Costa Rica vs. Puerto Rico: Which to Choose for Your Vacation

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Are you debating between Costa Rica vs. Puerto Rico for your upcoming vacation? If so, you probably want to compare the pros and cons of Costa Rica and Puerto Rico before making your final decision and booking your flights, hotels, and activities.

Both Costa Rica and Puerto Rico offer plenty of fabulous beaches, activities, and attractions. However, we personally believe that Costa Rica has more to offer as a vacation destination — and we’re about to tell you why! So, here is what you should know about both Puerto Rico and Costa Rica (and why Costa Rica is the best vacation destination out of these two countries).



Both Costa Rica and Puerto Rico are filled with beautiful beaches perfect for a tropical getaway. However, each destination offers its own unique beach experience.

Puerto Rico

Compared to other Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico offers some of the most gorgeous tropical beaches that cater to every type of traveler. Though Puerto Rico is a small island, it is surrounded by nearly 300 miles of coastline and boasts 300+ beaches!

In Puerto Rico, you can visit Caja de Muertos, a secluded island south of the mainland, for stunning beaches and deep blue waters. On the island’s north side, you’ll find all-inclusive luxury hotels in San Juan surrounded by lively white sandy beaches, like Condado Beach and Isla Verde Beach, filled with tourists and fun beach activities.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s beaches are more varied and diverse than the beaches in Puerto Rico because of the country’s proximity to both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. You will find 300+ golden-sand beaches, white-sand beaches, and even beaches with sand made from seashells in Costa Rica.

Costa Rican beaches are generally (and purposefully) more underdeveloped than the beaches in Puerto Rico, so if you visit Costa Rica, you should expect natural, relaxing, and less crowded beaches. If you want to go surfing, head to Tamarindo Beach, and if you would like to relax on gorgeous white-sand beaches, head to Manuel Antonio Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park.

If you are looking for the perfect place to go surfing, head to Tamarindo Beach in Costa Rica.



Costa Rica and Puerto Rico have tropical climates commonly found in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. However, you may choose one destination over the other depending on when you are planning your trip.

Puerto Rico

Before you visit Puerto Rico, there are a few timeframes to keep in mind. First, the rainy season lasts from April to November. While you can usually save money while traveling during this time, the outdoor activities you can enjoy may be limited due to the rain.

Puerto Rico is also in “Hurricane Alley,” so if you are visiting during hurricane season from June to November, it is important to be mindful of the possibility of storms. While hurricanes are rare in Puerto Rico, tropical storms are more common and can cause poor weather, severe flooding, and landslides that can impact your vacation.

Puerto Rico is in “Hurricane Alley,” so plan your trip around hurricane season to ensure you aren’t caught in bad weather.

If you want to steer clear of the rainy weather and the possibility of hurricanes, plan your trip to Puerto Rico in December, January, February, or March.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica also has two seasons — a green and a dry season — just like Puerto Rico.

However, Costa Rica’s rainy season lasts from May to November, so it is a bit shorter. And you may be happy to hear that you won’t encounter any hurricanes or tropical storms in Costa Rica, so you don’t have to worry about scheduling your trip around unpredictable weather.

If you plan a trip to Costa Rica in December, January, February, March, or April — you will love the warm sunny weather and clear skies that greet you every morning!


Nature & Wildlife

Nature lovers will enjoy visiting either Puerto Rico or Costa Rica. However, when comparing Puerto Rico vs. Costa Rica, there is a clear winner when it comes to nature, wildlife, and biodiversity — Costa Rica!

Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers dense rainforests, mountain ranges, cloud forests, volcanoes — just about every natural landscape you could ever dream of exploring. Nearly 30% of this biodiverse country is protected in national parks, making exploring Costa Rica’s natural beauty easy.

There are plenty of natural wonders to explore in Costa Rica, including Arenal Volcano, pictured above!

If you want to encounter exotic wildlife, you will have no trouble finding animals in Costa Rica. You can go scuba diving at the Catalina Islands and Bat Islands to swim with manta rays and bull sharks, visit Tortuguero National Park to encounter sea turtles, or venture into the country’s lush rainforests to see monkeys, sloths, jaguars, and other fascinating creatures.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is known for its many beaches and islands, but there is more to this island’s natural beauty than what meets the eye. For example, visitors can venture into the El Yunque Rainforest — the only tropical rainforest managed by the United States — or visit the Bahia Bioluminescent Bay to see the electric blue waters at night.


Tourist Attractions

There are tons of natural attractions in both Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, but there are also plenty of other tourist attractions in these destinations too.

Puerto Rico

If you are looking for a destination with vibrant nightlife and historical sites to explore, Puerto Rico is the ideal destination. Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan, offers tons of vibrant clubs and bars, as well as places to enjoy traditional Puerto Rican cuisine.

San Juan is a nightlife hotspot with tons of bars, nightclubs, and live music venues to enjoy.

You can head to historic Old San Juan to visit the San Juan National Historic Site, with buildings dating back to the 16th century, including the San Cristobal and San Felipe del Morro fortresses and old city walls. You will also find brightly colored houses, cobblestone streets, and cool cocktail bars in Old San Juan.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s biggest draw is the natural attractions, from the beaches and rainforests to the hot springs and volcanoes, so the capital city of San Jose doesn’t see as many tourists.

Costa Rica’s natural attractions are what draw tourists to this remarkable country.

Instead, visitors flock to destinations such as Arenal Volcano National ParkMonteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, or Manuel Antonio National Park to enjoy epic adventures like surfing, diving, white-water rafting, ziplining, and more!


Puerto Rico vs. Costa Rica: Which Is the Better Vacation Destination for You?

Puerto Rico and Costa Rica are both popular vacation spots with stunning beaches and warm weather. However, if you’re looking for a destination with adventurous outdoor activities, an abundance of wildlife, an authentic cultural experience, and reliable weather free of hurricanes — you’ll want to head to Costa Rica instead of Puerto Rico!

If you decide to book a vacation to Costa Rica, we hope you’ll consider staying in one of our vacation rentals with Special Places of Costa Rica. With houses, condos, and luxury properties next to gorgeous beaches, like Playa Flamingo and Playa del Cocos, we can guarantee you will enjoy your “home away from home” in our small slice of paradise!

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