Ziplining is one of the MUST DO’s in Costa Rica! You really can’t visit Costa Rica and not zipline since they are world-famous for their long cables with spectacular views. Costa Rica is said to be ziplining’s place of origin!
The best places to go ziplining in Costa Rica are Monteverde, La Fortuna, and Guanacaste. Then there are many adventure parks with zip lines scattered throughout the country.
Some recommended ones for beginners/intermediates or families are Athica or EcoGlide in Arenal, Ponderosa Park by Liberia, Black Stallion and Hacienda Roble near Tamarindo, Los Sueños Zipline in Herradura, Hacienda Baru in Dominical, Midworld and El Santuario in Manuel Antonio, San Luis Canopy, Tortuguero Canopy Tour and Wingnuts in Samara.
For the thrill-seeker, they will love the extreme ziplining at 100% Aventura in Monteverde, Sky Adventures Monteverde and Arenal, Selvatura Park in Monteverde and Arenal Mundo Aventura in La Fortuna. Also Diamante Eco Adventure Park in Guanacaste (get 10% off here) as it has the longest ocean view zipline!
Canopy tours cost from $35 to $75 and definitely go! Ziplining is one of the best things to do in Costa Rica!
Horseback riding is a common thing to do at the beach or the mountains. It’s a fun way to see the Costa Rican landscapes!
Horseback riding is one of the best things to do in Guanacaste as there are a handful of haciendas (farms). The horses are calm and know where to go so you don’t need to be an experienced rider.
Horseback riding tours costs anywhere from $35 -70 depending on how long the tour is and where it takes you. We recommend going horseback riding with a tour company and not hiring a random local on the beach or town since you don’t know about the conditions of the horses and how they treat them. Tour companies have to be strict on who they work with. Not to mention the tour companies have strict safety regulations (insurance, helmets, proper equipment) whereas some locals will let just about anyone without experience ride without a helmet or proper gear!
We have done several horseback riding tours which you can read below:
Sunset Sailing Cruise
This is one of the most relaxing and romantic things to do in Costa Rica. It’s particularly popular in Guanacaste because of the beautiful beaches up and down the Pacific coast. You can also go sunset sailing in Manuel Antonio and Playa Herradura Jaco.
Recommended companies are Antares and Dream Chaser in Tamarindo, Kuna Vela and Sea-Bird in Playas del Coco, Panache in Potrero, Serendipity in Flamingo, Samara Sea Tours in Samara and Marlin del Rey in Coco and Tamarindo. They include snorkeling equipment, drinks, and snacks/lunch and there is a good chance to see marine wildlife.
In Manuel Antonio, there is Ocean King and Planet Dolphin. We also did a sunset sail with Kayak Jaco out of Herradura.
Sunset sailing cruises run from around $70-85 per person and usually include snorkel equipment, fruit, water, drinks and snacks. It’s a super romantic activity in Costa Rica as you sail under a beautiful sunset, cuddling up with your loved one.
Snorkeling or Scuba Diving
Snorkeling is a must-do in Costa Rica and the best places are the Gulf of Papagayo, Cahuita (during certain times of the year), and Isla del Caño.
Scuba diving is also excellent in Costa Rica and popular dive sites are Bat Islands, Catalina Islands and Caño Island.
For those who want experience the best scuba diving in Costa Rica, head to Cocos Island. This island is a World Heritage Site that houses huge populations of hammerhead sharks, giant mantas, yellowfin tuna and more. It takes a couple days on a boat to get there so it’s fairly expensive. Definitely one for the world bucket list for scuba divers!
A 2 tank dive costs roughly $115 and the best towns to stay at for scuba diving are Flamingo, Playas del Coco, Uvita, Playa Ocotal, and Tamarindo. You can also scuba dive from Manuel Antonio, Cahuita, and Drake Bay.
People from all over the world come to Costa Rica just to surf because the waves here are some of the best in Latin America. Some of the best beaches for surfing are Pavones, Jaco, Santa Teresa, Playa Hermosa, Playa Cocles, Dominical, Playa Matapalo (Osa Peninsula), Playa Negra, Playa Guiones, Playa Avellanas, Playa Tamarindo and Playa Grande but this is just a small sampling of the great surfing beaches here.
There are plenty of surf camps and surf vacations if you want to dedicate more than one day to learn or you can sign up for a one day lesson. A 2-hour group surf lessons cost around $55 or you can rent a board for around $20 a day. So if you’re visiting any surf town, it’s one of the best things to do in Costa Rica you can’t miss!
Canyoning (rappelling down waterfalls) is an incredible adventure activity in Costa Rica. It might be a bit too much for the ones with acrophobia but the surge of adrenaline flowing through your body takes over and all sense of fear is lost.
Not only is it an adventure of a lifetime but you get to jump down right into the heart of a beautiful Costa Rican forest. It’s more exciting than zip lining in my opinion!
One of our favorite canyoning tours in Costa Rica is Pure Trek in La Fortuna. The first waterfall they take you to is nearly 200 feet tall!
Other excellent places for canyoning is the Gravity Falls with Desafio in La Fortuna, Explonatura in Turrialba, The Park near Jaco and Finca Modelo in Monteverde.
Visit the Fiestas Civicas
There are 9 national holidays in Costa Rica with several more observances, anniversaries, and celebrations. Costa Ricans do love a good party and they know how to party hard! For this reason, you can find fiestas civics or the local parties all year long. In these parties, they have rides, games, food, and bull riding.
The most popular festivities are the Palmares Fiestas, Zapote Fiestas and Puntarenas Carnaval. Thousands of people come to these celebrations from all over Central America every year. Some are religious holidays, some are just a reason to have a good time.
Bull riding is incredibly famous in Costa Rica and they do it all year long with special events during Christmas. For just $10-15, you can hop into the stadium with other daring locals and get chased around by a bull! For those who want to experience local culture, this is one of the best things to do in Costa Rica.
These fiestas are held all year long throughout the country and you will see signs for them in town. The most common months are December, July February and March. If you’re in the Brasilito/Tamarindo area, the fiestas are usually mid March.
Go on the Tortuga Island day cruise
The Gulf of Nicoya is home to several beautiful islands in Costa Rica and you can take a day trip to Isla Tortuga, which has a stunning white sand beach. Cruise 1.5 hours through the gulf for spectacular views, relax on the island for 5 hours, and boat back at sunset.
This is an excellent day excursion from San Jose, Puntarenas, and Jaco and a great activity for families. You can go snorkeling, kayaking, jet-skiing, swimming, and hiking on the island. If you want to do this tour, we have a $10 discount. Check our post on the Tortuga Island day tour here to get the discount.
All the activities can be book in www.whattodocr.com and get the best prices now.