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Costa Rica has something for everyone. From hiking in rainforests and mountains, relaxing on beaches, to snorkeling through tropical reefs and surfing some of the the best waves in Central America, Costa Rica is a natural wonderland.

With both a Pacific and Caribbean coast, there are plenty of beaches in Costa Rica. Some developed for tourism while others are remote and rarely visited.

Top Costa Rica Attractions


Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park
Image source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corcovado_National_Park

Located on the Osa Peninsula at the southern part of Costa Rica, Corcovdo National Park (Parque Nacional Corcovado-Spanish) encompases more than 260 square miles,and some say is the finest of all Costa Ricas parks due to its abundance of wildlife. Park publications indicate approximately 124 species of mammals (including 5-6 species of big cats (Jaguar, Ocelot, Margay among others), 375 of birds, 117 reptiles and amphibians (including 2 Crocodillians).
The park features many hiking trails both along the beach and inland. Some areas are fairly flat and so have easier hiking trails, while other areas have very steep and often muddy conditions.

 Precautions: There are several rivers and creeks with in the park and since rainy weather and  ocean tides can make crossings dangerous. Be sure to check with park rangers for current conditions before venturing out. Bull Sharks are plentiful in many of the river mouths and along the beaches.  Sirena River can have rough conditions and is often brackish and cloudy with both Bull Sharks and Sting Rays. Swimming is not advised. The Claro River, is recommended for swimming per the park publication

Beaches:
The coastal area is nearly 12 miles (20 km) long, and although contiguous there are three beach areas, Playa Corcovado is North and central followed by Sirena Beach, south central and Playa Madrigal, southern most. .Sirena Beach is a high energy beach and can be dangerous place to swim.

Getting there:
Park entrances are via rangers stations including Los Patos in the Northeast, Pedrillo, Northwest, La Leona Southeast. Camping is allowed at the ranger stations including the park head quarters in Sirena on the Pacific shore. Modest accomodations may also be found there. The park is approximately a 1/2 day drive from San Jose. Special charter flights are available from San Jose which land at the Sirena Biological Station.

Reservations are a must.
Contact: Telephone: (506) 735-5036 or (506) 735-5580 Email: corcovado@minae.go.cr

For more extensive information about Corcovado National Park check out these resources.


Palo Verde National Park

Costa Rica Attraction - Palo Verde National Park
Image source http://sherisays.wordpress.com/category/travel/

An undiscovered jewel in the Costa Rican park system where the bird population, both native and migratory is spectacular. The trail system leaves something to be desired, but this certainly means fewer crowds, and there are a number of areas that can be explored by boat.
For more extensive information about Palo Verde National Park check out these resources.
www.costarica-nationalparks.com/paloverdenationalpark.html


Santa Rosa National Park

Costa Rica Attaction - Santa Rosa National Park
Image source http://www.costaricaweb.cr/en/santa-rosa-national-park-costa-rica/

Daniel Janzen and his wife Winnie Hallwachs initiated a crusade over two decades ago that resulted in an incredible gift to the world. Santa Rosa National Park protects and provides a mechanism for restoration of perhaps the only significant tropical dry forest in the world that will survive our generation. The main campsites at the headquarters and on playa naranjo serve as jumping off points for extended explorations, La Casona is an important historical landmark, and witches rock marks the location of a surfer's paradise.
For more extensive information about Santa Rosa National Park see this resource.
http://www.costarica-nationalparks.com/santarosanationalpark.html


La Fortuna de Bagaces

Costa Rica Attraction - La Fortuna de Bagaces
Image source http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/LocationPhotos-g309237-La_Fortuna_de_Bag

There is essentially no tourist infrastructure in this sleepy hamlet between volcáns Miravalles and Rincón de la Vieja. There is easy access to beautiful swimming holes at the base of spectacular waterfalls, and incredible forests, the geysers and mud pots of Las Hornillas reminiscent of Yellowstone, abundant natural hotsprings, and a bull ring that still sees sabaneros meet their match in the corridas de toros.


Barra Honda Caverns


Image source http://www.mycostaricalink.com/barra-honda/

Not everyone is interested in spelunking, but those who are will appreciate the pristine condition of these caves. The small vertical entrances have protected these limestone caverns for millennia, first from discovery, then from entry by all but the most intrepid explorers.



 

 Cahuita National Park

Cahuita National Park

Gandoca-Manzanilo National Wildlife Refuge

Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge

up and down the coast respectively.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Costa Rica Attraction - Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Image source http://realtravel.com/d-34116-puerto_viejo_de_talamanca

Reggae provides the backbeat along the beaches and main street of this Caribbean village. Peppery fresh fish dishes, coconut curries, and fragrant spiced breads fill your plate.


 

 Wilson Botanical Gardens

Costa Rica Attraction - Wilson Botanical Gardens
Image source http://algincostarica.blogspot.com/2011/08/wonders-of-botanical-garden.html

The Wilson Botanical gardens at Las Cruces Biological station are only one of the rewards awaiting travelers who make the effort to visit the southern most reaches of Costa Rica.


Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Costa Rica Attraction - Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge
Image source http://www.thingstodocostarica.com/Monteverde/BirdWatching/


Nature cruises through these wetlands are quite popular now, but don't worry there are thousands of acres to explore. A boat trip here or in Tortuguero, or Damas estuary is certainly the easiest and maybe the best way to see a lot of wildlife on your visit to Costa Rica.

For more extensive information  about Caño Negro Wild Life Refuge see this resource. http://www.costarica-nationalparks.com/canonegrowildliferefuge.html

 


 

Cerro Chimpo

Cerro Chirripó— The strenuous climb through seven distinct ecosystems allows you to experience most of Costa Rica's inland natural history in a single day. There are a growing number of visitors, but nearly all of them stick to the main route to the refugio under the peak. If you want a true Costa Rican wilderness experience there's still thousands of virgin acres here.



Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park—We hear complaints nearly every day that Manuel Antonio has been ruined by development and overcrowding. While it has changed significantly in the three decades since it was established, it's still one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica. Crowded is a relative term, Manuel Antonio is twice the size of New York City's central park, but visitors are limited to 600 at a time. The development allows for easy access for those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to explore one of the last patches of tropical wet forest.


 

Monteverde

This private reserve provides the easiest access to the cloud forests, and an infrastructure of guides and resources to help you make the most of your visit. Like Manuel Antonio, it has gained tremendously in popularity, but has much less chance of being loved to death. Monteverde is much larger, the cool, wet, windy weather means shorter visits, and as a private reserve it has better funding than most of the National Parks. Despite the growth in tourism in the surrounding community, a few hundred yards off the main loop (el triangulo) you're unlikely to see anyone else on the trail.


 

Costa Rica Villa            Rental

When traveling to Costa Rica consider staying in a private vacation rental. They are usually much more spacious than a hotel room and a fraction of the cost.

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Costa Rica Vacation Rentals

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Goin2travel offers Worldwide Vacation Rentals plus great Costa Rica vacation rentals in Alajuela, San Jose, Guanacaste, Arenal, Playa del Coco, Playa Flamingo, Playa Hermosa, Playa Ocotal, Tamarindo, Limon, Puntarenas, Dominical, Manuel Antonio, Montezuma, QueposJaco, Osa Peninsula.

 

 

An undiscovered jewel in the Costa Rican park system where the bird population, both native and migratory is spectacular. The trail system leaves something to be desired, but this certainly means fewer crowds, and there are a number of areas that can be explored by boat. More information may be found here 

 

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Reggae provides the backbeat along the beaches and main street of this Caribbean village. Peppery fresh fish dishes, coconut curries, and fragrant spiced breads fill your plate.

Sloths, monkeys, and birds abound in Cahuita National Park and Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge up and down the coast respectively.

 

Wilson Botanical Gardens

The gardens at Las Cruces Biological station are only one of the rewards awaiting travelers who make the effort to visit the southern most reaches of Costa Rica.