Our top attractions, highlights and insider tips
San José, Costa Rica’s capital, is set among rolling hills and surrounded by mountainous shadows on all sides. In the city, avenue Paseo Colón acts as a centre-point and provides access to several architectural highlights such as the neoclassical Teatro Nacional, colonial buildings, as well as local hangout La Sabana Park. Two national parks (Chirripo and Irazú), a divine cathedral, and tons of theatres and museums reflect the country’s diversity. Feel alive when visiting Costa Rica’s thriving capital.
Irazú Volcano National Park
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Chirripo National Park
Established in 1880 and considered to be a site of Costa Rican heritage, this downtown market provides a bubbling atmosphere full of exotic fruits, pastries, and local crafts. The market also offers fresh fish, meat, and tasty local drinks such as horchata that will delight as you walk the alleys of this authentic market.
The towering pillars and ornate domes of Catedral Metropolitana compliment the grace of a neoclassical interior with stained-glass windows, tiled flooring, and an arched roof. A symbol of Christ at the north end of the nave gives good reason to take pause. Originally destroyed in 1802 by an earthquake, this central cathedral was rebuilt in 1871, and acts as a hub for the devout to partake in congregation.
Craters rimmed by scorched trees reflect Irazú Volcano’s last great eruption in 1965. This striking (and active) moonscape of a volcano has a lagoon green cratered centre and can be found in a national park that’s part of a reforestation project. 30 miles from San José, the largely flat lands around the volcano provide perfect hiking conditions as you trek paths that wind around it.
A famed waterfall that sprays white as it cascades through a rainforest—it’s easy to see why La Paz is one of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations. Bridge and path trails elevate you within the rainforest, bringing you closer to exotic animals such as the puma, jaguar, and chirping birdlife.
A whopping 50 hectares in size, within this vast park stands Costa Rica’s highest mountain Cerro Chirripó. With five different ecosystems, the park itself is heralded for its rugged lands and acts as a refuge for animals such as tapirs, jaguars, and goldfinches. On a clear day, you can see the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean as you hike towards the mountain summit.
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