It is never too early to start planning your next adventure. Costa Rica seems to be all the rage these days, and for plenty of good reasons. While there are several well-known and highly visited destinations in Costa Rica, such as La Fortuna, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, Playa Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, and Jaco, there are plenty of less-visited spots that you should definitely add to your list for a truly off-the-beaten-path and away-from-the-crowds trip to Costa Rica in 2018.
Playa Zancudo is located just 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Golfito, but it feels like a world away from everything and everyone. This long stretch of idyllic black sand lined with coconut trees is ideal for swimming, body surfing, fishing, and just basking in the sun on what will feel like your own private slice of paradise. Some claim that Playa Zancudo is the best swimming beach in all of Costa Rica, and the tranquil crystal clear waters are quite inviting. There are multiple budget-friendly accommodations and great restaurants and bars nearby. Playa Zancudo is also conveniently located close to famous attractions such as the Corcovado National Park and La Casa Orquideas Botanical Gardens.
Santa Rosa National Park
The Santa Rosa National Park is located in Northern Guanacaste. Surprisingly, it is a park that is often overlooked in favor of other parks such as the Arenal National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park. However, overlooking it would be a mistake. What makes this park remarkable is there are 10 different habitats within it, including oak forest, deciduous forest, evergreen forest, littoral woodlands, mangrove swampland, marshland, and savannah. There are 115 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 10,000 species of insects, 100 species of reptiles and amphibians, and multiple waterfalls and beaches. It is one of the most marvelous places to visit in Costa Rica.
El Castillo is around 45 minutes from the very popular destination of La Fortuna. The less-than-perfect road has kept the crowds away from El Castillo, but the bumpy ride is totally worth it. El Castillo is a ravishing little rainforest town right on Lake Arenal, and the views of the Arenal Volcano are better than you would get in many spots in La Fortuna. El Castillo is an ideal location to embark upon horseback riding, waterfall hiking, kayaking, canopy zip lining, and volcano trekking tours, typically at a fraction of the prices you would pay if you were staying in La Fortuna. Take advantage of this secret alternative!
San Gerado de Dota
San Gerado de Dota is nestled up against the Talamanca Mountains. This breathtakingly beautiful town is a birdwatching hotspot, as well as a nature and adventure lover’s utopia. The quaint town is perfectly placed near the famous Los Quetzales National Park, Savegre River, Naranjo waterfalls, rolling hills, fruit plantations, and misty forests. The hiking, birdwatching, white-water rafting, and fishing in this stunning part of Costa Rica are world class, and San Gerado de Dota is a dreamy destination for those looking to become fully immersed in nature.
Pacuare is located on the Caribbean coast and is a famous sea turtle nesting beach and an important research site for scientists who are studying green sea turtles, leatherbacks, and hawksbill turtles. Turtle nesting season is between May and October. Pacuare is a perfect destination for those looking to experience the remote rainforest. It is also relatively close to the Tortuguero National Park and is only a short way from the famous white-water rafting river Rio Pacuare. This is a wild and remote destination that is bursting with wildlife, ancient plant life, and endless opportunities for adventure.
Cahuita is a happening little town on the Caribbean coast just 27 miles (43 kilometers) south of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. The majority of the permanent residents are of Jamaican descent and the Creole–African culture is alive and vibrant here. Visiting Cahuita is a chance to experience a totally different culture from the rest of Costa Rica, and the laid-back and free-spirited vibe of this Caribbean town is contagious. The Cahuita National Park, Playa Negra, and Playa Blanca are all nearby. The Hitoy-Cerere Biological Reserve is nearby, too, and was named a World Heritage Site in 1993; this is a relatively unknown treasure and a must-visit destination while in this part of Costa Rica.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.