Here are ten things to do on your first visit to Costa Rica

If you want relaxing waterfalls and historic towns, Costa Rica is the ideal getaway.

Costa Rica is a nature lover’s paradise. If you are looking for a vacation full of relaxing waterfalls, picturesque beaches and historic towns, then Costa Rica is the perfect getaway for you. If this is your first time in this country, you may be intimidated, but there is no need to worry. The locals are friendly and the area is full of other travelers, most of whom speak English due to the number of international tourists.

It can be intimidating that there are countless incredible things to do in Costa Rica. Well, you’re in luck because we’re going to tell you the best things to do on your first trip to Costa Rica. From coffee tours to water rafting, here are the top 10 things to do on your first visit to Costa Rica.

Montevideo Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve offers guided tours through breathtaking forests filled with waterfalls, wildlife and nerve-racking bridges towering over the treetops. Established in 1972 and named after the neighboring town of Montevideo, the reserve consists of more than 10,500 hectares of cloud forest.

About 70,000 visitors a year come to experience the impressive biodiversity, which includes nearly 2,500 species of plants, 100 species of animals, 400 species of birds, 120 species of reptiles and amphibians, and hundreds of species of insects.

national park manuel antonio
Manuel Antonio National Park has something for everyone. Whether you’re an animal lover, avid surfer or hiker, they’ve got you covered in lush green rainforests and white sandy beaches. The park’s pristine beaches are also perfect for those who want to rest in the shade of palm trees.

However, be aware that travelers have commented on mischievous monkeys in the area who are prone to stealing treats and rummaging through bags. Whatever activity you want, you can find it at Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio.

rincon de la vija volcano
This stunning volcanic area is also home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country. While hiking is the most common activity in this national park, you can also visit Vandara Hot Springs. The water is filled with nutrient-rich clay mud that you can apply all over your body for a natural skin treatment. For thrill seekers, speed up the waterfall slides for the fun of a lifetime. Whatever you do, you can easily spend a full day at Rincón de la Vieja Volcano.

Espiritu Santo Estate Coffee Tour
Known for producing some of the best coffee in the world, it’s no wonder Costa Rica is full of guided coffee tours. We recommend that you experience a coffee tour with Hacienda Espíritu Santo. This coffee plantation covers 247 hectares and offers tours that will explain the entire process from harvesting the beans to pouring the best steaming coffee.

If you’re a coffee fan like we are, you’re probably craving multiple coffee trips. Some highly recommended tours include Don Juan Coffee Farm, Monteverde Cafe and Caribbean Coffee and Chocolate.

White water rafting on the Pacuare River
Due to the vastness of the jungle and rainforest, there are many rivers for white water rafting. One of the most popular spots for water rafting is the Pacuare River on the Caribbean coast. At Pacuare River Lodge, they offer more than just rafting, but unique experiences like ziplines, mountain biking, and SupSurfing. You can plan to stay at one of their eco-lodges or Caribbean treehouses for a complete adventure.

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Love sloths? Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is both a sanctuary and a zoo, open to visitors to see not only adorable sloths but countless other animal exhibits. The sanctuary provides treatment for endangered, sick or orphaned animals and releases them back into the wild when they are ready.

You can visit the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary knowing that your payment has been taken forever. The Sanctuary is a non-profit organization funded solely by donations and tours. All funds are used to provide animals with proper health and safety.

Ecotermales Fortuna
For all your post-hike muscle soreness, visit Ecotermales Spa in the town of La Fortuna. Its magnesium-rich waters are heated by the energy of the volcano and supply pools with rocky edges, loungers and stunning views of the volcano.

The water is constantly flowing, renewing every forty-five minutes. You can enjoy five different swimming pools with temperatures ranging from 90 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit, two bars and a restaurant.

La Paz Waterfall Garden
La Paz Falls is a must for every first-time visitor to Costa Rica. Not only a veritable waterfall to witness, but also 100 species of animals such as monkeys, butterflies, jaguars and more. In addition to waterfall viewing and hiking, there are restaurants and on-site accommodation, the Peace Lodge.

You can experience the best this location has to offer in as little as two hours when you follow a guided tour. However, you can also spend a leisurely day at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Arenal Volcano
At 5,000 feet above the ground, the volcano is huge and stunning. Don’t be nervous; the massive Arenal Volcano has not erupted since 2010 and is considered one of Costa Rica’s most striking natural landmarks. While sightseeing, also visit the charming town of La Fortuna, which is also home to La Fortuna Falls and the hot springs we mentioned earlier. Make an unforgettable day trip to Arenal Volcano and the town of La Fortuna.

Strolling San Jose
This colourful capital city is the ideal home base for travelers, offering you stress-free transportation to wherever you want to visit. However, San Jose also offers picturesque scenery and an exciting atmosphere. If you’re interested in nature and wildlife, spend some time in San Jose and visit its many museums and cultural experiences. Marvel at the city’s expansive history, art, and stunning architecture. Central Street is the city center and also has many shops, restaurants, bars and museums.