Best Things to do in Costa Rica

Unique things to do, curated by kimkim specialists
Rio Celeste Waterfall
Map of Best Waterfall Hikes in Costa Rica
Best Waterfall Hikes in Costa Rica

With ample mountains and rainforests, Costa Rica’s fortunate topography is a breeding ground for rivers and streams that turn into rushing waterfalls. Climbing these picturesque cascades will reward you with stunning views from the top and refreshing pools below. (In other words, pack a swimsuit and towel.) Here’s a list of the country’s best waterfall hikes ranging in difficulty for young and old alike.

Best Hot Springs in Costa Rica
Map of Best Hot Springs in Costa Rica
Best Hot Springs in Costa Rica

As a result of Costa Rica’s volcanoes and their geothermal activity, the country has a plethora of natural hot springs. These healing pools are a relaxing place to soak after a day’s worth of adventure activities, but not all of Costa Rica’s volcanoes hold the same praise. We’ve put together a list of the best hot springs near Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, and lesser-known Miravalles.

6 Family-Friendly Activities in San José
6 Family-Friendly Activities in San José

Costa Rica abounds with wildlife and outdoor activities, setting the scene for an ideal family vacation. But you don't need to head straight to the beach—travelers flying into urban San José will find plenty to do with kids upon arrival. Interactive museums, local markets, and more are a great way to spend a day in the city.

Hot Springs in Arenal/La Fortuna
Map of How to Choose the Best Hot Springs in Arenal / La Fortuna
How to Choose the Best Hot Springs in Arenal / La Fortuna

The Arenal/La Fortuna region in Costa Rica offers 12 different thermal pools. Each hot spring has a unique character making it ideal for different travel tastes, from romantic, luxurious, budget-friendly, family-friendly, to adventurous, and more. Whether you're looking for peace and relaxation or hot springs with exciting waterslides, our list has them all.

Costa Rica's surf spots draw surfers from around the world
Map of Best Water Activities in Costa Rica
Best Water Activities in Costa Rica

Costa Rica certainly lives up to its name (literally 'Rich Coast'), blessed as it is with miles of beaches on both its Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The country has long recognized the value of preserving its stunning environmental assets, making this relatively diminutive nation a leader in conservation. As one of the happy consequences, Costa Rica's rivers, lakes, and seas provide abundant opportunity for endless outdoor adventures.

Ready to hit the waves?
Best Adventure Activities in Costa Rica

More than a quarter of Costa Rica’s total area is made up of national parks and protected rainforests making it a popular travel destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Below, we’ve put together a list of adventure activities to consider when visiting the nation of “pura vida” (pure life).

Costa Rica's beautiful scenery
Top Nature Experiences in Costa Rica

With 28 national parks, nearly 800 miles of coastline, over 300 beaches, and more than half of its land covered in forests, Costa Rica's nature excursions are its biggest draw. Spend your time trekking through rainforests, hiking along hardened lava flows, finding blue-hued waterfalls deep in the jungle, boating along rivers, snorkeling above reefs, spotting wildlife, and kayaking or canoeing in national parks.

Nicoya Peninsula
Best Things to Do on the Nicoya Peninsula

Known for world-class surfing, the Nicoya Peninsula is home to some of the best stretches of coastline for catching waves. But if you're not a surfer, you can still enjoy these idyllic beaches with horseback riding, relaxation, or stand-up paddleboarding. Then take your adventures inland to kayak through the mangroves, explore the jungles, and visit Costa Rica's famed Macaw Recovery Network, which is responsible for releasing over 200 of the colorful birds back into the wild.

Leatherback turtle
The Best Turtle Nesting & Hatching Experiences in Costa Rica

One of the most popular experiences in Costa Rica is observing the mighty sea turtles. For thousands of years, several turtle species have used Costa Rican beaches to safely lay their eggs, with each turtle laying roughly 60 to 100 eggs at a time. About two months later, baby turtles wriggle out of the sand and make their way to the surf. Two of the best places to observe nesting and hatching are Guanacaste and Tortuguero, and kimkim provides details on which tours to choose.

Wildlife of Arenal
Top Wildlife Experiences in Arenal/La Fortuna

Packed with dense rainforests, national parks, nature preserves, rivers, and rehabilitation centers, Arenal/La Fortuna is an excellent choice for wildlife experiences in Costa Rica. Take advantage of the forests with wildlife hikes and birding excursions—some by day and some by night—plus visit butterfly gardens and wildlife refuges and learn more about local conservation efforts. Enjoy animals on the water, too, with boat and kayaking experiences.

Beaches of Puerto Viejo
Ultimate Guide to Puerto Viejo Beaches

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a beautiful stretch of coastline along the southern edge of Costa Rica and near the border with Panama. Though many travelers stick to the country's Pacific side for beaches, Puerto Viejo is the prime destination on the Caribbean side. You'll find gentle beaches protected by vibrant coral reefs—perfect for snorkeling and swimming—next to some of the best waves in the region, attracting surfers from around the world. Whether you want an adventure or a relaxing getaway, we've rounded up the best beaches in Puerto Viejo.

Monteverde Cloud Forest
Best Things to Do in Monteverde

Monteverde's Cloud Forests are certainly the area's highlights, but many visitors are surprised to discover there's more than one. Plus, you can experience these misty jungle and wildlife hubs in many different ways. Besides hiking through the forests, opt to visit the unique ecosystems via Latin America's longest zip line, on horseback, or with nighttime wildlife excursions. Monteverde is also a birding paradise and home to coffee, chocolate, and sugar cane farms.

Colorful wildlife of Costa Rica
Top Wildlife Experiences in Costa Rica

As a world leader in eco-tourism and wildlife conservation, Costa Rica is known for its abundance of wildlife. With half of the country covered in forests, an intricate network of waterways, and nearly endless coastline, wildlife spotting alone draws travelers to Costa Rica. You can spot beloved sloths, monkeys, and frogs in the rainforest, watch turtles nest on the beaches, go birding in national parks, explore the jungles by night, and visit wildlife rehabilitation centers.

Gulf of Papagayo
Best Things to Do in the Gulf of Papagayo

Enjoy the incredible scenery of Costa Rica's Gulf of Papagayo, a large stretch of coastline offering some of the best beaches in the country. Set along the Guanacaste region, you can enjoy water sports, including sailing, paddling, and snorkeling, or watch the famous Pacific green turtles nest on the beach at night. Explore natural parks with adventures like hiking, horseback riding, and soaking in hot springs, or view some of Costa Rica's most beloved wildlife, such as monkeys and sloths.

Sunset on Tamarindo Bay
Best Things to Do in Tamarindo

Set in Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo is a dreamy coastal escape with long white-sand beaches known worldwide for surfing. It's idyllic for relaxing and offers several adventures, including snorkeling or diving in the nearby Catalina Islands, boating through the famed Tamarindo Estuary, and exploring dense wetlands teeming with wildlife. To make your visit a bit more cultural, try visiting a traditional hacienda and learn the secrets behind the region's rum-making techniques.

San José from above
Top Cultural Experiences in Costa Rica

From vibrant cities to humble artisanal villages, protected jungles to stretches of farmland, and sweet chocolate to rich rum, Costa Rica is a country full of cultural experiences. You can enjoy cooking classes to discover traditional recipes; learn how farmers grow and process important exports like coffee, chocolate, and sugar cane; visit hamlets known for artisan crafts; or tour museums and beloved neighborhoods in the heart of San José.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Best Things to Do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Set your sights on Costa Rica's southern Caribbean coast, where you'll find coral reefs, white-sand beaches, rainforests, and agricultural lands. From active excursions to cultural experiences, you can snorkel in the sea, hike through jungles, spot wildlife, trek to waterfalls, explore the history of cacao, and learn how to surf at one of the world's most legendary wave breaks, all in one compact area.

The beauty of Arenal
Best Things to Do in Arenal/La Fortuna

Explore La Fortuna, a small town in Costa Rica's Arenal area, set at the base of the country's most popular volcano. Its surrounding region offers some of the best hiking, zip-lining, canyoneering, and wildlife spotting in the country. You can hike atop lava fields and through rainforests, discover electric-blue waterfalls, and spot critters like sloths and monkeys. Get your adrenaline pumping with white-water rafting or walking the Arenal Hanging Bridges. Then, dive into the area's culture with a visit to an organic coffee farm or soak in a hot spring.

The natural beauty of the Osa Peninsula
Best Things to Do on the Osa Peninsula

Home to one of the largest rainforests in Central America (widely protected by Corcovado National Park), the Osa Peninsula is the wildlife and hiking jewel of Costa Rica. Dubbed "the most biologically dense place on Earth," you can see much of the country's famed wildlife by hiking through the jungle and watching whales and dolphins in Drake Bay. Then, take your adventures to the next level by surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving at Cape Matapalo and Isla del Caño Biological Reserve.

Manuel Antonio
Top Active Experiences in Manuel Antonio

Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio region packs a lot of activity into one small area. It's a dream location for active travelers and adventure seekers, as you can combine coastal water sports with land-based excursions. Enjoy surfing at Playa Scull, scuba diving, kayaking, and snorkeling, all in one place. Then, take your adventures inland for activities like whitewater rafting, nature hikes, and horseback riding through the rainforests.

Hiking in Costa Rica
Top Family Experiences in Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers adventures suitable for all ages, making it an excellent choice for a family vacation. Kids and adults alike love spotting wildlife, ziplining through cloud forests, learning how to surf, touring organic farms, and much more. The unique experiences you can enjoy in Costa Rica—a country leading the world in eco-tourism and wildlife conservation—will leave a lasting impression on the entire family for years to come.

Manuel Antonio
Best Things to Do in Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio attracts visitors across the globe for several reasons: pristine beaches, a rainforest that stretches down the coast, and an abundance of wildlife. With the scenic Manuel Antonio National Park as the backdrop, you can visit wildlife sanctuaries, discover organic spice farms, enjoy trekking excursions, take boats on rivers and through estuaries, plus kayak and snorkel in the ocean. End your stay with a sunset catamaran cruise or a surf lesson at one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica!

Arenal/La Fortuna
Top Active Experiences in Arenal/La Fortuna

Thanks to its array of recreational opportunities, outdoor enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and those who prefer active vacations all make their way to Costa Rica's Arenal/La Fortuna region. Enjoy lively excursions with unique twists, such as trekking to aquamarine lagoons, rappelling down waterfalls, hiking along hanging bridges suspended in the air, or standup paddleboarding, biking, and horseback riding at the base of a volcano.

Beautiful beaches of Tortuguero
Best Things to Do in Tortuguero

Tortuguero sits on the northeast coast of Costa Rica on a rainforest-covered sandbar. This unique environment combines two of the country's biggest draws: powdery beaches and lush jungles. Tortuguero is also home to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, making it an ideal place to watch turtles nest and hatch. Explore the area's rich history and biodiversity with kayaking, boating, and hiking, all of which offer opportunities to see Tortuguero's famed wildlife.

Manuel Antonio
Top Nature Experiences in Manuel Antonio

It's no surprise that many nature enthusiasts make their way to Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio region. Located on the central coast, you get a little bit of everything here: white-sand ocean beaches, lush rainforests, mangrove estuaries, islands, nature parks, waterfalls, and more. Discover Manuel Antonio's nature with hiking, boat tours, snorkeling, wildlife safaris, and more.

Hiking in the Rainforest
Top Active Experiences in Costa Rica

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!

Costa Rica Experiences

The waterfall at Río Celeste
Explore Río Celeste in Arenal/La Fortuna

The Rio Celeste river sits inside Tenorio Volcano National Park and is one of Costa Rica's most beautiful and mysterious natural places. According to local legend, after God finished painting the sky, He washed the paintbrushes in this river; hence the name—Rio Celeste means "river of the sky."...

Brave the whitewater on Río Pacuare
Río Pacuare Whitewater Rafting

Located along Costa Rica's Caribbean slope near Turrialba is a deep gorge considered one of the best river-rafting sites in the world. The Río Pacuare runs 67 miles (107 km) from the Talamanca Mountains to the Caribbean in the southwest of the country. Along the way, it passes through some of the...

Waterfall Hike in Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Enjoy a scenic hike through the Rincón de la Vieja National Park along the famed Las Pailas trail.  Las Pailas, which means "the cauldrons" in Spanish, offers great vantage points of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and opportunities for wildlife viewing.You'll take the Las Pailas loop trail, which...

Sea Kayaking & Snorkeling at Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park may be one of the smallest protected areas in Costa Rica (just 7.66 square miles), but it's one of the most popular. A favorite wedding site and destination for honeymooners, it's also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Moreover, the area is...

The mineral-rich, thermal waters of Tabacón Hot Springs
Tabacón Hot Springs in Arenal/La Fortuna

Relax at Costa Rica's most extensive network of naturally flowing thermal mineral springs, beautifully nestled in Arenal's largest private rainforest reserve. There are five main spring sources to enjoy, all highly mineralized and heated underground by the Arenal Volcano. Every minute, thousands...

The sea turtle, a magnificent and regal creature
Snorkeling & Scuba Diving at Isla del Caño

The Caño Island Biological Reserve (Isla del Caño) is a protected marine area just off the northern tip of the Osa Peninsula, next to Bahía Drake and not far from Manuel Antonio. There isn't much wildlife on the island itself, but it's a different story under the water.  The reserve is home to an...

Zip-line fun
Sky Adventures Park in Monteverde

Sky Adventures Monteverde Park is an aerial amusement park that raises jungle excitement to the next level. Located within the 40-square-mile (102-square-km) Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, its Sky Tram network of gondolas transports visitors from one adrenaline-pumping activity to another. The...

Turtle Nesting & Hatching in Tortuguero National Park

Unlike many national parks in Costa Rica, Tortuguero National Park is unique in that it almost exclusively revolves around the water. And the best way to explore this 120-mile (312-square-km) protected area is by hopping in a canoe and navigating the network of arterial waterways that snake...

Canyoning down the waterfall
Canyoning in the Lost Canyon

Go waterfall rappelling, also known as canyoning, in the jungle. This activity is one of the most popular adventure sports in Costa Rica. In a canyon in the heart of the rainforest, your guide will provide brief safety instructions and outfit you with a harness. You'll then rappel down the side...

Pacific Green Turtle Nesting in the Gulf of Papagayo

One of the most unique experiences in Costa Rica is witnessing hundreds of green sea turtles coming onshore to lay their eggs! But, of course, you can do this only at nighttime when the mothers dig their nests during the summer months. With the help of knowledgeable local guides, you'll make your...

Arenal Volcano Hike

If you've ever wanted to hike near a volcano, this experience is for you! Set in Arenal Volcano National Park, you'll enjoy a moderate two-hour hike along a trail that takes you over hardened remnants of a lava flow from 1968—the year of Arenal's last major eruption. The event was so catastrophic...

Hike Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is one of Costa Rica's ecological jewels. Known as the "green lung of Costa Rica" due to its rich biodiversity, this 26,000-acre reserve is located high in the mountainous northwest region of the country. The views of the misty cloud forest here will make you...

Kayaking in Tamarindo Estuary

Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse nations on the planet, and there are few better places to experience an abundance of its wildlife than Tamarindo Estuary. Adjacent to Tamarindo town, between Tamarindo Beach and Playa Grande, the Tamarindo River meets the Pacific and creates this diverse...

Prepare for a jungle cruise
Palo Verde Boat Tour & Guaitil Artisan Village

If you're an avid birder and/or wildlife enthusiast, then you'll surely love Palo Verde National Park. Here, you can embark on a boat trip down the Tempisque River, where white-faced capuchin monkeys swing from the tree branches, and caimans and the occasional crocodile patrol the waters. In...

Boat Tour & Rum Tasting at Hacienda El Viejo in Guanacaste

Enjoy a visit to a family-owned hacienda (or ranch) just northeast of Tamarindo Bay, where you'll explore private wetlands teeming with wildlife and learn about the Guanacaste region's culture and traditions. Upon arrival, the family will welcome you with a spread of tropical fruits in their...

Tour the Monteverde Cloud Forest on horseback
Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve Hike

The Santa Elena Cloud Forest is one of those rare places that make you feel like you've found an undiscovered treasure! While the nearby Monteverde Reserve is on the "must-see" list of most travelers to Costa Rica, the Santa Elena Reserve offers the opportunity to take in this rare ecosystem...

Whitewater Rafting on the Balsa River

Embark on an adrenaline-pumping whitewater rafting adventure down the Río Balsa. You'll transfer from La Fortuna to the put-in spot on the river, where you'll receive safety instructions and get outfitted with a helmet and life vest. Then push off into the current and start paddling through...

Zip Line in Monteverde

Experience an adrenaline-pumping zipline in the very country where the activity was invented! At 100% Aventura Adventure Park, you'll start by ascending hundreds of feet above the jungle canopy via a network of trails and suspension bridges. The exotic flora and fauna of the region will be on...

Sloth in a tree
Sloth & Bird Hike in Arenal/La Fortuna

Hike along the Arenal/La Fortuna's famous "sloth trail," a 1.2-mile (2-km) nature path that runs through 50 acres of tropical forest. The track is so named because the area is a haven for sloths (both two-toed and three-toed) who hang on the branches of the cecropia trees and feed on their bright...

The forests of Costa Rica
Werner Sauter Biological Reserve Hike in Sámara

Close to Playa Sámara on Costa Rica's famed Nicoya Peninsula are the paths that twist and turn through the Werner Sauter Biological Reserve. Although set in a popular location with trails that lead you on extraordinary rainforest hiking adventures, the reserve is still relatively unknown.Werner...

The center was named after a baby jaguar
Jaguar Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

One of the most rewarding tours you can take in Costa Rica is at the Jaguar Rescue Center, located about 4 miles from the center of Puerto Viejo, a popular surf village on Costa Rica's southern Caribbean coast. The center is a home and rehabilitation facility for ill, injured, and orphaned...

Proyecto Asis Rescue Center in Arenal

The Proyecto Asis is a rehabilitation and rescue center for local animals in the Arenal region of Costa Rica. The tour, led by a naturalist guide, begins with a brief introduction to the center, followed by a walk along the trails around the reserve, stopping by each animal enclosure to learn...

Snorkeling Tour at Catalina Islands

If you're looking for some of the best diving in Costa Rica, look no further than offshore Playa Flamingo, located in Guanacaste Province. On a boat tour, you'll visit two snorkeling spots that are part of the Catalina Islands, a chain of 20 volcanic islets located eight miles offshore of the...

Santa Elena Birdwatching & Jungle Hike

The Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve is a 766-acre protected area and is home to hundreds of exotic birds, including the resplendent quetzal, hummingbird, black guan, toucanet, and more. You can also see mammals like howler monkeys, agoutis, coatimundis, tapirs, and pumas. Enjoy a birding and...

Maybe opt for a kayak tour around the Guanacaste coast
Punta Uva Kayaking & Rainforest Hiking in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Hike in the rainforest and kayak at one of the most beautiful beaches on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, Punta Uva. This quiet beach is known for its calm reef-protected water and white sand—perfect for kayaking!During this excursion, you'll enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean side of Costa Rica,...

Beautiful vistas of the Tortuguero region open up from the top of Cerro Tortuguero
Hiking Cerro Tortuguero

Cerro Tortuguero is arguably the Tortuguero region's highlight: a stunning and rare perspective of the surrounding jungle threaded by waterways, plus aerial views of the colorful community of Tortuguero. Most of the scenery on this hike today falls within the Barra del Colorado Refuge. This...

Organic Chocolate Tour in Arenal/La Fortuna

In this hands-on chocolate tour, you’ll learn about the origin, history, and production of one of Costa Rica's most famous exports: chocolate. While still in their pods, cacao beans are covered in a delicious fruity pulp that you can snack on before the beans are roasted—a tasty treat!You'll...

Farm in the Monteverde Coffee Tour
Coffee, Chocolate, & Sugar Cane Tour in Monteverde

This culinary adventure takes place in Monteverde, starting with an introduction to the history of coffee in Costa Rica, including its cultural and economic importance. In the process, you'll examine the life cycle of a coffee plant from seed to plant to fruit. You'll learn how farmers pick...

Sunset Catamaran Cruise & Snorkeling in Manuel Antonio

Embark on a catamaran sailing tour that culminates with a front-row seat to a gorgeous sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Your friendly crew will show you any wildlife and vegetation as you admire the islands, cliffs, and other natural formations from the boat. You're likely to see spotted dolphins,...

Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park Nature Hike

Discover the natural beauty of the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park on a hike with an expert guide. While trekking the two-mile (3.2-km) trail, keep your eyes open for monkeys, sloths, birds, reptiles, and butterflies in the wild. The path through the lush rainforest leads you to the...

Lookout for toucans on the banks of the Río Pacuare
Kids Saving the Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary in Manuel Antonio

Kids Saving the Rainforest is a non-profit organization based in Quepos, the gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park. The sanctuary rescues over 100 animals each year, with the primary goal of rehabilitating and releasing them back into the wild. The organization has a deeply-rooted passion for...

Coffee & Sloths at Toucan Rescue Ranch in San José

Just a 30-minute drive from downtown San José, the Toucan Rescue Ranch offers a unique opportunity to escape the fast-paced city and encounter Costa Rica's fascinating wildlife. Upon arrival at the center, you'll spend a few hours enjoying adorable sloths and delicious coffee on this two-for-one...

EcoTermales Hot Springs & Meal in Arenal/La Fortuna

Combine a relaxing soak in one of Arenal/La Fortuna's most natural hot springs with a delicious meal. EcoTermales Hot Springs Resort features six thermal pools ranging from 90°F to 106° F (32°C to 41° C), as well as cool water pools and a waterfall. The thermal pools are surrounded by lush forest...

Boat Tour of Damas Island in Manuel Antonio

Explore the Damas Island Estuary and mangrove ecosystem on one of the area's most popular tours. The mangroves' underwater root system acts as a nursery for thousands of fish and crustaceans, harboring hundreds of unique species of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. You'll weave your way...

Hike over the treetops
Arenal Hanging Bridges & The Springs Hot Springs

Combine walking over the jungle's treetops with a soothing soak in a thermal pool. You'll start the day exploring the jungle canopy using Arenal's famous hanging bridges. You'll wander along well-marked trails that lead you over suspension bridges high above the treetops—some that are hundreds of...

Snorkeling in Cahuita National Park
Snorkeling & Hiking in Cahuita National Park

Enjoy a snorkeling and hiking excursion in Cahuita National Park, where you'll start with a boat ride to a famous snorkeling spot just offshore. Here, you'll enjoy two hours exploring the underwater world of the park, where colorful aquatic creatures, like tropical fish, stingrays, octopus, and...

Leatherback turtle hatchling
Leatherback Turtle Nesting Experience in Tamarindo

On this excursion, you'll head to the Las Baulas National Marine Park in Playa Grande, where the leatherback turtles have returned to lay their eggs for thousands of years. Leatherback turtles are the largest marine turtles in the world, weighing up to 2,000 pounds and growing up to eight feet...

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca Chocolate Factory & Waterfall Hike

Explore one of Costa Rica's most popular exports with a visit to an organic chocolate factory in the nearby community of Uatsi, just 11 miles (17.75 kilometers) west of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca near the border of Panama. Local farmers grow cacao (cocoa plants) and produce chocolate right...

You might spot a sloth on the trail
Sloth Observation - Day or Night Walk

See sloths in their natural habitat on this family-friendly excursion! During this tour in a private nature reserve, you'll not only have the opportunity to view these slow-moving creatures hanging out in the trees, but you'll also learn all about the sloth's lifestyle, the history of the...

Night Hike in the Children's Eternal Forest

Monteverde is known for its protected natural areas that include various ecosystems, including drenched cloud forests and the dry forests of the Pacific. This diverse environment gives life to an abundance of wildlife, and night hikes are a great way to see all of the animals and creatures that...

Great Green Macaw
Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge Hike in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Encircling a wild headland in the far southeast of Costa Rica, the Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge is a diverse and exceptionally beautiful destination: an expanse of white-sand beaches, coral reefs, and untouched rainforest. Enjoy a hike in this special place, where an abundance of wildlife thrives....

Hike at Corcovado
Hike in Corcovado National Park

Starting at Agujitas Beach on Drake Bay, enjoy a dual adventure by boat and foot to explore an interesting and remote part of Corcovado National Park. The park, a spectacular swathe of rainforest and pristine coastline covering much of the Osa Peninsula, is home to many unique species, including...

Arenal Volcano Hiking Tour & Baldi Hot Springs with Lunch

Discover the La Fortuna area with a hike around Arenal Volcano and other nearby nature reserves. The trails in the area are generally moderate, offering leisurely and informative strolls with a naturalist guide. This hike starts at the entrance of the 1968 Trail, where you can read up on the...

Ride bikes to the beach
Discover Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by Bike

Discover the town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by cycling through the streets and surrounding areas, exploring the local landmarks, restaurants, and nightlife. Along the way, you'll get insider tips on the best places to try regional cuisine and where to dance the night away or listen to live...

Try some surfing in Manuel Antonio
Cabo Matapalo Surf Lesson on the Osa Peninsula

Costa Rica has garnered a great reputation in recent years for its superb surfing, so why not hit the surf yourself at a spot known only to a handful of surfers?Your destination is Cabo Matapalo on the Osa Peninsula, a 5-mile (8-km) stretch of tawny sand with crashing surf and an...

National Theater of Costa Rica
San José City Tour

Although travelers visit Costa Rica for its wildlife and outdoor recreation, the country's capital city is worth a bit of exploration. Even if you only have 24 hours in San José, you can see a surprising amount of the city. Start on the east side of San José and stop to admire landmarks, such as...

Keep an eye out for whales on the trip
Whale & Dolphin Tour in Drake Bay

On the far side of the Osa Peninsula, you'll find one of the planet's most biologically intense places along the secluded and sandy curve of Drake Bay. In these unspoiled waters, enjoy a boat trip as your captain searches for several species of whales and dolphins. The bay is infamous as one of...

Kayak through the mangrove forests of Boca Nosara
Wildlife & Birding Kayak Tour on the Nicoya Peninsula

The Río Nosara and the Río Montana are the two largest rivers in the Nosara region on the Nicoya Peninsula. Where these waterways converge, they meet at the Boca Nosara river mouth, an area of great natural beauty. You'll find expansive mangrove forests home to various waterbirds here, including...

The colorful yet lethal poison dart frog
Ecocentro Danaus Nighttime Rainforest Walk

Experience the rainforest after dark on this unique guided excursion to Ecocentro Danaus, a private ecological reserve near La Fortuna. As the sun goes down, you'll venture into the jungle, exploring this haven for plants, insects, reptiles, and other nocturnal animals. Highlights your guide will...

Macaws are rehabilitated here as well
Macaw Rescue & Breeding Center on the Nicoya Peninsula

Just south of Playa Carrillo lies Punta Islita, home to the Macaw Recovery Network. The network is a conservation organization dedicated to the survival of Costa Rica's native macaws. Thanks to their efforts, although the scarlet macaw had previously gone extinct in this area, the birds are now...

Kayaking Tortuguero National Park

There's something mystical about the system of waterways in Tortuguero National Park. Here, in this fascinating highlight of Costa Rica's Caribbean seaboard, exists an incredible network of interconnecting canals that make the park one of the best places in the country to kayak through the...

Sunset Catamaran Sail in the Gulf of Papagayo

This catamaran sailing excursion glides through the Gulf of Papagayo, departing at the beautiful Playas del Coco. Here, you'll board the catamaran and begin silently gliding along the Golden Coast, past exotic bays, white sand beaches, and tropical jungles. Enjoy amazing views of Costa Rica's...

Canoeing the Tortuguero National Park Canals

Canoeing the Tortuguero canals is a unique experience, as the area boasts one of the world's most important sea turtle nesting sites. In addition, Tortuguero National Park offers a swathe of mysterious rainforest laced by a network of intricate waterways. This very family-friendly tour departs...

Standup Paddleboarding on Lake Arenal

Lake Arenal is Costa Rica's largest inland body of water, and the best way to explore it is on a standup paddleboarding (SUP) adventure! The lake's calm waters and beautiful scenery make it perfect for SUP beginners and experienced boarders alike. So, whether it's your first time on a paddleboard...

Tortuguero National Park Night Hike

As the day draws to a close, nocturnal animals and insects wake up, utterly transforming the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of Costa Rica's jungles. This transformation is spellbinding to behold, making a night hike near Tortuguero National Park a magical experience.This excursion starts with a...

Paradise Hot Springs (Photo courtesy of Paradise Hot Springs)
Paradise Hot Springs & Meal in Arenal/La Fortuna

Today you can enjoy a visit to Paradise Hot Springs and combine your soothing soak with a delicious meal. Relax in the natural hot spring pools and jacuzzis that vary in temperature from 95ºF to 104ºF (35ºC  to 41ºC) and offer hydromassage focused on the back, legs, and feet. The property also...

Surf Lessons at Salsa Brava in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Salsa Brava is one of the Caribbean's most legendary surf breaks, and experts generally consider it Costa Rica's best area for surfing. Learn the sport with the help of a private instructor on the colorful shores of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca at the southern end of Costa Rica's Caribbean...

Arenal Hanging Bridges
Arenal Hanging Bridges Guided Walk

Explore the thrilling Arenal Hanging Bridges on this popular excursion. The trail system, located inside a rainforest reserve, features suspension bridges that take you high above the treetops before treating you to a once-in-a-lifetime view of Arenal Volcano. Venturing along these spectacular...

Learn just how diverse Costa Rican cuisine can be
Traditional Cooking Class & Dinner in Arenal/La Fortuna

You can easily identify a culture through its gastronomy, and Costa Rica is no exception! Contrary to popular belief, Costa Rican cuisine is so much more than just rice, beans, and chicken, and you'll discover this truth with a cooking class and traditional dinner in the Arenal/La Fortuna region....

Kayak & Snorkel in Tamarindo Bay

When travelers picture a dreamy Central American beach, they often think of a setting very similar to Tamarindo: long, fluffy sand beaches, epic surf, and a balmy and unspoiled vibe, all highlighted by pristine coastal nature. Experience this beautiful seascape for yourself in the best way...

Do some dolphin spotting in a marine reserve
Catamaran Wildlife Safari & Snorkeling on Nicoya Peninsula

On the Pacific side of Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula sits the two scenic towns of Nosara and Sámara. From either place, hop aboard a catamaran to explore the region's inviting blue ocean. You'll get the chance to see dolphins and whales, plus enjoy time snorkeling.Home to cavorting bottlenose and...

sky tram
Sky Tram, Sky Trek, & Sky Walk in Arenal/La Fortuna

Enjoy a bird's-eye view of Costa Rica while on the sky tram and skywalk in Arenal/La Fortuna. You'll begin with a relaxing and scenic ride up a mountain by open-air gondola. The panoramic views expand the higher you rise, and when you reach the top observation platform, you'll have 360° views of...

Hiking trail in Arenal National Park
Hike in Arenal 1968 Private Reserve

Explore the surroundings of Arenal Volcano from within the Arenal 1968 Private Reserve and other nearby nature reserves. The trails in the area are generally not strenuous—perfect for a leisurely and informative hike with a naturalist guide.The well-maintained trails skirt the base of the Arenal...

Whitewater Rafting on the Sarapiquí River

This thrilling day trip is for experienced whitewater rafters only! You'll paddle hard and likely end up in the water several times during this adrenaline-pumping trip down the Sarapiqui River. Your experienced guide will lead the way down a 14-mile (22-km) stretch of river featuring over 40...

Fun for the whole family | Photo taken by William R
Adventures in Rincón de la Vieja National Park

The oh-so scenic Rincón de la Vieja National Park protects 34,000 acres of rainforest, plus two volcanoes, over 30 rivers and streams, and a vast assortment of Costa Rica's outstanding flora and fauna. You'll find numerous trails, waterfalls, and adventures in the park, so why not spend an entire...

Safari Float on the Peñas Blancas River

Float slowly down the wildlife-rich Peñas Blancas River and experience the tranquility of the rainforest on a family-friendly boating excursion. This rafting trip is a golden opportunity to observe many species of wildlife, such as monkeys, sloths, iguanas, turtles, and alligators, as well as...

Birdwatching in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

When avian activity is at a peak in the morning hours, head out into the gorgeous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, one of the most popular protected areas in the entire country for birdwatching. Whether you're an expert or a beginner, this private tour will be tailored to your experience level...

The exotic butterfly garden
Nature Walk at Danaus Ecological Park & Butterfly Garden

Take your Costa Rican adventures further into the tropical rainforest around Arenal/La Fortuna with a nature walk through the Ecological Park & Butterfly Garden Danaus. Conservationists saved this small reserve from exploitation and, thanks to their efforts, it now regenerates naturally. This...

Boat Excursion in Tortuguero National Park

One of the undeniable highlights of Costa Rica's Caribbean coastline is the famous Tortuguero National Park. It's not just one of the world's most important locations for nesting sea turtles, but it also offers a swath of mysterious surrounding rainforest laced by waterways. The best way to...

Organic Spice Farm & Foodie Tour in Manuel Antonio

Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation is in the heart of the rainforest overlooking Manuel Antonio National Park. The plantation includes 27 acres devoted to agricultural production and 125 acres of primary and secondary rainforest. The main crop grown here is vanilla, but the farm also produces...

Tamarindo Mangrove & Estuary Boat Tour

Estuaries play an essential part in nature. They host several tree species, such as mangroves, and are also home to many species of birds and animals. They're also significant natural barriers to help prevent floods and protect coasts and beaches from tropical storms. The Tamarindo Estuary is one...

Traveling down the Corobicí River
Float Down the Corobicí River

On this safari-style tour of the Corobicí River, you'll float for approximately 2 hours on a raft-boat along with a naturalist guide. Enjoy the surrounding scenery as you venture into a unique ecosystem, observing an incredible variety of animals, birds, fish, plants, and more. Keep your eyes...

Horseback Riding in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca occupies a beautiful location on a gorgeous sandy stretch of the Caribbean coast. Enjoy a unique excursion as you ride horses along a nearly deserted tropical beach while the surf crashes on the shore.After getting acquainted with your horse, you'll start with a ride...

Doka Coffee Estates, Poás Volcano, & La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Costa Rica is world-renowned for its superb coffee, and this is your chance to visit a real working coffee plantation to witness the full bean-to-beverage growing and production process. The Doka Estate, set in rolling green countryside just north of the capital, is Costa Rica's largest coffee...

Horseback Riding at the Base of Arenal Volcano

The majestic Arenal Volcano is the stunning setting for this activity: an idyllic horseback riding excursion around the ancient paths of Arenal. First, you'll start at the stables, where your seasoned guide will help you get acquainted with your horse and equipment. From the mountain base, you'll...

Horseback Riding to Nauyaca Waterfalls in Manuel Antonio

One of Costa Rica's most popular pastimes is a classic adventure: horseback riding! Your destination is the Nauyaca Waterfalls near Dominical Beach in Manuel Antonio, an impressive grouping of falls that plunge nearly 150 feet (45 m) into a lagoon that's perfect for swimming.On this five-mile...

Explore Arenal by mountain bike
Mountain Biking at Lake Arenal

Biking in Costa Rica is a favorite pastime and an excellent way to experience the country's amazing natural features, such as rolling green hills, vibrant forests, and adventurous mountain trails. This mountain bike adventure in Arenal/La Fortuna takes you on a path that runs through farmlands,...

Learn to surf in Puerto Viejo
Surf Lesson at Playa Guiones in Nosara

Set on the Nicoya Peninsula in the town of Nosara is Playa Guiones, where you'll find one of the most consistent surf breaks on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. But don't just watch surfers catching waves—join them with a surf lesson!A dedicated professional will cater the experience to your unique...

Surfing in Costa Rica
Surf Lesson at Playa Scull in Manuel Antonio

Discover the art of surfing on one of the most popular beaches on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. With your experienced instructor, you'll learn and practice the basics of surfing on land before heading out to catch your first wave.Surf lessons are held daily in Playa Scull, a beautiful section...

Why not try some surfing, too?
Surf Lessons at Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo is one of Costa Rica's and Central America's prime surfing spots and a destination not to be missed if you're interested in a surf lesson. You'll meet your instructor at Playa Tamarindo and enjoy a one-on-one lesson, allowing you to pick up surf skills much faster. Surfing at Tamarindo...

Try some stand-up paddle boarding
Ocean SUP Tour on the Nicoya Peninsula

Thanks to one of the most consistent breaks in the world, paradisiacal Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula is a popular surfing destination. Luckily, its reputation hasn't stopped its coastline of pristine sandy beaches from remaining delightfully unspoiled. One of the best ways to enjoy this scenic...

Tortuguero Town
History & Culture of Tortuguero Village

Tortuguero is a wildlife haven, and most tours here, understandably, focus on nature. However, don't miss the unique opportunity to learn more about the human inhabitants of this beautiful Caribbean region.This excursion takes you to the community of Tortuguero with a bilingual naturalist guide,...

You can spot red-eyed tree frogs at night
Night Hike in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Almost 80 percent of the wildlife in Monteverde Cloud Forest is nocturnal, so if you're keen on seeing the rich biodiversity of the Monteverde area, a guided night hike is a must. This experience provides the best chance to spot a wide variety of forest inhabitants you won't necessarily find...

The elusive resplendent quetzal
Birdwatching in Arenal Mundo Aventura Park

Get an "early bird" start for this popular bird-watching excursion to Arenal Mundo Aventura Park. There's a good reason for the early wake-up time: the park is home to a stunning variety of birdlife, and most species are at their most active in the morning. Follow a naturalist guide through the...

Boating in Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Spot rare birds, sloths, monkeys, crocodiles, and more on a boat tour around the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge. Located in the far north of the country, nearly a two-hour drive from La Fortuna, this ecologically diverse refuge is home to abundant wildlife. After a drive through the Costa Rican...

Sunrise or Sunset Horseback Ride in Nosara

Enjoy the colorful skies at dawn or dusk with a horseback ride along an unspoiled tropical beach near Nosara on Costa Rica's famed Nicoya Peninsula. Saddle up in the morning when the sun is just rising over the coast or embark during sunset as the sky blazes crimson and orange with the last light...

Cocoa beans
Chocolate Farm Visit and Workshop

In this hands-on chocolate tour, you’ll learn about the origin, history, and production of one of Costa Rica's most famous exports: chocolate. While still in their pods, cacao beans are covered in a delicious fruity pulp that you can snack on before the beans are roasted—a tasty treat!You'll...

Horseback Riding Tour in Monteverde
Horseback Riding in Monteverde

Ride horses through the beautiful surroundings of Monteverde! You can start the experience by helping your guide tack up the horses in the morning. Then, you'll ride along picturesque backroads through Monteverde's agricultural heartland, where commerce and tradition mingle. As you ride, keep...

Jaguar Animal Rescue Center, Chocolate Tour & Waterfall Swim

Spend the day immersing yourself in nature and culture on this varied tour. Start the morning at the Jaguar Animal Rescue Center, which offers shelter, treatment, rehabilitation, and protection to ill or wounded wild animals in the area. The shelter is run by a biologist with many years of...

Reforestation on the Osa Peninsula
Matapalo Birding Hike on the Osa Peninsula

Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula is one of Central America's most wildlife-rich locations, with over 360 bird species recorded here alone. A scenic hike through some of the peninsula's lush nature is the perfect opportunity to bird-watch and catch glimpses of other forest creatures.This hike focuses on...

Sunset birding adventure on the Osa Peninsula
Sunset Birdwatching on the Osa Peninsula

Pair a beautiful Costa Rican sunset with a birdwatching adventure, one of the peak times for avian activity. You'll start as the sun vividly sets over Drake Bay, walking into the wild jungle that covers much of the Osa Peninsula.Your experienced guides will help you to identify the bird species...

Scuba Diving in the Catalina Islands

The Catalina Islands are a group of 20 volcanic islands and rock formations that rise above the ocean surface in front of Flamingo Bay. This unique environmental setting creates an ideal spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Start your excursion at a local dive shop in Playas del Coco. Here,...

Spend a day on the farm
Los Campesinos Farm Experience in Arenal

Learn a bit more about Costa Rica's sustainable farming culture, which uses natural resources while promoting traditional farming practices. The local hosts will welcome you with fresh fruit juice before starting your hands-on farming experience—the first order of the day is learning how to milk...

Osa Peninsula Nighttime Wildlife Tour

When the sun goes down, the wildlife-rich Osa Peninsula comes to life! In fact, the peninsula, which is nearly covered in protected parks and wildlife refuges, is teeming with nocturnal life, including some of the country's most interesting insects and amphibians. This two-hour nocturnal nature...

Trekking Laguna de Hule in Arenal/La Fortuna

Enjoy a scenic hike to one of the most impressive natural highlights of Costa Rica: the volcanic Hule Lagoon. You'll start with a drive to the outskirts of Juan Castro Blanco National Park to reach the trailhead. Then, trek five miles (8 km) through the plains bordering the volcanic crater before...

Tárcoles River Crocodile Safari in Manuel Antonio

Visit the famous Tárcoles River, which boasts the largest American Crocodile (Crocodylus Acutus) population in Central America. As you make your way to the river from Manuel Antonio, enjoy the incredible views of the Pacific Coast and anticipate your jungle crocodile safari! Next, embark on a...

Coffee beans ready for the harvest.
Coffee Experience & Nighttime Nature Walk in Monteverde

Enjoy the perfect blend of Costa Rican coffee culture and wildlife spotting in Monteverde. The tour is hosted by Coffee'N Jungle and starts with a walk through a local coffee plantation, where you'll have the opportunity to identify and learn about the coffee plant first-hand. Starting with how...

The elusive resplendent quetzal
Guided Hike in the Children's Eternal Rainforest

The largest private reserve in Costa Rica, Children’s Eternal Rainforest (BEN) is home to an abundance of endemic and endangered species as well as a variety of orchids, butterflies, birds, and all of Costa Rica’s wild felines, including the jaguar.Initially established by an eco-initiative led...

Savegre Whitewater Rafting

One of Central America's cleanest and most beautiful rivers, the Savegre River, churns through a tract of Manuel Antonio National Park, and this is your chance to try some sensational whitewater rafting in dramatic jungle surroundings. Unlike some rafting experiences, this is a gentle yet...

Keep an eye out for hummingbirds in Curi-Cancha Reserve
Private Half-day Birdwatching Tour in Curi-Cancha Reserve

Curi-Cancha Reserve is a birdwatcher's paradise with well-maintained trails and several open areas for observing wildlife.  Just .5 miles (.8 km) from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, Curi-Cancha Reserve is conveniently located yet tends to be less crowded. Enjoy a peaceful nature...