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Costa Rica is a country of gorgeous beaches and lush rainforests, nestled right in the heart of Central America.  It’s a great destination for budget travelers due to cheap airfare and low-cost accommodations.  Not to mention all the top-tier destinations throughout the country that will leave you awed and amazed.  To get the most out of your trip to Costa Rica, check out these five popular destinations.

The Arenal Volcano

Not many travelers get to see a volcano in their lifetime, much less an active one.  This volcano, located around 90 km from San Jose in the province of Alajuela, is over 5,000 feet high and estimated to be more than 7,000 years old.  It’s a popular destination for thrill seekers and nature lovers, filled with rocky trails and dense vegetation.  Regular eruptions stopped back in 2010, making this landmark both impressive and safe to visit.

If you don’t feel want the exertion of the trails, you can still soak up the natural beauty in the excellent hot springs.  If you want a great aerial view, many travelers recommend helicopter tours of the area.

Manuel Antonio National Park

If you want a true look at the natural beauty of Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio National Park should be your next stop.  On the country’s East coast, just South of Quepos, this park includes untouched beaches and plentiful rain forests.

Walk under the tree canopies in amazement as wildlife like lizards and monkeys scamper on by.  The vegetation is plentiful, alive with almost 300 species of mammals and birds.  Some lucky visitors will even get to see dolphins and migrating whales.

Corcovado National Park

Costa Rica is known for its gorgeous natural beauty and diverse wildlife, with this national park in the Puntarenas Province being no exception.  This destination is a favorite for backpackers, as it is one of the largest and most diverse parks in the country.  The wildlife includes jaguars, squirrel monkeys, anteaters, and so much more.

This is one of the best places in the country to see all the wildlife and various fauna the country has to offer.  It’s the perfect stop, whether you’re traveling alone or have the family in tow.  It can even be a great spot for an afternoon picnic.

Tortuguero National Park

A protected wilderness area on the Northern Caribbean coast, this park is famous the endangered green leatherback turtles that nest on the beaches.  The park also has a variety of freshwater creeks and lagoons, perfect for fishing and relaxing in the midst of the local wildlife.  You can travel around the park on foot, airboat, canoe, and even ATVs.

This is a popular destination for travelers to not only take in the country’s extensive vegetation and wildlife but also to learn more about it.  Tours can be taken to learn about the 11 different ecological habitats.

Puerto Carrillo

Located on the Western coast of Costa Rica, Puerto Carrillo is a village considered an untouched gem when it comes to beautiful beaches.  When you want to get away from the city and all other tourists, this village can provide the peace and serenity that you need.  With crystal white sand and clear, blue waters, you won’t want to step foot off the beaches.

With large waves to play in and warm sand, this destination can be the perfect spot for a family outing.  The quiet palms and the sleepy village also make it a great romantic destination for traveling couples. Costa Rica always has more to offer, no matter how often you visit.  With a unique culture, lush vegetation, and amazing wildlife, it’s not hard to see why the country is a popular destination for any type of traveler.