Your Ultimate Costa Rica Bucket List for a Fabulous Central American Adventure

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Last Updated on: 13th January 2023, 02:00 pm

A vibrant and picturesque country, Costa Rica is a destination that has visitors worldwide wanting more. Offering a collection of spectacular tropical rainforests and sandy beaches, this lively place has been often referred to as the ultimate bucket list destination for travelers of every taste.

But once you’re here, what should you do? Well, here is your ultimate Costa Rica bucket list to plan your trip!

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Your Ultimate Costa Rica Bucket List for a Fabulous Central American Adventure

My Favorite Travel Booking Sites for 2024

These are my favorite companies that I use on my own travels.

Protect Your Trip via Safety Wing

Find the best city tours, day tours, bus tours, & skip-the-line tickets on GetYourGuide and Viator.

Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on

For English-speaking private airport transfers, book through Welcome Pickups.

For road trips and independent travel, rent a car through Discover Cars.

Find information and cruise reviews on Cruise Critic.

For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.

Book an affordable family or romantic photography session on your trip through Flytographer (Use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photoshoot).

For travel guidebooks to have with you during your trip, I always pick one or two from Rick Steves and Lonely Planet.

Ranging from world-class museums to theaters, parks, and historic buildings, this iconic travel destination is filled with attractions of every kind.

Costa Rica’s extensive plain, surrounded by majestic volcanoes, is the ideal spot for nature lovers, too! To sum it up, Costa Rica has something to offer to visitors of every type, taste, and preference. So, let’s get started with our bucket list!

The Ultimate Bucket List for Your Stay in Costa Rica

In no particular order…

Get ‘shiny’ with gold galore at the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum

Costa Rica - Precolombian gold museum in San Jose, Costa Rica

On your trip around Costa Rica, make sure to visit the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum located in San Jose.

This three-story museum is all about the yellow metal. It showcases one of the vastest collections of gold ornaments around Central America, making it one of the world’s busiest museums. Here, you can explore beyond 1600 artifacts, as old as 500 A.D.

Enjoy a relaxed day by the Punta Uva beach

Costa Rica - Punta Uva, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. March 2018. A view of canoes on the beach at Punta Uva in Costa Rica

This remote beach situated in Puerto Viejo is your perfect gateway to a laid-back day by the beach. Away from the rush of urban life, Punta Uva beach is pristine & quiet.

Thanks to its clear, turquoise waters, this beach offers visitors an excellent opportunity to enjoy snorkeling. However, just a tip from us: bring your own set of snorkeling equipment.

Now, if you are in Puerto Viejo, we are sure that you would love a calm and pleasant stay. We suggest you check out Selina Hostel Puerto Viejo to make the most of your visit to this lovely town. 

Row amidst the treetops on a canopy tour

Costa Rica - People exploring a wild nature area by rowing boat. Ecotourism concept. Tortuguero national park. Costa Rica.

Get closer to nature while rowing amidst the treetops there. Check out the white water river rafting, with more than nine cable systems allowing visitors to enjoy and explore the length and width of 2,525 feet long river.

Interestingly, this unique network provides the explorers with an entirely new perspective of enjoying the rainforest view and soak themselves in nature for 2.5 to 3 hours. This unique experience is sure to give you an adrenaline boost!

Relax between your adventures with a hot spring

Costa Rica - Arenal Hot Springs - Costa Rica

Make sure you explore the hot springs beside the Arenal Volcano, the very source of their warmth.

These geothermal baths are one of the loveliest offerings around Costa Rica and attract visitors from around the globe.

With pool temperatures ranging from 91-105 degrees Fahrenheit, it might just be the perfect spot to unwind.

Move amidst the clouds at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

Costa Rica - Bridge in Rainforest - Costa Rica - Monteverde

Another spectacle that is sure to take you by surprise, the Monteverde Cloud Forest is one of the highest sitting attractions around Costa Rica, situated at an elevation of 1,600 meters.

You will get a feeling of walking amidst the clouds, thanks to the dense, shrouded misty cover produced by the high humidity at this altitude.

This 26,000-acre biozone is nothing less than surreal clouded heaven, accompanied by an expansive diversity of different fauna and flora that includes the likes of animals like jaguars, toucanets, and pumas.

The location is home to around 420 species of orchids and over 200 fern species.

Polish your surfing skills at Playa Negra

Costa Rica - Empty black sand beach Playa Negra with white foam of Caribbean Sea in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, on sunny summer day

Considered to be the surfing mecca worldwide, Playa Negra is situated around the Northern Pacific Coast around Guanacaste.

Favored by the strongest tidal winds, the place is home to many reef breaks that attract a vast number of surfers.

The waves hitting the shores here are consistent and bring along experienced shredders with them.

However, reaching Playa Negra can be a challenge and a thrill as the place is only accessible via offroad paths.

Visit the Manuel Antonio National Park

Costa Rica - Ocean coast in National Park Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Listed last on our bucket list is the Manuel Antonio National Park. This lovely place is the perfect blend of coral reefs and sandy beaches and jungle landscapes.

One of the best locations for underwater exploration and snorkeling, you will encounter lots of fish around its reefs.

The park is stretched over a wide range of natural habitats that include forests, beaches, mangrove swamps, and lagoons.

It’s home to over 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds. Manuel Antonio National Park is a lovely experience for visitors of all ages.

Final Thoughts

I hope our list helps you explore Costa Rica in a better way. Now, if you plan to explore Costa Rica by car, we are sure that you’d love to check these road trip tips. Wishing you a happy & pleasant journey! 

Pin this Guide to What to Do in Costa Rica for Your Trip!

Your Ultimate Costa Rica Bucket List for a Fabulous Central American Adventure

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