If you’re looking for a vacation somewhere tropical, beautiful, and full of amazing natural sights and history, then Costa Rica is for you. This area is perfectly positioned to give you both South American and Carribean vibes all in one space.
But once you’ve decided to go, what should you do in Costa Rica when you arrive? For a somewhat small country, there are seemingly endless amazing activities to try, places to visit, and things to do.
We’re going to go over 10 of the top things to do in Costa Rica when you visit. From fun activities to gorgeous beaches, check out this Costa Rica activity guide.
1. Go Ziplining
Costa Rica is home to some of the world’s most gorgeous rainforests. Costa Rica is also famous for their zip line tours of these amazing forests. Strap in and zoom over the rainforest canopy for a fun and exhilarating way to see the rainforest.
There are even ziplining adventures that combine hikes and tours with the long cable rides, so you’ll be sure to find an adventure that suits you.
2. Snorkeling Adventure
Hundreds of miles of coastline open up the gorgeous turquoise waters to tropical fish, sea turtles, coral reefs, and other marine life to visitors. Get up close and personal with these sights and ocean views by going snorkeling! If you’re certified (or want to get certified!) you could also go scuba diving.
Dive right off the beach or take a boat to some of the most spectacular spots.
3. Boat Tour
Boat tours don’t have to be snorkeling related, either. You can hop on a boat with your family and friends for a unique way to tour the coastline and beaches of Costa Rica.
Via boat tours, you’ll be able to get to hidden coves, private secluded beaches, and make your own schedule for the day. Boat tours can also be focused on an activity: sailing, fishing, beach hopping, scuba diving, parasailing, etc.
4. Check Out the Beach
It goes without saying that Costa Rica vacations are often simply beach vacations. Nothing wrong with soaking up the sun with a pina colada in one hand and suntan lotion in the other!
But don’t get stuck going to the beach closest to your hotel or resort (even though that beach is probably gorgeous). There are over 300 beaches open for you to try in Costa Rica; try a few while you’re there!
Each beach will be great for different reasons. Want a beach with excellent surf? Try Playa Tamarindo. Want to great diving and snorkeling spots? The beaches of Cano Island boast great diving spots complete with fish, awesome underwater landscapes, sharks, and manta rays.
5. Catarata del Toro
Catarata del Toro is the largest waterfall in all of Costa Rica. The 270-foot waterfall is found at the bottom of a crater of an extinct volcano, which already makes it one of the cooler sights to see in Costa Rica.
But the journey to get there is also a part of the experience. Tropical plants, native animals, lookout points, and a natural pool at the bottom of the waterfall will make this trip one you’ll never forget.
6. Visit the Arenal Volcano
So you’ve traveled into a crater of an extinct volcano with the Catarata del Toro: but what about an active volcano? Arenal Volcano provides plentiful activities for you to enjoy (although you won’t get to see it erupt any time soon, unfortunately).
From bike tours, mountain hikes, trips to the Tabacon Hot Springs, fishing in nearby lakes, lava bed tours, and perfect photo ops, Arenal Volcano and the Arenal National Park will keep you busy.
7. Go to Manuel Antonio National Park
Another national park you should consider on your trip to Costa Rica is the Manuel Antonio National Park. This park is one of the best for seeing the natural wildlife in Costa Rica.
Monkeys and sloths are abundant in this park along with tropical bird species, agoutis, lizards, snakes, iguanas, and more. This park is a great place for the family to explore, find hidden beaches, take a guided tour, and look out for rare animals.
8. Don’t Forget City Life in San Jose
With all of these outdoor adventures, you don’t want to forget about the culture of the country that is centered in the capital of San Jose. You can either take a tour of the city or just wander yourself along the streets of old San Jose to see some historical landmarks/buildings, sample the local cuisine at local restaurants, check out some museums, and more.
9. Ostional Wildlife Refuge
Besides the rainforests and the amazing beaches, Costa Rica is probably most well known for the large population of wild sea turtles. Sea turtles come to Costa Rica to lay their eggs before masses of baby turtles hatch and take to the sea.
One of the areas where you’re most likely to see these turtles and their nests is at the Ostional Wildlife Refuge. You’re most likely to see these things if you’re visiting in November-December, but anytime between July-December is also good for spotting turtles and their eggs.
10. A Coffee Tour to Power You Through These Adventures!
All of these tours, days in the sun, and hours spent on the beach will drain your energy. Good thing Costa Rica is known for their coffee plantations that you can tour and sample to your heart’s content!
Check out a few different coffee tours, taste the local beans, and fuel your adventure vacation!
Top 10 Things to Do in Costa Rica: Choose Wisely!
Depending on your energy levels, the length of your stay, and your interests, you can either try all of these things or pick and choose the things to do in Costa Rica that sound fun to you.
If you want a more relaxing vacay, maybe stick to a relaxing boat tour and days on the beach. If you’re an adrenaline junkie who wants to dive with sharks, you’ve got plenty of options, too.