Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Ten Most Popular Destinations in Costa Rica

By the Costa Rica Guide

The most popular tour route in Costa Rica encompasses must see destinations: volcanoes, beaches and cloud and rainforests.

The individual destinations described below were chosen in a purely objective manner based on visitor statistics compiled by the ICT, SINAC and MINAE. For others there are no statisics and we deterimined the most popular by personal observation, and talking to residents, expats and people in the travel industry to come to a consensus.

Also have a look at the most popular adventures in Costa Rica, and the best kept secrets for Costa Rica travelers.

The single most visited place in Costa Rica is the capital San José. More travelers are taking advantage of the "new" international airport in Liberia but San José is the hub for all domestic flights and public buses. Because the geography demands that nearly all roads lead to the capital the majority of foreign visitors spend at least a day or two there.


Manuel Antonio is the most popular National Park beach in Costa Rica. So popular in fact that several years ago the park service imposed strict limits on the number of visitors to prevent the tiny natural area from being loved to death.

Playas Tamarindo and Jacó are a tossup for the most popular surfing beach, but Tamarindo is coming on strong, and Jacó is fading.

On opposite sides of Cabo Blanco at the tip of the Nicoya peninsual, Playas Montezuma and Mal País(Santa Teresa) are the most popular "undiscovered" beach destination in Costa Rica.

Turtle Nesting

Tortugero National Park is the premier destination to observe sea turtle nesting. The canals and estuaries are also prime locations for nature cruises, canoeing, and kayaking.

Rain Forest

The most popular rainforest in Costa Rica measured by the number of visitors each day is Braulio Carillo National Park. It stradles the Guápiles highway, the main route from San José to the Caribbean coast. Most of the traffic just passes through perhaps pausing at some of the scenic overlooks, but there are beautiful trails for those who want to explore more.

Cloud Forest

Monteverde —This private reserve provides the easiest access to the cloud forests, and an infrastructure of guides and resources to help you make the most of your visit. Like Manuel Antonio, it has gained tremendously in popularity, but has much less chance of being loved to death. Monteverde is much larger, the cool, wet, windy weather means shorter visits, and as a private reserve it has better funding than most of the National Parks. Despite the growth in tourism in the surrounding community, a few hundred yards off the main loop (el triangulo) you may still have the trail to yourself.

Hot Spring

Tabacón resort is far and away the most popular hotspring in Costa Rica. The Tabacón river is heated as it flows close to surface lava seams on the slopes of Arenal volcano.

Visitors enjoy views of the eruptions from seats under the heated waterfalls and in the swim up hot pool bars. Qite possibly the most relaxing spot in Costa Rica as long as it doesn't make you nervous that the resort isdirectly in the path if a major eruption occurs. The Costa Rican government has considered forcing the resort to relocate but so far the popularity of the current location has prevented it.


Owing to its spendor, and location next to the highway from Barva to San Miguel, the waterfall popularity champion is La Paz. Many visitors just stop for a few minutes, take a picture or two and head on to Arenal. Others spend a night or two in the Peace Lodge and take advantage of the improved trails to the upper falls and butterfly gardens.

Nature Cruise

The canals of Tortuguero and wetlands of Cano Negro are the most popular places to sit back relax and let the boatman be your guide to bird and wildlife spotting. Caño Negro has a slight edge in numbers because of the popularity of day tours, but Tortuguero gets many more overnight visitors. The mangroves of the Damas estuary are gaining popularity with tourist from the adjacent Manuel Antonio area.


Most people familiar with Costa Rica would immediately think of Arenal's fiery Lava flows if asked for the most visited volcanic destination, but it's actually third on the list. Irazu and Poas volcanoes each attract more than twice as many tourists as Arenal. In fact they're the two most popular National Parks in the country.


Corcovado and Chirripo draw most of the trekkers in Costa Rica. You don't necessarily even need a tent. Corcovado has some bunk space at the backcountry ranger stations, and Chirripó has a refugio system that includes 60 bunks near the summit.

To read the full article in the Costa Rica Guide click here

No comments:

Post a Comment