Tag Archives: Costa Rica Adventures

Costa Rica Hanging Bridges – Which One is Best?

Costa Rica’s hanging bridges are among the most coveted of the country’s many highlights. Although you may well want to visit them all whilst here (who wouldn’t?!) it’s safe to surmise you’d want to home in on one, primarily, so you have enough time, energy and funds to also try out everything else on offer in this adventure-packed country, activities like kayaking, whitewater rafting, canyoning, mountain biking, horseback riding and SO much more.

First up, if you have absolutely NO idea what we’re talking about…

What is a Hanging Bridge in Costa Rica?

Arenal Hanging Bridges park of Costa RicaWind back the history-clock a few decades and you’d see a bunch of curious scientists studying unique flora and fauna in the remotest nooks of Costa Rica’s virgin jungles. They concocted these ‘hanging bridges’ in order to reach the highest points of the luscious canopy and, back then, they were nothing more than haphazardly tied-together ropes, swung between trees and interspersed with wooden planks. The death-defying ‘heavenly highways’ certainly did their job, and the tradition of using suspension walking bridges to enjoy superlative wilderness experiences has now become an unmissable part of all adventure vacations in Costa Rica.

 

What is so Magical about Hanging Bridges?

Hike in Costa RicaHanging bridges get you up close and personal with what is, essentially, impenetrable wilderness. When you leave the walking trails behind (or rather, below), you enter a whole different kind of natural kingdom, one that you wouldn’t otherwise ever get to see. Hanging bridges often stretch across deep valleys and gorges, places you’d need hours of hard hiking to even reach, if at all possible. It is up in this startling remoteness that monkeys swing and toucans rest, where sloths hang out and where the essence of the jungle is intensified, ten-fold. Moreover, this is where the views really get out of this world, where the horizon is not blocked by an impermeable layer of thick forest foliage. Hanging bridges offer vistas that span across the jungle, something you simply won’t ever get to see, any other way.

Oh, and don’t worry: modern-day hanging bridges in Costa Rica are some of the best, safest and most famous in the world.

Here, you can swing to your heart’s delight with peace of mind.

 

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Are All Hanging Bridges Tours Created Equal?

Canopy tours with hanging bridges in Costa Rica can vary quite a bit, mainly in length and agility-requirement which means some are better for families with smaller children, for example, whilst others offer exhilarating extras like zip-lining, ideal for adrenaline seekers. Some also include a fair bit of walking in between the bridges; however, they are still considered the least strenuous way to immerse yourself in pristine wilderness here. If you’re on a family adventure vacation in Costa Rica, for example, and want to bring your elderly parents along for the amazing ride, they can enjoy a stunning day on a hanging bridge trail whilst you battle out on a whitewater river. Alternatively, they simply make for amazing family excursions you can all enjoy together.

Each of Costa Rica’s best hanging bridges is located in a very special forest, be it a wilderness and wildlife reserve, rain forest or cloud forest. Entrance fees allow varying organisations to continue to maintain and protect all these incredible corners of paradise so whilst you’re up there having the time of your life, you’re also contributing to precious and very necessary causes.

It’s also worth remembering that some hanging bridges offer night-time wildlife-spotting tours and these are some of the most rewarding animal-watching tours you can take. This offers a totally distinct experience so, if you have time, you should consider doing one daytime and one night-time visit.

Knowing a little about every option will help you decide which hanging bridge course is right for your next adventure vacation in Costa Rica.

Where are Costa Rica’s Best Hanging Bridges?

hikingEvery single one of Costa Rica’s best hanging bridges offers something unique and, for many, the choice simply comes down to convenience. Where you choose to base yourself, or travel to, will likely have a big impact on your ultimate choice. Having said that, some people specifically seek the longest trail or the one with the most bridges or, in the case of two options below, the one with the most ‘extras’ like zip-line, hummingbird garden and so forth.

Here’s a quick lowdown of the options – we’ll include one ‘point of note’ for each that makes it stand out from the rest. Please note that each one offers refreshments (café/restaurants) and the option of a private tour as well.

Sky Adventures Park, Arenal

About half an hour’s drive from downtown La Fortuna, the Arenal Sky Adventures Park offers a spectacular walking trail that crosses eight bridges (four of which are suspended) as well as two observation decks and two gorgeous waterfalls. This is a leisurely 3-hour excursion but can also be combined with an aerial tram and canopy tour. There’s a lovely café that serves food (YES!) and although you have the option of taking a guide along and going self-guided. This Sky Adventure Park doesn’t offer night-time tours, unfortunately, but is perfectly suitable for all ages.

NB – This option offers some of the most magnificent canopy views of all plus you pass two waterfalls

 

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Mistico Hanging Bridges Park, Arenal

Right by Lake Arenal is where you’ll find Mistico, a trail that offers night-time tours and very early morning bird-spotting tours as well. This trail should take about two hours to complete, is suitable for all ages and will guide you over 16 bridges (six of which are suspended) as well as a lovely waterfall. Both guided and self-guided options are available here too, as well as a great little restaurant so you can really take your time.

NB – This is the park with the most bridges (16 in total) and offers outstanding canopy views. Moreover, there is an ‘easily accessible’ trail that’s perfect for those with limited mobility and although it does skip a chunk of the whole trail, it at least offers the experience to absolutely everyone

Sky Adventures Park, Monteverde

Over in the ethereal cloud forests of Monteverde is the Sky Adventures Park, a multi-adventure center that combines hanging bridges with canopy tours, aerial trams and even a herpetarium that showcases some of Costa Rica’s most unique reptiles and amphibians and a splendid hummingbird garden. A two-hour visit will see you walk over five suspension bridges amongst breathtaking clouds. SAP Monteverde offers guides, self-guided and night-time tours and is open to all ages.

NB – This is the park with the longest suspension bridge – 774 feet!

Selvatura Park, Monteverde

Not to be outdone, Selvatura also offers a myriad of experiences, combining its hanging-bridge-trail with a thrilling zip-lining course, as well as a butterfly, hummingbird and herpetarium enclosure. It should take you about 2.5 hrs for a visit and you should expect to cross eight stunning hanging bridges. Self-guided and guided tours are available and open to all ages although, unfortunately, there are no night-time visits offered here.

NB – There’s something magical about the cloud forest views here and, what’s more, an entry ticket included round-trip transport, which is handy. If that; snot enough, you also have the option to add a zip-line tour!

100% Aventuras, Monteverde

This remarkable nature reserve offers half-day guided visits that combine both ground-level trails with eight hanging bridges, for a very comprehensive forest experience. The trail is about 2-mile long and although it does require moderate fitness, it isn’t too demanding. You also have the option of a 10-line zip-line tour, as well as ATV, rappelling and rope swings.

NB – You can go nuts with all the adrenaline-packed adventures here OR simply take a leisurely walk along the hanging bridge trail, which is suitable for all ages. The choice is yours!

Montezuma Waterfall Canopy Tour Trail, Nicoya Peninsula

monkey on bridgeHead west to Nicoya and you can take a walking trail to Montezuma’s beautiful waterfalls on a short but rewarding excursion. The three-tiered falls are just lovely, immersed in wilderness whilst also offering a great chance for a swim. This is a local hang-out and totally off the commercialized-trail. There are two ways to reach the falls: one along a riverside trail and the other (the one you’ll want) is on a canopy trail that’s easily accessible. The Sun Trails canopy tour isn’t just a super easy way to reach the top falls (so you don’t need to tackle the steep climb up from the riverside trail) but it also guides you over a couple of outstanding hanging bridges. A thrilling zip-line tour is also available if you want to add an adrenaline-rush to your visit. This no-bling option is perfect for nature-lovers who prefer a more rustic hanging bridge experience and, obviously, those who are planning an adventure vacation over on the Nicoya Peninsula.

NB – This is probably the cheapest way to experience hanging bridges because you can access the canopy trail for just a few dollars. Take a guide with you, however, and you’re likely to spot a lot more wildlife than you otherwise would, on your own.

 

Costa Rica’s Best Hanging Bridges – Summary

Although we’ve detailed the most famous and popular hanging bridges in Costa Rica, do note that suspension trails are actually found all over the country, and in almost all provinces. Some have even been constructed within the boundaries of private eco-lodges and these lesser-known options can be among the most rewarding.

At Costa Rica Rios, we incorporate hanging bridges tours in many of our adventure vacation packages and, besides our very popular group tours, we also organize bespoke private tours if you want to have dedicated itinerary and expert guides for you and your loved ones alone. In Costa Rica (and with Costa Rica Rios) everything is possible!

Contact us to know more.

 

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7 Best Things to Do in Tortuguero

boatTortuguero is the most famous and popular destination on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, in the province of Limon, and is the name of both the spectacular turtle reserve (the Tortuguero National Park) and its namesake base town (Tortuguero village). Although only 60-odd miles from the capital, San Jose, Tortuguero is still considered one of the country’s hidden treasures given it’s nestled in the heart of untarnished wilderness and getting there is a little time consuming than would normally be. Yet what makes reaching Tortuguero slightly more hassle is the primary reason it is such an exceptional place: lacking all the major mod-cons of more visited (and easier to reach) hubs like Manuel Antonio and Arenal, makes this a true nature lover’s paradise, clichéd as that may sound. There may not be much in terms of glitz and glamour here but, in return, you get unparalleled biodiversity, exquisite wildlife watching and a nature-enriched experience that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

 

entrance signTortuguero’s most revered asset is its wilderness, made up of fertile wetlands, dense forests and wild beaches that attract nesting sea turtles. ‘The Place of Turtles’, as the name translates, is turtle watching haven and considered one of the world’s foremost nesting site for four distinct species, namely Leatherback, Loggerhead, Hawksbill and the endangered Green Sea turtles, for which Tortuguero represents the largest nesting site on the planet. Learn more about Turtle Spotting in Costa Rica if that’s your primary reason for visiting Tortuguero.

If all this bounty isn’t enough, there’s also the nifty bonus of Tortuguero enjoying its driest season when the rest of the country is deluged by rain. This is considered the best destination in all of Costa Rica during rain season.

 

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Ready to get to know Tortuguero better? Here are the top things to do there!

  1. Take an early morning canoe trip through the canals

birdWant the highest chances of spotting wildlife in Tortuguero? Better be an early sloth! Enjoy an early morning guided canoe or kayak trip through the glorious canals and you’ll magically feel the stresses of life just slide right off your back. Spot (and hear) howler and spider monkeys, a cacophony of birds including colorful toucans, macaws, woodpeckers and owls, as well as caimans, river otters, turtles and tapirs and, if you’re exceptionally lucky, even Jesus Christ lizards (yes, the ones that walk on water), jaguars and manatees. The three main priorities here are to paddle yourself (motorized vessels scare off the wildlife), go with an experienced local guide (these guys can spot elusive animals where we see only foliage) and make sure you’re out there by sunrise, when most animals are at their most active. Being Tortuguero village lies a complex maze of canals through the lush wetlands. Tours last about three hours.

 

  1. Hike up to Cerro Tortuguero

The highest point in Tortuguero is 1,280 feet high and is the collapsed caldera of a now-dormant volcano, the one that has given the area its incredible biodiversity. It may seem like a ‘short stroll’ and in many ways it is, however, the hike can be steep and adrenaline-pumping nonetheless. The reward? All-encompassing and astonishing views across the wetlands and canals. The trail is called Sendero Cerro Tortuguero and is just a 10-minute canoe-ride from town center. It is well marked and you can expect to see plenty of birds and even larger wildlife. As always, you’ll get the most of your visit (and wildlife spotting) by taking a guide with you although it’s not strictly necessary. If you’re happy to enjoy some ‘me’ time and ‘see what you see’ then, by all means, go for it. Boat services are plentiful here as it’s the main mode of transport.

  1. Enjoy walking through the National Park

alligatorWalking isn’t really the best way to soak up the wonders of Tortuguero but the national park boasts some lovely trails if you’d love to stretch your legs nonetheless. All trails start from the Visitor Center, range in length and also water levels. Sometimes, you’ll have to wade through water that’s ankle or calf-deep so ask beforehand, especially if travelling with children. Do note that walking alone through this kind of rain-forest is not recommended, so if you don’t want to take a guide then buddy up with other visitors, perhaps from your lodge.

 

  1. Visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy Visitor Center

turtleThis amazing interpretation center is part of the Sea Turtle Conservation Program which studies and protects Tortuguero’s #1 guests. The passionate staff offers great information about the work that’s carried out here, as well as everything related to the nesting habits of the turtles. If visiting during nesting season, best to head here first and foremost. Entrance is just a few dollars and includes a small but information-packed museum and a really fascinating video.

 

  1. Go for a night-time guided walk to spot Green Turtles and other wildlife

Red-Eyed Tree FrogBetween the end of June and the first week of October, you’ll have the highest chances of spotting turtles nesting in Tortuguero, one of the most awe-inspiring experiences you can have in all of Costa Rica. Visitors aren’t allowed on the nesting beach past 6 pm during season so you’ll need (and will want) to go with a guide. Another very special spectacle is watching hatchlings zooming down the beach to reach the sea, which happens between seven and 10 weeks after nesting. Given that different species nest at different times, there are some occasions where nesting and hatching overlap. Nocturnal tours are very rewarding even outside nesting season, when you’ll see a multitude of snakes, frogs and other reptiles, as well as sloths and opossums.

 

  1. Hike in the Tortuguero National Park by day

A gorgeous activity reserved for the driest months, guided walks through Tortuguero are absolutely amazing and offer a different (and much slower) perspective on the local flora and fauna. What makes walking through the park special is the fact that it’s not something you can do all year long – the landscape is quite flat and prone to flooding after rains so it’s very much a dry-season highlight.

  1. Go Zip-lining in Tortuguero!

One of our four recommended lodges in Tortuguero, Aninga Lodge, boasts a super fun 1 km-long canopy trail that includes half a dozen cables, 11 platforms, several suspension bridges and one exhilarating Tarzan swing. It may not be as hard-core as some of the more famous zip-line sin the west but it is unique in the area and offers a wonderful 1.5 hr-long thrill

Plan Your Trip

How to Get There

Follow our Airport Guide to Costa Rica to see the best entry into the country, whether you’re visiting Tortuguero first or last on your adventure vacation itinerary. No matter where you come from, however, you will need to take a combination of road and boat transport to reach the town and the national park. Getting here is definitely half the adventure!

Who is Best Suited to an Adventurous Tortuguero Experience? Things to Keep in Mind!

Tortuguero BeachTortuguero isn’t for everyone, as is the case with every destination, all over the world. Some people just don’t enjoy their adventure vacation without at least some glitzy comforts (which is totally understandable) and others automatically envisage idyllic beaches whenever they see any pin mapped on a stretch of Tico coast. But Tortuguero, in all its immense splendorous, doesn’t offer that kind of seaside experience. This ain’t THAT kind of beach. Due to strong tides, this is the least suitable stretch of coast for swimming so although the beach and coastline are magical to admire and photograph, don’t head here expecting an array of water-based sports, because there just aren’t any at all.

 

To better appreciate and enjoy your journey to Tortuguero, it helps to really understand the uniqueness of this place. If you’re an adventure seeker who doesn’t mind foregoing some creature comforts in order to really immerse yourself in pristine nature (something which isn’t a given everywhere, nowadays) then Tortuguero is for you. If you know that the Limon coast is volcanic and doesn’t boast the ‘dreamy blinding white sands’ of the Pacific, then you will also not be disappointed. Tortuguero isn’t for beach bumming, it’s for those looking for a truly immersive wilderness experience. If you’re a lover of raw wilderness and the excitement of never really knowing what wildlife you’ll see; if you love bird-watching and just want to get away from it all (modernity included) then Tortuguero will definitely tick all your boxes. Want to experience Costa Rican eco-tourism at its very best? Then Tortuguero it is!

Now, having said all that, don’t go imagining a torturous experience! There may not be many gorgeous eco-lodges in Tortuguero, but there are certainly enough to find the one that suits you best. We’ve homed in on the four best Tortuguero hotels that we think suit our clientele best and if you’re dreaming of an unforgettable adventure vacation in Costa Rica, be it for your honeymoon, family or solo trip, we know you’ll find your personal gem among these four excellent options.

 

Pack accordingly for Tortuguero

Boat travel to and through Tortuguero will greatly limit your luggage capacity so if you’re planning on this being a side trip in Costa Rica, you’ll have to organize luggage storage somewhere else, with the most convenient place being the capital given that’s probably where you’ll be arriving.

At Costa Rica Rios, we can help you plan a unique and memorable adventure vacation in Tortuguero and all over Costa Rica. We run award-winning multi-adventure tours for honeymooners, families and solo travelers. This is our home and our favorite playground and after decades om the business, we’ve perfected the art of planning tailor-made and group tours that soak up the very best this magnificent country has to offer.

So why not come discover Costa Rica with us? See our most popular adventure vacation packages and contact us to know more.

 

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Safety Guide for Costa Rica Adventures

Safety is usually a huge priority for anyone planning an adventure vacation in Costa Rica. And if it isn’t then it definitely should be. The country of a million adventure sports is an active traveler’s dream with such exciting activities as zip-lining, whitewater rafting, abseiling, horseback riding and mountain biking appearing on the daily itinerary of all adventure seekers heading our way. Yet as exciting as all this may be, it’s easy to often overlook the safety aspect of such endeavors.

waterfall

To this end, here are a few recommendations to help you plan your unforgettable (and safe!) adventure vacation in Costa Rica:

 

  1. Do Your Research Before…So You Don’t Have To Worry During Your Vacation

The main reason so many people overlook the safety aspect of adventure-filled vacation is because it’s a totally boring subject to contemplate, especially at a time when one is fantasizing about swinging between jungle treetops and rappelling down raging waterfalls. Yet although the chances of something going awry is minuscule, endeavoring to ensure your utmost safety before you even get on the plane means you need not worry about DURING your trip. This is what everyone should be aiming for: make safety a priority during the planning stage (ensuring you are able to actually partake in some extreme sports and choosing the right adventure travel company) and you need not question yourself during the trip.

 

  1. Choose An Adventure Company You Know You Can Trust. Once You Do, Listen To Them and TELL Them of Any Health Issues

The adventure travel company you choose should be well-renowned and boast an excellent safety record and plenty of client reviews. Once you’ve made your pick, trust them wholeheartedly. These are the guys that know best.

There are certain health issues that may prevent you from partaking in some of Costa Rica’s most coveted activities. You may not know what they are but your tour company definitely should, so disclose any issues you may have (including medication you may be taking) and let them guide you towards the right activities for you. Moreover, trust that your guides know their job and have your safety (and that of your travelling group) as their top priority, above and beyond anything else. Sometimes, they’ll ask you to wear specific shoes for certain activities or remover jewelry and leave your camera behind. Some activities have age restrictions. All of this is done purely for safety reasons so, please, listen to the recommendations of your guide and, even if you don’t understand the reasons behind certain restrictions, always follow them. By all means, do ask for explanations if you so wish and if you’re not in a situation of immediate danger (in which case follow directions first and ask questions later) as guides do appreciate explaining their safety protocols. The best agencies will have top-notch equipment of the highest standard and experienced and well-trained guides that know their chosen pocket of wilderness like the back of their hands. They’ll know to continually check the weather forecast and have contingency plans in place should anything negatively impact the day’s intended activity.

 

  1. Make Sure You’ve Had No Alcohol and Are Well Rested Before Attempting Any Outdoor Activity in Costa Rica

When having a blast in Costa Rica’s wilderness, it’s imperative that you – just like your guides – be at the top of your game and that means you should be well rested and not suffering under the influence of alcohol or drugs of any kind. You’d be surprised at just how uncoordinated you can be being only a little bit tired, let alone a little bit hungover. Your reaction times are delayed and your overall physical performance will suffer greatly if you aren’t feeling 100%. If in doubt, speak to your guide about what’s required of you on the day and take a rain check to rest instead. This way, your safety will never be compromised.

 

  1. Make Sure You Have Comprehensive Health Insurance That Covers All The Activities You Want To Do

No matter how many precautions you may take when travelling to Costa Rica, something can always happen and for that reason it is imperative you arrive with a fully comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover you for all eventualities. Should you suffer an injury during your adventure tour of Costa Rica (rare but not impossible), the last thing you’ll want to worry about is whether or not your travel insurance will cover all of your expenses. As we love to say: if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel! Make sure your insurance policy will cover your intended activities specifically. Many standard travel policies will not cover for adventure sports, for example, so make sure you have a policy that does.

 

At Costa Rica Rios, we take your safety seriously and that’s part of the reason National Geographic voted us one of the Best Adventure Travel Companies (on Earth). We’ve been running fully-guided adventure tours in Costa Rica for over two decades, using world-class equipment and employing the best guides in the business. For your unparalleled safety and peace of mind, we are your safety guides for Costa Rica adventures. When only the best will do!

See our full collection of Costa Rica adventure vacations and contact us to know more.

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Costa Rica Adventures – Top Activities for Adrenaline Lovers

Costa Rica AdventuresYou’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

Costa Rica AdventuresThe 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.

Zip Lining

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.

Mountain Biking

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

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.

Surfing

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!

Are You Ready to Book Your Adventure Vacation?

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How Much Fun Can You Squeeze in a Week? In Costa Rica…Endless!

White water rafing funWe like to pride ourselves in offering the most comprehensive week-long adventure vacation packages in all of Costa Rica. Because we believe that if you work hard you also like to play hard. We dig that! Although to be fair, we probably shouldn’t take all the credit for concocting adrenaline-pumping itineraries that blow the socks off our guests, time and again. After all, coming up with dozens of ways to totally enjoy the country’s dramatic landscapes, like kayaking, zip-lining, mountain biking, canyoning, whitewater rafting, snorkeling, surfing, and trekking, is child’s play. But offering up such phenomenal backdrops? That’s the real skill.

And Costa Rica does that with unabashed abandon.

The most exhilarating, varied and enticing country in Central America is a playground the likes of which you simply won’t see anywhere else. In any other region of the world, you’d have to travel thousands of miles, and rack up multiple passport stamps, in order to do all THAT, in a single vacation.

So fine, let’s call it a draw. Costa Rica provides the breathtaking wilderness, and we’ll pack the gear.

Now the only thing that’s missing is you.

Rafting, Kayaking, and Canoeing Fun

Kayaking funEnjoying the kaleidoscope of Costa Rica’s whitewater rivers is about as much fun as you can have in the water, without actually drowning. But don’t worry, there are rapids and waters to suit all skills and death-wishes, so if you have neither nor, you could always opt to explore a secluded mangrove or pristine seaside inlet instead.

No matter where you go, you’ll always be accompanied by pristine rain forests teeming with wildlife, although perhaps only on the more sedate outings will you have the steel nerves to actually take a pause, and spot the sloth. Seriously, this is the most enthralling adventure activity in the country, absolute bucket-loads of fun in a group, and arguably the main reason why we’d include three days in your week-long vacation to Costa Rica dedicated to these water-based extreme sports. And we were just kidding about the death wish! Believe it or not, we’ll have you conquering grade IV rapids even if you have absolutely no prior experience at all. Now doesn’t that sound like a tempting challenge?

Canyoning

Canyoning funIf you thought that rapids and waterfalls are scary enough to face on a raft, wait till we politely coerce you to jump off them! Canyoning is the term used to describe an insanely fun ‘hike’ through a canyon. Except the hiking is replaced by rappelling, scrambling over rocks, and jumping down waterfalls. And said canyon is filled with raging crystalline waters. But aside that, it’s really just a walk through a remote and remarkable canyon. Nothing more, nothing less. Wear water shoes and quick dry clothing and you’ll be totally fine. Promise. Who wouldn’t be, sliding headfirst down a vertiginous waterfall?

Zip-lining

Zip line funThink your pulse will stop racing once you’re out of the water? Think again! As soon as you’re dry and have caught your breath, we’ll tie you safe, hoist you up the tree tops and send you flying at breakneck speed through some of the world’s most ancient rain forest.

Your challenge will be to see how many toucans, hornbills, monkeys and sloths you can spot as you zoom above and beside them all. With a collection of zip-lines and suspension bridges, you can explore the Costa Rican wilderness from a totally different angle. This is the most famous zip-lining destination in the world, a place where you could almost fly from one side of the country to another, Spiderman-style, without ever touching the ground. With its impeccable safety record and outstanding scream-value (yes, you will scream like a 12yo girl at a Justin Bieber concert and it’s ok, everybody does) zip-lining is your ultimate adrenaline-packed adventure in paradise.

Mountain Biking

Costa Rica mountain bikingPerhaps you’ll feel more comfortable on two wheels. Then how about some mountain biking? That would be gravity-assisted downhill biking, on a speedy descent over 9,000 feet long, from the top of Irazu Volcano to the luscious depths of the cloud forest below.

Past verdant valleys teeming with gorgeous villages and outstanding scenery of wild-flower covered hills. This one doesn’t even hurt the legs (due to the lack of pedaling needed) so it can almost be considered a very relaxing pursuit. Almost.

Snorkeling & Surfin’

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water…

Snorkeling funEnding your adventure-filled week in Costa Rica and indulging in a few relaxing days on a simply perfect beach is heaven on earth. No, really. We won’t be feeding you to sharks or anything! Snorkeling and surfing are the favored pursuits for beach bums who can’t sit still. There is really no better way to work on the tan and enjoy the water than by picking up a new skill, whether that be to stand on a surf or paddle board, or gaining a deeper understanding of the endemic sea life that inhabits the country’s premier reefs. Stunning seaside resorts and eco-lodges allow you the luxury of indulging in incredible comforts while still feeling immensely close to nature.

From single adventurers to groups of friends, extended families, and honeymooners: our week-long adventure vacation packages can be tweaked to suit all tastes, ages and fitness levels. So if you think it’s impossible to fit in that much fun in a single week…we really do need to have a chat.

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Top 5 Most Iconic Costa Rica Experiences

Adventure, culture, pristine wilderness and amazing wildlife: a vacation in iconic Costa Rica is an incredible kaleidoscope of unique experiences found nowhere else on earth.

It’s about discovering an amazing culture that’s warm and welcoming, about finding a slice of unspoiled paradise close to home, and about creating unforgettable memories.

Whether it’s the first time you’re visiting Costa Rica – or the 100th – you’ll find a myriad of iconic experiences and activities in which to indulge.

Here are our favorite five:

Overnight in an Eco-Lodge

Costa Rica is considered to be the birthplace of the eco-lodge and it’s indeed here that you’ll find some of the most amazing jungle lodges in the world, built with recycled local materials and run with environmental sustainability, resourcefulness and conscientiousness in mind.

The most famous lodges in the country have won multiple awards, thanks to their commitment to conservation of the local wilderness, support of local indigenous communities and relentless protection of the endemic wildlife. Spending at least one night in one of these awe-inspiring lodges is about as iconic as Costa Rica can get, and a chance for you to experience pure Costa Rican wilderness in comfort and luxury, all the while knowing you’re contributing to a truly amazing side of tourism.

Check out: Lapa Rios for superb luxury, Pacuare Lodge for adventure (want to white water raft to reach the lodge? You can!) and Luna Nueva, on the base of Arenal Volcano, for breathtaking views.

Soak in a Natural Hot Spring

If there’s one thing this country is renowned for, aside eco-lodges, it would have to be therapeutic natural hot springs. Coast Rica is literally bursting with them! While some, like the über-famous Tabacón Hot Springs, have become bona fide tourist meccas and boast a multitude of facilities, others still offer remote, wild, and unspoiled soaks. Stumbling upon these by pure chance is priceless. Due to the country’s volcanic landscape, there are a near infinite number of small natural spring and mud pools strewn about. It’s always worthwhile asking in a village for the local thermal pool, as this is how you’ll discover the least touristy sites.

Check out: Tabacón for a soak with a view and delectable cocktails, Vandara if you want to add a horseriding and ziplining adventure to your jaunt, and Eco Termales for a much more intimate experience.

Learn to Surf

Few places in the world offer the chance to learn a new skill while enjoying superlative, unique and unspoilt scenery. Head to Costa Rica a swimmer and you can well come home a bona fide surfer! You’ll find easily accessible beaches here, along with professional surfing crew and plenty of options; from all inclusive learn-to-surf vacations (where accommodation, meals and daily surf lessons are included in the price) to random one-off lessons you can take at any time and at short notice. Costa Rica has it all!

Check out: the various surfing schools in Nosara if you want a mix of surf lessons and amazing yoga classes on the side (this is Costa Rica’s yoga central!), the über-popular Witchs’ Rock Surf Camp in Tamarindo for a full-immersion experience, and head to Pointbreak Surf School in Guanacaste for one-on-one and group lessons, especially aimed at novices.

Go on a Kayaking & White Water Rafting Adventure

Costa Rica is all about adventures out in nature, and if you’re one of those people who love to be thrown in the heart of the action, all at once, then a combo kayak & rafting adventure is for you. This country boasts the kind of landscape that’s just perfect for waterborne activities whether out to sea or along a pristine river, so you’ll find the ideal spot to rappel down waterfalls, raft class V rapids, kayak or canoe for days on end.

Check out: The best in the game, of course! Join us on an 8-day kayak and canoe adventure over class II, III, IV and V rapids, as we show you how adventurous and exciting ‘our’ home is. For an incredibly comprehensive week-long adventure, then how about our Week of Adventure, where we promise to put you through your paces as we zipline, kayak, surf, snorkel, mountain bike ride and raft over a tremendously varied landscape.

Watching Turtles Nesting

There’s something utterly mesmerizing about watching colonies of sea turtles coming to shore to nest, and colossal waves of tiny hatchlings trying to find their way to the sea. To animal lovers the world over, this is one of the most unforgettable spectacles of Mother Nature. Time your visit just right and you can admire the nesting or hatching of sea turtles, under the light of a full moon. Turtles absolutely love Costa Rica, its idyllic waters and prime nesting spots so here you’ll find numerous nesting sites, country wide.

Check out: Tortuguero National Park is the unrivalled headquarters of nesting and if you visit here between March and October you’ll see four different turtle species digging new homes for their babies. Head to the Las Baulas National Park from October until March and you’ll see Tamarindo awash with these incredible creatures.

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Why Costa Rica Rios Excels At Vacations

Costa Rica Rios AdventuresYou might be surprised to know that Costa Rica Rios isn’t just in the vacation travel business. They take their role in your adventure much more seriously than that. Costa Rica Rios is raising the stakes by offering breathing room, well deserved time off, family bonding time, courage, confidence and long lasting memories.

When you book with Costa Rica Rios, get ready to choose your own adventure amidst breathtaking scenery and heart pounding activities. Turn your next vacation into the trip of a lifetime including luxurious lodging, thrilling activities and delicious local flavor. They’ve put together the perfect team, the best tours and the most exciting adventure imaginable. But what is it that really sets them apart from any other exotic vacation destination?

Dedicated Staff
Costa Rica Rios receives more compliments regarding their staff than anything else. All staff are English-speaking customer service professionals with a passion for adventure and putting smiles on people’s faces. With a strong emphasis on training, on-going education and a positive company culture, Costa Rica Rios can confidently say they have world-class employees who put safety first.

Choices, Choices and More Choices
There are many types of vacation packages available, including an option to customize every aspect to your personal taste. With an abundance of exhilarating activities available, you are sure to find something that appeals to everyone in your group. If you like to relax, soak up the sun and gaze on the gorgeous tropical landscape, you can enjoy an afternoon at the beach, horseback riding, guided tours and more. If adventure runs through your veins then try zip lining, white water rafting or kayaking. Make your vacation the perfect blend of thrills and chills.

Sustainable Travel
Costa Rica Rios wants to make sure that future generations get to enjoy this land and all of its majestic beauty just as you are about to. That is why they have dedicated themselves to the idea of sustainable travel. This dedication includes not only supporting the environment but the local residents as well. Providing a share of their profits to 1% for the planet is just one way Costa Rica Rios gives back. They also have many processes put in place to reduce, reuse and recycle in everything they do. This includes staff training as well. In doing so, they are ensuring the your great grandchildren can come vacation in Costa Rica someday.

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Costa Rica Travel: A Food Extravaganza

Costa Rica foods

If your future vacation plans are taking you to Costa Rica then you’re in for some amazing meals! Known for their mild yet flavorful cuisine, the food in Costa Rica is both homey and healthy. For many vacationers the main attraction to a specific area is the food (and special dishes do make up a larger portion of our identifying cultures). You’ll enjoy many meals with your family and fellow travelers as you enjoy the beautiful land of Costa Rica.
The City of Costa Rica has put millions of dollars into its tourism and since people from all over the world vacation there, you can find and taste just about any type of food you want. But, if you’re looking for authentic cuisine you’re going to love the local fare as well. Rice and beans are a staple that are served at just about every meal, including breakfast! You’ll also find a heavy use of plantain, from the banana family, which can be fried, mashed, cooked into chips or made into soup.
A typical breakfast features rice and black beans, eggs, tortillas, fried plantains and a big cup of coffee! Main meat dishes use pork or beef but you can also get chicken and fish (especially along the coast).
Although the meals can be starchy, the use of an abundance of fruits and vegetables and lack of dairy products make this a fairly healthy nutritional region. The tropical fruits and veggies found in Costa Rica will make meal time fun and educational for the whole family, not to mention delicious! You’ll have plenty of fresh papaya, guava, watermelon and coconut to eat! In fact, coconut is another “Tico” favorite and is featured in many dishes.
Costa Rica’s main export is coffee, and rich bold coffee is available everywhere you look. It’s a caffeine lover’s dream vacation! Served black or with milk, the fresh beans are hard to beat. Another local special you can enjoy while shopping in the tourists districts is Agua de pipa (quite literally a young green coconut with a straw). Suffice to say, you will be well feed during your Costa Rica Rios Adventure Vacation!

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Build Yourself The Custom Adventure Vacation Of A Lifetime

Vacation on the beachNo two families or groups are alike. That’s why a one-size-fits-all vacation package just won’t cut it. In addition to our great pre-set vacation packages at Costa Rica Rios, we also provide our clients the ability to custom build the vacation of a lifetime! To many people, a vacation like this is a major life event, and that’s something we don’t take lightly. The ability to pick and choose the components of your vacation is one of the best features we offer.
There are adventure options for all sized groups; including all ages and ranges of ability. In order to plan your perfect custom vacation, here are some things to keep in mind.

1.Your Group Members

Activities the children can enjoy

First, take stock of your group. How many people will there be? Take note of the ages, abilities and interests of each group member. This is a great time to include younger family members in on the vacation planning, have them fill in a chart with all of this information or have them help “interview” each group member. Costa Rica Adventure vacations are not only for families, they can be great for groups of friends, church or business groups or clubs.

2.Your Perfect Vacation Mix
Do you want an all-out full-throttle adventure extravaganza? Or will some members of your group also like to chill and relax a little? With a custom vacation you are in complete control of what activities you participate in. Our guided scenic tours are just as popular as the heart-pounding white river rafting! Our English-speaking guides all live and work in Costa Rica, making them expert companions for your trip! Throw in some horseback riding, zip lining and then a nice dinner and show for your perfect vacation mix.

3.Your Budget
Your custom vacation package can be all inclusive, including lodging, ground transportation around the area, equipment, activity fees, meals and more! If you prefer to be on your own for some of your meals or explorations you are welcome to do that as well! We have packages and custom components that can fit into any budget, so check out our custom tour page and start planning today!

It’s time to take charge of your vacation time! A custom adventure vacation in Costa Rica Rios awaits.

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How To Easily Document Your Amazing Adventure

Personal journal entryWhen you travel to Costa Rica for the adventure vacation of a lifetime, you’ll want to easily document every thrill seeking moment along the way!  With social media making it easier than ever to follow your family and friends’ adventures, you’ll be amazed at how many people will be eagerly awaiting your updates as well!

Since you’ll be doing a lot more physical activity than the normal vacationer, a simple digital camera won’t give you all the flexibility you need on your travels. Luckily, there are some great products on the market that will help you capture every moment and give you the ability to share your adventures in one or two clicks.

Journals, Pictures and Videos: Adventure Style
Simple things first; don’t forget to keep a detailed journal during your vacation. Each night or every morning write down everything that you did, what you saw and most importantly, how you felt doing it. Record as much detail as possible while it is fresh in your mind. You can write notes in a journal, type your notes into an electronic device or even dictate your stories using the record feature on your smart phone.

Using a GoPro during your adventuresTaking stunning photos of the beautiful scenery in Costa Ricas is easy with a GoPro camera. The GoPro Hero4 for example is a small, lightweight camera that can easily be mounted on your body or on your equipment to take amazing POV (point of view) shots and video. You can also try a Nikon CoolPix AW110 which is lightweight, waterproof and shockproof. Both also have WiFi capability to share direct to social media. There are several adventure cameras to choose from but these are two are industry favorites.

Easy Ways To Share Your Adventure Online

As for the social media side, you can document your entire Costa Rica Adventure vacation of a lifetime with an app called Trip Journal. Trip Journal makes it easy to share your location, routes, photos, videos and more. It even has Google Earth integration to really show off your exotic locations.

Furthermore, you can blog (WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr, etc) as you go or wait until you get home to create posts full of memories, pictures and video. To save space in your luggage, think about bringing and iPad Mini or other tablet device to quickly share your exciting adventure vacation with the world!

Sharing your once in a lifetime adventure is easy with our tips!

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