Unique Things To Do in Costa Rica in 2024: Top 10 Picks

Welcome to Costa Rica, where an endless variety of experiences are to be had, from visiting the Arenal Volcano to exploring Manuel Antonio Park. 

In this article, we’re also sharing some of the non-touristy things to do here, like taking a sloth tour or visiting the Tenorio Volcano National Park. So, step off the beaten path and discover these hidden gems that make this a special place to visit. You won’t be disappointed!

Key Takeaways

  • Costa Rica offers diverse experiences, from popular tourist spots to off-the-beaten track locations.
  • The best things to do in Costa Rica include visiting its national parks, like the Arenal Volcano and Tortuguero National Parks.  
  • Check out non-touristy activities like sloth tours and Tenorio Volcano National Park.
  • Enjoy a night walk in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, encountering diverse nocturnal wildlife.
  • Isla de Caño offers top diving and snorkeling with clear waters and vibrant marine life.

Best Things To Do in Costa Rica

1. Visit the Arenal Volcano National Park

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica’s prominent stratovolcano, which had been dormant for 400 years, awoke in 1968 with explosive eruptions. Today, Arenal Volcano National Park offers diverse activities like hiking, hot springs, and zip-lining in its 30,000-acre expanse. 

Weather affects visibility, and hiring a guide is recommended for insights into the volcano’s history and local biodiversity. La Fortuna, the nearby village, serves as a base for tours. Arenal is accessible from San José, with the park open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

arenal volcano 2
Credit: Enoch Omololu | Arenal Volcano National Park | OnlyEarthlings

2. Take a Boat Trip to Isla de Cano

Caño Island, a top diving and snorkeling spot in Costa Rica, is known for its clear waters and vibrant marine life. Accessible only through organized tours, visitors can swim with rays, whale sharks, and sea turtles. 

Tours last a day, involving a 45-minute boat ride each way. Thus, motion sickness medication is advisable. Tours depart from Drake Bay and must be booked ahead. 

3. Visit Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero National Park, on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, is a secluded jungle paradise accessible by boat or plane. The park, connected by rivers and canals, is the second-largest wetland in Costa Rica and a haven for nature enthusiasts. 

Visitors can witness sea turtles nesting from July to mid-October. While exploring mainly on water, hiring a guide is recommended. The park offers daily flights from San Jose and boat options from La Pavona or Moin. 

4. Check Out the National Theatre in San Jose

Did you know that San Jose, Costa Rica, is not just a gateway to rainforests and beaches but a vibrant city with rich culture? With daily flights, it’s the perfect launchpad. Explore historic Barrio Amón and lively Barrio Escalante for architecture and diverse dining. 

Spend a few days discovering museums like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and the Jade Museum, along with iconic sites like the National Theater and Central Market. San Jose is more than a stopover—it’s an adventure.

Credit: Enoch Omololu | National Theatre in San Jose | OnlyEarthlings

5. Take a Sloth Tour in La Fortuna

Ever dreamed of encountering sloths in their natural home? Embark on a Sloth’s Territory reserve tour near La Fortuna.

Hike through the reserve to witness these slow-moving creatures and catch glimpses of red frogs, porcupines, and toucans. After your nature-filled walk, indulge in local fruits before heading back to La Fortuna.

Related: Is Costa Rica Safe for Tourists?

Sloth Arenal National Park
Credit: Enoch Omololu | Sloth Arenal Volcano NP | OnlyEarthlings

Adventurous Things To Do in Costa Rica

6. Go Ziplining In the Cloud Forest

Ever thought about why monkeys love the treetops so much? In Costa Rica, you can explore the tops of trees, more than 100 feet above the ground.

This is where lots of animals and plants live. If you go up there, you’ll see a view you’ll always remember! You can do this through a zip line tour, a hanging bridge hike, or an aerial tram tour. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the amazing views of Costa Rica’s forest canopy.

7. Swim in the Natural Hot Springs Near La Fortuna Waterfall

Looking for a relaxing break near La Fortuna? Check out Ecotermales Hot Springs, just outside town. Heated by Arenal Volcano, these cozy pools in a rainforest setting refresh every 45 minutes. With five pools, bars, a restaurant, cool water options, and a waterfall for a hydromassage, it’s paradise, even in the rain.

Hot springs la fortuna costa rica
Credit: Enoch Omololu | Hot Springs La Fortuna | OnlyEarthlings

8. Take a Tour Through the Monteverde Cloud Forest

Check out the amazing Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica, which is filled with tall trees and diverse wildlife. The 35,000-acre reserve is home to many animals and unique plants. You can have an adventure on a zip line or take a tram to see the forest. 

Some people find walking through the cloud forest magical, and there are guided tours available. If you want to avoid crowds, a zip line tour is recommended. Bring water and rain gear! 

9. Visit Tenorio Volcano National Park

Ever wondered where you could find a river with striking blue water in Costa Rica? Tenorio Volcano National Park is the answer. 

The blue hue of the river, called Rio Celeste, comes from minerals, creating a unique experience in the surrounding forest. The well-maintained trail leading to the river is suitable for visitors of all ages, offering a nature adventure like no other.

10. Take a Night Walk in the Monteverde Cloud Forest

The Monteverde Cloud Forest is a vibrant and biodiverse rainforest in Costa Rica. Taking a night walk through the forest can be an exciting experience as you encounter the unique plants and animals that live in this environment. 

The forest is home to a variety of plants and animals, including poison dart frogs, sloths, toucans, and monkeys. During the night walk, you might also see bioluminescent insects and fungi that glow in the dark. Remember that the place can be misty and wet, so bring suitable clothing and footwear


What is Costa Rica’s most famous thing?

Costa Rica is famous for its beautiful nature, especially the Arenal Volcano, cloud forests, and amazing beaches. People from all over the world come to see these incredible places.

Is it expensive in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica can be a bit pricey, especially for tours and places where lots of tourists go. But if you look around, you can find more affordable options. It’s like finding the best deals for your adventures.

Where is the prettiest place in Costa Rica?

Everyone has their favorite, but many people think the Monteverde Cloud Forest and Arenal Volcano National Park are super pretty. The misty forest and beautiful beaches make them special.

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a traveller, culinary tourist, and money expert. He is the co-founder of Only Earthlings and established the popular Savvy New Canadians platform. Enoch has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes, Best Life Online, GOBankingRates, Penny Hoarder, Globe and Mail, Yahoo, and CBC News.

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