Spending two weeks in Costa Rica wasn’t nearly enough time to see and do everything. That being said, I took advantage of my time and explored the following areas: La Fortuna, Monteverde, Montezuma, Santa Teresa, Manuel Antonio, Playa Dominical and Puerto Viejo. I covered a lot of ground across many rainforests, volcanoes, and waterfalls. Of everything, below were my Top 5 Favorite Costa Rica Adventures. I recommend you add these to your Costa Rica bucket list…
- Ziplining in Monteverde – This was hands down one of the best experiences I’ve had on my trip through Central America! There are multiple tour companies you can go with, I highly recommend Monteverde Extremo Park. The employees are very friendly and have so much fun working there – they make it exciting! The other company a lot of people do is 100% Adventura, which primarily promotes that it has the “longest zipline” in Latin America. Extremo, on the other hand, was so fun I couldn’t imagine a better experience. The total was $50 USD and I walked away saying I would have paid more! The ziplining experience included the Tarzan Swing Jump and 2 Superman ziplines. Be sure to wear tennis shoes and pants with a zip pocket to bring your phone, and if you have a GoPro they let you to hook it to your helmet. If you go during rainy season take the early zip (8AM) to try and avoid rain.
- Visit the La Fortuna Waterfall near Volcan Arenal – One of the highlights of Costa Rica was visiting the La Fortuna waterfall. A lot of people hike up Cerro Chato next to it which sounded like fun too. Because the waterfall is EPIC I didn’t even allot time for the hike. You can spend time in the main waterfall area or you can walk around the other side and swim and lay around in the sun. Be prepared to hike up numerous stairs on the way back to the welcome center. The hike isn’t that bad back up, there are sitting areas to rest and you can obviously go at your own pace! Definitely worth a visit.
- See wildlife in the Manuel Antonio National Park – I was told I would see monkeys and sloths and this park did NOT disappoint! I’ve heard others say it wasn’t for them because it is “too touristy”, but for me it was a highlight of my trip especially when a white faced monkey walked past me nearly a foot away! You will see monkeys (howler, squirrel and white-faced), iguanas, sloths (two toed and three toed), and coatimundi’s running around. The park offers hikes through the rainforest and also white sand beaches, so bring flip flops along with your tennis shoes for a day walking around the park and a nice swim at the beach! There are packed beaches and more remote beaches you can hike to. A lot of tourists take a tour where the guide will help point out where the sloths are, however, I just walked through and could easily spot them when we saw the groups pointing in the same direction 🙂 So, save some money, skip the guide and do it yourself. If seeing wildlife is on your list, which it really should be in CR, definitely make your way to Manuel Antonio.
- Rent an ATV and cruise around the Nicoya peninsula – The best way to see the Nicoya peninsula including Montezuma, Playa Hermosa, Banana Beach, Santa Teresa and numerous other surf towns is by renting an ATV. I liked exploring this area, I saw and heard howler monkeys, went surfing, and kicked back and enjoyed the vibes of these surf towns. Dirt roads connect each area so the ATVs make it easy to get around, they looked to be available in all the major towns to rent for the day or longer.
- Surf the Playas – The pacific coast of Costa Rica is lined with surf beaches to play in, whether you’re a beginner wanting to learn or an expert looking to hit some of the world’s best waves. The water is warm, the waves are consistent, and there are many beach options to choose from. I went surfing in Playa Dominical and was able to easily rent a board from a hostel just up from the beach (if you go, stay at Cool Vibes Hostel) and walked over. I didn’t experience the best weather ever given I was there over rainy season.
Have you been to Costa Rica? What were your favorite things to do, what areas did you enjoy the most? Please share in the comments.