From climbing active volcanoes to surfing on the legendary beaches and wildlife watching, these are the best things to do in Costa Rica.
For a relatively small country, Costa Rica certainly packs in a lot of variety: from volcanoes, great surfs, miles of beaches to rainforests and awe-inspiring wildlife. With the most stable democracy in the region and a highly educated population (most of whom speak English), Costa Rica makes a great introduction to Central America for those who haven’t been.
It’s Costa Rica’s outstanding natural beauty that has made it one of the world’s prime eco-tourism destinations, with visitors flocking here to hike trails through ancient rainforest, climb active volcanoes or explore the Americas’ last vestiges of high-altitude cloudforest, home to jaguar, tapir and resplendent quetzal.
Hike the Arenal Volcano
At 1,633 metres (5,358 ft) high, Arenal Volcano is Costa Rica’s active and also most iconic volcano. It’s estimated to be less than 7,500 years old. The lava flows have been consistent since 1968, although activity has calmed in recent years. Although you are not allowed to hike to the crater, the Arenal National Park is an adventure playground where you can fly through the canopy on zip wires, visit hot springs or take the hanging bridges to get as close as possible to the crater. Within the national park, short trails pass through both secondary forest and lava fields from previous eruptions. While hiking, you might spot deer, tapir, howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys and snakes, or birds like parrots, orioles and brown magpies. The park rangers keep a close eye on the volcanic activity, and will not hesitate to close trails or portions of the park if they feel that it is unsafe.