You’d have to be hailing from another planet to not know that Costa Rica adventures is one of the best playgrounds in the world if adrenaline-pumping adventure vacations are what you seek.
Yet for many first-time visitors, the options seem a little overwhelming. What does one do in Costa Rica? And does one need to be an expert athlete to enjoy all these adventure sports everyone raves about? These are the kind of questions we often field here at Costa Rica Rios so we thought we’d compile a concise guide to introduce newcomers to Costa Rica’s most phenomenal adventures.
The main thing that should be highlighted is the fact that the primary reason Costa Rica is so revered as a sport-lover’s paradise is that all its most exhilarating activities are actually gradual and there are always options for beginners, intermediates and experts. This means you can SUP and surf if you don’t even know which end of the board is front, raft if you’ve never held a paddle in your hand and hike if you’ve never been on a wilderness trail. You can snorkel with the kids, learn a new sport with them and take grandma on a leisurely walk in a rain forest following a perfectly-kept trail. Costa Rica in this, and many other regards, is just ideal.
And given the fact that all of the best activities are offered by almost all of its amazing resorts, lodges and hotels, it also means you can book a group vacation even if one of your friends only wishes to sunbathe by the pool. On an organized group adventure tour, you can whitewater-raft whilst your friend hikes, surf whiles they snorkel and hike when they mountain-bike ride, still enjoying plenty of time together yet still relishing the activity you enjoy most.
The perfect vacation destination, for anyone?
Yes…we think so too!
Here are just some of the top activities Costa Rica offers to adrenaline-lovers:
Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
The country’s #1 adventure sport offers two of the best aspects for which Costa Rica is so revered: super fun sports and insanely pristine wilderness. On a white-knuckle adrenaline-rush rafting expedition, you’ll be immersed in nature for as long, and as deeply, as you wish. What makes rafting here so special is that the country’s multitude of rivers offers a kaleidoscope of options. Raft for 2 hours or 2 days, choose Grade I rapids if you’re a novice or Grade V challenges if you’re a pro. Stay in a stunning resort, camp in the jungle or choose a remote eco-lodge stay instead. The variations and possibilities are simply so many. On a whitewater rafting adventure vacation, you’ll come across endemic wildlife and enjoy an exhilarating adventure in some of the world’s most revered forests and jungles, all the while having the absolute time of your life. Sound fun? You’re right!
Check out our Whitewater Rafting page to know more. Wish to try whitewater-kayaking instead? Oh yeah…we’ve got you covered too. Costa Rica is renowned as one of the best whitewater sports’ destinations on the planet. This is the place you need to tick off if whitewater-rafting and kayaking have been on your bucket list for years.
You’ve no doubt heard about Costa Rica’s zip line canopy tours, even if you’re not an avid sporty adventurer. The country’s immense swaths of pristine forests, and propensity for fun, has spawned an industry on which its reputation for adventure vacation was built. Zip lining is what most visitors want to try in Costa Rica, first and foremost and the totally safe and crazy fun activity is suitable for those with no prior experience, making it suitable for people of all ages who want to try something ‘out there’ and add some serious oomph to their vacation.
Given the popularity, zip line tours are offered in various locations, all of which will see you reach dizzying heights and fly (gravity assisted) over rivers, gorges and luscious wilderness. Many zip lining trails include aerial trams, hanging bridges and walks through glorious nature reserves. Different zip line tours also offer varying levels of death-defying flying, some of which are perfect if you’re a consummate thrill-seeker. Check out our Zip line Guide to learn about the exciting options you and your family will love.
A multitude of hiking trails in Costa Rica are dubbed ‘the best mountain biking trails on the planet’ and we couldn’t help but agree. From cloud forest ascents to volcano descents, jungle discoveries and seaside exploring: this entire country just screams to be discovered on two wheels! Our favorite best mountain biking trails span the width and length of Costa Rica, from a colossal 250-mile challenge that’ll stretch the abilities of the pros to more leisurely (and much shorter!) single-track trails that offer fabulous views the entire way. If you love pumping those legs and discovering a new country under the power of your own steam, check out our Mountain-biking Guide for inspiration.
Hiking may not, at first, appear to be an adrenaline sport but let us tell you: hiking to the crater of a vertiginous dormant volcano in Costa Rica will set your pulse racing like few other activities! In a country whose prime aim is to preserve wilderness and make it accessible to visitors, hiking is, by far, the single most popular thing to do.
There are places you can reach on foot that simply can’t be reached in any other way, all the while indulging in wildlife spotting, soaking up the stunning scenery and stopping in remote villages seemingly removed from civilization. Hiking is splendidly rewarding in Costa Rica and, due to the sheer concentration of reserves and national parks, offered everywhere. Well-kept trails and good signage make hiking safe and fun and the variety of trails suits everyone: from those looking for a leisurely stroll to avid trekkers wanting to head off for days on end.
Hiking removes barriers with the pristine nature of Costa Rica and the slow speed allows you to stop, admire, spot and enjoy. This country is home to secret trails and famous ones, walks that are suitable for families and arduous trails best attempted by experienced hikers. No matter what kind of hiking experience you’re after, you’ll definitely find your ideal destination here.
Just because you’re an adventure seeker and adrenaline-lover, it probably doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy spending at least a portion of your Costa Rica vacation lazing in one of its most pristine beaches. Because who wouldn’t? Well, you’ll be happy to know that when it comes to adventure vacations in this gloriously sunny land, there’s still plenty of action to be had at the beach.
Revered as a surfing mecca and favored by some of the world’s best pro-surfers who head here to practice and chillax in equal measure, Costa Rica’s coasts are tailor-made for surfing. The best spots are along the Pacific Coast, where many wicked stretches of surf are renowned for their strong currents and barrel waves, which make them ideal for surfing but not for swimming or snorkeling. What that means is that once you hit the waves, you’ll only be sharing them with fellow surfers.
Although home to some of the most challenging and dangerous surfing beaches on the planet, there are still bucketloads of calmer coves where surfing schools have set up camp with the aim to help newbies get acquainted with the sport. This translates into a kaleidoscope of options for everyone, whether you’ve never been on a board, can somewhat stand up or can surf with a blindfold. Check out our Guide to the Best Surfing Locations in Costa Rica for options and our general Surfing Guide to learn how easy it is to include a day (or week) of surfing in your adventure vacation itinerary.
But wait…there’s more! From fishing trips to bird-watching excursions, SUP lessons, canyoneering, ATV riding, hot-spring soaking and even culinary-feasting (if you do it like us it IS an adrenaline sport!) Costa Rica offers adventure-seekers a world of fun, rewarding and totally unforgettable options. That’s why at Costa Rica Rios, we’ve designed award-winning multi-sport adventure tours whose sole aim is to shake you right out of your routine-boots, give you a titillating taste of all the exhilarating fun you can have here and offer as comprehensive an adventure as humanly possible. A little bit of everything with plenty of cultural flavors thrown in for good measure and overnight stays in some of the most charming lodges you’ll ever see.
So come on down…Costa Rica awaits!