The Costa Rica Travel Guide | Everything You Need To Know

Travelling Costa Rica

Costa Rica is really easy to travel around and is very popular with a lot of budget travellers, especially Americans. The biodiversity and nature tourism is Costa Rica's main draw card, however that is closely followed by adventure lovers. Costa Rica reminded me of New Zealand with it's ziplining, bungee jumping, rafting and all the other activities you can partake in.

The mountains are beautiful and the volcanos are pretty cool but its the combination of forest and beaches that will stay in my heart from Cost Rica. Hopefully these guides to visiting Costa Rica will help you to plan your trip.

It's always the animals that blow your mind!


3 Must Do's For Costa Rica

Jen Ziplining Monteverde

Ziplining In Costa Rica

No matter your age or lifestyle, a zip lining experience in Costa Rica is a must do. I would personally use eXtremo Mondeverde Zip Line out from Santa Elena in the Monteverde cloud forest. It's only a few hours, it's very safe and I loved my morning at eXtremo Park. It was so much fun and a nice hike between the zip lines. Check out my article about my Zip Lining Experience for more info.

Rainbow billed Toucan

Tortuguero National Park

Tortugeuro seems like a hassle to get to but it is really worth it. They didn't tell me that when I got off the bus I wasn't there yes, so I thought my hotel had forgotten to pick me up, but no – you get a boat to the village and that's where you hotel usually grabs you. You stay in hotels on the river and then spend your early morning and late afternoons animal spotting along the river. It is not to be missed. I would say 3 nights so 3 full days would be your best bet. 

Baldi Hot Springs Arenal

Baldi Hot Springs

Baldi Hot Springs features thermo-mineral hot water pools fed from the volcano. It’s the perfect way to relax after hiking in Arenal Volcano National Park. The Baldi Hot Springs Hotel and Spa is on the main road so its easy to find, and you don't have to be staying at the hotel. You can book a day-use pass.  The 25 pools range in temperature from 93 to 152 degrees Fahrenheit and get hotter as the elevation rises. It is really worth an afternoon wallowing in the warm pools. 

Popular Tours Of Costa Rica

Costa Rica Quest

Costa Rica Quest - Tour

Start & finish in San Jose. See La Fortuna, the cloud forest at Monteverde and Quepos.

  • 9 days
  • 4.5 stars rating
  • From $1549 AUD
  • Operated by G Adventures

Costa Rica – Two Oceans

Costa Rica Two Oceans Tour

Start and end in San Jose, visiting Tortuguero, Arenal (La Fortuna) and Guanacaste

  • 9 days
  • 3.9 stars rating
  • From $1746 AUD
  • Operated by Receptivo Aborigen

Costa Rica Adventure

Costa Rica Adventure Tour

From San Jose to Guanacaste National Park. You will have to get back to San Jose

  • 12 days
  • 3.8 stars rating
  • From $1479 AUD
  • Operated by Cost Saver

Best Spots of Costa Rica

Best Spots of Costa Rica Tour

From and to San Jose visiting Tortuguero, Limon, Arenal, Monteverde & more

  • 13 days
  • 4.0 stars rating
  • From $1899 AUD
  • Operator: Destiny Travels

More Things To Do In Costa Rica

  • La Fortuna is the gateway to Arenal National Park. Go hiking, do the hot springs or the waterfall
  • Santa Teresa a small town on the Nicoya Peninsula on the west coast.
  • Also visit Isla Tortuga – day tours can be arranged from Santa Teresa
  • Cahuita south of Limon is lovely and local and a is not that far north of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. You could get a ride out from PVDT no problem

San Jose:

  • Central Market – but take nothing valuable its a pickpockets delight
  • The Jade Museum houses more than just Jade and worth a look
  • National Museum of Costa Rica and the Butterfly House
  • Pre-Colombian Gold Museum
  • Take a day trip to Tortuga Island one of the most popular day trips from San Jose.
  • Catarata Del Toro Waterfall – worth the hike in
  • Rio Celeste National Park
  • Monteverde Cloud forest
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Puerto Viejo de Talamanca for coconut fringed black sand beaches, some cool reggae and remote locations you can be alone
  • Hike to the top of Cerro Chirripo

My Fave Photo From Costa Rica

Rainbow billed Toucan

My main reason for visiting Costa Rica was of course the animals.

I'd never seen a Toucan before and to be honest they didn't honestly seem like a real bird. I mean I knew they were real but they seemed like such cartoons that the first time I saw one I was so excited. Possibly more excited than when I saw my first African elephant. It's weird I know but I was stoked to see one. Little did I realise they are to Costa Rica what Kookaburras are to us. They are all around the forest so this wasn't the only one I saw.

I ended up seeing not just this rainbow billed Toucan but about 4 varieties and even the fiery billed Toucan when I was in the south. So I ended up really fortunate to have seen heaps but this one was my first and I was complexly besotted with him.