The Top-Rated Costa Rican Tours and Activities

Adrenline is always on the menu in this stunning country.
costa rican waterfall

The Daily Navigator strives to help you make the best decisions in travel. While we produce content according with strict editorial integrity this post may contain references to partner products. Here’s a full explanation for how our team makes money .

This post contains one or more references to our advertisers. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. For our full advertising policy, click here.

Costa Rica is as close to paradise on Earth as you can get. Covered in lush rainforest, lined with pristine beaches, and dramatic vistas of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Throw in a few volcanoes, some sloths, and the famed lifestyle of “Pura Vida,” and you’ve got a near-perfect destination.

Its spectacular landscape makes it the ultimate adventure vacation, and the easiest way to maximize your time is with a proper tour. Well-organized Costa Rican tours will cover your transport, food, and all the activities you plan to do—saving you stress on your trip.

Here are some of the top-rated Costa Rican tours and activities to give you some planning ideas. We even tried some of them on our company’s annual retreat this year.

Pura Vida!

Ziplining adventures

While ziplining has become an industry-standard activity worldwide, there’s nowhere better to try it than Costa Rica. The country’s staggeringly vast rainforests make it the perfect aerial playground, and the engineers designing the courses go all out. One zipline could see you screaming across the canopy for hundreds of meters, while the next has you swinging precariously through narrow ravines.

We found an excellent course near Tamarindo that fused the best of the rainforest with the spectacular canyon formations within the national park. Some segments required rock climbing and even had us sliding off rocks into drops before swinging across gullies. It’s not to be missed.

Boat tours

Costa Rica’s coasts are spell-binding, and the Pacific side in particular will take your breath away. You’d be missing out on an unforgettable day if you didn’t get out on the water for a tour of the coast.

These services vary in length and type. Our whole group chose a full-day catamaran tour, including food and drinks (yes, alcohol too). The captain and his crew kept us entertained the entire day, stopping in places to allow us to snorkel or relax on and in the water. The day was capped off by an unexpected whale sighting just off the coast—an unmissable Costa Rican tour.


As one of the surfing capitals of the world, riding a wave should be high on your Costa Rica list. If you’re already an experienced surfer, hone in on the perfect spot, rent a board, and get tubular. If you’re a novice, book yourself into a surf camp or lesson.

Even a two-hour crash course is enough to get you standing on your first wave, but if you have the time, a week-long camp will see you making huge improvements. Individual classes usually last around two hours, with relatively small groups allowing for one-to-one instruction. I can vouch for the instructors who helped me stand up on my last attempt of the day. Other members of our time took to it like ducks in water—like our director Kasandra.

Rainforest exploration

Over 50% of Costa Rica’s landmass is covered in rainforest, with estimates placing 4% of the world’s known species within its boundaries. In short, it’s a breathtakingly diverse landscape, and exploring it should be a central theme of your visit.

There are a ton of different top-rated Costa Rican tours and activities that lead you into the jungle. Some are more immersive than others, taking you on in-depth naturalist hikes, while others are easier-going and feature canopy walks through the trees that don’t require as much physical effort. Whatever you choose, you’ll leave with a greater appreciation for the power of nature and Costa Rica’s inspiring efforts to protect its natural beauty.

Volcanoes and hot springs

Some say the source of Costa Rica’s beauty is the volcanic power rumbling under the surface and in its mighty volcanoes. There are currently five active volcanoes in Costa Rica and 50 dormant or extinct ones, so there’s plenty of opportunity to learn more about these fascinating natural wonders.

Arenal is the most famous of the five in Costa Rica, while Irazu is the easiest to visit, thanks to a well-trodden road leading to the summit. The top-rated Costa Rican tours and activities vary in scope, with the majority focusing on views of the mountains themselves and their effect on the surrounding area, while others allow you to climb them. Bear in mind a climb will be strenuous and isn’t for everybody. If there has been any activity on a volcano in the past weeks or months, they’ll likely be closed to visitors.

If heading up a volcano isn’t your thing, stay at the bottom and enjoy their geothermal power in a different way–natural springs and mud baths. It’s a far more relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

Adventure tours

If you’re short on time, one of the best top-rated Costa Rican tours and activities is an all-encompassing adventure tour. These package deals will often include several activities, like ziplining, river-tubing, hiking, and horseback riding.

The day our team spent ziplining, a horseback ride, a visit to the hot springs, and a white-water tubing experience were all included—both relaxing and exhilarating. Our food was covered, too, as well as transport from the coast to the national park. Whatever you choose, make sure you embrace Pura Vida!

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This post contains references to products from one or more of our partners and we may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.

Become a Travel Expert

Once weekly destination travel guides delivered to your inbox for free.

Related Stories

Built with ❤️ by travelers, for travelers.

© 2024 Dollar Flight Club Inc. All Rights Reserved

Stay in the know with
The Navigator Newsletter

A five-minute trip through the news that matters most to travelers. Past Edition

A five-minute trip through the news that matters most to travelers. Past Edition

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. The relationship may impact how an offer is being presented. Our site doesn’t include all the offers available. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

DFC Partner Perks App Link Image
Special Discounts for Our Members

Save Big with Perks

Get $5,000+ in immediate travel savings with Perks. Unlock next level travel benefits, for life. Get discounts from the world’s best travel brands you won’t find anywhere else. No credit required.

DFC Concierge App Link Image
Special Discount for Our Members

93% off lifetime access

Save $1,200 and 10 hours of your time on every vacation. With Lifetime access to DFC Concierge, get fully customized trip itineraries to make every vacation unforgettable.

Dollar Flight Club App Link Image
Special Discount for Our Members


You can save up to $500 on your next adventure without lifting a finger get email alerts when we find flights up to 90% off leaving your home airport. Just let us know your departure airport and we’ll do the rest.

The Navigator Commitment

The Daily Navigator is the cornerstone of the DFC Media family. Through each of our brands, we’re dedicated to helping our readers travel, spend, and live smarter.

With products dedicated to affordable travel, daily news, hospitality, and personal finance, we deliver the day’s essential content with none of the filler — all in a way that’s fast, easy, and fun to read. Every morning, over 2 Million travelers trust DFC to deliver the latest news and information so that they can make informed decisions faster. We hope you’ll join them.

We’re happy to have you here!