The Top 9 Costa Rica Travel Destinations for the New Year

2023-04-01 01:03:41 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Date Most Recently Modified: February 7, 2023

One of Central America's most popular destinations is Costa Rica. For years, the country has been a popular destination for American vacationers, and now it's also a popular place for retirees and expats to settle down because of the low cost of living, pleasant year-round climate, beautiful beaches, and helpful locals.

Why I adore Costa Rica It was the initial trip that made me want to see the world.

I have a soft spot in my heart for it.

Since then, I've returned to Costa Rica numerous times, each time finding a new reason to fall in love with the country.

Many thrifty vacationers, however, skip Costa Rica because it isn't as inexpensive as its neighbors.

And while that's true (and there are plenty of ways to cut costs in Costa Rica), I still think the following locations are well worth the splurge.

Some of the top attractions in Costa Rica include:

(1) Puerto Viejo

The rugged coastline of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Puerto Viejo, a town on Panama's Caribbean coast known for its surfing and party scene, is a favorite among young travelers.

The city never sleeps; there's always something exciting to do here. It's widely considered to be the Caribbean's most visited island. Those in search of tranquility can choose from a wide variety of serene beach hotels. In addition, the area is home to a jaguar rescue facility that works to rehabilitate local wildlife before releasing the animals back into the wild.


  • Pagalu Hostel is a nice, clean, and roomy hostel that is conveniently located in the middle of town. Furthermore, they have access to steaming hot showers.

How to See the Stunning Caribbean Side of Costa Rica

2. Cahuita

A monkey climbing on a sign in Cahuita, Costa Rica
About an hour's drive north of Puerto Viejo is the small town of Cahuita, which is nestled up against the beautiful Cahuita National Park. You can take it easy in Cahuita. Only one bar in town ever gets busy (and that's only sometimes). ), but most people simply relax with a good book after a day of exploring the outdoors (be it through hiking, animal-watching, swimming, or surfing). Cahuita National Park is worth a full day's exploration if you're feeling adventurous.

While relaxing with some dessert crepes or grilled chicken, keep an eye out for signs of the Afro-Caribbean influences that have left their mark on the region.


  • The Estilo Hostel Hakuna Matata is a very chill place to stay, with lots of hammocks and outdoor seating areas. They also have a pool. The beach is also within easy walking distance.

Read More: Planning Your Trip to Cahuita National Park in Costa Rica

Tortuguero, No. 3

The picturesque beaches of Tortuguero, Costa Rica during sunset
Tortuguero, which translates to "Land of Turtles," is the equivalent of the Amazon Rainforest in Costa Rica. Tortuguero National Park is the largest park in the region, stretching over 77,000 acres along the northern coast. The rivers and canals that traverse this enormous region are reminiscent of a maze.

The large number of turtles (hence the name) that nest along the shoreline is the main draw. While April and May are prime viewing months for nesting egrets, off-season visitors can still enjoy hiking and canal cruises. Wildlife, however, is abundant at all times of the year.

Destiny Travel Costa Rica offers three-day guided tours of the national park for about $500 USD if you're looking to get away from it all.


  • Near Tortuguero National Park is the Aracari Garden Hostel, a little piece of paradise with free Wi-Fi, a large kitchen, hot showers, and comfortable beds.

More Reading: A Traveler's Guide to Tortuguero

Four, Corcovado

The stunning beach of Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica
Corcovado National Park is located in southwestern Costa Rica, on the isolated Osa Peninsula. The park was established in 1975 and is the largest in the United States, covering an area of 163 square miles (424 square kilometers).

This once-undiscovered gem is now a popular tourist destination in a nation where mainstream tourist attractions are ubiquitous. The peninsula is not easily accessible, but those who make the effort are rewarded with deserted beaches, abundant wildlife, excellent hiking and camping opportunities, and a plethora of marine life.

One of the best places in the country, in my opinion. Don't blow your chance!


  • One such off-the-beaten-path ecohostel is the Corcovado Foundation BioHostel. You can enjoy the on-site bar, yoga deck, vegan and vegetarian fare, and breathtaking vistas without leaving the premises.

5. Arenal

Mount Arenal surrounded by lush jungles in Costa Rica
Arenal, one of Costa Rica's many volcanoes, rises to a height of 1,670 meters (5,480 feet). It occasionally erupts, and if you're lucky, you can see lava gushing down the volcano's slopes. (Although, since the volcano has been dormant since 2010, this is less likely to occur.) It's a funny story, but I once got lost in the jungle nearby.

There are many exciting things to do in the area, including visiting the spectacular La Fortuna Waterfall, exploring the beautiful national park, watching the sun set over the lake, caving, canyoning, rafting, soaking in the famous hot springs, and spotting wildlife on a guided tour, like a birding excursion. There's a lot of things to see and do, so it's not surprising that it's a popular tourist destination.


  • Hostel with a pool (and a wet bar! ), hammocks, and stunning views of the neighboring volcano; that's Arenal Backpackers Resort.

How to Travel to and Explore Arenal

Sixth, Manuel A.

The jungles and coastline of Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica
Wide, white-sand beaches and warm, blue waters make Manuel Antonio a popular beach destination on the Pacific coast. Over 150,000 people visit the nearby national park every year to enjoy its fantastic hiking trails, quiet beaches, and opportunities to see three species of native monkeys.

Over time, it has grown considerably more urban and populated. It's not the same park I went to in 2006, though. However, there is still a great deal of wildlife to be seen, and the beaches here have been remarkably well-maintained. Park admission is $18 per person. For $59 (which also covers park admission), you can take a guided tour of the park.


  • Hostel Vista Serena is ideally located near the beach and the rainforest, and it offers breathtaking views of the ocean and a colorful interior.

Sights and Activities in Manuel Antonio: More Reading

Monteverde, number seven

An empty bridge in the cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica
Quetzal birds can only be found in the country's best cloud forest. The majority of visitors to Monteverde travel there specifically to see this bird. Over 250,000 people visit annually, making this region a major draw for eco-tourists.

High winds and erratic weather patterns are common in Monteverde because of its location on the continental divide. The entire region is lush and wet, and, like La Fortuna, it's a great place to go on an adventure. Take a guided night walk through the cloud forest to see nocturnal wildlife, go on a zip-line tour through the tree canopy, or explore some of the area's sky bridges.


  • Sloth Backpackers is a relaxing hostel with free coffee and tea available 24/7, a delicious free breakfast, and free Wi-Fi. The location is ideal, and the helpful staff can arrange for a wide variety of entertaining excursions.


Poas Volcano is Listed as Number Eight

The caldera of the Poas Volcano in Costa Rica
An excellent day trip from San José, Poas Volcano is an active stratovolcano with sulfur lakes filling its twin calderas. The volcanoes have erupted 40 times since 1828, with the most recent eruption occurring in 2019.

The lakes are so calm that your photographs will make it appear as if the colors were painted. Get there early so you can enjoy the scenery before the clouds roll in and obscure it. There are a few short trails in the area, and a guided tour of the La Paz Waterfall Garden and a nearby coffee plantation can be had for about $160 USD with Destiny Travel.


  • The staff at Stray Cat Hostel, a spotless hostel in a great location close to the bus terminal, will bend over backwards to make your stay unforgettable.

Number Nine: Santa Teresa

The wide, white-sand beach of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Santa Teresa is a hippy backpacker town at the end of the Nicoya coast. A beach with a road lined with restaurants, yoga studios, surf shops, and hostels passes for this "town." The town's laid-back vibe can be attributed to the fact that everyone rises early to surf. There aren't a lot of wild events to attend around here.

Santa Teresa is a nice place to kick back on the beach, meet new people, and unwind. The laid-back atmosphere in Santa Teresa compels many visitors to extend their stays there for several weeks or months.


  • The Lost Boyz Hostel is a great place to hang out and make new friends; it's an eco-friendly haven with a pool, bar, and restaurant (serving wood-fired pizza). Moreover, the location is convenient to the beach.

The wildlife, natural beauty, white-sand beaches, amazing sunsets, and warm, clear water in Costa Rica more than make up for the crowds and touristy atmosphere. There are many corners of the country that have not yet seen the light of day.

You can find an affordable vacation spot that suits your needs, whether they be for hiking, adventure activities, wildlife viewing, or beachgoing.

Costa Rica is one of the best places I've ever visited, so don't pass it up.

Pura Vida

Reserve Your Seat
Find a low-cost flight with the help of Skyscanner. The fact that they look into airlines and travel sites from all over the world makes them my go-to search engine.

Reserve Your Room
Hostelworld has the largest selection and lowest prices, so it's the best place to book your stay. Use to find the lowest prices on guesthouses and inexpensive hotels if you'd rather not stay in a hostel. The hotels I enjoy the most are:

Take Out Some Insurance Before You Go
A travel insurance policy will cover you in the event of an accident, illness, theft, or trip cancellation. It's a safety net for when things go wrong. I take it with me everywhere because I've needed it so often in the past. Companies that I recommend because of their excellent service and reasonable prices are:

Trying to Find the Most Cost-Effective Businesses
To find out which travel services I recommend, visit my dedicated page. Here, I detail every method I employ to cut costs while traveling. You can also save money by using them for your travels.

Want to Learn More About Costa Rica?
Make sure to check out our comprehensive Costa Rica travel guide for more information before you go.

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