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9 action-packed Costa Rican adventures you'll want to book now

Wanderlust logoWanderlust 26/05/2017 Wanderlust

1: Trek through hidden Costa Rica

Rio Celeste waterfall (Dreamstime) © Provided by Wanderlust Publications Rio Celeste waterfall (Dreamstime)

Combine high adrenaline activities with real local insight on this epic trek into the green heart of Costa Rica. There are plenty of opportunities to surf, raft and rappel, as well as experience intimate homestays where locals will share their knowledge of the jungle and all that it provides.

Along the way, you’ll trek through rainforest to a remote jungle homestay, spotting wildlife and rare medicinal plants, and bunk down behind a massive waterfall in a hidden cave.

You’ll make sugar cane candy, visit local schools and swim in rivers flowing past your homestay. Upon reaching Uvita, you’ll have the option to surf, snorkel and ride horses. Alternatively, you can simply tuck into a delicious feast of seafood, pulled straight from the ocean.

Who: G Adventures

When: Departures throughout 2017

How long: 12 days

2: Costa Rica Dive Experience

Underwater in Costa Rica (Dreamstime) © Provided by Wanderlust Publications Underwater in Costa Rica (Dreamstime)

Seven dives in seven days in some of the most spectacular dive sites in Central America makes this a great value adventure where you’ll experience world-class diving, encountering big fish on a small budget.

As well as dives at Catalina Island and in the Gulf of Papagayo on Costa Rica's Pacific coast, you will have plenty of time to explore the beaches here and visit Irazú Volcano, the largest in Costa Rica. 

You’ll also have the opportunity to extend your Costa Rican dive adventure with a trip to Cano Island and Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica’s remote southwest.

Who:Dive Worldwide

When: Flexible departures Nov-Apr

How long: 9 days

3: Costa Rica coast-to-coast

The Central Highlands in Costa Rica (Dreamstime) © Provided by Wanderlust Publications The Central Highlands in Costa Rica (Dreamstime)

What better way to experience all that Costa Rica has to offer than by traversing the country from coast to coast? Following a selection of handpicked walking trails, you’ll experience emerald rainforests, smouldering volcanoes, tropical savannah, steam-fed springs and bubbling mud pools.

Each trail will reveal another facet of this beguiling country, introducing you to its wildlife and spectacular scenery. Most lead to waterfalls, where mineral-rich water soothe your weary muscles after a day’s walking.

Who: Exodus

When: 24 Jul & 14 Aug 2017

How long: 13 days

4: Experience Costa Rica’s most sustainable adventure

Eco lodge in Puerto Viejo (Dreamstime) © Provided by Wanderlust Publications Eco lodge in Puerto Viejo (Dreamstime)

Created by the Costa Rican Tourist Board and recognised by the World Tourism Organisation, the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism (CST) is a seal of approval given to tour operators and lodges that promote a positive impact on the environment, culture and society in Costa Rica. Participating properties and services providers are awarded one to five green leaves.

This tour is the first in Costa Rica that only uses operators and lodges that have been awarded the maximum five leaves. You can be certain that you are ‘giving back’ to the country and having the least impact possible as you explore each of Costa Rica’s different eco-systems. 

Fear not, you will experience it all, from the lush, green Central Valley and the spectacular Arenal Volcano to the Monteverde Cloud Forest, the rainforests of Manuel Antonio National Park and the forest-fringed white sand beaches of Osa Peninsula on the Pacific Coast.  

This is a holiday you can enjoy and feel proud of.

Who: Rainbow Tours

When: Flexible dates throughout 2017

How long: 13 days

5: Costa Rica under your own steam

Crossing a jungle bridge in Costa Rica (Dreamstime) © Provided by Wanderlust Publications Crossing a jungle bridge in Costa Rica (Dreamstime)

Experience Costa Rica, up close and personal, with this human-powered traverse of the country, travelling under your own steam. You’ll bike, walk, raft and kayak across through spectacular natural wilderness, past farmlands and foothills, over the peaks of the Central Highlands to your final destination: Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast.

Make no mistake: this is a challenging adventure. The trails are often slippery and poorly defined and involve several river crossings, but the rewards are immense. You’ll encounter indigenous settlements deep in the cloud forest and glimpse rare wildlife and birdlife in pristine tropical rainforest. 

You will also experience the thrill of rating the class 2-5 rapids of the Pacuare River, one of the world’s classic whitewater experiences.

Who: World Expeditions

When: 13 Aug, 2 Sep, 18 Nov & 21 Dec

How long: 12 days

6: Walk amongst the wildlife

Squirrel monkey in Costa Rica (Dreamstime) © Provided by Wanderlust Publications Squirrel monkey in Costa Rica (Dreamstime)

With its wide range of habitat and incredible diversity of flora and fauna, Costa Rica is arguably the world’s premier wildlife destination. It boasts over 615 species per 10,000 sq km, the highest rate on the planet, and this tour is designed to introduce you to as many as possible.

Whether you’re climbing the slopes of Arenal Volcano, traversing Corcovado National Park by boat or trekking through rainforest to reach spectacular waterfalls and beaches, you’ll be spending time amongst abundant birdlife and encounter unique wildlife like coatis, sloth and tapir. This is the wildlife adventure you’ve been looking for.

Who:KE Adventure Travel

When: 29 Jul, 18 Nov & 23 Dec

How long: 15 days

7: Costa Rican adrenaline adventure

Sunset at Playa Dominical (Dreamstime) © Provided by Wanderlust Publications Sunset at Playa Dominical (Dreamstime)

Discover Costa Rica and push yourself to new limits with this adrenaline-fuelled exploration of the country’s famous rainforests, rivers and oceans. Who knew that getting to know a country could be so much fun?

Kayak your way through Tortuguero National Park, conquer the white water rapids of the Pacuare River, and hike and snorkel in the Cahuita National Park. Throw yourself into all that Costa Rica has to offer and you’ll be rewarded with views, thrills and encounters that you will never forget.

Who:TravelLocal

When: Flexible dates throughout 2017

How long: 16 days

8: Explore, conquer, then relax

Hammock on a beach in Costa Rica (Dreamstime) © Provided by Wanderlust Publications Hammock on a beach in Costa Rica (Dreamstime)

This tour hits the ground running with an adventure through the jungle waterways and mangrove forests of the wildlife-rich Tortuguero National Park, before decamping to the Monteverde cloud forest, with its rich bird and animal life. Then it's time to take a walk along hanging bridges in the shadow of the picture-perfect Arenal Volcano.

Thankfully, it’s a tour that is all about balance, combining these outdoor adventures with beach wind-down time on the Pacific coast. You're not the type to relax too long? Your beach resort is close to a coastal national park, perfect for just one more adventure.

Who:Journey Latin America

When: Flexible dates throughout 2017

How long: 12 days

9: Short, sharp and action-packed Tortuguero Adventure

Sea turtle in Tortuguero National Park (Dreamstime) © Provided by Wanderlust Publications Sea turtle in Tortuguero National Park (Dreamstime)

Pint-sized but packed with wildlife and adventure, Costa Rica’s Tortuguero National Park is the perfect place to experience the best of the country in a short time. Accessible only by boat or small plane, it’s far from the maddening crowds too.

Arriving by boat, you’ll spend three days exploring the canals, beaches and jungles of this pristine nature reserve in search of turtles, birds, caiman and the famous ‘Jesus Lizard’.

From your secluded lodge, you’ll enjoy guided jungle walks in search of monkeys ­– spider, howler, and white-faced Capuchin – and sloths, as well as an optional nocturnal animal-spotting boat excursion in the evening. 

Short but sweet, this is the Costa Rican wildlife tour that time-poor travellers have been looking for.

Who:G Adventures

When: Flexible departures throughout 2017

How long: 4 days

Climbing Arenal (Dreamstime) © Wanderlust Climbing Arenal (Dreamstime)

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