Costa Rica has many breathtaking natural wonders, including beaches, volcanoes, parks, and lakes. Some of these natural wonders include:
Costa Rica is home to six active volcanoes (Arenal volcano, Poas volcano, Rincón de la Vieja volcano, Irazú Volcano, Tenorio Volcano, and Turrialba Volcano) and 61 dormant or extinct ones. Arenal is the most active volcano and the Poas Volcano is one of the most visited volcano for its breathtaking views. The Poás Volcano, is an active stratovolcano in central Costa Rica that has erupted 39 times since 1828. The Irazú Volcano (11,257 ft) is the highest volcano in the country. The Arenal Volcano erupted for the last time in 2010, but it continues to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is well known for its nearly 300 different beaches. Each of them offers a unique scenery and experience. Some of the most popular beaches are: Cahuita, Dominical, Drake Bay, Jaco, Malpais, Manuel Antonio, Montezuma, Carrillo Beach, Playa Ballena, Playa Conchal, Playa Flamingo, Playa Hermosa Guanacaste, Puerto Viejo, Tamarindo, Tortuguero, and Uvita. These beaches offer many water activities, including surfing, scuba diving, sports fishing, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking and yachting. Since Costa Rica is a very narrow country, Pacific and Caribbean coast beaches are just a few hours apart.
More than a quarter of Costa Rica's total land area is comprised of national parks, biological reserves and wildlife refuges, and for that reason Costa Rica offers many natural wonders for nature lovers. Some of the best and places to visit are Tortuguero National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Parkto and Monteverde Cloud Forest.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a nature lover's paradise. Monteverde is 4 miles east of Santa Elena and about a four-hour drive from San Jose. It covers an area of 26,000 acres and is home to about 2,000 plant species, 1,200 species of amphibians and reptiles, over 400 types of birds, and more than 100 species of mammals can be found there.
Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio
Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, popular for its beaches, rainforests, and exotic animals, is the most visited national park in Costa Rica. It was created in 1972, covers an area of around 682 hectares, and is located about 90 miles southwest of San Jose.
Corcovado National Park
The Corcovado National Park was created in 1975 to protect this region from illegal gold mining. Due to its isolation and inaccessibility, it remains undisturbed and breathtakingly beautiful. Corcovado is internationally renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity (including big cats and tapirs) and is where visitors can expect to see an abundance of wildlife. The park covers over 41,000 hectares and it protects over 140 different mammal species; 400 bird species, 116 amphibian and reptile species, 40 species of fish, and at least 500 species of trees.
Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park covers an area of 19,000 hectares is located on Costa Rica's beautiful Caribbean coast in the northeastern region of the country, about 50 miles north of Puerto Limon. The park houses around 170 species of reptiles and amphibians, 60 species of mammals, and 300 species of birds. Tortuguero, which means 'Region of Turtles' in Spanish, is the most important nesting site for the endangered green turtle. It is also a nesting site for the Giant leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles.
Cocos Island is one of the 10 most important marine places in the planet. It was declared as World Natural Heritage site by the UNESCO in 1997, and for this reason visits to the island are regulated. Cocos Island is located about 300 miles from Puntarenas.