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 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 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 suddenly became inspired to shave the ordinary topiary into a bizarre series of drippy, a…
National Park in Parque Nacional Tapantí-Macizo Cerro de la Muerte

Parque Nacional Tapantí-Macizo Cerro de la Muerte

This 580-sq-km national park protects the lush northern slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca, and is the wettest park in the country, getting an average 8000mm of precipitation a year. In 2000 it was expanded to in…
Zoo in La Garita

Zoo Ave

About 10km west of Alajuela, you’ll find this well-designed animal park sheltering more than 115 species of birds on colorful, squawking display in a relaxing 14-hectare setting. The zoo houses all four species of C…
Gardens in Heredia Area

INBioparque

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…
Bird 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, though, and eventually ended up with owls, sloths, monkeys…
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…
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 …
Archaeological Site in Monumento Nacional Arqueológico Guayabo

Monumento Nacional Arqueológico Guayabo

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