With infrastructure to match the United States, stunning Caribbean beaches, pristine national parks, unique wildlife, and a strong, forward-looking economy, Costa Rica is an already well-established vacation destination for hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers per year. As wonderful as this is for the country, it leaves some locations feeling more like a resort than a town, and more Western than a typically Creole or Central American nation. This article intends to showcase the off-the-beaten track Costa Rica, the areas that are lesser visited, but no less spectacular.
1. Puerto Viejo
The Caribbean coast is one of the most incredible on Earth, with stunning aquamarine waters, sandy beaches, and coral reefs providing a haven for sea life, land animals and humans looking to escape the rat race, all in equal measure. Puerto Viejo offers the perfect blend of everything that is expected from the Caribbean life, with black volcanic sand beaches in the form of Playa Negra, wild sloths relaxing in the canopies above, and a mixture of excellent food and a positively vibrant nightlife. While Puerto Viejo is a well-known destination, it’s much more reserved for the backpacking family than those who seek the all-inclusive life.
A town with a national park as its main attraction, Cahuita is a seemingly untouched nature reserve, with typically Caribbean trademarks of palm tree lined beaches and hidden coves. The park itself is home to countless animals, including sloths, iguanas, and numerous tropical birds. Just a few miles outside of Puerto Viejo, Cahuita is perfect for a day trip or a few nights of relaxed living.
3. Playa Uvita
Over on the Pacific coast, Uvita is one of the most stunning beaches in Central America. Experience typical Pacific sunsets from the beach’s famous “Whale’s Tail,” where the point of the land mass joins to form an uncanny resemblance to the mammal group’s rear. It’s still a fairly under-populated coastal location, despite the overall levels of tourism in Costa Rica.
The largest national park in Costa Rica also happens to be a fairly off-the-beaten path one. Corcovado preserves around one-third of the Osa Peninsula in the country’s Southwest, creating a pristine reservation for thousands of animals and plant life. It’s considered the real icing on the cake of Costa Rica’s extensive national park system, and will certainly become ever-more popular as the nation’s tourism continues to go from strength to strength.