Adventure & Ecotourism
Thanks to the area's biodiversity, Costa Rica is one of the main ecotourism and adventure destinations worldwide. It is a popular vacation spot for hundreds of thousands of tourists who love nature and responsible ecotourism.
Ecotourism is travelling with minimal impact on the environment. Ecotourism produces significant income in Costa Rica, which in turn helps protect important natural areas and also encourages people to reduce their dependence on economic activities that harm nature.
Fortunately, since Costa Rica is the birthplace of ecotourism, there is an extensive selection of nature activities for everyone. You can find “soft” tours such as a quiet walk in a national park, as well as adventure tours like trekking in the rainforest, along with whitewater rafting and canopy zip lines. Costa Rica offers a unique experience of direct contact with nature that is adaptable to all fitness types, tastes and ages.
Importance of Guides
Costa Rica has excellent tourist guides, who speak all major languages and have specialized training and official licenses to practice. It is strongly recommended to hire the services of a guide, at least for part of your trip. Guides recognize the bird songs, know animal tracks, where to find animals, and can explain in a simple and comprehensible manner the fascinating facets of nature. With their help, you will awaken your five senses, often lulled to sleep by the pressures of everyday life.
On a guided tour, you can experience much more than if you went on your own into the jungle. Lately, customized trips have become very popular, accompanied by a private guide. If you are travelling individually, you can find local guides in all of the main tourist sites; however, we emphasize the importance of giving priority to guides who are licensed by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT).
Hiking & Trekking
A favourite adventure activity is discovering Costa Rica’s natural beauty while walking on trails through the forest. Most of Costa Rica’s national parks and reserves have natural, yet well-groomed trails for this purpose. It is important to pack a good pair of walking shoes, as well as binoculars to observe birds and animals. If you like more challenging adventure, you can choose routes that require preparation and skill, such as scaling high mountains or crossing unique natural areas.
Mountain Biking / Cycling Tours
Mountain biking and cycling tours have become increasingly popular in Costa Rica. The countless nature trails and gravel roads in Costa Rica are quite suitable for cycling. You can arrange complete cycling tours, or day tours in different localities. The best known tours are to the Irazu Volcano and Orosi Valley, and around the Arenal Volcano.
Adventure in the Treetops
American biologist, Dr. Donald Perry, pioneered the exploration of biodiversity from the treetops. With ropes, he climbed tree trunks and branches to study flora and fauna from platforms he built high in the tree canopy. To make this fascinating world more accessible to the general public, aerial trams (or cable cars) through the treetops were created with great care so as not to damage the environment. This subsequently led to a more adventurous way to discover nature, known as a “canopy tour,” where you glide swiftly from one platform to another suspended in harnesses from steel cables and pulleys. Additionally, you can walk on hanging and fixed suspension bridges that cross through the tree canopy in various parts of the country. If you love adrenaline, you may decide to sleep on a platform located in the treetops.
In the midst of unspoiled nature, you can hear the murmur of hundreds of rivers, streams and canals. Costa Rica is very popular for enjoying rafting and kayaking tours. The Pacuare River is known worldwide as one of the top scenic rivers for whitewater rafting. Another adventure like no other is quietly paddling a canoe very close to the flora and fauna in the calm canals of Tortuguero National Park. On the coasts, you can arrange sailing and sportfishing tours.
Costa Ricans love the noble horse, and throughout the country you can find many tours on horseback. Experience the thrill of galloping along secluded beaches at sunset, riding like the cowboys across the savannas of Guanacaste, or exploring intricate nature trails in the jungle.
Surfing and Windsurfing
Tamarindo, Jacó, Playa Hermosa and Puerto Viejo are among some of the favourite surfing beaches in Costa Rica. The constant swell is ranked by experts as world class. For windsurfing, you can visit Lake Arenal or the northern Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste.
Regardless of the menace of volcanoes, they also have a friendly side, as is the case with the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. The active Arenal Volcano is a jewel of the geography of this country, around which reside many famous and distinctive tourist facilities.
In addition to natural beauty, thermal springs flow through the lush tropical vegetation that surrounds many volcanoes in Costa Rica. From a safe distance, you can enjoy the magnificent natural landscape. Popular installations near Costa Rica’s volcanoes are spas, offering health and beauty treatments in comfort. Mineral-rich volcanic mud has revitalizing and rejuvenating properties and is one of the materials commonly used in spas. Spending the day in volcanic thermal springs, under a small waterfall, can be a very relaxing and unforgettable experience.