The latest news out of Costa Rica is that, from September, residents from several US residents will be welcomed to visit, adding to an ever-growing list of permitted visitors. You can get more details on our COVID Update – Costa Rica to Welcome Back US Tourists blog. Given you’re probably busting to start planning your thrill-filled adventures in our beautiful country, we thought we’d update you on the best and safest destinations you can visit.
What have we been up to, at Costa Rica Rios?
All of Costa Rica’s national parks reopened at 50% capacity on the 1st June and we have enjoyed an increase in travel-freedoms ever since. The first COVID-19 wave was held at bay due to swift government action and although some cantons are experiencing a slight increase in infections right now, due to greater movement of people, there’s nothing to suggest it cannot be controlled. In fact, the latest border reopening measures are testament to the Government’s handling of the pandemic: Costa Rica still rates among the best pandemic responders in all of Latin America.
On our end, we have endured the lockdown as best we could, along with everybody else. Of course, it has been heartbreaking to have essentially missed the height of the 2020 tourist season (December to April are traditionally peak travel season here) but we’re simply ecstatic to be allowed to start adventure tours again in September.
For now, we’re concentrating our efforts on tailor-made adventures for couples, families and anyone traveling with their own private social bubble. Our Build-Your-Own Adventure Packages are not just the safest way to experience Costa Rica, right now, but they offer the enviable chance to plan everything exactly as you want it without the need to share your spoils with anyone else. You can choose the destination, the activities, the pace and the level of luxury you desire, how much contact you’d like with others (include village visits or stay solely in stunning remote lodges) and will have the benefit of private transport and your own private guides. Private tours are a no-brainer in 2020-2021 and, given we plan your trip based on your budget, they also don’t need to be more expensive than organized group tours.
If that’s not all, we have the best destinations of Costa Rica at our doorstep! Now is the time to hone in on all those magical spots that are world-famous and normally chock-full of tourists. Visit Costa Rica from September, 2020, and you can include a visit to the big-name attractions and feel like you have them all to yourself.
Ain’t that grand?
The Best and Safest Destinations for Costa Rica Adventure Vacations
Outdoor activities are allowed all over the country and there are no isolation restrictions for residents from permitted countries/US States, which means once you land and clear customs, you can get out and start your adventure, pronto! We’ll be right there to pick you up and safely guide you through your long-awaited, adrenaline-packed journey.
Here are our suggestions for amazing adventures:
Turrialba, Cartago Province
Our main base for whitewater adventures, Turrialba is a small and charming village nestled in the Central Valley and is a phenomenal base-point for outdoor adventures like kayaking, rafting and mountain biking. We normally run many of our tours from here because it’s not as crowded as more famous hot-spots so we can offers our guests a truly immersive Costa Rica wilderness experience. Only an hour or so out of the capital, San Jose, Turrialba is also home to a handful of glorious eco-lodges: small, familial and inviting places that ensure you won’t ever need to dodge big crowds.
Famous all over the world, the Pacuare River flows right next to Turrialba and it’s here that adrenaline-junkies can get their ultimate fix. We’re talking world-class whitewater rafting and kayaking here! If you’ve never tried either sport before and simply wish to learn and have an absolute ball, then we’ll guide you down the Pejibaye River instead, which offers Grade II and III rapids that are ideal for novice water-sport enthusiasts.
The truly amazing thing about Turrialba is that you can stay put in one lodge and take day-adventures or, better still, pack up for a multi-day watersport trip down the river, stopping each night in remote lodge camps so you can explore surrounding jungles, spot wildlife, swing on a hammock, tackle a thrilling zipline and count all your lucky stars. You can add some mountain biking and canyoning adventures, as well as a sweet snorkel expedition on a remote Caribbean beach. The options are so many from Turrialba and that’s why we love the place so much!
Take a look at this Turrialba itinerary suggestion.
Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal is the Costa Rica of postcards: that one arresting peak, and park, that everyone wants to see on their first-ever visit. The only issue with Arenal is that, at the height of tourist season, it can get insanely busy. Now, we’re normally super apt at planning visits to dodge the crowds but, this year, we won’t even have to. This is the best year to visit the most famous sights in the country so if Arenal has been on your wish-list forever, now’s the time to make your move.
Take a hike in this jewel of wilderness with a naturalist guide and you’ll find the place will come alive, right before your eyes. There’s a ton of fun stuff to do from here: take a 2-hr walk along a series of breathtaking suspended bridges, right in the heart of the luscious jungle; hike as close as you can to that eye-popping volcano crater, rappel down show-stopping waterfalls, whitewater raft down the exhilarating Sarapiqui River or take a slower paddle down the Penas Blancas River, keeping an eye out for sloths, monkeys and a flurry of exotic, colorful birds. And that’s just the start!
There’s a reason Arenal Activities are among the most-coveted in all of Costa Rica – get here before the big tourist crowds return.
Here’s how we combine adventure and romance in Arenal, on our Luxury Honeymoon tours.
Manuel Antonio National Park
The wildlife hub of western Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is a splendid place to get totally lost in nature. Cascading right into the Pacific, with its startling rainforest and even more startling beaches, Manuel Antonio is the perfect one-stop wonder. The park truly has a little of everything that makes Costa Rica so famous: the animals, the scenery, the jungles, the peaks and all those powdery sandy beaches that just scream tropical paradise.
Rated one of the world’s most beautiful national parks, Manuel Antonio’s treasure is that it’s small and compact so the eye-popping experiences are intense. Over 100 species of mammals call this place home, as well as almost 200 distinct species of exotic birds. Normally, the park is closed on Mondays and has daily number restrictions in place. This is the one place that can feel crowded so don’t miss your chance to experience this gem of a place whilst visitor numbers are still so low.
Wildlife lovers will have a field day at Manuel Antonio, spotting sloth, squirrel and white-faced monkeys, iguanas, toucans, coatis (and so much more) meandering one of the four hiking trails that traverse the park. Beach-bums won’t know which beach to visit first: all of them framed by pristine wilderness and all of them magnificent.
Learn more about the magic of Manuel Antonio and see how many thrilling adventure sports you can do from here. You can also follow our Best of Both Worlds itinerary to see how easily you can include adrenaline-pumping activities with the stellar delights of the jungle and beaches of Manuel Antonio.
Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula
The remote and unspoiled Osa Peninsula is the ideal hub if you want to take your social distancing game up a notch or two. Wild, isolated and resplendent beyond words, the Osa is home to the last remaining tropical lowland rainforest in Central America, and an astonishing amount of unique wildlife. Here, in the heart of the Corcovado National Park, it’s all about amazing animals in their natural, raw surroundings and an adventure in this incredible corner of Costa Rica is, for many, a life-changing experience.
Just a few select remote Corcovado eco-lodges offer you the chance to experience and explore this extreme wilderness region in absolute comfort and luxury. This off-the-beaten-path haven takes some effort to reach but, once there, you’ll never want to leave. Lodges only accessible by boat, amazing culinary experience, wellness treats and days spent hiking and taking river trips – everything about Corcovado will restore your soul.
For active explorers, the options are nearly endless. On the Osa Peninsula, you can go SCUBA diving and snorkeling as well as kayaking, canyoning, paddle boarding and horseback riding. There are mountain biking trails and ziplining tours; sportfishing expeditions and multi-day camping trips. The chances for unforgettable fun are out of this world!
Learn more about the Osa Peninsula and ask us about options for visiting on your next trip abroad.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on the tourism industry in Costa Rica, as has been the case all over the world. Yet as we move forward and upwards, preparing for what we will hope will be a bumper tourist season starting at the end of the year, Costa Rica is absolutely roaring to go.
We hope our bespoke tour suggestions will help jump-start your trip planning. If you’d love to know more about these and other safe destinations in Costa Rica, simply drop us a line or call us.