Top tourist attractions in Costa Rica
Here is a list of top tourist attractions in Costa Rica. Only the topmost tourist destinations are presented here. To see other destinations, please check the images from Costa Rica section.
Curious if any of these place from Costa Rica made it our best tourist attractions in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.
You can also view all tourist attracctions in Costa Rica and other countries on our tourist attractions map.
Arenal Volcano, in Spanish Volcán Arenal, is an active andesitic stratovolcano in north-western Costa Rica around 90 km northwest of San José, in the province of Alajuela, canton of San Carlos, and district of La Fortuna. The Arenal volcano measures at least 1,633 metres. It is conically shaped with a crater spanning 140 metres. Geologically, Arenal is considered a young volcano and the age is estimated to be less than 7,500 years. It is also known as "Pan de Azúcar", "Canaste", "Volcan Costa Rica", "Volcan Río Frío" or "Guatusos Peak". The volcano was dormant for hundreds of years and exhibited a single crater at its summit, with minor fumaroles activity, covered by dense vegetation. In 1968 it erupted unexpectedly, destroying the small town of Tabacón. Due to the eruption three more craters were created on the western flanks but only one of them still exists today. Since October 2010, Arenal's volcanic activity appears to be decreasing and explosions have become rare, with no explosions reported between December 2010 and October 2012.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park, in Spanish the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, is a small National Park in the Central Pacific Conservation Area located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, just south of the city of Quepos, Puntarenas, and 132 km from the national capital of San José. Established in 1972 with a land area enumerating 1 983 ha, it is the destination of as many as 150,000 visitors annually and well known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails. In 2011, Manuel Antonio was listed by Forbes among the world's 12 most beautiful national parks.
The Poás Volcano, is an active stratovolcano in central Costa Rica. It has erupted 39 times since 1828.
Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park is a National Park in the Limon Province of Costa Rica. It is situated within the Tortuguero Conservation Area of the northeastern part of the country. Despite its remote location, it is the third-most visited park in Costa Rica, reached only by airplane or boat. The park has a large variety of biological diversity due to the existence within the reserve of eleven different habitats, including rainforest, mangrove forests, swamps, beaches, and lagoons. Located in a tropical climate, it is very humid, and receives up to 250 inches of rain a year. The park, a protected area within the Humedal Caribe Noreste, was recognized under Ramsar Convention on 3 March 1991 for its rich biological diversity and ecosystems that support threatened flora and fauna species. Set in a natural wetland of the Caribbean coast, it forms a corridor with another protected area, the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve of Nicaragua. It is a key Ramsar Site.
Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park is a National Park on the Osa Peninsula in southwestern Costa Rica, which is part of the Osa Conservation Area. It was established on 24 October 1975, and encompasses an area of 425 km². It is widely considered the crown jewel in the extensive system of national parks and biological reserves spread across the country. The ecological variety is quite stunning. National Geographic has called it "the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity". Not only is the park very popular with tropical ecologists, a visitor can expect to see an abundance of wildlife. One should come well prepared though. The park conserves the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coastline and one of the few remaining sizeable areas of lowland tropical rainforests in the world. Logging usually takes place in lowland areas because those areas are more accessible and contain the largest and most economically valuable trees. But those habitats are also usually the richest in biodiversity. So even though still approximately half the tropical rainforests on Earth remain, what is left of the originally rich lowland tropical rainforests is usually too small to support the original natural biodiversity. Larger animals, especially, need a large habitat free of human activity. Unfortunately this means that even tourism, the economic incentive for Costa Rica and other developing nations to preserve and protect parks such as Corcovado, actually threatens the long-term biodiversity of the park.
Cerro Chirripó is the highest mountain in Costa Rica, with an elevation of 3,820 metres. It is located in the Chirripó National Park and is noted for its ecological wealth. The high peaks in this and La Amistad International Park host important areas of Talamancan montane forest and Costa Rican Páramo with high endemism and an extremely high biodiversity. The peaks of these mountains, because of their height, constitute sky islands for many species of plants and animals. Snow has never fallen on the peak in the past 100 years or so, according to the University of Costa Rica, but hail is reported sometimes. The great height of Cerro Chirripó relative to its surroundings is also evidenced by its particularly high topographic prominence of 3,727 m, which makes it the 38th most prominent peak in the world. From the summit it is possible on clear days to see all across the country from coast to coast, from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. Three forest fires have occurred. One in 1976, the other in the 1990s, and the last one in 2012. Climbing Chirripó is possible by obtaining a permit from the National Park office in San Gerardo de Rivas. From the trailhead, the summit can be reached via a 19.5-kilometre hike.
National Theatre of Costa Rica
Tourist attraction website
The National Theatre of Costa Rica is the national theatre of Costa Rica. It is located in the central section of San José, Costa Rica. Construction began in 1891, and it opened to the public on 21 October 1897 with a performance of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust. The National Theatre stood as a cultural asset of the country during a time when coffee exports were a source of its success. It presents high quality performances, with artistic criteria being very high. The building is considered the finest historic building in the capital, and it is known for its exquisite interior which includes its lavish furnishings.
Celeste River is a river in Tenorio Volcano National Park of Costa Rica. It is notable for its distinctive turquoise coloration, a phenomenon caused by a chemical reaction between sulfur and calcium carbonate. The Celeste River also borders several hot springs and has one large waterfall. It takes about an hour to hike to the waterfall from the park's entrance.
Chirripó National Park
Chirripó National Park is a national park of Costa Rica, encompassing parts of three provinces: San José, Limón and Cartago. It was established in 1975. It is named for its most prominent feature, Cerro Chirripó, which at 3,820 metres is the highest mountain in Costa Rica.
Museum of Contemporary Art and Design
The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, founded in 1994, is a Costa Rican museum, specialising in contemporary Central American art and design, but also representing international work in the field. To comply with this ambitious idea, we define and promote, in a permanent way, the most recent tendencies and dynamics in the world of contemporary art and design.