Trekking, backpacking, hiking and walking are some of the best ways to see Costa Rica and they’re not the same thing. Trekking implies huts, refugios or other places that you might have a roof over your head while backpacking suggest that everything you need is in your pack.
The difference between hiking and walking can be subtle but important in Costa Rica and I try to use the terms carefully when writing. A walk usually means a highly improved trail without severe elevation gains. If you do encounter a steep section on something I’ve described as a “walk” it will usually have guard or hand rails alongside wood framed gravel filled steps, paving block steps or even a full metal staircase.
Hiking trails on the other hand can vary from reasonably well engineered (nothing so steep you have to get on your hands and knees) and well maintained to vertical mud walls where you have to climb up on vines or large sections where the trail disappears into a stream bed and you just slosh your way up.
There are photos of each class of foot travel below and hundreds more scattered around Costa Rica Guide.