Travel Guide: Costa Rica Voted as 2024’s Destination of the Year by Travel+Leisure

Welcome to our travel guide to Costa Rica, the stunning destination that has been recognized as the Destination of the Year for 2024 by Travel+Leisure. Known for its breathtaking natural beauty and commitment to preserving its rich wildlife, Costa Rica has become a top choice for travelers seeking a unique and sustainable vacation experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • Costa Rica has been voted as the Destination of the Year for 2024 by Travel+Leisure.
  • The country is renowned for its natural attractions and commitment to sustainability.
  • Travelers can enjoy diverse activities such as rainforest hikes, beach adventures, and wildlife encounters.
  • Costa Rica offers a variety of accommodation options, from exclusive private estates to luxury resorts.
  • Choose the best time to visit based on your preferences, whether it’s the dry season for beach activities or the greener landscape during the summer months.

Why Costa Rica Won Destination of the Year

Costa Rica’s recognition as the Destination of the Year for 2024 by Travel+Leisure is a testament to its unparalleled natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and exceptional vacation experiences. The country’s commitment to environmental sustainability and its abundant wildlife were key factors in receiving this prestigious award.

Costa Rica boasts a remarkable array of attractions that captivate travelers from around the world. From lush rainforests teeming with biodiversity to majestic volcanoes and pristine beaches, the country’s natural wonders provide a captivating backdrop for exploration and adventure.

Unmatched Natural Attractions

Costa Rica’s breathtaking natural attractions draw visitors seeking an unforgettable vacation immersed in nature.

  • The mesmerizing rainforests, like Manuel Antonio National Park, offer a glimpse into untamed wilderness, with cascading waterfalls, unique flora, and exotic wildlife.
  • The Arenal Volcano National Park showcases the country’s geological wonders, with an active volcano and soothing hot springs.
  • The stunning beaches along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, such as Playa Conchal and Tortuguero National Park, provide picturesque landscapes and opportunities for relaxation and water sports.

Rich Cultural Heritage

Costa Rica’s cultural heritage reflects the country’s diverse history and traditions.

“Costa Rica’s blend of indigenous, Spanish, and Afro-Caribbean influences create a vibrant cultural tapestry, enriching the visitor experience,” says Maria Sanchez, a local historian and cultural expert.

Travelers can immerse themselves in local customs and traditions by visiting vibrant communities like Limón and Nicoya. From traditional festivals and dance performances to artisan markets and mouthwatering local cuisine, the cultural experiences in Costa Rica are as captivating as its natural wonders.

Costa Rica’s commitment to environmental sustainability is evident through its eco-tourism initiatives and protected areas, such as Corcovado National Park and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. These natural sanctuaries serve as havens for countless species of flora and fauna, providing visitors with unparalleled opportunities for wildlife encounters and environmentally conscious adventures.

For all these reasons, Travel+Leisure has bestowed the prestigious Destination of the Year award upon Costa Rica. The country’s stunning attractions, rich cultural heritage, commitment to nature, and exceptional vacation experiences make it a destination like no other.

What to Do in Costa Rica

When it comes to adventure, relaxation, and eco-tourism, Costa Rica has it all. This vibrant country offers a myriad of exciting activities and experiences for travelers to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures, pristine beaches, or a deep connection with nature, Costa Rica has something to offer everyone.

Adventure Activities

Costa Rica is a paradise for adventure seekers. From adrenaline-pumping activities to leisurely explorations, there’s an adventure for every level of thrill-seeker:

  • Horseback riding: Explore picturesque landscapes on horseback and discover hidden trails and breathtaking vistas.
  • Rainforest hikes: Immerse yourself in the lush greenery of Costa Rica’s rainforests while spotting unique wildlife species.
  • Water sports: Surf the world-renowned waves of Costa Rica’s beaches or try your hand at kayaking, paddleboarding, or snorkeling.
  • World-class golfing: Tee-off amidst stunning tropical scenery on world-class golf courses.
  • Sunset cruises: Sail along the stunning coastlines and witness the mesmerizing beauty of Costa Rica’s sunsets.

But adventure isn’t the only thing Costa Rica has to offer. The country’s commitment to eco-tourism is evident in its efforts to preserve its natural wonders:

“Costa Rica is a true haven for eco-tourism enthusiasts. The country’s dedication to conservation and sustainability is remarkable, ensuring that future generations can continue to marvel at its natural beauty.”

Relaxation on Beautiful Beaches

Costa Rica is renowned for its stunning beaches, each offering a unique tropical experience:

  • Manuel Antonio Beach: This idyllic beach is located within Manuel Antonio National Park and is known for its crystal-clear waters and lush surroundings.
  • Tamarindo Beach: Popular among surfers, Tamarindo Beach boasts excellent waves and a vibrant beach town atmosphere.
  • Santa Teresa Beach: Located on the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa Beach offers a laid-back vibe, perfect for relaxation and yoga retreats.
  • Playa Flamingo: With its golden sandy shores and calm waters, Playa Flamingo is an ideal destination for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.

Whether you prefer lounging in the sun, sipping cocktails by the shore, or exploring the vibrant marine life, Costa Rica’s beaches have something for everyone to enjoy.

Top Eco-Tourism Destinations

Destination Highlights
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Experience the diverse ecosystems of the cloud forest and spot numerous species of birds and mammals.
Tortuguero National Park Witness the nesting of endangered sea turtles and explore the park’s extensive network of canals and waterways.
Arenal Volcano National Park Hike the trails surrounding the towering Arenal Volcano and relax in natural hot springs.
Corcovado National Park Discover one of the world’s most biodiverse regions and encounter remarkable wildlife, including jaguars and scarlet macaws.

Costa Rica’s commitment to eco-tourism ensures that visitors can explore these destinations while minimizing their impact on the environment.

So whether you’re yearning for an adrenaline rush or craving relaxation on pristine beaches, Costa Rica is the perfect destination. From thrilling adventures to tranquil moments in nature, this enchanting country offers an array of experiences that will leave you with memories to treasure.

Where to Stay in Costa Rica

When planning your trip to Costa Rica, finding the perfect accommodation is essential for a memorable experience. Costa Rica offers a diverse range of options for every type of traveler, from exclusive private estates to sustainable lodges and luxury resorts. Each property has been carefully inspected and handpicked to ensure the highest quality and guest satisfaction.

Whether you prefer the tranquility of beachfront villas or the serenity of mountain retreats, Costa Rica has something to offer to suit every taste and preference. The country’s picturesque landscapes and stunning natural beauty provide the perfect backdrop for your stay.

Table of Accommodation Options in Costa Rica

Accommodation Type Description
Exclusive Private Estates Luxurious properties offering privacy and personalized services
Contemporary Villas Modern and stylish accommodations with state-of-the-art amenities
Sustainable Lodges Eco-friendly options that promote environmental conservation
Luxury Resorts Pampering experiences with world-class facilities and services

Whether you are seeking a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or an adventure-filled trip, Costa Rica has the perfect accommodation to meet your needs. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Costa Rica and indulge in the comfort and luxury of your chosen property.

When to Go to Costa Rica

Planning a vacation to Costa Rica? The timing of your visit can greatly impact your experience. Whether you’re seeking an adventurous getaway or a tranquil escape, Costa Rica offers something for everyone. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to visit this captivating country.

The Dry Season: December to April

The dry season, spanning from December to April, is undoubtedly one of the most popular times to visit Costa Rica.

During this period, you can expect clear skies, warm weather, and lower chances of rain, making it ideal for engaging in beach activities and outdoor adventures. The pleasant climate allows for snorkeling, surfing, zip-lining through lush forests, and exploring the diverse national parks without the interruption of heavy rainfall.

costa rica nature

Advantages Disadvantages
Optimal weather for beach activities and outdoor adventures Higher prices and crowded attractions
Clear skies for breathtaking sunsets Possibility of fully booked accommodations
Opportunity to witness sea turtle nesting Increased tourist traffic

The Green Season: May to November

If you prefer a greener landscape and a more tranquil atmosphere, the green season, from May to November, is perfect for your Costa Rica vacation.

During these months, the country experiences more rainfall, resulting in lush vegetation and vibrant wildlife. The rain showers are typically brief and intermittent, allowing for plenty of enjoyable outdoor activities. The lower number of tourists means quieter beaches, shorter lines at attractions, and more availability at accommodations.

Advantages Disadvantages
Less crowded attractions and lower accommodation prices Increase in rainfall and occasional thunderstorms
Opportunity to witness migratory whale sightings Intermittent rain showers may limit some outdoor activities
Rich biodiversity and vibrant wildlife Limited visibility for underwater activities

However, it’s important to note that weather patterns can vary across different regions of Costa Rica. Therefore, it’s wise to research the specific destinations you plan to visit to ensure you choose the optimal time based on their local climate.

Additionally, if you have a particular interest in witnessing specific wildlife migrations, such as humpback whale sightings or sea turtle nesting, you can plan your trip accordingly to align with these natural phenomena. Local guides and tour operators can provide valuable insights and assist in creating an itinerary that maximizes your chances of experiencing these captivating events.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Costa Rica depends on your individual preferences and the experiences you seek. Whether you prefer sunny skies and bustling beaches or tranquil forests and fewer crowds, Costa Rica has something to offer year-round. Plan your trip wisely to make the most of this mesmerizing destination.

Exploring Costa Rica: Local Insights

Costa Rica offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers. From exploring the vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture of Limón to hiking the Camino de Costa Rica, a 174-mile trail that cuts across the country, visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty and richness of the Costa Rican landscape. The country’s biodiversity and stunning national parks, such as Corcovado and Barra del Colorado, provide opportunities for wildlife encounters.

Attractions to Explore Adventure Activities
  • Tortuguero National Park
  • Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Zip-lining through the rainforest
  • White-water rafting on the Pacuare River
  • Surfing in Tamarindo
  • Hiking to La Fortuna Waterfall

Costa Rica’s attractions cater to all types of travelers. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, beach lover, or adrenaline junkie, there’s something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, explore ancient ruins, or embark on exciting adventure tours. The possibilities are endless in this tropical paradise.

Personal Recommendations from a Costa Rican Local

When it comes to exploring the beautiful country of Costa Rica, there’s no better way to discover its hidden gems than by following the recommendations of a local. As a Costa Rican native, I am delighted to share my personal suggestions for must-visit destinations that offer unforgettable experiences.

Laid-Back Beach Towns:

If you’re looking for a relaxed and serene beach getaway, I highly recommend visiting Nosara and San Juanillo. These charming coastal towns boast pristine sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a tranquil atmosphere that will transport you to a state of pure bliss. Whether you choose to surf the waves or simply bask in the sun, these beach havens offer the perfect opportunity to unwind and embrace the beauty of nature.

Historical Town:

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the town of Nicoya is a must. Known as one of the oldest settlements in Costa Rica, Nicoya is brimming with rich cultural heritage and architectural wonders. Explore the colonial-style buildings, immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture, and savor traditional Costa Rican cuisine at the local eateries. Nicoya provides a fascinating glimpse into the country’s past and offers a unique blend of history and charm.

Golfo Dulce: A Sanctuary for Marine Life:

If you’re a nature lover seeking an extraordinary experience, a journey to the Golfo Dulce, off the Osa Peninsula, should be on your itinerary. This pristine gulf is a sanctuary for Pacific humpback whales, providing a rare opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures up close. Take a boat tour and marvel at the majestic splendor of these gentle giants as they breach and play in their natural habitat.

Dota Mountains: A Trip Down Memory Lane:

For a nostalgic journey through my childhood, head to the Dota Mountains. This picturesque region is known for its breathtaking landscapes and is the place where I spent countless days exploring nature’s wonders. Hike to the top of the mountains for panoramic views of the sprawling valleys and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings. The Dota Mountains offer a serene retreat that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and connected to the essence of Costa Rica.

“Costa Rica is a country brimming with hidden treasures, waiting to be explored. These personal recommendations will take you off the beaten path and allow you to experience the true essence of our beloved homeland.” – A Local Costa Rican


Costa Rica Projecting Record Number of Tourists

Immerse yourself in the wonders of Costa Rica by following these insider recommendations. Whether you’re seeking laid-back beach towns, delving into history, encountering marine life, or reconnecting with nature, Costa Rica offers a plethora of attractions that will captivate your heart and soul.

Planning Your Trip to Costa Rica

When it comes to planning your dream vacation in Costa Rica, it’s crucial to take into account your personal preferences and interests. Luckily, there are passionate travel planners ready to assist you in creating an unforgettable adventure tailored to your needs.

Whether you’re seeking a luxurious getaway or a family-friendly itinerary full of exciting activities, Costa Rica has something for everyone. These travel experts can guide you in selecting the best experiences that align with your desires.

From thrilling jungle treks to breathtaking beach excursions, the possibilities are endless. Travel planners can help you discover hidden gems, curate custom itineraries, and provide insider tips for exploring Costa Rica’s natural wonders.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for an action-packed adventure or a nature lover seeking tranquility, they can design the perfect vacation to satisfy your wanderlust.

So why leave your Costa Rica vacation planning to chance? Consult with dedicated travel planners who can transform your getaway into an extraordinary experience. Embark on an unforgettable journey and create lifelong memories in the breathtaking paradise of Costa Rica.

Suggested Activities Duration
Zip-lining through the rainforest 4 hours
Guided hike to Arenal Volcano 6 hours
Surfing lessons in Tamarindo 2 hours
White water rafting in Savegre River Full day
Snorkeling in Manuel Antonio National Park 4 hours


Costa Rica has been voted as 2024’s Destination of the Year by Travel+Leisure, and it’s easy to see why. With its stunning natural beauty and commitment to sustainability, this Central American country offers an unforgettable experience for travelers.

Costa Rica’s diverse attractions cater to every interest, from exploring its lush rainforests and majestic volcanoes to basking in the sun on its pristine beaches. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, Costa Rica has something for everyone.

One of the key highlights of Costa Rica is its dedication to eco-tourism. The country’s efforts to preserve its natural wonders, such as its awe-inspiring wildlife and breathtaking national parks, make it a haven for nature enthusiasts. By choosing Costa Rica as your vacation destination, you not only get to enjoy its beauty but also contribute to its conservation.

So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey. Discover Costa Rica’s stunning landscapes, embark on thrilling adventures, and immerse yourself in a destination that has earned the prestigious title of the Destination of the Year. Costa Rica is waiting to provide you with a vacation of a lifetime!


Why was Costa Rica voted as 2024’s Destination of the Year?

Costa Rica was recognized for its responsible approach to preserving its natural wealth, unparalleled wildlife, rich cultural heritage, stunning natural attractions, exceptional vacation experiences, and commitment to environmental sustainability.

What can I do in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica offers a wide range of activities, including exploring diverse attractions such as rainforests, volcanoes, and beautiful beaches. Visitors can also indulge in adventurous activities like horseback riding, rainforest hikes, water sports, world-class golfing, and sunset cruises.

Where can I stay in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica offers a variety of accommodation options, including exclusive private estates, contemporary villas, sustainable lodges, and luxury resorts. Visitors can choose from beachfront villas to mountain retreats.

When is the best time to visit Costa Rica?

The best time to visit Costa Rica depends on individual preferences. The dry season, from December to April, offers clear skies and warm weather, perfect for beach activities and outdoor adventures. The summer months, from May to November, offer a greener landscape and fewer crowds.

What are some local insights about exploring Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is known for its vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture in Limón, the 174-mile trail known as Camino de Costa Rica, and the biodiversity and stunning national parks like Corcovado and Barra del Colorado, which provide opportunities for wildlife encounters.

What are some personal recommendations from a Costa Rican local?

A local Costa Rican recommends visiting laid-back beach towns like Nosara and San Juanillo, exploring the historical town of Nicoya, experiencing the sanctuary for Pacific humpback whales in Golfo Dulce off the Osa Peninsula, and visiting the Dota Mountains for a glimpse into their childhood.

How can I plan my trip to Costa Rica?

To plan a trip to Costa Rica, it is recommended to consult with passionate travel planners who can personalize an unforgettable trip based on individual needs. From luxury experiences to family-friendly itineraries, there are options to suit every traveler’s desires.

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