Love any al fresco activity that really gets your heart thumping? Then it’s time to whisk yourself away to Costa Rica.
From plunging into an underwater world to ziplining through the canopy and cycling around the base of an active volcano – there’s plenty to quench your thirst for adventure here. So, if you’re searching for spots to add to your active Costa Rican itinerary look no further…
1. Ride around Lake Arenal
If you’re a keen cyclist, then few routes you may have come across will top the stunning scenic loop around Lake Arenal. Based at the foot of Costa Rica’s most famous active volcano, the track offers a relaxing ride through tropical forests.
Aside from catching a glimpse of the towering Arenal Volcano in the lake’s still waters, you’ll also be able to gain an insight into rural life around La Fortuna as you cycle by farms and coffee plantations. Remember, the park’s waterfall and hot springs are a great way to unwind after a long day of biking.
2. Raft the Pacuare River
Named by National Geographic as one of the world’s top ten places for river trips, the Pacuare is an essential pitstop. And with rip-roaring rapids, lush rainforests and free-flowing waterfalls, it doesn’t take a genius to work out why.
A favoured destination for white water rafting, kayaking and river bearding, it boasts an impressive 30 kilometres of Class III and IV rapids. And, when you’re not grappling to stay afloat, the smoother stretches present the perfect opportunity to spot ocelots, monkeys, toucans, jaguars and more.
3. Hike the Savegre River Trek
Looking to stray far from the beaten track? Then the Savegre River Trek is a bucket list tick waiting to happen. Bask in the tranquillity of four days spent hiking through cloud forests and farmland, with only a handful of locals for company.
The hike is challenging. Paths can be steep, narrow and rocky, not forgetting the odd river crossing too. It’s very rewarding though and offers you the chance to experience authentic country life by staying in family-run guesthouses and dining on local delicacies, like heart of palm, along the way.
4. Snorkel at Cahuita National Park
Consider yourself a water baby? Then a visit to Cahuita National Park is an absolute must. Around 600 acres of Costa Rica’s smallest national park are devoted to protecting its coral reefs, which house over 500 species of fish.
Given that its waters are teeming with marine life, Cahuita is a real snorkelling hotspot. Get ready to dive in and swim amongst the sea turtles, eels, manta rays and sharks. Don’t forget the beautifully vibrant corals either – keep an eye out for fiery-coloured sea fans, blue staghorns and yellow brains.
5. Canyon in Manuel Antonio National Park
Imagine a real-life waterpark without the tacky rides and you’ve got Manuel Antonio National Park. Home to six waterfalls of varying sizes, it makes a brilliant starting point for those wanting to give canyoning (or canyoneering) a go.
Get set to throw yourself way out of your comfort zone as you scramble over naturally formed obstacles and rappel down free falls, sheer rock faces and coursing waterfalls. This is the ideal activity for those adventurers seeking the ultimate thrill ride.
6. Kayak in Tortuguero National Park
Put your upper body strength to the test on a kayaking tour through Tortuguero National Park. Navigate your way down its winding rainforest canals, going in search of local wildlife such as sloths, lizards, monkeys and jaguars.
The fact that Tortuguero is only reachable by plane or boat means it remains relatively untouched by humans. On your journey, be sure to listen up as your guide teaches you all about how the jungle’s islets, lagoons, wetlands and palm forests function as one large harmonious ecosystem.
7. Surf in Santa Teresa
Always wanted to try surfing or think you’re a bit of a pro? Either way, with dependable year-round conditions and some of the country’s best breaks, Santa Teresa is the perfect destination for anyone looking to hit the waves.
There are plenty of spots to choose between such as Playa Hermosa, La Lora and Playa Carmen. As well as a plethora of different board rental shops and surfing instructors to pick from. And once you’ve had enough of the wipe outs, simply make the most of laidback vibes on offer here.
8. Zipline in Monteverde
If soaring through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve sounds like your idea of a good time, ziplining is almost certainly for you. So, prepare to strap in and soak up the astonishing vistas of the expansive rainforest from above.
Ziplines in Monteverde range from mild to extreme, so it’s on you to decide how adventurous you’re feeling. Although if you’d rather keep your feet on the “ground”, there are lots of hanging bridges strung high over the forest floor letting you to take in your surrounds from a totally contrasting vantage point.
Bear in mind these are just a few of the active adventures awaiting you in Costa Rica. There are loads more places to bike, kayak, raft and so on all over the country, but these are definitely some highlights.