Costa Rica has made a name for itself as a popular tourist destination, considered to be the leading destination in Central America.

It currently tops the list of the fastest-growing destinations in the world, attracting visitors with its stunning natural beauty and biodiversity.

Costa Rica is also the safest country in Latin America and a great destination for solo travelers.

These are the top destinations in Costa Rica to visit this winter:

Pro tip: For the perfect Costa Rica trip, I recommend choosing one beach destination (either on the Pacific or Caribbean Coast) and also visiting the two inland destinations mentioned below. This will give you the perfect overview of Costa Rica, and it’s doable in a week-long itinerary.

1. Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is the most popular national park in Costa Rica. It’s located on the country’s central Pacific Coast in the beach town of Quepos.

Manuel Antonio National Park

You can find some of the most pristine beaches in Costa Rica at Manuel Antonio National Park. There are also hiking trails that will take you into the nearby jungle.

Costa Rica’s biodiversity is on spectacular display at this national park, and you may encounter monkeys, sloths, toucans, and other wildlife as you explore.

2. Tamarindo

Another one of the best beach destinations in Costa Rica is Tamarindo. This is an extremely popular spot on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific Coast.

Tamarindo Costa Rica

It’s a highly developed area with lots of hotels and resorts, restaurants and bars, and shopping. Tamarindo is also a great destination for surfing in Costa Rica.

Rather than flying to Costa Rica’s capital San Jose, which is more than 4.5 hours from Tamarindo, you can fly into Liberia, which has nonstop flights from 15 cities in the U.S. and is located just 1.5 hours from Tamarindo. Fares into Liberia are often cheaper than fares into San Jose too.

Aerial view of western Costa Rica resorts in Tamarindo area

3. La Fortuna

Moving away from beaches, La Fortuna is another must-visit destination in Costa Rica for a taste of volcanoes, rainforests, waterfalls, and natural hot springs. This is also a place where adrenaline junkies will thrive thanks to all the adventure activities you can try.

La Fortuna is known for being the gateway to Arenal Volcano National Park, which is a hiker’s paradise. There are many beautiful waterfalls near La Fortuna, with the most popular and accessible being La Fortuna Waterfall.

A lush garden in La Fortuna, Costa Rica with Arenal Volcano in the background

This is a great place to spend a few days enjoying all the outdoor activities on offer in La Fortuna, including hiking, horseback riding, ziplining through the rainforest, waterfall rappelling, whitewater rafting, and more.

4. Monteverde

Another incredible destination to visit in Costa Rica is Monteverde. This is another destination located inland in Costa Rica, and it’s best known for being a cloud forest.

Woman in Monteverde Costa Rica

Cloud forests are a unique type of rainforest that experience high humidity and condensation. Despite the humidity, Monteverde often experiences cool, windy weather due to its higher altitude.

Monteverde is one of the most popular ecotourism destinations in Costa Rica. Some of the best things to do include wildlife spotting, walking Monteverde’s hanging bridges through the cloud forest, or ziplining.

5. Puerto Viejo

Finally, another one of the top destinations in Costa Rica is Puerto Viejo. This beach town is located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast, which is less developed than the Pacific side of the country.

Playa Chiquita in Puerto Viejo

This is a great alternative to the Pacific Coast if you are looking for a more laid-back atmosphere. It’s a great place to visit for yoga, surfing, and beach-hopping.

There are quite a few great beaches in Puerto Viejo with crystal-clear Caribbean water and white sand. The town of Puerto Viejo is also full of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques.

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