Start planning your Costa Rica adventure vacation
The mountainous country of Costa Rica sits between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, offering an exciting mix of flora and fauna to experience during an adventure vacation. The coastlines are lined with idyllic beaches and pretty mangroves, while the center of the country has mountain ranges and rainforests to hike in, an essential activity while on an adventure trip in Costa Rica.
What makes Costa Rica a great destination for adventure travel?
Adventure travel in Costa Rica is a great way to experience one of the finest natural landscapes in the world. Costa Rica may only account for 0.03% of the world's surface area, but this small country contains at least 6% of the Earth's biodiversity. With more than 25% of the country dedicated to the preservation of nature in terms of national parks and wildlife reserves, there are countless adventures to be had in the diverse natural landscapes throughout the country, from surfing and white water rafting to abseiling inside canyons.
The best adventure activities in Costa Rica
With so much variety across the country, we have chosen the best activities in Costa Rica for adventure travelers.
Experience ziplining across Guanacaste and Monteverde
By far the finest way to experience the beautiful forests of Guanacaste and Monteverde, ziplines were first built in Costa Rica the 1970s, and it was here that one of the first ever zipline canopy tours began. Today, some of the best ziplines in the world can be found in these regions, providing scenic views from over 600 feet above the ground, and an opportunity to get closer to monkeys and parrots in the treetops.
Rappel down La Fortuna and Arenal
Arenal and La Fortuna are the most popular spots for canyoning in Costa Rica. Once equipped with harness, helmet and gloves, you can rappel down 200-foot tall canyons. For the really brave, try free-fall jumping into pools at the bottom of large waterfalls.
Enjoy white water rafting down the Pacuare or Savegre river
Costa Rica’s Pacuare River empties out into the Caribbean ocean, while the Savegre flows south towards the Pacific. This means the two waterways provide a vastly different landscape, with diverse wildlife and flora. The best way to explore them is by white-water rafting. Beginners should head to the Savegre for a gentle introduction to the sport, while advanced adventurers can enjoy a wild ride on the Pacuare.
Hike up to waterfalls throughout the country
With such diverse terrain, Costa Rica is home to hundreds of waterfalls large and small. One of the best waterfalls is Nauyaca, reached by a 90-minute hike where you might spot sloths or toucans in the trees.
Catch a wave on Playa Tamarindo or Pavones
Beaches aren’t just for relaxing. Tamarindo, on the Pacific coast, is known as one of the top spots for surfing in Costa Rica, providing waves perfect for all levels. More adventurous and challenging surf can be found head over to Pavones, also on the Pacific coast, which has the second-longest left point break in the world.
Tips for planning an adventure trip in Costa Rica
The best time for adventure travelers to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season, which starts in mid-December and ends in April. In the dry season, the weather is warm and pleasant, perfect for outdoor activities like canyoning and hiking.