Costa Rica Sightseeing: Top 5 Attractions
Costa Rica Sightseeing: Arenal Volcano National Park
One of the most amazing places to see while traveling in Costa Rica is the Arenal Volcano. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and has a constantly changing lava flow. Park rangers are always monitoring the flows for your safety and you can rest assured while enjoying time at the park that if there is any chance of danger they will evacuate the park immediately. Enjoy hiking on trails over hardened lava fields and to hot springs by booking one of several four- to six-hour guided tours. An excellent way of touring the area from above the trees is by taking the Sky Tram Canopy Tour. You will ride an open-air gondola from the ground to the heights where you'll be dropped off at an observation deck for fantastic views of the volcano and land below. From the observation deck, choose to return to the ground below by riding the gondola back down or opt for a faster trip by riding down on a zipline (which I recommend!).
Costa Rica Sightseeing: Manuel Antonio National Park
This is one of the most visited national parks for individuals traveling in Costa Rica, and for good reason! When many people think of Costa Rica sightseeing they think of gorgeous sand beaches stretched lazily against sparkling sea. If this is what you want, then Manuel Antonio National Park should be on your short list of Costa Rica attractions to see. Although it is a small park, it is full of tropical birds for the birdwatchers among you and has pristine coral reefs for snorkelers. Take some time and hike the Perezoso Trail for views of the ocean and cool off afterwards with a swim.
Costa Rica Sightseeing: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
As a wildlife refuge, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is replete with diverse plant and animal life, making this a great place for the outdoor lover traveling in Costa Rica. Spend a day or several days hiking the many trails, either as part of a guided group or solo. The trails are maintained nicely and there aren't many rugged areas so it is a wonderful sightseeing option for the whole family. There are trails through swamp areas, past lovely waterfalls, and there are five suspension bridges, one of them 300 feet high! While in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve you may want to check out a few of the other area attractions and take a horseback ride, coffee tour or night tour.
Costa Rica Sightseeing: Rincon de La Vieja National Park
For the truly adventurous traveling in Costa Rica, the Rincon de La Vieja National Park has much to offer. There are three volcanoes, one is active (Rincon de La Vieja) and the other two are dormant (Santa Maria and Cerro von Seebach). There are warm pools of mud, swimmable waterfalls, and the opportunity to camp amidst it all. Camp? Yes, camp! Talk to the park rangers for more information on camping at one of the two ranger stations. You are able to hike to the top of Santa Maria but it is not an easy hike as the slopes get steep toward the top and there are no safety measures to prevent you from falling. Hikers wishing to explore the base of the volcano will have an easier time as the trails are well-marked and not as difficult.
Costa Rica Sightseeing: Tortuguero National Park
This is another national park that will provide you with superb Costa Rica sightseeing. The park itself is only accessible by boat or by air so just getting here will be an adventure! There are nesting grounds in the park for populations of green sea, Hawksbill, and leatherback turtles. Take a quiet walk around marked trails to view these nesting sites but be careful to stay on the trail and do not disturb the nests! There are many canals running through the Tortugeuro National Park and one of the best ways to experience them is to get off the land and onto the water. Take a guided tour or rent a kayak and explore on your own. You may get to see a manatee in the water or hear howler monkeys chattering at you from the trees on the bank as you pass by.
Photo courtesy of Costa Rica: No Artifical Ingredients, www.visitcostarica.com