Zip through the rainforest canopy. The highest 10% of a rainforest is where most activity takes place. By going on a zip-line tour, you can have a hair-raising close view of these vast forests. There are dozens of companies offering tours throughout the country. Expect to pay around 30,000 CRC (around 50 USD).
Explore Baru National Wildlife Refuge. With 800 acres of land, seven kilometers of walking trails, and three kilometers of fantastic beaches, this refuge is another prime example of Costa Rica’s natural beauty. Birdwatching, canopy tours, and walking tours are the main attractions in the park.
Wander around Jaco. Jaco was once a sleepy resort town whose main attraction was its excellent surfing, but growing tourism has transformed it into a haven of beach parties and pumping nightclubs. Surf lessons and rentals are widely available on the beaches and sport-fishing is also popular here. For a more sedate affair, head to the nearby Carara Biological Reserve to spot scarlet macaws, armadillos and hundreds of species of birds.
Go sports fishing. The country’s waters are home to Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado, Snapper, Wahoo, and many other species. Consider doing either a one-day or multiday fishing excursion. A basic excursion can cost around 55,000 CRC (100 USD), though prices can by ten times as high for multiday trips.
Chill out in Santa Theresa. At the bottom of the Nicoya coast is the hippy backpacker town of Santa Theresa. This “town” really nothing more than a beach with a road lined with eateries, surf shops, and hostels. Not much goes on here as everyone is up early to hit the waves. It's a good place to just go, lay on the beach, hang out with people, and relax. It’s an easy place to fall into and spend weeks. Or, like most people, months.
Learn to surf. Whether in Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Manuel Antonio, Jaco, Santa Theresa, or Tamarindo, Costa Rica has a lot of waves and lots of places to learn to surf. In fact, most travelers come there to surf because the waves are world renowned. If you never learned but always wanted to try and Australia, Hawaii, or Bali seem too far, this is your best place to in the region to learn.
Walk through the Treetops. The Rainmaker Aerial Walkway was the first aerial walkway to be built in Central America, and it is still considered to be one of the top ariel walkways in the region. At the highest point on the walkway, you’ll find yourself a 20 stories above the ground.
Wander around coffee plantations. Costa Rican coffee is famous all over the world. By taking one of the coffee plantation tours you can see every step of the refining process and get the chance to buy discounted coffee in the gift shops. In Monteverde, you can try coffee that tastes like chocolate.
Bathe in Tabacón hot springs. If you trek to Arenal Volcano to witness its looming presence for yourself, save time to bathe in the Tabacón's luxurious thermal springs. With its serene flowing waterfalls, tropical foliage and mineral-rich natural springs, it's no wonder the Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort costs a pretty penny. But its distinguished springs and spa treatments will leave you swooning. Visitors call it relaxing and beautiful, with great facilities. A handy tip from past travelers: bring water shoes to protect your feet as you walk from one pool to another.
Go horseback riding. Horseback riding is a common thing to do at the beach or the mountains. It’s a fun way to see the Costa Rican landscapes! Horseback riding is one of the best things to do in Guanacaste as there are a handful of haciendas (farms). The horses are calm and know where to go so you don’t need to be an experienced rider.
Try snorkeling or scuba diving. Snorkeling is a must-do in Costa Rica and the best places are the Gulf of Papagayo, Cahuita (during certain times of the year) and Isla del Caño. Scuba diving is also excellent in Costa Rica and popular dive sites are Bat Islands, Catalina Islands and Caño Island. For those who want experience the best scuba diving in Costa Rica, head to Cocos Island. This island is a World Heritage Site that houses huge populations of hammerhead sharks, giant mantas, yellowfin tuna and more. It takes a couple days on a boat to get there, so it’s fairly expensive. Definitely one for the world bucket list for scuba divers!
Go canyoning. Canyoning (rappelling down waterfalls) is an incredible adventure activity in Costa Rica. It might be a bit too much for the ones with acrophobia but the surge of adrenaline flowing through your body takes over and all sense of fear is lost. Not only is it an adventure of a lifetime but you get to jump down right into the heart of a beautiful Costa Rican forest.
Ride a tram through the rainforest. There are a few trams in Costa Rica that take you through the forest up to stunning views. For those who aren’t big hikers or can’t do a lot of strenuous movements, the tram is the best way to experience the tropical jungle. Along the way, it’s possible to see various birds, monkeys and other wildlife and it’s great to go with a guide who can point out the different plants and flowers you see. And always, at the top is a great view!
Go bird watching. With over 800 species of birds living in Costa Rica, any bird lover will be in paradise. Snap photos of hummingbirds, toucans, macaws, parrots and other gorgeous tropical birds all throughout the country. Wildlife and bird lovers have to put a bird watching tour on their “things to do in Costa Rica" list! Go early, since birds are more active in the morning and either go on to an observation platform or hike around the forest.