Biodiverse Costa Rica

Travel Advisor Anne Elisabeth Bisgaard in a black floral dress.
Curated By

Anne Bisgaard

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  • Costa Rica

  • Arts & Culture

  • Nature Escapes

  • Adventure Travel

  • National Park

  • Beach Town

  • Outdoors

  • Green Spaces

Costa Rica's cloud forests – where misty fog clings to the treetops – offer a refreshingly cool retreat from the warmer, tropical areas of the country.
Curator’s statement

Visiting Costa Rica offers a wealth of natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, adventure opportunities, and a warm culture. Here are compelling reasons why you should consider traveling to Costa Rica:

Breathtaking Biodiversity: Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, with rainforests, cloud forests, beaches, and wetlands teeming with a vast array of plant and animal species.

Eco-Tourism and Sustainability: Costa Rica is a pioneer in eco-tourism and sustainable travel practices, offering a chance to explore nature while supporting conservation efforts.

National Parks and Reserves: Explore numerous protected areas, including Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Park, and Arenal Volcano National Park, offering diverse landscapes and wildlife.

Volcanic Wonders: Witness active and dormant volcanoes like Arenal and Poás, and soak in natural hot springs for a relaxing experience.

Adventure Activities: Engage in thrilling activities such as zip-lining, white-water rafting, surfing, canopy tours, and hiking through lush forests.

Beaches: Enjoy a variety of beautiful beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, each with unique characteristics and activities.

Wildlife Observation: Spot diverse wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, toucans, and colorful birds, in their natural habitats.

Whale Watching and Marine Life: Costa Rica offers opportunities for whale watching, snorkeling, and scuba diving to explore its rich marine life.

Pura Vida Lifestyle: Embrace the "Pura Vida" lifestyle, which embodies simplicity, happiness, and a sense of well-being. Connect with friendly locals and their warm culture.

Coffee Plantations: Explore coffee plantations and learn about the coffee-making process, an integral part of Costa Rican culture and economy.

Cloud Forests: Discover unique cloud forests like Monteverde, offering misty landscapes, vibrant wildlife, and hanging bridges.

Waterfalls: Visit stunning waterfalls such as La Fortuna Waterfall and Nauyaca Waterfalls, where you can swim and enjoy the surrounding beauty.

Bird-Watching: Costa Rica is a paradise for bird-watchers, with an incredible diversity of bird species found throughout the country.

Cultural Heritage: Learn about Costa Rica's history, indigenous cultures, and traditions through museums, art galleries, and local communities.

Culinary Adventures: Sample traditional Costa Rican dishes like gallo pinto (rice and beans), ceviche, and casados (typical plates with rice, beans, meat, and vegetables).

Awe-Inspiring Sunsets: Watch mesmerizing sunsets over the ocean or mountains, providing a perfect backdrop for relaxation and reflection.

Tropical Rainforests: Immerse yourself in the lush greenery of Costa Rica's rainforests, where you'll find vibrant flora and diverse wildlife.

Zip-Lining and Canopy Tours: Experience the thrill of zip-lining through the treetops and canopy tours that offer a unique perspective of the rainforest.

The Fora Difference

Book with Anne to access exclusive perks and experiences on your trip.

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
Killer perks

Free upgrades, spa credits and more—we got you

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Personalized recs

Customized travel planning for your style

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Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay in Costa Rica

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El Silencio Lodge and Spa

Best-in-class eco lodge on 500 acres, with suites on stilts above the jungle and, in the restaurant, a feast of organic fare.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort

Where pristine beaches meet lush rainforests, creating the ultimate beachfront escape.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Nayara Gardens

Indulge in a slice of paradise at Nayara Gardens. Nestled in the lush rainforests of Costa Rica, this luxury resort offers a secluded and tranquil retreat. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings, relax in exquisite accommodations, and rejuvenate your senses with world-class spa treatments. With personalized service, gourmet dining, and breathtaking views, Nayara Gardens provides an enchanting escape for nature lovers and luxury seekers alike.



Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Things to do in Costa Rica

An extreme adventure of ziplining through the cloud forest.

Explore National Parks

Discover the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica by visiting national parks like Manuel Antonio, Corcovado, Arenal Volcano, and Tortuguero. Hike through lush rainforests, spot wildlife, and explore diverse ecosystems.

Zipline and Canopy Tours

Experience the thrill of ziplining through the treetops in various locations, including Monteverde and Arenal. Many tours also offer canopy walks and suspension bridges.

Relax on Beautiful Beaches

Enjoy the sun and surf on Costa Rica's stunning beaches. Popular beach destinations include Tamarindo, Jacó, Playa Flamingo, and Puerto Viejo.

Whale Watching and Dolphin Tours

Take a boat tour to spot humpback whales, orcas, and dolphins in the Pacific and Caribbean waters. The Osa Peninsula and Marino Ballena National Park are great spots for whale watching.

Hot Springs and Volcanoes

Soak in natural hot springs near Arenal Volcano, where you can unwind in warm mineral waters surrounded by lush landscapes.

Turtle Nesting Tours

Witness the nesting and hatching of sea turtles on the beaches of Tortuguero, Ostional, and Playa Grande, depending on the time of year.

Surfing and Water Sports

Costa Rica is a paradise for surfers. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced surfer, you'll find waves suitable for your skill level.

Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest

Explore the unique ecosystem of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, known for its misty landscapes, hanging bridges, and diverse flora and fauna.

Hiking and Nature Walks

Embark on guided hikes and nature walks to spot wildlife, discover hidden waterfalls, and learn about the local ecosystems.

White-Water Rafting and Kayaking

Experience adrenaline-pumping adventures by white-water rafting down rivers like the Pacuare and Sarapiquí, or enjoy kayaking in calm waters.

Wildlife and Bird Watching

Costa Rica is a paradise for bird-watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Spot toucans, sloths, monkeys, and exotic birds in their natural habitats.

Visit Indigenous Communities

Immerse yourself in Costa Rica's cultural diversity by visiting indigenous communities like the Bribrí and Boruca, where you can learn about their traditions and crafts.

Explore Rainforests and Waterfalls

Discover hidden waterfalls and rainforest trails in locations like La Fortuna, Dominical, and Osa Peninsula.

Experience Coffee Tours

Learn about the coffee-making process on guided tours of coffee plantations in the Central Valley and the highlands.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters of national parks and marine reserves.

Experience Canyoning

Descend waterfalls, swim through rivers, and navigate natural water slides on thrilling canyoning adventures.

Visit San Jose's Cultural Sites

Explore the capital city's museums, markets, and historic landmarks like the National Theater and Gold Museum.

Participate in Yoga Retreats

Costa Rica offers a range of yoga retreats and wellness centers in tranquil settings, providing relaxation and self-discovery.

Costa Rica's diverse landscapes, from pristine beaches to lush rainforests, provide a canvas for a wide variety of activities. Whether you're an adventure seeker, nature lover, beach enthusiast, or cultural explorer, you'll find plenty of exciting things to do and unforgettable experiences to enjoy in this tropical paradise.

Places to eat & drink in Costa Rica

Tree House is a unique restaurant in Monteverde Costa Rica with a huge Fig tree inside.

San José

Grano de Oro: A renowned restaurant in the capital city, offering gourmet international cuisine with a touch of Costa Rican flavors.
Soda Tapia: Experience traditional Costa Rican dishes like casados and gallo pinto in a local soda (small eatery).

La Esquina de Buenos Aires: Enjoy Argentinean cuisine and excellent steaks in a cozy atmosphere.

Manuel Antonio

Emilio's Café: A popular café with a tropical vibe, serving breakfast, lunch, and baked goods.

El Wagon: A casual spot offering seafood, tropical cocktails, and stunning ocean views.

Mama Aroy: A Thai and Costa Rican fusion restaurant with an extensive menu and inviting ambiance.

Tamarindo

Patagonia Argentinian Grill & Restaurant: Savor Argentinean flavors with grilled meats and traditional dishes.

Nari Sushi: A sushi restaurant known for its fresh seafood and creative rolls.

Langosta Beach Club: A beachfront spot offering international cuisine and tropical cocktails.

Monteverde

Tree House Restaurant: Dine in a treehouse-like setting and enjoy a mix of Costa Rican and international dishes.

Tramonti: An Italian restaurant offering homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas with stunning views.

Orchid Coffee Shop: A cozy café known for its organic coffee and delicious baked goods.

Arenal/La Fortuna

Baldi Hot Springs Restaurant: Enjoy a meal in a tropical setting after soaking in the hot springs.

Don Rufino: A popular restaurant offering a mix of Costa Rican and international cuisine, located in the heart of La Fortuna.

Lava Lounge Bar & Grill: A restaurant with a view of Arenal Volcano, serving cocktails, burgers, and seafood.

Puerto Viejo

Bread & Chocolate: A favorite for breakfast and baked goods, offering a range of international and vegan options.

Koki Beach: A beachfront restaurant known for Caribbean flavors, fresh seafood, and tropical drinks.

Salsa Brava: A laid-back spot with beach views, serving a mix of Costa Rican and international dishes.

Guanacaste

El Velero: A beachfront restaurant with a focus on seafood, located in Playa Hermosa.

El Coconut Beach Club: Enjoy beachfront dining, seafood, and cocktails on the shores of Playas del Coco.

Citron Restaurant: Located in the Papagayo Peninsula, offering fine dining with ocean views.

Jaco

Lemon Zest: A restaurant with a modern and artistic ambiance, known for its creative cuisine and cocktails.

Tacobar Jaco: A casual spot for tacos, burritos, and other Mexican-inspired dishes.

Graffiti Restro Café and Wine Bar: Enjoy international cuisine and an extensive wine list in a contemporary setting.

These are just a few examples of dining options in various regions of Costa Rica. Whether you're looking for traditional Costa Rican flavors, international cuisine, or fusion dishes, you'll find a variety of choices to satisfy your taste buds while enjoying the country's tropical surroundings.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Amazing Peru.

Travel Advisor Anne Elisabeth Bisgaard in a black floral dress.

Travel Advisor

Anne Bisgaard

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Costa Rica.