Sporty travelers, adventure seekers, and outdoor enthusiasts will find endless active experiences in Costa Rica, a country filled with rainforests, beaches, coral reefs, volcanoes, national parks, waterfalls, rivers, and more—all waiting to be discovered. In Costa Rica, you can rappel into canyons, raft through whitewater rapids, mountain bike near active volcanoes, hike through national parks, surf at world-renowned beaches, snorkel above reefs, zipline through the rainforest, and more!

Getting Oriented

Canyoning (waterfall rappelling) is one of the most popular sports in Costa Rica.

From north to south, east to west, every region in Costa Rica is a haven for adventure seekers, sports enthusiasts, and outdoor-minded travelers. With 28 national parks covering the country—three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites—Costa Rica offers active experiences in its virgin rainforests, intricate network of waterways, and nearly 800 miles of coastline, featuring about 300 beaches. From surfing on the coast to mountain biking under the gaze of a volcano, you can't get bored in Costa Rica!

Some favorite active experiences in the country include cycling and mountain biking, whitewater rafting, birding and wildlife spotting, surfing, and exploring volcanoes and rainforests with kayaking, hiking, and ziplining excursions. 

Water Sports

Of course, you can't go wrong with water sports in Costa Rica, thanks to hundreds of miles of coastline, world-famous beaches, and a network of rivers and waterways stretching across the country.

Kayaking Tortuguero National Park

See the rainforest from a different perspective by kayaking through the Tortuguero canals.

The rainforests of Tortuguero National Park feature a unique network of interconnecting canals, making it one of the few places in Central and South America where you can kayak through the jungle! You'll stick to the Caño Chiquero or Caño Mora, peaceful canals designated for non-motorized boats only. Keep an eye out for nature in action, such as river otters nibbling on crustaceans or manatees chewing on seagrass. Read More

Canyoning in the Cascades of Arenal

Rappel down waterfalls and splash in the pools below.

One of the most popular adventure sports in Costa Rica is waterfall rappelling, also called canyoning. Arenal/La Fortuna is a region known for its beautiful cascades, and you can learn how to rappel down them with a professional. After a scenic hike into the rainforest, you'll strap on a harness, learn a few techniques, and enjoy the adventure. Your expert guides will help you make the most of your experience, whether you're a beginner or seasoned pro. Read More

Surf Lessons at Tamarindo Beach

Learn how to surf on one of the best beaches in Costa Rica.

Tamarindo Beach is one of the best surfing locations in both Costa Rica and Central America, which means it's a perfect place to learn how to surf. With the help of a professional instructor, you'll discover the foundation of the sport (if you're a beginner) or polish your skills (if you're a seasoned surfer). Then, even if it's your first time surfing, you'll be able to stand on your board and ride a few waves! Read More

Whitewater Rafting on the Río Pacuare

Ride some of the best rapids in the world on Río Pacuare.

The Río Pacuare flows 67 miles (107 km) from the Talamanca Mountains to the Caribbean Sea, twisting through a scenic gorge that offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the world. Although you'll tackle thrilling rapids, you'll also enjoy serene moments in nature, where you can spot wildlife, view waterfalls, and swim or drift down the river. Opt for an overnight in an eco-lodge to make the experience even more memorable! Read More

Rainforests & Volcanoes

Two of Costa Rica's biggest draws are its dense, virgin rainforests and active volcanoes. Explore this incredible nature with zip line excursions, hiking adventures, and mountain biking on some of the best trails in the country.

Zip Line in Monteverde

Fly high above the jungle on Latin America's longest zip line.

Ziplining originated in Costa Rica, and Monteverde is home to Latin America's longest zip line, stretching 5,216 feet (1,590 m) through a series of cables. After a scenic hike, you'll strap into the first extension and fly high above treetops, canyons, rolling hills, and lush rainforests. At each stopping point, your guide will point out interesting flora and fauna that rely on the intricate biodiversity of the cloud forest. Read More

Mountain Biking at Lake Arenal

Bike around Costa Rica's largest lake while enjoying views of the Arenal Volcano.

Cycling in Costa Rica is a favorite sport, and you'll quickly understand why after tackling one of the best mountain biking routes in the country. This track takes you around Lake Arenal and through farmland, forests, and across rivers along the base of the Arenal Volcano. As you pedal, keep an eye out for wildlife, such as monkeys, toucans, coatimundis, and more. A highlight of the route is crossing the Caño Negro River by bike! Read More

Corcovado National Park Hike

Hike through a more remote part of Corcovado National Park with an expert guide leading the way.

Set on the Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park is a spectacular swathe of rainforest and pristine coastline covering much of the peninsula. It's home to many unique species, including the endangered giant anteater, harpy eagle, tapir, jaguar, and puma. After a boat ride down the peninsula's western shore, you'll start your hike into the dense rainforest. Along the way, enjoy spotting wildlife, relaxing on the beautiful beach, and swimming in waterfall pools. Read More

How to Craft the Perfect Active Itinerary in Costa Rica

Learning to surf tops the list of active experiences in Costa Rica.

Regardless of where you plan to go in the country, in which season you visit, or how many days you spend in Costa Rica, adding active experiences into your itinerary is an easy task. Even if you're planning a honeymoon in Costa Rica or have your eye on a luxury escape to the country, you can still easily tack on outdoor excursions. In fact, it would be more challenging not to enjoy active experiences while in Costa Rica!

Some travelers prefer to visit numerous regions under one theme, such as hiking, visiting national parks, surfing, or cycling. Others like to combine activities and stick to one or two areas. Regardless of what you choose, nearly every region in the country offers an assortment of exciting activities. For example, you'll find plenty of active experiences in Arenal/La Fortuna and endless active excursions in Manuel Antonio. But you can also explore regions like the Osa Peninsula, Tortuguero, Monteverde, Tamarindo, and more!

Some popular regional combinations include: Osa Peninsula, Manuel Antonio, & San Jose; Talamanca, Tortuguero, & San Jose; Nicoya Peninsula, Monteverde, & Arenal/La Fortuna; or Monteverde, Arenal/La Fortuna, Tamarindo, & Nicoya Peninsula.

Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include active experiences in Costa Rica: