Travel is ever-evolving. And, while some of that evolution is due to travel trends, new hotspots, and even our own life changes, some of it has nothing to do with travel and everything to do with the world. Enter the top Costa Rica Instagram spots, stage right.
Because, while you could call it a travel trend, it’s more a technology upgrade or a lifestyle change: Travelers now carry high-quality cameras in their pockets and great photos are accessible to everyone. That’s the beauty of smartphones, GoPros, and Big Daddy DSLR cameras: We can all immortalize our memories, our adventures, and the world’s most incredible places.
And that is where we transition from technology into travel: As people, we crave beauty and as travelers, we crave the eye-catching. And that brings you here, searching out the most Instagrammable places in Costa Rica. Because, whether you’re a hobbyist photographer, an influencer, or merely a traveler intent on memorializing the best of your wanderings, you seek out the best, the most striking, the most memorable, and the most breathtaking.
You’re in the right place. Because Costa Rica is a best-of, striking, memorable, and breathtaking kind of place. And this post contains some of its most iconic and best-kept secrets alike. Here we go!
Río Celeste (The Celestial Blue River)
One of Costa Rica’s most iconic (and now, most Instagrammable) spots, Río Celeste is a milky blue river that tumbles into a frothing waterfall before emptying into a celestial blue pool below. And when we say blue, it’s not a trick of the light; you can literally scoop the water into your hands, and it’s still that perfect baby blue.
So, what’s the secret? When the two river headwaters that feed the Río Celeste combine with volcanic minerals (courtesy of nearby Tenorio Volcano), their ensuing reaction – and you can literally see the reaction happening, at Tenorio Volcano National Park’s teñideros (loosely, “dye zones”) – creates the beautiful celestial blue color that draws travelers to this off-the-beaten-path park.
Can’t make it to Rio Celeste? Costa Rica has many volcanoes and those volcanoes produce similarly (although not always as startling) baby-blue waters around the country. Ask around!
Monteverde Hanging Bridges
Monteverde, the “green mountaintop,” is almost a state of mind: Here, high in Costa Rica’s interior, you are surrounded and lulled into wonder by every hue, shade, and variation of green. Words cannot adequately capture the awe of this emerald, lime, jade, and beryl rainbow – this natural utopia hidden within a tropical cloud forest.
And here, amidst towering trees and thick forest canopies, Monteverde’s landscapes part to reveal one of the most beloved Costa Rica Instagram spots: hanging bridges, which crisscross not the forest floor but the forest canopy, welcoming you to a new view into a world you only thought you knew. And, of course, a worthy spot for a selfie or nature shot, because this angle, this height, and this view (often, reaching into the Pacific) are unparalleled.
Can’t make it to Monteverde? Luckily, Monteverde’s penchant for hanging bridges has caught on around the country! What was once endemic to the cloud forest can now be found around the country, including at many spots in La Fortuna/Arenal, plus Sun Trails Adventure Park (Montezuma), Rainmaker (Manuel Antonio), Tirimbina (Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí), and many more.
Finca Vikingos (Mountaintop Swing)
If you’re in the San José area and have a few hours to spare, you can’t go wrong at the small farm of Finca Vikingos, located in the mountains of Heredia. A working coffee farm and outdoor retreat, Finca Vikingos is a well-kept playground for nature lovers, with a small petting zoo, hiking trails, a fishpond, and tree swings galore.
But what you’re really here for is one of the best-kept secrets in Costa Rica Instagram spots: Finca Vikingo’s mountaintop bamboo swing. Set at one of the highest points on the farm, you’ll have to climb your way up, but it’s worth it: Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll not only have sweeping panoramic views of the valley below but the perfect photo op on the two-person, oversized, highly photogenic mountain swing.
Can’t make it to Finca Vikingos? While not quite as grand in scale or view, Costa Rica’s beach restaurants and popular spots often have oceanfront swings. Get your legs pumping and time it right, and you’ll look like you’re flying out over the Pacific!
If You Want a Unique Shot: Flamingo Blu
Playa Flamingo | 5 Beds | 6 Baths | 10 Guests
If you’re looking for a true point of pride – those just-for-you, everyone’s-asking-where-you-took-those-photos for Costa Rica Instagram spots – then welcome to your paradise found: Flamingo Blu, a unique beachfront property set on a hillside overlooking idyllic Flamingo Beach.
Open-air and even more open to the view, Flamingo Blu welcomes you to a mesmerizing panorama of ocean, sky, and mountain. And at your feet: the villa’s ocean-view terrace, curving sun deck, and an infinity pool, where you’ll while away your downtime, keep your eyes peeled for howler monkeys and parrots, and wait every night as another unforgettable sunset descends on your front yard.
Arenal Hot Springs
You know how we mentioned Costa Rica’s many volcanoes? One of the most famous is Arenal Volcano and one of its most famous sights – and, hands down, one of the most photographed Costa Rica Instagram spots (predating Instagram by a long shot, even!) – are the hot springs: mineral-rich mud and waters with reported restorative properties.
You’re going to have a lot of choices, so do some research before you choose your hot springs location. (They’re often pricey, so you probably won’t want to hot springs-hop.) While Tabacon Hot Springs and its hot-water waterfalls are what you’ll most often find on Instagram, The Springs Resort & Spa and EcoTermales are equally beautiful, while Baldi and Kalambu are warm-water playgrounds (with waterslides!) and many other hot springs offer their own brand of a photogenic backdrop.
Can’t make it to Arenal’s hot springs? You’re in luck! There are seven active volcanoes in Costa Rica and several of them feed into hot springs that welcome visitors. If you’re staying near Rincón de la Vieja Volcano (Liberia, Playas del Coco, and central-northern Guanacaste area), Miravalles Volcano (Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, Playa Conchal, and central-northern Guanacaste), or Tenorio Volcano (central-northern Costa Rica, near Upala), then you’ll have a chance to bathe in these mineral-rich waters.
Hacienda La Chimba (Hand Sculpture)
Another one of Costa Rica’s better-kept secrets, Hacienda La Chimba offers one of the most Instagram-worthy spots in the country’s interior. But first, the set-up: Located in Santa Ana, just west of the country’s capital city (and a quick ~30 minutes from the San José Airport), Hacienda La Chimba offers high ropes, a canopy zipline, coffee tour, and its famous hiking trails.
Totaling about 9 kms/5.6 miles, the park’s Mantra Trail leads 4.5 kms (2.8 miles) to La Mano del Mantra (The Mantra Hand) – a giant, pose-worthy handcrafted from cane wood. After you’ve snapped the perfect photo, you can head off the trail to the restaurant or continue your hike. Note that, due to difficulty, this trail is open only to hikers under 60.
Can’t visit Hacienda La Chimba? Towns across the country have jumped on the selfie bandwagon, purchasing artistic town name signs that have proven to be very popular Costa Rica Instagram spots. Be sure to take a photo at every town you visit!
If You Want to Seriously Impress: El Chante
Tamarindo | 8 Beds | 8.5 Baths | 19 Guests
Open-air and eco-friendly, El Chante’s ocean views, picturesque landscapes, and all-out sustainable luxury create very private (and very worthy) Costa Rica Instagram spots.
This stunning property unfolds over nine private bungalows (perfect for sharing with friends or family), spectacular common areas, and some of the best ocean views in Guanacaste: shade dappled and peppered with seasonal blooms, overlooking the Tamarindo river mouth, sun-bleached sands, and wide Pacific Ocean panoramas. You’ll have so much choice and such incredible creative inspiration, your biggest challenge will be to put down your camera.
Costa Rica’s almost the kind of place where you could play pick a volcano, any volcano! and win… but not quite. Because, when it comes to volcanoes in Costa Rica, there’s a clear winner: Arenal Volcano, considered to own one of the world’s most perfect volcanic cones.
Here, based in the town of La Fortuna, you’ll have a front-row seat to Arenal Volcano. And that’s a good thing because the volcano’s weather can have a temper: While there are often clouds obscuring the cone’s peak, if you wait juuuuust an hour (or even a minute, if you’re lucky), it’ll often blow over and reveal picture-perfect views of the angled apex.
Can’t visit Arenal Volcano? While there’s no other volcano in Costa Rica to rival Arenal’s cone, that doesn’t mean there’s no other volcano worthy of your visit. Within the conversation of Costa Rica Instagram spots, two volcanoes stand out: Poás Volcano and its sapphire-blue volcanic crater lake, and Irazú Volcano, home to a jade-green volcanic lake. Even better, Irazú is so altitudinous (and heads up, it gets COLD up there!), on a clear day you can put eyes on both the Pacific and the Caribbean!
Llanos de Cortes Waterfall
High on our list of life’s simple pleasures: Hiking to a roaring waterfall in the middle of paradise, peeling off our walking shoes, and wading into a cool, mountain river-fed swimming hole. Say it with us: aaaaaaaaah!
As those simple pleasures go, Llanos de Cortes (between Liberia and Bagaces) is one of our favorites: Not only is it fairly easy to hike – it’s a steep downhill, but only takes about 10 minutes – but it’s one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful waterfalls. Climbing 12 feet tall by 50 feet wide, it’s impressive and well-fed, which means that you’re likely to find water (albeit more of a flow than a frothing roar) even in the late Costa Rican summer months of March and April.
Can’t visit Llanos de Cortes? Costa Rica’s rainforests, highlands, cloud forests, coasts, and dry forests are literally brimming with waterfalls. Wherever you’re staying, there’s likely to be a waterfall worthy of a visit (and a photo op). Our only proviso: If you’re visiting during the dry season (roughly, December-April), be sure to ask if there’s water at the waterfall; some run dry during the driest months!
Looking for More Costa Rica Instagram Spots?
We live in and love Costa Rica, and we’re just this side of obsessed with finding the next great Instagram shot. So, give us a shout! Whether you’re looking for the perfect place to propose or where you’ll take your family photos, if you’re seeking out a specific kind of Instagram photo or just want to take home memories to impress, we’ll help you narrow down your must-visit most Instagrammable places in Costa Rica.
So please, get in touch. It’ll be our pleasure!