Consistently rated one of the world’s top ecotourism and adventure destinations, Costa Rica has garnered praise for its wild and breathtaking terrain, tropical weather and ubiquitous wildlife. Lauded for its world-class outdoor offerings, this Central American nation is a veritable playground for adrenaline-seekers. Rappelling, rafting, bungee jumping and canopy tours are but a sampling of the tours available in tourist hot spots. Make sure your holiday itinerary includes at least a couple of these heart-pounding adventures!
Aerial adventures on zip-line canopy tours
Want to test your mettle on a 25-foot monkey drop or Tarzan swing? How about hurtling 40 mph over the rainforest canopy, or zooming Superman-style with arms outstretched? Costa Rica’s canopy tours are incredibly varied, with some featuring gondola tours, picturesque hanging bridges and even dual zip-lines where you can race your friends to other side of the cable. Arenal is a traveler favorite for family-friendly canopy adventures, with four different tours in the area. And just outside of Manuel Antonio, a thrilling Superman tour awaits, with the country’s longest double cable, measuring over 2.2 miles!
Hang ten in Costa Rica, where the surf is always up
Regardless of your Costa Rica vacation plans and dates, if you love to surf there are waves to be found. The green (aka rainy) season months of June through October actually boast some of the steadiest waves in Pacific beach towns like Tamarindo and Playa Grande. If Caribbean vibes are more your style, the infamous swells of Salsa Brava in Puerto Viejo reach epic proportions in June and July. Pavones and Dominical also lure wave riders who want to escape the crowds and be at one with their boards. Pavones is renowned for its left point break, which stretches nearly ¾ of a mile. Leave your wet suit at home, these waters are always warm!
Rafting fun on the Pacuare River
Whitewater rafting is one of the best ways to get wet and wild in Costa Rica’s most pristine environs. Whether you’re a greenhorn or an experienced paddler, there are several options from which to choose, ranging from mild Class II to raging Class IV and V rapids. The Pacuare River is a Costa Rica legend, and for good reason as it’s rated among the world’s top 5 whitewater rivers. The Savegre, Sarapiqui and Reventazon are other popular options, but be forewarned that water levels rise substantially during the rainy season months (August-October are peak), offering more chances for thrills and spills.
Caving in Costa Rica: subterranean explorations
How about exploring an underground abyss filled with stalagmites, stalactites and thousands of bats? Look no further than the limestone caverns of Barra Honda National Park, a relatively unknown treasure situated east of Nicoya. One of the most exciting aspects of this park is that hundreds of its caves have yet to be explored. Its deepest cave is known as the Santa Ana, and descends almost 800 feet. Guided spelunking tours must be booked in advance, and are only recommended for those who are in tip-top shape, as tours include belaying, navigating rope ladders and some rock climbing.