Whitewater Rafting the Rio Pacuare – Revered as one of the best all around whitewater rafting rivers in the world, the Rio Pacuare is a shoo in for the best tours in Costa Rica list! The Pacuare can be rafted in several sections including heart pounding class IV and V rapids on the upper section and adrenaline pumping class III and IV rapids along the lower mountain section. Not to be overlooked, the scenery is among the most picturesque imaginable as you navigate through towering mountains covered by lush green jungle, only interrupted by the occasional waterfall pouring into the gorge.
La Roca Canyoning – Located in a jungle canyon in front of the imposing Arenal Volcano, the La Roca Canyoning tour is as scenic as it is exhilarating. Imagine rappelling down a series rainforest waterfalls and working your way through the stream bed between them! This epic tour allows you to do that and more including a zipline, a hanging bridge, and a hike back up through the rainforest.
Manuel Antonio National Park – If wildlife observation and beautiful beaches rank high on your list of priorities, look no further then Manuel Antonio National Park! Costa Rica’s smallest national park will not disappoint as the groomed trails that meander through the seaside jungle are perfect for observing several species of monkeys, sloths, raccoon, deer, toucans, iguanas, and much more. Of course you can work up a sweat trudging through the tropical rainforest, so don’t forget to pack your bathing suit for your dip in the national park’s private jungle lined beach area.
Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Pass – If you find yourself anywhere around the Rincon de la Vieja area and are looking for a fun filled day of adventure, check out Hacienda Guachipelin and their Full Day Adventure Pass. This is an awesome way to spend the day as you can choose from a variety of adventures including the canopy canyon zipline tour, horseback riding, Rio Negro whitewater tubing, or a canyoning adventure that is perfect for first timers.
Tree of Life – Warning – Adventurers only! The Tree of Life is one of the most adventurous and unique tours available in Costa Rica. If hiking up a muddy jungle covered mountain, sleeping in a cave tucked behind an enormous waterfall, and then rappelling down the front of it sounds like fun to you, then by all means do the Tree of Life tour! This is one of the best tours in Costa Rica for adventurers, but be prepared to rough it!
Turtle Observation at Playa Ostional – Imagine yourself sitting on a beach with the sounds of waves crashing and as light reflection of moonlight off of the wet sand as the waves recede. Suddenly you see something large crawling out of the sea. Within a few seconds you realize the shape is that of a large sea turtle and it’s making it’s way up the beach. The turtle finds the perfect spot and begins pushing sand aside with it’s enormous flippers until there is a perfect hole about 18 inches deep. She begins depositing a hundred or so golf ball sized eggs into the hole, covers the nest and then slowly makes her way back to the sea and slowly disappears. Now multiply that experience by potentially hundreds of turtles at a time! Olive Ridley turtles nest at Playa Ostional nearly every night from May through November, but if you time it right, you may witness what is known locally as an “arribada”, which is when hundreds and sometimes thousands of turtles gather and come in together over a few night period each month when the moon and tide is right.
Corcovado National Park – Tucked away in one of the least accessible and remote locations in Costa Rica, Corcovado should be at the top of the list for anybody that wants to experience real, rugged rainforest with rare and endangered wildlife. Corcovado National Park is one of the few remaining locations in Central America with habitat capable of supporting animals such as jaguar, tapir, and harpy eagles in breeding numbers. While you may not be fortunate enough to see these amazing creatures, you will undoubtedly come across scores of monkeys, squawking and colorful scarlet macaws, and possibly even dolphins or whales off of the coast of the untamed park.
Learning to Surf at Tamarindo – Okay, so there are a lot of places to take surf lessons in Costa Rica, but there’s only one that can claim it was a filming location for one of the most influential surfing films of all time, Endless Summer. The beaches of Tamarindo are perfect for beginner surfers and some of the best instructors in Costa Rica can be found on this white sand, crescent shaped beach on any given day!
El Santuario Canopy Zipline – Okay, so just about every tourist geared town in Costa Rica has a zipline or two (or 10), but the best we have found is the El Santuario course in the Manuel Antonio area. This epic course has 11 ziplines, which combine to over 3.6 kms long. One of the zips is nearly nearly a mile long and up to 300 feet above the canopy! The El Santuario course also includes 6 hanging bridges, air stairs, and a rappel to top it all off.
Tabacon Hot Springs – A top ten list of the best tours in Costa Rica simply would not be complete without including world famous Tabacon Grand Thermal Spa and Hot Springs. Tabacon is the original hot springs resort that put Costa Rica in the global spot light as a world class hot springs destination. The Tabacon River flows out of the base of Arenal Volcano through the jungle and onward to Tabacon Resort, where you can relax and bathe in streams and pools of varying temperatures.