Costa Rica

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Our most recommended things to do in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall, and Hot Springs Tour

1. Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall, and Hot Springs Tour

Escape into the nature of the La Fortuna area. Walk by the river and follow a trail to a panoramic viewpoint. Visit a Maluku Indian village and trek through a forest, lava fields, and farmlands before relaxing at a natural hot spring resort. Be collected at your accommodation and be driven to the beginning of the forest walk. Trek on the easy track along the crystal clear La Fortuna river. En route, hop on a tractor cart uphill to a panoramic viewpoint. Spot the next location from a distance then begin the return walk down a jungle staircase. Halfway down is a high suspension bridge to cross. The trail leads further down the huge canyon, which was shaped by a volcanic mega-eruption. Encounter the spectacular La Fortuna waterfall. Be amazed by the lush vegetation on its 70-meter high walls, the huge volcanic rocks at its foot, and the water splashing down in its massive pool. Bask in its beauty or even take a refreshing dip. Return to the viewpoint then walk down to the little village of the Maluku Indians. Seated in their Palenke (main house), enjoy a rest while listening to an interesting story about their culture, art, and history.  After being active for a few hours, the time has come to relax and enjoy a typical hot lunch. Next to the restaurant is a butterfly garden and frog pond that you can explore until your food is served.  Reenergized, take a 15-minute ride to the park at the foot of the Arenal volcano. Being the trek through the primary forest where you can see huge trees with giant roots. Besides a variety of birds, the forest is host to monkeys, sloths, and coati. Leave the forest and each the highest viewpoint that exists around the volcano and absorb the most spectacular panoramic views of Lake Arenal, the jungle, the valley, the lava fields, and most of all the Arenal that towers over you.  Conclude your tour at the natural hot spring resort. Relax in its soothing warm water for about an hour and enjoy a volcanic mud facial and a complimentary cocktail. At around 6:30 PM, you will be taken back to your accommodation.

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Manuel Antonio or Quepos: Manuel Antonio National Park Tour

2. Manuel Antonio or Quepos: Manuel Antonio National Park Tour

Discover Manuel Antonio National Park, a small biological island established in 1972 by the Costa Rican government to preserve its precious wildlife. Though Manuel Antonio National Park is the smallest park in the country, it’s also the most visited due to its charming combination of rain forests, beaches, coral reefs, and wildlife. After being picked up from your hotel by your excerpt driver-guide, get ready to explore a diverse range of fauna spanning 109 species of mammals and 184 birds. As you explore, look out for raccoons, coatis, agoutis, sloths, white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, and the famous Titi monkey, an endangered subspecies unique to the park. Be led by your guide on a breathtaking walking tour through the jungle and experience the secrets and wonders of this amazing ecosystem. See kingfishers, the yellow crowned night heron and many more bird species. Benefit from assistance taking high-quality nature photos using your own digital camera combined with professional telescopes provided on the tour.

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San Jose: Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

3. San Jose: Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

The day begins with pickup from your accommodation in San Jose, Heredia, or Alajuela at 6:00 AM. On your way to breakfast, drive past rolling coffee plantations and admire the mountains of Braulio Carrillo National Park. At around 7:15 AM, stop for a traditional Costa Rican breakfast to set you up for the day's adventure. Enjoy fresh fruit juice, coffee, eggs, and the popular gallo pinto (a typical Central American rice and bean dish.) After breakfast visit a local banana plantation and learn about the process of growing and exporting fruit. At around 10:00 AM, leave the bus behind and hop onboard a boat as you cruise into the jungle of Tortuguero National Park. Surrounded by tropical rainforest, which covers over 29,000 hectares, soak up the magic of this luscious green landscape. As you sail along the jungle canals, see native green sea turtles, as well as other endangered animals such as sloths, monkeys, and manatees. There’s also countless colorful butterflies, toucans, herons, crocodiles, and more. Learn about each of the animals and their habitat in the jungle, as well as about local conservation efforts to protect them. Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, enjoy a hearty buffet lunch. After lunch, take a relaxing stroll through Tortuguero Village where you’ll discover local life and learn about the history of the town and its residents. At the end of an unforgettable day, get back on the bus at around 3:30 PM and begin the return journey back to San Jose.

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Playa Tamarindo: Sunset Sailing and Snorkeling Tour

4. Playa Tamarindo: Sunset Sailing and Snorkeling Tour

Sail along Costa Rica’s Gold Coast on a 4.5-hour sunset cruise, passing Guanacaste’s exotic bays, white sand beaches, and tropical jungles. Gaze off the bow with a cold tropical drink in your hand as you scan the seas for dolphins, sea turtles, flying fish, or even a breaching whale. Stop in a tranquil bay, drop anchor, and enjoy a swim. Snorkel in the bay or take a walk down a deserted white sand beach. While you’re enjoying the sun, sand, and sea, the crew will prepare a lunch of chicken or pasta salad, fruit, chips, pico de gallo, guacamole, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. As the sun sets, you’ll see the ever-changing colors of the sky, while enjoying your favorite drink from the boat’s open bar. Capture the moment to show your family and friends the wonders of a Costa Rican sunset.

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La Fortuna: Arenal Rafting Upper Balsa Class 3 and 4 Rapids

5. La Fortuna: Arenal Rafting Upper Balsa Class 3 and 4 Rapids

After being collected from your hotel, you will make your way to the rafting site. Once there you will undergo a brief orientation session, before taking to the river to experience class III and IV white water rafting on the beautiful Balsa River. You will navigate 10 kilometers of white water rapids, stopping along the way to rest a bit. You can also indulge in a little swimming, and enjoy some fresh Costa Rica fruit. Following your white water rafting, you will receive a clean towel and cold complimentary water. You will then be taken to a local restaurant to have a Costa Rica style lunch and coffee, before eventually being returned back to your accommodation.

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Adventure Transfer between Monteverde and La Fortuna

6. Adventure Transfer between Monteverde and La Fortuna

Add a little adventure to your transportation needs between Monteverde and La Fortuna and avail of a transfer that includes an informative boat tour across Lake Arenal. Get spectacular views of Arenal Volcano and the cloud forests of Monteverde as you travel by van and boat. Choose from a morning or afternoon departure in either direction to suit your schedule, and relax in the knowledge that your luggage will be taken care of on every step of the journey. Depart La Fortuna and travel to Lake Arenal by van. Then, take a 30-minute boat ride to the town of Río Chiquito before continuing to Monteverde by van. For departures from Monteverde, travel to Lake Arenal by van. Cross Lake Arenal on an enlightening 30-minute boat ride to the earthen dam, and then continue to La Fortuna by van for drop off at your hotel.

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San José: Arenal Volcano, Hot Springs, & Zip Lining w/ Meals

7. San José: Arenal Volcano, Hot Springs, & Zip Lining w/ Meals

Tour the best locations in Costa Rica and learn about local life and culture from those who live there. Visit a coffee plantation, zip line, and soak in the hot springs at the base of the Adrenal Volcano. Take the scenic route to the Arenal Volcano and visit a coffee plantation along the way. Gain an insight into the world of Costa Rican coffee and taste one of the best coffees in the world. Arrive at the "La Paz" and "San Fernando" waterfalls and admire the exotic tropical birds of Costa Rica, including many species of hummingbirds and rare emerald toucanets. Take in the views at the San Fernando Waterfall observation point before heading to the "Iguana Bridge", where you will have the chance to spot iguanas, sloths, monkeys, and toucans. Stop for an authentic Costa Rican lunch in a restaurant located in "La Fortuna." Then, prepare for a zip-lining adventure in the local rainforest jungles with 9 canopy cables and a 50 meter (150 feet) rappel on the Arenal River. Learn about the culture while listening to a "Maleku" Indigenous tribe presentation from locals. Relax for a couple of hours in the Paradise Hot Springs at the base of Arenal Volcano, surrounded by tropical gardens followed by dinner.

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La Fortuna Waterfall, Volcano and Hanging Bridges Combo

8. La Fortuna Waterfall, Volcano and Hanging Bridges Combo

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in the La Fortuna area, and travel to Arenal Volcano to hike the paths surrounding the mighty mountain. Get back to nature in Arenal Volcano National Park, where most of the 850 species of bird identified in Costa Rica can be found. Look out for other wildlife, such as white-faced capuchin monkeys, jaguar and deer. Marvel at the stunning landscapes of a secondary rainforest at the base of the park, and a primary rainforest with amazing biodiversity amongst the hanging bridges. Walk through the rainforest on a network of 15 suspension bridges of various levels of difficulty in Mistico Park. Then, cool down with a swim in a natural pool at La Fortuna waterfall.

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Tamarindo: Dream Chaser Catamaran Sunset Cruise

9. Tamarindo: Dream Chaser Catamaran Sunset Cruise

Discover picturesque secluded beaches on a 5-hour catamaran cruise. Benefit from relaxing lounge areas, an open bar, lunch buffet, snorkeling equipment, and paddleboards. Board the 40-foot Dream Chaser catamaran and cruise along the north coast and, depending on weather conditions of the day, anchor in the secluded beaches of Playa Minas, Playa Huevo, or Piratas Bay.  Jump into the refreshing waters and tryout water activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, and playing with the floaties (noodles). Feast on a delicious home-style buffet and enjoy an open bar where you can get unlimited refreshments, liquor, and mixed drinks.  Lounge on the spacious upper deck while listening to a modern sound system. Cool off in the shaded main cabin, relax in comfortable leather seats, and make use of the free Wi-Fi.  As you head back to Playa Tamarindo, be treated to unforgettable views of the Costa Rican sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

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From La Fortuna: Rio Celeste Full-Day Tour

10. From La Fortuna: Rio Celeste Full-Day Tour

Start your full-day tour with a scenic drive from La Fortuna to the Tenorio Volcano National Park. Head out on a 4-hour hike that will take some effort but is definitely worth it. At the end of the hike you’ll have reached the Rio Celeste. The river’s blue color is the result of a chemical reaction between 2 merging rivers having different volcanic minerals. This rare phenomenon creates a fairy tale-like beauty. Visit a waterfall and a lookout point for great views and see the place where the river changes color. Your guide will point out local wildlife on this adventure as well. After your hike, enjoy a delicious lunch before the drive back to La Fortuna.

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With a mountain range between the Pacific Coast on the west and the Caribbean coast on the east there are endless opportunities for adventure in Costa Rica. Tours from San Jose, Aljuela, or Guanacaste reach out across the country to many fun things to do.

The traveler can visit Tortuguero National park on the Caribbean side of the country. There take a boat tour through a park filled with diversity. This park full of monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species is something to behold.

There are tours to many of the volcanoes that are found throughout the country. At the dormant and lake-filled Arenal Volcano, one can even try their hand at stand-up paddleboarding on the lake.

Alternatively one can travel into the rainforest and go for a zip line ride, or take a canopy tour in the rainforest. Water activities in the interior of the country are also available. The traveler can do a little white water rafting on one of the many rivers, or go horseback riding to some of the many waterfalls that are found throughout the country.

With a treasure trove of activities available need only take a pick and enjoy this rich country of Costa Rica. So visit this great country, take a tour and have some fun.

Other Sightseeing Options in Costa Rica

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