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Things to do in Guanacaste

Our most recommended things to do in Guanacaste

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.

Playa Tamarindo: Sunset Sailing and Snorkeling Tour

2. Playa Tamarindo: Sunset Sailing and Snorkeling Tour

Sail along Costa Rica’s Gold Coast on a sunset cruise, passing Guanacaste’s exotic bays, white sand beaches, and tropical jungles. Gaze off the bow with a cold tropical drink in your hand as you scan the seas for dolphins, sea turtles, flying fish, or even a breaching whale. Stop in a tranquil bay, drop anchor, and enjoy a swim. Snorkel, or take a walk down a deserted white sand beach. While you’re enjoying the sun, sand, and sea, the crew will prepare a lunch of chicken or pasta salad, fruit, chips, pico de gallo, guacamole, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. As the sun sets, you’ll see the ever-changing colors of the sky, while enjoying your favorite drink from the boat’s open bar. Capture the moment to show your family and friends the wonders of a Costa Rican sunset.

Tamarindo: Dream Chaser Catamaran Sunset Cruise

3. Tamarindo: Dream Chaser Catamaran Sunset Cruise

Discover picturesque secluded beaches on a 5-hour catamaran cruise. Benefit from relaxing lounge areas, an open bar, lunch buffet, snorkeling equipment, and paddleboards. Board the 40-foot Dream Chaser catamaran and cruise along the north coast and, depending on weather conditions of the day, anchor in the secluded beaches of Playa Minas, Playa Huevo, or Piratas Bay.  Jump into the refreshing waters and tryout water activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, and playing with the floaties (noodles). Feast on a delicious home-style buffet and enjoy an open bar where you can get unlimited refreshments, liquor, and mixed drinks.  Lounge on the spacious upper deck while listening to a modern sound system. Cool off in the shaded main cabin, relax in comfortable leather seats, and make use of the free Wi-Fi.  As you head back to Playa Tamarindo, be treated to unforgettable views of the Costa Rican sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Diamante Eco Adventure Park: Wildlife Sanctuary Pass

4. Diamante Eco Adventure Park: Wildlife Sanctuary Pass

Spend an unforgettable day exploring Diamante Eco Adventure Park and admire the variety of Costa Rican wildlife. See animals like sloths, monkeys, jaguars, pumas, and more. The Diamante Adventure Park is known for its world-class habitat designs. Throughout the experience, you will see monkeys, cheetahs, crocodiles, pumas, and varieties of birds. Some of these animals have been born in other wildlife management programs for scientific and educational purposes. You will also learn the key aspects of biology, ecology, and the natural history of the animals from qualified and dedicated professionals. Capture incredible photos with the animals and marvel at the diversity of Costa Rican wildlife.

Playa Flamingo: Catamaran Tour and Snorkel With Meal

5. Playa Flamingo: Catamaran Tour and Snorkel With Meal

Your tour begins from Playa Flamingo where you will be shuttled from the shore to one of two boats. The captain will welcome you aboard and brief you on safety features before you set sail for a relaxing afternoon, sailing along the Pacific coast of Guanacaste. You will begin to feel that you are part of a big family as the staff will be at your constant attention offering you drinks, snacks, music, and descriptions of the flora and fauna around you. Halfway into the tour, the boat will stop and you will be offered to partake in some diverse water activities, such as snorkeling, swimming, SUPs, and kayaking or just hanging out at an amazing beach. After your water activities, you will be offered a delightful meal including desserts. Then the music will soothe you as the captain pulls up anchor and begins your slow sail back to shore while allowing the gentle movement of the boat to soothe your soul. The final moments pulling into shore will be livened up with some music to wish you well on your way. The crew onboard is strongly focused on providing you with an unforgettable memory, as soon as you get on the catamaran you'll feel the Pura Vida experience. Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy.

La Fortuna or Monteverde: One-Way Boat Transfer

6. La Fortuna or Monteverde: One-Way Boat Transfer

Add a little adventure to your transportation needs between Monteverde and La Fortuna and avail of a transfer that includes an informative boat tour across Lake Arenal. Get spectacular views of Arenal Volcano and the cloud forests of Monteverde as you travel by van and boat. Choose from a morning or afternoon departure in either direction to suit your schedule, and relax in the knowledge that your luggage will be taken care of on every step of the journey. Depart La Fortuna and travel to Lake Arenal by van. Then, take a 30-minute boat ride to the town of Río Chiquito before continuing to Monteverde by van. For departures from Monteverde, travel to Lake Arenal by van. Cross Lake Arenal on an enlightening 30-minute boat ride to the earthen dam, and then continue to La Fortuna by van for drop off at your hotel.

Rio Celeste: Tubing Tour with Snacks and Drinks

7. Rio Celeste: Tubing Tour with Snacks and Drinks

Expereince the rush of spilling over the rapids of the turquoise Celeste River on this tubing tour in Katira. Spot colorful birds, monkeys, and frogs as you float safely along with the provided safety helmet and life vest. Refuel with some delicious fruit and drinks that are included in the tour.  Meet your guide and get set up with your well-maintained tubing gear. Set off down the river through dense jungle over the blue water. Keep an eye out for local birds like toucans, bear-necked umbrella birds, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds.  Awaken your inner adrenaline junkie as you glide over rapids on this family-friendly adventure. Relax and get some incredible photos of this area that is just outside the Tenorio National Park. 

Playa Minas: Sea Turtle Watching Tour

8. Playa Minas: Sea Turtle Watching Tour

You will be picked up from your hotel at 6:00 PM and driven to Playa Minas or a nearby beach that is home to nesting turtles. Playa Minas constitutes one of Costa Rica's most important nesting sites. Between October and March, large numbers of turtles migrate to this region. It remains one of the last untouched beaches in the world, giving it a remote paradise feel. There will be a 700-meter hike in the dark with infrared flashlights provided by your tour guide. Once arriving at the beach, the guide will educate the group on how to respectfully navigate the area. You will see the black turtles, and if you are lucky, the rare leatherback turtles. The leatherback sea turtle is the largest sea turtle in the world, weighing over 1,200 pounds and averaging almost 8 feet in length.

Tamarindo: Zip Line, Horseback Riding & Natural Spa Day Tour

9. Tamarindo: Zip Line, Horseback Riding & Natural Spa Day Tour

Experience a day of adventure with a canopy tour, hot springs, a natural spa, thrilling water slides, and horseback riding. This fun-filled tour is great for both adrenaline-seekers and nature-lovers. Get picked up from your hotel head to the Buena Vista Lodge and Adventure Center to start your experience. Take a canopy tour, where you’ll glide through the treetops and cross hanging bridges. Then enjoy a horseback ride along nature trails as you admire the beautiful landscape. Afterwards, soothe your muscles with a volcanic mud bath and relax in the swimming pool. During the tour you’ll savor a buffet lunch, with vegan and vegetarian options available, along with local coffee, natural juices, and water. At the end of your day trip, get dropped back at your hotel.

Tamarindo Sunset Catamaran, Snorkeling Tour

10. Tamarindo Sunset Catamaran, Snorkeling Tour

Enjoy an afternoon sailing adventure of Costa Rica’s Tamarindo coast on the Pacific Ocean, departing at 12:45 from the south end of Playa Tamarindo. Once you have checked in, you will be shuttled to the 40-foot launch boat for the start of your adventure. As the sails are raised, relax in the afternoon sun or find a shaded spot in the saloon as the crew serve drinks. You’ll head north along the coast, enjoying the fresh sea breeze, a cold beverage, and some fresh fruit. About an hour into the trip, anchor in a cove where you can snorkel in the warm tropical waters, kayak, swim to the beach, or just relax on the boat. Break for afternoon appetizers while making new friends. Finally it's happy hour! Pull anchor and raise the sails while the crew eagerly prepares a rum punch, imperial beer, or other beverage to your liking. Dance to a mix of Latin and rock music as you glide across the ocean en route back to Tamarindo as the sun falls below the horizon.

Other Sightseeing Options in Guanacaste

Want to discover all there is to do in Guanacaste? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Guanacaste

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 821 reviews

This was such a great tour! We got to do so much, but didn’t feel too overwhelming. The waterfall was beautiful! It is a bit of a steep climb down and up (caution for those who may find this challenging), but totally worth it. The lunch was also very delicious with salad, chicken or beef option, and of course rice and beans. The Maluka tribe Time was a great cultural experience. And the hot springs were a great way to end the day! A couple different pools to choose from as well as ending our time with a rum beverage. Our guide Erol was thoughtful, kind, and funny. Our other guide Emanuel really loves his job and you can tell he has fun with it. He would go looking for animals for us and we saw monkeys and sloths. A bonus was that he was a great photographer. Would absolutely recommend!

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.

Nous avons eu une superbe journée, avec des guides incroyables. La nourriture était bonne et facile de communiquer avec eux pour la prise en charge.

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