From pristine beaches and enchanting waterfalls to misty jungles and abundant wildlife, Costa Rica is a dream for nature lovers and thrill seekers around the world.

Whether you’re looking for an adventurous trek through the jungle, a long beach stroll, or a swim in a picture-perfect waterfall, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to visit in beautiful Costa Rica.

Manuel Antonio National Park: Explore its wildlife and beaches

Abundant biodiversity, lush forests, and turquoise seas make the Manuel Antonio National Park one of the most popular parks in Costa Rica.

Stretching over about 1,700 acres, the park offers diverse hiking trails, as well as an opportunity to catch a glimpse of relaxed sloths, playful monkeys, and squawking toucans, among other species. To beat the crowds and see more wildlife, arrive early and hire a local guide.

Beach lovers will enjoy the two main beaches inside the park – Espadilla Beach and Manuel Antonio Beach which are famous for their spectacular views and stunning sunsets.

Adventure or relaxation? The choice is yours with plenty of options to sunbathe, watch dolphins on a catamaran, snorkel, hike, or go surfing.

Volcán Poás: Get close to an active volcano

Looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure? Seize the opportunity to get close to an active volcano in the Volcán Poás National Park. Located at an elevation of 2,708m, the powerful Poás offers visitors a glimpse of a 260-meter-deep crater and a beautiful lake at its center.

Make sure to book in advance and note that visits are restricted to 20 minutes due to the toxic volcanic gases.

Playa Negra: Relax at the beach and travel back in time

Stretch out and relax at the pristine Playa Negra beach which boasts black sands and crystal-clear waters. The beach is suitable both for swimmers and newbie surfers. Situated on Costa Rica’s southern coast in Cahuita, the area is known for its laid-back Caribbean vibe.

History buffs can also travel to the nearby pre-Columbian stone spheres created by the Diquís civilization and learn more about their purpose and significance.

Monteverde: Discover the cloud forest and El Tigre Waterfalls

This magnificent cloud forest reserve covers more than 41 square kilometers of lush vegetation and a wide variety of plant and bird species. There are an estimated 2,500 types of plants (including orchids and bromeliads) and about 4,000 bird species (including the famous quetzal). Hike through the humid and misty forests, soak up the atmosphere, and try to spot the quetzal, which is a sacred bird in Maya and Aztec cultures.

Visitors can also explore the famed El Tigre Waterfalls National Park in Monteverde – one of the best adventure parks in Costa Rica. Find up to ten stunning waterfalls (depending on the season) while trailing through the virgin forests. And for the more adventurous, dip into the natural pools along the river (beware: between May and December, the temperatures are extremely low).