Top things to do

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 Mexican in Alajuela

Jalapeños Central

Offering the best Tex-Mex in the country, this popular, 11-table spot will introduce some much-needed spice into your diet. The simple and fresh burritos, chimichangas and enchiladas come in a meal deal or on their …
Top Choice International in Alajuela

Xandari

If you want to impress a date, you can’t go wrong at this elegant restaurant with incredible views. The menu is a mix of Costa Rican and international, with plenty of vegetarian options. The restaurant utilizes the …
Top Choice Cafeteria in San Isidro de Heredia

Bromelias del Río

Ensconced in a tropical garden by a mountain stream, this bakery/restaurant wins for its spiked coffee drinks (hot mocha with Baileys and chocolate syrup) and decadent sandwiches, some piled high with lomito (steak)…
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…
Top Choice Cafe in Turrialba

Maracuyá

This bright-walled cafe serves up one of the best coffee treats in the country – a frozen caffeine concoction with gooey maracuyá (passion fruit) syrup and crunchy seeds. Dishes include veggie wraps, creative salads…
Top Choice French in Parque Nacional Volcán Poás

Colbert Restaurant

At this charming restaurant 6km east of Poasito, the toque-clad, mustachioed French chef Joël Suire looks like he’s straight out of central casting. Naturally, the menu is loaded with traditional French items such 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…