Top 10 Costa Rica Experiences – What You Shouldn’t Miss
Planning an adventure vacation to Costa Rica? Whether it’s your first (or tenth) visit to our spectacular country, here are the top 10 Costa Rica iconic experiences in you really shouldn’t miss.
- Zip lining Experiences
Zip lining at sensational speeds above tree-tops is perhaps the most iconic of all the experiences in Costa Rica. The thrilling sport was actually a forest exploration method invented by scientists in Costa Rica, who were desperate to find a way to explore and document flora and fauna species hidden in the impenetrable forests of Costa Rica.
More than half a century later, we have the most fun and exhilarating way to get totally immersed in nature! There are several excellent zip lines found all over Costa Rica and here are the top 5.
- Whitewater River Experiences
Whether on a raft with like-minded adventure-seekers or on your own personal kayak, exploring Costa Rica’s sensational whitewater rivers is an absolute must. Adrenalin-junkies come here from every corner of the globe, intent of enjoying one of five of the world’s very best whitewater rivers: the Rio Pacuare (the country’s best adrenalin-rush), and the rivers Sarapiqui, Tenorio, Balsa and Savegre. Combined, these rivers offer nearly endless options for beginners and advanced river-sport adventurers alike, with rapids ranging from Class II (ideal for family adventure vacations) to Class V – for dare-devils looking for the ultimate thrill.
Never dare to try a whitewater sport? There’s absolutely nothing to fear! Read our Comprehensive Guide to Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking in Costa Rica and come discover the FUN that you’ve been missing!
- Wildlife Spotting Experiences
Among the very many experiences you shouldn’t miss in Costa Rica, meeting the country’s wildlife reigns supreme. This, above anything else, is reason enough to warrant a spectacular visit. Considered one of the world’s most wildlife-diverse countries, Costa Rica shines with a plethora of amazing creatures in its jungles, tropical forests, cloud forests and even high mountain plateaus.
This is the land of the 1001 colorful birds, of nesting turtles, migrating whales and resident alligators; of a crazy number of monkey species and more butterflies, frogs and insects that you could ever pick up with just a single, endless, stick. What makes Costa Rica such a rewarding wildlife-spotting destination is that the country is relatively small and compact. No matter where in the country you are, there is a wildlife sanctuary, refuge or reserve nearby. Here’s just a taste of the cutest and most unmissable wildlife you simply HAVE to meet and the best wildlife refuges to visit.
- Cloud Forest Experiences
Adventure vacations in Costa Rica are always about spending a lot of time in the country’s beautiful national parks and nature reserves. Many of them, like Tortuguero and Corcovado, are revered worldwide for being exceptionally unique. Yet if there’s one experience you shouldn’t miss here, it’s a visit to one of Costa Rica’s most distinctive reserves: the Monteverde Cloud Forests.
The forest’s amazing biodiversity, distinct feel and resplendent wilderness aren’t replicated anywhere else in Costa Rica. Monteverde is considered the birthplace of the country’s eco-tourism initiatives and offers one-of-a-kind experiences with amazing walking trails across suspended bridges, chocolate and coffee farm visits and amazing adrenaline sports nearby.
- Remote Eco-lodge Experiences
It isn’t surprising to learn that Costa Rica is also the birthplace of the remote eco-lodge experience. This kind of unique accommodation is a stunning experience of its own accord and when you choose one of the many outstanding remote lodges where you are guaranteed a wilderness and wildlife experience that you will NEVER forget.
Some of the best-rated lodges for unforgettable adventures? They would be the Lapa Rios Ecolodge in the Osa Peninsula, the amazing Nayara Springs in Arenal, Asclepos Wellness & Spa and La Fortuna’s Tree Houses Hotel. You can read about them all here but do note that remote eco-lodges are the true crown jewels of Costa Rica so you’ll find “plenty more where those comes from”. After a week of sensational adventures in Costa Rica, spending a few nights relaxing and rejuvenating in a glorious lodge is like food for the soul. Absolutely magical!
- Surfing Experiences
On the Pacific (western) side of Costa Rica, the coastline stretches for an astonishing 780 miles. This is 780 miles of superb surfing beaches, some of which are rated world-class. Although many of the prime surfing areas are home to brilliant surf camps and schools, you don’t need to stay in one to enjoy a stint of surfing in Costa Rica.
Beginner and intermediate classes are offered just about everywhere and this is a great option if you’ve never tried the sport and aren’t sure if a whole week of surfing would actually suit you. Some of our favorite surfing haunts are Playa Samara, Mal Pais & Santa Teresa and Tamarindo, although your options here are numerous no matter how well (or not) you can stand on a board. Given this is such a popular sport here, we try to include at least one day’s surfing in all our adventure tours 0- check out our surfing guide to have an idea of the best places to visit.
- Sustainable Farm Experiences
Farm experiences are like the gifts that keep on giving: not only do you enjoy something totally different on a Costa Rica adventure vacation but you also have the chance to savor some of the best produce the country has to offer.
Being such a fertile land, inhabited by industrious farmers, here you’ll not only find the best coffee in the world (of course!) but also amazing chocolate and cheese, not to mention an array of eye-popping produce. The best Sustainable Farm Experiences in Costa Rica offer something for everyone and we love our fave places because they throw in an abundance of activities and highlights that go beyond the usual – there’s even a super lux option for a total and unadulterated splurge. Go on…take a look!
- Volcano Hiking Experiences
Want to visit Costa Rica to climb a volcano? We hear ya! The land of fire and jungle is a great place to admire spectacular volcanoes and the country is home to almost 70 volcanoes, all up. Whilst a few are way too active to be safely climbed, most are open and accessible for hikers. The most popular ones are Rincon de la Vieja, Tenorio and Poas (learn more about these three) yet given Arenal is currently in a resting phase (this has been Costa Rica’s most active volcano for decades) hikes to its lava fields and to some jaw-dropping viewpoints are becoming increasingly popular.
Arenal is an excellent choice because hikes are short and rewarding although remember that you can’t hike anywhere near the top (so keep away from any dodgy local who tells you otherwise). At least, you can now get closer than you have been able to in years. For a true-blue volcano climb, however, climbing Irazu is an unbeatable experience. This is the highest peak in the country (11, 260 ft) and a hike is for the fit and adventurous hiker – stand top the peak of this incredible treasure and you can cast your eyes on the country’s opposing coastline.
- Culinary Experiences
Costa Rica’s cuisine may not be revered as one of the world’s best yet the lack of flamboyant reputation belies a culinary reality that’s filled with gloriously fresh and organic food, made with love and passion.
The local cuisine is healthy and delicious and the country offers a myriad of delicious specialties no matter where you are. From typical low-key soda experiences to brilliant farmer’s markets, fantastic vegetarian and vegan options and a bevy of awesome food tours, you’ll find Costa Rica’s culinary experiences to be amazing highlight son your vacations. Read more about this delicious side of the country in our Foodie’s Guide to Costa Rica.
- Eco-adventure Sports Experiences
Eco-tourism and eco-lodges go hand in hand with eco-adventure sports – this is undoubtedly where Costa Rica shines brightest. At Costa Rica Rios, we take this amazing opportunity of prime wilderness to create some of the world’s best eco-adventure tours. With so many options, finding an experience that suits your unique travel style and desire is just SO easy!
We have eco-adventures for families and honeymooning couples, each one designed specifically for a certain type of traveler. Want more beach time, rafting time or to add a day of SCUBA diving to the mix? Yes…we can do that too.
Our tailor-made, bespoke itineraries can be tailored to suit your specific needs, desires AND budget. Contact us today to see how easy, rewarding and safe a Costa Rica Adventure Tour in 2021 can be.