Costa Rica

Dave Lauridsen
Local Experts: Costa Rica, Ashley Harrell

By Local Expert Ashley Harrell

Top 5 Tourist Traps in Costa Rica Worth a Visit

1
Sloth Sanctuary

Sloth Sanctuary

Over on the Caribbean coast just north of Puerto Viejo, this animal rescue center is home to more than 100 sloths—and it’s every bit as adorable as it sounds. To support the rescue center, the owners operate a hotel, offer tours, and raise money via a sloth adoption program, which allows caring donors to support the medical attention and boarding of a rescued little guy. 

2
Volcano Arenal

Volcano Arenal

For it’s dramatic eruptions and lava spewing, this volcano used to be one of the most popular attractions in the country. But more than two years ago, the fireworks came to a halt and apparently won’t resume for another 500 years. No matter. Because the volcano became so poplar, all kinds of amazing businesses and tours sprung up around it—and they’re still worth a visit for sure, particularly the hot springs.

3
Zip-Lining, Anywhere

Zip-Lining, Anywhere

No matter where you go in Costa Rica, you can count on there being a zip-line tour within 10 miles of you. They may vary in price, types of trees, and number of platforms, but as somebody who has zip-lined more than two dozen times, I can say this for sure: it’s always ridiculously fun. 

4
Surf Lessons, Anywhere

Surf Lessons, Anywhere

When the surf instructors in Costa Rica get together over beers, here’s what they laugh about: you. What’s funny is that you think you’re going to learn to surf in a matter of three days. You won’t. It’s really hard and takes a whole lot of practice. Still, it’s one of those things you must do—the workout is fantastic and maybe someday if you really like it, you can dedicate a month to actually learning.

5
Tarcoles Bridge

Tarcoles Bridge

On the way from San José to Jacó, there’s a famous bridge where tourists gather to gawk and throw food at enormous crocodiles. Buying delicious coconuts is also customary. This is a place I have to love, because it’s fascinating to watch as the crocs are inappropriately fed, and the overpriced coconut juice is always sweet and cool, just how I like it. 


Visit the Top 5 Tourist Traps in Worth a Visit Costa Rica

Tarcoles Bridge
Tárcoles, Garabito, Costa Rica
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Bridge
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Surf Lessons, Anywhere
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
8/10

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Snack Place
1
Zip-Lining, Anywhere
Costa Rica (Monteverde, Costa Rica), Monte Verde, Costa Rica
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General Travel
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Volcano Arenal
La Fortuna (Ruta 142), La Fortuna, Costa Rica
8.6/10

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Volcano
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Sloth Sanctuary
Limón, Costa Rica
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Zoo
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