Top Choice Area 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 National Park in Parque Nacional Marino Ballena

Parque Nacional Marino Ballena

This stunner of a marine park, with a wide beach shaped like a whale's tail, protects coral and rock reefs surrounding several offshore islands. The lack of tourist crowds means that you can enjoy a quiet day at the…
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 Waterfall in Tárcoles & Around

Catarata Manantial de Agua Viva

This 200m-high waterfall is claimed to be the highest in the country. From the entrance, it’s a steep 3km (45-minute) hike down into the valley; at the bottom, the river continues through a series of natural swimmin…
Top Choice Waterfall in Dominical

Cataratas Nauyaca

This center, owned and operated by a Costa Rican family, is home to the coast's most impressive waterfalls, which cascade through a protected reserve of both primary and secondary forest. The family runs horseback-r…
Top Choice Waterfall in Uvita

Cascada Verde

Around 2.5km inland and uphill (toward the Cascada Verde hostel), this waterfall plunges into an inviting deep pool, perfect for a refreshing dip. The best part? The waterfall also acts as an exhilarating natural wa…
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.
Top Choice Nature Reserve in Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge

Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge

Consisting of pristine beaches, riverbanks, mangrove estuaries, wetlands, primary and secondary forests, tree plantations and pastures, this 330-hectare nature reserve forms a key link in a major biological corridor…
Top Choice Nature Reserve in Dominical

Alturas Animal Sanctuary

Around 1.5km east and uphill from Dominical, this animal sanctuary takes in injured and orphaned animals as well as illegal pets, its mission being to rehabilitate those that can be and reintroduce them to the wild,…
Nature Reserve in Ojochal

Reserva Playa Tortuga

Set up in 2009 by Costa Rican scientists, this excellent program runs several projects: studying and protecting from extinction the olive ridley turtle that nests on Playa Tortuga, monitoring the crocodilian populat…