Costa Rica Tours

Costa Rica’s fantastic array of parks and preserves with their wildlife and scenery draw travelers from all over the world. Outdoors enthusiasts will not quickly grow tired of the wide selection of adventure travel activities. Bird watching in Costa Rica is considered world class. Travelers looking for bigger animals are not disappointed either and often spot monkeys, sloth, leave-cutter ants, blue morpho butterflies, poison arrow frogs, crocodiles and iguanas among others. The Costa Rican national tourism board (ICT) has an office in the capital, and locally run tourist offices or commercial tour operators provide information throughout the country.
Many of Costa Rican tours focus on eco-tourism, or nature tourism. Tours around the many protected areas of Costa Rica are a highlight for many tourists. Visit some of the last stretches of dry tropical forest in the Parque Nacional Santa Rosa, the cloud forest of Monteverde and the Talamanca Mountains, nine active volcanoes in the Volcán Arenal National Park. There is a standard entrance fee of $7 to all national parks. See our national parks and eco-tourism section for more information.
For those interested in surfing, there are dozens of recognized surfing areas. Most are not crowded and have good waves. The best surf is found at Jacó, Quepos, Tamarindo and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, which also host a lively nightlife and plenty of opportunities to relax in the sun between waves.
Rafting tours, especially on Río Reventazón and Río Pacuare, can easily be found in San José and include lunch. Tour operators provide rafts, paddles, life jackets and guides. Kayaking and canoeing are also popular both on exhilarating rapids and quieter rivers where excellent wildlife viewing is possible. Sea kayaking is found along the coast where rentals are plentiful. This is a great way to spot remote wildlife.
Scuba diving and snorkeling is popular in the warm waters of Costa Rica. There is plenty of marine life but the water is often murky with low visibility, especially in spots near rivers. Try Playa del Coco, Playa Ocotal and Playa Hermosa for dives. For snorkeling, go to Manuel Antonio, Montezuma and Cahuita. Dives and snorkeling on the Caribbean side often features views of wrecks, reefs and more.
Rainforest hiking is best at Parque Nacional Corcovado, Santa Rosa offers great tropical dry forest camping and Chirripó is best for treks in the highlands.
Laguna Arenal is considered to have some of the best windsurfing in Central America. Tours run regularly from San José and include supplies.
Throughout the country, you can find good horseback riding. Overnight trips can be arranged. But be sure that your horse is well taken care of, well-fed and given a clean stable at night. There have been some reports of mistreatment of horses.
Canopy Tours are a combination of elevated platforms, bridges, cables and ropes and provide an unforgettable bird’s eye view of rainforests and cloud forests throughout Costa Rica. For those seeking adrenaline rushes, hook yourself up to the cable and let it rip. For more mellow travelers, there are clear-cut paths, lookout towers and bridges to give you a stable view of the canopy below.
Sport fishing is excellent off both coasts. Expect to find sailfish and marlin off the Pacific and snook and tarpon in the Caribbean. It is often best (and cheapest) to get a group together and rent a boat independently, but there are also organized tours that can help you arrange a sport fishing tour.
Check out our other V!VA Travel Guides Pages:

  • Hummingbird Gallery
    This is one of the rare activities you can do for free around Monteverde. The only actual cost is the bus fare it will take to get there. On the edge of the Monteverde Reserve, the gallery houses more than 100 hummingbirds from 14 different varieties. Get out your camera, because when they hover aro
  • Canopy Tour
    Overview There are several options in town for this adrenaline adventure but the two listed are acknowledged to be the leading companies. Both offer a similar experience which basically involves swinging through the jungle hanging from a pulley. They offer around 15 different zip-li
  • 4 in 1 tour in Costa Rica
    Thanks to the 4 in 1 tour from Expediciones Tropicales I saw the Poas Volcano, the largest enclosed butterfly observation in the world, La Paz waterfall and I went on a boat ride on the Sarapique River, all on one day. With the 4 in 1 tour it is possible to see many different aspects of Costa Rica i
  • Twilight Walk, Children's Eternal Rainforest
    Overview Walking through jungle at night is a very different experience to walking by day, and this tour enables you to compare the two by starting at sunset and ending in torchlight. It takes place on the Bahia del Tigre trails in the the Children's Eternal Rainforest, which is the
  • Bridges Tour
    Overview This is another pay-to-play activity in Monteverde, with several options allowing you to climb above or into the trees for a different experience of the jungle. Aventura's bridges come with a guide, who can point out animals in the treetops, but they are much lower than the
  • Albergue Ecoturístico La Catarata Butterfly farm
    This is a must see if you want to take a close look at some of Costa Rica's most famous residents, and many people say its better than the butterfly farms in Monteverde. Offering four large nets of butterflies and one of orchids, a guide will take you around to point out caterpillars, cocoons and ma
  • Exploradores
    Exploradores is a family owned, Costa Rican operated rafting adventure company, specializing in one- day and overnight trips. Known for safety, satisfaction and good value for time and money, Exploradores will even connect between San José, Arenal Volcano, and Parismina transporting your stuff to y
  • Keködi Indigenous Reserve
    The smallest of the three Indian reserves is found just 15 minutes inland from Puerto Viejo where the local people stick to traditional customs and ways of living. This 5,000+ hectare reserve is part of the Talamanca-Caribbean Biological Corridor, which has more than 36,000 hectares of land under pr