Costa Rica is a paradise for adventure seekers. Read on to discover the top adventure activities in this Central American country!
Costa Rica is like a basketful of all things nice. Few places compare in terms of beaches, beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and more. That could explain why over 1.7 million people vacation in Costa Rica every year. Indeed, tourism is one of the key economic drivers of the Central American country.
This is where things start to get interesting. If you look at its size, Costa Rica is not big. The whole country barely covers 51,000 square kilometers. Yet, the country accounts for up to 6% of the world’s total biodiversity. Many national parks, protected areas, biological reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries exist.
Also, the country’s dependence on tourism as a top earner means it invests in many exciting activities for visitors. If you are planning a Costa Rica vacation or other travel, read on for a guide to the top adventure activities.
Tour the Costa Rica National Parks
Costa Rica has 29 national parks that exemplify nature’s generosity. You get all the beauty and biodiversity you could wish for in each one.
A tour of some national parks should be at the top of your Costa Rica vacation itinerary. Please note that in some of the parks, it is mandatory to have a Costa Rica travel guide. This is mainly for your protection and safety.
Parks like Corcovado are huge, so it is easy to get lost. Others, like Tortuguero, are not accessible by road. You could go off the trail if you don’t have knowledgeable local guides to show you the way.
Some outstanding Costa Rica National Parks you need to visit include:
- Corcovado holds the distinction of being the largest national park in Costa Rica. It is also home to a wide selection of animal, plant, and bird species. Catch a glimpse of killer whales, dolphins, macaws, and mantled howlers.
- Piedras Blancas National Park for a chance to see the rare jaguars. There is also a wide variety of other animal and plant species.
- Ballena Marine National Park covers 5375 hectares of sea. That is the best place to see humpback whales and more.
- Tortuguero National Park is fascinating due to the nesting of sea turtles. Plan your visit for June to October to catch the amazing phenomenon.
- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve draws in tourists because of the low cloud cover. Imagine walking through the trees while engulfed in a shroud of misty clouds. Book a night tour for the best experience of walking through a cloud forest. Beyond that is a rich selection of plant and animal species. The suspension or hanging bridges weaving their way into the vine-covered jungles further add to the fun.
- Manuel Antonio National Park is the beach lovers’ paradise. Despite being the smallest national park in Costa Rica, it draws thousands of visitors annually. You can also take part in water activities like kayaking and snorkeling. Or, hike the different trails for a chance to spot some fantastic wildlife like monkeys, sloths, and scarlet macaws.
- Arenal Volcano National park allows you to get close to a volcano that erupted as recently as 2010. You can also hike, bathe in the hot springs, zip line, or paddle board.
Please note that the weather varies in the parks. You will, for instance, need a rain jacket as the weather can change rather suddenly. Ask the local guides about what to wear if you are unsure.
Sign Up For Hiking Tours
One of the best ways to enjoy Costa Rica is by hiking. Not only will you be able to avoid vacation weight gain, but it gives you a chance to get up close to nature. And don’t worry about hiking trails, as there are plenty.
When you go to a national park, you’ll notice that most of them have great trails for hiking. The difficulty levels range from easy to quite difficult. Manuel Antonio National Park, for instance, largely comprises flat terrain. That means it is a pretty forgiving hike, even for beginners.
Monteverde Forest Reserve presents a moderate difficulty level. One of the most challenging trails is the Cerro Chirripó which peaks at 3820 meters. But the climb to the top is worth it. Before you, at the top, will be a stunning, picture-worthy vista.
We reiterate the point that you should always get a local guide. When you sign up for a Costa Rica all-inclusive vacation package, you should have access to the guides.
Enjoy Plenty of Water and Other Activities
Water lovers will get their fill of activities during their Costa Rica vacations. Of course, there is always the alternative of whiling away hours at the beach. However, there is more excitement by becoming more active.
Some water activities you can enjoy include:-
- Kayaking in locations like Penas Blanca River, Naranjo River, and Pacuare River. Take time to find out the difficulty levels depending on your expertise. Pena’s Blanca, for instance, is quite gentle, making it ideal for family activities.
- Snorkeling and diving in the warm, inviting Costa Rica waters. Scuba diving is especially popular with visitors. It provides an excellent opportunity to explore underwater and interact with marine life. You can check out Cahuita National Park, Gandoc Manzanillo wildlife refuge, Cocos, and Caño Island.
- Surfing along the pacific coastline where you get the best breaks and swells. Popular destinations include Playa Tamarindo, Playa Jaco, Santa Teresa, and Playa Hermosa. Don’t worry if you need to learn how to surf. There are plenty of classes for adults and kids in most top surfing spots.
- Zip lining is a must-do activity during your Costa Rica travel. The heart thumping thrill of hurtling through space with only a cable anchoring you is incomparable to any other delight. After touring the Monteverde forest reserve, wrap up the day with a 770-meter-long zip line ride.
- Arenal Volcano national park also has some pretty long tracks. You can also go to the Diamante Eco Adventure Park for a side-by-side ride with your loved ones.
- See volcanic mountains up close at Arenal and Irazu.
You will never have a free moment in your itinerary during your Costa Rica vacations. The Central American jewel has everything you would wish for in terms of adventure. A visit to one of the many national parks should be at the top of your list. We reiterate the point of hiring local guides to accompany you on trips.
Costa Rica is an adventure-seeker’s paradise, with countless activities from zip-lining through the jungle to surfing in the Pacific Ocean. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Costa Rica has something for everyone.
From snorkeling and scuba diving to hiking and horseback riding, you won’t be disappointed with the variety of activities available in this beautiful country. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next Costa Rican getaway today!