Few places boast the range of natural attractions available in Costa Rica and Costa Rica holidays guarantee you some extraordinary experiences; beach holidays in Costa Rica are centred on the Caribbean coast and the spectacular stretches of sand there whilst wildlife holidays here are popular ways of exploring the many national parks and eco-tourist destinations.
The capital San José is a great mix of traditional and Spanish architecture. Close to the city is the crater of Irazú; the surreal lunar landscape is one of Costa Rica's most stirring sights. Arenal is one of eight active volcanoes in the country; night-time eruptions are the most spectacular. The thermal springs and mud pools of Volcán Rincón de la Vieja are best explored on horseback or on foot. Trekkers should scale Cerro Chirripó, the country's highest summit.
People looking to spot wildlife should travel to Santa Rosa National Park, which has ten different habitats, or Tortuguero National Park to explore the lush rainforests, long beaches, swamps and lagoons teeming with wildlife, including nesting turtles. Parque Nacional Corcovado is considered one of the most biologically diverse places in the world, whilst Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is perfect for primates including howler monkeys and capuchins.
Costa Rica's best beach is Playa Conchal, whilst the wildest surfing is at Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Offshore, in the Pacific, lie San Lucas and Isla del Coco, two attractive islands with fine beaches and plenty of history.