Costa Rica

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A small country of dense jungles, chilled-out surfers, hermit crabs, and tons of monkeys, Costa Rica has perfected the national motto of "Pura Vida.

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" That can mean lazy afternoons in a hammock watching pelicans dive into the breaking waves or bobbing on your board waiting for the next perfect wave. The experiences are many, and the "pure life" is different for everyone.

Here, you'll explore national parks, snorkel, surf, raft, and chill out somewhere off-grid on the Pacific or Caribbean coasts. You'll watch Arenal, an active volcano surrounded by cloud forest, spill lava down its cone, then zipline through the canopy. Ditch the guidebook, and maybe even bring a tent — opportunities to camp on the beach are plentiful, and it can also save you some dough.

The first country to reverse deforestation, Costa Rica is also the first stop for many Americans — for a reason. Read below, and you'll start to see why.

Editors' Picks

National Parks

The 14 Most Amazing Waterfalls in Costa Rica

Do go chasing waterfalls.

Epic Stays

The Best Resorts for the Ultimate Vacation in Costa Rica

We’ve got your Costa Rica vacation covered.

Outdoor

9 Reasons Costa Rica Is the Ultimate Adventure Destination

Adventure + paradise = adventure paradise.

Beaches and Islands

The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica for Every Type of Traveler

It’s always beautiful somewhere in Costa Rica.

Wellness

The Best Costa Rica Yoga Retreats to Reset and Recharge This Year

There's nowhere better than Costa Rica for a yoga retreat.

Beaches and Islands

The Most Amazing Black Sand Beaches in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s volcanoes have turned some of the country’s beaches as black as ink.

Epic Stays

9 Airbnbs in Costa Rica for a Tropical Summer Escape

From cloud forests to beaches and everything in between.

Epic Stays

The 7 Best Artvillas in Costa Rica That You Can Book on Airbnb

Costa Rica

Featured Film

Your Sustainable Travel Guide to Costa Rica

Sustainable travel in Costa Rica is all about learning to appreciate and preserve its diverse ecology and landscapes. Leave No Trace principles, like respecting wildlife, will help you be a better traveler. Learn from Ashley Diedenhofen @sciencebyashley in this inspiring journey around the Nicoya Peninsula, from diving at Cabo Blanco to teaming up with Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper for a beach cleanup and recycling mission in Santa Teresa. With plenty of waves, sea kayaking, and the freshest gallo pinto, her trip exemplifies how to connect with Costa Rican people and landscapes for a true sustainable adventure.

Costa Rica

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A Surprise Encounter With Costa Rica's Laziest Animal