Costa Rica is just one of those bucket-list destinations. For people who like variety in a vacation, it’s hard to beat a trip to this Central American wonder.
But do plan ahead. With so much to see—from rainforests to beaches to volcanoes—it can be hard to narrow down what to do in Costa Rica. Here are seven adventures always worth adding to the itinerary.
Ziplining. Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world to take a treetop zipline or canopy tour. Pick a reputable business, and use this adventure as a way to explore the country’s vast wilderness from a whole new perspective.
Hiking. It sounds kind of boring, but in Costa Rica hiking doesn’t mean wandering in the woods. There’s always something magical along the path—massive waterfalls, exotic plant life, crazy mountainscapes and more. Don’t like to hike? Take a horseback ride into many of the same scenic spots.
Hot springs soaking. If you like your hot springs with a view, Arenal, Costa Rica’s most historically active volcano, with many hot springs hotels directly in its shadow, is a must do for you. Endless adventures into the Monteverde Cloud Forest leave from around the iconic area, too.
Surfing. Oh, does Costa Rica have some sweet surf beaches—with some fun towns that come along for the ride. The country’s beaches range in popularity depending on how far down the coasts you go, but a few big surf playas include Tamarindo, Hermosa and Guiones.
Sea kayaking. Speaking of water sports, with the Caribbean to the east and the North Pacific to the west, there are plenty of places to sea kayak along touristy or rugged stretches of this country’s epic coastlines. Of course, in the same areas, snorkeling and scuba diving are ways to explore the water.
Wildlife viewing. In Costa Rica, watching wildlife is actually an adventure. The country is teeming with primates, tropical birds, sea life and all those critters like sloths that call the jungle home. For the best experience, hire a guide at a national park, such as Tortuguero, Corcovado or Manuel Antonio; bring a camera to capture everything in action; and watch your lunch! CR monkeys are sneaky little things.
Rafting. Costa Rica has nine rivers ripe for whitewater boating. Adventure outfitter Rios Tropicales, which literally wrote the book on rafting here, is a great place to start. Their guides run everything from an easy, single-day float trip for families up to wet-and-wild multiday trips for the adventurous. Wear the Stella for this trip.