Costa Rica is one of our favorite places on the planet and we’ve had a lot of time to gather on-the-ground intel about where to go and what to do. Sure it’s known for yoga retreats, but there’s a lot more to do in Costa Rica than tapping into your inner yogi. On your next trip to this incredible destination, live la pura vida, and don’t miss these incredible experiences.
1. Zipline through a cloud forest
Get a rush of adrenaline as you fly over the jungle canopy and through the low-lying clouds. Explore the unique ecosystems found in Costa Rica’s cloud forests as you peer down on flora and fauna from a bird’s eye view.
Costa Rica Sky Adventures, Monteverde, Ph: +506 2479 4100, skyadventures.travel
El Santuario Canopy Adventure Tour, Manuel Antonio National Park, Ph: +506 2777 6908, elsantuariocanopyadventure.com
2. Surf two oceans, in the same day
With killer swell and perfect barrels, the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines of Costa Rica present a surfer’s paradise. With more consistent breaks up and down the left coast, Caribbean conditions tend to peak from November to April.
Playa Hermosa, Jaco
Salsa Brava, Puerto Viejo
3. Hang out with sloths
The biodiversity of Costa Rica is unparalleled. From iconic tree frogs and colorful toucans to sea turtles and sloths, be sure you take some time to view the incredible wildlife the country has to offer. We suggest working with a naturalist guide who can make sure you spot some of the shyer species.
Manuel Antonio Expeditions, Manuel Antonio National Park, Ph: +506 8365 1057, manuelantonioexpeditions.blogspot.com
The Night Tour with Tracie The Bug Lady, Drake Bay, Ph: +506 8701 7356, thenighttour.com
4. Explore coffee and chocolate farms
Costa Rica’s rich fertile soil gives rise to some of the best cacao and coffee beans in the world. Check out the grounds of the country’s farms, their careful production process and taste the incredible delights they yield. A pilgrimage for every foodie!
5. Raft epic rapids
Get your heart rate pumping on a wild ride through the jungle as you descend through canyons, drops and rushing rapids. An unforgettable way to take in the Costa Rican landscape, this is a must-do once in a lifetime experience. Come prepared to get wet!
6. Soak in volcanic hot springs
Fed by geothermal energy from Costa Rica’s famous Arenal Volcano, take a dip in the natural hot springs to relax at the end of an adventurous day. While many resorts have a natural hot spring on site, there are also those free and open to the public.
Public hot springs, Tabacon, La Fortuna de San Carlos
Eco Termales, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Ph: +506 2479 8686, ecotermalesfortuna.cr
7. Taste the local flavors
Sample the local offerings including freshest-you’ve-ever-seen native fruits. Try chan (fruity flavored drink with soaked chia seeds), pipa (coconut water straight from a green coconut), and pejibaye (peach palm fruit with a nutty flavor) if you’re feeling more adventurous.
Any roadside stand, soda or restaurant “tipico”
8.Swim beneath a waterfall
Or rappel down one! Or jump from the top! Or you know, take some awesome pictures. Hundreds of waterfalls cascade through the Costa Rican wilderness making for some breathtaking scenery not to be missed during any visit.
La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano National Park
Costa Rica Waterfall Tours, Jaco, Ph: +506 2643 1834, costaricawaterfalltours.com
This piece was originally published June 2016