9 Ways to Stimulate Your Senses in Costa Rica

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7. Arenal Volcano National Park

This once-active volcano is still the centerpiece of Arenal Volcano National Park and a spectacular sight best viewed from one of the interior lodges offering viewing points from lofty terraces and decks. Though spewing hot lava no longer puts on the dramatic and glowing nighttime shows tourists saw more than six years ago, it’s still exciting to hear the low, deep rumblings and puffs of steamy smoke heaved out from the top–and one never knows when those natural volcanic performances restart and once again wow onlookers with avalanches of flaming rocks and fiery lava eruptions. Today, the conical site, reaching up into the sky, is most stunning at dawn or dusk when vibrant skies surround the peak. There’s no chance for boredom here: attractions include hiking, tubing and river rafting, natural hot springs, La Fortuna Waterfall, Lake Arenal, and Venado Caves–and that’s just the beginning.

Arenal Volcano

6. Cabo Matapalo

Cabo Matapalo is another gateway into Costa Rica’s incredible mountains, coasts, rainforests, reserves, and other dramatic landscapes. Set in the south on the Osa Peninsula, Cabo Matapalo offers access to less-visited but equally beautiful outdoor sites including Golfo Dulce, Corcovado National Park, and Isla del Cano. Without prior knowledge of the town, it’s almost impossible to know it exists in its jungle-clad setting but for anyone seeking obscure locations for abounding natural treasures, Cabo Matapalo is the ticket. Less than 20 kilometers from Puerto Jimenez, the route to Matapalo isn’t entirely easy but what you’ll find is intrepid surfers and the surrounding lush, forested location where several clandestine luxury lodges are the only places to find amenities. Hundreds of kilometers of immaculate beaches and untouched wilderness unfold into an Eden for Costa Rica’s wildlife including a wealth of birds, wild cats, agouti, and an endless array of primates.

Cabo Matapalo costa rica
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