

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Costa Rica is not short of beautiful places, from beaches to jungles to volcanoes! The country has so much to offer it's hard to narrow it down, but here's my top 20 favorite places!

For those of you that are new.. welcome to my blog! My name is Savanna Crowell and I'm a wanderer who likes to share travel tips and favorite destinations. If you are interested in knowing more about my background, travels, or dreams in life, check out the 'About Me' section of my website. And don't forget to follow me on Instagram @slc_travels to join me on my journeys!

21 Most Beautiful Places in Costa Rica


1. Playa Herradura

This stunning beach is located 15 minutes north of the famous Pacific coast city, Jaco. There's a gorgeous stretch of beach that has a marina and hotel on the north side. If you are planning on going to Jaco, checking this beach out is a must!

2. Playa Conchal

Located on the northern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, this beach is famous for a reason! Lining this Gold Coast beach is the beautiful mountains and rainforests of Costa Rica! It's famed for crushed-shell sands, clear waters, and snorkeling.

3. Playa Jaco

If you are the type of traveler who likes cities, parties, and surfing, Jaco is for you! It's one of the country's hot spots and is a world-class surfing beach for having the most consistent waves in the country.

4. Santa Teresa

This coastal village on the Nicoya Peninsula has slowly been gaining more and more traction. This village is a very hippie, happy town and is known for surfing and huge waves. On the other hand, rough waves and rip currents can make it tough for swimming. Besides surfing and sunbathing, you can go fishing, snorkeling, get your yoga in, go horseback riding, or visit some of the waterfalls near by!


Parks & Volcanoes

1. Arenal Volcano

Arenal is a staple for any vacation to Costa Rica. I recommend you spend your time in La Fortuna if you are wanting to visit this volcano. There are endless ways to see the volcano along with activities you can do near it. You can see it just from the town La Fortuna, you can visit Arenal Volcano National Park, or I recommend doing the Arenal Volcano Hike 1968 trail.

PRO TIP: It can be very challenging to see the volcano in its entirety, especially if you are visiting during Costa Rica's rainy season (May-November). So, just as a warning it is very common for clouds to be covering the volcano (don't worry, you aren't just getting unlucky), during our time this is the most uncovered by clouds we saw it! But, it's still sooo beautiful!

2. Corcovado National Park

This national park is a reserve on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula that protects varied tropical ecosystems and is considered one of the world's most biodiverse regions. I recommend seeing Drake Bay, or making a stop at Corcovado's twin sister, Piedras Blancas National Park.

Entrance Fee: $15 USD/person (purchase on the SINAC website)

3. Tortuguero National Park

This protected wilderness area is on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast. Its beaches are famous nesting grounds for sea turtles, and you can also see wildlife such as speckled caimans, and river turtles. You should defiantly take a tour by boat or canoe! Unlike some other places in Costa Rica, the weather in Tortuguero National Park should not be much of a consideration when deciding when to visit.

PRO TIP: The Green Sea and Hawksbill turtle’s nesting season runs from July to October with the peak in August, and the extremely rare and difficult to see Leatherback turtles nest from February to April. But, it is possible to see individual turtles at any time of the year.

Entrance Fee: $15 USD/person (purchase on the SINAC website)

4. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

There are many ways to explore the cloud forest! Whether its zip lining, hiking, or horseback riding! If you are planning to explore it zipping through the jungle, I recommend booking it with Sky Adventures! We did a zip lining tour with them and I would do it again in a heartbeat. They have a location in both Arenal and Monteverde. Also, if you are wanting to spend the night near Monteverde Cloud Forest, I recommend spending the night in the town Santa Elena. We found a beautiful airbnb there for $45/night!

5. Poas Volcano National Park

If you are staying in San Jose, or going from San Jose to La Fortuna, this makes an incredible stop! An active volcano with a bright-blue lake, I have never seen anything like it! Although, this is another activity that you will want to hope for good weather because it's often very cloudy.

PRO TIP: Go as early in the day as possible to beat the clouds!

Entrance Fee: $10 USD/person (purchase on the SINAC website)

6. Manuel Antonio National Park

One of my personal favorite places we visited in Costa Rica! It's so diverse and I guarantee you will see wildlife during your visit (monkeys, scarlet macaws, sloths, toucans, etc).

PRO TIP: There are a lot of parking traps, make sure you go all the way to the entrance of the park and ask a park ranger where to park for the cheapest option (we paid $3 USD).

PRO TIP 2: It's closed on Mondays!! So, make sure you plan your visit accordingly.

Entrance Fee: $16 USD/person (purchase on the SINAC website)

7. Arenal Hanging Bridges

If you are visiting La Fortuna, this is a must! It's just a short 15 minute drive from downtown La Fortuna, and if you did not rent a car there's shuttles available for $18-25 or you can find a tour that includes transportation, admission, and a tour guide for about $60.

Entrance Fee: $26 USD/person for self-guided tours



1. San Jose

The capital city of the country! San Jose is beautiful to check out for a day before you go off to explore all of the nature that the country has to offer.

2. Isla Tortuga

This beautiful island is off the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. You can take a day trip from Punta Arenas or Jaco for around $100 which includes the use of a banana boat, a snorkeling tour, and lunch!

3. Dominical

This coastal town is a perfect getaway for surfers! It's known for its surfing and hippie aesthetic. We only spent a couple hours here passing by but you could easily spend at least one night!

4. Montezuma

Montezuma is a gorgeous coastal town on the Nicoya Peninsula. I would recommend only visiting if you are renting a car. Besides the beach its a cute town and has a stunning waterfall!


Rivers & Waterfalls

1. Crocodile Bridge

This unique gem is becoming more and more famous. Situated in between Punta Arenas and Jaco, you can look this bridge up on Google Maps to find the exact location! It's a bridge with hundreds of giant crocodiles underneath and it's so cool to see these wld animals so close!

2. La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz is more than just waterfalls. It's also a zoo and gardens which is why the entrance fee is higher. Besides that, there are 4 stunning waterfalls you can see from every angle possible! I would definitely recommend this if visiting, but I understand it's more expensive so there is an option to see two of the waterfalls for free. To do this go past the entrance of the park about a mile and on the side of the road you will see 2 of the stunning waterfalls.

Entrance Fee: $48 USD/person

3. Nauyaca Waterfalls

This is a must when in Costa Rica. The pictures don't do it justice! There are multiple ways to access these waterfalls: by horseback, private shuttle, or hike. You must pay $12 to enter the park to just hike it, if you want the other options you'll have to pay extra. The hike is about 3.7 miles one-way and is considered intermediate so I would recommend hiking only if you are in good shape.

Entrance Fee: $12 USD/person for hiking

4. Catarata Del Toro

This waterfall is mind-blowing. Considered one of the tallest in the country, what's special about this waterfall is its situated within a volcanic crater! You have to visit when in Costa Rica!! The hike to it is very doable 1.3- mile loop and is located on a private reserve in the rain forest that includes nature trails, a hummingbird garden, a restaurant, restrooms, and more!

Entrance Fee: $14 USD/person

5. La Fortuna Waterfall

When in La Fortuna, this is a must! You can purchase your ticket on site and they accept both cash and credit card. The waterfall drops about 70−75 meters and is at the base of the dormant Chato volcano, about 5.5 km outside of the town of La Fortuna, near the Arenal Volcano.

Entrance Fee: $18 USD/person

6. Rio Celeste

This stunning waterfall is really that blue! It costs $2 per car to park at Rio Celeste in Tenorio Volcano National Park. The trail is a nice 3.7 miles long roundtrip and is not very strenuous.

Entrance Fee: $12 USD/person for hiking


In Conclusion,

These are just a few of the beautiful places in Costa Rica. I hope I have inspired you to check out some of them for your next vacation to Costa Rica! The country is now fully open to tourists, so start planning your trip! Until next time friends..keep exploring!! xxx, Savanna


bottom of page