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Trip List by Niknak40

Costa Rica - Must See List

Jan 19, 2013  Returned this week from 31 days in Costa Rica with my family of 4 plus extended family too!
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This is a list of MUST DO's if you are visiting Costa Rica and have younger (less than 10 years old) children

  • 1. Curi-Cancha Refugio de Vida Silvestre
    Curi Cancha Reserve, Monteverde, Province of Puntarenas

    Amazing nature refuge in Monteverde. Be sure to call Rafael Elizondo Vargas to guide you! (506) 88 38 81 45 or r.elizondov@hotmail.com

  • 2. Arenal Observatory Lodge
    Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park

    Even if you can't afford to stay at this lodge, you can come and visit for the day (for $4 if I remember correctly)! Excellent viewpoint of the volcano, some great hiking trails and a nice restaurant where you can grab a window seat and hope for the clouds to pass so you can see this beautiful volcano!

  • 3. Manuel Antonio Expeditions
    Manuel Antonio Expeditions, Manuel Antonio National Park, Province of Puntarenas

    This is a very touristy part of Costa Rica, which you'll notice as you drive towards the signs for Manuel Antonio Park...but the beaches within the park are worth the admission alone! If you have a few hours and want to see some wildlife...call Juan Brenes 83 65 10 57. He's a GREAT guide that will help you find and photograph vine snakes, small lizards, morpho's, sloths, monkeys, etc. If you don't have a guide, you could walk the trails and see NOTHING!

  • 4. Villa Caletas
    Villa Caletas, Jaco, Province of Puntarenas

    If you are travelling by Jaco at any point on your stay in Costa Rica...try to make time for ONE sunset at this location. All you need to cough up is the cost of a beverage and you can enjoy their amazing amphitheatre with dramatic music while watching the sunset over the pacific. You won't be disappointed! The drive into the resort is fun too...quiet the views!!

  • 5. POPS
    POPS, San Jose, San Jose Metro

    I don't think we ever visited THIS specific location of POPS, but it is a chain and you will find them in many cities in CR. They have AMAZING ice cream...the coconut was a personal favourite, but hubby loved the Cas and Guanabana!

  • 6. Los Almendros Restaurant Esterillos Oeste
    Los Almendros Restaurant Esterillos Oeste, Esterillos Oeste, Province of Puntarenas

    A cozy, open air restaurant in Esterillos Oeste. Owned by Karen (an ex Canadian) - her restaurant serves up an amazing selection of FRESH food! The ceviche was delicious and every Friday is sushi night!

  • 7. Habaneros
    Habaneros, Santa Teresa, Province of Puntarenas

    The BEST FISH TACOS I have ever had. Oh. My. Goodness. Lovely open air restaurant right on the beach of Santa Teresa. The service was friendly, the food delicious, the live music wonderful...all of this made up for the bad taste we got in our mouths when we first arrived from the rude owner who was eating at the bar.

  • 8. La Paz Waterfall Gardens
    La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Vara Blanca, Province of Alajuela

    A bit on the pricey side, but WELL worth it! It is a beautifully maintained area with lots of up close and personal interaction with Costa Rican wildlife (got a Toucan on my arm!!) and a lovely hike to see a number of waterfalls. If you are there over lunch hour, you can add the buffet lunch to your entrance fee...it's a great buffet (and I'm not a big buffet fan typically)!

  • 9. Poas Volcano National Park
    Poas Volcano National Park, Province of Alajuela

    Get there EARLY (before 10am) to have your best chance to SEE this active volcano. It is a lovely drive to get here and there are some great hiking trails within the park area. From here you are a short drive to La Paz Waterfall Garden (see above) these 2 make a great day trip in the Central Valley Area!

  • 10. Lakeview Hotel at Volcano Brewing Company

    Didn't stay in the hotel, but did pop in and buy a JUG of beer for our trip onwards. Supposedly the only micro-brewery in CR. We got the Witch's Ale (darker beer) - it was delicious! Great views of Lake Arenal from their lovely restaurant/bar area. And there were a ton of howler monkeys in the trees by the parking lot!

  • 11. Hummingbird Nest B&B
    Hummingbird Nest B&B, El Castillo, Arenal Volcano National Park

    If you want to stay and explore the area around Arenal Volcano - I'd HIGHLY recommend the El Castillo area as opposed to La Fortuna. The road out to El Castillo is a little rough, but well worth the drive. We stayed right in the village at this lovely little B&B. She has an amazing view of the volcano from her patio and once you are out here, you are close to Arenal Observatory Lodge!