From hazy cloud forests to barren lava fields, Costa Rica’s dramatic landscapes make it the ideal destination for hikers and with such a variety of terrain, adventurous types will find plenty to pique their interest. Whether you want to scale an active volcano or enjoy bird watching in the rainforest, here are some of Costa Rica’s best hikes.
One of the most popular resorts of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast and the closest beach to San Jose, Jaco is teeming with backpackers, students and surfers during the summer months. While the ramshackle souvenir stalls and cocktail-heavy nightlife of Jaco might not be to everyone’s taste, the enviable surf and laid-back vibe make learning to surf in Jaco a popular choice.
Whether you’re backpacking on a tight budget or just looking to stretch your colones a little further, there are plenty of cheap and free things to do in San Jose. Here are a few ideas.
1. Take a walking tour
Even if you can’t afford a guided walking tour of San Jose, you can still enjoy a DIY tour of the city’s sights. Start at the central Plaza de la Cultura, from where landmarks like the neoclassical National Theater and the Museo de Oro (Gold Museum) are easy to find, then head further afield to explore the grand mansions of Barrio Amón or stroll through the picturesque España Park.
Originally founded in 1897, the Costa Rica National Museum is one of the country’s largest and most renowned museums, showcasing a range of history, natural history and archeology exhibitions. Taking over its current location in 1949, the museum is housed in the Bellavista Fortress, the former barracks and headquarters of the now-disbanded Costa Rican army and its imposing castle-like façade is an unmistakable landmark of San Jose.
With a motley crew of native wildlife and an endlessly changing landscape of cloud forests, pristine beaches and volcanic peaks, Costa Rica’s natural beauty can be overwhelming. Whether your idea of paradise is hiking in the wilderness or lounging in a hammock, here are 10 of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica to add to your wish list.
Festive celebrations begin early in Costa Rica, with the start of ‘Las Posadas’ (the ‘inns’) nine days before Christmas and three dramatic parades taking place around the country. ‘El Carnival’, where dancers and musicians compete for prestigious titles and prizes; ‘El Destile de Luces’, a torchlit night parade and ‘El Tope’ an annual horseback parade, with lavishly dressed horses and hand-painted ox-carts, typically held the day after Christmas in Costa Rica.