Essential Costa Rica

Places to Visit


The cradle of folklore!

The cradle of folklore! The Guanacaste tourism region, located in the Northern Pacific region of Costa Rica, is part of the country’s natural and cultural heritage. The region contains a wide array of spaces for tourists of all kinds to enjoy. Life is on display in all its exuberance in the ecosystems of Guanacaste’s rivers, lands, mountains and coasts. Situated in the north of Costa Rica, Guanacaste covers an area of about 10,140 km2. Its incomparable natural beauty encompasses its warm environment and lush surroundings, which have made it one of the most popular destinations among domestic and international tourists.

Throughout the coastal region of Guanacaste, visitors can enjoy numerous beaches as well as diverse attractions such as the nesting seasons of olive ridley turtle at Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, or of leatherback turtles in the Las Baulas Marine National Park, as well as the estuaries and mangroves in the southern region and the volcanoes to the north, with their hot springs and wealth of activities.

Mangrove conservation has left the ecosystem in excellent shape, making it an ideal place to spot birds and other animals, as well as for leisurely sports like kayaking.

The area also has first-class infrastructure initiatives like the Golfo de Papagayo Tourism Development Hub. The region can be easy accessed from Daniel Oduber International Airport, which sees a large number of arrivals by charter and regular flights from the United States and Canada.

Guanacaste has three main tourist centers, which are Liberia (a hub for accommodations, logistics, stopovers and excursions), Santa Cruz and Nicoya, as well as secondary centers, including El Coco, Tamarindo and Flamingo.

  • Activities and Adventure in Guanacaste
  • Puntarenas

    The Pearl of the Pacific

    The coasts of the tourist region of Puntarenas are dotted with islands, beaches and natural treasures. This is a tourism destination par excellence. Its territory offers a variety of sun and beach attractions that are complemented with protected areas, islands and mountains. These areas include the Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve, the islands of San Lucas, Chira and Tolinga as well as Isla del Coco. This last one is located well outside of the Gulf of Nicoya and remains a unique offering for Costa Rican tourism.

    The regions main urban center is the city of Puntarenas, a center for lodging, logistics and excursions. The accommodations on offer here include traditional seaside hotels and cabins, as well as all-inclusive options.

    The Nicoya Peninsula region, consisting of Paquera, Lepanto and Cóbano, is part of Puntarenas province and offer breathtaking natural beauty alongside first-rate beaches. The coastal province of Puntarenas is split into two, with territory on either side of the Gulf of Nicoya. Travel between the peninsula and the mainland is possible by boat.

    Puntarenas is also home to the Monteverde region, a mountainous region of international renown for its conservation efforts and a lifestyle centered upon respecting nature. Some of its main attractions are the Monteverde and Santa Elena Biological Reserves, picturesque trails, flora and fauna observation points, natural landscapes, and more.

  • Activities and Adventure in Puntarenas
  • Caribbean

    Costa Rican Soul

    The 5027 square mile tourist region has 200 miles of shoreline. Along the Panamanian border, it makes up the Costa Rican Caribbean, which stretches from the San Juan River to the Sixaola River. The city of Limón, which has a harbor and other tourist attractions, is situated at the middle of the tourism industry.

    The Tortugero National Park's beaches and the Barra del Colorado National Wildlife Refuge's green turtle nesting areas are the primary draws in the northern region. Sport fishing for species like shad and sea bass is popular in this region. The aforementioned is enhanced by a river system that connects Mon's port with Barra del Colorado and serves as both a transit and a tourist attraction. Given that it is well-known across the world for its bird and turtle watching activities, its offerings are centered on nature, particularly fauna observation.

    In the nearby communities of Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, and Gandoca-Manzanillo, which are found in the southern part of the tourism area, the beach, natural resources, and Afro-Caribbean culture are displayed in a distinctive combination. High-quality beaches may be found here, along with a variety of adventure and natural history activities that are a perfect compliment to the area's music, food, and culture. The region is also well-known for its medium-high woods, black, yellow, and grey sand beaches, coastal flora, and coral reefs.

  • Activities and Adventure in Puntarenas
  • Central Valley

    The Heart of Costa Rica

    Includes some of the best cultural and natural attractions in the nation, such as the Gold, Jade, National, Costa Rican Art, La Salle Natural Sciences, Insects at the University of Costa Rica, Contemporary Arts & Design, and Children's museums. Additionally, the National Theatre, Costa Rica's architectural crown jewel, is situated here.

    The Central Valley is home to national parks that protect the region's main volcanoes, including Poás, Braulio Carrillo, Iraz, and Turrialba. Thanks to these parks' access to transportation and viewing facilities, tourists may enjoy the region's forests, craters, and birdlife.

    Turrialba and the Valley of the Saints are two incredibly beautiful locations in the Central Valley that draw tourists on their own. A peek into Costa Rica's history may be seen in the rural settlements, which have adobe homes, sizable coffee plantations, mills, and dairy farms.

    The rural areas of the Central Valley are ideal for tourists to enjoy horseback riding in places like: Turrialba, Santa María de Dota, Atenas, Palmares, Zarcero, Escazú, Santa Ana, and others.

  • Activities and Adventure in Puntarenas
  • Northern Plains

    Natural exuberance!

    Since July 29, 1968, the 33 square kilometer Arenal Volcano, which is 7 kilometers near La Fortuna, has been active. It boasts two distinct landscapes: one covered in lush flora that is home to a variety of fauna, and the other, which is harsh and covered with lava flow and sand due to frequent eruptions. It may be seen both during the day and at night to take advantage of its ongoing eruptions, and is said to be the area's primary attraction. Additionally, this region is well-known for its hot springs, which offer a distinctively tranquil setting surrounded by local nature.

    The Northern Zone is seeing a surge in tourist service and adventure site development, so that nature-loving visitors may experience the country's various resources. The region has several protected areas, lakes, lagoons, volcanoes, rivers, and waterfalls. Because of the frequent rainfall, the Northern Zone has rich plains, moist and evergreen woods, and the extinct Gaspar fish. These natural habitats serve as key tourist destinations for those who enjoy animals. On the region's rivers—Peas Blancas, San Carlos, Toro, Puerto Viejo, and Sarapiqu—which include some crucial navigational waterways, one can engage in outdoor activities and observe nature.

    Many communities, including La Fortuna, La Virgen, and Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqu, have facilities for adventure activities on suspension bridges, nature trails, and canopy tours.

  • Activities and Adventure in Puntarenas
  • Central Pacific

    Where the forest meet the beaches

    This part of the nation runs from Puntarenas to the Dominical de Osa neighborhood at the mouth of the Rio Bar. There are three tourist-friendly and well-developed cities in it: Quepos, Jacó, and Puntarenas. The islands in the Gulf of Nicoya are also included in the area because Puntarenas is the primary entry point for them.

    The shift from tropical wet forest to tropical forest to tropical dry forest is made possible by the wet and rainy environment, which promotes more biodiversity in the beaches and hills near to the shore. Numerous plant and animal species that are protected in various wilderness areas can find habitat in these ecosystems. Isla del Coco, despite it is about 600 kilometers from Puntarenas port, is also a part of this zone and is governed by this province.

    Manuel Antonio National Park protects 12 islands that are excellent refuges for different species of seabirds.

  • Activities and Adventure in Puntarenas
  • South Pacific

    The most exhuberant place on earth

    Its limit extends through the canton's edge, including the Fila Tinamastes attractions, such as the Cataratas of Nauyaca (waterfalls), Platanillo town, and even the Bar River, where the coastal sector, which extends to Punta Burica with a total of 490 km, initiates. Pérez Zeledón is the city's entrance door and distribution center

    The main activities offered by the tourist unit that can be reached through this information bureau include beach enjoyment, marine resources, such as whale and dolphin observation, as well as mangrove swamps, landscapes, reptilian, sport fishing, surfing, hiking through the National Park's paths, professional diving, the energizing walks to the Chirripo's summit, botanical gardens, and protected areas' impressive waterfalls. The primary product is ecotourism, particularly that which takes place in the Humedal Sierpe-Térraba, Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve, Ballena Marine National Park, Isla del Cao Biological Preserve, and Corcovado National Park.

    The main product is ecotourism, especially in:

    Sierpe-Térraba Wetlands

    Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve

    Marino Ballena National Park

    Isla del Caño Biological Reserve

    Corcovado National Park

    Beach tourism has a large potential in the coastal area of:


    Platanares Beach

    Zancudo and Pavones

  • Activities and Adventure in Puntarenas
  • Costa Rica Maps

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