Exploring all the outdoor activities that can be done in Costa Rica is almost like naming all the natural numbers. This Central American country, surrounded by kilometers of coasts to the Pacific and the Caribbean, is home to an endless amount of exciting activities. Costa Rica is a small country but the activities are endless.
Thanks to its conservationist tendencies, Costa Rica has an excellent variety of national parks, reserves and protected areas, which have impressive wildlife. With 5 percent of the total biodiversity of planet Earth, it is not surprising that Costa Rica has recreational activities for all tastes. Here we mention the best options to activate your vacation in this paradise called Costa Rica.
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to walk between the treetops of a rain forest? The famous Canopy Tours will help you get the vacation of your dreams, walking through rain forests. On this tour you are lifted by a zipper tied securely to a tree platform, approximately 50 feet in the air and then sent to the platform of another tree. It was in the small Quaker community of Monteverde where the Canopy Tours began for the first time and since then they have spread throughout the country. This is an experience full of adrenaline that you should not miss.
For lovers of road and mountain biking
Although the winding and rugged roads and the aggressiveness of some drivers can pose challenges, cycling is on the rise in Costa Rica. Numerous routes with little traffic offer many adventures, from picturesque mountain roads with incredible views to rugged paths that cross streams and pass through volcanoes.
The best long routes in the country are those that follow the Interamerican Highway, along the Pacific coast, relatively flat and with a correct shoulder, or the Montezuma road to Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve, south of the Nicoya Peninsula. The hills surrounding Salinas Bay, in the northwest, are also recommended for pedaling. Mountain biking has started in recent years, with good tracks through Corcovado and Arenal, and others through the central mountains.
Surfing and Rafting
Other popular tourist activities are surfing and white water rafting. Surfing is good throughout the year, being the months of June and July the best for places such as Pavones and Matapalo. Likewise, on the central Pacific coast and the North Pacific coast, it is good all year. Other more popular spots for water sports are found in Playa Grande, Playa Negra, and Playa Hermosa, just to mention a few. Whitewater rafting is also world-class and the best time to navigate the rivers is during the rainy season from May to December, when the rivers are fully flowing.
Costa Rica offers endless possibilities for hikers. With mountains, canyons, dense jungles, cloud forests, and two coasts, the country is one of the best and most varied destinations in Central America. The routes cover a huge spectrum of difficulty. In some tourist destinations like Monteverde, the tracks are well signposted and, in some cases, paved. That’s great if you go with children or have problems with orientation. For long routes, there are many more options in remote corners of the country.
Most parks and reserves offer numerous excursions of moderate difficulty. You can usually rely on signage and maps; although it is not too much to have some experience (the phone’s compass can be very useful). With good footwear, abundant water and confidence you can combine several routes of a day and thus create a longer expedition. The tourist information centers at the entrance of parks are a great resource for planning the routes.
If you are equipped to camp, you can undertake even longer and more demanding itineraries, such as the ascent to the Cerro Chirripó, cross Corcovado or enter the heart of La Amistad International Park. Although you can ascend the Chirripó for free, for much of La Amistad and for any section of Corcovado you have to go with a guide.
Windsurfing and Kitesurfing
The Arenal lagoon is the absolute reference place for windsurfing and kitesurfing. From December to April the winds are strong and constant, with an average of 20 to 30 knots in the dry season and with very rare windless days. The lagoon has a temperature of 18-21 ° C throughout the year, with waves 1 m high. For warmer waters (but with more inconsistent winds), you can go to Puerto Soley, in the less-visited Salinas Bay.
The kayak also has its unconditional followers. The tiny little town of La Virgen in the northern plains is the unofficial capital of kayaking in Costa Rica and the best place to coincide with other fans. The nearby Sarapiquí River offers an impressive variety of stretches for all ages and challenges.
With 1228 km of coastline, two gulfs and numerous estuaries with mangroves, Costa Rica is also an ideal destination for sea kayaking, great for reaching remote places and seeing birds and other elusive animals. Of course, it can be more or less difficult, depending on the tides and currents.
The high season for rafting and kayaking runs from June to October, although some rivers offer good descents throughout the year. Government regulations for operators are not very reliable, so you should be informed about the training of the guide regarding safety, emergencies and first aid. There are many quality guides, if you already have the experience, you can combine sections in a kayak with other rafting descents; Sea kayaking is popular all year.
Scuba diving and Snorkel diving
The good news is that Costa Rica’s sea and ocean waters are near body temperature and that marine life is very abundant. The bad news is that underwater visibility is somewhat fair at best due to silt and plankton, and the abundance of soft corals and sponges. However, if you look for the opportunity to see huge schools of fish, as well as large marine animals such as turtles, sharks, dolphins, and whales, you should not think too much about it and go ahead.
It should also be noted that there are few places in the world where you can practice immersion in the Caribbean and the Pacific on the same day like here, although there is no reason for such a hurry. The Caribbean is better for first-timers, and the coastal towns of Manzanillo and Cahuita are especially suitable for the youngest. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca also offers a few dive sites to discover. In the Pacific, Caño Island is recommended for more experienced divers. Coco Island is the exception to the rule: this remote Pacific island, surrounded by deep waters, is considered by veteran divers as one of the best dive sites on the planet. To immerse yourself in this wonderful place you have to hire a boat trip and have enough previous experience.
Sportfishing is also another popular activity in Costa Rica. Depending on the time of the year in which you visit, so it will be what you catch. There are many species of fish such as Dorado, Wahoo, Roosterfish, and Tarpon. Of course, for the wide range of fish, there is, there are a strict fishing and release policy.
Costa Rica is a country rich in nature and where there there is an adventure waiting for everyone. Adventure Activities are all around the country so you can be sure that you will not run out of exciting things to do, come and get active in this natural outdoor playground.