What to do in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is an incredibly diverse country, boasting vast swathes of rainforest, active volcanoes, gushing rivers and more than 760 miles of coastline among its attractions. The variety of its landscapes means there are plenty of different activities you can try during a holiday to Costa Rica.
As the nation is relatively small, it's easy to move from place to place, too, so you can experience all that this beautiful and exciting destination has to offer in a single trip. In fact, tours of Costa Rica are one of the best ways to get the most out of your break and ensure that you don't miss out on anything.
From adventurous pursuits like ziplining over the rainforest and river- rafting to more sedate activities such as horseback riding and snorkelling, Costa Rica really does offer it all.
Adventurous water sports in Costa Rica
There are plenty of opportunities for adventure on a holiday in Costa Rica, so if you love having an adrenalin rush, this is the place for you. Both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts offer thrills and spills in the sunshine. The Pacific coast is particularly well-known for its surf scene and has played host to international competitions in the past.
Guanacaste, in the north-west of Costa Rica, is one of the main surfing hotspots, although great breaks are located all the way along the Pacific seaboard. Potrero Grande, Jaco, Hermosa Beach and Pavones Beach are just a few of the options. On the Caribbean coast, top breaks for experienced surfers include Puerto Viejo and Bonita Beach, while the area around Manzanillo is better for beginners and intermediates.
Another popular sport is windsurfing, with Arenal Lake providing challenging conditions during the dry season that will test those with experience. Beginners are advised to head to the Gulf of Papagayo to learn the basics before attempting Costa Rica's more difficult windsurfing spots.
There are just as many thrills to be had under the water as on it in Costa Rica, with the nation renowned for the quality of its scuba diving sites. As large sections of the country's coast are protected, there is an incredible array of colourful creatures that inhabit the beautiful coral reefs. One of the best spots for experienced divers is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Cocos Island, which is off the Pacific Coast. This isle attracts schools of hammerhead sharks at certain times of the year and is home to more than 300 species of fish.
Away from the coast, you can enjoy the thrills of white water rafting on one of Costa Rica's rivers. There are several class III and IV (intermediate to advanced) rapids in the country, with the Pacuare, Naranjo and El General rivers providing the most challenging and adrenalin-pumping rafting experiences.
Get back to nature
As Costa Rica boasts 20 natural parks, eight biosphere reserves and is considered to be one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, it should be of little surprise that one of the best things to do here is to explore the natural attractions.
There are numerous opportunities for hiking and horseback riding through stunning areas of cloud forest or along pristine, jungle-fringed beaches. Taking this kind of tour allows you to get close to the amazing animals and birds that inhabit the country, giving you the chance to spot the likes of anteaters, tapirs, scarlet macaws, spider monkeys and poison-arrow frogs.
If you're looking for a bit more of a rush, don't miss out on taking a canopy tour that will see you climb high up into the treetops of the rainforest and move between a series of wooden platforms via ziplines and suspended cables - a truly exhilarating experience.
Another astounding natural sight you can see in Costa Rica is sea turtles nesting on the beaches in Tortuguero National Park. Depending on the time of year that you visit, you could see females laying their eggs or small turtles hatching and making their way to the sea for the first time.
Relax and unwind on your holiday to Costa Rica
Your entire holiday in Costa Rica doesn't have to revolve around being active, as there are plenty of ways to relax and unwind as well. Soaking up the sun on one of the glorious beaches is a simple pleasure that shouldn't be missed during your trip. The country has made a real effort to protect its natural habitats and many of its beaches are managed sustainably to allow tourism and nature to coexist.
Head to the Cacao volcanoes, meanwhile, and you can bathe in thermal springs amidst beautiful surroundings - a memorable and unique thing to do during your holiday. This is just a snapshot of what's on offer in Costa Rica - there's so much more to discover once you arrive.
Excursions and Attractions
Travel far off the beaten track during your holiday in Costa Rica, on a thrilling four-wheel-drive adventure that will take you deep into the Costa Rican countryside. This tour reveals spectacular landscapes and living examples of traditional Costa Rican...
The Aerial Tram Park located in the Central Pacific Coast, is an eco-tourism project of 222 acres (90 hectares offorest) that will allow visitors to discover the hidden secrets and hanging gardens of the Tropical Forest from a differentperspective. A...
The Aerial Tram Park located in the Central Pacific Coast, is a eco-tourism project of 222 acres (90 hectares of forest) that will allow visitors to discover the hidden secrets and hanging gardens of the Tropical Forest from a different perspective. A...
Another point of interest that provides an uplifting experience is a visit to the town of La Fortuna, home of the Arenal Volcano, which is one of the most active volcanoes in all of Central America. When you visit the volcano, you can see nature in its...
Talk to a specialist
Call 020 7644 1755 to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.
Opening hours 09:00 - 21:00 GMT
Related articles for Costa Rica
Costa Rica NewsBrowse all Costa Rica News
A brand new theme park is planned for Costa Rica, following an announcement from Discovery Communications, the owner of the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. The $400 million theme park will be located in the coastal province of Guanacaste, and it will have hotels, sports areas, restaurants, and eco-adventure activities spread out over 800 hectares of land.
Costa Rica is one of the world’s greenest destinations and over recent years it has become a hotspot or adventure lovers. With two coastlines facing the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy scuba diving and snorkelling adventures in the country, and it is home to a variety of diving sites such as Cocos Island, Cano Island and Catalina Islands.
A brand new boutique hotel has opened to guests in the town of Las Catalinas in Costa Rica. Owned and operated by NP International, Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas is located on the hilltop, and offers 21 luxury villas with private plunge pools, plus facilities including an open-air yoga pavilion, a zero-edge swimming pool, an open-air restaurant and a poolside bar.