Over 2 million people visit Costa Rica on a yearly basis, most traveling here in search of adventure, great beaches, lush rainforests and unique wildlife.  For a relatively small country, Costa Rica offers a vast variety of activities, making it extremely difficult for many to pick and choose the ones to add to their itinerary. We would all love to have unlimited time to explore every corner of this beautiful country, but we know that most of you are only limited to a few weeks.

To help you make the most of your time in Costa Rica, we put together a list of 10 Things To Do in Costa Rica. So here’s our list and here’s hoping that our local advice will inspire you to add a few things to yours.

1. Spend a day exploring Manuel Antonio National Park.

The beach inside the park is quiet and peaceful and has some of the warmest waters in all of Costa Rica.

Our tip: Venture off the main trail inside the park for a chance to spot sloths, monkeys, and other wildlife.

Manuel Antonio National Park, view from above

Manuel Antonio National Park, view from above

READ MORE: Tips for Visiting Manuel Antonio

2. Visit Poas Volcano

…to look into its crater and admire its blue/green coloured lagoon.

Our tip: be sure to go on a clear day, if there are any clouds in the sky you won’t see anything. And keep your cameras handy, when those clouds part the perfect photo opp will not last long.

Poas Volcano, Costa Rica

Photo credit: Wikipedia

3. Take a walk through the Monteverde Cloud Forest

…admire the flora and fauna or experience the thrills of the zip lines or bridge walkways. Costa Rica’s forests are home to over 890 bird species, that’s more than number of birds in US and Canada combined.

Our tip:  Bring binoculars or a zoom lens, as some of them are tricky to spot.

Monteverde Cloud Forest. Costa Rica. Cover Photo

Monteverde Cloud Forest

READ MORE: 7 Reasons to Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest

4.  Visit the Arenal Volcano and soak in the Tabacon Hot Springs

Our tip: visit the hot springs after a day of hiking in Arenal Volcano National Park. Your muscles will thank you for it.

Arenal Volcano

Lake Arenal

Lake Arenal

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Arenal Volcano

5. Soak up the sun on the beaches of Guanacaste

There is no shortage of beautiful spots scattered along the coast. For a different kind of beach visit, head to Playa Grande or Playa Ostional and watch leatherback turtles hatch on the beach

Our tip: Choose an environmentally responsible tour, run by the locals that care and protect the turtles.

Playa Carillo, Samara. Costa Rica

Playa Carillo, Sámara, Guanacaste

READ MORE: La Aribbada, Turtle Nesting on Playa Ostional

6. Get a taste of local culture at the ‘Fiestas’  

Watch a bull riding competition, try some local dishes, or join the locals in some carnival games. 

Our tip: majority of these happen throughout December-February, so you might not be able to catch one if you are visiting at a different time. And don’t worry, the bulls are never harmed or killed during these competitions.

The bull and the matador.

The bull and the matador at the Costa Rican Fiesta

READ MORE: A Dangerous Encounter at the Costa Rican Fiesta

7. Explore the reggae infused Caribbean coast

It’s the least explored part of Costa Rica. Our tip: this activity is only suitable for the dry season (Nov – May), as the rainy season floods a lot of the roads, sometimes making it impossible, or as Max would say, “very difficult and rather adventurous” to get to the other side of the country.

Golden Waters of Puerto Viejo. Photo by Kenneth Garcia via Flickr CC

Golden Waters of Puerto Viejo. Photo by Kenneth Garcia via Flickr CC

8. Get away from the crowds in a small town like Montezuma or Samara

Our tip: decide early on what beer brand you are going to drink, as people in Costa Rica are as loyal to their beer brand, as they are to their football (soccer) team.

Playa Samara, Costa Rica

Playa Sámara

Ticos Surf School on the beach in Samara. Guanacaste. Costa Rica

Ticos Surf School on the beach in Sámara

READ MORE: Samara – a beach town in Costa Rica That’s Hard Not to Love

9. Visit one of Costa Rica’s many coffee plantations 

Our tip: these are mostly found in the mountains that surround San José, so this is best scheduled at the start of your trip, on the way out of the capital, or at the end of your trip, before your departure.

Reasons to visit Monteverde Cloud Forest: Coffee tree at the Don Juan Coffee Planation in Monteverde

Different levels of coffee roasts ranging from green to dark

10. Spend a day aboard a fishing boat

…and have a go at catching marlin or mahi-mahi fish. Don’t worry, it’s just sports fishing, so the majority of them end up back in the water!

Our tip: For a local experience, check out long time family friends – “Flamingo Sportfishing CR“, based out of Brasilito/Flamingo.

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Costa Rica offers a vast variety of activities. Here is a roundup of the Top 10 Things to do in Costa Rica, as recommended by a local.

Which one of these Costa Rican experiences excites you the most? Leave a comment below!