Where to Visit in Costa Rica?
There are so many options and places to visit in Costa Rica. Typically people will want to see many places while they are here. However this is likely not the best option.
If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, try to limit yourself. You will have a much more enjoyable trip if you plan to see just two areas, possibly three if they are situated close to each other. Unless you are planning to stay for several weeks.
When planning a weeklong trip, trying to visit more than two places will mean that you will spend most of your time in a car. Most tourist areas in Costa Rica feature a great deal of different activities. It will be best to plan to see many sites around just one area, then potentially visit a second.
Try to plan your flight so you can arrive early in San Jose. This will allow you to rent a car and get to your first vacation spot. Idealy this would be somewhere relatively close to San Jose. Good places include Poas, Jaco, Quepos, Dominical and Manuel Antonio. If you are able to arrive early it is just a few hours to drive to one of these locations. They also offer a very large amount of activities.
If you must arrive later in the evening you will need to stay somewhere close to San Jose or Alajuela for the night. I personally recommend Alajuela, as it does not have as much traffic and lower prices. Also consider staying your first night in Alajuela if your destination is somewhere far such as northern Guanacaste. Driving for more than 5 hours after a long flight will be very uncomfortable. Finding your destination in the dark may present quite a challenge as well.
Less is More
Consider before making reservations what is most important to you. Spending time on the beach, seeing animals, volcanos or rainforests. When you have an idea of what is most important, find activities in that area that are available. Also be sure to consider whether you will need a vehicle or not. Most touristic areas in Costa Rica do not have common taxis or buses. Hailing an Uber could be possible but is spotty as well in the rural areas.
Any area you choose in Costa Rica will have amazing assets. The best advice to give is do not try to overdo it. Most areas you go to will feature more of the same. So rather than trying to see the whole country, just try to experience many activities in whatever area you choose.