During my Junior year of college, I decided to study abroad. I’d never left the country before and what better place to do so than in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. We spent four weeks traveling the tiny country and studying the culture. Along the trip, I picked up many must-see locations that I would love to travel to if I ever visited the county again. It was hard to narrow down, but here are 5 destinations to travel to when in Costa Rica:
La Fortuna Waterfall
The La Fortuna Waterfall is located at the base of the Chato volcano, just a short distance from the much larger Arenal volcano. To get down to the waterfall, we took about a mile hike down the side of a lush hillside, listening to the roar of the falls in the background. As soon as we reached the bottom, the trees cleared up and we were standing at the base of the waterfall. Of course, we decided to jump in, and it was a memory I’ll never forget! The water was freezing and a bit choppy from the waterfall, but it was clear blue and a thrill I’d recommend to anyone!
Playa Manuel Antonio
Playa Manuel Antonio is a national park, located on the country’s Pacific Coast. The white sand beach is far away from any noise pollution, as we had to take about a 15-20-minute walk through a reserved rainforest to reach it. The warm water was very calm and crystal clear due to being located in a tiny cove away from the ocean. Tons of wildlife flocked the beach, including birds of all colors and sizes, butterflies, and three-toed sloths. But, be careful where you set your bag! I left mine unattended, and a monkey stole my lunch!
Cloud Forest in Monteverde
The cloud forest in Monteverde is a rainforest located high on top of a mountainous volcano. The high elevation allows you to stand in the clouds, literally. We went on a few hikes through the rainforest, where we experienced breathtaking views. But, my fearless, adrenaline junky side loved the recreation that awaits you. There are several areal spots which take you on top of the world. You can choose from bungee-jumping, canopy tours, and my favorite, zip-lining. The zip line took us on 8-10 different lines, each one in which we had to climb higher and higher. The very last line took us high over an open peak in the mountain, lasting about four whole minutes flying in the air.
Baldi Hot Springs
Baldi Hot Springs is located at the bottom of the Arenal volcano. The volcano produces natural hot springs, acting as one giant hot tub. The springs at Baldi are treated as a spa, where you can relax in the steamy pools, adventure through the running springs, or sun bathe in the extremely shallow springs. There are even springs reserved for kids, with slides and lazy rivers; which, of course, we took advantage of. The natural water in the spring is not only relaxing, but also extremely healthy for your skin.
Le Monastere is a restaurant that’s worth visiting for the views more than anything. Located at the very top of a mountain peak, Le Monastere over looks the city of San Jose, the country’s capital. We visited during dusk, and I have never experienced a prettier view. The thousands of twinkling, city lights below the open, star-filled sky was like something out of a movie. They have a little grassy area outside where you can sit and take in the views or watch the traditional dancing shows put on by the locals. The restaurant isn’t far from the country’s main airport, so it’s a great way to spend your last evening in Costa Rica.
Guest Author: Kara Straight
Hi! My name is Kara Straight. I’m a writer for a few different publications, and have my own lifestyle blog as well! My best friend and I love to travel, so we make sure to travel somewhere new at least every other month. My first time traveling out of the country was when I studied abroad in Costa Rica during one of my college semesters. And from then on, the rest was history! Check out her blog at Straight Livin’ With Kara.