Remote river in Tapanti-Macizo Cerro de la Muerte National Park perfect for a swim
Remote river in Tapanti-Macizo Cerro de la Muerte National Park perfect for a swim

During the dry season, it can get pretty humid in Costa Rica. After a long day spent trekking through the country's lush rainforests and national parks, why not cool off with a refreshing dip? If you're spending time in Cartago, located in Costa Rica's Central Valley, you're never far away from a tropical oasis.

Tapanti-Macizo Cerro de la Muerte National Park

One of the best things about swimming in Costa Rica is that you don't have to go to a designated swimming pool to enjoy a dip, as there are hundreds of tranquil lagoons, rivers and lakes scattered throughout the region that are perfect for a relaxing swim after a long nature hike.

If you want to discover your own private oasis amid Costa Rica's stunning tropical forests, head to Tapanti-Macizo Cerro de la Muerte National Park. Much of the terrain here is dense and rugged, making it perfect for adventurous explorers. This nature reserve boasts more than 150 rivers, many of which empty into picturesque lagoons and pools that are ideal for swimming. If you'd rather stick to the beaten path, Tapanti-Macizo also has a designated swimming hole a short walk from a scenic overlook, so you don't have to go far to take a dip.

Barbilla National Park

Located in the northeastern region of the Cartago province, Barbilla National Park is another great spot to take the plunge. Amid this lush wildlife refuge, you'll find the Ayil Lagoon at the terminus of the Dantas River. This secluded pool is perfect for swimming, but be warned - Barbilla National Park can be difficult to navigate for inexperienced hikers, and you might want to hire a guide before setting off into the rainforest. Of course, if you see me on your travels, I'll be happy to point you in the right direction!

Turrialba

Although perhaps more famous for its white water rapids, Turrialba boasts dozens of small pools and lakes that are ideal for swimming. One of Turrialba's best-kept secrets is the Pejivalle River, a tributary of the Reventazon River. Here, you'll find a large, tranquil swimming hole that is ideal for a calm, relaxing dip. Sometimes, tour companies bring novice whitewater rafters here to teach them how to roll their kayaks before heading out in the raging waters of Turrialba's main waterways.

Tranquil section of river near Turrialba
Tranquil section of river near Turrialba