People have caught on to the fact that Costa Rica is an amazing paradise which needs to be visited. That means more crowds at the previously empty destinations. Costa Rica definitely still needs to be on your bucket list, but if you want to escape the crowds you should head to off the beaten path Costa Rica. The destinations in this guide are our favorite places to escape the crowds while still having and an amazing experience.
Off the Beaten Path Costa Rica – San Gerardo de Dota
San Gerardo de Dota is first on this list for a reason. It is my absolute favorite off the beaten path destination in Costa Rica.
San Gerardo de Dota is an easy 1.5-hour drive from San Jose. It is a beautiful cloud forest in the middle of nowhere, and I’m obsessed with the vibe here. It is one of those hidden gems which most tourists never visit. Instead, most travelers head to Monteverde to experience a cloud forest.
If you are interested in birding, it is a must visit spot to see unique birds in Costa Rica. Most people visit San Gerardo de Dota hoping to spot the quetzal.
Definitely, bring your binoculars and birding guide to this spot!
If you’d like more info on San Gerardo de Dota head on over to our complete guide here.
Off the Beaten Path Costa Rica – Nosara
Nosara is kind of a pain to get to, but that just means that most people don’t want to put in the effort to drive here so it tends to be more empty. Yeay!
Nosara is the perfect surfing village. It is not completely off the beaten path, there are definitely still tourists, but it is not nearly as crazy as traveling to nearby Tamarindo.
If you are into the hipster surfing scene, this is definitely the place for you. There are also tons of other great beaches near Nosara which are worth checking out.
If you’d like more info on Nosara head on over to our complete guide here.
Off the Beaten Path Costa Rica – Tortuguero
Oh Tortuguero, the love of my Costa Rica life! Just like Nosara, getting to Tortuguero is a journey which requires driving and a cool boat ride through the jungle.
Tortuguero is a small island village with no cars. Everyone knows everyone here and they depend almost entirely on tourism for survival. I absolutely love the vibe here.
Some fun things to do are kayaking, hiking, swimming, taking a wildlife canoe ride, and just walking through the cute downtown area.
Pro tip: Visit during the fall to see massive sea turtles laying their eggs.
If you’d like more info on Tortuguero head on over to our complete guide here.
Off the Beaten Path Costa Rica – Montezuma
Montezuma is one of the most interesting places we have been in Costa Rica. Imagine a cute seaside village with a hippie vibe.
We were here during the rainy season when it as virtually a ghost town, but I bet it is absolutely amazing during the dry season with more tourists as well.
As with the other places, Montezuma is a bit difficult to get to. You will need a vehicle with 4 wheel drive. Most of the roads in the area are unpaved.
If you’d like more info on Montezuma head on over to our complete guide here.
Off the Beaten Path Costa Rica – Cahuita
Most people head to Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast, but we prefer Cahuita about thirty minutes north of Puerto Viejo.
This town still has tourists and a lot of expats, but the feel here is more relaxed and less backpacker-y than Puerto Viejo. Plus the Cahuita National Park is our favorite national park in Costa Rica.
If you’d like more info on Cahuita head on over to our complete guide here.
Off the Beaten Path Costa Rica – Corcovado
We haven’t actually visited Corcovado yet because it is so off the beaten path that we haven’t tried to journey there. Corcovado is located in the south-west part of the country and is most easily accessible by plane. With the recent Nature Air crashes I would suggest putting any plans on hold for now unless you are willing to take the bus and boat to get there,
Corcovado is home to a national park which is supposed to be absolutely amazing. If you’ve been, let us know how you liked it. We are curious!
Off the Beaten Path Costa Rica – Last Tips
- If you want to travel to Costa Rica without tons of tourists, travel during the rainy season. We have a complete post about the best seasons to travel in Costa Rica here.
- As I mentioned above, most of these places require a car with 4 wheel drive to get to. We have partnered with our favorite rental car company Adobe and have a 10% discount for you. You can find out more here.
- If you do find yourself staying an overly touristy area, try to take day trips to less busy areas. For example, if we are staying in Jaco we like to take day trips to Playa Blanca.
If you have any questions about off the beaten path Costa Rica destinations just leave them in the comment section below and we will help you out! 🙂
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