Costa Rica is a small but quite developed country for Central America. It is worth going there not only for the incredible nature, fun holidays, safe walks, pirate treasures and beautiful architecture of the capital. You can come to Costa Rica for happiness! According to a study conducted in 2012, the happiest people live in Costa Rica. They do not have advanced technologies, highways and huge skyscrapers. So what brings happiness?
Costa Rica has a pleasant climate. Many points of the country rise above sea level by a thousand meters. There are also conditions for excellent surfing and beach holidays, both with children and with a noisy company.
Volcanoes are must-sees in Costa Rica. Not to descend into the crater of the Turrialba volcano and not to look at the magical fire show of Arenal means not to see the country, not to feel its breath. Costa Rica has many national parks. Some of them remain almost untouched, and some, they say, even hidden treasures. It is also worth visiting the pirate island. Who knows, maybe you will be lucky to find the riches stolen by the robbers.
What to see in Costa Rica?
The most interesting and beautiful places, photos and a brief description.
City of San Jose
Capital and largest city of Costa Rica. San Jose is located at an altitude of 1200 meters, surrounded by valleys and mountains. It is home to about half of the population of the entire country. The inhabitants of the city are friendly and sociable, the streets are quite clean, and in the center there are beautiful pedestrian streets, parks, old buildings, museums and shopping centers. You can also buy real aromatic coffee in San Jose.
This is the youngest and most spectacular volcano in Costa Rica. The last time a major eruption of Arenal was recorded in 2000. It has a height of 1657 meters, on its territory there is a national park of the same name and a lake. Now the volcano periodically gives out small lava eruptions, which do not threaten the population in any way, but serve as a very spectacular show for tourists.
Manuel Antonio National Park
The park is located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It was founded in 1972. Manuel Antonio occupies a little more than 16 km², but despite this, it annually becomes a destination for 150 thousand tourists. The park is known for its four beautiful beaches and hiking trails. It also has many tide pools suitable for snorkeling.
It is the largest uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. Its area is 24 km². It is located 600 km off the west coast of Costa Rica. The island is famous thanks to a legend that says that an incredible treasure is hidden on it, which no one has yet found. The whole island is covered with wild jungle, in the center is Mount Roundel Con, and algae grow wildly in the coastal waters and sharks live.
This is the largest lake in Costa Rica. It is located 90 km from San Jose. The area of the lake is 80 km². It reached such dimensions after the construction of the hydroelectric dam in 1979. Depending on the season, the depth of the lake ranges from 30 to 60 meters. There is a beautiful tropical forest around the reservoir, and from April to November, thousands of tourists come to the lake to go windsurfing.
This is an active volcano, which is located 30 km east of San Jose. The height of its largest peak is 3340 meters. This is the only volcano in the country, in the crater of which you can go down. It constantly undergoes the process of lava formation, which tourists can see. From the high peaks of the volcano, amazing panoramas of tropical forests open up.
On the southern slope of the Turrialba volcano is the archaeological site of Guayabo. While a small part of it has been excavated, its size is 218 hectares. But already by it one can judge the importance and level of development of the city. It has been inhabited since 1000 BC, in 800 AD. about 10 thousand people lived in it, and in 1400 they left the city. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of stone streets, aqueducts, the foundations of wooden houses.
Corcovado National Park
The park is located on the Pacific coast, on the Osa Peninsula. It includes 42,500 hectares of almost untouched rainforest with incredible flora and fauna. The nature of the park consists of at least eight ecosystems. It grows more than 500 species of trees and is home to many animals. The main attraction of Corcovado is the Salsipuedes Cave. According to legend, Francis Drake left a treasure in it.
This is a volcano, which is located 31 km from the city of Cartago. It is located at an altitude of 3700 m above sea level. In one of its craters, there used to be a salt lake that changed color from red to green, but after the earthquake it disappeared. But the volcano has not lost its beauty because of this. Incredible views open from it, and during the ascent to the volcano, you only need to have time, take pictures of everything.
National Theater of Costa Rica
The theater began to be built in 1891, and opened in 1897. Coffee magnates found money for the construction: they introduced a tax on coffee exports. Thus, the national theater has become a symbol of the economic prosperity of the state. For its construction, the Paris Opera was taken as a model. The theater was built in the Renaissance style and decorated with statues. Once an expensive interior was damaged by an earthquake, but was restored.
The territory of the volcano is a national park of Costa Rica. It was founded in 1971, and its area is 65 km². The maximum height of the volcano is 2700 meters. Poas has three craters, of which two are inactive. The crater of one of them is a picturesque ice lake. Its diameter is 360 meters. In the park you can find many animals and plants. Among them are beautiful magnolias and orchids.
Monteverde National Park
This is one of the richest reserves in the tropical zone. It is located at an altitude of 1400 m, so it is constantly shrouded in misty haze. There are hotels for tourists in the park. Walking along Monteverde, you can see more than 400 species of orchids, 400 species of birds and 2500 species of plants. Among the attractions in the park is the descent on the rope. Wearing insurance, you can fly at a height of 40 meters and look at the park from a height.
La Fortuna waterfall
This picturesque waterfall is located in the Arenal National Park. The height from which the stream of water falls is 70-75 m. A path leads to the top, along which you can climb on foot or on horseback. There is also an observation platform with an incredible view of the waterfall and moss-covered rocks and canyon. The pool of the waterfall has cool water in which you can swim.
This is an island in the Caribbean, famous for the legends of pirates. In the old days, this piece of land was a haven for generations of sea robbers. Pirates sailed on it to repair ships, sell stolen goods and jewelry, relax and have fun. Now the island attracts adventurous tourists.
City of Jaco
The city is located on the Pacific coast. You can get to it by car from San Jose in 1.5 hours. This is a youth resort that attracts active and fun-loving tourists. The beaches of Jaco have excellent surfing conditions, and a beginner can find a place here to learn how to stand on the board. Hako never sleeps at night. There are a lot of bars, clubs and restaurants. Souvenirs are sold at every corner at low prices.
La Amistad International Park
The park is located on the border of Costa Rica and Panama. Its total area is more than 5700 km², which are covered with picturesque tropical rainforests. This is the largest nature reserve in Central America. At the same time, four indigenous Indian tribes live in the park. It also contained the remains of the life of a person who lived in the 10th century BC.
Gold Museum in San Jose
The museum is located in the capital of Costa Rica, not far from the Plaza de la Cultura. It presents gold jewelry and products created by the Indians. Some exhibits were created in the 5th century BC. In total, the museum displays 2000 gold items. Among them are figurines, golden shields, household items. But this is far from the entire heritage of the Indians; much of it was destroyed or melted down.
Protected area of Guanacaste
This is an area in the northwest of Costa Rica, which includes five parks. Their total area is more than 1400 km². National parks, taken under the protection of the state and UNESCO, are important natural complexes. They have not yet been fully explored, but they surprise with rich fauna, flora and beautiful landscapes.
Santa Teresa beach
Santa Teresa Beach is called one of the most beautiful civilized beaches in Costa Rica. It has white sand, clear water, all conditions for surfing. Those who want a quiet and relaxing holiday will find cute bungalows here, delicious dishes are served in restaurants on the beaches, and in the evenings there are no noisy discos. In the village near the beach you can find everything a tourist needs.
Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels in Cartago
After the earthquake, Cartago was destroyed. The only surviving building was the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels. It is located on the central square of the city. Inside, you can see the miraculous statue of the "Black Madonna", admire the amazing stained-glass windows and figures with which the basilica is decorated around the entire perimeter.
Braulio Carrillo National Park
The park was founded in 1978 and named after the country's president. Its area is about 44 thousand hectares. Most of the park is occupied by beautiful mountains, densely covered with tropical forests. Also of interest are two extinct volcanoes. Because of the sharp elevation changes, the park has a diverse flora and fauna. Only trees in it there are more than 600 species.
This is not a waterfall promoted by travel agencies, which is very fond of local residents. From the parking lot to the water, you will need to walk several kilometers through the forest. But this is not too tiring route, because there is very beautiful nature around. The waterfall falls with great force, forming a pool of very cold water. You can also catch tiny frogs in the waters of the waterfall.
Caves of Venado
These are limestone caves that were created about 15-20 million years ago. Inside them, an amazing interior is created by stalactites and stalagmites. Inside the cave there is no lighting or anything to entertain tourists. Almost everywhere there is water on the floor, so tourists feel like real explorers. You can wander with a flashlight through the narrow passages as much as you like.
Simon Bolivar Zoo
The zoo is located in San Jose. This is the largest zoo in Costa Rica. Many representatives of cats live in it, there is a large serpentarium in which they keep multi-colored snakes. Many of them are poisonous. The main thing that the zoo can boast of is a huge collection of bright parrots collected from all the forests of the country.