Some folks who have visited Costa Rica on tour or vacation can attest to the fact that the experience lingers in the memory. Costa Rica offers you a chance to interact with nature. With numerous beaches along the Caribbean and Pacific shores, the country prides on its full ecological and geological environment, famous volcanoes and enchanting valleys and rivers.

You will probably have your hands full and may not have all the time in the world to explore the many adventures and activities in this peaceful location, but there are a few events or places you can see that will make up for the rest. Below are my 9 top Costa Rica adventure attractions and activities to indulge in when you visit Costa Rica.

Costa Rica adventure activities and attractions

1) Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting in Costa Rica Adventure

Whitewater Rivers like the Sarapiqui, Pacuare and the Savegre, which are enclosed in a virgin environment, are an excellent choice for rafting. Crystal-clear waters characterize Costa Rica, with huge waves and holes that are suitable for all classes of rafters, both beginners, and experienced rafters. It is of general knowledge that Costa Rica is one of the best locations for whitewater rafting in the world.

2) Zip Lining

Costa Rica Jungle zip lining

Originally called ‘canopy climbing’ back in the 1990s, Zip lining is one activity that you should not miss. You can indulge in it, even if you are on a tight budget. Zip lining started with a few zip lines between most rainforest trees, and over the years it has developed into a paramount activity for curious adventurers and nature enthusiasts. 

There are many species of plants to seen in these rainforests, as most of them are home to some insects and amphibians. If you are looking to interact with Costa Rica’s biodiversity, then zip lining is the best adventure for you.

3) Standup paddleboarding (SUP)

Adventure activities in Costa Rica

Another enjoyable experience in Costa Rican is standup paddleboarding along the coast as well as Lake Arenal. If you want to have a feel of Costa Rica’s warm tropical waters and paddle through its mangrove forests under the canopy of its lush rainforests, then standup paddleboarding is a sure thing. You also stand a chance of beholding a vast variety of birds chirping from the rainforest skies!

If you choose to go standup paddleboarding on Lake Arenal, you won’t be disappointed! During my recent adventure tour through Costa Rica, I was able to have the experience in both rain and sun. Needless to say, no matter what the weather is like, the experience was one I’ll remember for years to come!

Not one for water sports? Then take some time to enjoy the beautiful flowers near Arenal Volcano. You won’t regret it!

4) Snorkeling tours

Sea Turtles Snorkeling in Costa Rica Attraction

Some of the most memorable snorkeling trips are in Costa Rica. You can snorkel on the beautiful coasts of the Pacific and Caribbean. You can also snorkel in the largest coral reef of Costa Rica at the Cahuita National Park. No matter which side you choose to go snorkeling, you are certain to see a wide variety of marine life such as beautiful sea turtles.

Have extra time to go snorkeling and have an open travel itinerary? Take a look at all of the adventures you can have in Belize, including diving!

5) Exploration of the Countryside

Exploring the Costa Rica Countryside Attractions

If you would rather prefer the inland activities and adventures in Costa Rica, then you should visit Rincon de la Vieja. It is situated just an hour’s drive away from the Guanacaste shoreline with tropical forests and volcano hikes. Here, you can decide to ride on horseback or just relax and enjoy the hot springs.

There is also a tube ride through the tropical forest, and it is about 1200 feet long. Another famous attraction is the ‘Lost River’ or Rio Perdido as it is mostly called. It is a secluded spot that is awe-inspiring because of its enchanting landscape and canyon. There is natural hot spring on this property where you can spend time relaxing. Otherwise, there are provisions for zipping lining, hiking or biking at this location.

6) Surfing in Costa Rica

Surfing in Costa Rica

One of the most memorable surfing experiences in Costa Rica is on Jaco Beach. The waters were the perfect temperature and there was always a steady swell coming in to allow for some pretty gnarly rides. The surf instructors, which were hired through the Hotel Radisson at a very reasonable rate, were very enjoyable and patient with new surfers. I highly recommend spending the afternoon here and just taking in the entire experience. Cap it off with a cold beer while watching the sunset. I promise you won’t regret it!

7) Hiking in Costa Rica Jungles

Wildlife Viewing in Costa Rica

Hiking in Costa Rica is one of the most exotic, and fun experiences you can get while traveling through such a beautiful country. From hiking in Chirripo to exploring the jungles, there’s a different surprise around every corner. Depending on where you’re hiking may require a lot of stamina (whether that’s down a river bed, in the jungle, or on top of a volcano).

But one thing is for certain, every bit of effort you put forth is rewarded greatly! Keep an eye out for the wide range of mini-ecosystems and different species of tropical birds and other animals. You’ll love it!

8) Diving in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Diving

Just like diving Isla Bastimentos in Panama, diving is one of the most memorable experiences you can have in Costa Rica. The Coco Islands is a good place to go for this activity. The Coco Island is deserted but is known to be a place to see different fish species like the Hammerhead sharks and moray eels.

If you’re squeezing in some diving on a limited timeframe, however, take some time to dive along the Caribbean Coastline. The coral reefs are beautiful and there is plenty of marine life to see.

9) Swimming La Fortuna waterfall

Swimming at La Fortuna Waterfall Natural Attraction

Another activity you must add to your Costa Rica adventure bucket list while traveling is swimming at La Fortuna Waterfall. Accessible only by descending down a steep set of stairs, La Fortuna Waterfall is quite the site to behold. The sheer power coming off of the falling water is nearly enough to knock you over if you were to stand up close to it.

However, if you’re feeling adventurous, take your chance at swimming towards La Fortuna waterfall and try standing up while the water is rushing to you. It’s quite the task. Whether you manage to stand strong or fall over, you’ll remember this exhilarating natural attraction for years to come!

Have you ever traveled to Costa Rica? Which of these adventurous outdoor activities and attractions would you like to do first?