the beach in Manuel Antonio National park, costa rica
Lie between jungle and ocean in Manuel Antonio National Park.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

8 Enticing Natural Attractions in Costa Rica

The ‘Rich Coast’ is a Nature Lover’s Playground

Costa Rica is a country of superlatives — the most beautiful beaches, the densest jungle and the most adorable animal population. In short, as one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, it’s a nature lover’s paradise.

For such a tiny country, Costa Rica really packs in the natural attractions, with everything from volcanoes to national parks teeming with monkeys and butterflies to long stretches of glorious sand on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

Whether you’re looking for a jungle adventure, unique wildlife experience, a dose of Caribbean surfing vibes or all of the above, you won’t be able to help falling in love with these Costa Rica points of interest.

1. Manuel Antonio National Park

When it comes to things to do in Costa Rica, exploring jungles is top of the list, and Manuel Antonio is one of the best places to do it. It is the smallest protected wilderness area in the country, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.

Here both monkeys and jungle vines caper right down to the water’s edge, making the golden strips of sand sandwiched between ocean and forest a great place to lie back and spot wildlife.

Baby turtles make their way to the ocean after hatching in Tortuguero.Baby turtles make their way to the ocean after hatching in Tortuguero. Photo Credit: Getty Images

2. Tortuguero

A tiny village only accessible by air or water, Tortuguero is surrounded by densely forested canal networks on one side, and open ocean on the other. The beaches here in Tortuguero National Park are famed nesting grounds for sea turtles — endangered green sea turtles, leatherbacks and hawksbills all nest here.

Visit at the right time of year (July and August are peak turtle months) and you can join a night walk to see the egg laying in action. If you’re lucky you will witness the great turtles hauling themselves up the beach and digging a hole where they deposit their eggs.

When not trying to catch a glimpse of turtles, other Costa Rica attractions you can partake in are guided canoe or kayak excursions which explore more of the waterways surrounding the village.

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a view of arenal volcano in Costa RicaArenal Volcano sits above Costa Rica's largest lake — a combination that makes for great views. Photo Credit: Getty Images

3. Arenal Volcano

The active Arenal Volcano presides over Costa Rica’s largest lake, waterfall-filed rainforests and the sweet little town of Fortuna. The area is a hot spot (literally — you may witness a small eruption while you’re there) for adventure activities.

If you’re looking for activities in Costa Rica of a more active nature, there is plenty of hiking to be done in this area. Walking through the Arenal Volcano National Park you’ll stumble across old lava flows and dozens of coatis. La Fortuna Waterfall is a short hike suitable for all ages and fitness levels. After around 15 minutes of walking you’ll be rewarded with views of one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country.

You can balance out adventure with relaxation by visiting the thermal pools at Baldi hot springs, where you can soothe any aching muscles at the end of the day.

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