Areas That Attract the Most Tourists to Costa Rica

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


They established the Integrated Tourism Destination Management Program to promote the development of these areas (PGIDT). Its mission is to oversee tourism competitiveness, create jobs, and improve living conditions.

According to the ICT, the following are the most popular tourist destinations:


We have listed this first simply because this is where we are.
According to ICT data, the must-sees’ in this area are Jacó and Manuel Antonio. Both locations are very different but equally captivating.

While Jacó is known for its surf beaches, nightlife, and diverse food options, Manuel Antonio National Park is known for its white sand beaches and lush rainforests teeming with flora and fauna. Of course, it’s impossible to think of Manuel Antonio without thinking of three-toed sloths and white-faced capuchin monkeys.


It’s no secret that the stunning Puntarenas Province, also on the Pacific Coast, is a popular tourist destination.

When we talk about “Puntarenas” we also talk about the cloud forests of Monteverde, the stunning beaches of Santa Teresa, Montezuma, and the fantastic bird life of Palo Verde National Park. As well as the beautiful islands in the Nicoya Gulf.


‘La Perla del Pacifico,’ as it is colloquially known, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific. Its natural and cultural riches make it an ideal destination for those seeking natural treasures and culture.


Every year, a large number of tourists visit this coastal province. Its gorgeous beaches, adventures, infrastructure, and natural beauty make it a favorite among Costa Rica visitors.

The most popular destinations in this province are Polo Papagayo, El Coco, Flamingo Conchal, Tamarindo, Sámara, and Islita.

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, Miravalles Volcano, Santa Rosa National Park, Palo verde, and Llanos de Cortés are all worth visiting.


Other notable locations include Punta Leona, Playa Hermosa, Esterillo, Palo Seco Quepos, and Bar.

The South Pacific

Costa Rica’s southern Pacific region is a true jewel. There are numerous reserves and national parks in this area. It has beautiful beaches, adventure, water sports, archeological sites, and natural wonders that will astound you.

Tourists who want to experience each location’s various activities prefer Drake Bay, Pérez Zeledón, Puerto Jiménez, Golfito, Dominical, and San Vito.

Corcovado National ParkThis region has a diverse range of ecosystems, from lowland rainforests to cloud forests at higher elevations.

Sunday-Uvita, Zancudo, Pavones, and Jimenez-Carate are also important localities. Pavones is best known as a surfing destination.


Costa Rica’s Caribbean region offers a distinct blend of beach, culture, and gastronomy, as well as warm and welcoming people. Tortuguero, Parismina, Limón, Cahuita, and Puerto Viejo are among the most popular. They entice visitors with their lush vegetation and beautiful beaches.

Adventure activities, relaxation, culture, gastronomy, and music are all available.

Coral reefs, dreamy beaches, coastal vegetation, and medium-altitude forests are among the most notable features.

Estrella River, Cahuita, and Puerto Viejo (Manzanillo, Gandoca, and La Pera) are also popular and well-known destinations.

Northern Areas

The plains dominate ‘La Zona Norte’ (Northern Region). It has lush vegetation and protected areas, as well as lakes, lagoons, volcanoes, rivers, and waterfalls.

It’s no surprise that La Fortuna, Sarapiqui, Bijagua, and Caño Negro were included. Anyone who has visited these areas knows how incredible the natural and scenic beauty and richness are.

Rio Celeste, Horquetas, and La Virgen are popular destinations. Of course, Laguna de Arenal is included. One of the most memorable experiences is seeing the Arenal Volcano and the artificial lagoon that surrounds it.

The Central Valley

The Central Valley is also home to some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful tourist attractions. It is the amalgamation of the four major cities of San José, Heredia, Alajuela, and Cartago.

The Central Valley’s go-tos are Volcán Poás, Volcán Irazu, and Valle de Oros. Traditional foods, artisan crafts, locally grown crops, and family-owned businesses can also be found in each area.

Copey-San Gerardo and Tarrazu are popular coffee destinations. However, both regions have much more to offer than coffee. Those seeking adventure flock to Pacuare, where rafting is one of the most popular activities.

Visiting Costa Rica means recharging, immersing oneself in nature, relaxing, and learning about the Pura Vida lifestyle.



Fernandez, I. (2022, December 14). Which Areas Attract the Most Tourists to Costa Rica? The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.


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