Best Parts of Costa Rica for Vacation: 7 Regions at Glance

Discover the Paradise Within: Unveiling the Top Vacation Spots in Costa Rica's Rich Regions


Costa Rica is a remarkable country located in Central America that has gained acclaim worldwide for its beautiful beaches, rainforests, and biodiversity. It is a top-tier travel destination for those seeking outdoor adventures, eco-tourism, and a laid-back lifestyle.

When it comes to exploring Costa Rica, visitors often wonder where to begin their journey. Fortunately, there are numerous regions throughout the country to discover, each with its unique charm.

I did a horrible drawing over a map to show you the regions of Costa Rica. Please do not laugh of my drawing skills, today was one of those days when I felt creative. We need some art in our lives sometimes…

Best parts of Costa Rica for vacations

Learning the Regions of Costa Rica will Help You Plan Your Vacation Better

Central Pacific Coast

The Central Pacific Coast is the ultimate destination for those seeking a relaxing beach vacation. With its tropical climate, gorgeous beaches, and top-notch accommodations, it’s no wonder that this is one of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation. You can take a dip in the warm waters, go surfing, or deep-sea fishing. You can also spot some of the majestic marine life, such as whales and dolphins, which migrate to this area.

The Caribbean Coast

If you’re looking for something different, the Caribbean Coast is a must-visit destination. The area is home to lush rainforests, stunning waterfalls, and secluded beaches, making it one of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation for eco-tourists. You can take a hike through the national parks, canoe down the rivers, or even take a dip in one of the hot springs located in the area.

The Central Valley

The Central Valley is the heart of Costa Rica and the perfect destination for cultural travelers. The region is home to the country’s capital city, San Jose, where you can explore the museums, parks, and enjoy the local cuisine. This is also the ideal destination for those interested in coffee tours, where you can learn about the production and history of one of Costa Rica’s most important exports.

The Northwestern Zone

The Northernwstern Zone is a fantastic destination for adventure-seekers who want to explore the country’s tropical rainforests and volcanoes.

Nicoya Peninsula

The Nicoya Peninsula is an ideal destination for those who want to experience some of the country’s amazing biodiversity. The region is home to several unspoiled beaches, such as Santa Teresa, where visitors can soak up the sun, swim in the warm waters, and explore the nearby nature reserves. Additionally, tourists can enjoy different water activities including surfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Arenal and surroundings

In these part of Costa Rica you will find great places to discover such as the Arenal Volcano and its surroundings. Wildlife and adventure parks with waterfalls. Also the famous hot-springs resorts that so many searching for romanting or relaxing getaways dream.

Southern Costa Rica and Península de Osa

This is not such a famous and touristic part of Costa Rica. Here is the National Park of Corcovado, one of the most beautiful and diverse nature parks in the world.

Now that you know some of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation, it’s up to you to decide where to start your journey. Regardless of the region you choose, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

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From here I will write more specifically about the destinations that you might visit in your vacation to Costa Rica. Read my article about “Timing Your Trip: When is the Best Time to go to Costa Rica?” to learn about the best time for you to visit Costa Rica and how many days you might need.

San José: Museums, Live Music, and Fine Restaurants

When considering the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation, the capital city of San José might not be the first location that comes to mind. However, visitors to this bustling city will be pleasantly surprised by its variety of cultural attractions, impressive dining scene, and vibrant nightlife. And it has the main international airport so for many it is a compulsory stop.

Those interested in history and art will find plenty to see in San José’s museums. The National Museum of Costa Rica houses thousands of artifacts from the country’s pre-Columbian past, while the Jade Museum boasts the world’s largest collection of pre-Columbian jade. The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design showcases works by Costa Rican and international artists, and the Children’s Museum provides interactive exhibits for younger visitors.

Explore the city’s rich history and cultural heritage by visiting the San Jose Museum of Art – Home to more than 2,000 works of art, the museum boasts impressive collections of both modern and contemporary art.

For those looking for entertainment, San José has a vibrant live music scene. Venues like Jazz Café and El Sótano are popular spots for jazz, blues, and rock performances, while the Costa Rica National Theater hosts concerts and theatrical productions. The city’s many bars and nightclubs also offer a chance to dance the night away.

Best parts of Costa Rica for vacation - San Jose National Theater

Finally, San José is known for its fine dining establishments. Visitors can try traditional Costa Rican dishes at Soda Tapia or La Flor de Loto, or opt for more experimental cuisine at Al Mercat or Grano de Oro. The Central Market is also a must-visit destination for street food and local specialties.

All in all, San José offers an eclectic mix of cultural attractions, entertainment, and cuisine that should not be missed when exploring the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation.

If you are planning a vacation to Costa Rica, make sure to include San Jose in your itinerary. As one of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation, San Jose offers a wide variety of experiences for travelers.

Central Valley and Highlands of Costa Rica: Highlands, White Water, Volcanoes

If you are looking for the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation, the Central Valley and Highlands of Costa Rica should definitely be on your list. This region is home to the capital city, San Jose, as well as a breathtaking landscape filled with lush green hills, soaring volcanoes, and swift rivers.

The Central Valley and Highlands of Costa Rica are a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to the many opportunities for adventure. The region is home to several active volcanoes, including Poas and Irazu, which offer stunning views and exciting hiking trails.

If you are a fan of white water rafting, you will find plenty of opportunities to test your skills in the Central Valley and Highlands. The Pejibaye and Pacuare rivers are both great options for rafting, with Class II-IV rapids providing an exhilarating ride for experienced paddlers.

In addition to all of the outdoor activities, the Central Valley and Highlands of Costa Rica are also home to several charming towns and cities that are worth exploring. San Jose is a bustling city with a rich history and culture, while towns like Grecia and Sarchi offer a glimpse into the country’s traditional way of life.

The Central Valley and Highlands of Costa Rica are truly some of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation, offering a perfect blend of adventure, culture, and stunning natural beauty.

Coffee Plantation Costa Rica

Naranjo, a picturesque town nestled in the highlands of Costa Rica, holds a special place in the heart of coffee enthusiasts around the world. Renowned for its lush coffee plantations and rich agricultural heritage, Naranjo offers a captivating journey into the world of coffee production.

Costa Rica’s fertile volcanic soil and ideal climate provide the perfect conditions for cultivating high-quality Arabica coffee beans. Naranjo, with its elevated terrain and cool temperatures in central valley, is particularly renowned for producing beans with exceptional flavor and aroma. The region’s coffee plantations, often family-owned and operated, take pride in their sustainable farming practices and commitment to preserving the environment.

A visit to Naranjo’s coffee plantations offers an immersive experience for visitors. From walking amidst the carefully tended coffee trees to witnessing the labor-intensive harvesting process, one gains a deep appreciation for the craftsmanship and dedication required to produce a perfect cup of coffee. Many plantations also offer tours and workshops where visitors can learn about the coffee production process, from bean to cup.

Moreover, Naranjo’s coffee culture extends beyond the plantations. The town is home to charming coffee shops and cafes where locals and visitors can savor freshly brewed cups of the region’s finest coffee. These establishments serve as gathering places where conversations flow and the aroma of coffee fills the air.

For more information about Costa Rica coffee tours visit:

Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica: Nesting Beaches, Afro-Caribbean, and Wildlife

When looking for the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation, the Caribbean coast often makes the list. This region boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the country, including nesting beaches for sea turtles such as Tortuguero and Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge.

Travel with children to Costa Rica Tortuguero

The Afro-Caribbean culture is also a unique aspect of this region. The town of Puerto Viejo is a great place to experience the vibrant music, delicious food, and colorful art that is specific to this community. Visitors can taste traditional Caribbean dishes like rice and beans, fried plantains, and jerk chicken while listening to reggae music in the background.

But it’s not just the culture that draws people to the Caribbean coast. The area is full of wildlife, including monkeys, toucans, sloths, and iguanas. Visitors can explore the surrounding rainforest and national parks like Cahuita National Park and La Amistad International Park to spot these amazing creatures in their natural habitat.

Overall, the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is one of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation due to its beautiful beaches, unique culture, and incredible wildlife. A trip to this region is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Northwestern Costa Rica: Ecolodges, watersports and northwestern cloud forests

When you think of Costa Rica, you likely imagine pristine beaches, lush rainforests and exotic wildlife. However, the northwestern region of the country is a hidden gem that is brimming with adventure, relaxation and unforgettable experiences. Known for its ecolodges, watersports and stunning northwestern cloud forests, this region is one of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation.

The northwestern region of Costa Rica is home to some of the most breathtaking cloud forests in the world. These forests are filled with exotic flora and fauna and offer a unique perspective on the natural world. Visitors can enjoy hiking, bird watching and horseback riding through the forests, experiencing the beauty of Costa Rica up close and personal.

For those seeking a more active vacation, the northwestern region is the perfect place to hit the water. From surfing and kitesurfing to kayaking and paddleboarding, there are endless opportunities to get out on the waves and explore the gorgeous coastline. With so many water sports to choose from, you’re sure to find something that will satisfy your thirst for adventure.

Another highlight of the northwestern region is its stunning ecolodges. These accommodations are designed to showcase the natural beauty of the area while minimizing the impact on the environment. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious getaway or a more rustic experience, there are ecolodges to suit all preferences. Stay in a treehouse, spend the night in a jungle bungalow or relax in a beachside cabana – the choice is yours!

If you’re looking for an unforgettable vacation, the northwestern region of Costa Rica is a good destination. With its stunning cloud forests, thrilling water sports and eco-friendly accommodations, it’s one of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation.

Explore the Northwestern Cloud Forests

One of the most exciting parts of the northwestern region is the opportunity to explore the stunning cloud forests. These unique ecosystems are home to a variety of exotic plant and animal species, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers. The area is also home to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, which boasts stunning volcanic landscapes and a variety of activities for visitors.

Visit the Rincon de la Vieja National Park website to learn more about activities in the northwestern region.

Arenal and Northwestern Lowerlands: Volcanoes, Fincas, hotsprings and birdwatching

Arenal Best Parts of Costa Rica for Vacation
Arenal Volcano

Costa Rica is a country rich in natural beauty and biodiversity, with regions that offer unique experiences for tourists. One of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation is the Arenal and Northwestern Lowerlands region.

Best Parts of Costa Rica for Vacation #1: Volcanoes

The Arenal Volcano is the region’s prime attraction, and one of the country’s most active volcanoes. Its eruptions are visible from afar, and visitors can enjoy hiking treks around the volcano or take a guided tour to learn more about the area and its geology.

Best Parts of Costa Rica for Vacation #2: Fincas

The region is also replete with coffee plantations and other types of Fincas, such as dairy and sugarcane farms. Visitors can book guided tours that showcase farm life and also get a chance to taste local produce.

Best Parts of Costa Rica for Vacation #3: Hotsprings

Hot springs like Tabacon, The Springs, and Baldi are one of the main reasons tourists flock to the region. The natural mineral-infused pools offer visitors a unique healing experience and an opportunity to unwind under starry skies.

Best Parts of Costa Rica for Vacation #4: Birdwatching

The Arenal and Northwestern Lowlands are also a haven for birdwatchers, who can spot exotic bird species in the National Park and other reserves such as the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge.

Quetzal Costa Rica
Quetzal, the most beautiful bird on earth

Best Parts of Costa Rica for Vacation #5: Lodging

Visitors can choose from a range of accommodations when staying in the area such as budget-friendly hostels, cosy bed and breakfasts, and luxury five-star accommodations. For those who prefer to stay close to nature, there are also campgrounds that provide an authentic and immersive experience.

The Arenal and Northwestern Lowlands region is without a doubt one of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation. With its stunning volcanoes, Fincas, hotsprings and birdwatching opportunities, this region provides visitors with a unique and unforgettable experience.

Are you planning your next vacation and looking for the best parts of Costa Rica to visit? Look no further than the Arenal and Northwestern Lowerlands region!

Discover the Magic of Arenal and Northwestern Lowerlands

From majestic volcanoes to charming fincas and relaxing hot springs, this region of Costa Rica boasts some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the country.

Explore the dense rainforest and spot exotic birds while birdwatching in the lush forests of this region. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the stunning Arenal volcano and its magnificent eruptions up close!

If you’re looking for a truly relaxing vacation, the natural hot springs of Arenal are the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring. Stay in one of the many luxurious and eco-friendly resorts or charming fincas and enjoy the stunning views while being immersed in nature.

Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience and start planning your trip to the Arenal and Northwestern Lowerlands region today. For more information on this region and other best parts of Costa Rica for vacation, visit now.

Peninsula de Nicoya: Surf, Food and Yoga in Nosara

The Peninsula de Nicoya is one of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation. Its stunning beaches, rich culture, and unique cuisine make it a favorite destination for travelers around the world. One of the must-visit towns in Nicoya is Nosara, which offers the perfect combination of surf, food, and yoga. For yoguis this part of Costa Rica is one of best parts of Costa Rica for vacation.

Nosara is located in the northwestern part of the Nicoya Peninsula and is known for its consistent surf breaks, gorgeous beaches, and lush forests that are home to a variety of wildlife. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, you will find the perfect waves to ride in Nosara.

In addition to great surf, Nosara also boasts a vibrant food scene. From international cuisine to traditional Costa Rican dishes, there is something for everyone. The town’s emphasis on healthy living is reflected in its many vegetarian and organic restaurants. Don’t miss the chance to try the locally caught seafood, which is some of the freshest and most flavorful in the world.

I wrote an article about Exploring Food in Costa Rica: Traditional and Vegan Cuisine. If you are a gourmy you will find it interesting.

No trip to Nosara would be complete without practicing yoga. The town has become a hub for yoga practitioners from all over the world, and there are many studios and retreats that offer daily classes and week-long programs. Take some time to connect with your mind, body, and soul while surrounded by the beauty of the Costa Rican jungle.

The Peninsula de Nicoya is one of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation, and Nosara is a perfect example of why. With its world-class surf breaks, delicious cuisine, and thriving yoga culture, this town has something for everyone. Plan your next adventure to Costa Rica and add Nosara to your travel itinerary.

Best Parts of Costa Rica for Vacation: Central Pacific Coast – Manuel Antonio and Surfing in Playa Hermosa

Espadilla Beach Manuel Antonio
Espadilla Beach Manuel Antonio

If you are planning your vacation to Costa Rica, you cannot miss the Central Pacific Coast. This region is home to some of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation, including the gorgeous Manuel Antonio National Park and the popular surfing destination of Playa Hermosa.

Manuel Antonio is a stunning coastal town that has become a favorite destination for tourists. This small but beautiful town overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. The main attraction of Manuel Antonio is the National Park, which offers an outstanding combination of jungle and beach and is home to an abundance of wildlife and nature trails that are perfect for hiking. The national park entrance fee is $16, but it is totally worth it. Manuel Antonio is one of best parts of Costa Rica for vacation.

In addition to Manuel Antonio, the Central Pacific Coast is famous for surfing. One of the most popular surfing destinations in the region is Playa Hermosa. This beach attracts surfers worldwide due to its consistent waves, making it ideal for both beginners and experienced surfers. Apart from surfing, Playa Hermosa also offers activities like kayaking, snorkeling, horseback riding, and fishing.

If you plan on visiting the Central Pacific Coast, you can stay on the beach and enjoy the stunning views, or you can stay in the nearby towns of Jaco or Quepos, which offer a variety of accommodations for all budgets. Regardless of the type of traveler you are, the Central Pacific Coast is one of the best parts of Costa Rica for vacation, with stunning scenery, thrilling activities, and a diverse range of culinary experiences that will make your trip an unforgettable experience.