Costa Rica Activities
Costa Rica is riddled with natural treasures that beckon any outdoor enthusiast. The year-round warm weather and inviting water make it ideal for those seeking adventure. From active volcanoes and raging rivers to tropical forests and pristine beaches, Costa Rica is richly blessed with the world’s greatest treasures. Where there is nature, there is adventure – and what better place to experience adventure than in Costa Rica!
Of all the activities that the country has to offer, surfing has helped put Costa Rica on the map. There is a wide variety of breaks to chose from, including Tamarindo, Nosara, Jaco and Pavones. These world-class breaks, combined with warm water, consistent waves, and friendly locals, make Costa Rica a surfer’s paradise. Within the 700 miles of coastline are hundreds of point and beach breaks, lefts and rights, and river mouths and reefs, that curl like the peel of an apple.
Zip lining can satisfy any craving for adventure. As one of Costa Rica’s most popular activities, canopying allows tourists to experience wildlife from above a tropical rainforest. After being hoisted up to a 50-foot tree platform, riders are securely tied to a zip line and then sent flying to another platform. Some of the best places to soar above the canopies are Monteverde, Manuel Antonio and Arenal. A trip to Costa Rica is not complete without this adrenalin filled experience.
Rafting and Kayaking
Those who enjoy nonstop action will love white water rafting on Costa Rica’s scenic rivers, or kayaking across the Pacific Ocean. Each year, thousands of tourists run the wild rapids of Reventazon, Sarapiqui, Corobici and Pacuare Rivers. Tours are available for Class I to V level riders, with rivers flowing strongest between June and October. Many rivers are set deep inside tropical rain forests, a perfect place to spot wildlife.
Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Kiteboarding
Outdoor enthusiasts can experience windsurfing or kiteboarding on Costa Rica’s breezy waters. Windsurfing champions have called Lake Arenal one of the world's top three windsurfing destinations. Backdropped by Arenal Volcano, this spacious body of water offers 29-mile rides, steady winds, and consistent water temperatures that range between 18 and 21 degrees. For those who prefer launching off the waves, there are several spots on the northern Pacific Coast where windsurfing is also offered.
Costa Rica offers some of the world’s best fishing. From the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans to the fresh-water lake at Arenal, anglers will find an exotic variety of marine life. Among the game fish are wailfish, marlin, roosterfish, mahi-mahi, yellow-fin tuna, grouper and wahoo. Deep-sea fishers can cast their lines on the Pacific Coast from the Gulf of Papagayo to Golfito, or try their luck at Lake Arenal in hopes of catching rainbow bass.
Although hiking is not as recognized as surfing, fishing, kayaking and biking, it is slowly being structured into the adventure-traveler’s itinerary. Walking tours are currently being offered by hotels near volcanoes like Arenal, Poas and Turrialba. Whether you are climbing to a crater or trekking through the rainforest, hiking is a great way to encounter wildlife and become familiar with Costa Rica’s flora and fauna.
What better way to reach remote locations and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings than by horseback riding. On the Pacific side, most luxury hotels can connect you with tour companies that offer horseback rides along the beach. Many guides offer treks to waterfalls, volcanos, rain forests, and rivers. Whether you plan on galloping through coffee plantations or racing in the sand, there are plenty of opportunities to hit the trails with a four-legged friend.
Imagine soaring like a bird over the Pacific Ocean or gliding high above a tropical rain forest. As one of Costa Rica’s newest activities, paragliding is popular in spots like Puntarenas, Pacayas, Bebedero and Jaco. No experience is necessary for tandem flights, as certified instructors guide you from the moment of takeoff to the final landing.
Diving and Snorkeling
Lining the Pacific Coast are dozens of dive shops offering diving and snorkeling trips to offshore reefs. Populating the warm waters are tropical fish, soft corals, dolphins and turtles. Although visibility is sometimes poor, most dives take place around protected rock formations and sheltered islands. To the south is Costa Rica’s coral reef extending 500 meters out from Cahuita point. The best time to plunge into the ocean is between February and April when visibility is best.
Thrill-seekers can explore volcanoes, forests, rivers, and biodiversity by way of mountain bike. From muddy tracks to gravel roads, there are trails suited for all levels of riders. Most tour companies offer bilingual guides, state-of-the-art equipment, and staff support to direct you to your final destination.
While the kids play at the beach, mom and dad can enjoy an afternoon round of golf at one of Costa Rica’s championship courses. The majority of sprawling fairways are nestled along the Pacific Coast and in the Central Valley suburbs of San José. Nearly all of Costa Rica's golf courses are open to the public with the exception of the Cariari country club and the Four Seasons Resort Peninsula Papagayo, featuring an Arnold Palmer designed course.
After all these activities, what better way to relax than by yoga. Tucked inside this oasis of tranquility are countless centers offering a perfect balance of mind, body and spirit. Costa Rica is the perfect place to get pampered while enjoying the treasures of this rich and beautiful country.