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HomeCosta RicaWhich Areas Attract the Most Tourists to Costa Rica?

Which Areas Attract the Most Tourists to Costa Rica?

The high season just started in Costa Rica and thousands of travelers looking for a little piece of paradise make their way to here. Many will choose to go to the beach; some will travel to the mountains, and others will do a little bit of everything.

Since 2019, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) has determined the country’s most important tourist destinations. The National Tourism Plan 2022-2027 listed the main sites.

To promote the development of these areas, they created the Integrated Tourism Destination Management Program (PGIDT). Its function is to monitor tourism competitiveness, increase employment and generate better living conditions.

According to the ICT, these are the places that draw the most tourists:


This coastal province attracts many visitors each year. Its beautiful beaches, adventures, facilities, and natural beauty, make it one of the favorites for those who choose Costa Rica.

Polo Papagayo, El Coco, Flamingo Conchal, Tamarindo, Sámara, and Islita are the most visited places in this province.

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, Miravalles Volcano, Santa Rosa National Park, Palo verde, Llanos de Cortés. Ostional Refuge, Arenal, Tilarán and Río Chiquito are also among the preferred areas for excursions.


It’s no secret that the beautiful Puntarenas Province, also on the Pacific Coast, is a top vacation spot for tourists.

Santa Teresa, Montezuma, Tambor, Puntarenas, and Monteverde have a unique magic capable of charming all their vacationers. Miramar, Islas del Golfo, Caldera, and San Luis are often selected for tours.

‘La Perla del Pacifico,’ as it’s commonly known, is one of the most touristy places in the Central Pacific of Costa Rica. Its natural and cultural richness makes it a perfect place for those looking for natural treasures and culture.


Here, Jacó and Manuel Antonio are the ‘must-see,’ according to ICT data. Both places are very different yet captivating.

While Jacó is known for surf beaches, nightlife, and varied food options, Manuel Antonio National Park embodies white-sand beaches and lush rainforests filled with flora and fauna. Of course, when thinking about Manuel Antonio, it’s impossible to leave behind three-toed sloths and white-faced capuchin monkeys.

Other places that stand out are Punta Leona, Playa Hermosa, Esterillo, Palo Seco Quepos, and Barú.

South Pacific

Costa Rica’s southern Pacific region is, indeed, a gem. Many reserves and national parks are located here. It has magnificent beaches, adventure, water sports, archeological sites, and natural wonders that amaze everyone.

Drake Bay, Pérez Zeledón, Puerto Jiménez, Golfito, Dominical, and San Vito are preferred by tourists who wish to experience each spot’s various activities.

This region has many ecosystems, ranging from lowland rainforests to cloud forests at higher altitudes.

Sunday-Uvita, Zancudo, Pavones, and Jimenez-Carate, are also relevant places in the area. Pavones is primarily known for being a surfing paradise.


The Caribbean region of Costa Rica exhibits a unique mix of beach, culture, and gastronomy and is home to warm and friendly people. The favorites are Tortuguero, Parismina, Limón, Cahuita, and Puerto Viejo. They enamor tourists with their exuberant vegetation and splendid beaches. 

There is something for everyone: adventure activities, relaxation, culture, gastronomy, and music.

Some of the most remarkable features are the coral reefs, dream-like beaches, coastal vegetation, and medium-altitude forests.

Estrella River, Cahuita, and Puerto Viejo (Manzanillo, Gandoca, and La Pera) are also highly visited and loved.

Northern Region

‘La Zona Norte’ (Northern Region) is mainly plains. It has fertile lands and protected areas, lakes, lagoons, volcanoes, rivers, and waterfalls.

It’s no surprise La Fortuna, Sarapiquí, Bijagua, and Caño Negro were on the list. Anyone who has set foot in these areas knows it’s impossible not to marvel at their natural and scenic beauty and richness.

Rio Celeste, Pangola, Horquetas, and La Virgen are loved areas. Of course, Laguna de Arenal is also on the list. Observing the Arenal Volcano and the artificial lagoon surrounding it is one of the best experiences.

Central Valley

The Central Valley also holds some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful destinations. It is the union of the main cities: San José, Heredia, Alajuela, and Cartago.

Volcán Poás, Volcán Irazú, and Valle de Orosí are highlighted as the Central Valley’s go-to’s. Around each area, it’s also possible to find traditional foods, artisan crafts, locally grown crops, and family-owned businesses.

For coffee lovers, Copey-San Gerardo and Tarrazú are top destinations. However, both regions offer a lot more than coffee. Those who look for adventure head to Pacuare, as rafting is one of the most popular activities.

Visiting Costa Rica means recharging, immersing in nature, relaxing, and discovering what the Pura Vida lifestyle is all about. 

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