Adventure

POPULAR COSTA RICA ACTIVITIES & ADVENTURE TOURS

There are so many exciting things to do in Costa Rica, it is considered one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world. Costa Rica features beautiful natural parks, biological reserves, volcanoes, lush tropical forests, breathtaking waterfalls, rivers, and a series of protected areas that draw ecotourism lovers. The enchanting beaches that fill the coastlines of Costa Rica are sure to captivate any visitor. With adventure tours, nature tours, leisure tours, cultural tours, marine tours, and educational tours, choosing how to spend your time in Costa Rica will be a tough decision!

ATV Adventure Tours in Costa Rica

 ATV RENTALS

You can explore a variety of terrain atop an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV). This activity is for the adrenaline seekers who desire to explore the unpaved roads, towns, forests, and beaches of Costa Rica. As ATVs are designed to handle a variety of terrain than most other vehicles, they are safe and reliable for transporting you from location to location and giving you ample time to view the different landscapes. Have your 4×4 transport you across grainy sand, rocky surfaces, and muddy soil to reach waterfalls, farms, or small towns. Grab lunch, take a walk around town, or take a swim in a river. ATVs provide the most stimulating method of transportation. Some of the country’s best places to ride are Manuel Antonio, Jaco, Tamarindo, and Arenal.

Beach Camping Playa Herradura Costa Rica

BEACH CAMPING

Costa Rica is the perfect place to get away and experience tranquility and a peace of mind. In fact, many campers choose Costa Rica as a perfect spot to set up camp and explore a new terrain. In addition, many tourists find that camping is a cheaper and more creative way to explore Costa Rica without the hassle of booking rooms. Due to safety measures, beach camping has been prohibited and discouraged on most public beaches in Costa Rica, however, there are numerous locations where campers and travelers can pitch up tents or even rent cabins on safe and comfortable grounds. Some hostels in Mal Pais, Montezuma, Playa Samara and Brasilito have popular beachfront campsites with access to indoor and outdoor facilities.  Beachfront camping is also popular at the Ballena National Marine Park, and while visiting, you may also witness sightings of the humpback whale, dolphins, nesting turtles, and seabirds. This campsite is perfect for an afternoon barbecue with family and friends, as it allows gas and charcoal grills.

Costa Rica Canopy Tours

CANOPY TOUR / ZIP-LINING

A fun way to spend the day is by canopying or zip lining through the lush green forests and jungles of Costa Rica. Many people may wonder what the difference is between zip lining and canopying. Originally, canopying included hiking and completing obstacles, while zip lining was just that zipping from platform to platform, but throughout time, these words have come to be used interchangeably. You will see most companies use the word zip line when in actuality they are implying a canopy tour. Not all tours are created equally, as you will find there are a variety of bridges, trails, platforms, and cables to choose from. A cable that starts atop a high platform and descends to a lower one. A person travels down the cable on a pulley system that allows the rider to accelerate. This excursion calls for exhilaration as you swing from treetop to treetop in a variety of positions. For the beginner you may try the typical sitting down position, for the braver, you may want to fly down in a superman position. While walking to your next station and taking a break from your adrenaline rush, you may notice the abundant wildlife that exists around you. If you are observant enough, you may see Costa Rica’s popular howler monkeys leaping from branch to branch, or maybe even a sloth if it decides to pay your section of the forest a visit. If you’re lucky enough to have a knowledgeable tour guide, you will be educated on the many aspects of the wildlife that inhabits the area that you may have naturally missed by yourself. This activity is perfect for the entire family, regardless of age.

Interesting facts: zip lining has been around for centuries and was originally used for more practical purposes such as delivering materials over long distances. In Columbia, zip lining is used to transport children from isolated villages back and forth to school every day.

catamaran-tour-manuel-antonio-costa-rica-hotel-la-mariposa-41

CATAMARÁN TOURS

Aboard a catamaran, you will find yourself cruising along the pacific ocean in comfort and style while engaging in activities ranging from sight seeing, water activities, or around with friends.  Many catamarans include open bars and gourmet buffets for you to indulge until your hearts content. You will sail past islands, coastlines, and cliffs. If you’re feeling adventurous, you may want to jump off board and swim, kayak, or snorkeling alongside the catamaran. Whether you choose to spend a week sailing down the Pacific Ocean or a single day feasting and partying onboard, there are different options available for those who wish to spend the entire day onboard of a catamaran. Boats have features such as two levels, waterslides, Jacuzzis, sunbathing trampolines, open bars, bathrooms, kitchens, and spacious room for dancing or playing games.

caves in costa rica

CAVE EXPLORATION

Although cave exploration has been around for more than 40 years in the country, cave tourism or spelunking, in Costa Rica is still relatively new to tourists.

If you are comfortable in dark enclosed places, you may catch a thrill exploring one of Costa Rica’s ancient caves. One popular site for cave exploration is the Barra Honda National Park, which is located in the province of Guanacaste. These caves have been in formation for over 70 years and a great amount has remained untouched by tourists. Throughout this realm, only 19 of the 42 limestone caverns have been fully explored. This is mainly due to the old belief that the cavern was actually a volcano and people interpreted the noises of the enclosed bats as volcanic activity. The caves are home to a colony of around 5,000 bats that emerge from their dwellings during the night. There are only two caves in Barra Honda that is accessible to the public, Terciopelo and La Cuevita. To enter the caves, you must be accompanied by two local guides and fitted with proper gear to descend down a ladder into the mouth of the cave.

The Venado caves, near Arenal, are also significant in their size and habitat for a variety of wildlife including bats, monochrome frogs, spiders, and crickets. The caverns were discovered in 1945 when a farmer fell through a hole in the ground and found himself in the depths of the caves, surrounded by the incredible limestone stalactites and stalagmites sculptures.

7th hole, Arnold Palmer course

GOLFING

Costa Rica started its legacy as a primer golfing destination in 1944; when golf enthusiasts created a small nine-hole course in San Jose.   Since then championship level courses have sprung up all over the country.  Costa Rica golfing is considered by many the best in the region.   Many of the courses have been designed by famous golf architects including Arnold Palmer.  Beautiful and challenging courses await avid golf aficionados.  You can experience five star quality facilities at a bargain price.

When you take a Costa Rica golf vacation it allows you to play the sport you love while experiencing the beauty the country has to offer.  Courses are located throughout the country, from the mountainous central valley, to the sunny beaches all along the coasts.  Enjoy eighteen holes with a tropical paradise for the backdrop. Courses, while world renowned, are rarely crowded, and the best months here are when your courses back home are probably covered in snow.

hang-gliding-costa rica

HANG GLIDING

If you’ve ever wanted to know what a bird feels like soaring above the landscape, hang gliding is a perfect outdoor adventure for you. This aerodynamic sport offers a different perspective of Costa Rica that is humanly impossible to achieve without the assistance of a glider. Not to be confused with a paraglider, there a few key differences between the two aircrafts. The major difference lies in the shape and design of the wing.  Hang glider wings are made up of solid aluminum and shaped in a V formation whereas, paragliders have wings made of fabric that are inflated to create an elliptical shape. In hang gliding, the pilot is attached to a harness in a lateral position and controls the aircraft by shifting their body weight in opposition of the frame. Thanks to modern technology, hang gliding can lasts for hours and achieve speeds from 18-60 mph. For the more advanced pilot, aerobatics can be performed in remote areas. Launching methods include foot launching from a hill, tow launching from a tow system, and powered harnessing from a boat. To land the craft, you must descend at a moderate speed, and stall your craft by pushing the glider nose up and landing upright on your feet.

In Costa Rica, there are many opportunities to hang glide over the pristine beaches or lush jungles. Non-experienced or non-certified gliders may find interest in taking part of a tandem hang gliding adventure, in which they are attached to a qualified pilot.

Horseback Riding, Costa Rica

HORSEBACK RIDING

If you’re looking for a way to spend the day relaxing but still cruising around town, horseback riding might be the perfect option for you. Most tour guides provide an experience completely opposite of the typical nose-to-tail trails that we might first assume. Arrange a private tour for a small group of people and experience the natural terrains of Costa Rica. Most tour guides accommodate you based on your riding preferences. For a romantic horseback ride, you may want to consider a horseback tour along the beach at sunset. Horse trails will take you through the water, across the sand, up hills, and down hills. It is quite a spectacle to watch a parade of horses galloping alongside the road, but its even better to be on top of that horse…

For more adventure, take to the countryside to allow your horse free reign of its natural habitat. Horseback riding is perfect for Costa Rica due to its dirt roads and abundance of horse-friendly towns. This tour will allow you an opportunity to take a glimpse at real Costa Rica, outside of the realms of touristy locations. You will soon become acquainted with the beautiful and relaxing ranches, the standard Costa Rican neighborhoods, and lifestyles of the local people. Tour guides are knowledgeable about the surrounding areas, so don’t be too shy to ask questions and strike up conversation.

Jet Ski in Costa Rica

JET SKIING

Cruising around the beach on a jet ski is probably one of the most exhilarating feelings you will ever sustain. With the wind beating your skin, white water trailing behind you, and the Jet Ski roaring loudly, you will feel a delightful sensation of freedom as you accelerate into the abyss without any limitations.  Jet ski and wave-runners alike provide a stylish way of viewing Costa Rica’s coastline. Unlike other forms of water transportation, jet skis gives you more control of choosing which direction you want to go in-while giving you a full body workout at the same time. You can trail dolphins or watch other marine life emerge from the depths of the ocean, or you can skim the coast line of different beaches and wave at the swimmers and surfers-just don’t get too close!

You can either rent jet skis to go at your own pace or hire a guide to show you around specific areas and enhance your experience. Yamaha and Honda wave runners are two popular brands of jet skis due to their easy mobility and fast speeds. They are also noted for their low carbon emissions. Drivers must be 16 years or older to drive jet skis in Costa Rica.

Mountain Biking in Costa Rica

MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDING

Mountain bike riding is a fun and exciting way to see Costa Rica while also staying fit! Fortunately, bike tours are offered all throughout different regions of Costa Rica and you can explore a variety of terrains such as tropical beaches, rocky mountains, volcanic ranges, and wet jungles. Mountain biking is perfect for families, groups, individuals, and people of all ages. The difficulty of your course depends on how challenged you are feeling. Courses range from easy to intermediate. Whether you take a tour or simply rent a bike for the day, you will experience Costa Rica up close and personal, at your own pace.

Paragliding Costa Rica

PARAGLIDING

The Pacific coast of Costa Rica offers many activities for one to partake in, but none as breathtaking as paragliding presents. One can experience Costa Rica from above with a panoramic view of the gorgeous country. The best thing about this experience is that most days are flying days in Costa Rica, even during the wet season. Sit back in your seat, relax, and experience the breathtaking view flying over the oceans, trees and towns of Costa Rica. The best part about this ride is that you let your guide do all the flying for you. Command him to slow down a notch as you pass over a lush forest, or speed it up a notch as you maneuver above the water-whatever is to your liking, it can be done. The lightweight sensation of paragliding will leave feeling as if you are floating in the sky. Not to be confused with a hanglider, there a few key differences between the two aircrafts. The major difference lies in the shape and design of the wing.  Paragliders have wings made of fabric that are inflated to create an elliptical shape whereas hanglider wings are made up of solid aluminum and shaped in a V formation. For paragliding, the pilot sits in a harness below the wing and controls the direction of the craft with their hands, weight, and feet. Brake controls are held in each of the pilots hangs and are connected to each side of the wing. These are the primary means of control for the aircraft. Weight shifting is used in order to steer properly. A speed bar is an accelerator attached to the harness of the craft and controlled by your feet. A paraglider can achieve speeds from 15-25mph and lasts for hours while covering hundreds of kilometers during a trip.  It is quite simple to launch and land this aircraft. There are typically three ways to launch: forward, reverse, or towed. In forward, the pilot runs with the wind behind them so the generated air pressure inflates the wing. Reverse is used during higher winds. The pilot must face the wing to bring it into flying position and then turn around and begin running in order to lift off. A towed launched is conducted on flatter areas, in which the pilot must release a cord, dropping the towline after ascending. To land this aircraft, one must flare the wing to minimize speed and increasing the amount of force applied to the brake until the landing is complete.

In Costa Rica, there are many opportunities to paraglide over the pristine beaches or lush jungles. Non-experienced or non-certified gliders may find interest in taking part of a tandem paragliding adventure, in which they are attached to a qualified pilot.

Rainforest Camping in Costa Rica

RAINFOREST CAMPING

Camping is one of the savviest ways to experience tranquility while getting in touch with nature and away from the busy tourist towns. You will become fully enveloped in your surrounds and lose track of time while camping in rainforest. With many accommodating campsites available for travelers, it is one experience you shouldn’t leave Costa Rica without trying. Rainforest camping is a popular recreational activity because of its tropical environment and abundant wildlife. You will awaken to the fresh smell of the rainforest every morning, see monkeys swinging from the braches overhead, hear birds of different tunes, and try to differentiate between the sounds of thousands of insects hiding among the moist soil and plants. Rainforest weather can be unpredictable so it is best to come prepared for occasional rainy and chilly nights. You may want to pack additional blankets, easy drying clothing, and insect repellant. It is also recommended to find a campsite that offers an area on raised platforms with an extra covering to keep you dry and comfortable.

As 25% of Costa Rica is designated as national parks, many of these parks include perfect rainforest campsite grounds. Some favorite camping grounds include the Honda National Park, which also maintains 42 caves to explore; the Braulio Carrillo National Park which is the 2nd largest national park in Costa Rica and contains waterfalls, rivers, and volcanoes; the Corcovado National Park, one of the rainiest regions in the country, experiencing up to 5,500 mm of rain on the highest peaks; San Agustin Rainforest is a private wildlife Reserve suitable for every nature lovers.

Although camping in a rainforest can be a calming experience, there are some basic tips to follow to ensure you make the most of your experience outdoors:

  • Always properly close containers and doors to keep animals and insects in their proper habitats and out of your personal space
  • Do not eat fruits or plants that you are not familiar with
  • Minimize the amount of technology and valuable items to bring with you to avoid them being stolen, broken, or possessing most of your time while you should be enjoying natures beauty
  • Just for a preventable measure, carry and drink bottled water instead of water from streams, lakes or waterfalls
  • Bring comfortable walking, closed-toed shoes, sandals, and/or rubber boots for your trip. Tico shoes sizes are typically smaller so shoes sizes are limited and your size can be hard to find

While some camping grounds provide cabins and/or indoor bathrooms, you may decide you want to pitch your own tent. Some items you may want to include in your travel bag are razors, toothbrush/paste, toilet paper, shampoo, deodorant, towels, and a disposable camera.

Sailing in Costa Rica during sunset

SAILING

For water seekers, sailing might be a good opportunity to observe Costa Rica from a different point of view-the ocean. Exclusive sailing trips leave the shores of Costa Rica numerous times each day. They provide a relaxing way to spend your day, evening or night. Your trip aboard will be an unforgettable experience that you can enjoy with family or friends. Time is quickly forgotten as the boat comes alive with touches of music, dancing, food, and laughter. Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit, as a few activities included on your trip might be snorkeling, swimming, fishing, kayaking, or sunbathing on a giant trampoline. Sightseeing is also a highlight for sailors who witness curious dolphins grazing the sides of the boat, and energetic whales waving hello and creating great splashes with their massive bodies. You may wish to end your day aboard one of these lovely vessels, watching a vibrant Pacific Ocean sunset.

If you the captain of your vessel here is some useful information pertaining to you: you must obtain a cruising permit and will be granted a 90-day stay in Costa Rica. Clearance ports include the town of Playas del Coco, Puntarenas, Jaco, Quepos, and Golfito. There are several harbors that lie between El Coco and Nicaragua that some sailors may decide to visit. Fuel docks can be found in Puntarenas, Los Suenos Marina, and in Golfito. The Los Suenos Marina is the only government-sanctioned marina operating in Costa Rica.  With its ability to berth 200 boats, it is the ultimate full service port for many luxury boats and yachts. Its location is south of the Golfo de Nicoya in Bahia Herradura. There are also several places in Puntaneras where vessels can be berthed in addition to the Banana Bay Marina in Golfito.

Scuba Diving in Costa Rica

SCUBA DIVING

Scuba Diving in Costa Rica is a pleasant experience due to the country’s typical warm water temperatures and abundant marine life. Although visibility greatly depends on season and location, all guides do their best year round to offer you an experience worthy of return. The busiest season ranges from December to March. However, although the rainy season calls for murky waters and less visibility, on the contrary, it brings with it an abundance of marine wildlife that you don’t want to miss out on. Point taken, any time of the year is a good time to scuba dive. Perhaps you’ll embark on a one-day tour  or even an 8-day tour, regardless, diving is a fun and safe way to spend the day with the entire family.

If you are a passionate diver, you may wish to obtain your Diver Master certificate, or a PADI certificate in which case, you dive independently. There are also opportunities for you to pursue a full SSI certification course in which all levels are available: open water diver, advanced open water diver, first aid, rescue and dive master.  If you are an occasional diver, perhaps a tour along the Pacific coast is perfect for you. Regardless of where your travel begins, you can find diving tours all the way from Playa de Coco in the North to Drake Bay in the South. The best places to dive are Isla del Cano, Bat Island, and Catalina Islands and each offering its own uniqueness. This is the experience of a lifetime to observe marine life such as manta rays, moray eels, white-tipped sharks, small fish and coral species, cow nose rays, bull sharks, eagle rays, and moray eels.

sport fishing guionesadventures

SPORT FISHING

Sport fishing in Costa Rica, until recently, has been one of the best kept secrets in the Americas. Costa Rica is the most biologically diverse country in the world. It is home to over 300 species of birds and 250 species of mammals. The coastal waters are just as diverse, with many sought after trophy fish. Marlin, sailfish, and mahi mahi (dolphinfish) are just some of the big game trophies one can catch in the clean waters off the coast.
One doesn’t have to travel far to find the best fishing in Costa Rica. Many of the popular beaches and resorts have fleets of fishing vessels waiting to take adventurous anglers to the best locations in Central America. Whether you choose a half-day trip or a full-day trip the service is top notch. Many skippers take pride in having the best equipment and crews. If you want to land the big one on your own, or require a little help, the experienced crews will provide you with as much or little assistance that you want. See more Sport Fishing here.

Water Rafting Adventure Tours in Costa Rica

WATER RAFTING

For the thrill seekers, nature lovers, and adventurists alike, water rafting will give you an opportunity to explore the twists, bends, and rushing rapids of Costa Rica’s rivers. Rafting creates a safe, fun, and memorable experience for those that embark on the adventure. While aboard the wild ride, you will pass by beautiful unexplored terrains and wilderness. This fast and heart pounding extreme sport will only afford you brief glimpses of the passing scenery because you will be too engaged in paddling your raft between large boulders and taking small dips in river streams. When conducted properly, this sport provides a fun and safe way to travel above the roaring white waters. However, depending on skill level, there is a range of difficulty in white water rafting, commonly referred to as the International Scale of River Difficulty. These grades range from Grade 1, which is more basic, to a Grade 6, more difficult and dangerous endeavor, considered by some to be a death wish. A more detailed list is provided below:

  • Grade 1: relaxing, small waves, and only slight maneuvering
  • Grade 2: minimum rough water, some rocks, 3 foot water, some
    maneuvering, basic paddling skills required
  • Grade 3: whitewater, narrow passageways, 4-foot water, water entering raft,
    small drop, significant maneuvering, experienced paddling skills
  • Grade 4: whitewater, long and difficult rapids, narrow passages, rocks,
    maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be required (whitewater experience)
  • Grade 5: all of the above at a larger volume, more rocks and hazards, possibly
    a large drop, requires precise maneuvering and advanced whitewater
    experience
  • Grade 6: ultimate extreme, excluded from rafting tours, un-navigable safety,
    huge waves, huge boulders and hazards, substantial drops not suitable for rafting equipment, may result in extreme injury or death

Water rafting can be a dangerous sport if basic safety precautions are not followed. A few tips include properly securing helmet and safety jacket, following the directions provided by your guide and stay safely tucked in the raft at all times. Thousands of people safely enjoy rafting every year.

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WATERFALL RAPPELLING

What better way to experience a waterfall than by descending from a wire to the bottom of a cool pool? Water rappelling or cascading, is one way of experiencing a waterfall up close and personal, while getting wet! The beauty of the waterfall and the surrounding habitat drives many people to want to experience this natural treasure of Costa Rica. Imagine climbing to the top of a waterfall, gazing down at its massive falls, then rappelling back down 100 feet of pure bliss. Although waterfalls range in size, rappelling requires some physical effort to descend down its rocky walls. Rappelling locations range in difficulty and are determined by various factors such as ease of access, rock structure, water volume, and strength over the falls. Appropriate measures are taken to ensure the safety of those cascading. Rappelling also involves using a second secured rope and is perfect for a range of adventure thrill seekers. Your only job is to have fun and get as wet as possible!

Yachting Costa Rica

YACHTING

There is much to look forward as you board your private yacht in preparation to cruise around the Pacific Ocean. With your knowledgeable captain navigating the way, you can relax and immerse yourself in the breathtaking view of the massive ocean and its surrounding shores. During this time, you may wish to sun bathe, dolphin watch, snorkel, or consume yourself in fishing. Yachts are perfect for small or large groups of families, couples or friends who may wish to embark on romantic sunset cruise or even a moonlit cruise. If you are planning a special occasion, wedding, reunion, or event, why not do it aboard a yacht?

For those yacht enthusiasts visiting Costa Rica, there exists a Costa Rica Yacht Club just for you. The CRYC offers a membership for those wishing to cast anchor in the marina or to visit the club. For 55 years, the club has been providing secure measures of caring for your yacht while you are onshore visiting other landmarks in Costa Rica. The marina offers services such as buoys, electricity, gas, a moving crane, dry marina, dry dock, repair systems, a convenience shop, a vessel guard ship, showers and a swimming pool. The Yacht Club offers special services for visitors who wish to sail, explore, fish or water-ski. These services include a hotel, restaurant, bar, swimming pool, Internet and much more.