Attractions

Top Choice Gardens in Parque Nacional Volcán Poás

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

This storybook garden complex just east of Volcán Poás offers the most easily digestible cultural experience in the Central Valley. Guests walk 3.5km of well-maintained trails to five scenic waterfalls, and can also…
Top Choice Park in Zarcero

Parque Francisco Alvarado

In front of the Iglesia de San Rafael, this park was a normal plaza until the 1960s, when a gardener named Evangelisto Blanco became inspired to shave the ordinary topiary into a bizarre series of drippy, abstract s…
National Park in Valle de Orosi

Parque Nacional Tapantí-Macizo Cerro de la Muerte

This 580-sq-km national park preserves the verdant northern slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca and is the wettest reserve in the country, getting 8000mm of precipitation a year. The park's largest peak, the Cerro…
Zoo in La Garita

Zoo Ave

About 10km west of Alajuela is this well-designed animal park with more than 115 types of bird on colorful, squawking display. The tranquil 14-hectare setting is also home to all four species of Costa Rican monkey, …
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 …
Waterfall in Grecia

Las Cataratas de Los Chorros

About 7km southeast of Grecia, north of Tacares and Flores, are two gorgeous waterfalls and a swimming hole surrounded by shaded areas and picnic tables. It’s a popular spot for weekending couples. Look for the sign…
Animal Sanctuary in San Isidro de Heredia

Toucan Rescue Ranch

A decade ago, expat Leslie Howle and her husband, Jorge Murillo, started taking in sick and injured toucans. The couple found it hard to turn any animal away and eventually ended up with owls, sloths, monkeys, an ot…
Archaeological Site in Turrialba Area

Monumento Nacional Arqueológico Guayabo

This is the largest and most important archaeological site in the country. Although Guayabo isn't nearly as breathtaking as Mayan and Aztec archaeological sites (so don't expect pyramids), excavations have unearthed…
Ruins in Orosi to Paraíso

Ruins of Ujarrás

The village of Ujarrás was damaged by an 1833 flood and then abandoned. All that remains are the crumbling walls of Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción, a 1693 stone church once home to a miraculous pa…
Church in Cartago

Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles

Cartago's most important site, and Costa Rica's most venerated religious shrine, this basilica exudes Byzantine grace, with fine stained-glass windows, hand-painted interiors and ornate side chapels featuring carved…