Field Guide: Costa Rica

Field Guide: Costa Rica

This choose-your-own-adventure country is a lush, tropical playground waiting to be explored.


STAY
EXPERIENCE Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa
Thermal Resort & Spa, you’re truly immersed in nature. Take a dip in the Tabacón hot springs and gaze upon the awe-inspiring Arenal Volcano, surrounded by a rainforest. 77 miles from SJO or 81 miles from LIR

RETREAT Barceló Langosta Beach
Nestle into your oceanside home away from home. The resort provides easy access to several breathtaking beaches and tropical seaside gardens, which are within walking distance. 41 miles from LIR

ENJOY Occidental Grand Papagayo
Looking for an active getaway? Look no further than Occidental Grand Papagayo. Here, you’ll find plenty of outdoor activities along with tall canopy trees providing a haven of shade to relax or bird watch. 12 miles from LIR

GETAWAY Andaz Peninsula Papagayo—a Hyatt Hotel
Featuring curved roof cottages as accommodations, this aesthetically quirky resort overlooks calm Culebra Bay. The hotel has partnered with local organizations offering unique volunteer opportunities for guests. 18 miles from LIR

BOOK Riu Palace Costa Rica
On the edge of Matapalo Beach, Riu Palace Costa Rica has four outdoor pools and several restaurants and bars, including a swim-up bar. With plenty of water activities the full-service spa is a popular retreat. 19 miles from LIR

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EXCURSIONS

GAZE Palo Verde National Park
Sitting on the banks of the Rio Tempisque is one of the best wildlife-and bird-watching areas in Costa Rica. Take it all in with a boat tour, and then wrap up the day by sampling local cuisine. 37 miles from LIR

EXPLORE Central American Tours (CATOURS)

This company offers the best of the best in Costa Rica and can help you navigate the different areas on your must see list. It provides tours in Guanacaste, Arenal, Central Pacific, Monteverde, Tortugero and San Jose, so get that Costa Rican bucket list ready.

DIP Arenal Volcano Tour and Hot Springs
After a long day of hiking and exploring the Arenal Volcano, soothe your muscles in the natural hot springs. With a variety of temperatures and features, these springs offer swim up bars and colorful underwater lights. 81 miles from SJO or 81 miles from LIR

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GO Vida Adventura Nature Park
Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation or immersion in nature, Vida Adventura has it all. From zip lining to horseback riding, volcano mud baths to thermal pools, there’s something for everyone at this Costa Rican hotspot. 20 miles from LIR

NATUAL WONDERS
GOLF The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal
An 18-hole championship golf course that offers a par-71, this Robert Trent Jones II-designed course is situated alongside lush tropical gardens with breathtaking ocean views. 35 miles from LIR

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SUBMERGE Tabacón Hot Springs
Just 1 kilometer from the hiking trails in the Mirador el Silencio reserve, you’ll find the soothing Tabacón Hot Springs, along with a view of the Arenal Volcano and its distinctive lava trails. 77 miles from SJO or 81 miles from LIR

TREK Central Volcanic Mountain Range
Experience the true meaning of awestruck while you hike through one of the most naturally diverse areas in Central America. Tours through both active and nonactive volcanic ranges are available, resulting in an enriching and educational experience.

TRAIPSE Manuel Antonio National Park
Comprising white-sand beaches, evergreen forests, lagoons and 12 small isles just off the coast, Manuel Antonio National Park is as diverse as it gets. The park is a popular spot for dolphin and whale sightings. 98 miles from SJO

 

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WANDER Waterfall Gardens at La Paz
Hike among hundreds of species of wildlife, including a new jungle cat exhibit, and take in the majestic views of the waterfalls and tropical gardens. 21 miles from SJO

GAZE Province of Guanacaste-Rincon de La Vieja Volcano
Monkeys, steam vents, waterfalls and toucans are just a few of the highlights during a visit to Vieja National Park. Hike the many trails, where critters and natural wonders abound. 44 miles from LIR

IMMERSE Liberia
Looking to truly experience Central American culture? Take a trip to the sunny capital of Guanacaste province, where mango trees, magnolias and tin-roofed buildings line the salty shoreline. 8 miles from LIR

FOOD AND CULTURE

SAVOR La Cascada SteakHouse, Escazu, San Jose
Enjoy five-star taste in a laid-back atmosphere at La Cascada Steak House. Known for the best steak in Costa Rica and its down to earth hospitality, this restaurant will keep you coming back for more. 11 miles from SJO

EAT Toro Negro Steak House, Liberia
While specializing in beef, this restaurant’s large menu features a multitude of options, allowing visitors to choose between Costa Rican favorites or international classics like pizza or sushi. 12 miles from LIR

TASTE La Casa de Dona Lela, Curridabat, San Jose
Dine like the locals at La Casa de Dona Lela. Its menu includes popular Costa Rican breakfast items, tamales, pork and veggie dishes, and its rainforest décor makes for a fun and energetic atmosphere. 16 miles from SJO

FEAST Aroma Tico, Tilaran, Guanacaste
Keep it simple at this cafeteria-style crowd favorite. Whether you choose a hearty breakfast or lunch plate, served with plenty of piping hot Costa Rican coffee, you won’t be disappointed with a pit stop here. 50 miles from LIR

Vacation packages to Costa Rica are available through your travel professional or at southwestvacations.com.

Ali Coates

Ali Coates is a Contributing Writer for Here & Beyond. With a love of pop culture, music and fashion, Ali started writing for various publications while studying journalism, advertising and public relations at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Originally from the upper peninsula of Michigan, she loves the great outdoors and takes advantage of traveling to new places to hike and explore whenever she can. She has visited Riviera Maya and the U.S. Virgin Islands and can’t wait to get some more destinations under her belt.