Top Things To Do in Costa Rica

A backpacker’s paradise, the Republic of Costa Rica is a land of inexhaustible natural resources, intriguing culture, delectable food and unlimited fun. The most sought after destination for an exciting vacation, Costa Rica has everything from sightseeing, hiking, wildlife watching or just relaxing on a beach. With diverse geographical distribution such as dense rich rainforests, volcanoes, cloud forests, hot springs, beaches, underground caves, national parks there is a lot more to experience in Costa Rica. Whether you are looking for things to do in San Jose Costa Rica or the best things to do in Costa Rica Tamarindo, the country has everything to serve your interest.

Surrounded by the Caribbean Sea to the northeast and the Pacific Ocean to the southeast, the beaches promote many aquatic activities for the tourists. Above all, it will be more enthusiastic for a traveler to realize the ‘Pura Vida’ culture in Costa Rica. The phrase in Spanish ‘Pura Vida‘ meaning ‘Pure life‘ or ‘Simple life‘ represents a relaxed attitude towards life and the lifestyle that Costa Ricans follow in all circumstances. Comprising the best places to visit and top 10 things to do in Costa Rica here is a comprehensive list of travel itineraries:

  1. Bird’s eye view of rainforests through zip lines and canopy tours :

Zipline tours, hanging bridges tour, and aerial tram tours are an extraordinary way to explore the Costa Rican stunning rainforests from above. The trees here grow up to 100feet tall, underneath there are many small trees. An intense ecosystem in the World, the forests are home to an amazing mix of various mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and birds. As many of the animals and exotic plant species live in the upper level of the forests, exploring that far off the ground will be an astonishing experience.

Harnessed securely and attached to a sturdy cable flying through the canopy of the rainforests gives an incredible bird’s eye view. Guides lead on a five-hour zip line adventurous tour whereas aerial trams take through the forest with comfort and safety. Aerial tram and canopy zip line of Arenal reserve, Diamante superman canopy zip line in Guanacaste, the aerial tram and thrilling ziplines of Jaco rainforests, Manuel Antonio Canopy Safari zip line, Monteverde Sky aerial tram and zipline, San Luis Canopy tour are some of the popular tours operated in Costa Rican forests.

2. Surf in the high tide beaches of Costa Rica :

With vast shorelines expanding from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean, the beaches of Costa Rica are unique and fascinating. Comprising of luxury resorts and grand accommodations, some of the shorelines buzz with aquatic activities where the rest remain calmly untouched in remote zones. Tamarindo is a long, rocky beach with excellent strong tides highly suitable for surfing. Dominical Beach is one of the World’s best places for surfing which is one of the unique things to do in Costa Rica. Surrounded by restaurants serving Costa Rican delicacies, the beach is worth visiting. Once a fishing village and now an upcoming beach destination Santa Teresa along with surf clubs have yoga retreats, and resorts for tourists. Whether you are looking for things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica, things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica, or top things to do in Arenal Costa Rica, surfing should be on your priority list.

3. Do underwater exploration by Snorkeling :

Exploring the marine lives in the deep and clear sea of Costa Rica is a magical experience. The nutrient-rich water has exceptional marine life including whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, sea turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales. Manuel Antonio Beach in the backdrop of Manuel Antonio national park is a popular beach destination. Snorkeling is the most preferred aquatic activity as its coral reefs and underwater marine life are worth watching. Calmer, tiny seashell sprinkled white sand beach of Conchal in Guanacaste provides a peaceful relaxing beach stay. White raft excursion, paddleboard, ocean kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, cave exploration are the top things to do here. Nacascolo of Papagayo Peninsula and Punta Uva are other popular beach spots for Snorkeling.

4. Visit a turtle nesting site:

Sea turtle nesting is a rare natural phenomenon that occurs at the seaside of Costa Rica. Olive ridley, leatherback, green and hawksbill are the four species of sea turtles that visit Pacific and Caribbean shorelines every year at different times. Wildlife enthusiasts all around the world flock to witness the returning of these wonderful creatures. Arribadas is the mass annual nesting of Olive ridley turtles and its hard to predict it’s happening. Ostional Beach, Playa Grande, Las Baulas National Marine Park, Santa Rosa, Hermosa Beach and Tortuguero National Park are the places where this grand procession of turtles occurs. As these species are highly endangered, prior authorized access along with a guide is needed to visit the site. All these reasons make it one of the best things to do in Costa Rica with kids that you shouldn’t miss out.

5. Glimpse the dancing Humpback Whales:

Whales can be witnessed all year round in Costa Rica. California, Atlantic and Antarctic humpback whales are the frequently migrated whales in different seasons. Whereas Pilot, Blue and Pseudo-Orca whales can also be spotted here. Ballena Marine National Park in the South Pacific coast of Costa Rica has a Whale’s Tail shaped sandbar amidst sea waters. This s the hotspot to see humpback whales. Whale watching tours can be booked in Drake Bay, Golfo Dulce, Papagayo Bay beach sites where to see these intelligent migrants. If you are searching for fun things to do in Limon Costa Rica then this one should be in your itinerary.

6. Go on a Day and Overnight Jungle tours:

Hiking tours, jungle kayak and river cruise are some exotic ways to indulge in the awe-inspiring beauty of dense forests. Hanging monkeys, thousands of bird flocks, rare animals like tapir and more can be sighted with guidelines taken from Naturalist. Overnight stay in the Jungle lodges with hiking day tours is the best way to explore the remote forest. Covering half of the Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park is home to exotic species such as scarlet macaws, monkeys and jaguar. Crocodile watching is a popular adventure activity in Carara National Park. Explore wildlife like sloths, herons, monkeys along mangrove waterways in Damas Island Estuary and Playa Grande estuary by boat or kayak. Along with other wildlife, bird watching is a highlight in the Osa Peninsula. Tortuguero National Park has maze-like amazing waterways perfect for boat and kayak tours.

7. Get thrilled by white water rafting :

Originating from the volcanic mountain ranges and descending down towards the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the San Juan River or Lake Nicaragua, Costa Rica has 14 major river systems. These produce World famous white water rapids highly suitable for excitement-filled rafting activity. Day tours along with overnight stay are available to stroll on these rivers. Appropriate for a family with kids, safari float is a serene way to indulge in the natural beauty of the forests while peacefully sailing on the river. Penas Blancas river and Corobici river are perfect for easy float. Exotic wildlife and untouched landscapes ensure a visual treat. For thrill-seekers rafting along Rio Balsa, Savegre, Pacuare, Tenorio and Naranjo rivers guarantee an intense challenge with quick, twists and turn along the country’s best forest reserves. These tours include overnight accommodation in Jungle lodges with delectable Costa Rican food.

8. Relax in the mineral-laden hot springs:

Used for therapeutic reason over hundreds of years, the mineral-rich naturally formed Costa Rican hot springs are a wonderful creation. Providing relaxation and rejuvenation, the water treats ailments including body pains and aches. As a result of volcanic action, the groundwater reacts with hot rocks, returns to the top surface and collects as a pool forming hot springs. Sprawled across the country’s rainforests, these are located in deep forests and few are operated as resorts. Arenal hot springs adjacent to Arenal volcano are the most popular. The Springs resort, Los Lagunas, Perdido springs, EcoTermales, Tabacon are luxury accommodations in the location. Rio Perdido hotel, Rio Negro are the hot spring resorts in Guanacaste.

9. Seek adventure through waterfall rappelling:

With many amusing waterfalls in rainforests rappelling is an adrenaline-pumping activity greatly possible in a country like Costa Rica. Sheering down the rocks for miles from the top of canyon cliffs, on the waterfall ways in the backdrop of untouched nature, is an amazing experience. In Arenal waterfall rappelling, travelers hike down 5 rock faces where 4 of them have waterfalls of height ranging between 20 to 50 meters. The rappel tour in Rio Perdido of Guanacaste has a combination of other hiking activities along with rappelling. An up and down rappelling along with zip lines, a suspension bridge, swing over a waterfall interconnecting 15 platforms is available.

10. Get pampered with Costa Rican Spa:

Costa Rica is a renowned luxury spa destination. With mineral-laden soil, rocks, lava and abundant natural resources the spa resorts pose specialized relaxing treatments. With the exotic ingredients indigenous to the region, the personalized experience in the Costa Rican spa will be definitely unique. Located nearby Arenal Volcano, Tabacon Resort harnesses its vital energy to relax and calm the senses. Milk bath in Jacuzzi alternated with wine, fruit and aromatherapy is an award-winning spa treatment here. Overlooking the sea, the therapeutic deep tissue massage and organic coffee scrub at Four seasons resorts spa is definitely worth a try. Onda Spa is an open-air spa resort with the rooms nestled in the natural forest canopy. Spa Sha in the amazing sea setting, Esencia Spa at the country’s rural farm, Nayara spa at Arenal hot springs are other best luxury spa resorts popular in the region.

11. Go on a cave spelunking :

Spelunking or cave exploration is a favorite recreational activity in Costa Rica things to do. As the volcanic eruptions for millions of years have created these underground marvels, a visit to these caves is exciting and adventurous for the travelers. Located below the sea level Venado caves is a limestone rock formed eight chamber underground maze comprising an underground waterfall and river. Eyeless fish, giant spiders, bat, frogs and a variety of marine fossils can be spotted. Limestone caverns, stalagmites, stalactites, can be seen in Terciopelo Cave at Barra Honda National park. The tour operates with guides and its best to visit the caves during the dry season.

12. Taste a freshly brewed coffee in organic plantation:

The tropical climate in Costa Rica is highly suitable for the growth of one of the best quality coffee beans. Costa Rican coffee is very popular in the World and they export the best from their country. The government allows only high-quality Arabica beans to grow on their plantations. The coffee tour includes a visit to the plantation, roastery, and a tasting session. The traditional methods of coffee growing, roasting, and brewing can be witnessed here. Sprawling from San Jose to the Monteverde region, Cafe Britt, Doka estate, El Toledo, Espiritu Santo, Mi Cafecito, Cafe Monteverde, Don Juan are some of the family-run organic coffee farms producing high-grade coffee for generations.

13. Indulge in Chocolate tasting tours :

Bribri is an indigenous community of Costa Rica involved in the cultivation of Cacao along the Caribbean coast. The chocolate tours are informative where the growth and processing of cacao seeds can be witnessed. The Peurto Viejo Chocolate tour is a fascinating tour that gives insights about the culture of native Costa Ricans, the countryside living along with the chocolate production. Caribbeans coffee and farm is a small family-run plantation here. Rainforest chocolate tour based out of La Fortuna gives a hand-on experience of chocolate making. Sibu, Bri Bri, La Iguana, Finca Luna Nueva are other chocolate tours available in the plantations across Costa Rica.

What’s next waiting for you?

Comprising so many top things to do in Costa Rica Jaco, it is the perfect destination for a family trip or a romantic getaway. Whether you are looking for fun things to do in Costa Rica Liberia or things to do in Guanacaste Costa Rica, It can be planned as an adventurous trip with hiking trails, cave explorations, zip-lining, rappelling tours or as a relaxing trip with safari boat rides, yoga retreats and bicycling. The ‘Pura Vida‘ life that Costa Rica reflects is a great way to embrace and appreciate life. Now you know what to do in Costa Rica, go ahead and plan your journey without delay.

About Author: Banupriya Nagarajan

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