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Top things to do

Top ChoiceEuropean in San José

Park Café

At this felicitous fusion of antique shop and French restaurant, Michelin-starred chef Richard Neat offers an exquisite menu of smaller sampling plates (Spanish tapas-style), normal-sized mains and a thoughtful...

Top ChoiceFusion in Tortuguero Village

Wild Ginger

On a dirt path near the beach north of town, the simple, tucked-away place could be straight out of California or Portland (the owner has lived in both cities). It's dimly lit with paper lanterns, has a striking...

Top ChoiceSeafood in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Laszlo's

Whaddya get when you take a champion sport fisherman, born and raised in Transylvania, and transplant him to Puerto Viejo by way of New Jersey? Answer: an amazing, eclectic eatery with no sign and no menu that...

Top ChoiceSeafood in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Mopri

You'd never know it from Mopri's dingy facade and cheap plastic tables, but this place serves some of the best seafood in Puerto Viejo. Choose your star ingredient – whole snapper, calamari, lobster or prawns –...

Top ChoiceNational Park in Southern Costa Rica & Península de Osa

Parque Nacional Isla del Coco

Parque Nacional Isla del Coco

Around 500km southwest of the Costa Rica mainland, Isla del Coco is a natural wonder that teems with wildlife, including the largest schools of hammerhead sharks on the planet. For that reason, divers descend...

Top ChoiceInternational in Montezuma

Playa de los Artistas

Most romantic dinner ever. If you're lucky, you'll snag one of the tree-trunk tables under the palms. The international menu with Mediterranean influences changes daily, though you can always count on fresh...

Top ChoiceCoffee in Jacó

Café Bohío

Farmed and harvested in Tarrazú and roasted in Jacó, this is some of the finest-tasting coffee in Costa Rica. The small artisan coffee shop in Jacó has no gimmicks, just a few tables and excellent brews with an...

Top ChoiceCave in Northern Lowlands

Venado Caves

Two kilometers northeast of Venado (Spanish for ‘deer’) along a good dirt road, these caves are an adventurous excursion into an eight-chamber limestone labyrinth that extends for almost 3km. A bilingual guide...

Top ChoiceNotable Building in San José

Teatro Nacional

Teatro Nacional

On the southern side of the Plaza de la Cultura resides the Teatro Nacional, San José’s most revered building. Constructed in 1897, it features a columned neoclassical facade flanked by statues of Beethoven and...

Top ChoiceWildlife Reserve in Monteverde & Around

Reserva Santa Elena

The exquisitely misty 310-hectare Reserva Santa Elena offers a completely different cloud forest experience from Monteverde. Cutting through the veiled forest, the reserve's 12km of dewy trails see much less...

Top ChoiceWaterfall in Dominical

Cataratas Nauyaca

Owned and operated by a Costa Rican family, this center is home to the coast's most impressive waterfalls. Two falls cascade through a protected reserve of both primary and secondary forest, and are reached by...

Top ChoicePark in Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal

Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal

Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal

From 1968 until 2010, Volcán Arenal was an ever-active and awe-striking natural wonder, producing menacing ash columns, massive explosions and streams of glowing molten rock almost daily. While the fiery night...

Top ChoiceGardens in San Vito

Wilson Botanical Garden

Wilson Botanical Garden

The world-class Wilson Botanical Garden is internationally known for its collection of more than 2000 native Costa Rican species. Species threatened with extinction are preserved here for possible reforestation...

Top ChoiceMuseum in San José

Museo de Jade

Museo de Jade

This museum houses the world’s largest collection of American jade (pronounced ‘ha-day’ in Spanish), with an ample exhibition space of five floors offering seven exhibits. There are nearly 7000 finely crafted,...

Top ChoiceWaterfall in Montezuma

Montezuma Waterfalls

A 40-minute river hike leads to a waterfall with a delicious swimming hole. Further along, a second set of falls offers a good 12m leap into deep water. Reach the 'diving platform' from the trail: do not try to...

Top ChoiceInternational in San José

Cocina Eclectica

The Escazú residence of Joanna Stein, identifiable only by a small 'J' on the door, might not seem like a restaurant. In fact it's much more. All day long, dressed in an apron and inked with dozens of tattoos,...

Top ChoiceNature Reserve in San Gerardo de Rivas

Cloudbridge Nature Reserve

About 2km past the trailhead to Cerro Chirripó you will find the entrance to the mystical, magical Cloudbridge Nature Reserve. Covering 283 hectares on the side of Cerro Chirripó, this private reserve is an...

Top ChoiceWaterfall in Tilarán

Viento Fresco

Viento Fresco

If you're travelling between Monteverde and Arenal, there's no good excuse for skipping this stop. Viento Fresco is a series of five cascades, including the spectacular Arco Iris (Rainbow Falls), which drops 75m...

Top ChoiceArea in Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio

Punta Catedral

Geography fun fact: this isthmus, which is 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...

Top ChoiceMuseum in San José

Museo de Oro Precolombino y Numismática

Museo de Oro Precolombino y Numismática

This three-in-one museum houses an extensive collection of Costa Rica's most priceless pieces of pre-Columbian gold and other artifacts, including historical currency and some contemporary regional art. The...