Costa Rica tailor-made holidays
Few places boast the range of natural attractions available in Costa Rica and holidays here guarantee you some extraordinary experiences, with both the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts vying for attention alongside still-active volcanoes and national parks teeming with wildlife.
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 home to 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.
And, to bookend your holiday, there are also some stunning beaches to choose from too, with the glistening sands of Playa Conchal – arguably Costa Rica's best beach – contrasting against rolling surf of wild Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. And, away from the mainland, in the Pacific's deep blue, there's the island of San Lucas with its fascinating, penal-colony past, and national-park Isla del Coco whose soaring cliffs and golden bays tumble down to waters rich in marine life.
At a glanceSee Costa Rica travel guide
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Costa Rica, Latin America’s eco-tourism hotspot, offers plenty of opportunity to surround yourself with nature with an abundance of incredible wildlife and some truly breathtaking landscapes from towering volcanoes and dense rainforest to some of the continents finest beaches.
Top itineraries in Costa Rica
Take in the best of Costa Rica's beaches, birdlife and wildlife-viewing hotspots as you travel to the beautiful Turrialba Valley and on to San Gerardo de Dota – one of the world's great bird-watching destinations – ending with the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park.
Costa Rica is a land of spectacular volcanoes, wildlife-filled cloud forests, fast-flowing jungle rivers and tropical jungles. Explore its natural-world highlights in Arenal and Monteverde before kicking back on the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park or Guanacaste.
Let expert guides introduce you to two Costa Rican gems – the rainforest of Sarapiqui and towering Arenal Volcano. You'll then enjoy a full-board stay at the Lapa Rios Ecolodge, hidden among the wildlife-filled rainforests of the Osa Peninsula.
Top places to stay in Costa Rica
A hidden gem in the metropolitan bustle of San José, this boutique hotel features opulent rooms, an intimate dining area and stunning courtyard with a jacuzzi deck.
In an exceptional location on the doorstep of Manuel Antonio Park, this hotel offers eco-tourism on a luxury scale, with several swimming pools and restaurants making it ideal for both families and honeymooners.
This luxury eco-lodge is located in the remote Osa Peninsula deep in the rainforest, offering open air bungalows and ocean views for guests to truly immerse themselves in nature.
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Where to go in Costa Rica
The Osa Peninsula is one of the best-kept secrets in Costa Rica. Described by National Geographic as 'the most biologically intense place on earth', it's unarguably the most pristine of all Costa Rica's ecosystems.
Don't be deceived by the size of Manuel Antonio National Park. Although one of the smallest of Costa Rica's national parks, it's also rated as one of its best. The range of habitats enclosed within the park boundaries makes this the perfect place to observe both land-loving and sea -dwelling creatu…
Hidden in the secluded coves of the Nicoya Peninsula you'll find some of Costa Rica's most stunning white-sand beaches. The ring of coastline around the Guanacastle lowlands reserve in the north attracts crowds of surfers and beach goers every year.
This is a coastline dominated by peninsulas, with the Nicoya Peninsula to the north and Osa to the south. The sheltered bays and gulfs of this region provide welcome shelter for some of the Pacific Ocean's more endangered nomadic creatures, amongst them whale sharks, turtles, dolphins and humpback …
What to do in Costa Rica
Deep within rainforests, under the sea or on the edges of volcanoes, Costa Rica is home to an abundance of wildlife. From jaguars and sloths to iguanas, toucans and monkeys, this region's vast variety of species are just waiting to be discovered.
When to go to Costa Rica
Costa Rica has just two seasons, winter (wet) and summer (dry). These seasons are the opposite of those in the northern hemisphere with summer running from December to April, this is also known as the dry season and is the perfect time to visit the beautiful beaches of the Pacific coast. In the wet season (May to November) most of the rain falls on the country's vast rainforests and the weather can disrupt transport routes to the southeast and the Osa peninsula. In most places the rainfall is intense but brief. Some activities are actually better in the rainy season (rebranded as the Green Season by Costa Ricans), for instance whitewater …
Costa Rica articles
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