The most memorable places of Costa Rica
Adventure is one of the main reasons why people visit Costa Rica. With an abundance of natural attractions, it’s easy to put together an action-packed itinerary. Not to mention, Costa Rica is a pretty small country and everything is close by, so you can be walking through cloud forests one day and shark diving the next. Here are the top ten adventures in Costa Rica. They all offer an unforgettable experience and leave a lot of positive emotions!
Ziplining Ziplining is the most must-do activity in Costa Rica because it is known as the birthplace of the first zipline. You can find zipline tours all over the country, but the best ones are in Monteverde and Arenal because of the beautiful forests and rich nature. The sensation of descending over a 2 kilometers long jungle is inexpressible. On some ziplines you can fly in pairs, like superman, upside down and in other fun ways. You can even fly a zipline at night! Every tour is different, and it’s always a memorable day. If you’re not quite sure about tying yourself to a rope and flying through the trees, we recommend getting over yourself and doing it after all. You will be left with an indescribable experience. Some of the most extreme ziplines in Costa Rica are Diamante Eco Adventure Park.
Canyoning (waterfall rappelling) This activity requires a little courage. The most popular place to do this is La Fortuna / Arenal, where you jump off a waterfall up to 200 feet high in the middle of an unspoiled Costa Rican forest. It’s more thrilling than ziplining in the sense that it takes a little effort, and the guides love to enthusiastically swing you under the waterfalls. One of our friends said that canyoning “changed her life,” and after we tried it ourselves, we knew what she meant. The best thing about adventure activities in Costa Rica is that they break down barriers and make you feel free, almost invincible! Some places that offer canyoning tours are Monteverde, Jaco and Turrialba. However, Arenal is the most popular because it has the highest waterfalls!
Rafting If you love outdoor adventure, you must take up rafting. White water rafting is an excellent way to test yourself and see the beauty of Costa Rica as you float down rivers surrounded by lush flora and fauna. There are many rivers to whitewater raft from Class I to V rapids, so depending on how much you want to paddle that day, you can choose to whitewater raft for a casual vacation or an active one. Get ready to twist, turn and get wet, but most importantly, have one of the most exciting days of your trip! Some popular rivers – Pacuare considered some of the best in the world for rafting are the Balsa, Sarapiqui and Savegre.
Boat trip For those visiting the coast, boating is a must. The Pacific and Caribbean coasts are full of fabulous places to relax on the beach, snorkel or just hang out. You can also see marine animals like humpback whales, dolphins and fish. This is one of the things we always do with friends and family. We always have a fun day on the boat and visit the many hidden beaches in Guanacaste. If you are visiting Papagayo Bay, we highly recommend a private boat ride for the best experience. Companies arrange boat tours to Playas del Coco, where you can go snorkeling, beach hiking, fishing and surfing.
Exploring Waterfalls There are hundreds of waterfalls in Costa Rica, and visiting one is always a highlight of any trip. One of the best waterfalls for this is Nahuaca Falls in the South Pacific. It’s a 4 -kilometer hike through the jungle, but it’s worth it! Catarata Llanos de Cortez is another of our favorites in Guanacaste. You can visit most of the waterfalls on your own if you have rented a car. If not, you can book a waterfall tour. This is only in the Jaco, Manuel Antonio and Uvita area with tour companies like Paddle 9, Jaco Waterfall and Rancho Di’Andrew. These tours are terrific because they take you to waterfalls that you usually can’t visit on your own because they are either privately owned or require 4×4 vehicles.
Surfing World-class surfing can be found everywhere in Costa Rica. The warm waters, friendly locals, and empty beaches make it a more enjoyable place for beginners. People from all over the world come to Costa Rica with one goal in mind: to catch as many waves as possible. Some of the best beaches are Jaco, Hermosa, Tamarindo, Guiones, Avellanas, Santa Teresa, Pavones and Grande. However, there are many beaches with big waves that are not as popular. Some of them are Playa Esterillos Oeste, Playa Espadilla Norte, Cabo Matapalo, Negra, Langosta, Marbella, Oscional and Cocles.
Hiking In general, hiking in Costa Rica is fairly relaxed. Most hikes in Costa Rica do not lead to spectacular panoramic views, but rather to waterfalls, a hill, or rivers. Some of the more “epic” volcano hikes are Barva or Chirripo. In general, most hikes are through rainforests, along the beach or jungle. We’ve done several hikes in Costa Rica and especially loved the hikes in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserves, Manuel Antonio National Park and Rincon de la Vieja National Park. All of the hikes were uncomplicated and super beautiful over fairly flat terrain.
Snorkeling or Scuba Diving No visit to the beaches of Costa Rica is without snorkeling. You’ll see lots of colorful tropical fish and coral reefs. If you are lucky, you may see turtles, stingrays, and mantas. Scuba diving (snorkeling) in Costa Rica is world class, you have the opportunity to see lots of fish and coral. The best places for snorkeling are Cano Island, Papagayo Bay and Cahuita National Park. But if you have a scuba diving certificate, Costa Rica has great scuba diving and you can swim with hammerhead sharks, turtles and manta rays. Great places to snorkel are Cocos Islands, Cano Island, Bath Islands, and Catalinas Islands.
Wildlife Watching Wildlife in Costa Rica is incredible, as the country carries 5% of the world’s biodiversity. People always want to see some animals in the wild, and they are never disappointed. You can often hear monkeys howling, see ara parrots flying by, and spot an iguana crossing the road. In Corcovado National Park you can see tapirs, cougars, monkeys and more. This is one of the most biologically diverse places on earth! We highly recommend taking a tour and hiring a guide to see the wildlife, as the guides have trained eyes and know how to spot every animal and insect.