There are more things to do in Costa Rica than you’ll likely have days for. These are the most popular.
Whether it’s a zip-line thrill ride, gondola, or naturalist educational trip through the treetops, canopy tours have exploded in popularity in the past decade.
Before it was overtaken by tourism, coffee was the driving force of Costa Rica’s economy. A tour of a coffee farm and processing facility is a great way to satisfy your curiosity about the source of your morning cuppa and get an introduction to Tico history and culture.
Surfing & Windsurfing
Costa Rica’s breaks are world renowned, and rightly so. Inland, Lake Arenal has constantly balmy water (66 to 71 °F, 19-21 °C), average wind speeds of 24 mph (40 kph), and an exquisite setting for windsurfers. Rental equipment and lessons for both types of board sport are available.
Even though the lava has stopped flowing Arenal is still impressive and the premier destination, but Poás and Irazú have their attractions as well.
The canals of Tortuguero, wetlands of Caño Negro, and mangroves of the Damas estuary adjacent to Manuel Antonio are the most popular places to sit back relax and let the boatman be your guide to bird and wildlife spotting.
As you might suspect in a country covered in rain forest that rises from one ocean to 12,000 feet and drops back to sea level in the space of 70 miles, whitewater abounds in Costa Rica. Trips cater to all ability levels and interests.
Sunning, swimming, surfing, sailing, scuba, snorkeling, and that’s just the S’s. Beach lovers might think that Christopher Columbus had them in mind when he dubbed this (or did he?) the land of the “Rich Coast”.
This catchall category covers everything from a walk on a paved path to multi-night treks up the bed of a river to prime jaguar country. Most visitors to Costa Rica spend at least some time hiking through the rain and cloud forests or along the beaches.
There are hundreds of hot springs in this volcanic land and a couple of them have spawned spas. If you want to relax your tired muscles (or have a masseur relax them for you) hit the natural pools, then spend a night at Tabacón resort.
Rainforests, mountains, and canyons add up to countless waterfalls and you can enjoy anything from walk up viewing platforms a few yards from a restaurant to strenuous hikes into secluded skinny-dipping pools.
Everyone becomes an amateur birder as soon as they land in Costa Rica. You can’t help but notice the remarkable colors, calls and plumage, and you’ll find plenty of serious bird watchers and qualified guides to fill you in on the habits and natural history of the species you see.