The Most Memorable Costa Rica Attractions & Things to Do

Whether you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica for an adventurous family vacation, tropical honeymooon or simply looking for a unique adventure vacation, Costa Rica should be at the top of your list. Filled with wildlife in the rainforests, stunning beaches for surfing and relaxation, there countless things to do in Costa Rica.

Who better to suggest how you spend your time than some of the top travel bloggers? So, we asked the following travel bloggers about their most memorable Costa Rica attractions…some for tourists and some for the more adventurous types.

Rio Pacuare (River); Costa Rica Attractions & Things to Do
11 travel bloggers share their most memorable Costa Rica attractions, like rafting the Pacuare River!

12 Travel Bloggers Share their Most Memorable Costa Rica Attractions

Annabell Candy (Get in the Hot Spot)Annabel Candy

Get in the Hot Spot

The most memorable attraction in Costa Rica is the jungles and wildlife. You can find lush jungles and gorgeous wildlife all over Costa Rica but they are most concentrated in the Osa Peninsula which is reputed to be have more biodiversity than anywhere else on the planet.

Getting to the Osa Peninsula is a mission and although you can fly most of the way there you’ll get a real sense of adventure if you take a boat from Sierpe. The Sierpe River is thick with crocodiles and fish then you head out through the river mouth to the open ocean before finally reaching your destination. There are plenty of different lodges in the Osa Peninsula to suit most budgets and the wildlife is so intense that you’ll probably be able to see Scarlett macaws, pizote, monkeys and more without leaving your accommodation.

You should still do a walk with a local guide though to learn more about the flora and fauna and look out for more elusive wildlife like sloths, anteaters and tapir.

It’s an unforgettable experience which will make you love your planet and treat it with love more than ever before.

Costa Rica Monkey (Annabell Candy: Get in the Hot Spot)

Jennifer Turnbull & Matthew Houde (Two Weeks in Costa Rica)Jennifer Turnbull & Matthew Houde

Two Weeks in Costa Rica

The Hidden Beaches of the South Central Pacific Coast – Costa Rica has so many beautiful places it is hard to pinpoint just one. But after traveling nearly the entire country, one of our all-time favorites has to be the beaches of the south central Pacific coast.

Most travelers who visit the central Pacific, head to the famed Manuel Antonio. While the beaches of Manuel Antonio surely are beautiful, the beaches to the south like Playa Linda, Playa Hermosa, and Playa Uvita are breathtaking with verdant green mountains that stretch towards the sea and gray sand that seems to go on for miles.

What’s so special about these beaches, though, is that when you’re there, it feels like you’re in on a secret. They are often deserted during the week, with just a few locals and some eager tourists in search of the hidden gems of Costa Rica. And on weekends, the beaches come to life with Tico families gathering for a day of fun in the sun.

It is this mixing of locals and outsiders that makes the beaches of the south central Pacific so special; everyone just feels at home.

Costa Rica's Playa Linda Beach

Chris Christensen (Amateur Traveler)Chris Christensen

Amateur Traveler

My most memorable experience in Costa Rica was white water rafting down the Pacuare River. The rafting experience itself is enjoyable and very professionally run compared to other white water trips that I have taken in the United States.

The difference is that unlike those trips this experience is in the middle of a rain forrest. This not only means that the water is warm but also that the vitiation on the sides of the river are lush and verdant. I highly recommend it not only as an adventure but also as a peak at some of Costa Rica’s more remote and beautiful countryside.


Rafting the Pacuare River in Costa Rica (Chris Christensen: Amateur Traveler)

Michael Turtle (Time Travel Turtle)Michael Turtle

Time Travel Turtle

Although the wildlife and natural scenery is a definite highlight of Costa Rica, I especially enjoyed going slightly off the beaten track and seeing another side of the country.
In the southeast of Costa Rica, you can visit the Yorkin indigenous community. They’ve opened up their homes to tourists as a way to generate income that can be invested into maintaining their traditional culture and heritage.

To get there, you’ll take a boat upriver for about an hour, past some of the beautiful untouched jungles along the border with Panama. The journey is as enjoyable as meeting people in the community and learning more about their traditions.

Boating to the Yorkin Indigenous Community in Costa Rica

Nancy Sathre-Vogel (Family on Bikes)Nancy Sathre-Vogel

Family on Bikes

We’re not big on “tourist attractions” in general, but were thrilled to have the opportunity to try surfing in Jaco. Cycling through the Central American heat was a challenge, so we gladly parked our bikes for a week and headed to the beach instead.

Although there were plenty of other activities available – deep sea fishing, ATV tours, horseback excursions, canopy tours and popular night life – we laid low, spending our days swimming and surfing in the water. The town, being a major tourist destination, had everything a tourist could need, so we ate well, rested, and built up our strength for the journey south.


Surfing in Jaco Beach (Costa Rica)

Amanda Williams (A Dangerous Business)Amanda Williams

A Dangerous Business

My most memorable Costa Rica attraction probably has to be the Jaguar Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo. I loved the story of how the center was founded, and appreciate its pledge to rehabilitating animals and releasing them back into the wild when possible.

The variety of animals you can get up close with is also great – snakes, toucans, monkeys, sloths, and more. The enclosure where you can go play with monkeys is a lot of fun, and I could NOT get enough of the adorable adolescent sloths climbing around in all the trees.


Costa Rica Sloth!!!

Jade Johnston (Our Oyster)Jade Johnston

Our Oyster

I went to Costa Rica as part of a volunteering trip and was mostly based in one area. However we did find the time for an excursion. Our group decided to visit Arenal volcano. It was actually near by and from our volunteer house we could sometimes even see it. The town itself was really cute and we visited the hot springs pool which was a great way to relax after many weeks of manual laboring.

Cam & Nicole Wears (Traveling Canuks)Cam & Nicole Wears

Traveling Canuks

Our most memorable Costa Rica attraction was the Sky Trek through Monteverde’s cloud forest. It’s one of the best zip line courses we’ve done. It’s super long, super fast and it will certainly get your adrenaline pumping!


Marcello Arrambide (Wandering Trader)Marcello Arrambide


The Costa Ricans are definitely known for their canopy walkways. Even in French Guyana they contracted a Costa Rican to build their own canopies in the forest. Being able to walk via the canopy walkways and also zip lining through the forest was definitely my favorite experience that I remember. It is quite unique when you are able to do things for the first and being able to zip line upside down for over 5/10 minutes was amazing. It was one of the longest zip lines in Costa Rica as well which was equally as impressive.

Costa Rica Canopy Forest (Marcello Arrambide - WanderingTrader)

Alex (Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler)


Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler

When I think of Costa Rican attractions, the first thing coming to my mind is definitely rafting. I’d never thought I would do it as I am afraid of waves (bad experience in the past in Mexico) but Costa Rica for me was all about going out of my comfort zone. So I said yes to rafting on Pacuare river, one of the top 10 rafting rivers in the world. I was really scared at first, and even more when I found out it was just me with 3 other girls on the raft and a super young instructor Esteban.

However, after a few minutes we started enjoying it and I could not wait till another rapid. We crossed 2 canyons with butterflies flying around us and saw small waterfalls on the side. The best part of the trip was when it started pouring down and we jumped into the river for a short swim. Will always think highly of those few hours on the river.

Rafting the Pacuare River (Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler)

Christy Woodrow (Ordinary Traveler)Christy Woodrow

Ordinary Traveler

It’s been seven years since we visited Costa Rica, but I still remember parts of that trip like it was yesterday. It was Scott and I’s first international trip together, so we wanted to make it special. We researched online and found a unique spot in the small town of Santa Clara, near the Cloud Forest, where we could stay in our own tree house.

At the time we visited, Tree Houses Hotel had just three tree houses on their property (they have six now) so it was very secluded, which is one of the things we seek out when we travel. The owner was a gracious host, who cooked us breakfast every morning and answered all of our questions about the area. The shower was my favorite part of this place. It was like showering in nature because the only thing between you and the outdoors is a screen. I hope to go back on our ten-year anniversary — which is coming up very soon! View her post >>

Costa Rica Treehouse (Oridnary Traveler)

Alice Benny ( Shares her Most Memorable Costa Rica AttractionAlice Benny, Travel Editor

Costa Rica is by far my favorite vacation destination. The beaches in Santa Rosa National Park are second-to-none for beauty and seclusion. I spent a memorable day there just savoring the sounds of nature and soaking up the glorious rays of the sun. When it got warm, I simply took a dip in the crystalline waters.

This country is one of the best for active travelers, which is another reason why I love it. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve gave me a fascinating background on the ecological system in the jungle, and being able to ramble freely for several hours was definitely a treat. For something a little more strenuous, I opted to rent a mountain bike so I could explore Costa Rica’s many unpaved roads and trails. Not surprisingly, that wasn’t enough for me. Eventually, I signed up for a multi-day tour that had me riding a bike, whitewater rafting and trekking through the jungle. That was definitely an amazing adventure.

Of course, Costa Rica isn’t all about adrenaline. The breathtaking Rincon de la Vieja National Park, with its geysers and hot springs, was also one of my favorite experiences. I can’t wait to get back there someday!

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