Our favourite adventure experiences in Costa Rica
Despite being just less than 51,800sq km and under a quarter of the size of the UK, Costa Rica is known as one of the most exciting destinations for adventure travel. We reveal some exhilarating activities you can do in this amazing country.
Despite being just less than 51,800sq km and under a quarter of the size of the UK, Costa Rica is known as one of the most exciting destinations for adventure travel. Here are a few of our favourite activities in this amazing Central American country:
Costa Rica is the home of recreational ziplining and, for that very reason, it is a must-do when visiting. I did this exhilarating activity in several areas, over various landscapes – but a highlight for me was alongside Lake Arenal, with spectacular views of Arenal Volcano. I was terrified at first, having always had a slight fear of heights, but the guides made me feel totally at ease. Having completed the first couple of rides and got a taste of the fabulous vistas, I began to enjoy it more and more. It was truly exhilarating and is something I would recommend to anyone who craves an adrenaline rush. What better way to experience a country and its landscapes than from the sky?
The Pacuare is one of the most well-known rivers in the world for white-water rafting – and I can completely understand why. The river itself is incredibly scenic, surrounded by rugged canyons and lush rainforest, and the rapids are world-class. If staying at Pacuare Lodge, you are encouraged to arrive at and leave the property by raft (there are no roads here, so arriving there by car is quite a bumpy experience). I enjoyed the rafting immensely, particularly on the way out of the lodge, as those rapids were grades 3 and 4 on the international scale of river difficulty. There is nothing quite like the sheer exhilaration you feel, while being encircled by truly unspoiled jungle and incredible natural beauty.
Having always been a rider, and having always dreamt of galloping along the beach, this was a definite highlight for me. I was taken out on a ride at a family-owned ranch near the surfing town of Santa Teresa on the Pacific coast. I passed through the farm with my private guide and sabanero, taking in the scenery and enjoying seeing a different side of the Nicoya Peninsula. We rode up a very steep hill to a viewpoint which, for use of a better phrase, took my breath away. It’s not every day that you find yourself on a horse admiring dramatic views of pristine shores and grasslands. We then continued down to the deserted beach and slowly pottered along the sand. It was everything that I dreamed the experience would be. This is just one example of the incredible places where you can set out on an equestrian adventure in Costa Rica.
I was told that I shouldn’t go to Costa Rica without trying my hand at surfing and I’m so glad that I did. I was apprehensive at first, as balance isn’t my strong suit, but with the help of an expert guide who had been surfing since he could walk, even I managed to stand up. I was taken onto a beach called Playa Hermosa, which literally translates as ‘beautiful beach’ – and beautiful it was. There are several coastlines in Costa Rica called Playa Hermosa, but this one, located near the town of Santa Teresa, is a surfer’s paradise. It’s peaceful and has hardly any development, except the occasional house nestled in the trees. It also has a great surf break. Your guide is there to give you the best possible direction but also to make sure you have fun. I had such an enjoyable time and standing up was just a bonus!