Adventure travelers who want to experience the pura vida of this Central American country can choose from zip lines, scuba diving, horseback excursions, and more
Just a quarter the size of another outdoor playground, the state of Colorado, little Costa Rica packs a huge punch when it comes to adventure travel. With both Pacific and Caribbean coasts and an interior filled with volcanoes and thick cloud forests, as well as a remarkable diversity of animals—there are six different types of toucans alone—Costa Rica promises pura vida for adrenaline-loving visitors in all seasons.
Zip-lining as we know it was developed in Costa Rica. The first zip lines were created by biologists who wanted to figure out how to travel efficiently and zoom over the forest canopy to collect specimens. Today, zip runs can be found throughout the country, including in the popular Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
Alongside Costa Rica’s dense forests, the country has been home to farms and ranches for centuries. With horses a countryside mainstay, leisure riders can head out on horseback excursions and gallop on beaches and meander along deep forest trails over several-day pack rides.
Whipping winds on man-made Arenal Lake entice windsurfers from around the world who are treated to imposing views of the currently dormant Arenal volcano.
Just off the Osa Peninsula, Caño island bio-reserve sits in nutrient-rich thermal waters that attract sea turtles, manta rays and humpback and pilot whales, and where scuba divers delight at vibrant parrotfish and are wowed by enormous schools of barracuda.
Several hundred miles off the Pacific coast, Cocos Island National Park is a former pirate hideout. Today, it’s known for its world-class scuba diving and snorkeling in waters that are home to dolphins, sharks, and rays. As a biodiverse hotspot, its broader marine zone is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
However you choose to explore Costa Rica during the day, the adventure continues into the evening. From tent camps and treehouses to pampering resorts, Costa Rica’s lodging is as diverse as its terrain, while its spas are the perfect place to work out the kinks of your extreme adventures.
Plan your Costa Rica adventure here.