Explore Costa Rica in Adventure Mode

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Must do Adventures in Costa Rica

Landing at Seatac, back from my trip, and reflecting on what we’ve experienced, I can definitively say that Costa Rica is one of the most exciting and adventurous countries I’ve ever visited. 

I have never done so many adventure tours on any other trip before. Needless to say, we loved every second of it. Different parts of the country will give you different opportunities to be outside and in touch with nature. 

We listed some of our favorite tours and companies providing the best service and safety in the industry. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventure accounts.

Adventures in Costa Rica

Canyoneering/ Rappelling

In my opinion, there is no better way to spend a day in the La Fortuna area than rappelling through waterfalls and zip-lining through a naturally formed canyon on the slopes of Arenal Volcano, one of the most dynamic adventures in Costa Rica.

You will challenge your adventure spirit at the Spider Monkey Canyon. Splashing through crystal clear streams, conquering the magnificent canyon walls with the rappel techniques, jumping into clear pools of water and across naturally formed rock walkways, walk a challenging hanging bridge and fly through the canopy on a zip line is only a part of what you will experience in this paradise in the Costa Rican jungle.

Spider Monkey canyon adventures Costa Rica

The experience includes 4 rappels of a different height and difficulties, one canopy zip line, one wired suspension bridge, some gravity jumps in naturally formed river pools, extreme canyoneering hike on the way back through a beautiful rainforest full of wildlife. 

At the end of the tour, get out of your wet clothes, take a refreshing shower- towels will be provided, beverages and some small snacks. While relaxing and enjoying your coffee, view your pictures from the adventure tour.

The tour company organizing the trip is called Mistico, their park is located very close to the Arenal Lake Dam, and they have multiple fun activities. There are three tours each day- the first one starts at 715am, the second 9:15am and 12:15pm is the last one. 

It takes about two and a half hours with the gearing, instruction and the experience itself. The minimum age for the tour is 8 years old, and the minimum height is 3.9ft (120cm). 

This was our absolute favorite adventure experience in Costa Rica, it was the perfect mix of relaxing water and extreme jungle time. 

Price of the tour: $65 for kids and $75 for adults.

Scuba Diving

Costa Rica is known for excellent scuba diving along with all other adventures. Multiple islands off the coastline and turquoise water make for great diving experience. 

On our first day, we made our way to the Tamarindo area, where we booked our 2 dives. The shop we used is called Tamarindo Diving Adventures and its very conveniently located in downtown Tamarindo, very close to the beach. 

What was more convenient was the brand new boat that the shop had purchased the week before, that was able to pick us up from the shore right behind the shop. That was awesome, and we got to be the first to ride the new boat.

About thirty minutes later we were already at the dive site- Catalina Islands. We did our dive plan briefing, my friend did his drills for the discover scuba experience, and we were ready to descend. Down there, schools of fish, moray eel, rays, white tip reef shark and lots of invertebrates like sea star and nudibranch.

We loved every second of it, the visibility was superb, and we even got to fly the drone for some awesome footage during our surface interval. The Divemaster, boat captain, and instructors were very helpful, always put safety as a priority, and made sure we had fun as well. I highly recommend Tamarindo Dive Adventures, it’s the best dive shop in Tamarindo.

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Zip Lining

When it comes to zip lining, Costa Rica is the place to go. Fly through the lush rainforest or over a deep river canyon, to get in touch with the most adventurous part of you.

Multiple companies organize zip lining tours. One of them is SkyAdventures. They are providing some of the most exciting adventures in Costa Rica, look no further. They have two parks in the Arenal Volcano area and Monteverde.

In the Monteverde park, they offer them the most thrilling zip line in the country called the Sky Trek. Your tour will start riding an open-air gondola from the ground to the heights where you’ll be dropped off at an observation area for fantastic views of the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

From there, you will start riding down on a zip line track stretching across canyons and in between treetops, the exhilarating adventure of zip lining down the mountainside begins; ultimately returning you to the starting point at the main building. 

The sum of it- 800m SkyTram trip, 8 zip lines of which the longest 750m and the highest 100m, the fastest cable 50-60km/h. The duration of the tour is 2h. 

The company provides all the necessary gear for the adventure- helmet, gloves, harness, and the safety is top notch. The staff is very friendly, and it is quite fun hanging out with them. If you are nervous, they will make you feel comfortable before going on the cables.

P.S. This is a high-intensity activity, and is not recommended for anyone with any kind of health problem.

The company offers different activities from hanging bridges to sky trams running through the canopy. The activities vary slightly in both parks. For example, there is no white water rafting in Monteverde.

Horseback Riding

If you don’t like hiking, but you love animals and nature– horseback riding could be the one activity that can facilitate all your desires. 

Honestly, I like hiking, but I wanted to take a good photo of Oropendula Waterfall in Rincon De La Vieja National Park, which means a lot of heavy camera gear and a tripod. Also, I’ve always wanted to try horseback riding, I have friends who swore that it is fantastic. Well, there was no better time to do it.

On our 4th day in Costa Rica we arrived in Liberia, after a great night sleep, with the help of locals, and the internet, we found a company that offers horseback riding tours in the National Park right outside Liberia. 

They had many different routes, including a mixture of horseback riding and hiking, which was perfect but maybe a little too long (5h) for the first time on a horse. So we opted for the two-hour tour to Catarata (waterfall) Oropendula– a great combination of the adventure of horseback riding and swimming at a beautiful rainforest waterfall. 

At first, I was a little nervous because I’ve never done it, but the horse trainers and our guide were very confident and reassured us that it is effortless and the horses are really gentle and well trained. 

As soon as I got up on the horse, I felt at ease. My horse was very calm and was not doing anything without being asked. It was pure joy from the first minute. Getting to the waterfall was a great journey, but the highlight was the waterfall itself, plunging an impressive 82 feet (25 meters) to a sparkling turquoise pool. 

Right as we arrived, heavy rain poured on us, but I was really determined to snatch a photo of this memorable place. With the help of my friend and our tour guide, I was able to go home with this:

Oropendula Waterfall

The company offers many different activities as well- “Cowboy for a day”; Canyon Canopy Tour, Rio Negro Tubing, Mountain Biking even and Archeology tour. Hacienda Guachipelin offers accommodation too, which looks fantastic and we will probably stay there next time.

All tours are arranged at Hacienda Guachipelin’s Adventure Center; open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for hotel guests and day visitors.

There are two such tours every day starting at 9am and 2pm. The price was very reasonable at $37 for adults and $27 for children ages 4-10.

Arboreal or Tree Climbing

While in Monteverde we were looking for pairing our ziplining tour with something else in the same park (Sky Adventures). While looking through their brochures, something unique- tree climbing.

Arboreal Tree Climbing Park is the first tree climbing park in Costa Rica. The company has turned trees in the transitional forest, on the grounds of the park, into climbing walls.

The tour consists of a climbing circuit of 7 trees that go from 10m (33ft) and up to 20m (60ft) high and with various levels of difficulty. The trees are equipped with handheld pieces designed for climbing but adapted explicitly for trees. They are attached with straps to the trees, preventing any harm or damage to the tree, maintaining this way its full integrity. 

Safety first is the company’s motto. High-quality climbing harness and a helmet are provided to you. The trees are equipped with a very safe auto-belay mechanism that is very often used in climbing gyms too. Once you finish the tree, make sure you ring the bell and just let go, the system will take you down gently, without any risk.

This activity provides a very different perspective and honestly a unique way of experiencing the beautiful, dense and full of life forests of Monteverde. Arboreal seeks to provoke an experience at a deeper level by exploring the cloud forest from the bottom and the top of the trees, connecting our visitors with the natural environment.

The tour price is $40 for adults and $28 for a child, there is also a student and CR resident discount, make sure you ask for it.

Hanging Bridges

One thing that is for sure is that Costa Ricans know how to harness the power of nature, preserve it and make available for people to enjoy. The hanging bridges in many areas of the country are no exception. There is so many of them. We enjoyed going through a lot of those in the Rainmaker Natural Preserve just outside of Quepos, deep in the rainforest. It was a remarkable experience. 

Other parks offer a similar experience in different parts of Costa Rica like La Fortuna, Monteverde, Liberia. Costa Rica Sky Adventures are the founders and creators of world famous Sky Walk Hanging bridges featuring 6 bridges, a total length of 1.5km in their Monteverde park. Bridges are very sturdy, and safety is always the number one priority. 

Local guides accompany each tour and help visitors learn about Costa Rica’s magnificent biodiversity. The bridges are really high up in the canopy which makes them the perfect observatory of wildlife since 90% of the organisms in the forests are on top of the trees.

The tour lasts about 2 hours, the landscape is primary and secondary cloud forest, and the trails are mostly flat and partially accessible by wheelchair. If you are in the La Fortuna area, check out SkyAdventure’s park there.

Whitewater Rafting

Probably the wettest area in Costa Rica, suitable for good white water rafting will be La Fortuna and the famous La Fortuna Rapids. From this area, there are multiple rivers and classes of rapids to choose from depending on your experience, adventure level, and group dynamic. All of these rivers require a bit of traveling to get to, but they are all easily accessible from La Fortuna.

Whitewater rafting in Costa Rica

We really grew to like SkyAdventures as a company. It provides a one-stop shop for all kinds of different and unique adventure experiences. Their whitewater rafting tour is called SkyRiver Drift and is only available in their Arenal park.

This tour has two different activities that will provide you with a good choice filled with emotions and sensations that satisfy the most adventurous tourists. 

The first activity you will do at Sky River Drift are 2 carbon fiber cables. After these the River Drift adventure will start, traveling on an exciting tour through the Piedras Negras River. Sky River Drift is a fast water path with controlled rapids travelled on individual rafts. 

The thrill of being carried by the current towards the rapids and the force of inertia that dominates the raft is a mixture in which any adventurer will be satisfied in their pursuit of adrenaline and fun.

Some of the key features:

The tour is done on personal rafts which are big and spacious, giving you stability and protection. There is a series of rapids, with curves and small drops which will get your adrenaline pumping. There are some short paths where slowing down allows you to enjoy the rainforest. The local guides will be rafting with you to provide assistance when needed and ensure your safety.

This is definitely one of the area’s most adrenaline rushing experience. It is moderately priced at $78 for Adults, $62 for kids. There are also students and CR residents discounts. 

The tours is sold out quick so make sure you book yours online as soon as possible. 

Starting times are 9am, 10:30am, 12:30pm and the last one at 2pm. The duration of the tour is about 2hours.

Final Thoughts

With this post, I really hope to inspire the thrill-seeking self in you and provoke you to book a trip to Costa Rica right now so you can get in touch with the biodiverse treasures and natural wonders of Costa Rica. 

We thoroughly enjoyed every second of it, it was exciting, educational, adventurous and exciting. Definitely, the desire to come back is strong and a second trip will follow soon.

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Hi there! I’m Atanas — I’ve been traveling around the world since I was 15, so about 12 years, but just recently got into writing. My mission is to inspire more people to take on the journey of their lives and spread the word that traveling the world can be easy, fun and not cost a fortune!

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