Why You Should Visit Costa Rica in 2023

Costa Ricas incredible biodiversity and endless natural beauty make it one of our must-visit destinations of 2023
Costa Rica's incredible biodiversity and endless natural beauty make it one of our must-visit destinations of 2023 | Courtesy of Costa Rica Tourism Board

We’re still brushing off the Covid cobwebs, and many are searching for trips in 2023 that are further afield. Some want to stay in their comfort zone, some want to stretch way beyond.

But what remains a constant with most is the desire for meaningful travel to a place where you can become disconnected from everyday life; where conscious travellers can make a positive impact on the environment and local communities while swapping the daily torrents of emails and social media scrolling for volcanoes, rainforests and beaches.

If that sounds like a bit of you, then look no further than Costa Rica – here’s why.

Sustainable travel

Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world that can not only boast about having stopped deforestation, but also for reversing it too, which was only made possible by authentic eco-tourism. Green-Leaf certified lodges biodegrade waste and run off solar-panel-generated power. There is a “Blue Flag” programme in place, which rewards beaches and other tourist hotspots for going above and beyond for environmental preservation. Popular activities like rafting and zip wiring don’t require any environmental damage and make the most of the beautiful nature in the country. Costa Ricans take pride in their environment and are even paid by their government through the PES programme to offset emissions and “generate clean air”. You can travel here in the knowledge that your carbon footprint will be reduced and it will boost local communities. If you’re interested in eco-tourism, you can read more in our article on sustainable travel in Costa Rica.


Are you looking to get out of the city and forget about the commute? How do volcanoes, rainforests and beaches sound? There’s more than enough beautiful nature in this country, where 60 percent is covered in rainforest, to completely forget life back home. Some highlights include the magisterial Arenal volcano, the otherworldly rainforest and beaches in Tortguero National Park, plus the meandering Sarapiqui River.


Expect to see your fair share of sleepy sloths on any trip to Costa Rica

There aren’t many places in the world that are better for spotting different species of birds, monkeys and, of course, sloths. Costa Rica has 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity, and there are more than 500,000 different species that call it home. Visitors to the country can expect to see sea turtles, tree frogs, toucans, macaw, iguanas, possums and much, much more. There are 27 national parks to try and see all the wildlife you want, and who knows, you might even be lucky enough to spot a jaguar.


The options for eco-adventure in Costa Rica are limitless and ideal for families, adrenaline junkies, and whoever wants to get their heart rate racing. The country is synonymous with river rafting – the Sarapiqui being the best place to do it – and zip lining, but there’s also fishing, ATV driving, scuba diving, tubing, horseback riding and hiking. There are also some of the best surfing spots in Central America, just head over to the Gilded Iguana to see what I mean.

Food and drink

Gallo pinto is a traditional Costa Rican dish made of rice and beans

When travelling around Costa Rica you’ll notice there are barely any food chains. Not a McDonald’s or Starbucks in sight outside the cities. That’s because restaurants, cafés and bars here are mostly independent joints serving up fresh and healthy Costa Rican food, which adds to the authenticity of a trip. This is real Costa Rica, not a tourist-ified version of it. Expect big portions of beans, protein and rice. Cassado, gallo pinto, cerviche, handmade tortillas and tamal can be found everywhere you go, along with big brown bottles of Salsa Lizano hot sauce. When it comes to the drinks, you can’t mention Costa Rica without talking about its coffee. The freshest, richest and most flavoursome in the world. Then there are guaro sours (a cocktail using a sugar cane liquor) and fresh fruit juices just about everywhere you go. Vida Campesina is a farm where you can get a taste of all the country’s different flavours and even try making it yourself.

Places to stay

There’s something for everyone in Costa Rica: whether you’re looking to go on a family holiday and stay in a hotel that caters for all ages, or if you’re a solo traveller trying to save money and avoid avoid kids in a budget hostel, you’re sorted. There are romantic getaway options for couples, and boozy places with great nightlife like San Jose for groups of friends. And, of course, eco-lodges are the name of the game in Costa Rica. You can choose from a range of places in the thick of the jungle, some so remote you have to take a boat to, like Iguana lodge, some perfect for all the family. Check out our favourite solar-powered stays in Costa Rica.

The Ticos

Eddie is a great example of the kind of friendly reception you can expect here

Last but by no means least, the Ticos – a nickname for Costa Ricans themselves! They are an extraordinarily friendly bunch, who are passionate about cooking, wildlife and making sure visitors to their country are well looked after, bearing in mind tourism for more rural communities can sometimes be as much as 90 percent of the local economy. They will ensure, whatever you do and wherever you go in the country, that you will have a pura vida trip.

Head over to Visit Costa Rica to find out more about this wonderful country.

Want all the planning done for you? That’s where we step in. Our eight-day Real Costa Rica trip is an authentic, immersive way to see this beautiful country without the stress of planning it all. We’ll take you white-water rafting, on a waterfall hike in Arenal and a sloth safari – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Culture Trips 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. 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 places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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