If you’re tired of the same old tourist hotspots, Costa Rica may be the destination for you. Famed for its soothing climate and diverse wildlife, this Latin American country is perfect if you want an exciting adventure. Costa Rica has plenty on offer when it comes to adventure sports and outdoor activities: from tree-top zip lines to horseback riding on the beach. Here we’ve rounded up some of the Adventure sports in Costa Rica to try out. Tag along!
1. Zip Lining at Canopy Safari:
Costa Rica is home to some of the most beautiful rainforests in the world, so why not add some adventure to your holiday by zip lining with a twist? At Canopy Safari, you can fly through the forest on a three-line system tethered between two platforms and take in spectacular views of the jungle canopy. This activity gets your heart pumping as you speed across the forest floor at speeds up to 45mph!
2. Horseback Riding on the Beaches:
The beaches of Costa Rica are some of the most beautiful in the world. With crashing waves and white sands, it’s no surprise that horseback riding is a popular activity. Go for a breezy ride along Costa Rica’s pristine beaches, taking in a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. Just make sure that the horse you choose is well-trained, as Costa Rica has a reputation for horses bucking their riders. For an added thrill, take to the water with a SUP or windsurfer.
3. White Water Rafting In Rio Pacuare:
The Pacuare River is commonly described as one of the best white-water rafting destinations in Central America. It boasts a hiking trail and a native wildlife reserve, with exotic birds and monkeys to spot en route. If you’re looking to brave the rapids, try the Mango to Wafer section of the river, where you can enjoy a thrilling ride through Class II and III rapids.
One tip, though: the river can get pretty hot in the summer months. Early morning starts are best to avoid drowning in the midday sun! After an exhilarating ride through the jungle, you can relax on your boat and enjoy a snack.
4. Hiking To Arenal Volcano:
Hike to the top of one of the most active volcanoes in Costa Rica. The Arenal Volcano is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1968. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit. Its perfect cone shape combined with its rolling green slopes creates a postcard-like image and hiking through the cloud forest promises amazing views of this natural wonder.
For panoramic views over Costa Rica’s rocky, mountainous landscape, hike up to the top. This active volcano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a thrilling glimpse into Costa Rica’s volcanic history. Make sure you stay on the path to avoid being injured by a falling rock or cinder. This trip is best suited to experienced hikers, and you will need to be prepared for rain along the way. This stunning scenery may also be the perfect backdrop to capture some impressive photographs of your adventure.
5. Hiking Around Rio Celeste:
A hike through the Arenal National Park is among the great adventure sports in Costa Rica to get away from the crowds and see some of Costa Rica’s unspoiled beauty. The national park includes La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica’s most famous waterfall, and Rio Celeste (Blue River). These two sights are best seen from a platform on the water that goes over the edge of a cliff. This platform provides an awe-inspiring view of the impossibly blue river below.
Located just outside the Arenal Volcano National Park, these blue waters are a gorgeous sight. The Rio Celeste is a waterfall that runs into two lakes, one of which turns a beautiful turquoise color from the minerals it contains. To explore the area, you can hike down to the water alongside a canopy walk and explore the fantastic surroundings.
6. Snorkelling And Diving At Isla Uvita:
Just off the coast of Uvita, you’ll find Isla Uvita – a small island perfect for snorkeling and diving. The waters around the island are filled with bright coral reefs, offering an incredible view of marine life indigenous to this part of Costa Rica. The crystal clear waters also hide a wealth of marine life, including rays, sea turtles, and even some manatees. If you’re looking for an activity that will get your adrenaline pumping and your heart racing, snorkeling at Isla Uvita is the perfect option.
Snorkeling is a great way to get outside of the usual tourist attractions found in most areas of Costa Rica. Begin your journey by catching a boat from the main town of Manuel Antonio. It is possible to hire snorkeling gear on the island so you can pop by without having to take the boat out. If you prefer to snorkel, sit on a beach and watch the colorful fish swimming around you. If you prefer diving, there are both scuba and snorkeling trips available.
7. Hiking The Poás Volcano:
Poás Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Costa Rica, last erupting in 2012. With a height of 3,710m, Poás Volcano is a great hike and offers spectacular views over the Central Valley. The peak season for hiking is between December and April when it’s not too hot. You can also see the volcano at night when it’s illuminated by lamp posts, giving you a unique perspective of the crater.
During the day, Hiking Poás Volcano offers great views of the area, which is best seen from a platform at the top. The trail is fairly easy, but don’t forget to wear long trousers and warm clothes as it can be very chilly up on top.
8. Whale Watching In Osa Peninsula And Uvita:
Snorkeling and diving are popular activities in Costa Rica, but whales are a special interest. By visiting the Osa Peninsula, you’ll get to see the giants migrating up from their Sea of Cortez home in Nicaragua. The locals will also point out spots to see pods of whales as they surface in the ocean; these are often best viewed during the early morning or on moonlit nights.
If you’re lucky enough to see a pod of humpback whales during your stay, you may get to observe a whale breaching underwater. This is an amazing sight and will have the others in awe. Don’t forget to take a boat ride where the locals will point out species of whales swimming nearby.
9. Hiking The Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio:
Manuel Antonio National Park encompasses 524 sq km, and it is located about 60 kilometers northwest of San José, the capital of Costa Rica. The park is a tropical rainforest filled with orchids, butterflies, monkeys, and other wildlife. It is one of the most visited parks in Costa Rica, and it has a variety of hotels, restaurants, and attractions to keep you busy.
One of the most popular hikes in Manuel Antonio National Park is along the Sendero El Picaflor (The Hummingbird Trail). This is a steep trail that goes through the forest and over a mountain. It is a beautiful hike no matter what season it may be, but the views of the forest during early morning or late afternoon are best. There are plenty of craft vendors along the way where you can make your crafts. For anyone heading up to this site, try to plan an early departure from San José as traffic can be quite heavy on top of El Picaflor.
10. Zipline In Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve:
One of the most popular outdoor activities in Costa Rica is a jungle zip line tour. Located in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, you’ll be able to safely see the wildlife and the beautiful scenery of Monteverde, which includes hanging bridges and waterfalls. As you soar through the air, you can take photos that show off your amazing views of Costa Rica’s natural beauty.
There are four different zip lines ranging from 400m to 1,600m, with some reaching speeds of over 70km/h. These zip lines include the longest zip line in Central America and the longest canopy tour in Costa Rica. The zip lines are ideal for those who want an adventure and those who want to make some money by renting out their photos online. If you are afraid of heights, you can still enjoy the tour by looking for a ‘safer’ zip line.
10. Hiking Through Corcovado National Park:
This National Park is one of the most popular in Costa Rica, with the beaches of Osa Peninsula and the surrounding forests attracting numerous travelers every month. About 185 square kilometers of Corcovado Rainforest can be explored by hikers. The park is located between 30 and 40 kilometers from the Pacific coast, and it protects several types of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and macaws.
This national park is the main attraction for tourists because it offers hiking through a pristine forest. It is the most accessible tropical rainforest in the Americas. There are a variety of trails that cater to every level of hiker, so you can choose one that suits your skill level. If you want to see different types of wildlife, then you can take a 2 or 3-day hike through the rainforest.
Up at the top, you’ll find a lookout called La Bufadora (The Butchery). Here you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean and Isla del Caño. The area below the lookout is covered with mangroves, and it’s a great spot to see crabs, fish, crabs, and shrimp.
11. Surfing At Pavones Beach:
Located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Pavones is one of the most beautiful beaches in this country. Visitors from all around the world come to this part of Costa Rica because it’s one of the most popular spots for surfing. It can get crowded, so make sure that you reserve your spot at Pavones when you arrive early enough.
With consistent ocean and beach conditions, Pavones is a great place to learn how to surf. The beach is located at the end of a cul-de-sac, and there’s no need for a car. There are surfboards available on-site, for rent for anyone looking to learn about surfing and those that want to try their best on the first day out. The waves can only be accessed on foot from this location, so those who are new or uncertain about surfing may want to take lessons or hire a board before taking the trip down here.
12. Turtle Watching At Ostional Beach:
Ostional Beach is home to one of the most interesting wildlife rituals in the world. A variety of turtles can be found nesting at Ostional Beach at different months throughout the year. The main ones that visit this area are Olive Ridley, Green, and Leatherback sea turtles. The Olive Ridley Sea Turtles migrate to this beach every year to lay their eggs. This occurs in November and December, and over 50,000 turtles will come onto the shores at Ostional Beach during this time. The turtles can be seen laying their eggs with less than a meter between themselves and the people watching them.
There is a fence around the area, but the turtles come right up to it. After they lay their eggs, they leave the area completely. There are 30 guard stations along the beach where visitors can watch this amazing event while they are protected from any harm. The park rangers will help you find the turtles and lead you to the best viewpoints as you wear a hat and headlamp while you wait for them to arrive.
13. Diving In Cocos Island:
Cocos Island is located off the coast of Costa Rica and it’s a perfect place for scuba diving. It is one of the best spots in Central America for people that love to explore underwater. The water clarity is amazing, and you can see a variety of fish and sea creatures throughout your dive. This island often has 100 feet of visibility, so you can get an up-close look at many marine organisms, such as moray eels, mangrove snails, rays, octopuses, and turtles.
This is a great place for adventure sports in Costa Rica. Novice divers can as well enjoy diving here because the channel is extremely shallow, so you don’t need to worry about any big waves. Although it’s a small island, there are different places where there are reefs and ledges that make for great diving opportunities with large fish and coral colonies. The highlight of this island is that you can swim right up to the beach of white sand, and the views of the tropical forest are just breathtaking.
14. Kitesurfing In Nosara:
Nosara is home to the best kitesurfing spot in Central America. This is a unique experience because you will be able to fly over the water while being pulled by a motorized kite. You can ride the windy wave that comes in and create wave riding as your sport of choice. The classes have small groups, so you will have plenty of time to become comfortable on your board and learn how to control the kite.
If your favorite activity is to kitesurf on holiday, Nosara offers one of the best locations to try this aquatic adventure sport. With warm winds blowing in from the ocean, it’s perfect for beginners and pros alike. Just make sure you watch the wind conditions before embarking on your session: strong gusts can lead to dangerous situations for even experienced kitesurfers.
15. Tortuga Island Catamaran Tour:
Tortuga Island is a dry tropical forest full of cacti and wildlife. A catamaran will take you to this private island for a day of fun in the sun with your family or friends. It is an amazing trip that starts with an open bar, snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming on the crystal-clear waters around Tortuga. If you are looking for a fun day out, this is the perfect opportunity to do something different and start your vacation off in a luxurious way.
While touring the island, you will travel up to Tortuga Island and enjoy the beautiful coral reefs and clear water. You can see many different marine animals, including sea lions, rays, sharks, and exotic fish. There are two snorkeling stops on this tour, so it’s a great way to see a variety of aquatic life while admiring the surrounding scenery.
Have you ever been to Costa Rica? What’s your favorite place there and why? If not, do you have any plans to visit the country in the future? In this article, I’ve presented you with 15 top adventure sports in Costa Rica for you to indulge in. There are a lot of amazing places in this country for different activities. Some of them are quite unusual, like surfing in the Pacific Ocean or kitesurfing on dry land.
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