1. Zip lining
Also referred to as canopy tours, zip lining entails putting on a harness and attaching to a series of cables strung throughout the trees. These tours are everywhere throughout Costa Rica and run between $50-100 depending on the location and amount of runs you get. Between 8-12 runs seems to be average. High in both adrenaline and excitement! As scary as it sounds, it’s actually very safe and the most difficult part is usually walking between the cables.
2. Hike a volcano
Costa Rica is littered with volcanoes. Some are active, like the popular Arenal which offers visitors views of red falling lava at night and constant rumbles throughout the day. Most volcanoes are located on federally reserved national park land and offer great hikes with amazing views. The Poás Volcano is a popular day trip from the San Jose area and a big tourist draw.
3. River rafting
With the amount of rainfall Costa Rica receives it’s no surprise that white water rafting is a popular activity. Most rafters set out for Turrialba, about two hours from San Jose where they can ride the Pacuare or the Reventazon for anywhere from four hours to three days.
It’s no secret that Costa Rica is one of the top surf destinations in the world. Surfing legends like Robert August now make their homes in Costa Rica for it’s legendary surf. Breaks like Jaco and Playa Hermosa provide surfers with consistent waves on the Pacific side while Puerto Viejo de Talmanca and many others are great in the Caribbean.
5. Play with monkeys
Who doesn’t love monkeys? They are everywhere in Costa Rica swinging from trees or digging through restaurant’s trash cans (please don’t feed the monkeys). National parks like Manuel Antonio provide great opportunities for hikers to see capuchin monkeys swinging overhead or even sharing the trail with them. Other areas like the Arenal Volcano are filled with Howler monkeys who can nearly deafen nearby visitors with their calls.
6. Watch turtles lay eggs
Turtle lover? Head up to Tortuguero where conservationists are working hard to preserve the endangered turtles who make the beaches their nesting grounds. Only reachable by boat or plane, Tortuguero is a prime example of eco-tourism.
There are lots of opportunities to volunteer in Costa Rica, especially if you are interested in animal conservation. Tortuguero, mentioned above, is a wildlife conservationist’s dream.
8. Drink coffee
What better way to start your day than enjoying some Costa Rican coffee. Stop by a grocery store and pick up a bag to take back home. Not only does it taste better than anything you can find back home–it’s a lot cheaper!
9. Climb a waterfall
Climbing and rappelling a waterfall is an extremely fun and exciting activity in Costa Rica. There are tour operators all over the country that offer waterfall rappels, but if you find yourself in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area, give Quepo Canyoning a call as they are the only one (currently) allowing you to climb a waterfall. Believe it or not, going up is actually more exciting than going down!
10. Kayak through mangroves
If you’re looking for something a little slower paced but still plenty of fun, rent a kayak and explore the mangroves. You’ll see wildlife you never imagined.