Costa Rica Attractions
Costa Rica attractions is by far my favorite vacation destination. The beaches in Santa Rosa National Park are second-to-none for beauty and seclusion. I spent a memorable day there just savoring the sounds of nature and soaking up the glorious rays of the sun. When it got warm, I simply took a dip in the crystalline waters.This country is one of the best for active travelers, which is another reason why I love it.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is another Costa Rica attractions that gave me a fascinating background on the ecological system in the jungle, and being able to ramble freely for several hours was definitely a treat. For something a little more strenuous, I opted to rent a mountain bike so I could explore Costa Rica’s many unpaved roads and trails. Not surprisingly, that wasn’t enough for me. Eventually, I signed up for a multiday tour that had me riding a bike, whitewater rafting and trekking through the jungle. That was definitely an amazing adventure.
Of course, Costa Rica isn’t all about adrenaline. The breathtaking Rincon de la Vieja National Park, with its geysers and hot springs, was also one of my favorite Costa Rica attractions experiences. I can’t wait to get back there someday!
Guide to Exploring Volcanic Costa Rica
Costa Rica is renowned for its incredible beaches, lush rain forests and spectacular wildlife, but there’s also a more menacing side to this place of paradise, for the country lies above where two tectonic plates – the Cocos and Caribbean – collide. This underground activity, as well as creating the potential for a few earth tremors, gave rise many thousands of years ago to a number of volcanoes that run down the spine of Costa Rica, from Orosi in the far north-west near the border with Nicaragua all the way down to Turrialba in the heart of the country. But well as posing a lingering danger to residents, these spectacular volcanoes present an opportunity for travelers to experience something that is alien to them back home. Not only do they provide some spectacular picture opportunities, they also give intrepid visitors a chance to hike to high altitudes, conduct crater walks and see geological processes in action.
Perhaps the most famous of Costa Rica’s volcanoes – largely thanks to a period of activity from the late 90s until a few years ago when visitors could witness lava flowing down the side of the cone – Arenal is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of the country.
While the daily rumblings may have ceased, visitors still flock here to take in the beauty of the surroundings and enjoy a luxurious soak in the thermal springs at the foot of the mountain.
A number of resorts have made use of these natural resources to create whole thermal complexes featuring bathing pools of temperatures ranging from 30 to 40 degrees set among tropical gardens.
Despite its imposing presence, Arenal is comparatively diminutive at 1,670m high compared to Costa Rica’s tallest volcano, Irazu.
At 3,432m – over 11,000ft – the oxygen available at the summit is only a third of that at sea level, so you need to be aware of altitude sickness as you climb Irazu.
However, the strenuous hike is well worth it for the view, as on a clear day you can see both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans from the same spot.
You can also return home and impress those who’ve only climbed mountains in the UK – Irazu is three times higher than Snowdon in Wales and two and a half times taller than Ben Nevis, Britain’s biggest.
Unlike Arenal and Irazu, other volcanoes such as Chato are dormant. This makes them particularly visitor-friendly of course.
Those who do make the steep and humid climb to its safe summit are rewarded by the sight of a large turquoise lake filling the crater.
Descend the path to the water’s edge and go for a dip – how many times will you get a chance to swim on top of a volcano in your lifetime?!
Chato is also less crowded than some of the other peaks in Costa Rica, so it’s a great place to get away from it all and be at one with nature.
You can then head off the mountain down to the La Fortuna waterfall, which features an impressive 75m cascade of water falling into a pool, where you can also swim – provided you’ve remembered your bathers!