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Chinatown in San Jose, Costa Rica


15 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: If you're dreaming about living in Costa Rica, here are the 15 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica in 2023.

San Jose

San Jose

San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, is a vibrant and bustling city with a population of approximately 340,000 people. It is located about 117 kilometers (73 miles) from the popular beach town of Jaco and 228 kilometers (142 miles) from the beautiful city of Liberia. San Jose offers a variety of public transportation options, including buses and taxis, making it easy to navigate the city and explore its many attractions. The climate in San Jose is generally mild, with average temperatures ranging from 15°C to 27°C (59°F to 81°F), making it a comfortable destination for travelers year-round. There are numerous recreational activities available in San Jose, catering to a wide range of interests. For those who enjoy golf, the Valle del Sol Golf Course and the Cariari Country Club are two popular options in the area. Nature lovers can visit the La Sabana Metropolitan Park, a large urban park that offers walking trails, sports facilities, and a beautiful lake. The city is also home to several museums, such as the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and the Jade Museum, which showcase the rich history and culture of Costa Rica. Additionally, San Jose serves as a gateway to the country's many national parks and wildlife reserves, making it an ideal starting point for eco-tourism adventures.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of authentic Costa Rican cuisine, head to La Esquina de Buenos Aires, a charming eatery that offers a fusion of Argentine and local flavors. The cozy atmosphere and mouth-watering dishes, such as the churrasco steak and empanadas, make it a must-visit. Another culinary gem is Tin Jo, an Asian restaurant that serves a variety of dishes from Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian cuisines. The elegant ambiance and exceptional service make it perfect for a romantic dinner or a special occasion. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Gran Hotel Costa Rica, Curio Collection by Hilton, located in the heart of San Jose. This historic hotel offers modern amenities, stunning views, and easy access to the city's attractions. For a more boutique experience, stay at Hotel Grano de Oro, a charming Victorian mansion turned hotel, featuring a rooftop garden, exquisite rooms, and a renowned restaurant.

Escazu

Escazu

Expats Talk about Living in Escazu:

"ESCAZU!!! Even our local Tico friends (who were all educated in the states) and have lived all over CR would agree. CR is booming right now, at least for professionals in law, medicine, computer science/network administration, & architecture/engineering. Our best friend here has to hire software engineers from India because CR workers are so expensive and doing so well here. This is just our opinion of course. For example, one of our son's opinions when he visits us in Escazu is disgust. He thinks why leave the states to just live in an expensive, English speaking, mini-California suburb. He leaves as quickly as he can to stay in the rural & beach areas (he luckily speaks fluent Spanish) to escape our lifestyle. He could never afford to live in Escazu as a musician/artist. Final note and a plug for Outlier Legal and the founder attorney Rafael Valverde who went to law school in the states. Do not make the move without reading his website articles at the very least & he and his team provided enormous support (and still do) in dealing with the puzzling and very unpredictable bureaucracy that is CR," said one expat living in Escazu.

Local Recommendations:

Discover the culinary delights of Escazu, by indulging in the exquisite fusion of flavors at La Divina Comida, where Peruvian and Mediterranean cuisines collide to create a truly unforgettable dining experience. For a taste of authentic Costa Rican fare, head to the charming and rustic ambiance of Tiquicia, where you can savor traditional dishes while enjoying panoramic views of the Central Valley. If you're craving Italian, make a reservation at Da Noi Trattoria, a cozy and intimate spot offering homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas that transport you straight to Italy. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious InterContinental Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall, boasting a serene spa, a stunning pool, and easy access to shopping and entertainment. Alternatively, experience the boutique charm of Out of Bounds Hotel, nestled in the hills of Escazu, where you'll be greeted with warm hospitality and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

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Santa Ana

Santa Ana is a charming city located just 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) west of the capital, San José. It is also in close proximity to other popular destinations such as Escazú, which is only 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) away, and the Juan Santamaría International Airport, which is 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) away. Public transportation in Santa Ana is easily accessible, with buses connecting the city to San José and other nearby towns. The climate in Santa Ana is tropical and mild, with average temperatures ranging from 18°C to 28°C (64°F to 82°F) throughout the year. Santa Ana offers a variety of recreational activities for both locals and tourists. For golf enthusiasts, the city is home to the prestigious Valle del Sol Golf Course, an 18-hole championship course that provides a challenging and enjoyable experience for players of all skill levels. Nature lovers can visit the nearby Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, which offers hiking trails, birdwatching, and stunning views of the lush Costa Rican landscape. Additionally, the city boasts a vibrant dining scene, with numerous restaurants and cafes offering both local and international cuisine. With its convenient location, pleasant climate, and array of recreational activities, Santa Ana is a delightful destination for those looking to experience the best of Costa Rica.

Expats Talk about Living in Santa Ana:

"Very safe Condominium complexes are everywhere so you have many options that have surrounding walls and 24 hour security. Some have restaurants, pools and gyms. Many are furnished and I recommend reading the contract thoroughly. I also recommend taking a very detailed video showing condition of the unit including close ups of any damage to existing furnishings. Carefully read the fine print and if the furnishings are not adequate stipulate all changes in the contract before signing. If it's a long term lease consider hiring an attorney. It might be worth it," said one expat living in Santa Ana.

Local Recommendations:

Discover the culinary delights of Santa Ana, by indulging in a meal at Doris Metropolitan, a renowned steakhouse offering an exquisite selection of dry-aged meats and an extensive wine list. For a more casual dining experience, head to Taj Mahal, where you can savor authentic Indian cuisine in a cozy atmosphere. Don't miss out on Andiamo La, an Italian gem serving up mouthwatering homemade pasta dishes and wood-fired pizzas. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Studio Hotel, boasting contemporary art-filled rooms and a stunning rooftop pool. Alternatively, immerse yourself in nature at the eco-friendly Posada Nena, a charming boutique hotel surrounded by lush gardens and offering personalized service.

Atenas

Atenas is a charming town located approximately 35 kilometers (22 miles) west of the capital city, San José, and about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the popular beach destination, Jacó. Known for its pleasant climate, Atenas boasts an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the year, making it an ideal location for outdoor activities. The town is surrounded by lush green mountains and offers a variety of recreational activities such as hiking, bird watching, and horseback riding. One of the popular spots for nature enthusiasts is the El Toledo Coffee Tour, where visitors can learn about sustainable coffee farming and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Additionally, Atenas is home to the Central Park, a perfect place for relaxation and leisurely strolls. While there are no golf clubs within Atenas itself, the nearby Cariari Country Club in San José offers a world-class golfing experience for enthusiasts. Overall, Atenas is a delightful destination for those seeking a tranquil escape with a touch of Costa Rican culture and natural beauty.

Local Recommendations:

Discover the culinary delights of Atenas, by indulging in the local flavors at La Trocha del Boyero, where you can savor traditional Costa Rican dishes in a rustic setting. For a more international palate, head to Balcon del Café, a charming spot offering a fusion of European and Costa Rican cuisine, along with a selection of gourmet coffee. Don't miss out on the mouthwatering pizza and pasta at Antaño, a cozy Italian eatery that will transport you straight to Tuscany. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Barons Resort, boasting stunning views of the Central Valley and top-notch amenities. For a more intimate experience, book a stay at the charming B&B Vista Atenas, where you'll be treated to warm hospitality and breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains.

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Grecia

Grecia

Grecia is a charming town located in the Central Valley region of the country. It is approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) northwest of the city of Alajuela and about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the capital city, San José. Grecia is known for its clean streets, friendly locals, and the iconic red metal church, Iglesia de la Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. The climate in Grecia is pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 18°C to 27°C (64°F to 81°F), making it an ideal destination for those looking to escape extreme heat or cold. There are various recreational activities available in and around Grecia. Nature lovers can visit the Los Chorros Municipal Recreational Park, which features beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails. For those interested in local culture, the Grecia Cultural Center offers various events and workshops throughout the year. While there are no golf clubs directly in Grecia, the nearby Cariari Country Club in Heredia, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) away, offers a beautiful golf course for enthusiasts. Additionally, Grecia's central location makes it a convenient base for exploring other popular destinations in Costa Rica, such as the Poás Volcano National Park and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Local Recommendations:

Discover the culinary delights of Grecia, by indulging in the local flavors at La Carreta, a charming restaurant known for its traditional Costa Rican cuisine and warm atmosphere. For a more international dining experience, head to Chicharronera Cacique Acseri, where you can savor mouthwatering chicharrones and other Latin American dishes. If you're craving Italian, don't miss out on the delicious wood-fired pizzas and homemade pasta at Restaurante Pizzeria El Jardin. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Hotel Mango Valley, nestled amidst lush gardens and offering stunning views of the Central Valley. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the cozy and welcoming B&B Garden Grecia, where you'll feel right at home in the heart of this charming town.

Tamarindo

Tamarindo

Tamarindo is a picturesque beach town located on the Pacific coast of the country. It is situated approximately 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Liberia and 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of the capital city, San José. The climate in Tamarindo is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 22°C to 34°C (72°F to 93°F) throughout the year. The town is known for its stunning beaches, lush vegetation, and diverse wildlife, making it a popular destination for tourists seeking relaxation and adventure. Recreational activities in Tamarindo include surfing, snorkeling, fishing, and horseback riding along the beach. The Marino Las Baulas National Park, located just north of Tamarindo, is a must-visit spot for nature enthusiasts, as it is home to the nesting grounds of the endangered leatherback sea turtles. Additionally, the Hacienda Pinilla Golf Club, located about 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of Tamarindo, offers a world-class golfing experience for enthusiasts. With its beautiful scenery and numerous recreational opportunities, Tamarindo is a perfect destination for those looking to experience the natural beauty of Costa Rica.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of the tropics, head to Tamarindo, where culinary delights and luxurious accommodations await. Begin your gastronomic journey at the renowned Pangas Beach Club, where you can savor fresh seafood dishes while enjoying the stunning ocean views. For a more casual dining experience, indulge in the mouthwatering tacos and margaritas at Green Papaya Taco Bar, a local favorite. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort, boasting lush gardens, multiple pools, and direct beach access. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area at Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas, where you can relax in a private villa surrounded by tropical gardens and just steps away from the pristine sands of Langosta Beach.

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Nosara

Nosara

Nosara is a small coastal town located on the Nicoya Peninsula, known for its stunning beaches and lush surroundings. It is approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of the city of Liberia and 240 kilometers (149 miles) northwest of the capital, San José. The climate in Nosara is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 22°C to 32°C (72°F to 90°F) throughout the year. Recreational activities in Nosara are abundant, with a focus on outdoor and wellness pursuits. The area is famous for its world-class surfing, particularly at Playa Guiones, which attracts surfers from around the globe. Yoga and wellness retreats are also popular, with the renowned Nosara Yoga Institute offering classes and teacher training programs. For nature enthusiasts, the nearby Ostional Wildlife Refuge provides a unique opportunity to witness the mass nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles, while the Nosara Biological Reserve offers hiking trails through pristine rainforest habitats. Although there are no golf clubs directly in Nosara, the Hacienda Pinilla Golf Club is located about 65 kilometers (40 miles) to the north, offering an 18-hole championship course designed by Mike Young.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of the local cuisine, head to La Luna, a beachfront restaurant offering stunning ocean views and a menu filled with fresh seafood and traditional Costa Rican dishes. Another must-visit is El Chivo, a lively Mexican cantina with a laid-back atmosphere, perfect for enjoying delicious tacos and margaritas. For a more upscale dining experience, try the renowned Pacifico Azul, where you can indulge in a fusion of international and Costa Rican flavors, all while overlooking the beautiful Playa Guiones. When it comes to accommodations, the Harmony Hotel is a top choice, boasting luxurious bungalows, a yoga studio, and an on-site juice bar. Alternatively, the Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort offers a serene retreat, complete with a saltwater pool, spa, and daily yoga classes, ensuring a rejuvenating stay in Nosara.

Jaco

Jaco is a bustling beach town located on the Pacific coast of the country. It is situated approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of the capital city, San José, and about 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of the popular Manuel Antonio National Park. The town is known for its vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and a wide range of recreational activities. The climate in Jaco is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 22°C to 32°C (72°F to 90°F) throughout the year. There are numerous activities for visitors to enjoy in Jaco, including surfing, sport fishing, ATV tours, and horseback riding. The nearby Carara National Park offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching and hiking, while the Hermosa Wildlife Refuge is a great spot for nature lovers. For golf enthusiasts, the nearby Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort features a beautiful 18-hole championship golf course designed by Ted Robinson Jr. In addition, Jaco is home to several parks, such as Jaco Park and Miro's Mountain, where visitors can enjoy scenic views and outdoor activities. Overall, Jaco, Costa Rica offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of authentic Costa Rican cuisine, head to Soda Jacó Rustico, a local favorite known for its delicious casados, fresh seafood, and warm atmosphere. If you're craving something more international, El Hicaco is a must-visit, offering stunning ocean views and a mouthwatering selection of fresh seafood dishes, including their famous lobster. For a more casual dining experience, Taco Bar is the perfect spot for flavorful tacos, smoothies, and a laid-back vibe. After a day of exploring Jacó, unwind at the luxurious Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort, boasting a world-class golf course, spa, and multiple dining options. Alternatively, for a more intimate stay, check out Hotel Villa Caletas, a boutique hotel nestled in the hills with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and a serene infinity pool.

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Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio is a small coastal town in Costa Rica, located approximately 157 kilometers (97 miles) southwest of the capital city, San José, and 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) south of the town of Quepos. This picturesque destination is known for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and diverse wildlife. The climate in Manuel Antonio is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 22°C to 30°C (72°F to 86°F) throughout the year. One of the main attractions in the area is the Manuel Antonio National Park, which offers visitors the opportunity to explore its diverse flora and fauna, including monkeys, sloths, and various bird species. The park also features several hiking trails and pristine beaches, such as Playa Espadilla and Playa Manuel Antonio. In addition to the national park, visitors can enjoy recreational activities such as zip-lining, snorkeling, and sport fishing. While there are no golf clubs in Manuel Antonio, the nearby town of Quepos offers a marina for boating enthusiasts. With its stunning natural beauty and array of outdoor activities, Manuel Antonio is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking adventure and relaxation in Costa Rica.

Local Recommendations:

Savor the flavors of Manuel Antonio, by indulging in the culinary delights of El Avion, a unique restaurant set inside a vintage Fairchild C-123 airplane. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean while feasting on fresh seafood and traditional Costa Rican dishes. For a more intimate dining experience, head to La Luna at Gaia Hotel & Reserve, where you can savor gourmet cuisine amidst lush rainforest surroundings. Don't miss out on Emilio's Café, a charming hillside eatery offering delicious homemade pastries and stunning ocean views. When it comes to accommodations, the luxurious Tulemar Resort is a top choice, boasting private bungalows and villas nestled within 33 acres of lush tropical gardens. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the cozy Hotel Vela Bar, located just steps away from the entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park.

Dominical

Dominical is a small coastal town located in the Puntarenas province, known for its stunning beaches and lush rainforests. It is situated approximately 45 kilometers (28 miles) south of Quepos and 104 kilometers (65 miles) southwest of San Isidro de El General. The climate in Dominical is tropical, with temperatures ranging from 22 to 32 degrees Celsius (72 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the year. The town is a popular destination for tourists seeking outdoor recreational activities, such as surfing, hiking, and wildlife watching. Dominical is home to the Marino Ballena National Park, which offers pristine beaches, coral reefs, and opportunities to spot humpback whales during their migration season. Additionally, the nearby Nauyaca Waterfalls provide a breathtaking backdrop for swimming and picnicking. While there are no golf clubs in Dominical itself, the town's natural beauty and proximity to other attractions make it an ideal destination for those seeking adventure and relaxation in a picturesque setting.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of the tropics, head to Café Mono Congo, a popular eco-friendly eatery in Dominical. With a menu boasting fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, this charming café offers a variety of delicious dishes, from traditional Costa Rican casados to mouthwatering smoothie bowls. For a more upscale dining experience, visit La Parcela, perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This elegant restaurant serves up a fusion of international and local cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh seafood. After a day of exploring, unwind at the charming Villas Rio Mar, a jungle oasis nestled along the banks of the Barú River. This eco-friendly resort offers comfortable accommodations, a refreshing pool, and a rejuvenating spa. For a more intimate stay, consider the boutique hotel, Mavi Surf Hotel, where you'll find stylish rooms, a serene pool area, and personalized service, all just a short walk from the beach.

Uvita

Uvita

Uvita is a small, picturesque town located on the southern Pacific coast of the country. It is approximately 170 kilometers (105 miles) southwest of the capital city, San José, and about 16 kilometers (10 miles) south of Dominical, a popular surfing destination. The climate in Uvita is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 22°C to 30°C (72°F to 86°F) throughout the year. The town is known for its stunning natural beauty and offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. One of the main attractions is Marino Ballena National Park, which features pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and a famous whale tail-shaped sandbar. This park is also a prime spot for whale watching, as humpback whales migrate through the area twice a year. Other popular activities in Uvita include snorkeling, scuba diving, and hiking through the surrounding rainforests. While there may not be any golf clubs in the immediate vicinity, the town's charm and abundance of outdoor adventures make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic Costa Rican experience.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of authentic Costa Rican cuisine, head to Sabor Español, where you'll find a delightful mix of traditional dishes and fresh seafood. If you're craving something more international, Los Laureles is a must-visit, offering a fusion of Mediterranean and Latin American flavors in a cozy, rustic setting. For a unique dining experience, don't miss out on the Bamboo Room, a lively spot with live music, craft cocktails, and a menu that caters to all dietary preferences. When it comes to accommodations, the Oxygen Jungle Villas offer luxurious, private villas nestled in the lush rainforest, perfect for a romantic getaway. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Tucan Hotel, a charming eco-lodge with a friendly atmosphere and easy access to the area's natural attractions.

Ojochal

Ojochal is a small, picturesque village located on the southern Pacific coast of the country. It is approximately 185 kilometers (115 miles) southwest of the capital city, San José, and about 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) south of the popular beach town of Dominical. The village is known for its stunning natural beauty, lush rainforests, and pristine beaches. The climate in Ojochal is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 22°C to 32°C (72°F to 90°F) throughout the year. Recreational activities in Ojochal are abundant and cater to a variety of interests. Nature lovers can explore the nearby Marino Ballena National Park, which is home to beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and diverse marine life, including humpback whales and sea turtles. For those who enjoy hiking, the Nauyaca Waterfalls are a must-visit destination, offering breathtaking views and refreshing swimming spots. Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the nearby San Buenas Golf Resort, which features a challenging 9-hole course set amidst stunning natural surroundings. Additionally, Ojochal's close proximity to the Pacific Ocean makes it an ideal location for water sports such as surfing, snorkeling, and fishing. With its diverse range of activities and natural beauty, Ojochal is a perfect destination for those seeking a tranquil and adventurous getaway in Costa Rica.

Local Recommendations:

Nestled in the lush jungle of Ojochal, foodies will find a delightful culinary scene waiting to be explored. Begin your gastronomic adventure at Exotica, a romantic open-air restaurant offering a fusion of tropical and international flavors. Savor their tenderloin in green peppercorn sauce or indulge in the coconut flan for dessert. For a more casual dining experience, head to Mama e Papá, an Italian gem known for its homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas. Don't miss their signature seafood linguine, bursting with fresh, local ingredients. After a day of feasting, retreat to the luxurious El Castillo Hotel, perched atop a hill with breathtaking ocean views. For a more intimate stay, consider the charming boutique hotel, Alma de Ojochal, where you can unwind in a hammock and enjoy the sounds of the surrounding rainforest.

Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is a small coastal town located on the Caribbean side of the country. It is approximately 212 kilometers (132 miles) southeast of the capital city, San José, and about 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the popular tourist destination, Cahuita National Park. The climate in Puerto Viejo is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 21°C to 30°C (70°F to 86°F) throughout the year. Recreational activities in Puerto Viejo are abundant, with a focus on outdoor and water-based adventures. Visitors can enjoy surfing at the famous Salsa Brava break, snorkeling and diving in the crystal-clear waters, or exploring the nearby Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. For those who prefer land-based activities, there are numerous hiking and biking trails, as well as horseback riding tours through the lush jungle. While there are no golf clubs in the immediate vicinity, the town offers a variety of other attractions, such as the Jaguar Rescue Center, where visitors can learn about local wildlife and conservation efforts. Additionally, the vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture of Puerto Viejo provides a unique atmosphere for dining, shopping, and nightlife experiences.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of the Caribbean in Puerto Viejo, head to Koki Beach, a vibrant restaurant with a beachfront view and a menu featuring fresh seafood and local ingredients. Don't miss their ceviche and refreshing cocktails! Another must-visit is Bread & Chocolate, a cozy café offering delicious breakfast and lunch options, including their famous banana pancakes and homemade granola. For a unique dining experience, try Stashu's Con Fusion, where you'll find a fusion of Asian and Caribbean flavors in dishes like coconut curry and ginger-infused tuna. When it comes to accommodations, the boutique hotel Le Cameleon is a top choice, boasting stylish rooms, a private beach club, and a relaxing spa. For a more budget-friendly option, consider staying at the charming La Kukula Lodge, nestled in the lush jungle and just a short walk from the beach.

Monteverde

Monteverde, Costa Rica is a small town nestled in the mountains of the Puntarenas province. It is located approximately 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest of the capital city, San José, and about 68 kilometers (42 miles) from the popular beach destination of Puntarenas. The climate in Monteverde is generally cool and misty, with temperatures ranging from 15 to 22 degrees Celsius (59 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the year. This unique climate is due to its high elevation of around 1,440 meters (4,724 feet) above sea level. Monteverde is best known for its stunning cloud forests and rich biodiversity, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and eco-tourists. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a must-visit location, offering visitors the chance to explore the lush, verdant landscape and spot a wide variety of flora and fauna. Other nearby attractions include the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve and the Curi-Cancha Reserve. In addition to hiking and birdwatching, Monteverde offers a range of recreational activities such as zip-lining, horseback riding, and coffee plantation tours. While there are no golf clubs in the immediate area, the town does have a few parks, such as the Monteverde Orchid Garden and the Butterfly Garden, where visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

Local Recommendations:

Nestled in the lush cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica, you'll find a culinary scene as vibrant as the surrounding flora and fauna. For a taste of local cuisine, head to Restaurante Celajes at Hotel Belmar, where farm-to-table dishes are crafted from ingredients sourced from the hotel's own garden and local farms. If you're craving Italian, Tramonti offers a cozy atmosphere and delicious wood-fired pizzas, while Taco Taco satisfies your Mexican food cravings with their mouthwatering tacos and burritos. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Monteverde Lodge & Gardens, where you can relax in the butterfly garden or take a dip in the solar-heated pool. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the charming Monteverde Rustic Lodge, known for its warm hospitality and comfortable accommodations.

La Fortuna

La Fortuna is a charming town located in the Alajuela Province, with an approximate population of 15,000 residents. It is situated about 120 kilometers (75 miles) northwest of the capital city, San José, and 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the popular tourist destination of Arenal Volcano National Park. The climate in La Fortuna is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 21°C to 30°C (70°F to 86°F) throughout the year. While there is no public transportation system within the town itself, visitors can easily access La Fortuna via buses and shuttles from other major cities and tourist destinations in Costa Rica. La Fortuna offers a wide range of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking, zip-lining, and white-water rafting. The town is surrounded by lush rainforests and natural hot springs, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Arenal Volcano National Park is a must-visit spot, offering breathtaking views of the active Arenal Volcano and the opportunity to explore its diverse flora and fauna. Another popular attraction is the La Fortuna Waterfall, a stunning 70-meter (230-foot) cascade located within the dense rainforest. For those looking to relax and unwind, the Tabacon Hot Springs Resort provides a luxurious experience, featuring natural thermal pools and a spa surrounded by tropical gardens. While there are no golf clubs in La Fortuna, visitors can still enjoy a variety of outdoor activities and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of this captivating Costa Rican town.

Local Recommendations:

Nestled in the heart of La Fortuna, Don Rufino stands out as a must-visit dining destination for its delectable fusion of local and international flavors. Savor the mouth-watering ceviche or indulge in the tenderloin steak, all while enjoying the warm and inviting atmosphere. For a more casual dining experience, head over to La Parrilla de María Bonita, where you can feast on authentic Costa Rican cuisine, including the famous "casado" dish, in a laid-back, open-air setting. When it comes to accommodations, the luxurious Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa is a top choice for travelers seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. This stunning resort boasts natural hot springs, lush gardens, and exquisite rooms, making it the perfect retreat after a day of exploring the nearby Arenal Volcano. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the charming Hotel Monte Real, which offers comfortable rooms, a refreshing pool, and a prime location within walking distance of La Fortuna's main attractions.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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Chinatown in San Jose, Costa Rica

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Traveling Mailbox

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Traveling MailboxTraveling Mailbox

Traveling Mailbox lets you view your postal mail online anywhere and it's is affordable, simple, and flexible.
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