Top 10 Costa Rica Destinations for First-timers

Are you dreaming of visiting Costa Rica for the first time, but not sure of where to start? Costa Rica is a popular tourist destination for both Backpackers and luxury vacationers. Along with the many resorts, hotels and beaches, tourists have opportunities to enjoy beautiful scenery and exquisite shopping. However there are many natural and man-made Costa Rica tourist attractions that you should have on your itinerary when you visit this island. Knowing some places of interest will definitely be a great help. From the province of San Jose to Cartago, Guancaste, Limon, Heredia, Alajuela and Puntarenas, these old and new favorite destinations have continually topped the list. But these 10 stops will steer you in the right direction:
1. Monteverde and Southern Elena
The cloud forests around Monteverde and Santa Elena are premier destinations for everyone from budget backpackers to well-heeled retirees. Monteverde is a place where you can be inspired about the possibility of a world in which organic farming and alternative energy sources are the norm. This type of forest is usually cloudy and humid because of its high altitude. There are eight different ecological zones within this reserve with over 400 species of birds, 110 species of amphibians and lizards, 100 species of mammals and over 2500 species of plants.
2. Arenal Volcano National park and Observatory
This is a live active volcano located in the San Jose area of Costa Rica. The tours in this area usually start in the afternoon and involve about an hour’s walk through lava rocks before you reach the place where you can see the volcanic eruption. The sight of the eruption and the lava flow from the observatory is spectacular and is a sight that will remain in your memory for many years to come. The best time to see the eruption is after dark when the glowing lava lights up the sky.
3. Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio
This park is located on south of Quepos on the Pacific Coast, 132 km from San Jose, One of the country’s most famous national parks, Manuel Antonio, is the Costa Rica you imagined in your dreams. It is so popular because of its expansive white sand beaches backed by an evergreen forest that grows right up to the high tide line. The principal habitants are primary forest, secondary forest, mangrove swamps, lagoons and beach vegetation.
4. Tamarindo Guanacaste
This is a booming resort town and has been considered a playful haven of the young and the young-at-heart. Ongoing developments has created a new line of modern abode and equally urbanized standard of living and health care back dropped with the most amazing stretch of white sandy beaches, Caribbean blue waters and green virgin forest teeming with wildlife. Relaxing is too simple a word to describe the beautyof a great place like Tamarindo
5. Samara, Guanacaste
Sitting along the southern Pacific coast of the Nicoya Peninsula in the province of Guanacaste, Samara is small sunny town with pristine beaches and picture-perfect scenery. This is a land filled with powdery white sand lulled by the surrounding turquoise blue waters. This is one relaxing and laidback place where sport fishing, snorkeling, early morning beachwalks, swimming in calm waters, bird watching and jamming with other foreign friends can be enjoyed night and day.
6. Our Lady of Los Angeles Church
If not the famous church in the whole Costa Rica, it’s the most famous of Cartago Region. The focal point of the church is the statue of the Virgin Mary, called La Negrita. As legend has it, this statue was discovered at the site of the present church in 1635 and reappeared miraculously after it was removed. Thousands of pilgrims visit this place every year.
7. Mal Pais & Santa Teresa
This destination is a great place to enjoy the sea with wildlife and is almost perfect when it comes to shape, color and temperature. At the tip of the Península de Nicoya is this destination duo, which offers some of the country’s best surf. Mal País and Santa Teresa were once far-flung locales that took serious determination to reach.
8. Santa Ana
When you want almost-same level of comfort in Escazu at affordable range, this is the place to be, Modern residential living are being developed along with international boarding school systems, private hospitals, and shopping areas nowadays. This is surely a good place.
9. Montezuma
Montezuma is a small village in Costa Rica, known for its stunning natural beauty of its beaches and waterfalls. Nestled into a landscape of true tropical paradise, Montezuma is perfect for any beach lover and eco-tourist. The village is surrounded by jungle covered hills with small rivers forming scenic waterfalls and pools. Groups of monkeys live in the forests and are easily seen.
10. Santa Rosa National Park
This is arguably one of the oldest parks in Costa Rica. It covers almost 100,000 acres of land on the Santa Elena Peninsula. The numerous hiking trails offer breathtaking scenic views and the possibility of seeing many type of native wildlife. It is the largest dry tropical rainforest in Central America and is one of the best camping places in Costa Rica. It is the home of a sea turtle sanctuary as well as fabulous beaches for swimming and surfing.

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