Hidden Gems of Costa Rica: 5 Unforgettable Jungle Secrets

Costa Rica is full of breathtaking places, so you never run short of unique spots to visit here. People visiting Costa Rica have rainforests and pristine beaches on their minds. 

However, most tourists flock to the same famous destinations, which can get quite crowded. This can make it hard for you to take in the beauty and enjoy the natural wonders.

Luckily, Costa Rica has some secret spots that allow you to enjoy the diversity of the rainforests and indulge in various adventurous activities (without having to fight for a spot). 

Read on to find out the best 5 hidden gems of Costa Rica that you can check out on your next visit.

Rincon de la Vieja waterfall, hidden gems of Costa Rica

Rincon de la Vieja

The Rincon de la Vieja National Park is a 34 thousand acre wonderland that includes lush rainforests and active volcanoes. The diverse ecosystem offers many adventurous activities like horseback riding, zip-lining or hiking trails through this unexplored gem. Most of these are not as well known to tourists in Costa Rica’s portfolio. However, they are waiting for you to be discovered as there are still secrets hidden within its boundaries!

Rio Celeste waterfall

Rio Celeste

Located inside Tenorio Volcano National Park, Rio Celeste, meaning Light Blue River in Spanish, is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Central America. 

Keep in mind, it is quite challenging to reach the beautiful site. The nearest town, Bijagua, is 40 minutes away. This is why tourists do not flood the place. On the plus side, this helps preserve the natural state of the spectacularly turquoise blue waters, one of Costa Rica’s best-kept secrets.

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Additionally, the river is famous for its striking blue color, which may be an optical illusion or due to the presence of aluminosilicate in the water. Starting at Los Tenideros, the merging point of two streams, is where the water turns from clear to an intense blue.  

As you hike deeper, you are likely to come across monkeys, sloths, wild cats, and exotic bird species. Nature and hiking lovers, this is the place for you!

Playa Conchal beach

Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica and is popular for its pristine coastline and calm and crystal-clear water. Its name comes from the Spanish word “concha” meaning shell. Millions of shells have washed up on the shore here.

Dotted with palm trees and mangrove forests, it is perfect for swimming and relaxing in the shade. Further, for the adventurous types, there are activities like sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, jet-skiing, and horse riding.

Pro tip: There is no town within walking distance here, so prepare accordingly in regards to facilities. Therefore, this also means it can be more time consuming to reach this beautiful destination. The people flocking here are mostly locals and residents of the few nearby resorts. Moreover, a rocky headland hides the beach from road view, so it misses the eye of many tourists.

If you visit during the dry season and are lucky enough, you may witness bioluminescence. However, many factors influence this natural phenomenon, so don’t bet on it.

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Gandoca Manzanillo

Gandoca Manzanillo

The Caribbean side of Costa Rica is not as popular and developed as its Pacific side. However, I’ve found this means better food and more laid back vibes. There are fewer crowds, so finding a moment of solitude on the dreamlike beaches is much easier. 

One of the best hidden gems of the Caribbean Coast is the national wildlife refuge Gandoca Manzanillo located at its far end of the coast, near the Panama border. It is a natural treasure with a long and gorgeous coastline, calm blue waters, and untouched jungle. Therefore, you will find both unique marine and forest fauna in this area.

It is a nesting ground for many sea turtle species. If you visit during the nesting seasons between March and May, you may be lucky enough to witness them nest en masse.

You can go swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and rowing to explore the coral reefs, swamps and mangroves nearby. There are many hiking trails that lead to tiny coves and isolated beaches. In other words, you will be able to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the place undisturbed.

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Catarata del Toro, hidden gems of Costa Rica

Bajos Del Toro

Hiding in a valley between extinct volcanoes. Bajos del Toro is one of the best hidden gems of Costa Rica. Catarata del Toro is the highlight here. This stunning waterfall plunges down the cliff and splashes into breathtaking blue waters.  

The Poás Volcano National Park is another must-visit destination located at the heart of an extinct volcano. Here, you can follow trail hikes to reach the edge of the largest volcanic crater in the world.

The park hosts many native species you won’t find anywhere else. Such as, Bangs’s mountain squirrel, the resplendent quetzal, toucans, and the clay-colored robin. So, you could say it’s a dream destination for bird watchers!

The park also houses plants and animals, waterfalls, streams, and pools, creating a unique ecosystem.

Wrapping Up

Costa Rica is a lovely country with incredible wildlife, hundreds of beaches, and multiple national parks. 

Tourists can visit a variety of attractions in this beautiful country. In conclusion, many of the best-kept secrets are hiding from view. But, these 5 hidden gems of Costa Rica will get your adventure going.

Read on: 10 Reasons to Visit Samarkand.

Have you ever been to Costa Rica? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!

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