10 Activities You Mustn’t Miss in Costa Rica

Exciting Activities and Costa Rica: A Perfect Combination. Outdoor enthusiasts will find their hearts captivated by the match between thrilling activities and Costa Rica. The array of activities and tours available is both vast and incredibly diverse. Embark on a kayak adventure to explore the mangroves, seek out poison dart frogs in the darkness, or stroll along suspension bridges amidst the jungle canopy. Having visited Costa Rica multiple times, we’ve had the opportunity to tick off numerous exciting activities. Below, discover the top 10 activities to indulge in while in Costa Rica!

Kayaking in Costa Rica

Kayaking is one of the most delightful ways to witness Costa Rica’s stunning nature. Both in Puerto Viejo and Tortuguero National Park, you can experience remarkable kayaking. Tortuguero National Park boasts rainforests, mangroves, canals, and beaches. The park is a fantastic realm to uncover via its waterways. The quiet paddling of a kayak increases your chances of spotting wildlife, unlike motorboats that tend to scare animals away. In Puerto Viejo, you can embark on an extraordinary kayak journey. Rent a kayak from Punta Uva Beach and paddle along the river. The ambiance feels like a dream flight, allowing you to truly relish the splendid nature and the abundance of wildlife. Many sloths inhabit the trees, occasionally descending to drink from the river. The river teems with turtles, some even swimming alongside you or basking in groups on tree trunks.

Surfing or Taking Surf Lessons

Costa Rica is a paradise for surfers. If you’re new to surfing, taking one or more lessons is a must. Floating on your board in the ocean, waiting for the perfect wave, and then (hopefully) conquering it is a delightful experience. Santa Teresa, Uvita, and Puerto Viejo are all fantastic surfing destinations in Costa Rica. During the winter months, the waves are perfect for beginners to take surf lessons. In the rainy season between May and November, the waves are higher and more suitable for experienced surfers.

Fly over Monteverde’s Cloud Forest

Looking for action? Ziplining in Monteverde is the perfect activity for you! Soar through the jungle at speeds of up to 70 km/h (43 mph), covering hundreds of feet. This provides a unique way to experience Monteverde’s cloud forest. Read all our tips for Monteverde.

Walk Across Jungle Suspension Bridges

Stroll through the jungle canopy, marveling at the tropical rainforest’s wonders. Enjoy incredible views and listen to the distant calls of howler monkeys and exotic birds flying by. Several national parks in Costa Rica feature enormous suspension bridges connecting treetops. Among the parks we’ve visited, the most breathtaking suspension bridges are found at Mistico near La Fortuna. With a bit of luck, you might encounter snakes, monkeys, colorful frogs, and tropical birds during your walk. Opting for a guided tour significantly boosts your chances of spotting wildlife. With this guide, you’ll enjoy a 2.5-hour walk through Mistico, learning extensively about Costa Rica’s wildlife and nature.

Rent a Car and Embark on a Costa Rican Road Trip

Costa Rica is a perfect destination for renting a car and embarking on a road trip! With your own transport, you have the freedom to explore wherever you please and stop at the most beautiful spots along the way. Curious about the cost of renting a car and what to consider while driving? Check out our tips for renting a car in Costa Rica.

Explore Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful National Parks

More than 30 percent of Costa Rica is comprised of protected natural areas. In total, there are 28 distinct national parks, each with its own uniqueness. You shouldn’t leave Costa Rica without visiting at least three of these parks. Ideally, choose three parks that are quite different from one another to fully appreciate Costa Rica’s natural diversity. Learn more about these differences in the article about the 7 most beautiful national parks in Costa Rica.

Climb to Costa Rica’s Tallest Waterfall

The Catarata del Toro waterfall is located about a two-hour drive from San José and stands as Costa Rica’s tallest waterfall. Water plunges 90 meters (295 feet) down into the crater of an old volcano. The surroundings are characterized by rugged jungle, and the crater walls are covered in moss. Truly impressive! The hike to the waterfall takes around 45 minutes, with breathtaking views along the way. Read our tips for hiking to the Catarata del Toro Waterfall.

Visit the Jaguar Rescue Center

Is Puerto Viejo on your Costa Rica itinerary? Then a visit to the Jaguar Rescue Center is a must. This center rescues wild animals that have been injured or kept illegally as pets. They provide medical assistance and rehabilitation projects to help these animals regain strength, ultimately allowing them to return to the wild. Established in 2008, the Jaguar Rescue Center has already cared for over 1200 animals, of which 40 percent have been rehabilitated and released back into nature. Your entrance fee supports this noble cause, providing the animals with food, medical care, and proper temporary shelter.

Horseback Riding in Costa Rica

Horseback riding is, in our opinion, one of the most enjoyable activities to partake in while in Costa Rica. Ride across the serene countryside or even along vast and deserted beaches while the sun hangs low on the horizon. Horseback riding experience is often not required at many stables. You can go horseback riding in numerous destinations in Costa Rica, including Santa Teresa, Uvita, and Montezuma.

Spotting Nocturnal Animals During a Night Tour

This unique activity is offered in many Costa Rican destinations. During a night tour, you’ll venture into the wilderness when it’s completely dark. This is when entirely different animals become active compared to daytime. There’s a high likelihood of encountering creatures like opossums, snakes, frogs, spiders, and bats. The night tour guide will teach you much about these animals, providing you with a whole different perspective on the animal kingdom. This activity is a delightful addition to your journey through Costa Rica! Night tours are available in places like Monteverde, Drake Bay, and Tortuguero National Park.