Fun things to do in Costa Rica

  • Things to Do
    by Snipernurse
  • Gerardo and his 'payasos
    Gerardo and his 'payasos"
    by sarahsanantonio
  • Blue Dolphin Catamarans - Happy Girls (2009)
    Blue Dolphin Catamarans - Happy Girls...
    by Kaspian

Most Viewed Things to Do in Costa Rica

  • shavy's Profile Photo

    Visit the national park

    by shavy Updated Jun 29, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Start early in the morning, you can go on your own or going with a local guide
    The advantage of having a guide they know where to find the Fauna

    We have a local guide on this walk she knows everything where to find the Sloth, monkeys, viper and etc.
    There are sometimes we have to crossed to some flood water be sure you are wearing short pants

    It' s a nice easy walked inside the park we have many stops along the way as sometimes there were places nice for discover
    After the walk you can choose of how you get back to the town in our case we choose of going back with boat

    Feeding the monkey
    Related to:
    • Theme Park Trips
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • shavy's Profile Photo

    Samara Beach

    by shavy Written Feb 7, 2014

    Tucked between two wooded hills, lies the village of Samara, idyllically situated on the crescent shaped bay. The beach slopes gently into the sea here, and is therefore a great place for families with (small) children to spend undisturbed holidays

    Samara is originally a fishing village and is famous for its long stretches of white sandy beach and has a huge charm. Playa Samara can be called.
    Rightfully Costa Rica's hidden paradise on the Pacific Ocean
    The island in the middle of the bay adorns the coastline and here you'll find a perfect long sandy beach with shallow, calm, clear water.

    You can find a nice spot on the beach, in the sun or in the shade of tall coconut tree. So you can enjoy reading your book and occasionally your gaze wanders over the blue sea and a stray fishing boat, what peace!

    On weekends it can be thicker because Costa Rican families want to enjoy this idyllic place and like a pleasant way to spend their free days.
    It was very cozy with the locals on the beach. The beautiful and long beach is considered one of the safest beaches in Costa Rica.
    It is protected by coral reefs and is the ideal place for diving, swimming and water sports.

    Laid back beach
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Fishing
    • Diving and Snorkeling

    Was this review helpful?

  • shavy's Profile Photo

    Irazu Volcano

    by shavy Updated Feb 4, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This national park extends over the upper slopes of this Volcano. The road to the top winds upward visibility along vegetable fields.

    From the platform watching the visitors right into the 300m deep and 1 km wide crater, which contains a green grass.
    Four other craters are also accessible, but you need to stay on marked trails

    The volcano is often shrouded in fog, but because the clouds limit is lower, the top usually bathed in sunlight
    The earlier you get there how greater the chance of a good weather and shows a good view

    The Crater
    Related to:
    • Theme Park Trips
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • shavy's Profile Photo

    Cahuita National Park

    by shavy Updated Feb 4, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cahuita National Park is definitely worth to see and it gives you a nice walk through the park and less crowded too

    Walking on the large path parallel to the beach you see monkeys, beautiful birds, crabs and with some luck a sloth

    During the walk you will see different kinds of trees, and animals. The Howler monkeys were very loud, it occupies our attention
    In this park you will also see the Sloth, it was my first time seen the beast. The sloth hanging their lives upside down on the tree branches.
    Both two of the three-toed, the species eat only leaves. These animals have an extremely slow metabolism

    Along the paths there is some quiet sandy beaches, the sea here is crystal clear
    After our long walk, we went swim in one of the beach in Cahuita. The beach here are very nice with powdery sand and a clear crystal water

    Inside the national park The Sloth
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Zoo
    • Theme Park Trips

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Monte Verde Cloud Forest

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Feb 3, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Monte Verde Cloud Forest is one of Costa Rica's most unique ecological zones and home to the rare Queztal. It is a high elevation forest perpetually shrouded in mist with an average precipitation of over 200 inches yearly.

    Monte Verde Cloud Forest Monte Verde Cloud Forest Monte Verde Cloud Forest Monte Verde Cloud Forest Monte Verde Cloud Forest
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Eco-Tourism

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Lake Arenal

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Feb 3, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is Costa Rica's largest man-made lake and a main source of the country's electric power(70%) via hydroelectricity. It also has a very scenic ride on the way from the Arenal region to Monteverde via taxi boats.

    The venue also offers various activities such as fishing, kayaking, boat tours and windsurfing. While on its surrounding area, land tours are also being offered (mountain bike riding; horseback riding and hiking).

    Lake Arenal Lake Arenal Lake Arenal
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • BLewJay's Profile Photo

    Seeing the land upon a horse

    by BLewJay Updated May 8, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Another activity we wanted to try while in Costa Rica was horsebackriding. While we were in Sámara, we again touched bases with our friends at Anywhere Costa Rica to setup the excursion with the Sámara Adventure Company located at #75 on the map of Sámara, and off we went on a private tour of the area for almost 3 1/2 hours.

    Related to:
    • Horse Riding

    Was this review helpful?

  • jdpfu's Profile Photo

    Learn Spanish

    by jdpfu Updated Apr 27, 2013

    I've always wanted to be fluent in multiple languages. Call it a bucket list item.

    Signed up for 2 weeks of study with CPI in Costa Rica. Also requested to stay with local families to get a more intense experience, meet a few locals and see how they live. Interacting with locals is the hardest part of being a traveler, but with a home-stay, an opportunity to learn about daily life and local customs is offered. Highly recommended.

    The first week, I did 4 hours of Spanish classwork every weekday followed by 1-3 hours of homework nightly. This was my first introduction to Spanish on any level outside watching Spanish TV stations in Texas. 100% beginner. No Spanish in high school or introductory classes before this. I studied a different language previously. On Friday, there was a test to ensure that I was prepared for the following week. I had to study hard the night before - I passed.

    Four hours is a long time for intensive training. My class was just 2 people - myself and a nice lady from Florida, so there wasn't any slacking. Either you got it or you didn't and the instructor (MS in English) knew it. She never spoke a word of English, but it was clear she understood just fine. I think the approximate learning level for 1 week is comparable to 1 semester in college or 1 year in Jr/Sr high school. On day 3, around hour 3, my head started hurting from all the new data added. I'd had enough and couldn't accept anymore. The other lady started crying because she felt left behind. I felt the same way, but mostly enjoyed the work and effort involved. Friday, she didn't come to class, so I was merged with kids who had been studying Spanish for 3+ yrs on a Carabean Island in school.
    Every day, there was homework to be completed which took between 1 and 3 hrs of my time. Standard "workbook" type homework.
    The Tico family was kind and generous. They had 3 kids - 17, 18 and 22 and 1 grandchild. All the kids were fluent in English, but also very busy with their lives, so I only spent a little time with them in total. The parents didn't speak any English - or at least they never spoke any with me. Nobody in the house was supposed to speak and English, so I guess the rules of my homestay were violated, but this 1st week was an amazing level of intensive learning.

    Over the weekend and a few afteroons, I did "tourist things" in the areas I was living. Traveled to a local town, walked around the main parts to get a feel for the city, had a short conversation with a nice lady - I thought she was asking certain questions - it was just day 3 after all - later I put together that I was simply standing in her doorway and she wanted to get into her house. ;) The first weekend, I hopped on a tourist bus for a volcano tour, site-seeing and visit to a famous orchid botanical garden. It was a very long day and I could have done it much more efficiently with a private guide for 3x the price. Still, I remember walking on warm rocks just outside the volcano. Saying goodbye to me new family was hard, most of the kids were still asleep, but I'll remember them for the rest of my life. It was also the first time I'd seen and tasted passion fruit in the native container. Lots of lifetime firsts that week.

    The second week, I transferred to the Montverde Cloud Forest area and met my new family on Sunday. It was a very long and bumpy chartered van trip - somewhere around 6 hours. I heard they made t-shirts "I survived the road to Monteverde" - but never saw one. The family was wonderful with a 15 and 6 yr old along with 2 working parents. The kids were basically fluent in English, again the parents didn't speak a word, at least not in front of me.
    The teacher for this 2nd week spoke English and was much more relaxed. We were more conversational and tried to put sentences together without much writing. No homework was assigned that I recall today and I don't remember feeling "full" at all this week. Looking back, I would have preferred more difficult studies to feel a greater sense of accomplishment, but none of the 3 students was trying to get college credit or planning to continue another week, so I think the teacher wanted this to be more fun. A different teaching style - just not what I would have preferred.

    At the time, I was tired all day and wanted to do more tourist things.

    After returning home, I tried to continue learning, bought flash cards and language tapes, but quickly fell back into old habits. To make it "stick", be certain to have ongoing plans for active Spanish use - either classes, a native speaking friend, plans to travel to Spanish speaking countries or other intensive training. 5 yrs later, and I'm just slightly better than I was when I initially arrived in Costa Rica knowing ZERO Spanish.

    CPI has 3 different campuses. San Joaquín, Monteverde, and Flamingo. These are urban, cloud rain forest and beach locations, respectively. I'm not much of a beach person.

    CPI is accredited with multiple USA colleges. The training classes meet those requirements. I think there was an additional payment needed for college credit, so that is probably why I didn't elect that choice. http://www.cpi-edu.com/ might be helpful.

    There are other Spanish Language schools in Costa Rica. I understand from other native speakers that Costa Rican Spanish is like an Iowa or Nebraska English accent. Easy for others to understand. That was part of the reason I choose to study there.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Study Abroad
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • BLewJay's Profile Photo

    By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea

    by BLewJay Updated Mar 27, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As you can tell, we really had a wonderful time in Costa Rica. Our last adventure involved sea kayaking and snorkeling. On our last full day in Sámara (as well as Costa Rica), we got up early, had breakfast and got ready for our sea adventure. We again had made our reservations with Anywhere Costa Rica and they had set everything up with the Sámara Adventure Company. There were nine people in our group, so down to the beach we went and into the water we traveled. Overall, a fantastic experience and looking forward to doing it again.

    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling
    • Kayaking
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • BLewJay's Profile Photo

    What an adrenaline rush!!!

    by BLewJay Updated Mar 17, 2013

    One of the activities we wanted to do while in Costa Rica was ziplining. We had tried it in San Diego and loved it, so why not do it again, but this time from the southern face of Volcán Arenal with fantasic views of Lake Arenal as well as the rainforest (get a taste of what we experienced by looking at the video on our Costa Rica page) and believe me, you wouldn't want to miss this!!! The company running the zipline is called Sky Trek and we booked it through a tour company called Anywhere Costa Rica, both outstanding organizations and highly recommended.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • starship's Profile Photo

    The Phenomenon ~ Rio Sucio & Rio Honduras

    by starship Updated Jan 29, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On our way into the Braulio Carillo National Park, we came upon the amazing sight of the confluence of the Rio Sucio and Rio Honduras -- Rio Sucio is the "dirty river" melding with Rio Honduras, aka "Rio Blanco" or "Rio Claro" which is a clean river. The phenomenon occurs because, at least for some distance, and though becoming one river body, each river keeps its own characteristics of dirty and clean side by side as the new river meanders.

    Rio Sucio has a distinctive brown, almost gold color as it carries suspended material down from the Irazu Volcano and Rio Honduras carries clean mountain water. Unfortunately for us, the day we traveled along Route 32, the Guapiles Highway, it was raining steadily. Our bus crossed the bridge above these rivers but we were unable to stop for good photos due to traffic and the weather. The result are my 2 subpar photos of each river. ( I have included a better photo of the confluence of this two rivers which is credited to its taker, Prof. J.W. Mies, University of Tennessee - Chattanooga, 2009.)

    I found it nearly impossible to gather more information about these rivers, and the river resulting from the confluence of the two. Whether the earthquake of September 5, 2012 (a 7.6 magnitude) changed the geography of these I do not know. The epicenter of the quake, thought to be on the Nicoya Peninsula, was said to be felt over the central valley. At least one photo I have seen shows a bridge which has collapsed into Rio Sucio.

    If traveling along the Guapiles Highway to or from Braulio Carillo National Park, it would be worth a stop to see this unique sight, conditions permitting.

    photo by Prof. J.W. Mies - Univ. of Tennesse-Chatt Rio Sucio, left. Rio Honduras, right. Rio Honduras, aka

    Was this review helpful?

  • starship's Profile Photo

    Coffee Lovers Tour at Cafe Britt in Heredia

    by starship Updated Oct 9, 2012

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you are a coffee lover, don't miss the Cafe Britt "Coffee Lovers Tour." I found Cafe Britt online before leaving for Costa Rica, and booked the "Coffee Lovers Tour" which included transportation hotel pick up and return, an in-depth educational tour, tour of the Beneficio Tierra Madre Coffee Mill museum, lunch, barrista demonstrations and unlimited coffee tasting for $60 per person (2012 price).

    We were picked up at our hotel for the 30+ plus minute ride to Cafe Britt located near Heredia. With good humor, our guides, Maria and Luis did a marvelous job of educating us about Costa Rican coffee history and culture, and on all aspects of coffee from how it is grown and harvested, to how beans are selected, roasted and packaged for gourmet coffee. It is a labor intensive process and also quite technical --- the result is Cafe Britt's own brand which is made from Arabbbica beans and the coffee is really very good. There are probably 7 or so types of coffee offered by Cafe Britt so if you're a coffee lover, a visit to their website is a must!!

    We were given a tour of Cafe Britt's grounds, a coffee field, an off-site visit by bus to the original "wet mill" and returned for lunch and the coffee barrista's demonstration. Lunch was buffet style and included beverages as well as dessert after which we had about 30 minutes to spend walking the grounds or shopping in the Cafe Britt Shop. Lots of great stuff here for coffee lovers and other souvenirs as well. Although we ultimately did purchase some bags of coffee, at the gift shop I found some jewelry made from indigenous, variable color Costa Rican woods --- the jewelry designs were unique and beautifully made right in Costa Rica. I love them!

    It was really one of the best tours we've ever taken and well worth the money!! Since visiting, we have become fans of the coffee and have ordered it online several times for special occasions. Expect to pay about $7.50 and up per 12 oz. bag depending on how many bags you purchase at a time -- the more bags of coffee purchased typically the greater the discount. Coffee is sold as whole bean or ground. Cafe Britt also has a line of delicious candies and mints -- try the chocolate covered roasted coffee beans.

    There are relatively few Cafe Britt stores, however, there is a large shop located in the Juan Santa Maria Airport if you'd like to purchase some before leaving the country. They will also ship it to your home.

    Excellent guides Maria and Luis at Cafe Britt Coffee bushes ~ Ornamental plants protect bushes Cafe Britt Restaurant Coffee Wet Mill Museum off property Cafe Britt Shop

    Was this review helpful?

  • starship's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional ~ Costa Rica's National Treasure

    by starship Updated Oct 9, 2012

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Costa Rica's capital of San Jose has its fair share of sights and museums, but the place which ranked high on my list of "must sees" was its famed "Teatro Nacional." Located on the southern side of the Plaza de la Cultura and adjacent to the Hotel Gran, the Teatro is the country's most treasured public building and rightfully deserves that sentiment.

    It's more glorious and lavish than I even imagined. Adorned with marble, gilt, artwork, carved wood and more, artisans from Europe were commissioned to create a theater which would rival any in Europe and which would host the great operas, musicians and performers of the time.

    Constructed in 1897, it features a columned neoclassical facade that is flanked by statues of Beethoven and Calderón de la Barca, a 17th-century Spanish dramatist.

    The Teatro's most famous painting is "Alegoría al café y el banano", which depicts an idyllic scene showing coffee and banana harvests. The painting was produced in Italy and was even depicted on a 5 colones note which is no longer circulation. Our tour guide pointed out that the painting was actually done in Italy and the painter never witnessed a banana harvest which is evident by noting specifics in the painting: the light skins of the people, the clothing, and the way the man in the center is awkwardly holding in front of himself a large banana bunch when banana workers would actually hoist the stems onto their shoulders and back rather than hold them in front.

    Small but beautiful gardens are enclosed behind a wrought-iron fence and make a lovely place to stroll before or after visiting the Theatre, and make a nice place for photos. Unfortunately I never found the light just right for a really good photo of the theatre because mornings in San Jose were always cloudy.

    You can tour the theatre on your own or pay slightly more for a guided tour and we found it was worth the small extra cost for the tour. Our guide was terrific -- we wished to tip him but guides are not allowed to accept tips.

    Tour tickets cost about $7.50 pp. (2012 price)

    Teatro Nacional ~ Costa Rica's pride & joy Lobby ~ Statues of Comedy & Tragedy Ornate banquet in drawing room/music room Actors on stage ~ annual arts festival performance Once entrance to orchestra seating level
    Related to:
    • Theater Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Amanda8oP's Profile Photo

    Canyoneering

    by Amanda8oP Updated Sep 12, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    By far the most fun adventure EVER! We did this tour through Desafio (the best) and I can not say more good things about it. They pick you up, drive you up a mountain, get you set up with gear (helmets, harness, etc.), and take you on a hike where you repel down mountain sides and walk through the rainforest. It was unforgettable for sure... fun and safe for all skill levels.

    Canyoneering Canyoneering 2 Group shot Ride to the rainforest Rainforest
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Amanda8oP's Profile Photo

    White Water Rafting

    by Amanda8oP Updated Sep 12, 2012

    White water rafting through Desafio was so much fun!! We felt safe while testing our limits for adventure. They put you in groups of 4 and assign a Desafio white water rafting guide to each boat. Our guide was particularly amazing, having my friend sit on the front of the boat to "ride the bull," showing us where we can jump off of rocks, and letting us jump out of the raft to swim in the deeper spot. It's a great opportunity to meet people too. I highly recommend white water rafting with Desafio!
    **Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen for the areas of your skin exposed to the sun (thighs, nose, etc)

    Rafting Rafting 2 Cliff jump Group shot Bring sunblock!!!
    Related to:
    • Rafting
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Costa Rica Hotels

See all 674 Hotels in Costa Rica

Top Costa Rica Hotels

San José Hotels
525 Reviews - 881 Photos
Fortuna Hotels
197 Reviews - 501 Photos
Quepos Hotels
171 Reviews - 348 Photos
Tamarindo Hotels
147 Reviews - 226 Photos
Liberia Hotels
46 Reviews - 93 Photos
Puntarenas Hotels
44 Reviews - 78 Photos
Jacó Hotels
149 Reviews - 236 Photos
Arenal Hotels
31 Reviews - 105 Photos
Santa Cruz Hotels
3 Reviews - 6 Photos
Puerto Viejo Hotels
157 Reviews - 262 Photos
Nacascolo Hotels
See nearby hotels
Monteverde Hotels
181 Reviews - 402 Photos
Arenal Hotels
99 Reviews - 193 Photos
Montezuma Hotels
94 Reviews - 166 Photos
Birrí Hotels
7 Reviews - 20 Photos

Instant Answers: Costa Rica

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

62 travelers online now

Comments

Costa Rica Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Costa Rica things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Costa Rica sightseeing.
Map of Costa Rica