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Best Things to Do in Costa Rica – Top Vacation Activities

The tropical country of Costa Rica immerses vacation travelers in a stunning, natural landscape where you’ll find endless adventures to embark on! With a diverse range of outdoor activities to partake in, it will be hard to decide which one(s) you should try. To help with your planning, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Costa Rica so you can experience some of your favorite moments while on vacation:

  • See the remarkable Arenal Volcano and swim in a hot spring
  • Explore Rincón de la Vieja National Park
  • Taste delicious Costa Rican coffee in Monteverde
  • Bird watch in a rainforest or national park
  • Go white water rafting
  • Visit a butterfly farm
  • Take a cave tour at Barra Honda National Park
  • Grab a surfboard and ride the waves

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Costa-Rica Best Things to Do in Costa Rica - Top Vacation Activities

More information on the best things to do in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano

Costa-Rica Best Things to Do in Costa Rica - Top Vacation Activities

Travelers can take a day trip to Arenal Volcano National Park where they’ll be blown away by the looming Arenal Volcano standing at 5,437 feet! While still active, park rangers remain aware of any volcanic activity and will take the necessary steps to close the park if they feel the area isn’t safe.

Guided tours allow visitors to take in striking scenery of forests, lava fields, and a closer view of the volcano itself while learning about its history. You’ll also have the opportunity to swim in a natural hot spring for a relaxing break after your hike. Plus, there may be sightings of wildlife such as white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, parrots, snakes, and deer!

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Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Costa-Rica Best Things to Do in Costa Rica - Top Vacation Activities

Visitors will be in complete awe of the natural beauty found at Rincón de la Vieja National Park! With the right pair of hiking shoes, you could explore for hours. Venture along different trails through acres of exotic plant life, cool off under a refreshing waterfall, and witness bubbling mud pots that are scattered throughout the region. Volcanic craters are sights to see and a hike up to the peak of Rincón de la Vieja volcano is worth the amazing views!

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Coffee in Monteverde

Costa-Rica Best Things to Do in Costa Rica - Top Vacation Activities

Coffee lovers don’t want to miss out on a coffee plantation tour at Café de Monteverde! This educational experience lets visitors in on the inner workings of coffee making from seed planting to roasting. You’ll also learn how coffee has made a positive impact on Costa Rican culture and the local environment.

The best part: your tour will end with a delicious coffee tasting where you’ll try different flavors for a better understanding of the process and how it makes each of those flavors distinct!

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Bird watching

Costa-Rica Best Things to Do in Costa Rica - Top Vacation Activities

With hundreds of different species flying about, there are great opportunities for bird watching in Costa Rica! Choose from many of the country’s rainforests or parks to lookout for exotic birds like the Long Tailed Manakin, Keel-Billed Toucan, the Blue Crowned MotMot, or the Laughing Falcon. Be sure to listen carefully for the beautiful and unique sounds of the birds, too!

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Costa-Rica Best Things to Do in Costa Rica - Top Vacation Activities

RELATED: Top 9 All Inclusive Resorts in Costa Rica

White water rafting

Costa-Rica Best Things to Do in Costa Rica - Top Vacation Activities

If you’re looking for a thrill or just a fun way to stay cool, go white water rafting down a surging river! You can choose to go out for one day or multiple days as well as pick a location based on your comfort and experience.

Your adventure will take you through more beautiful scenery, like waterfalls and rainforests, and present opportunities to see some wildlife. It’s a great outing for families or groups of friends to experience Costa Rica’s exotic landscape!

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Butterfly farm

Costa-Rica Best Things to Do in Costa Rica - Top Vacation Activities

It might not be something you think of when Costa Rica comes to mind, but there are tons of butterfly farms throughout the country! A day trip to one of them will expose you to a vibrant world where hundreds of butterfly species are fluttering about.

You’ll learn about the life of these insects, their evolution, and how they live. During your visit, see if you can spot a zebra longwing, banded peacock butterfly, morpho butterfly, or thoas swallowtail!

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Barra Honda National Park

Costa-Rica Best Things to Do in Costa Rica - Top Vacation Activities

Explorers will be in their element when they visit Barra Honda National Park and discover its jaw-dropping cave system! You’ll take a 2-3 mile hike before descending down into the caves to see striking rock formations and weave in and out of different openings.

For your tour, you’ll be given the necessary equipment, but make sure you remember to wear sturdy shoes. If you’re not a fan of narrow spaces, the caves may not be your cup of tea; however, you can still walk through the park to see playful wildlife and impressive views!

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Surfing

Costa-Rica Best Things to Do in Costa Rica - Top Vacation Activities

Surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica is a prime location for surfing! Multiple surf spots can be found scattered about the country; it’s just up to you to pick which one best suits your style. Tamarindo in Guanacaste is a popular destination to ride the waves and is perfect for beginners to experienced surfers.

South Puntarenas has uncrowded beaches for all levels so you can get your thrill but take a break on a peaceful shore. If you’re up for it, you can even hit more than one location to get a different experience each time!

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