Top Choice National Park in Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio

Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio

Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is the country's smallest (just 19.83 sq km) and most popular national park. A clearly marked trail system winds through rainforest-backed white-sand beaches and rocky headlands, the w…
Top Choice Gardens in Parque Nacional Volcán Poás

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

This storybook garden complex just east of Volcán Poás offers the most enchanting day trip in the Central Valley. Guests walk 3.5km of trails to five scenic waterfalls, and can also wander around a butterfly conserv…
Top Choice Waterfall in Montezuma

Montezuma Waterfalls

A 40-minute river hike leads to a waterfall with a delicious swimming hole. Further along the trail, a second set of falls offers a good clean 10m leap into deep water. Reach the 'diving platform' from the trail: do…
Top Choice Point in Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio

Punta Catedral

Geography fun fact: this isthmus that's the centerpiece of the park is called a tombolo and was formed by the accumulation of sand between the mainland and the peninsula beyond, which was once an island. At its end,…
Top Choice Beach in Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio

Playa Espadilla Sur

The exposed Playa Espadilla Sur is to the north of Punta Catedral and swimming here can be dangerous. The beach is a half-hour hike from the park entrance.
Gardens in Heredia Area


At this excellent, wheelchair-accessible botanical garden, run by the nonprofit National Biodiversity Institute (INBio), visitors can admire the country's native plants and animals in miniature habitats. Other attra…
Gallery in Orosi to Paraíso

Casa del Soñador

This artisanal woodworking studio is run by Hermes and Miguel Quesada, sons of renowned Tico carver Macedonio Quesada. The brothers maintain the campesino (peasant farmer) tradition of whittling gnarled coffee-wood …
Gardens in Turrialba Area

Catie (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación )

Catie's sprawling grounds, 2km east of Turrialba, encompass 10 sq km dedicated to tropical agricultural research and education. Agronomists from all over the world recognize this as one of the most important centers…
Zoo in Cañas

Las Pumas

This wild-animal shelter was started in the 1960s by the late Lilly Hagnauer, a Swiss environmentalist. It’s the largest shelter of its kind in Latin America, housing big cats including pumas, jaguars, ocelots, jagu…
National Park in Parque Nacional Volcán Poás

Parque Nacional Volcán Poás

Just 37km north of Alajuela by a winding and scenic road is the most heavily trafficked national park in Costa Rica. And for those who want to peer into an active volcano – without the hardship of hiking one – it’s …