7 Most Underrated Places In Costa Rica To Visit In Spring 2024

7 Most Underrated Places In Costa Rica To Visit In 2024

Costa Rica has been gaining more and more popularity in recent years, especially among those searching for thrilling activities and a laid-back atmosphere at the beach.

Travel guides are full of destinations to go hiking, surfing, and experiencing the famed Pura Vida. Yet, some amazing spots get overlooked and await you to discover.

Read on to find the 7 most underrated places in Costa Rica to visit in 2024. Not only will you get a chance to immerse yourself in the authentic Costa Rican lifestyle but will also avoid crowds and promote sustainable tourism.

Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano is another tremendous destination for nature lovers that doesn’t get much attention but has a lot to offer. It’s one of the most active volcanos in Costa Rica and gives visitors a chance to see various volcanic phenomena up close, including steam vents, fumaroles, and bubbling sulfuric acid lakes.

It provides several hiking trails that lead to viewpoints overlooking the crater through the cloud forest – an amazing way to explore the area’s unique flora and fauna. On top of that, it’s easily reachable from San José. So even if you’re staying in the capital city, you can set off for a stunning day trip.


Zarcero is a picturesque mountain town in Alajuela that provides a blend of cultural heritage and natural beauty. It’s home to an 1895 Church of San Rafael, which is a feast for the eyes both from the outside and inside. In front of it, you will find fascinating topiary gardens with trees beautifully trimmed into shapes of animals and various geometric figures.

Another thing Zarcero is known for is artisanal cheese. You can buy the iconic queso palmito in shops around the town’s cobblestone streets. Or you can take a tour and taste it right on a local dairy farm or a cheese factory.

Playa Mina

Looking to spend a day on a secluded beach only locals know about? Playa Mina, also known as Playa Zapotillal, boasts soft sand, clear water, and an abundance of wildlife – sea turtles in particular. It’s set in Guanacaste Province, about 30 minutes away from Tamarindo. 

Getting there isn’t as easy as it sounds, though. You have to take an unmarked rocky road that requires an off-road-friendly car. Maybe that’s why it’s such an undervalued place in Costa Rica.

Visiting Playa Mina is a good idea all year round. But if you want to glimpse sea turtles hatching and slouching toward the ocean, the best time to come is between October and March. 


When in Alajuela, you might as well visit Sarchí. This cute little town is famous for its traditional Costa Rican handicrafts. It encompasses about 200 artisan stores and markets, where you can find anything from wooden furniture and leather goods to ceramics and textiles. If you’re traveling with a large luggage, they make up for great souvenirs. 

What’s more, it features enchanting colonial architecture. In the center of the town, you will find plenty of vibrant buildings and a beautiful church decorated with stunning woodwork. And also, the biggest oxcart in the world. Used for transporting coffee beans in the past, the colorfully painted oxcarts are a symbol of Costa Rica. 

Mal Pais

Located at the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Mal Pais is a tiny fishing village with incredible nature and a mesmerizing coastline, which is ideal for surfing. Thanks to consistent surf breaks, it’s suitable for all levels. And the tranquility of the area attracts surfers from around the world.

Suppose that’s not enough of an adventure for you. In that case, you can zip-line the jungle canopy, go horseback riding, or hike the nearby Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve or Montezuma Waterfalls.

Rincon de la Vieja

Those visiting Costa Rica to explore its diverse nature shouldn’t miss Rincon de la Vieja. This national park is nestled in northwestern Costa Rica, it spreads over 14,000 hectares and is home to fantastic hiking trails, waterfalls, ​​mud pots, geysers, hot springs, and the massive Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.

It’s also a perfect place to get your adrenaline pumping. You can zip-line through the jungle canopy, rappel down some waterfalls, or enjoy whitewater rafting on the Rio Colorado. After that, you can refuel and savor authentic dishes of the region in one of the local restaurants.

Tortuga Island

If you’re looking to spend a fun day at the beach, head to Tortuga Island. This hidden gem is located in the Gulf of Nicoya and is a popular spot for a day expedition to enjoy all the delights a beach can provide. 

Getting to Tortuga Island already involves a scenic boat ride. Relax on the deck, soak in the sun, and watch the mountainous landscape from a distance. Once you get to the island, you can engage in plenty of watersports, from kayaking and paddleboarding to jet skiing and banana rides. The waters are also full of marine life. Snorkel or dive and explore ​​colorful fish, rays, and sea turtles. 

If you prefer to stay on the ground, you can play volleyball, frisbee, or just laze around.