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Things to do in Costa Rica

Our most recommended things to do in Costa Rica

La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

1. La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

Escape into the nature of the La Fortuna on a guided hike. Walk by the river and follow a trail to a panoramic viewpoint. Have a delicious lunch at a Maluku Indian village and trek through forest, lava fields, and farmlands before relaxing at a natural hot spring resort with a drink. Be collected at your accommodation and be driven to the beginning of the forest walk. Trek on the easy track along the crystal clear La Fortuna river. En route, hop on a tractor cart uphill to a panoramic viewpoint. Spot the next location from a distance then begin the return walk down a jungle staircase. Halfway down is a high suspension bridge to cross. The trail leads further down the huge canyon, which was shaped by a volcanic mega-eruption. Encounter the spectacular La Fortuna waterfall. Be amazed by the lush vegetation on its 70-meter high walls, the huge volcanic rocks at its foot, and the water splashing down in its massive pool. Bask in its beauty or even take a refreshing dip. Return to the viewpoint then walk down to the little village of the Maluku Indians. Seated in their Palenke (main house), enjoy a rest while listening to an interesting story about their culture, art, and history.  After being active for a few hours, the time has come to relax and enjoy a typical hot lunch. Next to the restaurant is a butterfly garden and frog pond that you can explore until your food is served.  Reenergized, take a 15-minute ride to the park at the foot of the Arenal volcano. Being the trek through the primary forest where you can see huge trees with giant roots. Besides a variety of birds, the forest is host to monkeys, sloths, and coati. Leave the forest and each the highest viewpoint that exists around the volcano and absorb the most spectacular panoramic views of Lake Arenal, the jungle, the valley, the lava fields, and most of all the Arenal that towers over you.  Conclude your tour at the natural hot spring resort. Relax in its soothing warm water for about an hour and enjoy a volcanic mud facial and a complimentary cocktail. Afterward, you will be taken back to your accommodation.

Manuel Antonio or Quepos: Manuel Antonio National Park Tour

2. Manuel Antonio or Quepos: Manuel Antonio National Park Tour

Discover Manuel Antonio National Park, a small biological island established in 1972 by the Costa Rican government to preserve its precious wildlife. Though Manuel Antonio National Park is the smallest park in the country, it’s also the most visited due to its charming combination of rain forests, beaches, coral reefs, and wildlife. After being picked up from your hotel by your excerpt driver-guide, get ready to explore a diverse range of fauna spanning 109 species of mammals and 184 birds. As you explore, look out for raccoons, coatis, agoutis, sloths, white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, and the famous Titi monkey, an endangered subspecies unique to the park. Be led by your guide on a breathtaking walking tour through the jungle and experience the secrets and wonders of this amazing ecosystem. See kingfishers, the yellow crowned night heron and many more bird species. Benefit from assistance taking high-quality nature photos using your own digital camera combined with professional telescopes provided on the tour.

La Fortuna: Arenal Rafting Upper Balsa Class 3 and 4 Rapids

3. La Fortuna: Arenal Rafting Upper Balsa Class 3 and 4 Rapids

After being collected from your hotel, you will make your way to the rafting site. Once there you will undergo a brief orientation session, before taking to the river to experience class III and IV white water rafting on the beautiful Balsa River. You will navigate 10 kilometers of white water rapids, stopping along the way to rest a bit. You can also indulge in a little swimming, and enjoy some fresh Costa Rica fruit. Following your white water rafting, you will receive a clean towel and cold complimentary water. You will then be taken to a local restaurant to have a Costa Rica style lunch and coffee, before eventually being returned back to your accommodation.

La Fortuna Waterfall, Volcano and Hanging Bridges Combo

4. La Fortuna Waterfall, Volcano and Hanging Bridges Combo

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in the La Fortuna area, and travel to Arenal Volcano to hike the paths surrounding the mighty mountain. Get back to nature in Arenal Volcano National Park, where most of the 850 species of bird identified in Costa Rica can be found. Look out for other wildlife, such as white-faced capuchin monkeys, jaguars and deer. Then, cool down with a swim in a natural pool at La Fortuna waterfall. Once we are refreshed, will move to the restaurant to taste our delicious typical meal "Casado" Marvel at the stunning landscapes of a secondary rainforest at the base of the park, and a primary rainforest with amazing biodiversity amongst the hanging bridges. Walk through the rainforest on a network of 15 suspension bridges of various levels of difficulty in Mistico Park.

San Jose Bites and Sights Walking Tour

5. San Jose Bites and Sights Walking Tour

Get up close and personal with Costa Rican life, through local food, history, and even the herbal remedies of folk medicine. Enjoy a hands-on lesson on exotic plants, fruits, and vegetables, and enjoy several local food samples on this guided tour. Stroll through the streets with a local as they show you the ins-and-outs of daily life. Start with a morning pick-me-up coffee in a café located in the Central Market. Then, take a stroll through the vibrant market, tasting local fresh fruits. Next, sample empanadas and continue along local roads towards the Borbon Market. Seeing diverse sites the Cathedral, National Theater, and the beautiful parks will help you get to know the country and its rich history. Finally, visit a special coffee store where you will find coffee and chocolates produced by women. Learn to prepare coffee, enjoy a tamal, and make plantain empanadas before concluding your tour.

San José: Arenal Volcano, Hot Springs, & Zip Lining w/ Meals

6. San José: Arenal Volcano, Hot Springs, & Zip Lining w/ Meals

Tour the best locations in Costa Rica and learn about local life and culture from those who live there. Visit a coffee plantation, zip line, and soak in the hot springs at the base of the Adrenal Volcano. Take the scenic route to the Arenal Volcano and visit a coffee plantation along the way. Gain an insight into the world of Costa Rican coffee and taste one of the best coffees in the world. Arrive at the "La Paz" and "San Fernando" waterfalls and admire the exotic tropical birds of Costa Rica, including many species of hummingbirds and rare emerald toucanets. Take in the views at the San Fernando Waterfall observation point before heading to the "Iguana Bridge", where you will have the chance to spot iguanas, sloths, monkeys, and toucans. Stop for an authentic Costa Rican lunch in a restaurant located in "La Fortuna." Then, prepare for a zip-lining adventure in the local rainforest jungles with 9 canopy cables and a 50 meter (150 feet) rappel on the Arenal River. Learn about the culture while listening to a "Maleku" Indigenous tribe presentation from locals. Relax for a couple of hours in the Paradise Hot Springs at the base of Arenal Volcano, surrounded by tropical gardens followed by dinner.

Jaco Beach: 2-Hour Chocolate Experience and Plantation Tour

7. Jaco Beach: 2-Hour Chocolate Experience and Plantation Tour

Begin your tour with a short 30-minute walk and be introduced to the Central Pacific transitional forest. During the walk observe the amazing flora and fauna. Afterward, begin your chocolate experience and discover the international cocoa collection of the Central Pacific. Learn about the different varieties of cocoa, as well as its ancestral history, and cocoa's impact on the world economy. Try the actual cocoa fruit and take part in the cocoa production process. Delish in different types of chocolate and mix it with tropical fruits. Also learn about two of the most traditional agricultural products of Costa Rica, sugar cane and coffee. Have direct contact with the plants and hear about the natural history of these crops. At the end of the experience, there will be organic chocolate bars with different cocoa percentages as well as other cocoa products for purchase.

Manuel Antonio: Rainmaker Park Bridge & Waterfall Tour

8. Manuel Antonio: Rainmaker Park Bridge & Waterfall Tour

Get picked up from your hotel in Manuel Antonio or Quepos and set off for the Rainmaker Park. Begin your experience with a walk through the rainforest in search of all kinds of native birds, insects, and amphibians. Then, cross over a network of suspension bridges through the mountains that hang above the primary forest. Hike to the top of the mountain, for the opportunity to marvel at an incredible view of the sea. After this, continue to walk along the trail network until you arrive at the Canopy Bridge system section - a network of suspension bridges, built to U.S. engineering standards. The 6 sections total 250 meters, spanning from platforms attached to massive hardwood trees to create the most impressive canopy walk in Costa Rica. The design permits minimal forest impact, giving participants an opportunity to explore the majesty of the forest canopy from an unobtrusive bird's eye view. Gaze down at the jungle below and admire views of the beautiful pristine river of Rainmaker Park. Use the handrails and easy-to-follow footpaths, making stops at the observation platforms that allow you to observe the waterfalls. Capture incredible photographs of the rich biodiversity this unique site has to offer. Towards the end of this walk, arrive at a pristine waterfall pool where you are welcome to enjoy a refreshing dip. End the tour with an outstanding and delicious typical Costa Rican lunch served in the Rainmaker Park Restaurant. Finally, get transferred back to your hotel in Manuel Antonio or Quepos where your memorable tour will finish.

From Manuel Antonio: Mangrove Boat Tour

9. From Manuel Antonio: Mangrove Boat Tour

The mangrove forest is one of the most vital and astounding ecosystems in the world. Damas Island, located just 10 minutes from Manuel Antonio is currently one of the most important remaining mangroves in Costa Rica. Covering thousands of acres of protected forest, this amazing biodiversity is home to a large number of birds, reptiles, mammals, and insects. Our experienced guides will take you on an unforgettable boat tour through the channels of the mangrove forest, far away from civilization. You can discover an abundance of species native to the area such as white-faced monkeys, anteaters, boas, iguanas, birds and thousands of colorful crabs. Our boats have the capacity to hold 12 passengers and are fully equipped for your comfort and security.

San Jose: Walking Nature Tour with Sloths, Birds, and Trees

10. San Jose: Walking Nature Tour with Sloths, Birds, and Trees

Departing from the nearby meeting point, visit the University of Costa Rica campus, home to some of the largest patches of forest in San Jose. Guided by young biologists, discover the nature hiding in the middle of Costa Rica's largest city. Experience wildlife you wouldn't have imagined existed minutes away from downtown.   On the first stop, you’ll look for resident and migratory birds, lots of incredible insects and amazing flowers. Then, see the largest indigenous stone sphere in San Jose, thought to derive from the extinct Diquis culture. Lastly, visit the main campus to seek out the friendly sloths climbing freely. The goal of this tour is to change the way tourism is done in Costa Rica, while supporting young scientists, researchers, and local entrepreneurs.

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What people are saying about Costa Rica

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 2,396 reviews

Very friendly crew, 21 people on our excursion, the bartender's mojitos are excellent (and they even come to offer you another one as soon as your drink is finished!), the beach stop is splendid, the trip is nice, the sunset of sun is sublime. On the other hand, we are still looking for the blue flag of the meeting point

Our guide had a very good knowledge and taught us a lot. If I had booked the tour through the hotel I would have paid quite a bit less which frustrated me a bit.

This tour was great. Pepe was our guide and he was great too. Very informative and interesting. Pickup is offered. Highly recommend this tour.

The other group in our party canceled, so we got a private tour with Jorge. He was amazing!

Excellent guide with comprehensive knowledge of fauna/flora and geological history